Sunday, July 31, 2016

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.

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. 

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.

Today's Gift

Sometimes it's worse to win a fight than to lose.
  —Billie Holiday

We all see things differently. It is part of the wonderful variety of the world that we all have different points of view. We've all seen baseball players arguing with an umpire over a close call, but, in order to play the game, they must accept the umpire's judgment.

When we stubbornly refuse to let friends or family members speak their ideas simply because we disagree with them, we risk the loss of a friend or the understanding of a family member. It is when we allow others to disagree that we take a step forward--a step that opens our ears and our hearts to all sorts of people and ideas.

How well can I accept other's opinions today?

Saturday, July 30, 2016

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.

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. 

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. 

Today's Gift

The hopeful man sees success where others see failure, sunshine where others see shadows and storm.
  —O. S. Marden

When wise men say, "Hope springs eternal," they are reminding us that no matter how great are the obstacles, the hope of winning out in the long run still exists. Hope is our friend when all else has failed. When we have strength of character and an energetic mind, hope always flourishes.

We discover that, at the very brink of despair, we will find courage to keep trying as long as there is hope for success. After all, what have we got to lose? Without hope, we have no chance, anyway. Our chance for glory comes when we keep trying even though all seems lost. Our hearts remain strong and brave when hope reminds us that challenges last until a game is over.

What light of hope can I keep burning within me today?

Friday, July 29, 2016

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. 

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. 

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. 

Today's Gift

A good marriage is that in which each appoints the other guardian of his solitude.
  —Rainer Maria Rilke

Solitude is vital to our well being, but in a family it's hard sometimes to find the space and time to be alone. The house is often crowded with laughter, voices, the radio, and the TV. There are often many things going on at the same time.

It's true that our family is a team, and that we work together, whether we intend to or not, to create the environment we live in. If it's noisy, that's the way we live. Noise is life to some. The fact that others need our help or company is wonderful proof of our value. But if we can be guardians of each other's solitude, out of love for one another, we will each come back renewed, strengthened, and recreated. We can bring new life into our days when we are alone with God and ourselves.

How can I help someone find rest and renewal today?

Thursday, July 28, 2016

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. 

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. 

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. 

Today's Gift

One law for lion and ox is oppression.
  —William Blake

What would the forest be like if deer, squirrel, and owl alike were required to sleep only at noon? Or the sky, if all birds were forced by law to fly in lines? Or the sea, if all fish had to stay forever in schools? We all know a lion and an ox, and we've all acted like a chicken, jackass, goat, or fox. Now and then we're slow or fast, bright or dull, willing or not.

So when others go the way we know we must go, we will follow the same law. But we don't have to be as others are, just to avoid being thought "strange." How truly strange life would be if everyone were the same. We have our own way, our own good time, and own free laws to discover and obey.

Will I need to obey someone else's rules if I govern myself well?

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Daily Recovery Readings: July 27th

Recovery Meditations: July 27th

"I've lost so much weight
that I should be hanging from a charm bracelet."
Erma Bombeck

I have lost and gained the same weight so many times I've lost count. Lack of willpower was never an issue with me. I've whipped myself into shape many times. There was nothing I didn't do in order to lose weight. I just couldn’t keep it off.

The tide finally turned for me when I quit relying on my own power, turned my focus away from my weight problem and toward "trusting in God and cleaning house," as the Big Book states.

I did Step work under the guidance of my sponsor. I passed along to others the lessons I'd learned. I did service work. I kept practicing a conscious contact with the God of my understanding. I went to meetings and talked to others. I kept a journal. Then one day I looked up from the tasks at hand to discover I was abstinent. God did for me what I couldn't do for myself.

One day at a time...
I will do the footwork and leave the results up to God.
~ Shirley G.


Each Day A New Beginning

To keep a lamp burning we have to keep putting oil in it.
  —Mother Teresa

Our spiritual nature must be nurtured. Prayer and meditation lovingly kindle the flame that guides us from within. Because we're human, we often let the flame flicker and perhaps go out. And then we sense the dreaded aloneness. Fortunately, some time away, perhaps even a few moments in quiet communion with God, rekindles the flame.

For most of us, the flame burned low, or not at all, for many years. The flickering we may feel today, or tomorrow, or felt yesterday, will not last, so we may put away our fears. We can listen to the voice of our higher power in others. We can listen, too, as we carry the message. Prayer surrounds us every moment. We can fuel our inner flame with the messages received from others. We can let our spirit spring forth; let it warm our hearts and the hearts of others.

We each have a friend whose flame may be flickering today. I will help her and thus myself. A steady flame can rekindle one that's flickering.

Food For Thought

OA Unity

When we come into OA, we are amazed to find so many other people with the same problems and difficulties. We are even more amazed at the stories we hear of the successful solution of these problems, which have defeated us for so long.

We are united in our common illness - compulsive overeating - and we are united in our common program of recovery - abstinence and the Twelve Steps. What we could not accomplish alone, by our own efforts, becomes possible through the strength of the group and the Higher Power.

Each of us is responsible for the life of OA. We each have a role to play and an area in which to serve. If we do not do our part, the organization as a whole is weakened. By our service to the common goals, our own program is strengthened. "Letting someone else do it" will not work. Saying yes when there is a job that I can do is what maintains OA unity and my own recovery.

May I contribute to OA unity. 

The Language of Letting Go

Letting Go

Stop trying so hard to control things. It is not our job to control people, outcomes, circumstances, and life. Maybe in the past we couldn't trust and let things happen. But we can now. The way life is unfolding is good. Let it unfold.

Stop trying so hard to do better, be better, and be more. Who we are and the way we do things is good enough for today.

Who we were and the way we did things yesterday was good enough for that day.

Ease up on ourselves. Let go. Stop trying so hard.

Today, I will let go. I will stop trying to control everything. I will stop trying to make myself be and do better, and I will let myself be. 

Today's Gift

In summer I am very glad
We children are so small,
For we can see a thousand things
That men can't see at all.
  —Laurence Alma-Tadema

Out behind the house a little boy is turning over stepping-stones, which form the sidewalk. Underneath these stones he has discovered many different kinds of worms and bugs. They wiggle this way and that when their cover is removed. He is only four, but he is the only one in the family who has made this discovery.

In a child's eyes there are many wonderful things, which escape the attention of the adult world. In order to see them, we must often take the time to let those younger than us show the way. Even though we may have lost our own childlike view of the world, others can guide us and thereby enrich our lives. We have much to teach and share with each other, regardless of our ages.

What can I learn from one younger than me today? 

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Daily Recovery Readings: July 26th

Recovery Meditations: July 26th

“Most folks are as happy
as they make up their minds to be.” 
Abraham Lincoln

More than seven years ago I weighed over 320 pounds and was living the painful life of a compulsive eater. Nothing I tried helped me to make lasting changes … until I began my recovery program. This healing process included Twelve Step recovery, therapy, and changing my life completely. I ended a long-term relationship and moved 2,300 miles away from all of my family and friends. I had no idea as to the extent of this journey I was beginning. 

I've learned how ignorant I can be ~ and how wise I am. I’ve learned that humility is not humiliation ~ it is found by maintaining a willingness to learn. I've been taught how to walk through my fears. I've been shown that my HP and God are in all things ~ and that Spirit follows and supports me with each and every step I take. Some of those steps go forwards, some backwards … yet with each there is progress. 

I've never forgotten the pain. Some days it's very severe because I don't have the food to numb it or to hide behind. Thanks to my program, I can always see hope and joy all around me now, even in the midst of pain. 

I now weigh 220 pounds. Somehow I've lost 100 pounds of my old self and am beginning to see the new me. The new me is still losing weight. The new me is also incredibly beautiful, deserving, loving, and worthy ... all things I thought I wasn't. I'm slowly, gently, learning that with each day I live well ... I AM WELL! I am only as happy as I am choosing to be. 

One Day at a Time . . .
I pray for complete surrender.
I ask for patience, abstinence and peace.
I reflect on where I've come from,
and remember to embrace the deepest gratitude
for where I am now. Today I am well. 

~ Melanie S.


Each Day A New Beginning

We want the facts to fit the preconceptions. When they don't, it is easier to ignore the facts than to change the preconceptions.
  —Jessamyn West

To live fully and creatively, to contribute what is only ours to give, requires that we be receptive, wholly, to the reverberations of each present moment. Even anticipation of what may transpire next can prejudice our minds, our level of awareness. Preconceptions cloud our senses. They prevent the actual situation from being fully realized. And it is only in the now, as sensed moment by moment, that we find our cues to proceed along the path chosen for us.

As we grow more comfortable with Step Three, daily turning our lives and wills over to the care of God, we'll see how much more rewarding our experiences are. We'll see, too, how much greater are our own contributions. Preconceptions of any situation, persons, anticipated experience, dulls the magic, the depth of the moment. And only when we attune ourselves to the invitation of the moment do we give of ourselves, wholly. Our partnership with God lives now, as we go forth in this moment.

I will look to each moment with childish eyes. I'll find joy and contentment. 

Food For Thought

Doing God's Will

For a long time, most of us tried to achieve happiness by serving our self-will. We figured out what we wanted from life and then went about trying to attain it. When our efforts were frustrated, we turned to food and overeating.

The idea of giving our self-will to God and following His direction makes us fearful. We fear that we will lose out and be unhappy. We are reluctant to give up our illusions of autonomy and power. We wonder if there really is a Higher Power who can direct our way. We pray for guidance and then forget to listen for the response.

When we are willing to trust a Higher Power in even one small area of our lives, we begin to see results. As our faith grows, we become confident enough to relinquish more and more of the concerns, which by ourselves we are unable to manage. The more we work this program, the more sure we are that our peace and happiness lie in serving God, rather than ourselves.

I pray for courage to follow Your will.

The Language of Letting Go

Owning Our Power

Don't you see? We do not have to be so victimized by life, by people, by situations, by work, by our friends, by our love relationships, by our family, by our feelings, our thoughts, our circumstances, and ourselves.

We are not victims. We do not have to be victims. That is the whole point!

Yes, admitting and accepting powerlessness is important. But that is the first step, an introduction to this business of recovery. Later, comes owning our power. Changing what we can. This is as important as admitting and accepting powerlessness. And there is so much we can change.

We can own our power, wherever we are, wherever we go, whomever we are with. We do not have to stand there with our hands tied, groveling helplessly, submitting to whatever comes along. There are things we can do. We can speak up. Solve the problem. Use the problem to motivate ourselves to do something good for ourselves.

We can make ourselves feel good. We can walk away. We can come back on our terms. We can stand up for ourselves. We can refuse to let others control and manipulate us.

We can do what we need to do to take care of our selves. That is the beauty, the reward, the crown of victory we are given in this process called recovery. It is what it is all about!

If we can't do anything about the circumstance, we can change our attitude. We can do the work within: courageously face our issues so we are not victimized. We have been given a miraculous key to life.

We are victims no more unless we want to be.

Freedom and joy are ours for the taking, for the feeling, for the hard work we have done.

Today, I will remind myself as often as necessary that I am not a victim, and I do not need to be victimized by whatever comes my way. I will work hard to remove myself as a victim, whether that means setting and enforcing a boundary, walking away, dealing with my feelings, or giving myself what I need. God, help me let go of my need to feel victimized. 

Today's Gift

Isn't it great life is open-ended!
  —Brigitte Frase

Elizabeth Lawton, known as "Grandma Layton," is an American artist who never drew a picture until she was sixty-eight years old. She spent all the years before that time trying to cope with depression. She had gone through therapy, medications, and shock treatment and continued to be severely depressed. But then she signed up for an art class and the act of drawing cured her depression. She continues to make fabulous pictures.

What does she think about the critical acclaim her artwork has received? She says she wants others to know about her art so it may give hope to those who have also "suffered from feelings."

Many of us have suffered from feelings. We must remember that we can each turn to our creativity - at any age - as a source for our well-being. All we need to do is have faith in the potential goodness within ourselves and those we love.

What creative activity can I look to for comfort today?

Monday, July 25, 2016

Daily Recovery Readings: July 25th

Recovery Meditations: July 25th

A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds.
Francis Bacon

There is a promise that more will be revealed as we trudge the road of happy destiny. We all start by building on the basics, the foundation that must be in place. In grade school I learned to read and write; in high school, how to research and train myself to acquire information. In college, I gained specific advanced information that allowed me to build upon, and advance my interests. When I applied the same principles to the program, I got similar results, but even more so. When my mind was opened to spiritual principles, I received much more than that I was seeking. My thoughts were lifted to a much higher plane of ethics. 

In searching for an answer to compulsive overeating, I was exposed to additional opportunities to grow by doing. Often I tried them. These exercises sent my thoughts to other areas, which I again explored. I am amazed at what I have learned while looking for something else. 

We can all learn truth if we will open our hearts and minds. We will then be without excuse not to exercise every opportunity to practice it.

One Day at a Time . . .
Am I taking advantage of every opportunity to grow?
Some opportunities?
Any opportunities?
~ Jeremiah ~


Each Day A New Beginning

I have a clear choice between life and death, between reality and fantasy, between health and sickness. I have to become responsible - responsible for mistakes as well as accomplishments.
  —Eileen Mayhew

Choosing to participate actively in our own lives ushers in joy and sometimes fear. We are energized by our conscious involvement; making thoughtful choices regarding our development heightens our sense of well-being. But occasionally we may fear potential failure. About as frequently, we may fear probable success.

Not every day do we want the responsibility for our lives; but we have it. On occasion we only want the loving arms of a caretaker. The beauty of our lives at this time is that we do have a caretaker at our beck and call, a caretaker who has demonstrated repeatedly a concern for our safety, a caretaker who will help us shoulder every responsibility we face.

Clearly, our coming to this program shows that we have chosen to act responsibly. And just as clearly, every day that we ask for the guidance to live to the best of our abilities, we will be helped to accomplish the tasks right for us in this stage of our lives.

All I have to do is make the right choices. I will always know which they are, when I ask for guidance. 

Food For Thought


The OA program is a gift to us from our Higher Power. Without it, we would still be bogged down in compulsive overeating with no solution in sight. Our fellowship gives us the hope and love we need to sort ourselves out and begin to live a new life.

Recovery through abstinence is the gift, which we are offered every day. In order to receive it, we need to be sincere and earnest in our efforts to work the program. We can count on God's support if we are willing to go to any lengths to stop eating compulsively.

With gratitude for these gifts from our Higher Power, we are able to give back what has come to us. We share our program and give our time and abilities where we see a need that we can fill. The more we give, the more we receive. God's abundance is inexhaustible.

We thank You for Your gifts. 

The Language of Letting Go

Keep at It

Keep practicing your recovery behaviors, even when they feel awkward, even when they haven't quite taken yet, even if you don't get it yet.

Sometimes it takes years for a recovery concept to move from our mind into our heart and soul. We need to work at recovery behaviors with the diligence, effort, and repeated practice we applied to codependent behaviors. We need to force ourselves to do things even when they don't feel natural. We need to tell ourselves we care about ourselves and can take care of ourselves even when we don't believe what we're saying.

We need to do it, and do it, and do it - day after day, year after year.

It is unreasonable to expect this new way of life to sink in overnight. We may have to "act as if" for months, years, before recovery behaviors become ingrained and natural.

Even after years, we may find ourselves, in times of stress or duress, reverting to old ways of thinking, feeling, and behaving.

We may have layers of feelings we aren't ready to acknowledge until years into our recovery. That's okay! When it's time, we will.

Do not give up! It takes time to get self-love into the core of us. It takes repeated practice. Time and experience. Lessons, lessons, and more lessons.

Then, just when we think we've arrived, we find we have more to learn.

That's the joy of recovery. We get to keep learning and growing all of our life!

Keep on taking care of yourself, no matter what. Keep on plugging away at recovery behaviors, one day at a time. Keep on loving yourself, even when it doesn't feel natural. Act as if for as long as necessary, even if that time period feels longer than necessary.

One day, it will happen. You will wake up, and find that what you've been struggling with and working so hard at and forcing yourself to do, finally feels comfortable. It has hit our soul.

Then, you go on to learn something new and better.

Today, I will plug away at my recovery behaviors, even if they don't feel natural. I will force myself to go through the motions even if that feels awkward. I will work at loving myself until I really do. 

Today's Gift

He wanted to hold onto his fury, to guard it like a treasure. He would not let it be stolen from him . ... But already, he felt it slipping, softened by Ben's compassionate touch.
  —Joe Johnston and Nilo Rodis-Jamero

The glassblower is an artist who takes broken glass and melts it in a very hot furnace. Then the glassblower blows through a long tube and creates objects such as cups and plates and pieces of art.

The sharp edges of our anger are like pieces of broken glass. We all have things in our lives that anger us - it is only human to bump into our sharp edges. One edge might be crabby, another silent and withdrawn, and still another yelling and screaming.

The heat of love and compassion can melt our anger. This may take the form of sympathy for ourselves, or for the people we love. More often, it is the compassion of those around us that helps melt our anger. Sometimes saying I'm sorry is a good way to melt anger and find the love underneath it.

What beauty can I create with my anger today? 

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Daily Recovery Readings: July 24th

Recovery Meditations: July 24th

“Resolve to be thyself:
And know that he who finds himself loses his misery.”
Matthew Arnold

Life before recovery was a theatrical production in which I played all parts to all audiences. I gave a performance which aimed to satisfy everyone's requirements but my own. I proffered whatever I felt others wanted, giving no thought to my own needs. Some may say that's a worthy attitude, but it was influenced by a desire to be accepted -- not for who I am -- but for whom I thought everyone wanted me to be. I used my performance to control situations and to avoid any nasty surprises. I furnished more than I could afford, often lavishing what wasn't mine to give. Frequently I didn't feel that I had gained the acceptance I so fervently sought, and this yielded feelings of incompetence.
To be everything to all people took time and sapped considerable quantities of energy physically, spiritually and emotionally. Often I found I couldn't keep up with this self-inflicted regimen of people-pleasing. I began to resent the performance and gained no satisfaction from the results.
Through my recovery I realized that I had never been happy with the results of my role-playing. It had been a compulsion to seek the approval from others because I couldn't grant myself the authorization to be me. The only person I can be is me. The only person I have a right to be is me.

One day at a time ... 
I give myself permission to be who I truly am: ME!

~ Sue G.


Each Day A New Beginning

... The idea has gained currency that women have often been handicapped not only by a fear of failure--not unknown to men either- -but by a fear of success as well.
  —Sonya Rudikoff

It was our practice, before coming to this program, to eat, drink, and smoke our fears away. What we came to realize, profoundly, was that the fears couldn't be escaped even while high. This program is helping us to understand that fears are human, normal and survivable when we let God and our friends in the program lend a helping hand.

Drugs and alcohol distorted our perceptions. Our fears, whether large or small, were distorted. And we still distort those fears, on occasion, because we move away from the spiritual reality of our lives. Remember, we are confronted with no situation too big to handle, no experience for which we are unprepared, if we but turn to that greater power that the program offers us.

We cannot fail in whatever we try today. The outcome of any task attempted is just as it should be. And however we succeed today, we will be shown the steps, at the right time, to make use of that success.

I shall not fear failure or success. I am not alone in experiencing either; both are stepping-stones on my life's journey. 

Food For Thought

Living Is a Privilege

When we were overeating, how often did we drag ourselves out of bed wondering how we were going to make it through the day? Many of us felt that life was treating us unfairly, and we blamed those around us for our misery. We may have thought we believed in a Power greater than ourselves, but we were unable to apply the belief so that it made a difference in the way we were living. Trying to manage our own life pushed us further and further into despair.

The OA program shows us how to commit our will and our life to the management of God. We stop trying to "go it alone," and we listen for His direction. By the grace of our Higher Power, we abstain from compulsive overeating one day at a time, and we walk a new way of humility and obedience.

Little by little, we recover in mind and body, and we no longer feel crushed by an uncaring fate. We accept each day as a gift from the hand of God, and we live it to the best of our ability.

Thank You for the privilege of living and abstaining today. 

The Language of Letting Go


Denial is a powerful tool. Never underestimate its ability to cloud your vision.

Be aware that, for many reasons, we have become experts at using this tool to make reality more tolerable. We have learned well how to stop the pain caused by reality - not by changing our circumstances, but by pretending our circumstances are something other than what they are.

Do not be too hard on yourself. While one part of you was busy creating a fantasy reality, the other part went to work on accepting the truth.

Now, it is time to find courage. Face the truth. Let it sink gently in.

When we can do that, we will be moved forward.

God, give me the courage and strength to see clearly. 

Today's Gift

I had crossed the line. I was free; but there was no one to welcome me to the land of freedom. I was a stranger in a strange land.
  —Harriet Tubman

Harriet Tubman was a Black woman who devoted her life to helping slaves escape their bondage. In her youth, she had been hit on the head so she suffered dizzy spells for the rest of her life. In spite of this, and at great risk to her own life, she guided many slaves on the Underground Railroad to freedom.

Freedom from slavery is different today but just as necessary. It may mean freedom from being a slave to what others think of us, freedom from eating more than is healthy for us, freedom from jealousy, and freedom from trying to force others to do what we want them to do.

We are free to be the very best persons we can be. Our own freedom can be even more fulfilling when we welcome others enthusiastically into that land of freedom by allowing them the room to be themselves without fear of judgment. In this way, by freeing ourselves, we free one another.

How can I free myself today? 

Friday, July 22, 2016

Daily Recovery Readings: July 22nd

Recovery Meditations: July 22nd

"There is only one cause of unhappiness; 
the false beliefs you have in your head,
beliefs so widespread, so commonly held,
that it never occurs to you to question them."
Anthony de Mello 
As a child of poverty, neglect, and a family that moved frequently, I was always an "outsider." I was looked on as "unacceptable." As an adult I moved away, married, and lived in the same community all the rest of my years. I've had the same friends and lived a very respected life. Yet internally I was still "unacceptable" ~ always feeling "less than" others. I never even told my husband or children about those aspects of my childhood. There were parts of me I never shared with anyone. I did not question the idea that I was still an "unacceptable" person, though there was lots of evidence to discount that idea. 

Since joining The Recovery Group program and sharing that pain with my sponsor and others, that pain-filled inner child has been freed and has integrated with the person that I am today. This freeing process has enabled me to finally see and feel the love, the acceptance, and the respect that has always been there for me.

One day at a time...
I will reach out to others at meetings and within our Recovery Group ~ especially those who have had a childhood similar to mine. It has been a tremendous gift to be able to go back, take that neglected little girl by the hand, and bring her into my world to live with me.
~ Karen A.


Each Day A New Beginning

How I relate to my inner self-influences my relationships with all others. My satisfaction with myself and my satisfaction with other people are directly proportional.
  —Sue Atchley Ebaugh

Hateful attitudes toward others, resistance to someone's suggestions, jealousy over another woman's attractiveness or particular abilities are equally strong indications of the health of our spiritual programs. Our security rests with God. When that relationship is nurtured, the rewards will be many and satisfactions great.

Our inner selves may need pampering and praise. They have suffered the abuse of neglect for many years, no doubt. In many instances we have chided ourselves, perhaps shamed ourselves. Learning to love our inner selves, recognizing the value inherent in our very existence, takes effort, commitment, and patience - assets we may only just now be developing in this recovery program.

Our inner selves are the home of our Spirit wherein our attachment to all strength, all courage, all self-esteem, and all serenity resides. Our Spirit is one with our higher power. We must acknowledge the presence and utilize the comforts offered.

My relationships with others are as healthy and fulfilling as my communication with God.

Food For Thought

The Power of Abstaining

Abstaining from compulsive overeating fills us with new strength. When we become honest and determined in this area of our life, our resolution and clarity flow into other areas, too. The new order and discipline are reflected in all that we do.

We establish abstinence as the most important thing in our life. As mind and body are released from the dullness and apathy caused by too much food, we are more efficient and we function more effectively. Other priorities and values sort themselves out. Instead of being torn by conflicting desires, we are able to decide which projects and activities are of most value. Instead of being paralyzed by fear and depression, we have the motivation and energy to do what needs to be done.

Accepting life-long abstinence as the will of our Higher Power enables us to push food out of the center of our life.

Thank You for the power of abstaining. 

The Language of Letting Go

Learning to Trust Again

Many of us have trust issues.

Some of us tried long and hard to trust untrustworthy people. Over and again, we believed lies and promises never to be kept. Some of us tried to trust people for the impossible; for instance, trusting a practicing alcoholic not to drink again.

Some of us trusted our Higher Power inappropriately. We trusted God to make other people do what we wanted, then felt betrayed when that didn't work out.

Some of us were taught that life couldn't be trusted, that we had to control and manipulate our way through.

Most of us were taught, inappropriately, that we couldn't trust ourselves.

In recovery, we're healing from our trust issues. We're learning to trust again. The first lesson in trust is this: We can learn to trust ourselves. We can be trusted. If others have taught us we cannot trust ourselves, they were lying. Addictions and dysfunctional systems make people lie.

We can learn to appropriately trust our Higher Power - not to make people do what we wanted them to, but to help us take care of ourselves, and to bring about the best possible circumstances, at the best possible times, in our life.

We can trust the process - of life and recovery. We do not have to control, obsess, or become hyper vigilant. We may not always understand where we are going, or what's being worked out in us, but we can trust that something good is happening.

When we learn to do this, we are ready to learn to trust other people. When we trust our Higher Power and when we trust ourselves, we will know who to trust and what to trust that person for.

Perhaps we always did. We just didn't listen closely enough to ourselves or trust what we heard.

Today, I will affirm that I can learn to trust appropriately. I can trust my Higher Power, my recovery, and myself. I can learn to appropriately trust others too. 

Today's Gift

A good laugh heals a lot of hurts.
  —Madeleine L'Engle

The ability to laugh at ourselves has always been important. In old days, fools and jesters held an important place in the royal courts. Today we have clowns who make us laugh.

If we look closely at a clown's face, we will often notice a bit of sadness around the eyes. Clowns are able to move easily from sad expressions to ones full of delight very easily. For all of us, laughter and tears come from the same deep well inside. And often, after a good cry, we find ourselves ready to laugh, easily and joyfully.

Laughter is a gift waiting for us on the other side of our sadness.

Can I begin to laugh by smiling now?