Friday, October 31, 2014

Daily Recovery Readings: October 31st

Recovery Meditations: October 31st


“Service is the rent that you pay for room on this earth.”"
Shirley Chisholm

            Midway through my first fourth step someone asked me to sponsor her. I was thrilled and eager to share my experience, strength and hope. As my work with my sponsee progressed, something began to happen in my own program. All that I had learned and was sharing with my sponsee reminded me of where I came from and how far I had progressed. I found that my recovery was strengthened through this process of giving away my experiences in program. This service allowed me to keep what I had received.

            It is vital for me that I serve the program of OA in all different manners: as a sponsor; as a leader of a step meeting; as treasurer of a local meeting; and by reaching out to newcomers, people in relapse, and others in the OA fellowship. The more I give, the more I receive.

One day at a time...
            I will give service to the OA fellowship so that I may remain in recovery.

            ~ Cindi L.


Each Day a New Beginning

It's a simple formula; do your best and somebody might like it.
Dorothy Baker

We're never guaranteed success by others' standards. However, if we do our best according to the standards we think God has in mind, we'll be successful. And from God we'll always receive unconditional love and acceptance.

In the past many of us were haunted by fears that our best wasn't good enough. And not infrequently those fears hindered our performance, thus validating our fears. We can slip back into those immobilizing fears if we don't attend, with vigilance, to the program and its suggestions.

Our higher power will help us do whatever task lies before us. And no task will be ours except those for which we've been readied. Our job is simply to go forth, taking God as our partner, and set about completing the task. We will not falter if we remember where our strength rests, where the guidance lies.

Self-esteem is one of the byproducts of a job done with God's help. An additional byproduct is that we learn more quickly to rely on God's direction and strength the next time, thus reducing the time we give to fear.

I can be successful today, in every endeavor, if I let God manage my moves. 

From Each Day a New Beginning: Daily Meditations for Women by Karen Casey © 1982, 1991 by Hazelden Foundation. 


Food for Thought
Gifts of the Spirit

Through the OA program, we come to desire spiritual gifts as well as material necessities. Experience shows us that serenity is priceless and something to be desired more than unnecessary food. Courage, wisdom, faith, hope, love, and humility - these are all spiritual gifts, which come to us from our Higher Power as we abstain and work our program.

As we receive these gifts of the spirit, we are able to share them with others. Giving them away to our families and friends ensures that we will receive them more abundantly ourselves. We come to realize that a small gift of time and attention can mean more than an expensive material present.

God's gifts are available to us whenever we are open to receive them. By abstaining from compulsive overeating, we make our spirits ready to accept their rightful gifts.

I pray that I may be ready to accept Your spiritual gifts. 

From Food for Thought: Daily Meditations for Overeaters by Elisabeth L. ©1980, 1992 by Hazelden Foundation. 


The Language of Letting Go
All Our Needs

And my God shall supply every need of yours according to His riches in glory...
  —Phil. 4:19

This verse has helped me many times. It has helped me when I have wondered where my next friend bit of wisdom, insight, or meal was coming from.

Everything I need today shall be supplied to me.

People, jobs, what we have to our immediate disposal, are not our source.

We have tapped into a Greater Source, a source of infinite and immediate supply: God and His Universe.

Our task is to allow ourselves to come into harmony with our Source. Our task is to believe in, and look to, our true Source. Our task is to release fear; negative thinking, limitations, and short supply thinking.

Everything we need shall be provided to us. Let it become a natural response to all situations, and all situations of need.

Reject fear. Reject short supply and limited thinking notions. Be open to abundance.

Cherish need because it is part of our relationship to God and His Universe. God has planned to meet our every need, has created the need within us, so God can supply.

No need is too small or too great. If we care and value our need, God will too.

Our part is taking responsibility for owning the need. Our part is giving the need to the Universe. Our part is letting go, in faith. Our part is giving God permission to meet our needs by believing we deserve to have our needs - and wants - met.

Our part is healthy giving, not out of caretaking, guilt, obligation, and codependency, but out of a healthy relationship with ourselves, God, and all of God's creations.

Our part is simply to be who we are, and love being that.

Today, I will practice the belief that all my needs today shall be met. I will step into harmony with God and His Universe, knowing that I count. 

From The Language of Letting Go by Melody Beattie ©1990, Hazelden Foundation


Today's thought from Hazelden is:

It's good for your heart.

"I know I've got some emotions up, just brewing right beneath the surface," Jake said one day. "I'm edgy, irritable, and definitely not centered. But I don't want to look. I don't want to go into the emotions. I don't like feelings. Whenever I give into them, I end up feeling like a piece of cooked spaghetti for days."

Emotions can take a lot out of us. Feeling them, whether it's anger, fear, or sadness, can leave us exhausted and drained.

Not feeling our emotions, however, can keep us edgy, irritable, and off-balance. Not feeling our feelings for an extended time can drive us to acting out, whether that means overeating, obsessing, staying in bed and hiding from the world, or staring at the television every night until we pass out.

Be gentle with yourself. Don't force it. But don't run away from your feelings, either. You might feel like cooked spaghetti for a while, but what's really softening up is your heart.

God, help me face and feel any feelings.
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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Daily Recovery Readings: October 30th

Recovery Meditations: October 30th


“The truth that makes men free is for the most part
the truth which men prefer not to hear.”
Herbert Agar

            I spent thirty-five years of my adult life running from the truth. It wasn't until I came to OA and began to work through the Twelve Steps that I had enough emotional support to turn and face the truth. What is my truth? I am a food addict.

            Once I was able to face and accept that truth, surrender to my Higher Power was immediate. At long last I was free of cravings, free of bingeing, and free of obsessive food thoughts. That freedom allowed me to work toward the goal of becoming the person I had always wanted to be.

            The way I see it, I can be an addict in recovery or I can be an addict in hell. I choose recovery.

            One day at a time...
            I will seek the truth in my life by working the program of recovery.

            ~ Cindi L.


Each Day a New Beginning
Intuition is a spiritual faculty and does not explain, but simply points the way.
  —Florence Scovel Shinn

Should we make this move? Should we change jobs? Should we talk to others about our feelings? We are seldom short on prayers when we're filled with fear and indecision. We are, however, short on answers. Our worries block them out.

No prayer ever goes unanswered. Of this we can be certain. On the other hand, the answer may not be what we'd hoped for. In fact, we may not recognize it as the answer because we are expecting something quite different. It takes willingness on our part to be free of our preconceptions - free to accept whatever answers are offered.

Our answers come unexpectedly, a chance meeting on the street, a passage in a book or newspaper, a nagging feeling within. God speaks to each of us throughout the day. Our prayers are answered, our problems find solutions, and our worries are eased, if we but attune ourselves to the messages. They are all around.

I will be attentive to all the signs from God today. Whatever answer I seek is finding its way to me.

From Each Day a New Beginning: Daily Meditations for Women by Karen Casey © 1982, 1991 by Hazelden Foundation.


Food for Thought
Accent on the Present

When we were obsessed with food, we were often obsessed with the past as well. We would rehash old hurts and resentments, old fears and desires. Our dreams, along with our waking hours, may have been filled with people from our past. Such preoccupation with the past prevented us from focusing on the present.

By realizing that compulsive overeating is a nonstop trip back to the hurts of the past, we become more determined to maintain abstinence. If we are to be alive in the present, we need to let go of the past. What is over is over and cannot be replayed except in our minds.

What we can do is turn our memories over to our Higher Power for healing. The creative Spirit, which is not bound by time, can take away old hurts and resentments. Then we are free to deal with the present and concentrate on doing God's will for us now, today. Living in the present keeps us in touch with the Power, which restores us to sanity.

May I remember that You are always now. 

From Food for Thought: Daily Meditations for Overeaters by Elisabeth L. ©1980, 1992 by Hazelden Foundation.


The Language of Letting Go
Self Value
We have a real life of our own. Yes, we do.

That empty feeling, that senses that everyone except us has a life - an important life, a valuable life, a better life - is a remnant from the past. It is also a self-defeating belief that is inaccurate.

We are real. So is our life. Jump into it, and we'll see.

Today, I will live my life and treasure it as mine. 

From The Language of Letting Go by Melody Beattie ©1990, Hazelden Foundation


Today's thought from Hazelden is:

You really need to take care of yourself because you won't be good for anyone else unless you take care of yourself.
-- Harry Bartholomew

Do we merely assume we are taking good care of ourselves? It's perhaps a good idea to list all the ways we think this is true. Do we get enough exercise? What is enough, anyway? Are we eating the right foods and enough of them? How about rest? Do we take naps when needed, as well as get a good night's sleep? What about laughter? Some would say there's no better elixir than a good laugh. Of course, we have to be willing to laugh at ourselves, on occasion, to make the most of it.

Taking good care of ourselves is much more in our control than we might have imagined. We are able to laugh at will and to eat what's good for us. We are also very much in control of how we feel about the circumstances of our lives. Whether we think we have it good or bad has a great deal to do with the details of each day.

We're not much fun to be around if all we do is moan and whine. Neither response ever takes good care of us. And both of them hinder the day's experiences for our companions, too.

The best thing I can do for me today is smile at my life, my friends, my remaining dreams. I can show I care.
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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Daily Recovery Readings: October 29th

Recovery Meditations: October 29th

Trial and Error

“Anything worth doing at all is worth doing poorly.”
Joachim de Posada

            Imagine my shock the first time I heard this statement, which happened to be in a Twelve Step (OA) meeting. I had been reared in an environment in which anything worth doing at all was worth doing well. In fact, in my world this concept was practiced as if it had religious authority. It was perfectionism given flesh and bones.

            Perhaps the idea that “anything worth doing at all is worth doing well” worked for some folks. For me, it was paralyzing. There were many things that I needed to do that I simply could not do well. These included things like trimming the hedge, praying, and making good investment choices. So how did my sick, obsessive-compulsive self respond? Predictably, of course: I just didn't do those things I felt I couldn’t do well. I was rarely willing to take the chance of acting and being wrong, so I did not act at all. Soon I was living a very restricted life -- a life hemmed in by the fear of messing up. I needed to be perfect or just not be at all.

            Then I found the program. There I learned that I am human and that making mistakes is part of being human. I even learned that making mistakes is a good thing, because in doing so I have acted. This is a program of action. I learn by acting and by making mistakes. How liberating! How freeing. I can't tell you how much my constricted, warped life began to open up. I acted and did things poorly, and people responded warmly and in a helpful manner. I took their advice and I joined the human race. I now consider this simple concept -- act, even if it means doing a thing poorly -- as one of the greatest gifts of the program. My life is really my life now. Perfectionism occasionally rears its ugly head, but when it does, I simply remember where I came from and then I go ahead and make a mistake and set myself free again.

            One day at a time...
            Today I will do what I need to do, and I will do it as well as I can. When I make a mistake I will not conclude that I am a mistake. I will accept that I am human and I will ask for help. Perfection has never been a goal of this program and it is not a goal for my life.

            ~ Pete M.



Each Day a New Beginning
Let your tears come. Let them water your soul.
  —Eileen Mayhew

Letting down our guard, releasing the tension that keeps us taut, often invites our tears, tears that soften us, melt our resistance, and reveal our vulnerability, which reminds us that we are only human. So often we need reminding that we are only human.

Perfectionism may be our bane, as it is for so many of us in this program. We've learned to push, push harder, and even harder yet, not only ourselves but also those around us. We must be better, we think, and we tighten our hold on life. The program can teach us to loosen our grip, if we'll let it. The magic is that when we loosen our grip on this day, this activity, this person, we get carried gently along and find that which we struggled to control happening smoothly and naturally. Life is a series of ironies.

We should not hide from our tears. We can trust their need to be present. Perhaps they need to be present for someone else, as well as ourselves. Tears encourage compassion; maybe our assignment in life, today, is to help someone else experience compassion.

My tears will heal. And the wounded are everywhere. 

From Each Day a New Beginning: Daily Meditations for Women by Karen Casey © 1982, 1991 by Hazelden Foundation.


Food for Thought

Overeating covered up the truth. We fed our illusions with food, which harmed our bodies. The illusions grew bigger and stronger until our minds were fog bound by the illusions instead of illuminated by truth.

Giving up our illusions is frightening and painful, but in the long run it is less difficult than trying to live with them and by them. It is impossible to get rid of our illusions by ourselves. The Higher Power leads us to truth by means of the Twelve Steps and the OA program. Abstinence from compulsive overeating is necessary in order to stop feeding our illusions and let the truth come through.

Knowing the truth sets us free. We no longer have to cling to old dependencies and self-defeating habits. Our Higher Power gives us as much truth as we are willing to work for and accept. We are not overwhelmed, but are gradually able to assimilate the reality of our situation. By accepting reality and refraining from using food as an escape, we are able to live with truth instead of illusions.

Lead me by the Power of truth. 

From Food for Thought: Daily Meditations for Overeaters by Elisabeth L. ©1980, 1992 by Hazelden Foundation.

The Language of Letting Go

A magical potion is available to us today. That potion is called acceptance.

We are asked to accept many things: ourselves, as we are; our feelings, needs, desires, choices, and current status of being. Other people, as they are. The status of our relationships with them. Problems. Blessings. Financial status. Where we live. Our work, our tasks, our level of performance at these tasks.

Resistance will not move us forward, nor will it eliminate the undesirable. But even our resistance may need to be accepted. Even resistance yields to and is changed by acceptance.

Acceptance is the magic that makes change possible. It is not forever; it is for the present moment.

Acceptance is the magic that makes our present circumstances good. It brings peace and contentment and opens the door to growth, change, and moving forward.

It shines the light of positive energy on all that we have and are. Within the framework of acceptance, we figure out what we need to do to take care of ourselves.

Acceptance empowers the positive and tells God we have surrendered to the Plan. We have mastered today's lesson, and are ready to move on.

Today, I will accept. I will relinquish my need to be in resistance to my environment and myself. I will surrender. I will cultivate contentment and gratitude. I will move forward in joy by accepting where I am today. 

From The Language of Letting Go by Melody Beattie ©1990, Hazelden Foundation.


Today's thought from Hazelden is:

The fragrance always stays in the hand that gives the rose.
--Hada Bejar

Nothing is more attractive than sharing with others. No trait will be admired as much as generosity. There is no surer way to gain the respect of friends and neighbors than to show by what we give that we care about others. 

We can give many things besides money, shelter, clothing, or food to those in need. We can give the rich person love and understanding that money can't buy. We can sympathize with those who are troubled, even though they appear wealthier than ourselves. We can share experience, strength, and hope with those who are ill or unhappy. We can even share our suffering with others who suffer, and hold up a light for them on the road to recovery.

What do I have to give today?
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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Daily Recovery Readings: October 28th

Recovery Meditations: October 28th


“My home is not a place, it is people.”
Lois McMaster Bujold

            I’ve spent most of my adult life feeling very alone in the world. My disease of compulsive overeating separated me from others due to my isolation, embarrassment and shame. I was always the outsider looking in at others.

            It wasn't until I walked into a twelve step meeting that I found a home for myself. Here these people knew me, heck they WERE me. Whatever I thought, whatever I felt, and whatever I had done in my life, so had others in OA. I am accepted in my totality. OA is the only place where I feel truly safe and at home. I am not alone anymore. The entire twelve step fellowship is on my side ~ and what a great feeling that is!

            One day at a time...
            I will make OA my home.

            ~ Cindi L



Each Day a New Beginning
The most elusive knowledge of all is self-knowledge.
  —Mirra Komarovsky

Discovering who we are is an adventure, one that will thrill and sometimes trouble us and will frequently occupy our thoughtful reflections. We are growing and changing as a result of our commitment to the program. And it's that process of commitment that heightens our self-awareness.

We learn who we are by listening to others, by sensing their perceptions of us, by taking an honest, careful inventory of our own behavior. The inner conversations that haunt us while we're interacting with others are poignant guidelines to self-knowledge, self-definition. Just when we think we've figured out who we are and how to handle our flaws, a new challenge will enter our realm of experiences, shaking up all the understandings that have given us guidance heretofore.

It is not an easy task to discover who we really are. It's an even harder job to love and accept the woman we discover. But too many years went by while we avoided or denied or, worse yet, denounced the only person we knew how to be. The program offers us the way to learn about and love fully the person within. Nor will we find the way easy every day. But there's time enough to let the process ease our investigation.

I will be soft and deliberate today as I listen to others and myself. 

 From Each Day a New Beginning: Daily Meditations for Women by Karen Casey © 1982, 1991 by Hazelden Foundation.


Food for Thought
Food Is Not Home

Breaking abstinence may be an attempt to go home emotionally. Since we associate food, and especially certain foods, with early experience, we may turn to food when we crave the emotional support of home.

Perhaps our early home life did not provide the emotional support and security we needed, causing us to attach a false significance to the food, which we were given. The habit of turning to food and eating as a substitute for love, acceptance, and security may be deeply ingrained in our psyche. We may have come to depend on food instead of people to satisfy our emotional needs.

The problem is, of course, that food is not a satisfactory substitute for love and acceptance. However much we eat, the emotional satisfaction will be only temporary and soon disintegrate into despair and self-hatred. The home we crave can best be built here and now by working the OA program and loving the people our Higher Power gives us to love today.

May I realize that food is not home. 

From Food for Thought: Daily Meditations for Overeaters by Elisabeth L. ©1980, 1992 by Hazelden Foundation


The Language of Letting Go
Meditation and Prayer

The Eleventh Step asks us to meditate as a route to improving our conscious contact with God.

Meditation is different than obsessing or worrying. Obsession and worrying are fear connections. Meditation means opening our mind and our spiritual energy to the God connection.

To connect with God, we need to relax as best we can and open our conscious and subconscious mind to a Higher Consciousness - one that is available to each of us.

In the busyness of our day and life, it may seem like a waste of time to slow down, to stop what we're doing, and take this kind of break. It is no more a waste of time than stopping to put gas in our car when the tank is almost empty. It is necessary, it is beneficial, and it saves time. In fact, meditation can create more time and energy than the moments we take to do it.

Meditation and prayer are powerful recovery behaviors that work. We need to be patient. It is not reasonable to expect immediate answers, insight, or inspiration.

But solutions are coming. They are already on the way, if we have done our part - meditate and pray - and then let the rest go.

Whether we pray and meditate first thing in the morning, during a coffee break, or in the evening is our choice.

When our conscious contact with God improves, our subconscious contact will too. We will find ourselves increasingly tuned in to God's harmony and will for us. We will find and maintain that soul connection, the God connection.

Today, I will take a moment for meditation and prayer. I will decide when and how long to do it. I am a child and creation of God - a Higher Power who loves to listen and talk to me. God, help me let go of my fears about whether or not You hear and care. Help me know that You are there and that I am able to tap into the spiritual consciousness.
From The Language of Letting Go by Melody Beattie ©1990, Hazelden Foundation



Today's thought from Hazelden is . . .
Reflection for the Day
So many of us suffer from despair. Yet we don't realize that despair is purely the absence of faith. As long as we're willing to turn to God for help in our difficulties, we cannot despair. When we're troubled and can't see a way out, it's only because we imagine that all solutions depend on us. The Program teaches us to let go of overwhelming problems and let God handle them for us. When I consciously surrender my will to God's will, do I see faith at work in my life?

Today I Pray
May I be free of despair and depression, those two "down D's" that are the result of feelings of helplessness. May I know that I am never without the help of God, that I am never helpless when God is with me. If I have faith, I need never be "helpless and hopeless."

Today I Will Remember
Despair is the absence of faith.

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