Sunday, May 31, 2015

Daily Recovery Readings: May 31st

Recovery Meditations:  May 31, 2015


“Men at some time are masters of their fates.”
William Shakespeare

Our early days in OA can be compared to being a passenger on the Titanic. As we took our beloved and wonderfully-powerful first three steps, we were taking a voyage. In Step One we realized we were on the Titanic and that we were doomed. In Step Two we spotted a lifeboat. And in Step Three we took our seats in the lifeboat.

My voyage began with Step One when I realized the connection between the weight I was carrying and some health issues I had last year. I had developed "pitting edema" in both ankles. That was a sign of congestive heart failure. I was on the Titanic! In addition to my physical health condition, I discovered that my inner-health was also challenged. I had lived my life filled with resentments and negative thinking which ate at my very being. I had lost much of my spiritual strength and was in need of spiritual renewal. I was indeed a passenger on my own personal Titanic.

My voyage continued with Step Two. I can't even remember how I found The Recovery Group online, but I know that my Higher Power must have brought me here. Though I didn't believe at that time what the fellowship said in the meetings, I "acted as if" I believed my Higher Power could relieve me of these horrible compulsions to overeat and to live in resentment and negativity. That was all it took. I had spotted the lifeboat and was "acting as if" I believed it had come for me.

I was being changed. My early days of abstinence were difficult, but achievable. I had gotten into the lifeboat. I will always remember where I was when I suddenly realized that God had relieved me of the compulsion to eat between meals and at night. That realization had a huge impact on me. That day I took my seat on the lifeboat. I have been blessed with so much recovery. The ride I am on in this lifeboat isn't a free ride; it requires that I work this program on a daily basis. But when I consider the alternative, I love the ride I am on and I truly cherish the passengers with whom I am sharing this boat!

One day at a time...
I will cherish the lifeboat that this program has given me.

~ Karen A.



Each Day a New Beginning
That reality of life and living - movement from one place to another either in a project or in a state of mind - does not conform with what we imagine or expect or think we deserve so we often leave things hanging unfinished or unstarted.
--Sandra Edwards

Being dissatisfied, discontented, with the experiences life gives us forever hampers our growth. Reality is not our bane but our gift. The particular reality perceived by any one of us is of special significance because in that reality are our lessons - the very lessons that will awaken us to the awareness that what life offers is just what we deserve, and more.

It's our interpretation of life's realities that is at fault. But as we grow, spiritually, the clouds will disappear. We'll come to understand the interplay between our realities. And we'll willingly move ahead, fulfilling our part in life's bigger picture.

Sometimes all I can do is trust that all is well, even though it's not as I had hoped. On bad days I need only to reflect on the past to know that I am moving in the right direction.

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


Food for Thought
Friends Are For Helping

Now that we have found our place in a fellowship of sympathetic friends, we no longer need to be lonely. We have friends who understand us, even though we may only know their first names. Since we are all compulsive overeaters, we share similar experiences and feelings.

Reaching out to others in the program helps us to better understand and accept ourselves. The new life OA gives us needs to be shared in order to be kept. Calling newcomers, sharing transportation, keeping in touch with someone who is having trouble - these contacts strengthen our defenses against old habits and prevent us from slipping back into loneliness. The friends we make through OA are related to us by a deep spiritual bond.

When we are in trouble, we should not be too proud to ask for help. We cannot control this disease by ourselves. Our phone call to another member in time of difficulty is not an imposition but another link in the chain of mutual support.

May I be a giver and receiver of help and friendship. 

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


The Language of Letting Go
What If?

I was talking to a friend one day about something I planned to do. Actually, I was worrying about how one particular person might react to what I intended to do.

"What if he doesn't handle it very well?" I asked.

"Then," my friend replied, "you're going to have to handle it well."

What if's can make us crazy. They put control over our life in someone else's hands. What if's are a sign that we have reverted to thinking that people have to react in a particular way for us to continue on our course.

What if's are also a clue that we may be wondering whether we can trust ourselves and our Higher Power to do what's best for us. These are shreds of codependent ways of thinking, feeling, and behaving, and they signal fear.

The reactions, feelings, likes or dislikes of others don't have to control our behaviors, feelings, and direction. We don't need to control how others react to our choices. We can trust ourselves, with help from a Higher Power, to handle any outcome - even the most uncomfortable. And, my friend, we can trust ourselves to handle it well.

Today, I will not worry about other people's reactions or events outside of my control. Instead, I will focus on my reactions. I will handle my life well today and trust that, tomorrow, I can do the same. 

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


Today's thought from Hazelden is:

Detachment means "freedom from emotion."

Letting someone else's behavior determine how we feel at every turn is irresponsible. Our emotions should be determined by us, not by someone else. But no doubt we have spent years confusing the boundaries that separate us from other people. Whether at work or at home, we have too often let someone else's "insanity" affect how we behave and how we feel.

At first, it may seem insensitive not to react to others' problems or negative behavior. We may fear they'll think we simply don't care about them. Learning that it is far more caring to let other people handle their own lives takes time and patience. But with practice, it will begin to feel comfortable. In fact, in time it will feel freeing and wonderful.

I will work on detachment today, knowing that in time the rewards will come.
You are reading from the book:

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Daily Recovery Readings: May 30th

Recovery Meditations:  May 30, 2015


“A person can run for years but sooner or later
he has to take a stand in the place which, for better or worse,
he calls home, do what he can to change things there.”
Paule Marshall

I’ve been running for most of my life. I was in a hurry to grow up. As a kid, all I wanted was to grow up and move out. I was so sick of everything and everyone in my life. I didn't want to be told what to do. I wanted to be able to call the shots. Then, when I grew up, I wanted to be a kid again. I wanted people to tell me what to do and to take care of me. When I was calling the shots, I found myself in bars and eating out all the time because I didn’t want to go to the grocery store or cook. The only foods I kept in my studio apartment were binge foods. I lived in a very urban area and could very easily walk to fast food or to convenience stores. I didn't know what home meant. When I’m running, I get out of breath, my body hurts, my soul hurts, and I have no space for my Higher Power to guide me. I run laps in the same place, expecting to feel better, but never feeling better.

As a relative newcomer to program, I have made a conscious choice to stop. I turned it over to my Higher Power and asked for guidance in finding home and staying there. Now, as I am standing in place, I find that my home is my Higher Power. Standing in place, I've found that the world isn't as adverse as I'd perceived it to be. I can actually see the beauty in the world around me and feel nurtured by the feeling of home.

One day at a time...
Today I can stand in place and look around. I can be aware of the ever-loving presence of my Higher Power and the comfort of the home that have both been with me all along.

~ AJ


Each Day a New Beginning
In anxiety-provoking situations, many women feel unable to act. They find themselves at a loss to come up with an effective response, or any response at all.
  —Stanlee Phelps and Nancy Austin

Feeling unable to act is a humiliation, perhaps an embarrassment, and it is habit-forming. Perhaps our inertia is due to our need to act "correctly" and the accompanying fear that we'll err. Unfortunately, our fear of action reinforces itself. The only way to end the vicious cycle is to act - right or wrong. The surprise in store for us is that no action we take will be truly wrong. We will learn not only from the action itself, but also from its ripples.

The response to life we make through action will gratify us; it will nourish us and will make us dread less the next situation that calls for a response.

Opportunities for action are the stepping-stones to emotional maturity. The more we "act," the more able we are to act. And a new habit is formed.

Taking action, even when I fear it's wrong, is growth producing. Without growth there is no life. Today, I will live! 

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


Food for Thought
Be Good to Yourself

Stuffing ourselves with food which our bodies did not need was not being good to ourselves, nor did it solve our problems. Overeating simply added another problem to the ones we already had.

In the past, when we thought about diets, we may have considered them to be the punishment, which we had to undergo in order to get rid of the fat we had acquired. Taking that attitude was not being good to ourselves, either. It is one reason why diets invariably fail, since few of us are willing to endure punishment indefinitely.

The OA program is not a diet but a way of life. It is a way, which has worked because it is a positive plan, not a negative restriction. We determine what it is that our bodies need to look and function at their best, and we decide to eat that and nothing else. We are good to our bodies. We also consider what our minds, hearts, and spirits need to function at their best, and we decide that the love and care of a Higher Power is crucial. By working the Twelve Steps, we are good to ourselves.

Thank You for the life that You have given me to live. 

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


The Language of Letting Go

As we walk through life, there are many things and people we may lose, or lose out on, if we are unwilling to commit. We need to make a commitment for relationships to grow beyond the dating stage, to have the home or apartment we want, the job we want, or the car we desire.

We must commit, on deep levels, to careers, to goals, to family, friends, and recovery. Trying something will not enable us to succeed. Committing ourselves will.

Yet, we need never commit before we are ready.

Sometimes, our fear of commitment is telling us something. We may not want to commit to a particular relationship, purchase, or career. Other times, it is a matter of our fears working their way out. Wait, then. Wait until the issue becomes clear.

Trust yourself. Ask your Higher Power to remove your fear of commitment. Ask God to remove your blocks to commitment. Ask God for guidance.

Ask yourself if you are willing to lose what you will not commit too. Then listen, quietly. And wait until a decision seems consistently right and comfortable.

We need to be able to commit, but we need never commit until we are ready. Trust that you will commit when you want to.

God, guide me in making my commitments. Give me the courage to make those that are right for me, the wisdom to not commit to that which does not feel right, and the patience to wait until I know. 

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


Today's thought from Hazelden is:

We learn as much from sorrow as from joy, as much from illness as from health, from handicap as from advantage - and indeed perhaps more.
--Pearl S. Buck

If we or a loved one is suffering with a chronic or terminal illness or laid up from an accident, we may be out of work either because we ourselves are sick or because we need to function as caretaker. In addition to losing income, we're confronted by a stream of medical bills not covered by insurance. We may already feel completely overwhelmed by the illness or tragedy. How do we face the debt, too?

If we're emotionally overwrought because of a tragedy, we remember that the medical bills will wait. We have a responsibility to deal with them somehow, but our first responsibility is toward ourselves and to whoever is ill. We can only handle so much at a time. We allow ourselves to deal with our relationships and our grief.

Today I will live one day at a time.
You are reading from the book:

Friday, May 29, 2015

Daily Recovery Readings: May 29th

Recovery Meditations:  May 29, 2015


"Think not because no man sees,
such things will remain unseen."
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Recently at a meeting I heard a person share that they weren't sure that the program would work for them because they did not believe in God. They were very distressed. I wanted to get out the Big Book and quote to them from page 47, "When, therefore, we speak to you of God, we mean your own conception of God. This applies too, to other spiritual expressions which you find in this book. Do not let any prejudice you may have against spiritual terms deter you from honestly asking yourself what they mean to you. At the start this was all we needed to commence spiritual growth, to effect our first conscious relation with God as we understood Him."

Many of us have a problem with God in the beginning of our program. We may be atheists, agnostics, or simply have had bad experiences regarding God or His/Her people. We can choose the group, or the Higher Power of another, to be our Higher Power until we are able to begin, bit-by-bit, to define and establish a relationship with our own Higher Power. I know that when I came into the program I was very angry with God. I used the group as my Higher Power at first. Then I used my sponsor's God of her understanding as my Higher Power because He was so loving and full of grace. We had many talks about her God. This helped me greatly until I was able to reconnect to my relationship with the God of my understanding. Today I have a full, rich and intimate relationship with my God.

One day at a time...
I will be tolerant of others' conception of their Higher Power and will continue to grow in my relationship with the God of my understanding.

~ Carolyn H.


Each Day a New Beginning
Women sometimes gossip when they want to get close to people.
  —Joan Gilbertson

Feeling alone and lonely heightens our fears of inadequacy. In our alienation from others, paranoia grips us. We yearn to feel connection with someone, and gossip about another someone can draw two lonely people close. We are bonded.

We need a sense of belonging, every one of us: belonging to the neighborhood, belonging to the staff where we work, belonging to the group we call friends. Knowing that we do belong fosters the inner warmth that accompanies security, well-being. And our fears are melted.

The program's Fifth, Ninth, and Tenth Steps guarantee that we'll feel the closeness we long for when we work them. Self-revelation strengthens our ties to the people we long to connect with. Gossip loses its appeal when we know we share a closeness already. Mingling our vulnerabilities secures our closeness.

We need to be attentive to our judgments of others, be they verbalized in gossip or only savored in silence. These judgments act as barometers of our own self-image. Our security in knowing we belong, that we are one, relieves us of the need to judge others unfairly.

Loneliness pushes me to behavior that even compounds the loneliness. Real closeness will come when I talk about myself rather than someone else. 

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


Food for Thought
Quality, Not Quantity

We tend to be overly impressed with quantity. How much does it cost? How many friends do I have? How much can I include in my food plan? In a materialistic society, more is synonymous with better.

Before we found OA, we were eating more and enjoying it less. In fact, the more we ate, the more unhappy we became. Greater quantity did not bring better health or a better quality of life.

In this program, we are learning to place quality before quantity. We discover that smaller amounts of nourishing, high quality foods are more satisfying and make us feel better than vast quantities of empty calories. We become more selective about the way we spend our time, choosing the activities and companions that most enrich our lives, rather than trying to do everything and be everything to everybody. We realize more each day that the quality of our spiritual life is what gives us the inner satisfaction, which we sought but failed to find in quantities of things.

Show me how to live well. 

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


The Language of Letting Go
Powerlessness and Unmanageability

Willpower is not the key to the way of life we are seeking. Surrender is.

"I have spent much of my life trying to make people be, do, or feel something they aren't, don't want to do, and choose not to feel. I have made them, and myself, crazy in that process," said one recovering woman.

I spent my childhood trying to make an alcoholic father who didn't love himself be a normal person who loved me. I then married an alcoholic and spent a decade trying to make him stop drinking.

I have spent years trying to make emotionally unavailable people be emotionally present for me. I have spent even more years trying to make family members, who are content feeling miserable, happy.

What I'm saying is this: I've spent much of my life desperately and vainly trying to do the impossible and feeling like a failure when I couldn't. It's been like planting corn and trying to make the seeds grow peas. Won't work!

By surrendering to powerlessness, I gain the presence of mind to stop wasting my time and energy trying to change and control that which I cannot change and control. It gives me permission to stop trying to do the impossible and focus on what is possible: being who I am, loving myself, feeling what I feel, and doing what I want to do with my life.

In recovery, we learn to stop fighting lions, simply because we cannot win. We also learn that the more we are focused on controlling and changing others, the more unmanageable our life becomes. The more we focus on living our own life, the more we have a life to live, and the more manageable our life will become.

Today, I will accept powerlessness where I have no power to change things, and I'll allow my life to become manageable. 

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


Today's thought from Hazelden is:

The cost of a thing is the amount of what I will call life, which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run.
--Henry David Thoreau

Consider the young man who was doing great in his high school studies, then suddenly started to fall behind. One day, a teacher pulled the young man aside and asked him what happened. The student told him that he had asked his father for a car, and the father told him that if he earned the money, he could have one. The student, being industrious and hard working, went out, got a job, saved the money, and bought the car. But then the car needed insurance, gas, and maintenance, so the student kept the job to keep up the car. The job took up more and more of his time, until finally he began to fall behind in his studies.

"Why don't you just get rid of the car?" asked the teacher.

"Get rid of the car?" came the reply. "How would I get to my job?"

How often we feel that if we just get that new car, that new boyfriend or girlfriend, that promotion, or the condo in the good neighborhood, we will find happiness and contentment - only to discover that the thing just brings with it more pain, more costs, and more bother than it's worth. The new sports car runs only half the time, the new partner needs more care than your dog, the promotion eats up your weekends, and the new condo won't allow pets.

Things don't bring true happiness. Instead, they often sap your strength and leave you emptier than you were before. Think about the true cost of a thing before you pursue it in time, lifestyle changes, energy, maintenance and money. Can you really afford the amount of life that the thing will take from you in return for the happiness it brings? Are you willing to pay the price?

God, help me be aware of the true cost of the things in my life.
You are reading from the book:

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Daily Recovery Readings: May 28th

Recovery Meditations:  May 28, 2015


"Serenity is not freedom from the storm,
but peace amid the storm."

Anonymous Quote

Why is serenity so important to our recovery? Because darkness cannot exist where there is light! If we can maintain a serene state of mind as established through our faith in HP and the BB Promises, negative emotions and behaviour will have no power over us. Stress, fear, compulsiveness, obsessiveness, resentment, guilt, shame, willfulness, doubt, distrust, greed and envy, have no power over a mind that is kept in serene repose. Serenity allows us to see situations clearly and make wise decisions. Most importantly, by maintaining a serene mind, we keep the door to our High Power open.

One Day at a Time . . .
I will face each challenge with grace and serenity.

~ Rob R.



Each Day a New Beginning
Spiritual power can be seen in a person's reverence for life - hers and all others, including animals and nature, with a recognition of a universal life force referred to by many as God.
  —Virginia Satir

Taking the time, daily, to recognize the spiritual force in everyone and everything that is all about us, encourages us to feel humble, to feel awe. Reflecting on our interconnections, our need for one and all to complete the universe, lessens whatever adversity we might feel as we struggle with our humanity.

Our spiritual power is enhanced with each blessing we give. And as our spiritual power is enhanced, life's trials are fewer. Our struggle to accept situations, conditions, and other people, or our struggle to control them, lessens every day that we recognize and revere one another's personhood, one another's existence.

I can teach myself reverence, and I can begin today. I will look for "the Spirit" everywhere, and I will begin to see it. 

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


Food for Thought

The person who is a compulsive overeater is often someone who wants what he or she wants right now, if not before. When we take inventory, many of us realize that impatience is one of our most troublesome character defects. We are impatient with other people when they do not see things our way, we are impatient with the slowness of weight loss, and we are impatient when we do not seem to be making emotional and spiritual progress.

Cultivating patience helps us tremendously with our program. We grow in patience when we give God control of our lives and decide to live according to His timetable. If we accept what happens to us as the will of a Higher Power, we are better able to treat even the unpleasant situations as learning experiences. We become more patient with ourselves when we view our failures as opportunities to try again.

Fruitful growth is slow. Only weeds grow quickly. Acknowledging powerlessness builds the patience to persevere with what we can do and the faith to leave the results to God.

Trusting in You, may I learn patience. 

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 Doubt

A married woman who had recently joined Al-Anon called me one afternoon. She worked part-time as a registered nurse, had assumed all the responsibilities for raising her two children, and did all the household chores, including repairs and finances. "I want to separate from my husband," she sobbed. "I can't stand him or his abuse any longer. But tell me, please tell me," she said, "do you think I can take care of myself?"
  —Codependent No More

Not only is it okay to take care of ourselves, we can take good care of ourselves.

Many of us, so confident about our ability to take care of others, doubt our inherent strength to care for ourselves. We may have come to believe, from our past or present circumstances, that we need to take care of others and we need others to take care of us. This is the ultimate codependent belief.

No matter where this self-defeating belief was born, we can release it and replace it with a better one, a healthier one, a more accurate one.

We can take care of ourselves -- whether we are in or out of a relationship. Everything we need will be provided. We will have loved ones, friends, and our Higher Power to help.

Knowing that we can take care of ourselves doesn't mean we won't have feelings of fear, discomfort, doubt, anger, and fragility at times. It means we practice "courageous vulnerability," as Colette Dowling called it in Cinderella Complex. We may feel scared, but we do it anyway.

Today, God, help me know how I can take care of myself. 

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


Today's thought from Hazelden is:

I can hear music...sweet, sweet music.
--Brian Wilson

We often find it helpful to think about the role music has played in our lives. Sometimes, it has been a problem for us - time spent listening to loud, blaring music was a time of physical and emotional isolation, usually under the influence of drugs.

In recovery we may find ourselves drawn to a different kind of music that speaks to our changing way of life. Perhaps it is more soothing or relaxing. Perhaps it is a new artist.

Whatever type of music we choose, we find it is much more than a pastime for us. It is an appreciation. Our favorite artists, our favorite songs - some never change, some do.

Our relationship with music is growing and changing. In recovery we find music engages our minds and relaxes our bodies in a new way. Music lifts our spirits, too. We are grateful that music is part of our life and that we now have a chance to think about it and perhaps even develop some new interests. Music is an excellent way to get to know other people; it helps us unwind after a hard day and adds a new dimension to our enjoyment of life.

Today I thank You for music. Help me to love and appreciate it even more now that I am sober.
You are reading from the book: