Sunday, November 30, 2014

Daily Recovery Readings: November 30th

Recovery Meditations: November 30th


People are lonely because they build walls instead of bridges.

Joseph Fort Newton

When I was growing up I remember always being lonely and I never had many friends. In order to protect myself from the pain of rejection, or perhaps because I didn't have self-esteem or believe in myself, I gave the impression that I didn't need people. I was probably thought of as a snob. I thought that people didn't like me because I was shy and introverted, but I had built up around myself an impenetrable protective wall which didn't invite anyone in. It was small wonder that I spent many lonely nights buried in a book or food or any other solitary pursuit for that matter.

In my adult years I became a people-pleaser in the hopes that people would like me more. That even spilled over to include my children as well, which meant that I wasn't able to say no to them or anyone else lest they stopped loving me. I would say yes when I really meant no, and consequently I was always filled with resentment and felt even lonelier than ever. I didn't know how to set boundaries and was terrified that if I said no, people wouldn't love me anymore.

I now know that when I set boundaries, it is an affirmation of my worth, and in most cases I am respected and liked by those people who are really my true friends. My children, too, have benefited from my having set boundaries with them, and they have more respect for me than before. I am beginning to realize that it is just fine to do what is right for me, and that it doesn't have to jeopardize any of my relationships.

One day at a time . . .
I am learning that it is right for me
to define my boundaries with those that I love,
knowing that I set these boundaries in love and friendship,
rather than hostility, and that I am still a lovable person.

Sharon S.


Each Day a New Beginning
Doubt indulged soon becomes doubt realized.
  —Frances Ridley Havergal

We are powerless over our addictions, whether liquor, pills, people, food. We are powerless over the outcome of all events involving us. And we are powerless over the lives of our friends and family members. We are not powerless, however, over our own attitudes, our own behavior, our own self-image, our own determination, our own commitment to life and this simple program.

Power aplenty we have, but we must exercise it in order to understand its breadth. We'll find all the day's activities, interactions, and plans decidedly more exciting when we exercise control over our responses. We don't have to feel or respond except in the way that pleases us. We have total control and we'll find this realization exhilarating.

Our recovery is strengthened each time we determine the proper behavior, choose an action that feels right, and take responsibility where it is clearly ours to take. The benefits will startle us and bring us joy.

I will take charge of my life today.

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


Food for Thought

We will never make it if we feel we are responsible for solving everyone else's problems. It is tempting to our ego to feel that we can exercise control over the lives of those around us, but it is counter to reality. We cannot protect those we love from sadness, sickness, or pain. Making martyrs of ourselves only prepares the ground for future retaliation.

Our primary task is to remember our dependence on our Higher Power and by His grace to maintain our abstinence. The problems, which we face, are best deal with if our spiritual condition is strong. Without abstinence from compulsive overeating, we are not much help to anyone, least of all ourselves.

There are times when all we can manage is to hang on, to survive. We know in our heads that these times will eventually pass. Practicing Step Eleven convinces us in our hearts that God is in charge, no matter how far away He may seem to be.

By Your grace, may I survive the hard times.

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


The Language of Letting Go

One day, my son brought a gerbil home to live with us. We put it in a cage. Some time later, the gerbil escaped. For the next six months, the animal ran frightened and wild through the house. So did we - chasing it.

"There it is. Get it!" we'd scream, each time someone spotted the gerbil. I, or my son, would throw down whatever we were working on, race across the house, and lunge at the animal hoping to catch it.

I worried about it, even when we didn't see it. "This isn't right," I'd think. "I can't have a gerbil running loose in the house. We've got to catch it. We've got to do something."

A small animal, the size of a mouse had the entire household in a tizzy.

One day, while sitting in the living room, I watched the animal scurry across the hallway. In frenzy, I started to lunge at it, as I usually did, then I stopped myself.

No, I said, I'm all done. If that animal wants to live in the nooks and crannies of this house, I'm going to let it. I'm done worrying about it. I'm done chasing it. It's an irregular circumstance, but that's just the way it's going to have to be.

I let the gerbil run past without reacting. I felt slightly uncomfortable with my new reaction - not reacting - but I stuck to it anyway.

I got more comfortable with my new reaction - not reacting. Before long, I became downright peaceful with the situation. I had stopped fighting the gerbil. One afternoon, only weeks after I started practicing my new attitude, the gerbil ran by me, as it had so many times, and I barely glanced at it. The animal stopped in its tracks, turned around, and looked at me. I started to lunge at it. It started to run away. I relaxed.

"Fine," I said. "Do what you want." And I meant it.

One hour later, the gerbil came and stood by me, and waited. I gently picked it up and placed it in its cage, where it has lived happily ever since. The moral of the story? Don't lunge at the gerbil. He's already frightened, and chasing him just scares him more and makes us crazy.

Detachment works.

Today, I will be comfortable with my new reaction - not reacting. I will feel at peace.

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


Today's thought from Hazelden is:

An inspiring book, a caring friend, a moment of silence - all can offer the guidance we seek.

We are learning to seek guidance on how to handle the serious circumstances of our lives. We used to feel we had to figure out everything for ourselves. What a gift it is to seek suggestions from friends we can trust. And hearing others tell how a line in a book gave them a needed answer has become a valuable tool too.

Relying on the silence for our answers, we are less certain at first. We can't always tell if it's our ego directing us rather than our Higher Power. The important thing is that we are looking for help. We are no longer blocked by our need to be self-reliant in all matters.

Guidance is always available. We simply have to know where to look and be willing to hear.

I will look at my problems today as opportunities for intimacy with other people. Problems will free me from isolation.
You are reading from the book:

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Daily Recovery Readings: November 29th

Recovery Meditations: November 29th

To Thine Own Self Be True

Hide not your talents, they for use were made.
What’s a sun-dial in the shade?”
Benjamin Franklin

In the cups of my illness I was a chameleon and people-pleaser. I was afraid to stand on my own opinions and be myself. My fear of rejection kept me always looking for ways to fit in. I was running from life because I was afraid that I would be found to be a fraud and a compulsive eater. I played dumb in school and with my friends. I was afraid to be smart. I was afraid to have differing opinions. Shame kept me hiding inside of myself and inside of my suit of fat. I was afraid to be me.

Since coming to the program I am learning more each day that it is okay for me to be me. It is more than okay; it is essential. I can spread my wings and let myself out of my self-imposed cage ~ and I can go for a flight gliding on the breeze with ease. My first steps were wobbly, but this program promises me that the sunlight is there and it is okay to come out of the shade and be whom I really am. I have something to offer the world. We all do. It is up to us to find it in our deepest heart’s desire.

One day at a time...
I can take one small step to match my insides to my outsides.

~ Lanaya


Each Day a New Beginning
Faith is like the air in a balloon. If you've got it you're filled. If you don't, you're empty.
  —Peggy Cahn

Being faith-filled takes effort, not unlike becoming a good writer, tennis player, or pianist. Faith grows within our hearts, but we must devote time to foster this growth. Daily discussions with God are required, frequent quiet times to hear God's messages to us - just as practice on the court, hitting balls or sitting for extended periods at the typewriter or a piano are necessary to attainment of these goals.

Life's difficulties are eased when we have faith. The most frightening situation, a job interview, an evaluation with our boss, a showdown with a friend, can be handled confidently when we let our faith work for us. But, we must first work for it, work to attain it and work to keep it. Like any skill, it gets rusty with lack of use.

I will make sure to add to my reserves today. We never know when we may need to let our faith direct our every action. I will make a friend of my higher power, and that partnership will carry me over any troubled time.

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


Food for Thought

If we examine our behavior patterns when we were eating compulsively, we usually find that they were quite rigid. Our mental obsession and physical addiction kept us bound in repetitious behavior, which permitted very little spontaneity. With so much time and energy tied up in eating, we had very little flexibility. Most of our free time was used to support our addiction in one way or another.

As we recover, we may find ourselves threatened by unstructured time or by impromptu changes in schedule. An unexpected holiday can bring on feelings of emptiness or boredom. Changed plans can leave us feeling confused and unsettled. Without a firm routine, we may become uneasy.

Remembering that abstinence is the most important thing in our life without exception can provide an anchor when we are required to be flexible. As long as we remain abstinent, we are free to alter schedules and plans according to preference and convenience. Flexibility and spontaneity are possible when abstinence is firm.

Show me how to be flexible.

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


The Language of Letting Go
Step Twelve

The Twelfth Step says that having had a spiritual awakening, we try to carry this message to others. Our message is one of hope, love, comfort, health - a better way of life, one that works.

How do we carry it? Not by rescuing. Not by controlling. Not by obsessing. Not by becoming evangelists for the recovery cause.

We carry the message in many small, subtle, but powerful ways. We do our own recovery work and become a living demonstration of hope, self-love, comfort, and health. These quiet behaviors can be a powerful message.

Inviting (not ordering or demanding) someone to go to a meeting is a powerful way to carry the message.

Going to our meetings and sharing how recovery works for us is a powerful way to carry the message.

Being who we are and allowing our Higher Power to guide our actions are powerful ways to carry the message. Often, we find ourselves carrying the message more effectively than we do when we set out to reform, convince, or coerce someone into recovery.

Caretaking and controlling are not ways to carry the message. All those behaviors carry is codependency.

Still, the most powerful form of helping others comes down to helping ourselves. When we do our own work and are honest and open about it, we impact others more than by our most well intentioned "helping" gesture. We cannot change others, but when we change ourselves, we may end up changing the world.

Today, I will strive to carry the message in ways that work. I will let go of my need to "help" people. Instead, I will concentrate on helping and changing myself. If an opportunity comes up to share my recovery with someone, I will do so quietly. God, help me show others comfort, empowerment, and hope. I can be a channel to help others when I am ready. I do not have to force this; it will happen naturally.

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


Today's thought from Hazelden is:

Fill up your life.

One of the good things about the blues is their power to make me feel better. No matter how bad it gets in my little world, I can be pretty sure that B.B. King, John Lee Hooker, or Stevie Ray Vaughn has seen worse. Sometimes, it just feels good to vocalize all those bad feelings.

Bad things happen in life. Sometimes they are small annoyances; sometimes they are the major grief mongers. What matters is not what happens to us, but how we react to it. He left you. That is a fact. Now after you get done with the quart of rocky road that you are drowning your sorrows in, what are you going to do about it? You can sit around and complain to your friends about how unfair life is, or you can get up, put the empty bowl in the dishwasher, and go fill up your life.

Feelings are one of the blessings of being human. All of them. Sometimes we feel good; sometimes we feel bad. Take some time. Take some energy and be upset. Be aware of the feeling of being upset. But then get up, go out, and make positive use of your life.

God, help me put to positive use all of the feelings in my life.
You are reading from the book:

Friday, November 28, 2014

Daily Recovery Readings: November 28th

Recovery Meditations: November 28th


Above all, let us never forget that an act of goodness
is in itself an act of happiness.

Count Maurice Maeterlinck

While in the disease, most of the goodness I tried to do was for ulterior motives. It was only in recovery that I learned to give unselfishly and without strings to help another. In doing so, I have found happiness beyond measure. I can create my own happiness in the service of my Higher Power and other compulsive overeaters. I can make the promise of a "new happiness and a new freedom" come true.

One Day at a Time . . .
I will do acts of goodness.

~ Judy N. ~


Each Day a New Beginning
The idea of God is different in every person. The joy of my recovery was to find God within me.
  —Angela L. Wozniak

The program promises peace. Day by day, step-by-step, we move closer to it. Each time we clearly are touched by someone else, and each time we touch another, carries us closer to a realization of God's presence, in others, in ourselves, in all experiences. The search for God is over, just as soon as we realize the Spirit is as close as our thoughts, our breath.

Coming to believe in a greater power brings such relief to us in our daily struggles. And on occasion we still fight for control to be all-powerful ourselves, only to realize that the barriers we confront are of our own making. We are on easy street, just as soon as we choose to let God be our guide in all decisions, large and small.

The program's greatest gift to us is relief from anxiety, the anxiety that so often turned us to booze, or pills, or candy. Relief is felt every time we let go of the problem that's entrapped us and wait for the comfort and guidance God guarantees.

God's help is mine just as quickly as I fully avail myself of it. I will let go of today's problems.

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


Food for Thought
A Strong Father

Many of us understand God in terms of a father, one on whom we can rely no matter what the situation. Our biological father may have been a tyrant or a pal, remote or accessible, firm or weak. However much we loved him and depended on him, he was only a person and not infallible.

For recovery from compulsive overeating, we need a source of strength to which we may turn in any emergency. We require a Power to lean on through the minor ups and downs of every day. Though our families and friends support us, their assistance is not enough. They can provide neither the control nor the sustenance, which we need in order to recover from our illness.

The firm, unfailing guidance which we require comes from our Higher Power. If we are willing to again become as children and cast ourselves on God without reservation, we shall receive His support. It is His Power that frees us from our false dependency on food.

Be for us a strong Father, we pray.

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


The Language of Letting Go
Back to the Steps

Go back to the Steps. Go back to a Step

When we don't know what to do next, when we feel confused, upset, distraught, at the end of our rope, overwhelmed, full of self will, rage, or despair, go back to the Steps.

No matter what situation we are facing, working a Step will help. Focus on one, trust your instincts, and work it.

What does it mean to work a Step? Think about it. Meditate on it. Instead of focusing on the confusion, the problems, or the situation causing our despair or rage, focus on the Step.

Think about how that Step might apply. Hold on to it. Hang on as tightly as we hang on to our confusion or the problem.

The Steps are a solution. They work. We can trust them to work.

We can trust where the Steps will lead us.

When we don't know what step to take next, take one of the Twelve.

Today, I will concentrate on using the Twelve Steps to solve problems and keep me in balance and harmony. I will work a Step to the best of my ability. I will learn to trust the Steps, and rely on them instead of on my protective, codependent behaviors.

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


Today's thought from Hazelden is:

To keep a lamp burning, we have to keep putting oil in it.
--Mother Teresa

Our spiritual nature must be nurtured. Prayer and meditation lovingly kindle the flame that guides us from within. Because we're human, we often let the flame flicker and perhaps go out. And then we sense the dreaded aloneness. Fortunately, some time away, perhaps even a few moments in quiet communion with God, rekindles the flame.

For most of us, the flame burned low, or not at all, for many years. The flickering we may feel today, or tomorrow, or felt yesterday, will not last, so we may put away our fears. We can listen to the voice of our higher power in others. We can listen, too, as we carry the message. Prayer surrounds us every moment. We can fuel our inner flame with the messages received from others. We can let our spirit spring forth; let it warm our hearts and the hearts of others.

We each have a friend whose flame may be flickering today. I will help my friend and thus myself. A steady flame can rekindle one that's flickering.
You are reading from the book:


Thursday, November 27, 2014

Daily Recovery Readings: November 27th

Recovery Meditations: November 27th


There will come a time when you believe everything is finished.
That will be the beginning.

Louis L'Amour

        During my life I've always found it hard to start anything. I don't know whether it comes from being a compulsive overeater, but I do know that I took my time in starting a recovery program. Maybe it was a fear that, if I didn't succeed, I could never start over.

        Luckily, this is a very forgiving program. If I slip, I can get up and start over. I don't have to stay down. In fact, I can be down, but I can never be counted out, because all I need to do is begin again. My Higher Power helps me stay on track, and it comforts me to know that, if I fall, I can be picked up and allowed to continue my journey to recovery.

        One day at a time . . .
        I will remain "higher powered" and start over if I need to.



Each Day a New Beginning
Limited expectations yield only limited results.
  —Susan Laurson Willig

Schoolchildren perform according to the expectations their teachers have of them. Likewise, what we women achieve depends greatly on what we believe about ourselves, and too many of us have too little belief in ourselves. Perhaps we grew up in a negative household or had a non-supportive marriage. But we contributed, too, in our negative self-assessment. The good news is that it no longer needs to control us.

We can boost our own performance by lifting our own expectations, even in the absence of support from others. It may not be easy, but each of us is capable of changing a negative self-image to a positive one. It takes commitment to the program, a serious relationship with our higher power, and the development of positive, healthy relationships with others.

It's true; we can't control other people in our lives. And we can't absolutely control the outcome of any particular situation. But we can control our own attitudes. Interestingly, when we've begun tagging ourselves competent and capable, instead of inadequate, we find that other people and other situations become more to our liking, too.

I will be fair with myself. I can do what I need to do wherever I am today. Only I can hold myself down.

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


Food for Thought
One Bite Means a Binge

By this time; we know that we do not overeat moderately. One extra compulsive bite sooner or later becomes a binge. Keeping this fact firmly planted in our consciousness prevents us from deluding ourselves into disaster. For us, there is abstinence or there is chaos. Nothing in between.

Having proved this fact over and over again, we must avoid at all costs the insanity that makes us think we can handle one small extra bite. Our only sure defense against such inexplicable insanity is a Power greater than ourselves. Alone, we cannot control what we eat and we cannot manage our lives.

Each day we begin by admitting to God our powerlessness over our compulsion, and we ask for His control. Whenever we are tempted or overwhelmed, we release our whole selves into His care and protection. At the end of the day, we give thanks for the Power that keeps us from taking the one small, disastrous bite.

Deliver me from the bite that means a binge.

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


The Language of Letting Go
We can Trust Ourselves

For many of us, the issue is not whether we can trust another person again; it's whether we can trust our own judgment again.

"The last mistake I made almost cost me my sanity," said one recovering woman who married a sex addict. "I can't afford to make another mistake like that."

Many of us have trusted people, who went on to deceive, abuse, manipulate, or otherwise exploit us because we trusted them. We may have found these people charming, kind, and decent. There may have been a small voice that said, "No - something's wrong." Or we may have been comfortable with trusting that person and shocked when we found our instincts were wrong.

The issue may then reverberate through our life for years. Our trust in others may have been shaken, but our trust in ourselves may have been shattered worse.

How could something feel so right, flow so well, and be such a total mistake? We may wonder. How can I ever trust my selection process again, when it showed itself to be so faulty?

We may never have the answers. I believe I needed to make certain "mistakes" to learn critical lessons I'm not certain I would have otherwise learned. We cannot let our past interfere with our ability to trust ourselves. We cannot afford to function with fear.

If we are always making the wrong decision in business or in love, we may need to learn why we insist on defeating ourselves.

But most of us do improve. We learn. We grow from our mistakes. Slowly, in increments, our relationships improve. Our business choices improve. Our decisions about how to handle situations with friends or children improve. We benefit from our mistakes. We benefit from our past. And if we have made mistakes, we needed to make them in order to learn along the way.

Today, I will let go of my fears about trusting myself because I have made mistakes in the past. I understand that these fears only serve to impair my judgment today. I will give my past, even my mistakes, validity by accepting and being grateful for it all. I will strive to see what I've gained from my mistakes. I will try to look at all my good decisions too. I will keep a watchful eye for improvement, for overall progress, in my life.

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


Today's thought from Hazelden is:

Count Your Blessings

Count your many blessings, name them one by one,

Count your many blessings, see what God has done!

--from “Count Your Blessings” by Johnson Oatman Jr.

You are reading from the book:

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Daily Recovery Readings: November 26th

Recovery Meditations: November 26th


“The greatest tragedy in life
is people who have sight but no vision.”
Helen Keller

The miracle of recovery has given me new vision! I lived for many years with eyes that viewed the world through fear, pain and resentment. These were the factors that shaded the lenses of my eyes. Because they clouded my entire perspective, they prevented me from seeing reality as it was. Instead, I lived in fear of the distorted realities of my world.

When I took my Fourth Step I began to see with new vision and clarity. It was amazing for me to realize how skewed my perception of life had been all those years. I discovered that my vision hadn’t been focused on the truth! The shades of this illness had cast many shadows upon reality and I had spent my life reacting to those shadows instead of responding to life.

I had years of experience looking at the world through illness, and I was not sure if I could really keep this new vision which was promised through recovery. I was a little worried that it would soon fade away into those old shadows … as had happened in other awakenings I had experienced.

As I continued to take the Steps, I found that my new vision not only remained, but grew broader and deeper every day. As I continue to work a daily Tenth, Eleventh and Twelfth Step and to practice these principles in all aspects of my life, I continue to celebrate life with the vision that recovery brings. This vision is one of deep joy, gratitude, serenity, and love!

One day at a time... .. . .
I will practice the Steps of recovery in all aspects of my life and I will continue to receive and share the gift of vision that recovery brings.



Each Day a New Beginning
We are all held in place by the pressure of the crowd around us. We must all lean upon others. Let us see that we lean gracefully and freely and acknowledge their support.
  —Margaret Collier Graham

We did not come into this world alone. And our voyage through this life is in concert with many others: some who directly aid us, while others seem to hinder our paths. We don't have full knowledge, however. We can't determine the many ways we are being helped to take the right steps, even by those who block our way for the moment.

Likewise, our presence is helping to pave the way for both the friends and the strangers we will encounter today, at work, on the street, at the meeting perhaps. We have all been charged, in this life, with a similar responsibility--to help one another fulfill our destinies. Our impatience with one another, our wavering love and acceptance of each other, at times our disavowal of our brothers and sisters comes because we fail to understand the necessary part we each play in the drama of one another's life.

In my personal drama, I am sharing the stage with everyone else I encounter today. I need a supporting cast. And I need applause. I will give it freely today.

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


Food for Thought
What Am I Avoiding Now?

If I am becoming preoccupied with thoughts of food and eating, I am probably avoiding something in the present, which troubles me. We compulsive overeaters have a long history of using food to avoid facing whatever is bothering us. Abstaining may not solve the problem, but at least we do not eat ourselves into a worse situation.

Sometimes we are aware of a difficult task that needs to be done, and we think we require extra food to fortify ourselves in order to accomplish the task. Remembering that excess food incapacitates rather than strengthens is essential to our recovery. A short-term euphoria is not worth the long-term anguish, which inevitably follows loss of control.

We are learning to turn to a Power greater than ourselves when we have problems that we formerly avoided or tried to solve by eating. Whatever our perplexity, God has the answer, if we will surrender our wills and listen for His guidance.

Teach me to trust You completely.

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


The Language of Letting Go
Letting Go of Self-Criticism

Look how far we've come!

It's good to focus on the task ahead, on what remains to be done. It's important to stop and feel pleased about what we've accomplished too.

Yes, it may seem that the change has been slow. At times, change is grueling. Yes, we've taken steps backward. But we're right where we're supposed to be. We're right where we need to be.

And we have come so far.

Sometimes by leaps, sometimes with tiny steps, sometimes kicking and screaming all the while, sometimes with sleeves rolled up and white knuckles, we've learned. Grown. Changed.

Look how far we've come.

Today, I will appreciate my progress. I will let myself feel good about what has been accomplished.

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


Today's thought from Hazelden is:

You start preparing when you're thirty for the person you'll be at eighty.
--Janice Clark

We can't get away from ourselves, at least not entirely. Who we were at ten and twenty and forty and fifty remain as threads in our tapestries. Many of us shudder because some details of our personal panorama weren't so very pretty. But that's the way life is. We are what we are. And yet, we have examples of favorable changes, too. How we were never kept us from becoming who we wanted to be. This truth continues to reign in our lives.

We all know women and men who continue to be enthused about even the tiny happenings in the passing of a day. A bird's flight from the porch to a nearby tree to feed its young, the laughter of children passing the house on their way home from school, the family reunions, large or small, bring smiles and memories that comfort. Probably we envy those folks, unless we happen to be them already. In either case, imitating others or serving as their role models helps to strengthen our positive responses to life's details. No matter how old we are, there is still joy to be felt. And there is still time to change and grow.

There is no rule that says I have to be and think and act the same way my whole life. Today is a clean slate. I can be who I want to be.
You are reading from the book:


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Daily Recovery Readings: November 25th

Recovery Meditations: November 25th


The strongest principle of growth lies in human choice.

George Eliot

        I spent most of my life blaming others for my woes and the fact that I was a compulsive overeater. I thought, "If you had had a mother like I did, an ex-husband or a tough life like mine, you would also have turned to food for comfort or to block all the painful feelings." I was sure that had I had an easier life like I perceived others to have, I wouldn't have had to do the things around food that I did. I never took responsibility for my part in all this because, in truth, I was the one who chose to react to my life in that way. Nobody forced me to behave the way I did and nobody held me down and forced food into my mouth.

        I never used to realize that I do have choices in life. I can choose not to eat foods that are harmful to me; I can choose not to surround myself with unhealthy relationships; I can choose not to let other people's problems become my own; in fact, I have choices in most things that I do. I can choose to have a more positive attitude today, instead of focusing on all the negatives. I do not have to react to life's adversities with destructive behaviors. I can choose to be active in my life rather than being reactive, like a sailing ship in a stormy sea that is totally at the mercy of the weather. I can choose to seize life with both hands and live it the best I know how.

        One day at a time... . . .
        Today I choose to work this program of recovery knowing that, even with life's difficulties, the promises of the program will come true in my life, and I will know serenity and peace.

        Sharon S.


Each Day a New Beginning
Change occurs when one becomes what she is, not when she tries to become what she is not.
  —Ruth P. Freedman

Learning self-acceptance, and then loving the selves we are, present perhaps our two biggest hurdles to the attainment of emotional and spiritual health. Fortunately, they are not insurmountable hurdles. The program offers ready assistance.

Women everywhere are making great strides in self-love and self-acceptance. We are learning self-love. And we are changing. The support we can give our sisters, and the support we receive, multiplies many times the healthy energy created - healthy energy that touches us all.

Emotional and spiritual health are gifts promised by the program, when we work it. We must move beyond our perfectionism and relish our humanness. And the Steps are the way. We must learn humility and develop faith, and the Steps are the way. Learning to love all our parts, the qualities we like and the traits that discouragingly hang on, offers a new freedom. A freedom that invites change. A freedom that safeguards the emotional and spiritual well-being that we strive for.

Confidence will come with my healthy self-acceptance.

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


Food for Thought
Regaining Control

Temporary loss of control resulting in a slip does not need to send us off on a protracted binge. We have tools, which we may use to regain control and reestablish firm abstinence.

If we find ourselves deviating from our food plan, however slightly, we need to make contact with our sponsor or another OA member. Honestly admitting that we are having trouble prevents us from losing touch with reality and slipping back into our old habits. If we pretend that all is well when it is not, we cut ourselves off from the help and support we need.

When we are tempted, it is a good idea to remove ourselves from the source of temptation and get involved in another activity. Reading the literature or going to a meeting can renew our OA commitment.

In the last analysis, it is our Higher Power who provides the control, which we lack. To turn over our lack of control is to open ourselves to the Power that keeps us abstinent.

Control my life, Lord.

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


The Language of Letting Go

When we first become aware of a problem, a situation, or a feeling, we may react with anxiety or fear. There is no need to fear awareness. No need.

Awareness is the first step toward positive change and growth. It's the first step toward solving the problem, or getting the need met, the first step toward the future. It's how we focus on the next lesson.

Awareness is how life, the Universe, and our Higher Power get our attention and prepare us for change. The process of becoming changed begins with awareness. Awareness, acceptance, and change - that's the cycle. We can accept the temporary discomfort from awareness because that's how we're moved to a better place. We can accept the temporary discomfort because we can trust God, and ourselves.

Today, I will be grateful for any awareness I encounter. I will display gratitude, peace, and dignity when life gets my attention. I will remember that it's okay to accept the temporary discomfort from awareness because I can trust that it's my Higher Power moving me forward.

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


Today's thought from Hazelden is:

I always have two lists: things I'm happy about and things I'm not. It's my choice which list I focus on.
--Anne Arthur

Why do we all too eagerly see the glass as half empty rather than as half full? It need not be a habit that we are stuck with forever. All of us feel helpless at times to change our vision of life. Discouragement and self-pity become comfortable, and we fear that discarding them will leave us vulnerable.

Seeing the glass as half empty is a sign that our attitude is holding us back. Unfortunately, a bad attitude is seductive. It's as though we find pleasure, perverse though it may be, in feeling sorry for ourselves. Sometimes we even imagine staying in that place forever. It's then that we need the warmth of loving friends, and it's no accident that we are surrounded by them in this fellowship.

We may, at first, try to ignore those reaching toward us, but we will soon feel their presence. We can thank God for the inspiration to adjust our attitude.

If I reach out lovingly to someone else today, I will not need a nudge from my Higher Power to adjust my attitude.

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Monday, November 24, 2014

Daily Recovery Readings: November 24th

Recovery Meditations: November 24th

~ Gratitude ~

If the only prayer you said in your whole life
was, "Thank you," that would suffice.

Meister Eckhart

        I spent most of my life blaming my circumstances and those around me for the way I felt, for my eating problem and for my terrible life in general. There was nothing good in my life at all and I viewed everything through a dark cloud of negativity. I couldn't see anything good in my life, and life became totally unbearable. Poor me, I thought. It really wasn't fair that I had been made to suffer the way I had, and I felt awash with self pity. The more sorry I felt for myself, the more I ate, and the more I ate, the worse I felt; it became a vicious circle.

        When I was brought to my knees by this disease and came into the fellowship, I was forced to take stock and look honestly at my life. For the first time ever I considered the losses and difficult situations in my life that I had perceived as unfair and negative. In each case there had been amazing gains. For example, the car accident I'd been in hadn't been my fault at all. In fact, it became the catalyst that enabled me to change careers. One of the bereavements that I had brought a wonderful and special friend into my life. And so it went. Before, I had bemoaned my fate as a compulsive overeater. Now, I am actually grateful to be a compulsive overeater, because without my disease I never would have a wonderful program that helps me to live my life sanely and serenely, nor would I have all the very special people who love and support me through thick and thin.

        One Day at a Time . . .
        I am grateful for all the wonderful miracles that have happened in my life as a result of this program ... may I never forget to thank my Higher Power for all these wonderful blessings.

        ~ Sharon S. ~

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Each Day a New Beginning
"If onlys" are lonely.
  —Morgan Jennings

The circumstances of our lives seldom live up to our expectations or desires. However, in each circumstance we are offered an opportunity for growth or change, a chance for greater understanding of life's heights and pitfalls. Each time we choose to lament what isn't, we close the door on the invitation to a better existence.

We simply don't know just what's best for us. Our vision is limited. Less so today than yesterday, but limited still. The experiences we are offered will fail to satisfy our expectations because we expect so much less than God has planned for us in the days ahead.

We get what we need, in the way of relationships, adventures, joys and sorrows, today and every day. Celebrating what we get and knowing there is good in it eases whatever trial we are undergoing. We are cared for, right now. We need not lament what we think we need. We do have what we need. We will always get what we need, when we need it.

I will breathe deeply and relax. At this moment my every need is being attended to. My life is unfolding exactly as it should.

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


Food for Thought
Principles Before Personalities

One of the strengths of our fellowship lies in the fact that we place principles before personalities. OA is not a social club. We form meaningful and lasting friendships, but personal friendship is always subordinate to the program itself.

Putting principles before personalities means that we may expect help and consideration from any other member. Conversely, we are expected to give our attention and assistance to anyone who asks, regardless of how well we like that individual personally. The Twelve Steps and principles of OA unity are more important than the personal relationships of any members in our group.

Because we are committed to abstinence from compulsive overeating and to working the program, we respond honestly and say what we believe to be in the best interest of those we sponsor and those we talk with. We do no one a favor if we dilute our program in order to make it more palatable to someone we personally like.

May I remember to place principles before personalities.

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


The Language of Letting Go

Surrender means saying, "Okay, God. I'll do whatever You want." Faith in the God of our recovery means we trust that, eventually, we'll like doing that.

Today, I will surrender to my Higher Power. I'll trust that God's plan for me will be good, even if it is different than I hoped for or expected.

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


Today's thought from Hazelden is:

Children begin by loving their parents; as they grow older they judge them; sometimes they forgive them.
--Oscar Wilde

The mature person eventually forgives his parents. Any adult can look back and see childhood wrongs and unfairness. Many of us were disappointed by our parents, even neglected or hurt by them. We certainly didn't get all we wanted or needed. Yet, upon joining the ranks of adults, we become responsible for ourselves. Every situation has limited choices, and we work with what we've got. As adults, we realize this is exactly where our parents were when we were children. They, too, were born into an imperfect world and had to do the best they could.

When we can forgive our parents, we are free to accept them as they are, as we might a friend. We can accept them, enjoy the relationship, and forget about collecting old debts. Making peace with them imparts to us the strengths of previous generations and helps us be more at peace with ourselves.

I pray for the maturity and the wisdom to be more forgiving of my parents.
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Sunday, November 23, 2014

Daily Recovery Readings: November 23rd

 Recovery Meditations: November 23rd

~ Successful Recovery ~

I always remember an epitaph which is in the cemetery
at Tombstone, Arizona. It says: 'Here lies Jack
Williams. He done his damnedest.' I think that is
the greatest epitaph a man can have.

Harry S. Truman

        No matter what their drug of choice, compulsives all have one thing in common. If we don't practice our program, we run the risk of relapsing back into the disease.

        What separates those who find recovery and those who don't is this: those who don't find recovery slip and fall, and don't get up again. They figure, "I've already relapsed, so why not just continue using my drug of choice? Why not wallow in my disease?"

        Those who recover are like Jack Williams...they do their damnedest. They continue to read program literature, they continue to do service, they continue to reach out to others and to their Higher Power. The winners in this program don't wallow...they pick themselves up, dust themselves off, and keep on keeping on.

        One day at a time... . . .
        I will do my damnedest. I will work my program to the best of my ability, and if I fall, I won't stay down.



Twenty Four Hours a Day Hardcover (24 Hours)
Thought for the Day

I no longer refuse to do anything because I cannot do it to perfection. Many of us alcoholics *addicts* use the excuse of not being able to do something perfectly to enable us to do nothing at all. We pretend to be perfectionists. We are good at telling people how a thing should be done, but when we come to the effort of doing it ourselves, we balk. We say to ourselves: "I might make a mistake so I'd better let the whole thing slide." In A.A. we set our goals high, but that does not prevent us from trying. The mere fact that we will never fully reach these goals does not prevent us from doing the best we can. Have I stopped hiding behind the smoke screen of perfectionism?

Meditation for the Day

"In the world ye shall have tribulation. But be of good cheer. I have overcome the world." Keep an undaunted spirit. Keep your spirit free and unconquered. You can be undefeated and untouched by failure and all its power, by letting your spirit overcome the world; rise above earth's turmoil into the secret chamber of perfect peace and confidence. When a challenge comes to you, remember you have God's help and nothing can wholly defeat you.

Prayer for the Day

I pray that I may have confidence and be of good cheer. I pray that I may not fear the power of failure.


Each Day a New Beginning
When you send out real love, real love will return to you.
  —Florence Scovel Shinn

Real love is selfless love. It expects nothing in return. It is not conditional. It doesn't keep score. It is too seldom given. Many of us came into the program hurting, feeling unloved, looking desperately for love, unable to love selflessly. But we are learning.

We are climbing the same mountain, all of us. Our particular paths will cross the paths of many others before reaching the top where we will find full enlightenment. And any path we cross has a special contribution to make to our own progress. We can be grateful for all intersecting paths, no matter how adverse they seem at the time. We can offer all our fellow travelers real love, and our own trip will benefit many fold.

We need not be ashamed of our desire for love. Nor need we feel shame that we've bargained for it. But we do need to understand that the kind of love we seek can only be gained when we quit searching for it and simply offer it to all the people in our midst.

I will look into the hearts of all the people I encounter today and offer them love. I'll receive that which I give.

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


Food for Thought
Turning On

Before OA, many of us were in a self-centered rut. We had little enthusiasm for anything except food, and food proved to be a false friend. When we come to OA and admit that we are powerless over food, we can turn on to a Power greater than ourselves.

Just as we do not need to understand the complexities of electricity in order to benefit from it, we do not need to understand everything about God in order to receive His power. Taking the Twelve Steps turns us on to a new way of life, motivated by faith in a Higher Power.

Turning on to this Power means that we are no longer alone. We do not have to try to run our lives by ourselves. God can and will relieve us of our obsession with food and our obsession with self. He gives us strength and enthusiasm for the living of our daily lives. Through surrender, we become recipients of the Power of the universe.

Take away the blindness that prevents us from turning on to Your power.

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


The Language of Letting Go
Healthy Sexuality

Many areas of our life need healing.

One important part of our life is our sexuality. Our feelings and beliefs about our sexuality, our ability to nurture, cherish, and enjoy our sexuality, our ability to respect ourselves sexually, our ability to let go of sexual shame and confusion, may all be impaired or confused by our codependency.

Our sexual energy may be blocked. Or for some of us, sex may be the only way we learned to connect with people. Our sexuality may not be connected to the rest of us; sex may not be connected to love - for others or ourselves.

Some of us were sexually abused as children. Some of us may have gotten involved in sexuality addictive behaviors - compulsive sexual behaviors that got out of control and produced shame.

Some of us may have gotten involved in sexual codependency: not paying attention to what we wanted, or didn't want, sexually; allowing ourselves to get involved sexually because it was what the other person wanted; shutting off our sexuality along with our other feelings; denying ourselves healthy enjoyment of ourselves as sexual beings.

Our sexuality is a part of ourselves that deserves healing attention and energy. It is a part of us that we can allow to become connected to the whole of us; it is a part of us that we can stop being ashamed of.

It is okay and healthy to allow our sexual energy to open up and become healed. It is connected to our creativity and to our heart. We do not have to allow our sexual energy to control our relationships or us. We can establish and maintain healthy, appropriate boundaries around our sexuality. We can discover what that means in our life.

We can enjoy the gift of being human beings who have been given the gift of sexual energy, without abusing or discounting that gift.

Today, I will begin to integrate my sexuality into the rest of my personality. God, help me let go of my fears and shame around my sexuality. Show me the issues I need to face concerning my sexuality. Help me open myself to healing in that area of my life.

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


Today's thought from Hazelden is:

There is no total answer.

Studying and reading are traditional methods of spiritual growth. With a lifelong routine of study each day, a person or couple grows under the guidance of the sages. Civilization exists because each generation builds upon the progress of the past. We do not have to reinvent the wheel.

After we learn from those who have gone before, we may even discover and create beyond the point where they left off. But if we are in a willful, defiant mood, we may say, "I have to find my own way. I don't feel like learning from anyone." Our individualism then becomes a half-truth, silently trapping us in problems that others have found answers to.

There is no total answer - no total freedom - only continued growth. Daily reading, openness to learn from others' encounters with life, and study of how they faced their most challenging spiritual questions will bring us progress.
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