Sunday, January 31, 2016

Daily Recovery Readings: January 31st

Recovery Meditations: January 31st

Do not be anxious for tomorrow;
for tomorrow will care for itself.

The Bible, book of Matthew

I've spent too much of my life worrying about the future. This was especially true with every diet I was ever on. I was always concerned about how much weight I was going to be able to lose in a certain amount of time. I always thought about tomorrow and what tomorrow would bring instead of staying in the present. 

Today, my Higher Power is teaching me to keep my eyes on Him instead of on the calendar. I am more successful and more at peace when I remain in the present and follow my Higher Power's will.
One day at a time . . .
I will keep my thoughts in the present, for my Higher Power will take care of tomorrow.


Each Day A New Beginning

Woman must not accept; she must challenge. She must not be awed by that which has been built up around her; she must reverence that woman in her which struggles for expression.
  —Margaret Sanger

Our desire to grow, to make a place for ourselves in the world of our friends, to know that we have counted in the lives of others, is healthy and necessary to our existence as whole women. The inner urging to move ahead, to try a new approach to an old problem, to go after a new job, to learn a new skill, is evidence of God's eternal Spirit within.

Our meaning in this life is found through following the guidance that beckons us toward these new horizons, perhaps new friends, even new locations. We can trust the urge. We can reverence the urge. It will not lead us astray, provided we do not try to lead it. We each have a special gift to express in this life among those to whom we've been led.

For years, many of us quelled the inner urge out of fear; but, fortunately, it didn't desert us. To be human is to have a constant desire to be more than we are. The fears still come, but as we move through them, with the support of other women, other friends, the program gives us the thrill of achievement. We know there is meaning in our existence.

The need to grow, to change, to affect the world around us is part of God's plan for each of us. I will trust the urge; I will let it guide my steps.

Food For Thought

Don't Be a Garbage Can

A garbage can is round and unprotesting as it accepts the leftovers which are stuffed into it. How many times have you treated yourself as a garbage can? As we stood up at the sink scraping what was left on the plates into ourselves, we rationalized that we just couldn't bear to waste good food. Why did we not remember the harm we were doing to our own bodies? "Is not the body more than food?" Certainly, it is more than a garbage can.

One way to eliminate waste is to prepare only what is needed for the meal. Sometimes we compulsive overeaters catch ourselves unconsciously overestimating quantities just so there will be something left to tempt us! Another way to avoid throwing out useable food is to keep a bowl in the refrigerator or freezer for scraps which can later be made into soup. We all know how to store complete servings for later use. It is the little bits here and there that get us into trouble.

If there is nothing that can be done with what is left in the bottom of the pan, then throw it away. Better to waste a small amount of food than to break abstinence, which is the most important thing in our lives.

Teach me to value my body more than food.

The Language of Letting Go

Asking for What We Need

One evening, I was alone, weary, and exhausted. I was in the midst of extensive traveling, disconnected from friends and family. I had flown home for the evening, but it seemed like nobody noticed. People were used to me being gone.

It was late at night, and I began arguing with God.

"I'm out there working hard. I'm lonely. I need to know someone cares. You've told me to tell you what I need and tonight, God, I particularly need the presence of male energy. I need a friend, someone I can trust to care about me in a nonsexual, nonexploitive way. I need to be held. Now, where are you?"

I lay down on the couch and closed my eyes. I was too tired to do anything but let go.

The telephone rang minutes later. It was a former colleague who had since become my friend. "Hey, kid," he said. "You sound really tired and needy. Stay right where you are. I'm going to drive out and give you a foot rub. It sounds exactly like what you need."

Half an hour later, he knocked on my door. He brought a small bottle of oil with him, and gently massaged my feet, gave me a hug, told me how much he cared about me, then left.

I smiled. I had received exactly what I asked for.

It is safe to trust God.

Today, I will remember God cares about what I need, especially if I do.

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

Believe more deeply. Hold your face up to the light, even though for the moment you do not see.
--Bill Wilson

At times, despair, sadness, and hopelessness fill us. None of us will get out of this world without experiencing tragedy. At these times, we turn to our Higher Power and the spiritual principles as guides. At these times, especially, we turn to the fellowship. We are here to help each other, comfort each other, and offer sanctuary to each other. We are to be each other’s gifts.

During our active addiction, when troubles came, we turned inward, pretending everything was okay. We acted as if we needed no one – mainly because we trusted no one. We were surrounded by darkness, inside and out. Recovery teaches us to trust in the “Light,” to believe it is there even when we can’t see it. It may be as close as our next meeting or a phone call to our sponsor. In this, we must believe deeply.

Prayer for the Day

Higher Power, I look to You when I can’t see. Show me the Light. I look to You for the guidance I cannot give myself. Show me the way and give me hope. Higher Power, thank You!

Today's Action

Today I will remember a time during my active addiction when I felt hopeless. I will reflect on what I learned from this and share my thoughts with a recovery friend.
You are reading from the book:

Friday, January 29, 2016

Daily Recovery Readings: January 29th

Recovery Meditations: January 29th

Thankfulness is the beginning of gratitude.
Gratitude is the completion of thankfulness.
Thankfulness may consist merely of words.
Gratitude is shown in acts.

David O. McKay

All the good I have ever been given in life, both before recovery and in recovery, has come from God. Even the ability to learn lessons from the bad has been one of His many gifts to me. I make gratitude lists and offer prayers of thanksgiving, but that is only the beginning. I only express true gratitude by sharing with others. I share it as experience, strength and hope at meetings. I share it by reaching out my hand to the compulsive overeater behind me and sponsoring them or befriending them. I share it by living a life that shows evidence of the realization of all that God has given me. I can only truly express my gratitude through action. 

One day at a time... I will show my true gratitude by giving away to others what God has so freely given to me.
~ Vicki B. ~

Each Day A New Beginning

"I can't help it" . . . that's what we all say when we don't want to exert ourselves.
  —Eva Lathbury

Irresponsible behavior is not unfamiliar to us. Passivity is equally familiar. In the past, excusing ourselves of all responsibility prevented us from being blamed. We have learned that it also prevented us from feeling worthy, from fulfilling our potential, from feeling the excitement that comes with achievement.

Our fear of failure helped us to be irresponsible. We may still fear failure, but the program offers us an antidote. We can't fail if we have turned our lives over to our higher power. We will be shown the way to proceed. Our fellow travelers have messages for us that will smooth our path.

I have chosen recovery. I have already said, "I can help it." I will celebrate that I am taking responsibility for my life today.

Food For Thought

Love Has No Calories

Moving through the Twelve Steps develops new ability to love. When pride and guilt are reduced, we can relate more genuinely to those we care about. OA gives us tools, which we may use to escape the prison of self.

Our false defenses begin to crumble. As we learn to accept and love ourselves by the grace of God, we can reach out to others and give to them. Overeating destroys us; loving makes us strong. Growing in the program, we love more and give more. In return, we are given new joy and satisfaction.

Loving more may begin with the simple act of writing down the phone number of a fellow OA member and calling sometime during the week. It may mean taking five minutes to fully concentrate on what a child or a friend is trying to say. Food is no substitute for interpersonal relationships. We need to nurture the ones we have and build new ones as we become less dependent on eating and more committed to loving.

Teach me Your love, dear God.

The Language of Letting Go

Going to Meetings

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 one or two 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 two 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.

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

One cannot have wisdom without living life.
--Dorothy McCall

Understanding circumstances, other people, even ourselves, comes with the passage of time and our willingness to be open to all the lessons contained within a moment. We must be willing to participate fully in the events that have requested our attendance. Then we can discover the longed-for clarity about life and our role in it. Immersion in the moment accompanied by reflective quiet times promises a perspective that offers us wisdom.

We all long for happiness, an easier life, and wisdom. We learn so slowly that both happiness and the easier life are generally matters of attitude. Therein lies our sought-after wisdom. How much simpler it makes living through even our most feared experiences when we have acquired the wisdom to know that the mind we carry into the moment, any moment, will be reflected in the outcome.

It takes patience and willingness to live fully enough to reap the benefits that accompany wisdom.
You are reading from the book:

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Daily Recovery Readings: January 28th

 Twenty-Four Hours A Day

Thought for the Day

What a load hangovers put on your shoulders! What terrible physical punishment we've all been through. The pounding headaches and jumpy nerves, the shakes and the jitters, the hot and cold sweats! When you come into A.A. and stop drinking, that terrible load of hangovers falls off your shoulders. What a load remorse puts on your shoulders! That terrible mental punishment we've all been through. Ashamed of the things you've said and done. Afraid to face people because of what they might think of you. Afraid of the consequences of what you did when you were drunk. What an awful beating the mind takes! When you come into A.A., that terrible load of remorse falls off your shoulders. Have I got rid of these loads of hangovers and remorse?

Meditation for the Day

When you seek to follow the way of the spirit, it frequently means a complete reversal of the way of the world, which you had previously followed. But it is a reversal that leads to happiness and peace. Do the aims and ambitions that a person usually strives for bring peace? Do the world's awards bring heart-rest and happiness? Or do they turn to ashes in the mouth?

Prayer for the Day

I pray that I may not be weary, disillusioned, or disappointed. I pray that I may not put my trust in the ways of the world, but in the way of the spirit.

Each Day A New Beginning

I think self-awareness is probably the most important thing towards being a champion.
  —Billie Jean King

Champions are made. How lucky we are to have the Steps to guide us to become champions. The program promises us self-awareness, but we have to put forth the effort. And the process isn't always easy. We have liabilities, all of us, and it's generally easier to see them than our assets. Self-awareness is recognizing both. To become a champion, whether as an athlete, a homemaker, a teacher, a secretary, or an attorney, is to maximize the assets and minimize the liabilities, but to accept the existence of both. The program that we share offers us daily opportunities to know ourselves, to help other women know themselves, and to strengthen our assets along the way. We can feel our assets growing, and it feels good. We can see our liabilities diminish, and it feels good. The program offers us a

I can strengthen my assets, first by knowing them, and then by emphasizing them repeatedly. I'll focus on one today.

Food For Thought

Blessed Are the Hungry

When we are sated and overly full of food, there is no room left for the spirit. We feel like taking a nap, rather than working productively or playing enjoyably. During our overeating careers, how many hours have we wasted in bed, sleeping off the effects of a binge?

To eat no more than is necessary is to maintain our minds and bodies in a state of alertness and readiness for action. To say no to the sugars and starches which throw our blood sugar out of balance is to keep our energy level on an even keel.

As we lose excess weight and get rid of debilitating fat, we will probably experience some periods of hunger. There is nothing wrong with being hungry. Often it is when we are hungry that we are most humble and ready to listen to our Higher Power.

To accept physical hunger with serenity is to be spiritually strong.

I pray that my hunger may bring me closer to You, Lord.

Today's Gift

It is such a secret place, the land of tears.
  —Antoine de St. Exupery

Where do tears come from? Perhaps each of us has a private well where the tears rise from. Each of us has our own landscape of events that have hurt us or given us joy. And so we have our own private responses to the world around us. Something may hurt one of us that would not hurt another. Like the oceans and rivers, sometimes our well of tears is flowing. We do not always understand all the forces affecting the oceans, or our well of tears. The kind of bucket that draws water from a well is solid and durable, and it lowers itself deep enough to find water. Good friends and family members are like that. It is comforting to share our private well with such people.

Who will I invite to drink from my well today?

The Language of Letting Go

Staying in the Present Moment

Often, one of our biggest questions is "What's going to happen?" We may ask this about our relationships, our career, our recovery, and our life. It is easy to tangle us up in worrisome thoughts.

Worrying about what's going to happen blocks us from functioning effectively today. It keeps us from doing our best now. It blocks us from learning and mastering today's lessons. Staying in the now, doing our best, and participating fully today are all we need to do to assure ourselves that what's going to happen tomorrow will be for the best.

Worrying about what's going to happen is a negative contribution to our future. Living in the here and now is ultimately the best thing we can do, not only for today, but also for tomorrow. It helps our relationships, our career, our recovery, and our life.

Things will work out, if we let them. If we must focus on the future other than to plan, all we need to do is affirm that it will be good.

I pray for faith that my future will be good if I live today well, and in peace. I will remember that staying in the present is the best thing I can do for my future. I will focus on what's happening now instead of what's going to happen tomorrow.


To perceive is to suffer.

As men in this program, we have given up our compulsive escapes from life. Our escapes may have been through dependent relationships with others, or with money, sex, food, drugs, work, or emotional binges. But now we are learning to live without them, and this has brought us in touch with our feelings. We feel more joy and more pain in recovery. Often the first feelings in recovery are painful or frightening.

We learn we can deal with life - all of it, a little at a time. We accept pain as part of life. Because of our escapes, our growing up was delayed. We didn't learn how to deal with our pain because we escaped into an anesthetic, a high, and a relief.

Our spiritual recovery program brings us together with other men and women who have pledged to set aside these escapes. Among the many rewards is a reawakening to all of life. No longer will we filter out the suffering because that, too, is part of being aware.

Today, I am thankful for all the life that I perceive and pray for the strength to meet the pain.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Daily Recovery Readings: January 27th

Recovery Meditations:  January 27th

We can try to avoid making choices by doing nothing ... 
but even that is a decision. 
Gary Collins, PhD.
Clinical psychologist and well-known author in the field of counseling

I can't recall if I ever learned that I had choices. I think it's something a person learns as they grow up, but in my home, it was pretty much Mom's way or the highway, and she had us all so scared of the highway that even THAT wasn't much of a choice!

Imagine my utter shock when I came into the Twelve Step rooms and heard I had choices! I was a married woman by that time, one who had gone along with what everyone else said about anything and everything, and the only choice I seemed to make was how much I'd binge that day, if I'd purge, or if I'd be anorexic. Even that choice wasn't in my hands, but in the hands of my disease.

In these recovery rooms I slowly learned about making choices and the responsibility that went with them. It's been a freedom. It's also allowed me to feel like an adult. As a young child I was put in the position of doing things only adults should be doing. So on one hand, I knew I had done things way before "my time." Yet I still felt immature and naive. Learning to make my own choices and decisions has helped me to feel more mature and confident.

One Day at a Time . . .
I will not fear making difficult decisions. I will remember I can use the principles of the program to help me make the proper choice.
~ Rhonda ~


Each Day A New Beginning

Surviving meant being born over and over.
—Erica Jong

We have decided to live. And each day we make the decision anew. Each time we call a friend, work a Step, or go to a meeting, we are renewing our contract with life. We are being reborn. Before coming to this program we died, emotionally and spiritually, many times. Some of us nearly died physically. But here we are, starting a new day, looking for guidance from one another. We are the survivors. And survival is there for the taking.

We will have days when we struggle with our decision to live. We will want to throw in the towel. We will want to give in or give up. But we've learned from one another about choices. And the choice to survive, knowing we never have to do it alone, gets easier with time.

I am one of the survivors. Today is my day for celebration.

Food For Thought

Enough Is a Feast

The frantic search for more and more has characterized many of our lives. We believed that if only we had more money, more clothes, more sex, more food, and more things - we would be happy and satisfied.

The more we consume, the more miserable we become. No amount of material things will satisfy our emotional and spiritual hunger. We learn to know our Higher Power, and we learn that He satisfies our need, not our greed. He feeds our hearts and our spirits with the abundance of His love, and when we are strengthened spiritually, physical control is possible.

Our measured food plan fills our bodily needs. The measured amount is enough. We accept it and become comfortable with it. More than that, we learn the truth of the ancient Zen saying that "Enough is a feast."

May I be content with enough instead of grasping for more.

The Language of Letting Go

Needing People

We can find the balance between needing people too much and not letting ourselves need anyone at all.

Many of us have unmet dependency needs lingering from the past. While we want others to fulfill our desire to be loved unconditionally, we may have chosen people who cannot, or will not, be there for us. Some of us are so needy from not being loved that we drive people away by needing them too much.

Some of us go to the other extreme. We may have become used to people not being there for us, so we push them away. We fight off our feelings of neediness by becoming overly independent, not allowing ourselves to need anyone. Some of us won't let people be there for us.

Either way, we are living out unfinished business. We deserve better. When we change, our circumstances will change.

If we are too needy, we respond to that by accepting the needy part of us. We let ourselves heal from the pain of past needs going unmet. We stop telling ourselves we're unlovable because we haven't been loved the way we wanted and needed.

If we have shut off the part of us that needs people, we become willing to open up, be vulnerable, and let ourselves be loved. We let ourselves have needs.

We will get the love we need and desire when we begin to believe we're lovable, and when we allow that to happen.

Today, I will strive for the balance between being too needy and not allowing myself to need people. I will let myself receive the love that is there for me.

Twenty-Four Hours A Day

Thought for the Day

Alcoholics carry an awful load around with them. What a load lying puts on your shoulders! Drinking makes liars out of all of us alcoholics. In order to get the liquor we want, we have to lie all the time. We have to lie about where we've been and what we've been doing. When you are lying you are only half alive because of the fear of being found out. When you come into A.A., and get honest with yourself and with other people, that terrible load of lying falls off your shoulders. Have I got rid of that load of lying?

Meditation for the Day

I believe that in the spiritual world, as in the material world, there is no empty space. As fears and worries and resentments depart out of my life, the things of the spirit come in to take their places. Calm comes after a storm. As soon as I am rid of fears and hates and selfishness, God's love and peace and calm can come in.

Prayer for the Day

I pray that I may rid myself of all fears and resentments, so that peace and serenity may take their place. I pray that I may sweep my life clean of evil, so that good may come in.

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

Gaining peace of mind

Even though many of us were certainly ready to take the First Step - to admit that we were addicts - we balked at taking the following eleven steps. We felt it would be ridiculous or too much work, or we denied the existence of a Higher Power.

When we started to hurt bad or began to reach for that first fix, pill, or drink, we woke up. We remembered and longed for the promise of peace of mind contained in those Steps. The PROMISE! Then we made a decision to work these Steps and to earn that promise.

Do I have peace of mind? Higher Power, the plan is up to You; the decision is up to me.

God help me to stay clean and sober today.
You are reading from the book:


Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Daily Recovery Readings: January 26th

Recovery Meditations:  January 26th

~ HOPE ~
In the hour of adversity be not without hope,
For crystal rain falls from black clouds.

Persian poem

When I was a child, I lived in a fantasy world and dreamed of all the wonderful things that would happen to me when I grew up. I would have a wonderful husband, beautiful children, a fulfilling job and, of course, I would be thin. Unfortunately the fantasy never materialized, and even when I did lose weight my life wasn't the perfect life that I had envisioned. I would lose weight and then promptly regain it. Life in general seemed so empty and futile. No matter how hard I tried, nothing seemed to work. I hated myself and my life; it often seemed pointless to go on.
When I walked into the doors of the first meeting I ever attended, there was something on the faces of the people I met there. I didn't know what it was at the time, but I saw something that I wanted. It wasn't that they were all thin, because many of them were not. So what was it that these people had that I didn't? What they had was the hope of recovery. If they were willing to reach out to a Higher Power of their understanding, and if they would work the program one day at a time, then this would guarantee them recovery.
I didn't know what recovery meant then. Because all I wanted was to lose weight, and because I wanted what they had, I was prepared to do what they were doing. I realized then that it wasn't only about the weight, although that does play a part. These people were learning how to live their life sanely, and even when they struggled with life, as we do from time to time, there was always the hope that they could get through those difficult times by using the tools and reaching out to others in the fellowship.
One Day at a Time . . .
Even when I am going through difficult times and the future looks gloomy, I have hope that it will get better if I'm willing to work a simple program.
~ Sharon S. ~

 Each Day A New Beginning

You've got to get up every morning with a smile on your face, And show the world all the love in your heart,
Then people gonna treat you better.
You're gonna find, yes, you will,
That you're beautiful, as you feel.
—Carole King

"Act as if." There's magic in behaving the way we want to be, even though we don't yet feel it. The behavior seems to lead the way. The attitude, the mental state, follows.

Many days we may not get up with love in our hearts for our family, our friends, our co-workers. We may, in fact, want them to show their love for us first. But if we reach out, give love unconditionally; focus on another's needs, love will return tenfold. And the act of loving them will lift our own spirits. We will know love; we will feel love for ourselves and the many other persons close to us.

The attitude we cultivate, whether one of love or selfishness, inferiority or superiority, will determine how the events of our lives affect us. The principle is so simple. If we meet life with love, with a smile, we'll find love and something to smile about.

My attitude will make this day what it becomes. Meeting it head-on, with love, will assure me of a lovely day.

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

Food For Thought

There is a saying in our group to the effect that if we fail to plan, we plan to fail. If we do not have a food plan each day, we leave ourselves vulnerable to the attack of impulse and old habit.

Most of us find that we need to write down our three measured meals. Many of us continue to call them in to a food sponsor, even after the initial twenty-one days of abstinence. We can then go about the activities of the day without worrying about what we will eat. We become free to live without being obsessed with food.

Our pride often balks at the thought of calling another person and asking for help. We do not like to be committed to an eating plan. Let's remember that we tried to go it alone our own way, and that old way did not work. Let's be willing to try a new way that has worked for hundreds of OA members who are now at normal weight.

By Thy Grace, Lord, may I follow my food plan today.


The Language of Letting Go

Off The Hook

We can learn not to get hooked into unhealthy, self-defeating behaviors in relationships - behaviors such as caretaking, controlling, discounting ourselves, and believing lies.

We can learn to watch for and identify hooks, and choose not to allow ourselves to be hooked.

Often, people do things consciously or without thinking that pulls us into a series of our self-defeating behaviors we call codependency. More often than not, these hooks can be almost deliberate, and the results predictable.

Someone may stand before us and hint or sigh about a problem, knowing or hoping that hint or sigh will hook us into taking care of him or her. That is manipulation.

When people stand around us and hint and sigh about something, then coyly say, "Oh, never mind, that's not for you to worry about," that's a game. We need to recognize it. We're about to get sucked in, if we allow that to happen.

We can learn to insist that people ask us directly for what they want and need.

What are the words, the signs, the looks, the hints, and the cues that hook us into a predictable and often self-defeating behavior?

What makes you feel sympathy? Guilt? Responsible for another?

Our strong point is that we care so much. Our weak point is that we often underestimate the people with whom we're dealing. They know what they're doing. It is time we give up our naive assumption that people don't follow agendas of their own in their best interest, and not necessarily in ours.

We also want to check ourselves out. Do we give out hooks, looks, hints, hoping to hook another? We need to insist that we behave in a direct and honest manner with others, instead of expecting them to rescue us.

If someone wants something from us, insist that the person ask us directly for it. Require the same from us. If someone baits the hook, we don't have to bite it.

Today, I will be aware of the hooks that snag me into the caretaking acts that leave me feeling victimized. I will ignore the hints, looks, and words that hook me, and wait for the directness and honesty others, and I deserve.


Twenty-Four Hours A Day

Thought for the Day

As we became alcoholics, the bad effects of drinking came more and more to outweigh the good effects. But the strange part of it is that, no matter what drinking did to us, loss of our health, our jobs, our money, and our homes, we still stuck to it and depended on it. Our dependence on drinking became an obsession. In A.A., we find a new outlook on life. We learn how to change from alcoholic thinking to sober thinking. And we find out that we can no longer depend on drinking for anything. We depend on a Higher Power instead. Have I entirely given up that dependence on drinking?

Meditation for the Day

I will try to keep my life calm and unruffled. This is my great task, to find peace and acquire serenity. I must not harbor disturbing thoughts. No matter what fears, worries, and resentments I may have, I must try to think of constructive things, until calmness comes. Only when I am calm can I act as a channel for God's spirit.

Prayer for the Day
I pray that I may build up instead of tearing down. I pray that I may be constructive and not destructive.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Daily Recovery Readings: January 25th

Recovery Meditations: January 25th

Dwell not on the past. Use it to illustrate a point, then leave it behind.
Nothing really matters except what you do now in this instant of time.

Eileen Caddy

As a child, teen, and young adult, I was sexually, emotionally, mentally and physically abused. I was neglected as well. By the time I was a young woman, the "abuse" was history, and I was left dealing with a very sick family. But I could not let go of my abused past!

The abuse became the topic of every conversation I had. Anything I saw on TV or read in a book or newspaper brought to mind the past. I awoke in the middle of the night to relive my childhood nightmares for a few hours before crying myself back to sleep. I spent entire days staring at the television, eating to numb myself from my pain and anger.

Eventually, I wanted more from my life. I became disgusted with myself and what my life had become. I was led to a Twelve Step group. There I learned how to let go of the past, to work through it, to make amends for my part in things, and to forgive those who abused me.

Today, when I discuss the abuse I suffered, which is seldom, I can do so without the anger and pain bubbling up. I can help others with my story, and then I can let it go. It is my history, but it's no longer ruling my present.

Like Thomas Raddall said, "Don't brood on what's past, but never forget it either." 

One Day at a Time . . .
I will make amends and forgive others, not for them, but for me. I pray to live in today, to make it the best day I can.
~ Rhonda ~

Each Day A New Beginning

The time of discipline began. Each of us the pupil of whichever one of us could best teach what each of us needed to learn.
—Maria Isabel Barreno

"When the pupil is ready, the teacher appears." Life's lessons often come unexpectedly. They come, nevertheless, and they come according to a timeframe that is Divine. As we grow emotionally and spiritually, we are readied for further lessons for which teachers will appear. Perhaps the teacher will be a loving relationship, a difficult loss, or a truant child. The time of learning is seldom free from pain and questioning. But from these experiences and what they can teach us, we are ready to learn. As we are ready, they come.

We all enjoy the easy times when the sailing is smooth, when all is well, when we are feeling no pain. And these periods serve a purpose. They shore us up for the lessons which carry us to a stronger recovery, to a stronger sense of ourselves. To understand that all is well, throughout the learning process, is the basic lesson we need to learn. All is well. The teacher is the guide up the next rung of the ladder.

Let me be grateful for my lessons today and know that all is well.

Food For Thought

Sharpening Our Tools

What we do each day is not as important as how we do it. If we are abstaining, working the program, and staying in touch with the Higher Power, then whatever we do during the day will go as it should.

When we get careless and sloppy with abstinence, neglect to use the tools of OA recovery, forget the Twelve Steps, then we may expect trouble. When we are out of touch with our Higher Power and our OA friends, then nothing seems to go as it should.

If you feel yourself becoming careless, then make that neglected phone call, read and re-read the literature, go to a meeting today. Listen within yourself for the quiet voice God uses to give you enthusiasm and direction.

We may each become God's tool if we keep ourselves in good working order through this program.

Make me an effective tool to do Your will.

 The Language of Letting Go

Step One

We admitted we were powerless over alcohol - that our lives had become unmanageable.
  —Step One of Al-Anon

There are many different versions of the First Step for recovering codependents. Some of us admit powerlessness over alcohol or another's alcoholism. Some of us admit powerlessness over people; some over the impact of growing up in an alcoholic family.

One of the most significant words in the First Step is the word we. We come together because of a common problem, and, in the coming together, we find a common solution.

Through the fellowship of Twelve Step programs, many of us discover that although we may have felt alone in our pain, others have experienced a similar suffering. And now many are joining hands in a similar recovery.

We. A significant part of recovery. A shared experience. A shared strength, stronger for the sharing. A shared hope - for better lives and relationships.

Today, I will be grateful for the many people across the world who call themselves "recovering codependents." Help me know that each time one of us takes a step forward, we pull the entire group forward.

Twenty-Four Hours A Day

Thought for the Day

We used to depend on drinking for a lot of things. We depended on drinking to help us enjoy things. It gave us a "kick." It broke down our shyness and helped us to have a "good time." We depended on drinking to help us when we felt low physically. If we had a toothache or just a hangover, we felt better after a few drinks. We depended on drinking to help us when we felt low mentally. If we'd had a tough day at work or if we'd had a fight with our husband or wife, or if things just seemed against us, we felt better under the influence of alcohol. For us alcoholics, it got so that we depended on drinking for almost every thing. Have I got over that dependence on drinking?

Meditation for the Day

I believe that complete surrender of my life to God is the foundation of serenity. God has prepared for us many mansions. I do not look upon that promise as referring only to the after-life. I do not look upon this life as something to be struggled through, in order to get the rewards of the next life. I believe that the Kingdom of God is within us and we can enjoy "eternal life" here and now.

Prayer for the Day

I pray that I may try to do God's will. I pray that such understanding, insight, and vision shall be mine as shall make my life eternal, here and now.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Daily Recovery Readings: January 24th

Recovery Meditations:  January 24th

Attitude is more important than the past, than education, than money,
than circumstances, than what people do or say.
It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill.

Charles Swindoll

I can't remember ever having a consistently good attitude. When I was younger, I usually wore a mask of a good attitude, so many people were attracted to the mask but not to the real me, and I knew it. It didn't help my attitude grow more positive. 

Coming into the Twelve Step program, my attitude was all negative. My theory was that if I expected the worst from everyone and everything, if by chance I got something better, I could be pleasantly surprised. This makes me laugh now. With that attitude, would ANYTHING ever be considered good enough to "pleasantly surprise" me? No, and it didn't. I ignored the many good things that happened--or I created a dark side to them. 

In a meeting, I once heard that positives attract positives, and negatives attract negatives. This has stuck with me for years. It might be a scientific thing, but for me it refers to attitude. When I make the choice to be in a bad mood, I struggle through the day. Nothing seems to go right, and if it does, I don't notice it or appreciate it. When I make the simple choice to be in a good mood despite whatever problems I'm facing, good things happen to me. People smile back, elevating my mood. I can find humor in things around me. The sun is shining even on a rainy day. It's all up to me. 

One Day at a Time . . .
I will make the choice to be happy for just today. I will look for the good in myself, in others and in the situations around me. I will keep my attitude positive.
~ Rhonda ~

Each Day A New Beginning

I look in the mirror through the eyes of the child that was me.
—Judy Collins

The child within each of us is fragile, but very much alive, and she interprets our experiences before we are even conscious of them. It is our child who may fear new places, unfamiliar people, strange situations. Our child needs nurturing, the kind she may not have received in the past. We can take her hand, coax her along, let her know she won't be abandoned. No new place, unfamiliar person, or strange situation need overwhelm her.

It's quite amazing the strength that comes to us when we nurture ourselves, when we acknowledge the scared child within and hold her, making her secure. We face nothing alone. Together, we can face anything.

I will take care of my child today and won't abandon her to face, alone, any of the experiences the day may bring.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Daily Recovery Readings: January 23rd

Recovery Meditations:  January 23rd

To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, be nothing.
Elbert Hubbard

For so many years, I thought I was the only kid who had been raised with criticism. Fear of criticism is one of the reasons I walked on eggshells at home. I learned to fear success in anything and everything. If I could only be "middle of the road," maybe no one would notice me and I wouldn't have to deal with criticism. I did what I had to do to survive. 

As I grew older, I received constructive criticism by wise people, but sadly, I didn't know how to utilize such a gift. It hurt me, and I turned away from well-meaning people. I rebelled against their advice. 

The program has taught me that all criticism is not bad. I never thought a day would come where I was comfortable with it. I recently took a correspondence course to help me with my work, and naturally the instructor had to critique my work. I worried about that before I took the course. In fact, I'd wanted to take that class for years, but had not been able to handle the cold fear that stabbed at me when I looked at the application. I finished the class last month. There was much criticism to help me to learn, and I didn't shrink from it. I learned from it. It's all in the attitude. 

One Day at a Time . . .
I will pray to remember I have choices. I will pray to keep my attitude in a good place so that I might see all the opportunities available to me.
~ Rhonda ~


Each Day A New Beginning

She had trouble defining herself independently of her husband, tried to talk to him about it, but he said nonsense, he had no trouble defining her at all.
—Cynthia Propper Seton

To recover means to learn who we are, independent of friends, children, parents, or intimate partners. It means knowing how we want to spend our time, what books we like to read, what hobbies interest us, what our favorite foods are. It means understanding self-direction. It means charting a daily personal course and staying on it. It means defining our responsibilities and carrying them out.

Having an independent identity does not preclude depending on others for certain needs. Perhaps we revel in massage--both getting and giving. Maybe we share the expenses of a household or the responsibilities of raising children. Depending on others to meet their responsibilities does not negate our independent identity; it strengthens it. We choose where and when to be dependent. Healthy dependency complements healthy independence.

Recovery is giving me options. Each day gives me new opportunities.

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


Food For Thought


Working the Steps

The OA program operates on three levels. Abstaining from compulsive overeating takes care of the physical aspect of our disease. For our emotional and spiritual health, we need to work the Twelve Steps.

In each of us, there is a need and desire to grow spiritually. At first, we may not acknowledge this need, but as our physical illness improves and our emotions begin to stabilize, we become aware of inner urgings and promptings that can come only from our Higher Power. If we set aside time each day to listen to this inner voice, we facilitate our spiritual growth.

Working the Steps requires that we be as honest as possible with ourselves at each stage of our development. A program sponsor who has walked the way before us is an invaluable aid. Above all, we must desire to grow. We have spent much of our lives overgrowing physically. Now is the time to catch up emotionally and spiritually. If we make a sincere beginning, our Higher Power will lead us through each Step as we become ready to take it.

Lead me, Lord, and bless my work.


 The Language of Letting Go

New Energy Coming

Fun becomes fun, love becomes love, and life becomes worth living. And we become grateful.
  —Beyond Codependency

There is a new energy, a new feeling coming into our life. We cannot base our expectations about how we will feel tomorrow, or even a few hours from now, on how we feel at this moment.

There are no two moments in time alike. We are recovering. We are changing. Our life is changing. At times, things haven't worked out the way we wanted. We had lessons to learn. The future shall not be like the past.

The truly difficult times are almost over. The confusion, the most challenging learning experiences, the difficult feelings are about to pass.

Do not limit the future by the past!

Reflect on the beginning of your recovery. Haven't there been many changes that have brought you to where you are now? Reflect on one year ago. Haven't you and your circumstances changed since then?

Sometimes, problems and feelings linger for a while. These times are temporary. Times of confusion, uncertainty, times of living with a particular unsolved problem do not last forever.

We make these times doubly hard by comparing them to our past. Each situation and circumstance has had its particular influence in shaping who we are. We do not have to scare ourselves by comparing our present and future to a painful past, especially our past before we began recovering or before we learned through a particular experience.

Know that the discomfort will not be permanent. Do not try to figure out how you shall feel or when you shall feel differently. Instead, trust. Accept today, but do not be limited by it.

A new energy is coming. A new feeling is on the way. We cannot predict how it will be by looking at how it was or how it is, because it shall be entirely different. We have not worked and struggled in vain. It has been for and toward something.

Times are changing for the better. Continue on the path of trust and obedience. Be open to the new.

Today, God, help me not judge or limit my future by my past. Help me be open to all the exciting possibilities for change, both within and around me.

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

God will wait as long as it takes for us.
-- Rev. R. Walters

Whenever we try to understand, analyze, or probe too much into the reasons for love, we damage it. All that can really be done with love is accept it.

God loves us. We are loved. Regardless of all painful experiences we may have had that convinced us love never lasts, or that love may be fine for others but it just doesn't work for us - regardless of what we may have learned of love - God loves us.

There is a lovely parable in Scripture about the lost sheep and the steadfast love of the shepherd. When the one sheep became lost, as the parable goes, the shepherd did not simply write it off as the cost of doing business. The shepherd searched diligently until the lost sheep was found. No mention is made of scolding, abuse, or punishment - simply the joy the shepherd felt at finding one of his own that was lost.

We are as loved as that lost sheep; and, at times, as lost. Whether we feel we are worth it or not, the Shepherd patiently, faithfully searches us out. We cannot outrun God's reach.

Today, I ask God to deepen my faith.
You are reading from the book:

Friday, January 22, 2016

Daily Recovery Readings: January 22nd

Recovery Meditations:  January 22nd

The only ones among you who will be really happy
are those who will have sought and found how to serve.

Albert Schweitzer

In my first few 12 step meetings, I was so angry. On one hand, I didn't think I needed to be there, although deep inside, I knew I did. People were nice enough, greeted me, made me feel welcome, but I kept myself apart with my anger. I was angry that there seemed to be a small core group of members who attended weekly and obviously knew each other well. I didn't think they'd let me in their inner group; I didn't get invited.

Next, I tried to get the program without working the Steps. That inner group talked about the Steps all the time. I'd show them how good I was; I'd get the program, get the recovery they'd gotten, by taking a shorter route. The Steps were for dummies, and I wasn't dumb. I quickly found out the Steps are the only way to get the 12 step program, hence its name.

I struggled for a long time. Then I started giving service to my group. It started off by simply straightening up the room because I always got there early. I asked for a key so I could put out the books. I started greeting newcomers, who usually showed up early. When the person who'd signed on to do the topic didn't make it one week, I agreed to lead the meeting.

To my shock, I was giving service. In looking back at my first weeks in the program, I realized that the "inner core" of my home group had become my very good friends. When had I been asked in? Never. I joined when I began to give service and became one of them, the service-givers to the group. I learned why they seemed to have such effortless growth-- it came from giving service. With service I always get back much more than I put in. 

One Day at a Time . . .
I will remember to give of myself. I will remember that giving service in the program gives me so many gifts in return.
~ Rhonda ~


Each Day A New Beginning

One cannot have wisdom without living life.
—Dorothy McCall

Living life means responding, wholly, to our joys and our pitfalls. It means not avoiding the experiences or activities that we fear we can't handle. Only through our survival of them do we come to know who we really are; we come to understand the strength available to us at every moment. And that is wisdom.

When we approach life tentatively, we reap only a portion of its gifts. It's like watching a movie in black and white that's supposed to be in Technicolor. Our lives are in color, but we must have courage to let the colors emerge, to feel them, absorb them, be changed by them. Within our depths, we find our true selves. The complexities of life teach us wisdom. And becoming wise eases the many pitfalls in our path.

Living life is much more than just being alive. I can choose to jump in with both feet. Wisdom awaits me in the depths.

Food For Thought

There Is No Such Thing as "Have To"

The serenity and insight, which we gain from this program, help us realize that we do not have to do anything. There is always a choice. We may even choose not to live.

Our lives are gifts from our Higher Power, and the choice of what to do with them is ours. We can continue to overeat and watch our illness get progressively worse. We can isolate ourselves from other people and console ourselves with food. We can do as little as possible each day just in order to survive.

We do not have to follow the program; we also do not have to overeat. We do not have to turn our lives over to God; we also do not have to continue to bear the burden of self and self-will. It is a proven fact of experience for countless people that the most satisfying thing to do with the life given to each of us is to give it back to our Higher Power to use as He wills.

Thank You for my freedom, Lord.

The Language of Letting Go

Appreciating Our Past

It is easy to be negative about past mistakes and unhappiness. But it is much more healing to look at ourselves and our past in the light of experience, acceptance, and growth. Our past is a series of lessons that advance us to higher levels of living and loving.

The relationships we entered, stayed in, or ended taught us necessary lessons. Some of us have emerged from the most painful circumstances with strong insights about who we are and what we want.

Our mistakes? Necessary. Our frustrations, failures, and sometimes-stumbling attempts at growth and progress? Necessary too.

Each step of the way, we learned. We went through exactly the experiences we needed to, to become who we are today.  Each step of the way, we progressed.

Is our past a mistake? No. The only mistake we can make is mistaking that for the truth.

Today, God, help me let go of negative thoughts I may be harboring about my past circumstances or relationships. I can accept, with gratitude, all that has brought me to today.

Twenty-Four Hours A Day

Thought for the Day

In the beginning, you want to get sober, but you're helpless, so you turn to a Power greater than yourself and by trusting in that Power, you get the strength to stop drinking. From then on, you want to keep sober, and that's a matter of reeducating your mind. After a while, you get so that you really enjoy simple, healthy, normal living. You really get a kick out of life without the artificial stimulus of alcohol. All you have to do is to look around at the members of any A.A. group and you will see how their outlook has changed. Is my outlook on life changing?

Meditation for the Day

I will never forget to say thank you to God, even on the greyest days. My attitude will be one of humility and gratitude. Saying thank you to God is a daily practice that is absolutely necessary. If a day is not one of thankfulness, the practice has to be repeated until it becomes so. Gratitude is a necessity for those who seek to live a better life.

Prayer for the Day

I pray that gratitude will bring humility. I pray that humility will bring me to live a better life.