Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Daily Recovery Readings: June 30th

Recovery Meditations:  June 30th


“How does a project get to be a year behind schedule?
One day at a time.”
Fred Brooks

I have been given many talents, and I count them as gifts from my Maker. Throughout life I have discovered that there was virtually nothing that I could not make, bake, say or do with the help of my Higher Power. At the age of three years I learned to crochet and read. I learned to draw, paint, write poetry and quilt. The fact that I was not afraid of failing had a great influence on my ability to tackle any task.

Surprisingly, when I felt that I was "grown" and needed to leave home and start a life of my own, I found that finishing anything was almost impossible. I could start anything -- but I seemed to complete nothing. Much to my dismay I had developed the art of procrastination. Just waiting to finish anything tomorrow puts me one day behind. Day by day, the project gets put on the back burner and forgotten. One day at a time I eventually find that I am years into finishing some things.

Thanks to this program and its wonderful steps and tools, I have found that by working "one day at a time" I can be -- and am -- a person who starts and finishes things. This is who God created me to be...not the person who continually puts things off. It took a lot of reading and prayer and meditating on God's Word for me to get where I am today...a person who takes action on the tasks before me. I am far from perfect, but I am making progress.

One day at a time...
Just for today I will take action and not put off until tomorrow what I can do today.

~ Annie K.


Each Day a New Beginning
. . . in silence might be the privilege of the strong, but it was certainly a danger to the weak. For the things I was prompted to keep silent about were nearly always the things I was ashamed of, which would have been far better aired . . . 
  —Joanna Field

It has been said, "We are only as sick as the secrets we keep." Our emotional health as recovering women is hindered, perhaps even jeopardized, each time we hold something within that we need to talk over with others.

Sharing our fears, our hurts, our anger, keeps open our channel to God. Secrets clutter our mind, preventing the stillness within where our prayers find answers. Secrets keep us stuck. Our health, emotional and spiritual, depends on our commitment to shared experiences.

Every secret we have and tell someone, frees that person also to be herself and to grow. Sharing experiences relieves us of our shame and invites the forgiveness we must allow ourselves.

Steps Four and Five facilitate the process of sharing those secrets that block our path to God and to one another. Never can we be fully at peace with secrets left untold. Self-revelation cleanses the soul and offers us life.

I will be alert to the opportunities to share myself and cherish the freedom offered. 

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


Food for Thought
Praise God!

We did not create this program on our own, and we did not achieve abstinence by ourselves. Our recovery is a gift, just as life is a gift. Light, the natural world, our nourishment, talents, love, and fellowship - all come from our Higher Power. Our role is to receive, use wisely, share, and enjoy the blessings God has showered upon us.

When we get over the idea that we can do everything by ourselves, we become receptive to the moving force that creates and sustains us. As we stop looking at life from our own egotistical point of view, we begin to see God's glory. No longer a slave to our appetites and desires for material things, we are able to rejoice in our Higher Power and to share our joy with those around us.

Our recovery from compulsive overeating makes us examples of God's power to heal and renew. For all of His miracles, we praise Him.

In You, there is great joy. 

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


The Language of Letting Go
Accepting Change

One day, my mother and I were working together in the garden. We were transplanting some plant for the third time. Grown from seed in a small container, the plants had been transferred to a larger container; then transplanted into the garden. Now, because I was moving, we were transplanting them again.

Inexperienced as a gardener, I turned to my green-thumbed mother. "Isn't this bad for them?" I asked, as we dug them up and shook the dirt from their roots. "Won't it hurt these plants, being uprooted and transplanted so many times?"

"Oh, no," my mother replied. "Transplanting doesn't hurt them. In fact, it's good for the ones that survive. That's how their roots grow strong. Their roots will grow deep, and they'll make strong plants."

Often, I've felt like those small plants - uprooted and turned upside down. Sometimes, I've endured the change willingly, sometimes reluctantly, but usually my reaction has been a combination.

Won't this be hard on me? I ask. Wouldn't it be better if things remained the same? That's when I remember my mother's words: That's how the roots grow deep and strong.

Today, God, help me remember that during times of transition, my faith and my self are being strengthened. 

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


Today's thought from Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is:

Doing nothing, that hurts you.
--John Arnold

Doing nothing as a steady diet would wear thin after a while, but doing nothing once in a while is good therapy. We need to let our minds and bodies rest. Being always booked for an activity gives us too little time for reflection about our lives. We have come a long way. Taking the time to appreciate that during our quiet spaces will enhance our self-perception.

Not a one of us has had an unsuccessful life. We may not have accomplished every goal we've set for ourselves but we can believe that we did what really needed to be done by us. There has been a divine plan at work even though we were unaware of it. The same continues to be true. We will be nudged to pursue hobbies or volunteer activities or jobs if that's the plan for us. This certainly takes the guesswork out of our lives. It makes us know we are pretty special, too.

I'll do whatever calls to me today. As long as it's not something that will hurt another person, it will be right.
You are reading from the book:

Monday, June 29, 2015

Daily Recovery Readings: June 29th

Recovery Meditations:  June 29th


”When you hold resentment toward another, you are bound
to that person or condition by an emotional link that is
stronger than steel. Forgiveness is the only way to
dissolve that link and get free.”
Catherine Ponder

I once had a situation in which someone I was acquainted with said unkind things about my weight and verbally attacked my spouse in front of my daughter. I worried and revisited the situation over and over for many years until the anger turned to resentment and became a major, entrenched grudge. Because so many of my eating issues stem from emotional ones, this would drive me to eat in an effort to dull, numb and forget my anger. That didn't work ~ the eating didn't stop that anger from turning into resentment.

When I would complain about this situation to a friend, she told me that I had to stop allowing that person to "rent space in my mind." I came to realize that I had allowed -- and even nurtured -- a negative energetic link to that person and situation. I couldn't let go of resentment until I was willing to take the needed steps in program and to forgive. Forgiving doesn't mean I didn't learn anything from the situation, and I haven't forgotten the unkind words. But I learned that I needed to be more cautious in my dealings with this type of individual. I learned I can't surround myself with people who are overly-negative and say poisonous things without accepting any accountability for their actions. I have learned that I can be accountable for mine, and that I no longer have to allow myself to be bound by an emotional link to the situation.

One day at a time...
I will ask my Higher Power to help me to learn to forgive and forget. With the help of my Higher Power, I will let go of unnecessary baggage that causes resentment.

~ Deb B.



Each Day a New Beginning
I am convinced, the longer I live, that life and its blessings are not so entirely unjustly distributed (as) when we are suffering greatly we are so inclined to suppose.
  —Mary Todd Lincoln

Self-pity is a parasite that feeds on itself. Many of us are inclined toward self-pity, not allowing for the balance of life's natural tragedies. We will face good and bad times-and they will pass. With certainty they will pass.

The attitude, "Why me?" hints at the little compassion we generally feel for others' suffering. Our empathy with others, even our awareness of their suffering, is generally minimal. We are much too involved in our own. Were we less self-centered, we'd see that blessings and tragedies visit us all, in equal amounts. Some people respond to their blessings with equanimity, and they quietly remove the sting from their tragedies. We can learn to do both.

Recovery is learning new responses, feeling and behaving in healthier ways. Self-pity need not catch us. We can always feel it coming on. And we can let it go.

Self-pity may beckon, today. Fortunately, I have learned I have other choices. 

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


Food for Thought
The Joy of Abstaining

For someone who has suffered the physical, emotional, and spiritual anguish of compulsive overeating, abstaining is not a restriction but a release. We are released from indigestion, lethargy, fat, and the torment of never-satisfied craving.

If we dwell on the negative aspects of abstaining, such as the foods we are not eating, we will be unhappy. If we continue to concentrate on food, rather than on life and the spirit, we will find it difficult to abstain. The OA program gives us a new set of priorities and opens the door to new life if we are willing to leave our preoccupation with food outside and walk in.

It is good to feel full of energy rather than full of food. It is satisfying to discover new ways to give. There is deep joy in day-by-day spiritual growth. All of these joys become ours through abstaining.

We give thanks for the joy of abstaining. 

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


Today's thought from Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is:

Money may not buy happiness, but it can buy the type of misery you can live with.
-- Ziggy

We think to ourselves, "Wouldn't it be nice not to have to worry about the washer breaking down?" "Wouldn't it be nice to drive a reliable car?" "Wouldn't it be nice to take a Caribbean vacation every year?" "Wouldn't it be nice not to have to work?" If we had money, we think, at least we wouldn't have to worry so much and could live comfortably.

True. Money buys external comfort - plush couches and chairs, luxury cars, beautiful environments. Money buys what comforts and soothes us on the outside. And, if we're going to be miserable anyway, why not do it in comfort?

We remember that regardless of our surroundings, misery is misery. Unless we have the right attitude, we'll find something wrong with whatever we have or don't have. When we work on improving our inner world - on alleviating the real cause of our misery - we know true comfort. We know serenity.

Today I know that the better I get, the richer I become.
You are reading from the book:

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Daily Recovery Readings: June 28th

Recovery Meditations:  June 28th


”Solitude vivifies; isolation kills.”
Joseph Roux

As an introvert and an agoraphobic I relate to both sides of this quote. From an introverted point of view, I need solitude to regroup, renew, and refresh. It's part of my process in life to have quiet time alone in order to "get it together". When I'm alone and I read my OA literature and meditate on what I'm reading and learning, I'm able to gain new insight and a renewed sense of direction in my program.

From an agoraphobic point of view, isolation kills my ability to stick to my program. When my social anxiety cycles and it becomes difficult to get to meetings or make phone calls, I hide from the world ~ and from my friends and other OA members who can help me maintain my abstinence.

Solitude and Isolation are both active decisions. Both require some forethought. If solitude is what I need to in order to regroup, I have to make time for it. I have to take a walk, read a book, putter around my house. On the flip side, if I'm having a hard time with Program and my social anxiety is becoming unmanageable, I can either isolate and spiral down, or I can choose to take action and get to a meeting, make a phone call, or ask my sponsor to meet me for coffee. I don't have to be alone in this program.

One day at a time...
I remember that I have control over my actions. Although I need solitude to heal, I don't have to be alone in my disease.

~ Deb B.



Each Day a New Beginning
Joy fixes us to eternity and pain fixes us to time. But desire and fear hold us in bondage to time, and detachment breaks the bond.
  —Simone Weil

We live both in the material realm and the spiritual. In our material dimension we seek material pleasures, inherent in which is pain. Our human emotions are tied to our material attachments, and joy, at its fullest, is never found here. Real joy lies outside of the material dimension while living fully within us too, in the secret, small place inside where we always know that all is well.

We are on a trip in this life. And our journey is bringing us closer to full understanding of joy with every sorrowful circumstance. When you or I are one with God, have aligned our will with the will of God, we know joy. We know this, fully, that all is well. No harm can befall us.

Each circumstance in the material realm is an opportunity for us to rely on the spiritual realm for direction, security, and understanding. As we turn within, to our spiritual nature, we will know joy.

Every day in every situation I have an opportunity to discover real joy. It's so close and so ready for my invitation. 

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


Food for Thought
Spiritual Awakening

Many of us remember back to a vague time in childhood when our world seemed right and we were full of enthusiasm. Somehow, somewhere along the way, we lost that feeling of rightness and security.

For some of us who experience a spiritual awakening through the OA program, childhood faith is rediscovered and takes on new meaning. We may have lost sight of our real selves and abandoned our original faith in a Higher Power. When we have a spiritual awakening as a result of the Twelve Steps, everything falls into place, and what was lost is recovered, plus much more.

This spiritual awakening continues as we continue to work the program. It gives new meaning to our present lives and new hope for the future. We see that spiritual growth is "where it's at" and that nothing else will satisfy our needs and our longing.

May I continue to awaken. 

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


The Language of Letting Go
When Things Don't Work

Frequently, when faced with a problem, we may attempt to solve it in a particular way. When that way doesn't work, we may continue trying to solve the problem in that same way.

We may get frustrated, try harder, get more frustrated, and then exert more energy and influence into forcing the same solution that we have already tried and that didn't work.

That approach makes us crazy. It tends to get us stuck and trapped. It is the stuff that unmanageability is made of.

We can get caught in this same difficult pattern in relationships, in tasks, in any area of our life. We initiate something, it doesn't work, doesn't flow, we feel badly, then try the same approach harder, even though it's not working and flowing.

Sometimes, it's appropriate not to give up and to try harder. Sometimes, it's more appropriate to let go, detach, and stop trying so hard.

If it doesn't work, if it doesn't flow, maybe life is trying to tell us something. Life is a gentle teacher. She doesn't always send neon road signs to guide us. Sometimes, the signs are more subtle. Something not working may be a sign!

Let go. If we have become frustrated by repeated efforts that aren't producing desired results, we may be trying to force ourselves down the wrong path. Sometimes, a different solution is appropriate. Sometimes, a different path opens up. Often, the answer will emerge more clearly in the quietness of letting go than it will in the urgency, frustration, and desperation of pushing harder.

Learn to recognize when something isn't working or isn't flowing. Step back and wait for clear guidance.

Today, I will not make myself crazy by repeatedly trying solutions that have proven themselves unsuccessful. If something isn't working, I will step back and wait for guidance. 

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


Today's thought from Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is:

One has to grow up with good talk in order to form the habit of it.
--Helen Hayes

Our habits, whatever they may be, were greatly influenced, if not wholly formed, during childhood. We learned our behavior through imitation - imitation of our parents, our siblings, and our peer group. But we need not be stuck in habits that are unhealthy. The choice to create new patterns of behavior is ours to make - every moment, every hour, every day. However, parting with the old pattern in order to make way for the new takes prayer, commitment, and determination.

All of us who share these Steps have broken away from old patterns. We have chosen to leave liquor and pills alone. We may have chosen to leave unhealthy relationships. And we are daily choosing to move beyond our shortcomings. But not every day is a successful one. Our shortcomings have become ingrained. Years of pouting, or lying, or feeling fearful, or overeating, or procrastinating beckon to us; the habit invites itself.

We can find strength from the program and one another to let go of the behavior that stands in the way of today's happiness. And we can find in one another a better, healthier behavior to imitate.

The program is helping me to know there is a better way, every day, to move ahead. I am growing up again amidst the good habits of others and myself.
You are reading from the book:

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Daily Recovery Readings: June 27th

Recovery Meditations:   June 27th


“In God's economy, nothing is wasted.
Through failure, we learn a lesson in humility
which is probably needed, painful though it is.”
Bill W., Letter of 1942

I have spent a lot of time cultivating perfectionism in the vain attempt to make up for being a "failure" -- or what I have now come to understand is compulsive eating and an illness. I was trying to make up with efficiency for that feeling of not being good enough ~ and that feeling seems to be a hallmark of our illness.

By my past behaviors, I wanted you to notice how efficient and functional I was despite my obese body that belied I had a problem. If I could somehow convince you that I was "normal" and "ok," I would not have to admit my powerlessness. This is the single greatest obsession of every compulsive eater: that we are "normal" eaters. But we are not!

I built a lifetime around efficiency and function trying to show you how normal I was. Thank God I was brought to my compulsive eating knees time and time again until I could finally make that admission of failure as a normal eater and admit that I was powerless. The humility brought about by that admission afforded me an open-mindedness and willingness I had hitherto not known. I became teachable.

One day at a time...
I pray to remain teachable.

~ Lanaya



Each Day a New Beginning
Often God shuts a door in our face, and then subsequently opens the door through which we need to go.
  —Catherine Marshall

We try and try to control the events of our lives. And not seldom the events in others' lives, too. The occasions are frequent when our will conflicts with God's. Then for a time we feel at a loss. Our direction is uncertain. But always, always, another door opens. A better way beckons. How stubborn we are! And how simple life would be were we to daily, fully, turn our will and our lives over to the care of God. God's help and direction in all things are always available. Turning a deaf ear is like trying to find a seat in a darkened movie theater unaided by the usher.

Every experience is softened when we face it accompanied by our higher power. Any past struggle, any present fear, is a testament to our attempts to do it alone. Too frequently we forge ahead, alone, only to have our way blocked. The detours need never be there. No door closes unless there is a better way. Divine order will prevail.

There is no need to struggle, today. I will breathe deeply and take my higher power with me, wherever I go. And the doors will be open for as far as I can see. 

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


Food for Thought
You Can Do It

If you really want what OA has to offer; there is nothing that can stop you from succeeding with the program. The program works if we work it. OA does not pass out recovery on a platter, but the tools for recovery are available and proven effective if we are willing to use them.

Go to a meeting today. Re-read your literature. Call another member. Call several members. Get a sponsor, if you do not already have one. Write out what is troubling you. Find a way to be of service to someone else. Abstain now.

Most important, take time to listen to your Higher Power. Ask for the spiritual insight, which you need. Remember that you are now committed to following God's will for your life, not your own way. Seek the inspiration that comes from the people and the books, which lift up your spirit and show you the way. Then follow.

Lead me, Lord. 

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


The Language of Letting Go
Achieving Harmony

When a pianist learns a new piece of music, he or she does not sit down and instantly play it perfectly. A pianist often needs to practice each hand's work separately to learn the feel, to learn the sound. One hand picks out a part until there is a rhythm and ease in playing what is difficult. Then, the musician practices with the other hand, picking through the notes, one by one, until that hand learns its tasks. When each hand has learned its part - the sound, the feel, the rhythm, and the tones - then both hands can play together.

During the time of practice, the music may not sound like much. It may sound disconnected, not particularly beautiful. But when both hands are ready to play together, music is created - a whole piece comes together in harmony and beauty.

When we begin recovery, it may feel like we spend months, even years, practicing individual, seemingly disconnected behaviors in the separate parts of our life.

We take our new skills into our work, our career, and begin to apply them slowly, making our work relationships healthier for us. We take our skills into our relationships, sometimes one relationship at a time. We struggle through our new behaviors in our love relationships.

One part at a time, we practice our new music note by note.

We work on our relationship with our Higher Power - our spirituality. We work at loving ourselves. We work at believing we deserve the best. We work on our finances. On our recreation. Sometimes on our appearance. Sometimes on our home.

We work on feelings. On beliefs. On behaviors. Letting go of the old, acquiring the new. We work and work and work. We practice. We struggle through. We go from one extreme to the other, and sometimes back through the course again. We make a little progress, go backward, and then go forward again.

It may all seem disconnected. It may not sound like a harmonious, beautiful piece of music - just isolated notes. Then one day, something happens. We become ready to play with both hands, to put the music together.

What we have been working toward, note by note, becomes a song. That song is a whole life, a complete life, and a life in harmony.

The music will come together in our life if we keep practicing the parts.

Today, I will practice my recovery behaviors through the individual parts of my life. I trust that, one day, things will come together in a full, complete song. 

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


Today's thought from Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is:


... put our efforts where we can succeed.

The appeal of a "fix" tempts us. One day we dream, "If only I had a different job my life would be happy, or if only I had a different house." Perhaps we even dream of having a different partner. When we waste so much precious energy on trying to change something or someone outside ourselves, we usually end up alone, unhappy, or exhausted. It takes great effort and a long time to develop what we truly seek: love, self-acceptance, honesty, and peace of mind.

Fixing or changing our partner might appeal on the surface, but why not put our efforts where we can succeed? What can we change? Ourselves - by becoming less critical we build our honesty and self-worth.
Do I block my own growth when I focus on someone else's action?
You are reading from the book: