Saturday, February 28, 2015

Daily Recovery Readings: February 28th

Recovery Meditations: February 28th


The people who get on in the world are the people
who get up and look for the circumstances they want.

George Bernard Shaw

There was a time, not so long ago, that my life was much different than it is right now. My weight was skyrocketing because my eating compulsion was out of control. I couldn't walk very far without huffing and puffing. My lower back hurt because my stomach pulled my spine out of alignment. My feet and ankles were swollen, my knees hurt, just standing was painful. I was hot all the time because my fat acted as insulation, keeping my body temperature high. My wife was hounding me about losing the weight, my doctor was taking her side, and even the kids at my son's daycare were asking me why I was so big.

I didn't start the recovery process (and it IS a process!) until I got to the point where I was so uncomfortable with myself that I had to do something. It wasn't just that I was physically uncomfortable. I had to get past the comfort zone I had mentally and emotionally set up for myself; I had to get uncomfortable. I had to jump into the unknown, which was the most frightening thing I'd ever done.

Sitting around, moaning about my circumstances and suffering the physical consequences of my weight, didn't get me anywhere. It was only when I became ready to see my life change, mentally, emotionally AND physically, that I began the footwork of this Program. That was the key to the beginning of my recovery, the getting up and actually doing something about it. When I took that first Step, the miracle began.

One Day at a Time . . .
I will take the necessary steps to maintain my
recovery from compulsive eating.

~ JAR ~


 Each Day a New Beginning
The weariest night, the longest day, sooner or later must perforce come to an end.
  —Baroness Orczy

The difficult spells in our lives come to an end. And no matter the depth of our disturbance, we will survive. We forget that the depths teach us how to better appreciate the heights.

Sorrow heightens joy. Depression heightens laughter. We wouldn't know the joys and laughter were it not for the sorrows. In them we learn to be patient, waiting for the wisdom which will light our way. In them we learn to listen for the guidance that beckons us forth.

We must reflect on the troubling experiences we've passed through of late. They made us wiser; they gave us strength. They changed us, moving us ever closer to the women, whole and happy, we desire to be.

Difficulties often precede enlightenment. They pull us inward, perhaps push us to search for our connectedness to God, a connectedness that is at home in our hearts. The paradox is that these painful periods strengthen our oneness with the Spirit.

If the day looks bleak, I will accept it as a hand reaching toward me, to pull me forward, to secure my place in the spiritual family.
From Each Day a New Beginning: Daily Meditations for Women by Karen Casey © 1982, 1991 by Hazelden Foundation.


Food for Thought
Conserving Resources

In this fight against compulsive overeating, we need all the strength we can muster. We can learn to conserve our energy for what is important, rather than wasting it on non-essential activities.

An extra hour of sleep may do more for our program than an hour spent reading a novel or watching television. We have to guard against compulsive overactivity as well as overeating. Often, we tend to push too hard to complete something which can just as well wait until tomorrow. If we are tired, we are less able to resist temptation.

Choosing the foods, which will provide us with necessary proteins, vitamins, and minerals, is a vital part of maintaining energy. To take care of our bodies is to nurture the most valuable physical resource we have.

Conserving our resources often means saying no to people and activities, which drain them unnecessarily. Only we ourselves, with the guidance of our Higher Power, can decide how best to use the strength and energy we have.

Teach me to conserve the resources You have given me.
From Food for Thought: Daily Meditations for Overeaters by Elisabeth L. ©1980, 1992 by Hazelden Foundation. 


 The Language of Letting Go
Letting Go of Denial

We are slow to believe that which, if believed, would hurt our feelings.

Most of us in recovery have engaged in denial from time to time. Some of us relied on this tool.

We may have denied events or feelings from our past. We may have denied other people's problems; we may have denied our own problems, feelings, thoughts, wants, or needs. We denied the truth.

Denial means we didn't let ourselves face reality, usually because facing that particular reality would hurt. It would be a loss of something: trust, love, family, perhaps a marriage, a friendship, or a dream. And it hurts to lose something or someone.

Denial is a protective device, a shock absorber for the soul. It prevents us from acknowledging reality until we feel prepared to cope with that particular reality. People can shout and scream the truth at us, but we will not see or hear it until we are ready.

We are sturdy yet fragile beings. Sometimes, we need time to get prepared, time to ready ourselves to cope. We do not let go of our need to deny by beating ourselves into acceptance; we let go of our need to deny by allowing ourselves to become safe and strong enough to cope with the truth.

We will do this, when the time is right. We do not need to punish ourselves for having denied reality; we need only love ourselves into safety and strength so that each day we are better equipped to face and deal with the truth. We will face and deal with reality - on our own time schedule, when we are ready, and in our Higher Power's timing. We do not have to accept chastisement from anyone, including ourselves, for this schedule.

We will know what we need to know, when it's time to know it.

Today, I will concentrate on making myself feel safe and confident. I will let myself have my awarenesses on my own time schedule.
From The Language of Letting Go by Melody Beattie ©1990, Hazelden Foundation.


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

Finding balance

Let's not forget to play. Our new way of life is a serious matter, but it is not intended as a punishment; nor do we need to repent and suffer for the rest of our lives. Our new way of life is intended to produce growth.

But growth takes work. And work needs play for balance. If we forget to play and be joyful, our life will become unbalanced and we will suffer needlessly.

Have I found some balance in my life?

Higher Power, help me remember that all living things need balance: let me laugh, let me play, let me grow.
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Friday, February 27, 2015

Daily Recovery Readings: February 27th

Recovery Meditations: February 27th


And we have ceased fighting anything or anyone ...

The Big Book, page 84

When one goes through life at full speed ahead as I have done, it's hard to really step back and look at one's life. Everything is happening too fast and each day seems to blend into the next and, before you know it, the next segment of life seems to take over.

When I began my Twelve Step recovery program, I found myself slowing down ... examining my life ... observing those around me ... and reflecting on my past. I began to know who I was and I didn't like one of the things I discovered: I was a fighter. I didn't accept people, places or things unless and until they met my expectations of what they should be. I tried to control situations that I should have walked away from. I clung to people I should have distanced myself from. I tried to manipulate things that were toxic to me, and make them un-toxic ... and, in the process, did myself great harm.

When I first read those words from the AABB, "We have ceased fighting anything or anyone," I felt it didn't apply to me ... because at that point, I hadn't categorized myself as a fighter. It took living and working the Steps to realize that. And it took living and working the Steps to take the action necessary to stop being a fighter.

Life is calmer now. Relationships are smoother. I sometimes miss the excitement of going through like as though I were on a roller coaster ... but I won't go back there. Serenity means too much to me. Fighting is something I have put away forever.

One Day at a Time . . .
I will direct my thinking and doing to those things in my life which will contribute to a meaningful and pleasant journey.

~ Mari ~


Each Day a New Beginning
Being alone and feeling vulnerable. Like two separate themes, these two parts of myself unite in my being and sow the seeds of my longing for unconditional love.
  —Mary Casey

How easily we slip into self-doubt, fearing we're incapable or unlovable, perhaps both. How common for us to look into the faces of our friends and lovers in search of affirmation and love.

Our alienation from ourselves, from one another, from God's Spirit which exists everywhere causes our discontent. It is our discontent. When souls touch, love is born, love of self and love of the other. Our aloneness exists when we create barriers that keep us separate from our friends, our family. Only we can reach over or around the barriers to offer love, to receive love.

Recovery offers us the tools for loving, but we must dare to pick them up. Listening to others and sharing ourselves begins the process of loving. Risking to offer love before receiving it will free us from the continual search for love in the faces of others.

I won't wait to be loved today. I will love someone else, fully. I won't doubt that I, too, am loved. I will feel it. I will find unconditional love.
From Each Day a New Beginning: Daily Meditations for Women by Karen Casey © 1982, 1991 by Hazelden Foundation.


 Food for Thought
No Standing Still

Life is movement, and to be alive is to change. There is no standing still. Either we are making progress in the control of our disease, or we are getting worse.

Progress forward is an upward climb. To look back with longing at a time which in retrospect seems easier, or to think about the so-called pleasure we once got from food, is to invite disaster. We have long passed the point of being satisfied with a small amount of uncontrolled eating. Now, a small amount will inevitably become a large amount, and instead of pleasure we will eventually feel much physical and emotional pain.

If we are making progress, let's keep at it and not be deluded into going backwards. If we are losing control and slipping, let's recognize that we are on a downward course and that our disease is getting worse. Let's stop rationalizing and making excuses. Right now we can turn around and start climbing.

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


 The Language of Letting Go

Have you ever been around people-pleasers? They tend to be displeasing. Being around someone who is turned inside out to please another is often irritating and anxiety- producing.

People-pleasing is a behavior we may have adapted to survive in our family. We may not have been able to get the love and attention we deserved. We may not have been given permission to please ourselves, to trust ourselves, and to choose a course of action that demonstrated self-trust.

People-pleasing can be overt or covert. We may run around fussing over others, chattering a mile a minute when what we are really saying is, "I hope I'm pleasing you." Or, we may be more covert, quietly going through life making important decisions based on pleasing others.

Taking other people's wants and needs into consideration is an important part of our relationships. We have responsibilities to friends and family and employers. We have a strong inner responsibility to be loving and caring. But, people-pleasing backfires. Not only do others get annoyed with us, we often get annoyed when our efforts to please do not work as we planned. The most comfortable people to be around are those who are considerate of others but ultimately please themselves.

Help me, God, work through my fears and begin to please myself.
From The Language of Letting Go by Melody Beattie ©1990, Hazelden Foundation


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

Trouble is a part of life, and if you don't share it, you don't give the person who loves you a chance to love you enough.
--Dinah Shore

Just as gravity keeps us grounded and connected to the earth, our fellowship keeps us bound to sobriety. The fellowship available to us in our Twelve Step program keeps us in reality. A problem pondered in isolation seems immense; the same problem shared by those who truly understand is manageable. We need other people from the moment we are born. We need to be included, to feel we're a part of something larger than ourselves. Our spirits hunger for contact from others, and thirst for a relationship with God.

Our fellowship is there, a warm, friendly, and accepting family. Our Higher Power loves us. We are not alone, no matter where we travel, no matter how large our problems seem at the moment. Our joys are doubled and our sadness diminished through the sharing of our hearts.

Today help me listen carefully and give as well as take so I may fully experience this gift of fellowship.
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Thursday, February 26, 2015

Daily Recovery Readings: February 26th

Recovery Meditations: February 26th


Some memories are realities ...
and are better than anything that can ever happen to one again.

Willa Cather

When one is young, the world is large and the thought of exploring it is exciting. Each year that we live we add to our memory chest ... and by middle age those memories are substantial. I have found as I have grown older that I remember more of the good things that have happened in my life than the bad. The good things seem to become sharper as time goes by ... and the bad seem less so. It's almost as though the memory has turned into a "feeling" rather than a specific event.

When I work on the fourth and the eighth Steps, my life flashes before me and, like one of those calendars from an old movie, time whizzes by and people who have been part of my life hurtle through space ... each triggering a memory.

Memories aren't made more poignant by time. One might think that a decade of recurring events might be remembered with more clarity than a year ... but I have found in the case of my own memories that it is the quality and intensity of time that produces the kind of memories Willa Cather talks about. A year or two or three, given the right circumstances, can produce the feelings we love our memories to trigger, more than those experienced during a lifetime. And a lifetime of memories can be dwindled into just moments.

One Day at a Time . . .
I will cherish my memories ~ Because I may never experience the reality of some of them again.

~ Mari ~


 Each Day a New Beginning
Happiness is a byproduct of an effort to make someone else happy.
  —Gretta Brooker Palmer

We have striven for happiness, generally in self-centered ways. We expected others to favor us with their attention, for example. Or we waited for invitations or gifts. We have probably tried to buy happiness with the purchase of a new dress or shoes. Fleeting moments of happiness were gained, that's all. And soon we were discontent once again. And the search was begun anew.

But things have changed for some of us. We are learning, maybe slowly, how to find a more permanent happiness. And we know the happiness that comes from "getting" is elusive. Giving to others, giving attention, sharing hope, sharing our own stories, listening to theirs, is the key to finding the happiness for which we've searched so long. We must get outside of ourselves and focus on another's joy or sorrow. Only then do we get a clear perspective on who we are and the necessary role we play in the lives of others who need our attention and who have a message we also need to hear.

The creative power stirring in me needs recognition. Looking deeply into another person, listening intently to the stirring will elicit joy. I will feel in touch with my own creative power, a lasting thrill, not a fleeting moment of happiness.
From Each Day a New Beginning: Daily Meditations for Women by Karen Casey © 1982, 1991 by Hazelden Foundation


 Food for Thought
Eating Slowly

We compulsive overeaters are inclined to devour our meals in a great rush. Mealtime often finds us anxious and tense, and sometimes we are just plain greedy! While others at the table are interested in conversation and socializing, we may be narrowly focused on food and preoccupied with trying to satisfy a ravenous appetite.

We need to break out of our self-centeredness. Rather than being completely absorbed with satisfying our own appetite (which we can never do), we can learn to focus some of our attention on the concerns of those around us. When we eat more slowly, we have more time for others and we feel less deprived. Our enjoyment, of both the company and the food, is greatly increased.

Even when we eat a meal alone, we should remember that we do not receive all of our nourishment from physical food. When we eat more slowly, we become more relaxed and refreshed both physically and spiritually. When we are aware of our Higher Power and thankful for all of His blessings, the meal is more satisfying.

Help me to slow down and appreciate Your gifts.
From Food for Thought: Daily Meditations for Overeaters by Elisabeth L. ©1980, 1992 by Hazelden Foundation.


The Language of Letting Go
Twelve Step Programs

I was furious when I found myself at my first Al-Anon meeting. It seemed so unfair that he had the problem and I had to go to a meeting. But by that time, I had nowhere left in the world to go with my pain. Now, I'm grateful for Al-Anon and my codependency recovery. Al-Anon keeps me on track; recovery has given me a life.

There are many Twelve Step programs for codependents: Al-Anon, Adult Children of Alcoholics, CoDa, Families Anonymous, Nar-Anon, and more. We have many choices about which kind of group is right for us and which particular group in that category meets our needs. Twelve Step groups for codependents are free, anonymous, and available in most communities. If there is not one that is right for us, we can start one.

Twelve Step groups for codependents are not about how we can help the other person; they're about how we can help ourselves grow and change. They can help us accept and deal with the ways codependency has affected us. They can help us get on track and stay there.

There is magic in Twelve Step programs. There is healing power in connecting with other recovering people. We access this healing power by working the Steps and by allowing them to work on us. The Twelve Steps are a formula for healing.

How long do we have to go to meetings? We go until we "get the program." We go until the program "gets us." Then we keep on going and growing.

Selecting a group and then attending regularly are important ways we can begin and continue to take care of ourselves. Actively participating in our recovery program by working the Steps is another.

I will be open to the healing power available to me from the Twelve Steps and a recovery program.
From The Language of Letting Go by Melody Beattie ©1990, Hazelden Foundation


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

The Power of Love

Love is the best motivation. When we are plugged in to our Higher Power, we are plugged in to love. It flows through us like a current, energizing our sluggish hearts and minds.

As we work the Steps of this program, we are given increased ability to love. By turning over our lives and our wills, we become receptive to the love which surrounds and sustains us. By taking inventory and being ready to have our character defects removed, we are able to get rid of old ways of thinking and acting which have been blocking out love.

We cannot produce love for others by ourselves, but we can receive it from our Higher Power. We can even receive love for people we don't particularly like.

Love gives energy for action and directs its course. May I grow in love.
You are reading from the book: