Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Daily Recovery Readings: December 31st

Recovery Meditations: December 31st

Life Is Worth Living

"These, then, are my last words to you:
Be not afraid of life.
Believe that life is worth living.
and your belief will help create the fact.
William James (1842 ~ 1910)

            I have lived my life as a compulsive eater and I have known many other compulsive eaters. I believe I can say unequivocally that life is much more difficult in so many ways for us than for many others. I denied that what I suffered from was a disease; yet I watched as over the years it robbed me of so many things others take for granted. Most of us will acknowledge early on that the manifestations of compulsive eating affects us spiritually, emotionally and physically. Volumes have been written about each of these so most reading this know the devastation it causes. When I began to inventory my life and saw how much the quality of it had suffered, it saddened me greatly.

            I believe one of the most difficult ways the disease of COE, or any compulsive illness, affects us is the way society looks upon us. Because I have experienced life both ways, I know how behavior and attitudes change in interacting with a COE vs a non-COE. We wear our disease on the outside ... but the extensive damage is far more wide-spread than just the physical. The disease wrecks havoc in every area of our lives as we silently go about our life doing the things expected of us. We don't dare scapegoat the disease. After all, this is not a cancer ... or heart disease. Yet it can be just as serious.

            Many decades ago, a group of alcoholics gathered and, as a result, life began to change for those of us who struggled with the disease. When I reached the point in my life that I could actually acknowledge that compulsive eating was affecting it and that I had done everything possible to stop it and couldn't, it was one of the most freeing moments I've ever experienced. I learned that I was as powerless over this as I would have been suffering a heart attack. I also learned that I couldn't handle it alone. I learned that there were twelve steps that were absolutely necessary if I were to survive emotionally and, perhaps even physically.

            I went from fighting the disease to acknowledging it. Because of the Steps I learned that there were tens of thousands of others exactly like me and that we all spoke the same beautiful language. I learned not to be afraid of life ... and that, despite this despicable disease, life is truly worth living. I was told to "act as if" and by doing this it became no longer an act.

            One day at a time ...
            I affirm that my life is worth living. One day at a time, I affirm that I will not be afraid of anything that makes me feel otherwise.

            ~ Mari



Each Day a New Beginning
In the process of growing to spiritual maturity, we all go through many adolescent stages.
  —Miki L. Bowen

Progress, not perfection, is our goal in this recovery program. And many days we'll be haunted by the feeling that we've regressed. We will display old behavior. We will feel unable to change, to go on, to make gains once again. But these periods will pass, and soon progress will be evident again.

We must be wary of our need for perfection. It's this need that makes normal progress seem not good enough. And yet, that's all we're capable of - and all we'll ever need to be capable of. The program, its Steps and the promises offered, provide the tools we have lacked, yet need to use in order to accept ourselves wholly and imperfectly.

Daily attention to our spiritual side will foster the spiritual and emotional health we long for. Prayer and meditation, combined with honest inventory-taking, can show us the personal progress needed, the personal progress made. However, we will falter on occasion. We will neglect our program some days. But it won't ever be beyond our reach. And each day is a new beginning.

Today is before me, and I can make progress. I will begin with a quiet prayer and a moment of meditation. 

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


Food for Thought
No Exceptions

Abstinence is the most important thing in my life without exception. Since I am a compulsive overeater, any exception would mean that I might lose control. If I do not control my disease, it controls me. Therefore, there are no exceptions to the rule that abstinence is the most important thing in my life.

In order to follow this rule, I need to depend on a Power greater than myself. Alone, I am not strong enough to maintain abstinence at all times and in all places, but through the grace of God and the support of the OA fellowship, I can do it.

With abstinence, the rest of my life falls into place. I have an incurable illness, but one which can be controlled day by day through following the OA program, working the Twelve Steps, and staying in contact with my Higher Power. There are good days and bad days. but there is always abstinence. I am grateful to be an abstaining, recovering, compulsive overeater.

May I remember each day there are no exceptions to abstinence. 

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


The Language of Letting Go
Affirming the Good

Fun becomes fun, love becomes love, life becomes worth living. And we become grateful.
  —Beyond Codependency

Wait, and expect good things - for yourself and your loved ones.

When you wonder what is coming, tell yourself the best is coming, the very best life and love have to offer, the best God and His universe have to send. Then open your hands to receive it. Claim it, and it is yours.

See the best in your mind; envision what it will look like, what it will feel like. Focus, until you can see it clearly. Let your whole being, body and soul, enter into and hold onto the image for a moment.

Then, let it go. Come back into today, the present moment. Do not obsess. Do not become fearful. Become excited. Live today fully, expressing gratitude for all you have been, all you are, and all you will become.

Wait, and expect good things.

Today, when I think abut the year ahead, I will focus on the good that is coming. 

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


Today's thought from the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is:

Time is a circle. The end is the beginning.

Day by day, a year comes and goes. Today's end is the beginning of the rest of our lives. We take with us what we have learned today. We are the same and not the same.

As long as we are alive, we will continue to wrestle with questions, seek answers, and solve problems. Let's be gentle with ourselves and others, choosing to respond with non-judging love and acceptance instead of unrealistic demands of perfection.

We have found a blueprint for recovery. Our preoccupation with not enough and too much has led us to a spiritual solution. Each day brings us new opportunities to express our development - a more patient response to a traffic jam, the ability to empathize with a child's embarrassment, the acceptance of a disappointment. Today is another day to learn how to be serene, to nurture body and spirit so that we may function as an integrated totality. We will continue to learn and grow toward recovery.

I will begin and end today by listening to my inner voice.
You are reading from the book:


Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Daily Recovery Readings: December 30th

Recovery Meditations: December 30th


Yet we finally did make choices that brought about our recovery. We came to believe that alone we were powerless over [food]. This was surely a choice, and a most difficult one. We came to believe that a Higher Power could restore us to sanity when we became willing to practice [program's] twelve steps. In short, we chose to 'become willing,' and no better choice did we ever make."

from "As Bill Sees It"

        I floundered in program for a good while. I was not willing to do the Fourth Step; it scared me. Then I did it, and recovery continued.

        I floundered in program again. I was not willing to do the extra work I knew I would have to do to stay in the program. I was scared of being a sponsor, so I left. The disease gradually took me over.

        I came back to program. This time I was willing. No longer did the phrase "going to any lengths" scare me. I knew I needed to do whatever it took. The disease had beaten me down to where I had no choice if I wanted to recover. I took the steps ... all the steps. I became a sponsor. I also discovered that abstinence is only the beginning of recovery - that life is joyful and free. It all began with willingness on my part. I didn't have the power to change my life, but my Higher Power was able to change it once I became willing to follow the Twelve Steps to the best of my ability.

        One Day at a Time . . .
        I will ask for and receive the willingness to work this program.

        ~ Julie ~



Each Day a New Beginning
And what a delight it is to make friends with someone you have despised!

What does it mean to say we "despise" someone? Usually it means that we have invested a lot of energy in negative feelings; it means that we have let ourselves care deeply about someone. We would never say we "despised" someone who wasn't important to us. Why have we chosen to let negative feelings occupy so much of our hearts?

Sometimes, in the past, that negative energy has become almost an obsession, consuming our time, gnawing at our self-esteem. But in recovery there comes a moment of lightning change; a moment of release from the bonds of obsession. The other person is, after all, just another person--a seeker, like ourselves. And, since we cared enough to devote our time and energies to disliking her, she is probably someone who would be rewarding to know.

Recovery has given us the opportunity to turn over many negative feelings, to discover that "friend" and "enemy" can be two sides of the same person.

Today, I will look into my heart and see whether I am clinging to obsessive concerns with other people. I will resolve to let them go. 

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


Food for Thought
Fear of Failure

It is often the fear of failure, which prevents us from attempting what we really want to do. When we are new to OA, we may be reluctant to commit ourselves to abstinence because we fear we will break it. When we are able to maintain abstinence from compulsive overeating, we may be afraid to make some other kind of commitment for fear of not being able to succeed.

Our past failures can undermine our confidence in our present abilities. For this reason, we need to let go of the past and be willing to try something new. For many of us, belief in a Higher Power is a new commitment. The fear that we will be disappointed sometimes blocks us from the wholehearted trust that such a commitment entails.

The fear of failure is best dealt with by living one day at a time. We can risk a small failure today; it is the large failure in the future that terrifies us. By taking a small step today toward maintaining abstinence or working on an important project, we build the confidence that we can eventually succeed.

With Your support, may I be willing to risk failure. 

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


The Language of Letting Go
Laying the Foundation

The groundwork has been laid.

Do you not see that?

Don't you understand that all you have gone through was for a purpose?

There was a reason, a good reason, for the waiting, the struggle, the pain, and finally the release.

You have been prepared. The same way a builder must first tear down and dig out the old to make way for the new, your Higher Power has been cleaning out the foundation in your life.

Have you ever watched a builder at construction? When he begins his work, it looks worse than before he began. What is old and decayed must be removed. What is insufficient or too weak to support the new structure must be removed, replaced, or reinforced. No builder who cares about his or her work would put a new surface over an insufficient support system. The foundation would give way. It would not last.

If the finished product is to be what is desired, the work must be done thoroughly from the bottom up. As the work progresses, it often appears to be an upheaval. Often, it does not seem to make sense. It may appear to be wasted time and effort, because we cannot see the final product yet.

But it is so important that the foundation be laid properly if the fun work, the finishing touches, is to be all that we want it to be.

This long, hard time in your life has been for laying of groundwork. It was not without purpose, although at times the purpose may not have been evident or apparent.

Now, the foundation has been laid. The structure is solid.

Now, it is time for the finishing touches, the completion.

It is time to move the furniture in and enjoy the fruits of the labor.

Congratulations. You have had the patience to endure the hard parts. You have trusted, surrendered, and allowed your Higher Power and the Universe to heal and prepare you.

Now, you shall enjoy the good that has been planned.

Now, you shall see the purpose.

Now, it shall all come together and make sense.


Today, I will surrender to the laying of the foundation - the groundwork - in my life. If it is time to enjoy the placement of the finishing touches, I will surrender to that, and enjoy that too. I will remember to be grateful for a Higher Power that is a Master Builder and only has my best interests in mind, creating and constructing my life. I will be grateful for my Higher Power's care and attention to details in laying the foundation - even though I become impatient at times. I will stand in awe at the beauty of God's finished product. 

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


Today's thought from the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is:

Being less than perfect.

It was not a perfect year. But is there ever a perfect year? Being clean and sober does not purport or offer perfection. It gives us a chance to strive for progress. When we keep our Higher Power in our thoughts and actions, we come closer to perfection all the time.

Despite the disappointments of our complex lives, we are finally beginning to learn how to live. We are finally making progress.

Am I content to be less than perfect?

Higher Power, I pray that I may continue to strive for progress and be satisfied to be an imperfect human.
You are reading from the book:

Monday, December 29, 2014

Daily Recovery Readings: December 29th

Recovery Meditations: December 29th


He was my greatest teacher.
He taught me patience.

The Dalai Lama on Mao Tse Tung

        Whenever I feel downtrodden or disappointed by the hand that life has dealt me, I often think of this quote. It moves me beyond speech. Here was a man who had lost his homeland to communist China, yet he still had a good thing to say about the man who started it all. It forces me to come to a realization that what has happened to me is peanuts!

        Too often I am caught up with feeling sorry for myself because of my disease, while ignoring the fact that I am so fortunate to have found recovery. Sometimes I feel so poor, yet I live in a large home with a wonderful spouse and delightful pets. I have a car, and enough food to eat every day. I have the luxury of obtaining my degree. Most of all, though I often complain about how unfair it all is, I am even fortunate to have an eating disorder. Because it is through admitting I have a problem that I am beginning to taste recovery, and it is sweeter than any binge item. And it has taught me that it is through our adversities that we learn compassion and patience.

        I have to realize that life just isn't fair. If it were, how boring it would be! Nothing worthwhile is easy to obtain, and that includes recovery. What would it be worth if there was no effort going into it? Sometimes bad things happen, and they are unfortunate. But that's the end of it. I cannot make things be the way I want them to be. I cannot change life. I must accept life on life's terms, and learn the art of patience, so well demonstrated by the above quote. How fortunate that I have the opportunity to learn these precious skills in the safety and security of my own home, with my wonderful friends, spouse, and my program family!

        One Day at a Time . . .
        I will avoid dwelling on the misery that accompanies hardship. I will develop the willingness to be grateful for the opportunity for me to learn compassion and patience.



Each Day a New Beginning
Kindness and intelligence don't always deliver us from the pitfalls and traps. There is no way to take the danger out of human relationships.
  —Barbara Grizzuti Harrison

Relationships with other people are necessary to escape loneliness; however, relationships do not guarantee freedom from pain. Nurturing a meaningful relationship with another human being takes patience, even when we don't have any. It takes tolerance, even if we don't feel it. It takes selflessness, at those very moments our own ego is crying for attention.

Yet, we need relationships with others; they inspire us. We learn who we are and who we can become through relationships. They precipitate our accomplishments. Our creativity is encouraged by them, and so is our emotional and spiritual development.

We can look around us, attentively. We can feel blessed, even when it's a negative situation. Every situation is capable of inspiring a positive step forward. Every situation is meant for our good.

There's risk in human relationships, and it's often accompanied by pain. But I am guaranteed growth, and I will find the happiness I seek. I will reach out to someone today. 

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


Food for Thought
Working Compulsively

We do not want to turn from compulsive overeating to compulsive working. This, too, is an attempt to escape reality. Compulsive working holds a particular danger for us, since when we allow ourselves to get overtired, we run the risk of breaking our abstinence.

Working compulsively includes the fear that what we do will not be good enough. It is when we are unsure of our self worth that we have to continually prove how much we can accomplish. Compulsive work is also a way to avoid meaningful relationships with family and friends. If we fear intimacy and exposure, we sometimes try to hide behind a facade of busyness.

When God controls our will and our lives, we work according to His direction. We have the faith that what we do will be acceptable and enough. Believing that God cares for us, we do not rely only on our own abilities. Working for a Higher Power means that we work with serenity and confidence, knowing that He directs and sustains our efforts.

Teach me how to work productively for You. 

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


The Language of Letting Go
Moving On

Learn the art of acceptance. It's a lot of grief.
  —Codependent No More

Sometimes, as part of taking care of ourselves, it becomes time to end certain relationships. Sometimes, it comes time to change the parameters of a particular relationship.

This is true in love, in friendships, with family, and on the job.

Endings and changes in relationships are not easy. But often, they are necessary.

Sometimes, we linger in relationships that are dead, out of fear of being alone or to postpone the inevitable grieving process that accompanies endings. Sometimes, we need to linger for a while, to prepare ourselves, to get strong and ready enough to handle the change.

If that is what we are doing, we can be gentle with ourselves. It is better to wait until that moment when it feels solid, clear, and consistent to act.

We will know. We will know. We can trust ourselves.

Knowing that a relationship is changing or is about to end is a difficult place to be in, especially when it is not yet time to act but we know the time is drawing near. It can be awkward and uncomfortable, as the lesson draws to a close. We may become impatient to put closure on it, but not yet feel empowered to do that. That's okay. The time is not yet right. Something important is still happening. When the time is right, we can trust that it will happen. We will receive the power and the ability to do what we need to do.

Ending relationships or changing the boundaries of a particular relationship is not easy. It requires courage and faith. It requires a willingness on our part to take care of ourselves and, sometimes, to stand-alone for a while.

Let go of fear. Understand that change is an important part of recovery. Love yourself enough to do what you need to do to take care of yourself, and find enough confidence to believe that you will love again.

We are never starting over. In recovery, we are moving forward in a perfectly planned progression of lessons. We will find ourselves with certain people - in love, family, friendships, and work - when we need to be with them. When the lesson has been mastered, we will move on. We will find ourselves in a new place, learning new lessons, with new people.

No, the lessons are not all painful. We will arrive at that place where we can learn, not from pain, but from joy and love.

Our needs will get met.

Today, I will accept where I am in my relationships, even if that place is awkward and uncomfortable. If I am in the midst of endings, I will face and accept my grief. God, help me trust that the path I am on has been perfectly and lovingly planned for me. Help me believe that my relationships are teaching me important lessons. Help me accept and be grateful for middles, endings, and new beginnings. 

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


Today's thought from the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is:

Has it been a year of growth?

As any year draws to a close, we should reflect on how we have grown in sobriety. We should also identify changes during the year that enabled us to overcome bad habits and to move closer to better patterns of living.

Though we never are guaranteed favorable outcomes, we should always remember that sobriety is its own best reward. We want a full life, of course, but it must begin with a decision to seek and to maintain sobriety at all costs.

We find that with sobriety, lots of other problems seem to solve themselves. Even if they don't, we have the tools to move forward and to achieve goals that always eluded us while we were drinking. Every year in sobriety is a year of growth.

I'll be conscious today of recent improvements I've made in my life and all my affairs. With sobriety, these improvements will go on for a lifetime.
You are reading from the book:

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Daily Recovery Readings: December 28th

Recovery Meditations: December 28th


God is the mirror of silence
in which all creation is reflected.

Paramahansa Yogananda

        The disease of compulsive overeating is a devious one. It tries to tell me that I'm not a worthwhile person. It tries to tell me that I'm never going to recover, so I may as well eat. The disease tries to make me feel like I'm the lowest of the low.

        Fortunately, there are many things in this recovery program that counteract the disease. I can use a food plan to make sure I don't eat what I'm not supposed to eat. I can read program literature to show me how to live triumphantly. I can work the Steps, do service, make outreach calls; there's so much I can do which can bring recovery from compulsive overeating.

        Another of the things I can do to counteract my disease is meditation. When I meditate, I come into conscious contact with my Higher Power. Meditation helps me to see that I am a worthwhile person, that God loves me just as I am. When I meditate I gain insights into the program literature I'm reading, I learn the things I need to do to further my recovery. I also learn the things that stifle my growth, so I can stop doing them. Meditation is very important to my recovery program.

        One Day at a Time . . .
        I remember the importance of meditation, and I meditate every day.



Each Day a New Beginning
The human heart dares not stay away too long from that which hurt it most. There is a return journey to anguish that few of us are released from making.
  —Lillian Smith

As the sore tooth draws our tongue, so do rejections, affronts, painful criticisms, both past and present draw our minds. We court self-pity, both loving and hating it. But we can change this pattern. First we must decide we are ready to do so. The program tells us we must become "entirely ready." And then we must ask to have this shortcoming removed.

The desire to dwell on the injustices of our lives becomes habitual. It takes hours of our time. It influences our perceptions of all other experiences. We have to be willing to replace that time-consuming activity with one that's good and healthy.

We must be prepared for all of life to change. Our overriding self-pity has so tarnished our perceptions that we may never have sensed all the good that life daily offers. How often we see the glass as half-empty rather than half-full!

A new set of experiences awaits me today. And I can perceive them unfettered by the memories of the painful past. Self-pity need not cage me, today. 

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


Food for Thought
Minimizing Temptation

There are things we can do to minimize the temptations that are around us. We are constantly exposed to food advertisements if we watch television and read magazines. Most of us need to spend a certain amount of time purchasing and preparing food. Social gatherings usually involve refreshments. All of this exposure to food can be uncomfortable for compulsive overeaters if we do not find ways to minimize it.

It is a good idea to skip the recipe sections in the magazines we read. Unnecessary thinking about food only intensifies our obsession. Moving away from the television set during a food commercial is a way to minimize that kind of temptation. Grocery shopping is expedited by not considering any items other than those on a prepared list and by spending as little time as possible in the grocery store. Meal preparation can be simplified so that less rather than more time is spent in the kitchen. At parties, we can concentrate on people and conversation instead of food.

The best way to handle temptation is by remembering that we are compulsive overeaters and that nothing is worth activating our disease.

Guide us as we avoid temptation. 

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


The Language of Letting Go

Don't panic!

If panic strikes, we do not have to allow it to control our behaviors. Behaviors controlled by panic tend to be self-defeating. No matter what the situation or circumstance, panic is usually not a good foundation. No matter what the situation or circumstance, we usually have at least a moment to breathe deeply and restore our serenity and peace.

We don't have to do more than we can reasonably do - ever! We don't have to do something we absolutely cannot do or cannot learn to do!

This program, this healthy way of life we are seeking, is built on a foundation of peace and quiet confidence - in ourselves, in our Higher Power, in the recovery process.

Do not panic. That takes us away from the path. Relax. Breathe deeply. Let peace flow through our body and mind. From this base, our Source shall supply the necessary resources.

Today, I will treat panic as a separate issue that needs immediate attention. I will refuse to allow panicky thoughts and feelings to motivate me. Instead, I will let peace and trust motivate my feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. 

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


Today's thought from the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is:

One needs something to believe in, something for which one can have wholehearted enthusiasm.
--Hannah Senesh

Life offers little if we sit passively in the midst of activity. Involvement is a prerequisite if we are to grow. For our lives' purposes we need enthusiasm; we need enthusiasm in order to greet the day expectantly. When we look toward the day with anticipation, we are open to all the possibilities for action.

We must respond to our possibilities if we are to mature emotionally and recover spiritually. Idly observing life from the sidelines guarantees no development beyond our present level. We begin to change once we start living up to our commitment to the program - its possibilities and our purpose - and it's that change, many days over, that moves us beyond the negative, passive outlook of days gone by.

The program has offered us something to believe in. We are no longer the people we were. So much more have we become! Each day's worth of recovery carries us closer to fulfilling our purpose in life.

I believe in recovery, my own; when I believe in success, I'll find it. There is magic in believing.
You are reading from the book: