Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Daily Recovery Readings: September 30th

Recovery Meditations:  September 30th


“A single sunbeam is enough
to drive away many shadows.”
St. Francis of Assisi

There are many tools I use to maintain my abstinence, but none of them is as important to me as service. I do a lot of service, but it’s not for fame or glory: I do service in order to keep my program strong. I came into program for the first time back in college, and got there only because someone offered to give me a ride.

When we first walk into these rooms, we often feel lost and alone in the dark world of addiction. But at that very first meeting we hear people talk about their experience and strength, and a small glow of light comes into our view. All it takes is that "single sunbeam" and we have hope again and our world seems brighter.

As we keep coming back and working the Steps, we encounter lots of different sunbeams, and slowly the shadows in our lives are cast away and the world becomes bright again. It is then our responsibility to let our own light shine. One of the beauties of this program is that everyone can find a way to give service. Whether it be on the group or Intergroup level, whether by sponsoring or just making a call, whether by serving as secretary, treasurer, or just by helping to put chairs away after a meeting, there is a job for everyone.
No one should feel "unimportant." I’m sure that the lady who gave me a ride to my first few meetings didn’t feel like she was doing anything special, but she was the first sunbeam in my life. All these years later, her act of giving has ignited in me a burning desire to give back to others the miracle of this program.

One Day at a Time . . .
I will be unafraid to let my light shine.
Any act of service that I can give will not only help another, but will ensure that my own light does not burn out.

~ Laurel


Each Day A New Beginning


Birds sing after a storm; why shouldn't people feel as free to delight in whatever remains to them?
  —Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy

We choose the lives we lead. We choose sadness or happiness; success for failure; dread or excited anticipation. Whether or not we are conscious of our choices, we are making them every moment.

Accepting full responsibility for our actions is one of the requirements of maturity. Not always the easiest thing to do, but necessary to our further development. An unexpected benefit of accepting our responsibility is that it heightens our awareness of personal power. Our well being is within our power. Happiness is within our power. Our attitude about any condition, present or future, is within our power, if we take it.

Life is "doing unto us" only what we allow. And it will favor us with whatever we choose. If we look for excitement, we'll find it. We can search out the positive in any experience. All situations present seeds of new understanding, if we are open to them. Our responses to the events around us determine whatever meaning life offers. We are in control of our outlook. And our outlook decides our future.

This day is mine, fully, to delight in - or to dread. The decision is always mine.

Food For Thought


When our vision was clouded by self-will, our perspective was narrow and subjective. We saw people and events only as they fostered or frustrated our egotistical concerns. The world was a frightening place, since we thought that our welfare was entirely dependent on our own efforts.

Coming to believe in a Higher Power gives us a new, broader perspective. We learn the security of trusting eternal values and moral principles. When we pray only for knowledge of God's will for us and the power to carry that out, we begin to see ourselves as serving rather than surviving. Particular acts may or may not be successful from our point of view, but we can move on in confidence, knowing that our past, present, and future is in His hands.

The new perspective, which comes to us as we work the OA program, enables us to accept defeats as well as successes and irritations as well as satisfactions. All experience is for our growth and development.

Create in us a new perspective.

 The Language of Letting Go

Not a Victim

You are not a victim.

How deeply ingrained our self-image as a victim can be! How habitual our feelings of misery and helplessness! Victimization can be like a gray cloak that surrounds us, both attracting that which will victimize us and causing us to generate the feelings of victimization.

Victimization can be so habitual that we may feel victimized even by the good things that happen to us!

Got a new car? Yes, we sigh, but it doesn't run as well as I expected, and after all, it cost so much. . . .

You've got such a nice family! Yes, we sigh, but there are problems. And we've had such hard times. . . .

Well, your career certainly is going well! Ah, we sigh, but there is such a price to pay for success. All that extra paperwork. . . .

I have learned that, if we set our mind to it, we have an incredible, almost awesome ability to find misery in any situation, even the most wonderful of circumstances.

Shoulders bent, head down, we shuffle through life taking our blows.

Be done with it. Take off the gray cloak of despair, negativity, and victimization. Hurl it; let it blow away in the wind.

We are not victims. We may have been victimized. We may have allowed ourselves to be victimized. We may have sought out, created, or re created situations that victimized us. But we are not victims.

We can stand in our power. We do not have to allow ourselves to be victimized. We do not have to let others victimize us. We do not have to seek out misery in either the most miserable or the best situations.

We are free to stand in the glow of self-responsibility.

Set a boundary! Deal with the anger! Tell someone no, or stop that! Walk away from a relationship! Ask for what you need! Make choices and take responsibility for them. Explore options. Give yourself what you need! Stand up straight, head up, and claim your power. Claim responsibility for yourself!

And learn to enjoy what's good.

Today, I will refuse to think, talk, speak, or act like a victim. Instead, I will joyfully claim responsibility for myself and focus on what's good and right in my life.

Today's thought from Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is:

...praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
-- Second half of Step Eleven

Step Eleven teaches us how to pray. We pray for God's will to replace ours. Our will got us in trouble. God's will guides us to simple serenity. We pray for power to live a spiritual life. This is important, for it takes much strength and courage to live a spiritual life.

The sober path is not always easy. It takes self-discipline. We have to say no to our self-will. We follow God's will for us. The rewards are great. We get sobriety. We get serenity. We get friendship. We regain our family. We get a deep, loving relationship with a Higher Power who wants peace and joy for us and for the world.

Prayer for the Day

Dear Higher Power, I pray the words of Step Eleven. I pray to know Your will for me. And I pray that I have the power to carry out Your will.

Action for the Day

I will examine my life. I will look to see how my will gets in the way of God's will.
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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Daily Recovery Readings: September 29th

Recovery Meditations:  September 29th


“Take my hand, and no matter how dark the night,
the light of day will come, and we will share the tomorrow.”

Ken Grant

When we first walk into our recovery rooms, we are all afraid: afraid of more rejection, afraid of more failure, and afraid of more loneliness. Once we sit and listen, we realize that we are not much different than the other people there. We ease up, start sharing, begin trusting our Higher Power and ourselves more.

Our darkness of the past is drawn out by our sharing with other addicts. We realize our deep, dark secrets are not as bad as we thought.

We are not alone! Then hand-in-hand, we begin climbing the ladder of recovery and the light of day begins to shine brighter and brighter.

One Day at a Time . . .
When we let our guard down and let Higher Power
and other people in, we learn that at the end of a
dark day is the light of our next today. We learn
that together we can do what we can never do alone.

~ Jeanette

Each Day A New Beginning


Female friendships that work are relationships in which women help each other to belong to themselves.
  —Louise Bernikow

To have anything worth giving to a friend, we must belong to ourselves. Are we someone we like? Does our behavior agree with our beliefs? Do our friends share our values, and when we are together do we support one another?

If we don't like our own company, we will try to hide our real selves. The more we hide, the further we are running from wholeness and health. We can assess ourselves, calmly and lovingly, so that we can keep on becoming the women we want to be. The more congruent are our behavior and our beliefs, the more we belong to ourselves. The better we like ourselves, the better friends we can be.

The love and sympathy of my women friends can help me in my spiritual journey toward serenity, and I can help theirs. Today, I will accompany others on their journey, and thus find company for my own.

Food for Thought

The Satisfaction of Work

Using our God-given talents and abilities to do the work He assigns us brings deep satisfaction. Many of us used to eat a lot of "idle bread" which we did not need. Now that we are eating less, we find that we derive satisfaction from working more.

Work is an opportunity to give away the gifts we are given. It is sharing which requires effort and discipline. If we do not work up to our maximum level of ability, our satisfaction is reduced. As we give away our gifts, we are given more.

Maintaining abstinence improves the quality of our work and increases our output. Instead of doing just enough to get by, we are challenged to give the best that we have. Abstaining from compulsive overeating can give us the courage and confidence to change jobs when necessary.

When we are emotionally upset, turning to a task, which absorbs us physically or mentally, or both can have a healing effect. Rather than a curse, work can be a blessing, especially when we realize that ultimately we are working with and for our Higher Power.

We give thanks for the satisfaction of work.

The Language of Letting Go

The Importance of Money

We cannot afford to allow our focus in life to be money. That will not lead us into the abundance we're seeking. Usually, it will not even lead to financial stability.

Money is important. We deserve to be paid what we're worth. We will be paid what we're worth when we believe we deserve to be. But often your plans fail when our primary consideration is money.

What do we really want to do? What do we feel led to do? What are our instincts telling us? What do we feel guided to do? What are we excited about doing? Seek to find a way to do that, without worrying about the money.

Consider the financial aspects. Set boundaries about what you need to be paid. Be reasonable. Expect to start at the bottom, and work up. But if you feel led toward a job, go for it.

Is there something we truly don't want to do, something that goes against our grain, but we are trying to force ourselves into it "for the money?" Usually, that's a behavior that backfires. It doesn't work. We make ourselves miserable, and the money usually goes wrong too.

I have learned that when I am true to myself about work and what I need to be doing, the money will follow. Sometimes it's not as much as I want; sometimes I'm pleasantly surprised, and it's more. But I'm content, and I have enough.

Money is a consideration, but it cannot be our primary consideration if we are seeking spiritual security and peace of mind.

Today, I will make money a consideration, but I will not allow it to become my primary consideration. God, help me be true to myself and trust that the money will follow.

Today's thought from Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is:

To love is to place our happiness in the happiness of another.
--G. Wilhelm Leibniz

To desire personal happiness is normal and healthy. Most of our plans, choices, and dreams about the present and future regarding jobs, relationships, and hoped-for achievements are geared to make us happy. It's never wrong to want happiness; however, to receive it at someone else's expense or to selfishly steal it from another will result in sorrow. And our greatest happiness will visit us when we least expect it - when we are attentively seeing to another's happiness.

Doing for others - perhaps shopping for a friend who is ill or aged, maybe offering child care to an overworked parent, or cooking a surprise meal for a lonely neighbor - will never fail to heighten our own pleasure.
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Monday, September 28, 2015

Daily Recovery Readings: September 28th

Recovery Meditations:  September 28th


“Those who have learned by experience
what physical and emotional pain and anguish mean
are a community all over the world…
One and all, they know the longing to be free from pain.”
Albert Schweitzer

Whether we isolate or are on the go constantly, whether we're in the disease or out of it, whether we've found all the Promises or we haven't, we are bonded for a lifetime by the disease of our addiction.

I was alone until I found other compulsive eaters. Yes, I had a family and friends and relatives and doctors and church and careers, but I was emotionally alone with this intricate, enigmatic, hellhole of a disease. The moment I met and connected with other compulsive eaters, my "real" life began.

One Day at a Time . . .
I share what I have learned with those who haven't.
I give what I have to give, and I get so much more.

~ Mari


 Each Day A New Beginning


I can honestly say that I was never affected by the question of the success of an undertaking. If I felt it was the right thing to do, I was for it regardless of the possible outcome.
  —Golda Meir

Living a principled life is what the inner self desires. It's what God desires. And it's what the healthier ego desires. Living the program's principles is giving each of us practice in living a principled life, one that is free of guilt for our shortcomings.

Having principles assures direction. We need not ponder long how to proceed in any situation, what decision to make regarding any matter, when we are guided by principles. They offer us completeness. They help us define who we are and who we will be, in any turn of events.

As women, particularly as recovering women, we have struggled with self-definition. Often we were as others defined us, or we merely imitated those close by. Sometimes we may slip into old behavior and lose sight of who we are and how we want to live. It's then that the program's principles come immediately to our aid.

There is no doubt about how today should be lived. I will do it with confidence and joy.

Food For Thought

My Own Body

My body is where I live. Its size and shape is a matter between my Higher Power and me. No one else is responsible for my body. In the past, I may have permitted other people to influence what I ate and how much I weighed, but I now take full responsibility.

Other people may think that I am too fat or too thin, but that is their problem, not mine. I am learning what my body needs in order to operate at peak efficiency. I am learning to avoid the foods which I do not handle well. What and how much I eat depends on my own preference and the requirements of my metabolism.

My body is a gift to me from my Higher Power. Maintaining it in the best possible condition is my response to God's gift. No one else can tell me how best to maintain my body, since no one else is living in it or receives its inner signals. If I honestly interpret the signals, which come from my body, I will stay abstinent and healthy.

Thank You for my body.

The Language of Letting Go


Here are some of my favorite prayers:

Help. Please. Don't.
Show me. Guide me. Change me.
Are you there?
Why'd you do that?
Thank you.

Today, I will tell God what I want to tell God, and listen for God's answer. I will remember that I can trust God. 

Today's thought from Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is:

Every time I get worried about something I say my prayers more.
--Jim Burns

Whether we grew up in religious families or not, most of us seek help from some Greater Power when we're faced with terrifying situations. Often it's at an unconscious level that we ask for extra help. But the fact that we do elicit strength from some source comforts us, and this enables us to walk through the experience that appears so daunting.

We never outgrow the need for strength and comfort. That's good news. It's too awesome to think that we need to know all now, to understand how every detail of living should unfold. It's quite enough to limit our focus on the details of the next 24 hours.

Let's be vigilant about our search for guidance and comfort. And let's not forget that we have to listen for the response. If our minds are filled with worrying, there will be no space for the answers to enter.

Praying for solutions or comfort or just a moment of peace will change my perspective today. When my perspective changes, so do my experiences.
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Sunday, September 27, 2015

Daily Recovery Readings: September 27th

Recovery Meditations:  September 27th


“Patience and perseverance have a magical effect
before which difficulties and obstacles vanish.”

John Quincy Adams

When I first walked through the meeting doors, I wanted recovery and I wanted it now! Give me the magic wand, I’ll wave it, then get on with my life. At least that’s what I thought.

One of the most difficult things I’ve had to learn is the art of patience and allowing God to work within his own time while I do the footwork to the best of my ability. It is my belief that the universe and my Higher Power will order the next level of my physical recovery. Physical recovery does not grow without spiritual progress. This Program is a journey, not a crash-course in fad dieting.

When I struggled with bouts of pride connected to my levels of patience and God’s timing, I knew I was uncovering yet another character flaw that could delay my spiritual recovery. Spiritual recovery, as “Old-timers” have told us again and again, is the actual foundation of the program. The inner-person will eventually make its way to the outer-person.

One day at a time...
Today I will slow down, take a deep breath, and just remind myself that my Higher Power is in control and that my natural pattern will develop under His nurture, care, and control.

~ January


Each Day A New Beginning


The wisdom of all ages and cultures emphasizes the tremendous power our thoughts have over our character and circumstances.
  —Liane Cordes

"As we think, so we are." We are gifted with the personal power to make thoughtful choices and thus decide whom we are. Our actions and choices combine to create our character, and our character influences the circumstances of our lives.

Our personal mind power will work to our advantage when we think positively, or it will contribute to our disadvantage. Imagining our good fortunes will prepare us for them. Imagining the successful completion of a task heightens and strengthens the commitment we must make daily to it. Imagining the steps necessary to the successful accomplishment of any goal directs our efforts so we don't falter along the way. Our minds work powerfully for our good. And just as powerfully to our detriment, when fears intrude on all our thoughts.

The program has given me positive personal power; it lies in the relationship I have with my higher power. My outlook and attitude toward life reveals the strength of my connection to God. I will work with God and imagine my good fortune today.

Food For Thought

We Admit

Three of the Twelve Steps have to do with admitting. We admit that we are powerless over food and cannot manage our own lives; we admit our wrongs to God, ourselves, and another person; we continue to take inventory and admit when we are wrong.

Out of honest admission of our weakness comes strength. We are able to see ourselves realistically and with clarity. When we are humble enough to admit our wrongs, we get rid of the false front we had tried to maintain. This frees us to be who we are, without pretense.

When we admit our faults, we are cleansed. We no longer have to try to hide and cover up our weaknesses and mistakes. Instead of pretending to be perfect, we can be human and satisfied with progress.

We admit that we have a progressive disease, and we learn how to control it. We do not pretend to ourselves or others that we can eat like everyone else, because we are compulsive overeaters. We cannot manage our own lives, but there is One who can.

I admit that I am powerless, and I am grateful for Your Power in my life.

The Language of Letting Go

Temporary Setbacks

Sometimes, after we begin recovery, things in our life seem to get worse for a time. Our finances, our relationships, or our health may seem to deteriorate.

This is temporary; this is a normal part of recovery and healing. It may be the way things will be for a time, but not for long.

Keep working at recovery, and the trend will reverse. Before too long, things, and us, will be better than they were before. This time, the foundation will be solid.

God, help me trust You and recovery, even when I have setbacks. Help me remember that the problems are temporary, and when they are solved, I will be on more solid ground.

Today's thought from Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is:

Everyday . . . life confronts us with new problems to be solved which force us to adjust our old programs accordingly.
--Dr. Ann Faraday

Facing the day straight on is occasionally difficult to do. There are those days we feel like crawling under the covers and staying there, certain that we can't handle whatever might be asked of us. Maybe today is one of those days. Perhaps we feel 12 years old, instead of 42. To consciously behave like a responsible 42-year-old is out of the question. Acting "as if" is the next best thing, the program tells us, and it is.

Acting "as if" also comes in handy when only a minor kink interferes with the day's progression. Most problems don't fit an easy solution or a familiar one. However, most problems are dispensed with by seeing them as opportunities for creative response, calmly seeking guidance and then moving ahead slowly, being aware of the effects of our actions.

Today, and every day, I will have an opportunity to think creatively and to rely on my inner guide. Instead of dreading the unfamiliar, I will be glad for it. It's moving me ever closer to understanding life's mysteries.
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