Friday, July 31, 2015

Daily Recovery Readings: July 31st

Recovery Meditations:  July 31st


“Condemn the fault and not the actor of it.”
William Shakespeare

How many times do we beat ourselves because we have failed to attain the goals we have set? We are human and we suffer from a disease that renders us helpless and out of control. Is it any wonder that we fail in trying to conquer such an unforgiving beast?

It is not ourselves we should be angry with, but the disease and how it affects our actions and reactions. Our inability – or unwillingness -- to realize that we cannot achieve recovery alone is our only true failure. We need help. Without it we are weak and defenseless. This disease would have us believe we are failures ~ but in reality, all we have done is open the doors to our enemy. These doors can be closed again. Our disease not only manifests itself in the form of uncontrollable eating, but also in our negative thoughts and actions towards ourselves and towards the people around us.

It takes no more time to think positively than it does to think negatively. Our only job is to remember that we have a disease. We can choose to forget it, we can choose to beat ourselves up when we leave the door ajar, or we can choose to forgive ourselves and begin again.

One day at a time...
I will work on forgiving myself.
I am worth forgiving.
You are too.




Each Day a New Beginning
Love doesn't just sit there like a stone, it has to be made, like bread; re-made all the time, made new.
  —Ursula K. LeGuin

We love to be loved; we love to be held; we love to be caressed. A show of appreciation we love too. And we love to know we've been heard. The friends, the spouses, the children in our lives want the same from us. Like a garden that needs water, sun, weeding to nurture the growth, so does love need attending to. To become whole and healthy women, we need tender nurturing. And we also need to give away what we get. Those we nurture will bless our growth.

Love is dynamic, not static. It is always changing, and it always changes those it enfolds. Since coming into this program where the sharing of oneself, the open expression of love, is profoundly evident, we each have changed. And our presence has changed others. We have learned to accept love and give it. But better yet, we have learned that we deserve love.

I will look around me today at others, and I will remember, my growth and theirs depends on loving and being loved. I will reach out. I can make love new.

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


Food for Thought
Inner Guides

In a crisis situation, we cannot rely on another person, or a book, or any external source to tell us what to do. We may have to act immediately, and there may be no outside help available.

By getting in touch with our Higher Power, we cultivate a never failing source of inner strength and direction. In order to have it available when we need it, this inner voice must be consulted habitually. It is not something, which we may call on in times of emergency and forget about when things are going well.

Each of us has this inner source of strength and nourishment. By taking time each day to withdraw from the distractions of the external world, we grow in spiritual knowledge. When the chips are down, this spiritual strength, which we develop by daily prayer and meditation, is what will see us through.

May I know You more dearly each day. 

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


The Language of Letting Go
Letting Go of What We Want

For those of us who have survived by controlling and surrendering, letting go may not come easily.
  —Beyond Codependency

In recovery, we learn that it is important to identify what we want and need. Where does this concept leave us? With a large but clearly identified package of currently unmet wants and needs. We've taken the risk to stop denying and to start accepting what we want and need. The problem is, the want or need hangs there, unmet.

This can be a frustrating, painful, annoying, and sometimes obsession-producing place to be.

After identifying our needs, there is a next step in getting our wants and needs met. This step is one of the spiritual ironies of recovery. The next step is letting go of our wants and needs after we have taken painstaking steps to identify them.

We let them go, we give them up - on a mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical level. Sometimes, this means we need to give up. It is not always easy to get to this place, but this is usually where we need to go.

How often I have denied a want or need, then gone through the steps to identify my needs, only to become annoyed, frustrated, and challenged because I don't have what I want and don't know how to get it. If I then embark on a plan to control or influence getting that want or need met, I usually make things worse. Searching, trying to control the process, does not work. I must, I have learned to my dismay, let go.

Sometimes, I even have to go to the point of saying, "I don't want it. I realize it's important to me, but I cannot control obtaining that in my life. Now, I don't care anymore if I have it or not. In fact, I'm going to be absolutely happy without it and without any hope of getting it, because hoping to get it is making me nuts - the more I hope and try to get it, the more frustrated I feel because I'm not getting it."

I don't know why the process works this way.

I know only that this is how the process works for me. I have found no way around the concept of letting go.

We often can have what we really want and need, or something better. Letting go is part of what we do to get it.

Today, I will strive to let go of those wants and needs that are causing me frustration. I will enter them on my goal list, then struggle to let go. I will trust God to bring me the desires of my heart, in God's time and in God's way.

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


Today's thought from Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is:

I ask that You might help me work through all my problems, to Your Glory and Honor.
--Alcoholics Anonymous

Many of us lived in situations where it wasn't okay to identify, have, or talk about problems. Denial became a way of life - our way of dealing with problems.

In recovery, many of us still fear problems. We may spend more time reacting to a problem than we do to solving it. We miss the point; we miss the lesson; we miss the gift. Problems are a part of life. So are solutions.

In recovery, we learn to focus on solving our problems. First, we make certain the problem is our problem. If it isn't, our problem is establishing boundaries. Then we seek the best solution. This may mean setting a goal, asking for help, gathering more information, taking an action, or letting go.

Face and solve today's problems. Don't worry needlessly about tomorrow's problems, because when they appear, we'll have the resources necessary to solve them.

God, help me face and solve my problems today. Help me do my part and let the rest go. I can learn to be a problem-solver.
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Thursday, July 30, 2015

Daily Recovery Readings: July 30th

Recovery Meditations:  July 30th


Forgiveness for ourselves
is the journey from guilt
over what we have done or not done
to the celebration of what we have become.

Dr. Joan Borysenko

Steps 8 and 9 are very important to our recovery from compulsive eating. The 8th Step says that we need to make a list of those people we have harmed because of our disease, and to be willing to make amends to them.

The 9th Step says that we need to make direct amends to those people, if possible.

I would never condemn a sick person for being sick, yet I was ready to level blame at myself for being a compulsive overeater. I was mentally cruel to myself.

I abused my physical body with food and excess weight. While working Step 8, I needed to realize that I didn’t hurt just my family or friends when I was deep in my disease. I had to understand that I hurt myself as well. I said and did things that I’m not proud of because I didn’t know that I had a disease of compulsion. I had to place myself at the top of my amends list.

Some of the ways I can work Step 9 include remembering that I am a good person who just happens to be sick with a potentially fatal disease of compulsion. If I can remember that I am sick, then I won’t add more pain to what the disease already heaps on me. I can remember that a slip in abstinence is just that...a slip. It doesn’t reflect on my worth as a human being. I can be gentle with myself whenever times are rough. I can lean more on my Higher Power, so that I don’t have to depend upon my own unsteady willpower. I can forgive myself for the past pain I’ve caused myself and resolve not to hurt myself any more.

One Day at a Time . . .
I give myself the gift of forgiveness and amends.

~ Jeff ~


Each Day a New Beginning
It is the creative potential itself in human beings that is the image of God.
  —Mary Daly

God's presence is within us, now and always, even though we feel alone, alienated, scared, and forgotten much of the time. We often overlook God's presence because we don't recognize it. Our talents, our desires, and our pursuits are the evidence - all the evidence we'll ever need once we understand it - that God is present within and about us all the time.

The creative potential goes unrealized among so many of us, perhaps because we have a rigid definition of what creativity is. We are creative. We are all, each of us, creative. We must be because God's presence is here now. When we choose to let it guide us, we'll be able to offer our own unique gifts to the world of friends around us. Encouraging creativity, our own and someone else's, may mean breaking old habits. It surely does mean stepping out of our own way. It also means giving ourselves fully to the experience of the moment and trusting that God's presence will prompt the deliverance of our special gift.

In the moment lives God within us. In the moment I am creative, blessed with gifts like no other. I will stay in the moment and offer them, guided by the God within. 

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


Food for Thought
Focus on Living

Before we found this program, we were obsessed with food and preoccupied with eating. Instead of concentrating our energies on love and work and play, we were side tracked into the unsatisfactory substitute of overeating.

Abstinence gives us a new lease on life. We can develop more satisfying relationships with our family and friends. Since it has been our habit to withdraw and please ourselves with food, it takes time and effort to learn to relate more closely to those we love. It also takes courage and the willingness to be open and vulnerable.

In our work, we have renewed energy and greater ability to concentrate. Where before we may have avoided difficult tasks, we now have the strength and confidence to attempt them.

When we give up eating as a favorite form of recreation, we can find other activities to enjoy. Being released from bondage to food and fat opens the door to all sorts of new possibilities. Less eating means much more living.

We are grateful for new life. 

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


The Language of Letting Go
Accepting Powerlessness

Since I've been a child, I've been in an antagonistic relationship with an important emotional part of myself: my feelings. I have consistently tried to ignore, repress, or force my feelings away. I have tried to create unnatural feelings or force away feelings that were present.

I've denied I was angry, when in fact I was furious. I have told myself there must be something wrong with me for feeling angry, when anger was a reasonable and logical response to the situation.

I have told myself things didn't hurt, when they hurt very much. I have told myself stories such as "That person didn't mean to hurt me." . . . "He or she doesn't know any better." . . . "I need to be more understanding." The problem was that I had already been too understanding of the other person and not understanding and compassionate enough with myself.

It has not just been the large feelings I have been at war with; I have been battling the whole emotional aspect of myself. I have tried to use spiritual energy, mental energy, and even physical exertion to not feel what I need to feel to be healthy and alive.

I didn't succeed at my attempts to control emotions. Emotional control has been a survival behavior for me. I can thank that behavior for helping me get through many years and situations where I didn't have any better options. But I have learned a healthier behavior - accepting my feelings.

We are meant to feel. Part of our dysfunction is trying to deny or change that. Part of our recovery means learning to go with the flow of what we're feeling and what our feelings are trying to tell us.

We are responsible for our behaviors, but we do not have to control our feelings. We can let them happen. We can learn to embrace, enjoy, and experience - feel - the emotional part of ourselves.

Today, I will stop trying to force and control my emotions. Instead, I will give power and freedom to the emotional part of myself.

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


Today's thought from Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is:

What would it be like if you lived each day, each breath, as a work of art in progress? Imagine that you are a masterpiece unfolding, every second of every day, a work of art taking form with every breath.
-- Thomas Crum

So many of us avoid living in the present moment. We worry about the future.

Daydreaming and pondering are necessary in moderation, but we try to stay in the present moment for most of the day. To do this, we return to the most basic element - our breath. We concentrate on taking deep breaths. Barring a respiratory disorder, breathing is simple. When we return to the simplicity of breathing, we automatically simplify our life by focusing only on what's happening to one part of our body in one moment in time.

Today, when I have trouble living in the present, I will concentrate on my breathing.
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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Daily Recovery Readings: July 29th

Recovery Meditations:  July 29th


“If you cannot mould yourself to such as you would wish,
how can you expect others to be entirely to your liking?”
Thomas `a Kempis

Compulsive overeaters come from every age group, socioeconomic group, race, color, creed, sexual orientation, and so on. No two of us are alike. The Twelfth Tradition teaches us to place principles before personalities. This is one of the traditions by which our program either lives or dies. Because we are so very different, we are going to have varying opinions -- sometimes almost explosively different opinions -- on issues affecting our fellowship as a whole. When those times arise, it is essential that we remember to place principles before personalities.

When I served on my first Group Conscious Committee, our home group called it “serving our one-year sentence.” It was a hard year and it was difficult to get much business done because it was difficult to get people to agree on much business. But it was just the experience I needed in practicing the Twelfth Tradition in my life. Always remembering that Tradition, I did my best to not allow personalities to clutter my decision-making process in the committee.

The principles of the program are set forth in the Steps. They are principles such as: honesty, faith, forgiveness, trust, hope, courage, willingness and humility. As we work to embody these principles by working the Steps in our lives, we reduce the chance that issues affecting our fellowship will divide us. It will be easier to look beyond the perceived faults of others and to see the needs of the fellowship and the good of the whole.

One day at a time...
I will look past my OA members’ perceived faults and see the needs of the fellowship.

~ Carolyn H.


Each Day a New Beginning
Harmony exists in difference no less than in likeness, if only the same keynote governs both parts.
  —Margaret Fuller

Harmony exists everywhere, as an entity of itself. Our personal attitudes bring the disharmony to a situation. An attitude of love can bless all situations and all people.

The converse is likewise true. We all desire harmony in our relationships. And we will find it, every time we bring an attitude of honest gratitude into a situation.

How we feel, today, about this person or that situation, reflects the strength of our relationship with God. When we experience life in the company of our higher power, we will let life flow. We will observe harmony, then, even in the midst of difference.

All of life's elements are moving toward a state of total and perfect harmony. We need not fear. We can trust the company of our higher power and know that every situation, no matter how adverse its appearance, is contributing to a harmonious outcome if we'd but lend a trusting attitude.

Harmony is everywhere. I will celebrate it. I will trust the present. I will trust the future. 

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


Food for Thought
Always Abstinence

As recovering compulsive overeaters, we have a fixed focal point of reference. Abstinence is the most important thing in our lives without exception.

What began, as weakness has become strength. Whatever happens to us, we know that by maintaining abstinence we will be able to cope. As long as abstinence controls our self-destructive inner enemy, we are able to function effectively.

This does not mean that we will be free from problems. Abstaining does not get rid of all of our difficulties. There will be times when we are depressed, anxious, afraid, angry, bored, and in pain. To be alive is to be subject to these negative emotions, as well as the positive ones, which we enjoy.

By abstaining, we are able to face reality instead of escaping into a worse predicament. No matter how difficult the day, it has been a good one for the compulsive overeater who has abstained.

I pray for abstinence always. 

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


The Language of Letting Go
Have Some Fun

Have some fun. Loosen up a bit. Enjoy life!

We do not have to be so somber and serious. We do not have to be so reflective, so critical, so bound up within the rigid parameters and ourselves others, and often ourselves, have placed around us.

This is life, not a funeral service. Have some fun with it. Enter into it. Participate. Experiment. Take a risk. Be spontaneous. Do not always be so concerned about doing it right, doing the appropriate thing.

Do not always be so concerned about what others will think or say. What they think and say are their issues not ours. Do not be so afraid of making a mistake. Do not be so fearful and proper. Do not inhibit yourself so much.

God did not intend us to be so inhibited, so restricted, so controlled. These repressive parameters are what other people have imposed on us, what we have allowed to be done to us.

We were created fully human. We were given emotions, desires, hopes, dreams, and feelings. There is an alive, excited, fun loving child in us somewhere! Let it come out! Let it come alive! Let it have some fun - not just for two hours on Saturday evening. Bring it with us. Let it help us enjoy this gift of being alive, being fully human, and being who we are!

So many rules. So much shame we've lived with. It simply isn't necessary. We have been brainwashed. It is time now to free ourselves, let ourselves go, and enter fully human into a full life.

Don't worry. We will learn our lessons when necessary. We have learned discipline. We will not go awry. What will happen is that we will begin enjoying life. We will begin enjoying and experiencing our whole self. We can trust ourselves. We have boundaries now. We have our program for a foundation. We can afford to experiment and experience. We are in touch with our Higher Power and ourselves. We are being guided, but a frozen, inanimate object cannot be guided. it cannot even be moved.

Have some fun. Loosen up a bit. Break a few rules. God won't punish us. We do not have to allow people to punish us. And we can stop punishing ourselves. As long as we're here and alive, let's begin to live.

Today, I will let myself have some fun with life. I will loosen up a bit, knowing I won't crack and break. God, help me let go of my need to be so inhibited, proper, and repressed. Help me inject a big dose of life into myself by letting myself be fully alive and human. 

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


Today's thought from Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is:

I am still amazed, after years of recovering, at how easily I can begin to talk myself out of attending meetings. I am also still amazed at how good I feel when I go.

We don't have to stay stuck in our misery and discomfort. An immediate option is available that will help us feel better: go to a meeting, a Twelve Step support group.

Why resist what can help us feel better? Why sit in our obsession or depression when attending a meeting - even if that means an extra meeting - would help us feel better?

Too busy?

There are 168 hours in each week. Taking 1 or 2 hours a week for a meeting can maximize the potential of the remaining 166 hours. If we get into our "codependent stuff," we can easily spend a majority of our waking hours obsessing, sitting and doing nothing, lying in bed and feeling depressed, or chasing after other people's needs. Not taking those 2 hours for a meeting can cause us to waste the remaining hours.

Too tired?

There is nothing as invigorating as getting back on track. Going to a meeting can accomplish that.

Today, I will remember that going to meetings helps.
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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Daily Recovery Readings: July 28th

Recovery Meditations:  July 28th


“Preach always ... use words if necessary.”
St. Francis of Assisi

I've heard it said many times that the Twelve Step way of life is a way of attraction, not promotion. I can project an image of serenity and recovery by the way I conduct my life. By using the Twelve Steps to work on my inventory, by promptly making amends when needed, by striving daily to use the tools of recovery, I am assuring compulsive eaters who are living in chaos and confusion that there is a better way. When they ask my "secret," I can then share the words of recovery.

One Day at a Time . . .
I will preach recovery
by the examples of serenity and peace.

~ Hopeful


Each Day a New Beginning
The beauty of loving someone is the feeling of "wholeness" that I experience. The need for that individual in my life, the "I'm part of you and you're part of me" feeling that connects two people and makes them necessary to each other.
  —Kathleen Andrus

All that is asked of us by our Creator is that we love one another. Where love doesn't flow easily, perhaps we can just decide to not hurt someone. If we each avoided hurting all people, for just one day, lives would be transformed. We'd each see the world with a fresh perspective.

The more we love others, any others, the deeper our love will grow for all others. Loving lifts our hearts and lightens our burdens. Every day's tribulations can become triumphs when we carry love in our hearts. Love fills us up, and the more we share it, the fuller we become.

We are connected--each of us to one another, all of us together. Our contributions to the whole are necessary. Its completion is made perfect by our presence.

As I pass a friend today, I will be grateful for her contribution to my wholeness, too. 

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


Food for Thought
God Cares

It may be hard to believe that the Power of the universe is concerned with everything we do, including how and what we eat. The awareness that God does indeed care about the minute details of our daily existence comes to us as we see evidence of that care. When we turn to Him and trust His support, we see that our lives go more smoothly.

When we are relying on our Higher Power for the little things as well as the big ones, our timing improves. We are at the right place at the right time. We do not waste energy trying to do what we are not meant to do. The way opens up in front of us and we pass through difficulties unscathed.

We can believe that God is concerned with our recovery from compulsive overeating. He is health and wholeness, and we are made in His image. All that prevents us from receiving His healing care is our ignorance and self-will. Through this program we learn how to accept God's care.

We are grateful for the knowledge that You care. 

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


The Language of Letting Go

One day, I decided to try something new. I took my ten-year-old son out on the St. Croix River on a Waverunner. A Waverunner is a small boating vehicle resembling a motorcycle.

We donned life jackets and embarked on an experience that turned out to be both exhilarating and frightening; exhilarating when I let myself enjoy it; frightening when I thought too much about what I was doing and all the terrible things that could happen.

Midway though our ride, my worst fear came true. We took a spill. We were floundering in thirty feet of water. The Waverunner was bobbing on the waves in front of me, like a motorized turtle on it back.

"Don't panic," my son said calmly.

"What if we drown?" I objected.

"We can't," he said. "We have life jackets on. See! We're floating."

"The machine is upside down," I said. "How are we going to turn it over?"

"Just like the man said," my son answered. "The arrow points this way."

With an easy gesture, we turned the machine right side up. "What if we can't climb back on?" I asked.

"We can," my son replied. "That's what Waverunners were made for: climbing on in the water."

I relaxed and as we drove off, I wondered why I had become so frightened. I thought maybe it's because I don't trust my ability to solve problems. Maybe it's because once I almost drowned when I wasn't wearing a life jacket.

But you didn't drown then either; a small voice inside reassured me. You survived.

Don't panic.

Problems were made to be solved. Life was made to be lived. Although sometimes we may be in over our heads - yes, we may even go under for a few moments and gulp a few mouthfuls of water, we won't drown. We're wearing - and always have been wearing - a life jacket. That support jacket is called "God."

Today, I will remember to take care of myself. When I get in over my head, God is there supporting me - even when my fears try to make me forget. 

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


Today's thought from Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is:

Live big!
--Brady Michaels

Sometimes, that's the best advice we can hear. Win or lose succeed or fail, go for it, and go all the way. As my flight instructor told me on the first day of flying lessons, "Keep one hand on the throttle and one hand on the yoke." "Aahhhhh!" I would say during my early lessons as the plane lifted into the air, but I kept the throttle pushed all the way in.

There are times when it's wise to be cautious. And there are times when the best thing we can do - the only thing we can do - is go for it by living big. Ask her out. Request the raise. Say no - and mean it. Learn to drive a racecar or climb a tall hill. Learn to snorkel or surf. Dreams remain dreams until you act upon them. Then they become real life.

Will you throw a few coins into the beggar's cup, or will you bring him a hamburger and fries from the local fast-food place? Will you do an average job at work, or will you look for ways to go big - really give it your best - in the everyday areas of your job? Will you put your all - your heart and emotions - into the relationship with the people you love? Will you wait for another, more convenient time to pray, or will you start genuinely trusting God?

You don't have to get a life. You've already got one. Live it, and live big.

God, help me let go of my fear and timidity, and learn to live big.
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