Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Daily Recovery Readings: August 31st

Recovery Meditations: August 31st

"The ideal friendship is between good people,
and people who share the same virtues.
Leading a good life for the sake of friends,
is the utmost of friendship itself." 


When I first came into recovery I had no idea how to be a friend. I thought that people liked me because of what I did for them, what I gave them, and how nice I was to them. It never occurred to me that being a friend could mean taking care of myself. I didn’t realize that friendship also consists of holding fast to my program no matter what, being gently honest to others in all things, being loyal to my group, and being true to my program and to myself. But the part that escaped me the most was that there were those who counted me as a friend just because I am me.
One Day at a Time . . .
I will be a friend by being loyal to myself, my program and my ideals. 

~ Judy N.


Each Day A New Beginning

Tears are like rain. They loosen up our soil so we can grow in different directions.
  —Virginia Casey

Full self-expression softens our being, while self-reservation makes us brittle. Our wholeness is enhanced each time we openly acknowledge our feelings and share our many secrets. The tears that often accompany self-disclosure, self-assessment, or the frustration of being "stuck" seem to shift whatever blocks we have put in our paths.

At each stage of our lives, we are preparing for yet another stage. Our growth patterns will vary, first in one direction, and then another. It's not easy to switch directions, but it's necessary. We can become vulnerable, accept the spiritual guidance offered by others and found within, and the transition from stage to stage will be smooth.

Tears shed on the rocky places of our lives can make tiny pebbles out of the boulders that block our paths. But we also need to let those tears wash away the blinders covering our eyes. Tears can help us see anew if we're willing to look straight ahead--clearly, openly, and with expectation of a better view.

Tears nurture the inner me. They soften my rootedness to old behavior. They lesson my resistance to new growth.

Food For Thought

Accepting Guidelines

Some of us have gone through life thinking that we did not need to follow any guidelines. Somehow, we got the idea that special circumstances placed us above the rules. We looked for shortcuts and rebelled against the tedium of discipline. Considering ourselves exceptional, we decided to make our own guidelines. These were usually based on doing what we felt like when we felt like it.

When we get to OA, we may spend a short or a long time experimenting with the program, adjusting it to suit ourselves. Sooner or later, we discover that our adjustments do not work. The OA program works, provided we follow the rules and work it as it is, not as we might like it to be.

Once we accept the rules at a gut level, they lead us out of negative restraint into positive freedom. By following a few simple guidelines, we become free from slavery to compulsive overeating and self-centered confusion.

Thank You for Your guidelines.

The Language of Letting Go


I've been recovering many years. I've used denial many times. It has been a defense, a survival device, a coping behavior, and, at times, almost my undoing. It has been both a friend and an enemy.

When I was a child, I used denial to protect my family and myself. I protected myself from seeing things too painful to see and feelings too overwhelming to feel. Denial got me safely through many traumatic situations, when I had no other resources for survival.

The negative aspect of using denial was that I lost touch with my feelings and myself. I became able to participate in harmful situations without even knowing I was hurting. I was able to tolerate a great deal of pain and abuse without the foggiest notion it was abnormal.

I learned to participate in my own abuse.

Denial protected me from pain, but it also rendered me blind to my feelings, my needs, and myself. It was like a thick blanket that covered and smothered me.

Eventually, I began to recover. I had a glimpse of awareness about my pain, my feelings, and my behaviors. I began to see myself, and the world, as we were. There was so much denial from my past that had the blanket been entirely ripped from me. I would have died from the shock of exposure. I needed to embrace insights, remembrances, awareness, and healing gently, gradually.

Life participated in this process with me. It is a gentle teacher. As I recovered, I was brought to the incidents and people I needed in order to remind me of what I was still denying, to tell me where I required more healing from my past, as I could handle these insights.

I still use, and break through, denial--as needed. When the winds of change blow through, upsetting a familiar structure and preparing me for the new, I pick up my blanket and hide, for a while. Sometimes, when someone I love has a problem, I hide under the blanket, momentarily. Memories emerge of things denied, memories that need to be remembered, felt, and accepted so I can continue to become healed - strong and healthy.

Sometimes, I feel ashamed about how long it takes me to struggle through to acceptance of reality. I feel embarrassed when I find myself again clouded by the fog of denial.

Then something happens, and I see that I am moving forward. The experience was necessary, connected, not at all a mistake, but an important part of healing.

It's an exciting process, this journey called recovery, but I understand I may sometimes use denial to help me get through the rough spots. I'm also aware that denial is a friend, and an enemy. I'm on the alert for danger signs: those cloudy, confused feelings . . . sluggish energy . . . feeling compulsive . . . running too fast or hard . . . avoiding support mechanisms.

I've gained a healthy respect for our need to use denial as a blanket to wrap ourselves in when we become too cold. It isn't my job to run around ripping people's blankets off or shaming others for using the blanket. Shaming makes them colder, makes them wrap themselves more tightly in the blanket. Yanking their blanket away is dangerous. They could die of exposure, the same way I could have.

I've learned the best thing I can do around people who are wrapped in this blanket is to make them feel warm and safe. The warmer and safer they feel, the more able they are to drop their blanket. I don't have to support or encourage their denial. I can be direct. If others are in denial about a particular thing, and their activity is harmful to me, I don't have to be around them. I can wish them well and take care of myself. You see, if I stand too long around someone who is harming me, I will inevitably pick up my blanket again.

I tend to be attracted to warm people. When I'm around warm people, I don't need to use my blanket.

I've gained respect for creating warm environments, where blankets are not needed, or at least not needed for long. I've gained trust in the way people heal from and deal with life.

God, help me be open to and trust the process that is healing me from all I have denied from my past. Help me strive for awareness and acceptance, but also help me practice gentleness and compassion for myself--and others--for those times I have used denial.

Today's Gift

I'm a trader at heart. . . except that I don't like trades that come out equally--that's too much like borrowing. I'd rather trade a strong hand for a patient ear or a story for a meal: anything that keeps things turning over.
  —Gordon Bok

There is an old saying that there are just two kinds of people in the world: givers and takers. Those of us who are givers delight in it. We have a buck to lend when someone is broke, a kind word when they're down, a helping hand when they need it. But sometimes we givers are uncomfortable when we're on the receiving end. We brush off thanks and gifts and help, even when they're needed or deserved.

Those of us who are takers, on the other hand, know how to receive graciously what others have to give; we know how to ask for what we need. Often, however, we don't know how to give. We may be afraid our gifts will be wrong or rejected or laughed at.

We can all strive to become traders, people who have learned how to both give and receive. We each have the capacity to give what we have freely and to ask, gratefully, for what we don't have. That is the greatest gift of all.

What can I give and take today?

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Daily Recovery Readings: August 30th

Recovery Meditations: August 30th

“Ask not what your country can do for you
but what you can do for your country.”

John Fitzgerald Kennedy 

At one of the first program functions I ever attended, there were a large number of pots and pans that needed to be washed in the kitchen. My sponsor told me that we were going to go in there and wash all those dirty pans. When I asked why, she said, “Because this stuff keeps us abstinent.” That was good enough for me. Service is essential to my recovery. As our primary purpose states, “we carry the message to the compulsive overeater who still suffers.” The essence of my program is that of committing to service.
Since then my service in program has been of paramount importance to me, so I sponsor and serve at the group and Intergroup levels, I attend all events I can, and I am in service at most of the meetings I attend. I encourage sponsees to serve their fellow sufferers also and ask them to sponsor newcomers as soon as they have worked Steps One through Three. This action gets them working on Step Four as well.
One of my favorite ways to give service is to be available to talk to newcomers by telephone. As our responsibility pledge states, “Always to lend the heart and hand to all who share my compulsion, for this I am responsible.” A commitment to service is as vital to my recovery as are my commitments to abstinence, working the Steps and a daily food plan. These components mesh together and give me purpose I never had before.
One Day at a Time . . .
I will find a way to be helpful
to others in program.

~ Jill C. 

Each Day A New Beginning

I like my friend for what is in her heart, not for the way she does things.
  —Sandra K. Lamberson

We find good in situations, experiences and people when we look for it. Generally we find just what we expect to find. The power attaching to our attitudes is awesome. Often it is immobilizing; too seldom is it positive.

We each create the personal environment that our soul calls home, which means that at any moment we have the power to change our perspective on life, our response to any particular experience and most of all, our feelings about ourselves. Just as we will find good in others when we decide to look for it, we'll find good in ourselves.

We are such special women, all of us. And in our hearts we want joy. What the program offers is the awareness that we are the creators of the joy in our hearts. We can relinquish the past and its sorrows, and we can leave the future in the hands of our higher power. The present is singular in its importance to our lives, now.

Behavior generally reveals attitudes, which are of the mind and frequently in conflict with the heart. I will strive for congruence. I will let my heart lead the way. It will not only find the good in others, it will imitate it.

Food For Thought

Getting Honest with Ourselves

The day we realize that we are and always will be compulsive overeaters and that we can permit ourselves no deviousness when it comes to food - that is the day when we begin to take the OA program seriously. Half measures do not work. Lingering exceptions in the back of our minds will defeat us. Beginning the program with the idea of quitting when we have lost a certain number of pounds will not bring success.

Nothing short of an honest, wholehearted commitment to abstinence and the OA program will give us the ability to stop eating compulsively. If we think we can get away with small deviations here and there, we are deluding ourselves. Our disease is progressive, and unless we take the steps outlined in the program, it will eventually destroy us.

If we are not honest with ourselves, we are divided, weak, and sick. Getting honest means getting strong and well.

May I be directed by the truth.

The Language of Letting Go

Accepting Our Best

We don't have to do it any better than we can - ever.

Do our best for the moment, and then let it go. If we have to redo it, we can do our best in another moment, later.

We can never do more or better than we are able to do at the moment. We punish ourselves and make ourselves feel crazy by expecting more than our reasonable best for now.

Striving for excellence is a positive quality.

Striving for perfection is self-defeating.

Did someone tell us or expect us to do or give or be more? Did someone always withhold approval?

There comes a time when we feel we have done our best. When that time comes, let it go.

There are days when our best is less than we hoped for. Let those times go too. Start over tomorrow. Work things through, until our best becomes better.

Empowering and complimenting ourselves will not make us lazy. It will nurture us and enable us to give, do, and be our best.

Today, I will do my best, and then let it go. God, help me stop criticizing myself so I can start appreciating how far I've come.

Today's Gift

If I cry tears let them wash away your fears - make a rainbow of love for you.
  —Thom Klika

It takes both sun and rain to make a rainbow in the sky. The rainbow is a rare and beautiful thing - each color brilliant beside the other. Rain falls to earth like the tears we all shed sometimes. Sunlight shines like the happiness we find inside when we feel peaceful.

The colors of the rainbow are like all the different feelings we have. Let's say red is anger and green is fear and orange is joy and violet is contentment. All these feelings create a whole person, in the same way that all these colors make the whole rainbow. We become more colorful people as we learn to express all our emotions.

A person who is learning to share feelings radiates the same kind of beauty as a rainbow in the sky.

Who can I share a feeling with today?

Monday, August 29, 2016

Daily Recovery Readings: August 29th

Recovery Meditations: August 29th

"First you need only look."
Anne Hillman

My disease of compulsive overeating is fueled by my regrets of the past and my fears of the future. The more I try to rewrite the past, (which of course I cannot do); the more I try to devise a future plan, (which usually does not come to pass), the less I am present for my life.

I learn much from my three-year-old son. Sometimes when running to get a ball, he suddenly stops to look at an unusual insect he sees on the ground. His life flows and he abides by this pattern. He follows his heart and is "there" for life.

When I consciously stay present for life -- when I savor each moment and stay with my feelings -- I am alive and living. In the present there is no worry, no fear, no regrets.

One Day at a Time . . .
I ask my Higher Power to help me to stay present for my life, to stay with whatever is happening at any given moment. I feel feelings. I am spontaneous and life is exciting and inspired. 

~ Melissa S. ~


Each Day A New Beginning

Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.
  —Helen Keller

The next 24 hours are guaranteed to excite us, to lift us to new levels of understanding, to move us into situations with others where we can offer our unique contributions. All that is asked of us is a willingness to trust that we will be given just what we need at each moment.

We can dare to live, fully, just for today. We can appreciate the extraordinariness of every breath we take, every challenge we encounter. Within each experience is the invitation for us to grow, to reach out to others in caring ways, to discover more fully the women we are capable of being. We must not let a single moment go by unnoticed.

When we withdraw from life, we stunt our growth. We need involvement with others, involvement that perturbs us, humors us, and even stresses us. We tap our internal resources only when we have been pushed to our limits, and our participation in life gifts us, daily, with that push. How necessary the push!

None of us will pass this way again. What we see and feel and say today are gone forever. We have so much to regret when we let things slip away, unnoticed or unappreciated.

A special series of events has been planned for me today. I shall not miss it.

Food For Thought

Love God and Work the Program
How clear everything becomes when we put abstaining and recovering from compulsive eating first in our lives! As we recover, we grow in love for the Higher Power, which makes possible our new life. Loving God and working the program becomes our main purpose every day. From this, all else follows.

When we are confused and harried by conflicting demands on our time and attention, we need to withdraw for a moment and get back in touch with the God within. As long as we are sincerely trying to do His will, we do not have to be upset by negative responses from other people, whether their disapproval is real or imagined.

As our Higher Power provides a focus for our love, working the program provides a focus for our energies and ambitions. Whatever our situation, we are each capable of growing along spiritual lines, and it is this growth and progress which gives us deep, lasting satisfaction.

Accept my love and work.

The Language of Letting Go

Owning Our Energy

Learn to keep your energy inside.
  —From Women, Sex, and Addiction, Charlotte Davis Kasl, Ph.D.

For many reasons, we may have mastered the art of giving away our energy. We may have learned it when we were young because the feelings we had were too overwhelming to feel, and we did not know how to process them.

Much of our obsessing, our intense focus on others, is done to facilitate this "out of body" experience we call codependency.

We obsess, we babble, we become anxious. We try to control, care take, and fuss over others. Our energy spills out of us on to whomever.

Our energy is our energy. Our feelings, thoughts, issues, love, sexuality; our mental, physical, spiritual, sexual, creative, and emotional energy is ours.

We can learn to have healthy boundaries - healthy parameters - around our energy and ourselves. We can learn to keep our energy within ourselves and deal with our issues.

If we are trying to escape from our body, if our energy is spilling out of us in unhealthy ways, we can ask ourselves what is going on, what is hurting us, what we are avoiding, what we need to face, what we need to deal with.

Then, we can do that. We can come back home to live - in ourselves.

Today, I will keep my energy in my body. I will stay focused and within my boundaries. God, help me let go of my need to escape myself. Help me face my issues so I am comfortable living in my body.

Today's Gift

When you meet a man, you judge him by his clothes; when you leave, you judge him by his heart.
  —Russian Proverb

The woman on the park bench was gnarled and dirty. Her hair was an uncombed mess, her clothes torn and old. She clutched a paper bag to her side, which seemed to contain her belongings. She sat in the sun, humming to herself. Occasionally she threw a bit of popcorn to ducks who waited at her feet. A little boy and his mother sat by the lake, not wanting to share the bench with this wild-eyed old woman. But when the old woman beckoned to the little boy to share her popcorn with him, he ran to the bench and let out squeals of laughter as they fed the hungry ducks.

Our world is full of variety and surprises. Would we have it any other way? When we shun someone because of the way they look, we cut ourselves off from part of life. But when we are ready for anything - accepting and trusting - we are a wonder to everyone.

How shall I judge people today?

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Daily Recovery Readings: August 28th

Recovery Meditations: August 29th


“… the problem has been removed. It does not exist for us.
We are neither cocky nor are we afraid. That is our experience.
That is how we react so long as we keep in fit spiritual condition.”
The Big Book, p.85

These words, read every morning during prayer time, teach me to live as I am meant to live. Sanely and peacefully. Laid back. Patient and forgiving of myself. I am no longer a part of the war of the worlds. Anger can be dealt with or walked away from. Eating over it is no longer an option. Compulsive overeating is a problem I can live without, just for today. 

One day at a time...
I will remember where I came from and how I got here so long as I keep in fit spiritual condition.
~ Jo


Each Day A New Beginning

There are sounds to seasons. There are sounds to places, and there are sounds to every time in one's life.
  —Alison Wyrley Birch

Live is rich and full. Your life. My life. Even when the day feels flat or hollow, there's a richness to it that escapes our attention. We see only what we choose to see. We hear selectively, too. Our prejudgment precludes our getting the full effects of any experience. Some days we hear only the drum of the humdrum.

But the greater our faith in the program and a loving God, the clearer our perceptions become. We miss less of the day's events; we grow in our understanding of our unfolding, and we perceive with clarity the role others are playing in our lives.

We can see life as a concert in progress when we transcend our own narrow scope and appreciate the variety of people and situations all directed toward the same finale. The more we're in tune with the spiritual activity surrounding us; the more harmoniously we will be able to perform our parts.

I will listen to the music of today. I will get in tune, in rhythm. I am needed for the concert's beauty.

Food For Thought


When we were overeating, we were negative and fearful. We alternated between avoiding work and feeling responsible for everybody and everything. An important part of our recovery is willingness: we become willing to change, willing to abstain, willing to learn. As we work the program, we become willing to allow our Higher Power to remove our character defects.

All of this does not happen overnight. When we get discouraged and make mistakes, we are willing to try again. We are willing to follow the lead of our Higher Power. As we see evidence of His care, we begin to trust that He will not require of us more than we are capable of doing.

To be willing is to hold ourselves ready and available for God's direction. We do not jump into situations prematurely, and we do not close our minds in refusal to change. We are willing to grow and serve and, especially, willing to believe.

Increase my willingness.

The Language of Letting Go

Taking Care of Ourselves on the Job

It's okay to take care of ourselves on the job. It is not only okay - it is necessary.

Taking care of ourselves on the job means we deal with feelings appropriately; we take responsibility for ourselves. We detach, when detachment is called for. We set boundaries, when we need to do that.

We negotiate conflicts; we try to separate our issues from the other person's issues, and we don't expect perfection from others or ourselves.

We let go of our need to control that which we cannot control. Instead, we strive for peace and manageability, owning our power to be who we are and to take care of ourselves.

We do not tolerate abuse, nor do we abuse or mistreat anyone else. We work at letting go of our fear and developing appropriate confidence. We try to learn from our mistakes, but we forgive ourselves when we make them.

We try to not set ourselves up by taking jobs that couldn't possibly work out, or jobs that aren't right for us. If we find ourselves in one of those circumstances, we address the issue responsibly.

We figure out what our responsibilities are, and we generally stick to those, unless another agreement is made. We leave room for great days, and not so great days.

We are gentle and loving with people whenever possible, but we are assertive and firm when that is called for. We accept our strengths and build on them. We accept our weaknesses and limitations, including the limitations of our power.

We strive to stop trying to control and change what is not our business to change. We focus on what is our responsibility and what we can change.

We set reasonable goals. We take ourselves into account. We strive for balance.

Sometimes, we give ourselves a good gripe session to let it all out, but we do that appropriately, in a way meant to take care of ourselves and release our feelings, not to sabotage ourselves. We strive to avoid malicious gossip and other self-defeating behaviors.

We avoid competition; strive for cooperation and a loving spirit. We understand that we may like some people we work with and dislike others, but strive to find harmony and balance with everyone. We do not deny how we feel about a certain person, but we strive to maintain good working relationships wherever possible.

When we don't know, we say we don't know. When we need help, we ask for it directly. When panic sets in, we address the panic as a separate issue and try not to let our work and behavior be controlled by panic.

We strive to take responsible care of ourselves by appropriately asking for what we need at work, while not neglecting ourselves.

If we are part of a team, we strive for healthy teamwork as an opportunity to learn how to work in cooperation with others.

If something gets or feels crazy, if we find ourselves working with a person who is addicted or has some kind of dysfunction that is troublesome, we do not make ourselves crazier by denying the problem. We accept it and strive in peace to figure out what we need to do to take care of ourselves.

We let go of our need to be martyrs or rescuers at work. We know we do not have to stay in situations that make us miserable. Instead of sabotaging a system or ourselves, we plan a positive solution, understanding we need to take responsibility for ourselves along the way.

We remove ourselves as victims, and we work at believing we deserve the best. We practice acceptance, gratitude, and faith.

One day at a time, we strive to enjoy what is good, solve the problems that are ours to solve, and give the gift of ourselves at work.

Today, I will pay attention to what recovery behavior I could practice that would improve my work life. I will take care of myself on the job. God, help me let go of my need to be victimized by work. Help me be open to all the good stuff that is available to me through work

Today's Gift

The route you take depends a good deal upon where you want to go.
  —Lewis Carroll

Day after day, the father drove to work along the same dreary highway to the same dreary job. Sometimes his daughter went to his office with him. On one of these occasions she noticed a winding road running parallel to the highway. "Oh, Daddy, let's take that road today," she suggested. After some grumbling and mumbling, the father agreed and turned off to take the side road.

To their delight, the road was lined with full trees and a rainbow of flowers. They came upon a quaint little village in which there was an office with a sign in the window, which said, "Clerk Wanted. Inquire Within." The job seemed perfect and the man accepted it with excitement he hadn't felt in many years.

Sometimes we have to risk taking a different path in order to arrive at a different place. How else can we change things in our lives that need to be changed? And how easy to do it, once we're willing to risk something out of the ordinary.

What can I do that's out of the ordinary today?

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Daily Recovery Readings: August 27th

Recovery Meditations: August 27th

“People throw away what they could have
by insisting on perfection, which they cannot have,
and looking for it where they will never find it.”

Edith Schaeffer 

Time and time again I have felt like I was suspended from two ropes, being flogged for my imperfections. The tragic fact of that vision was that I was the person wielding the whip!
Before my heart and mind were opened by the Twelve Steps and Traditions, I sought perfection in everything I attempted. A simple letter would be written and rewritten until I was satisfied that perfection had been achieved and the letter could be sent. Frequently the goal was not reached and I would abandon the project in frustration and bitter disappointment with myself. Events that I organized had to be executed with the utmost precision. If, God forbid, a mistake was made, I would berate myself for days until sheer mental and emotional exhaustion prevailed. 
Ironically, I never sought perfection in others and accepted that it was okay for them to be human. However, seeking perfection from myself became an obsession tangled with the search for self-acceptance. Needless to say, a rainbow cannot be seen through closed eyes, and I never found that which I sought. Through the teachings of the Twelve Steps I have come to appreciate that the beauty within myself is that I am not perfect. I can grow through my mistakes, and in my imperfections I can find serenity and release from the struggle. 

One Day at a Time ...
I will accept that I am perfectly imperfect. 

~ Sue G.


Each Day A New Beginning 

Acceptance is not submission; it is acknowledgment of the facts of a situation. Then deciding what you're going to do about it.
  —Kathleen Casey Theisen

Recovery offers us courage to make choices about the events of our lives. Passive compliance with whatever is occurring need no longer dominate our pattern of behavior. Powerlessly watching our lives go by was common for many of us, and our feelings of powerlessness escalated the more idle we were.

Today, action is called for, thoughtful action in response to the situations begging for our attention. Recovery's greatest gift is the courage to take action, to make decisions that will benefit us as well as the people who are close to us. Courage is the byproduct of our spiritual progress, courage to accept what we cannot change, believing that all will be well, courage to change in ourselves what we do have control over.

An exhilaration about life accompanies the taking of action. The spell that idleness casts over us is broken, and subsequent actions are even easier to take. Clearly, making a choice and acting on it is healthful. The program has given us the tools to do both.

Decisions will be called for today. I will be patient with myself, and thoughtful. I will listen closely to the guidance that comes from those around me.

Food For Thought

Accepting Reality

Failure, death, divorce, disease, and betrayal - these are all part of the world we live in. We agonizingly search our minds to figure out why, but are unable to come up with any satisfying answers. We pray for the serenity to accept the reality of life.

Previously, we tried to deny reality by overeating. What that did was make reality worse for us. Abstaining from compulsive overeating and working the steps of the OA program give us the strength to cope with reality and accept the things we cannot change. We often feel as though we are on a long uphill climb. Let's not forget that if it were not for abstinence and our Higher Power, we would be rapidly sliding downhill.

Whatever our situation, it is better to face it squarely than to delude ourselves with excess food. None of us escapes pain and suffering. By turning them over to our Higher Power, we are strengthened by our hardships, rather than destroyed.

May we have the courage and strength to accept life as it is.

The Language of Letting Go


Procrastination - not acting when the time is right - is a self-defeating behavior. It produces anxiety, guilt, disharmony, and a nagging consciousness of the task that life is telling us it's time to do.

We are not always procrastinating when we put off doing something. Sometimes, doing a thing before the time is right can be as self-defeating as waiting too long.

We can learn to discern the difference. Listen to yourself. Listen to the Universe. What is past due and creating anxiety and prodding within you?

Is there something in your life you are avoiding because you don't want to face it? Is there a building anxiety from putting this off?

Sometimes anger, fear, or feeling helpless can motivate procrastination. Sometimes, procrastination has simply become habitual.

Trust and listen to yourself, your Higher Power, and the Universe. Watch for signs and signals. If it is time to do something, do it now. If it is not yet time, wait until the time is right.

God, help me learn to be on time and in harmony with my life. Help me tune in to and trust Divine Timing and Order.

Today's Gift

If you have butterflies in your stomach ask them into your heart.
  —Cooper Edens

We've all had butterflies in our stomachs. It happens on the first day of school or the first day on a new job. It happens most anytime we try something new or risky. These butterflies are nervous and fluttery and sometimes we wish we could just go back to bed.

But the best thing we can do, and sometimes the only thing, is go right ahead and walk into that new situation with head held high. We will probably feel awkward at first, but that is natural and it will pass.

Our nervousness can change into excitement and joy for what we are doing. We can begin to feel proud when we walk through our fear. It is a true accomplishment when we don't let our fear stop us - when, instead, we let the butterfly in our hearts unfold.

When I have the butterflies today, will I enjoy their beauty?


Friday, August 26, 2016

Daily Recovery Readings: August 26th

Recovery Meditations: August 26th

"When you love you should not say,
"God is in my heart," but rather,
"I am in the heart of God."
Kahlil Gibran

What is love? And what does it mean to love myself? I’ve found from my experience that it is easier to describe what love is not. Through many failures -- and with my Higher Power’s help -- I have discovered that to love myself means choosing to not hurt myself by overeating. Self-love means choosing to no longer ignore my inner-child who sometimes screams to be heard and must have a tantrum to get my attention. Self-love means not isolating or allowing the hurtful, grieving, angry, fearful thoughts to possess my mind to the degree that the disease overtakes any sanity I may have. This list could go on -- focusing on the failures and the negative -- but my Higher Power has given me the desire, strength and power to feel, express and give love. Our Higher Power offers the freedom and joy of self-love to each of us who are willing to receive and practice it. 

The more I am able to receive the love of others, the more I am able to love myself. And conversely, the more I love myself, the more I am able to receive love from others. As I work this Twelve Step program to the best of my ability each 24 hours, I am shown love through meetings, my sponsor, meditating, journaling, spending time with my Higher Power, and sharing my experience, strength and hope with another person. Some days, “the best of my ability” may be to just get out of bed and say the Third Step prayer. Other days, “the best of my ability” will seem like I'm working the program close to perfection. Regardless of my ability on any particular day, I’ve found that love can be gleaned from each day. 

As the quote above states, "I am in the heart of God." I experience this when I am willing to surrender daily to the will of my Higher Power and to be completely and absolutely surrounded and protected by the heart of God.

One Day at a Time . . .
I will seek to see love in as many moments as possible by looking to my Higher Power and then reaching out to others. 

~ Ohitika


Each Day A New Beginning

A woman who has no way of expressing herself and of realizing herself as a full human has nothing else to turn to but the owning of material things.
  —Enriqueta Longeaux y Vasquez

Each of us struggling with these Twelve Steps is finding self-expression and self-definition. Introspection, coupled with self-revelation through sharing with others, affords us the awareness of how like others we are. How human we are. And what we receive from others who respond to our vulnerability diminishes our need for "things" to fill our lives.

The love that we receive freely from a trusting, caring friend or group fills up the empty places in our souls, the places we used to try filling up with alcohol or cookies or sex. New clothes maybe even a new home or a different job served their terms as void fillers too. Nothing succeeded for long, and then the program found us.

The program is the filler for all times. Of this we can be certain. Time will alleviate any doubts we may have. All that is asked of us is openness, honesty, and attention to others' needs as well as our own.

I can share our likenesses and relish whatever differences may surface. The chain of friendship I've created makes me the proud owner of my wholeness. I am a succeeding woman who is moving forward with courage and self-awareness on this, my road of life.

Food For Thought

A Living Program

The Twelve Steps are a program for living and they are also a living program. Taking them is not something we do once and for all, but something we repeat over and over in greater depth. They are our guidelines for each day.

Our program develops as our understanding matures. When we first join OA, physical abstinence from compulsive overeating may be all we can handle. As we learn from fellow members and are increasingly exposed to the power of the group, our program comes to include more emotional and spiritual elements. The possibilities for development are limitless.

One thing leads to another. The creative force that guides OA directs our individual efforts. When we are open to the challenges and willing to give up self-will, we make progress, which gratifies and astounds us. This program not only works as we work it; it also grows as we grow.

We thank You for Your creative spirit.

The Language of Letting Go

Making Amends

Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  —Step Nine of Al-Anon

When we make amends we need to be clear about what we're apologizing for and the best way to say we're sorry. What we are really doing with our amends is taking responsibility for our behavior. We need to be sure that the process itself will not be self-defeating or hurtful.

Sometimes, we need to directly apologize for a particular thing we have done or our part in a problem.

Other times, instead of saying "I'm sorry," what we need to do is work on changing our behavior with a person.

There are times when bringing up what we have done and apologizing for it will make matters worse.

We need to trust timing, intuition, and guidance in this process of making amends. Once we become willing, we can let go and tackle our amends in a peaceful, consistent, harmonious way. If nothing feels right or appropriate, if it feels as if what we are about to do will cause a crisis or havoc, we need to trust that feeling.

Attitude, honesty, openness, and willingness count here. In peace and harmony, we can strive to clear up our relationships.

We deserve to be at peace with others and ourselves.

Today, I will be open to making any amends I need to make with people. I will wait for Divine Guidance in the process of making any amends that are not clear to me. I will act, when led. God, help me let go of my fear about facing people and taking responsibility for my behaviors. Help me know I am not diminishing my self-esteem by doing this; I am improving it.

Today's Gift

... I cannot see
The love you offer.
  —Emily Dickinson

How can we make love visible; how can we give it eyes? We can make love a present, wrap it carefully as if it were a beautiful thing. We can make love a favor nobody foresaw; we can fill a cup, prepare a meal, run an errand with our love. We can make love out of real words - in a letter, a note, a simple unrhymed poem. And we can make our love visible with our eyes by making our eyes meet those of the people we love.

When we turn a feeling like love into an act, we share it with those around us, and they are encouraged to return the favor, and in this way, the world's storehouse of love increases.

How can I show the love I feel today?

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Daily Recovery Readings: August 25th

Recovery Meditations: August 25th

~ Patience ~
There is no fruit which is not bitter
before it is ripe. 

Publilius Syrus

There are some things in life you simply cannot rush. In the early stages of my disease, I went through life like a steam roller ... impatiently starting one project after another. If there was something in my life that depended on the actions of another for resolution, it was excruciating while waiting on the decision. As a result, sometimes decisions were forced. I have made many bad decisions because of lack of patience.
I have learned that sometimes we have to turn decisions over to others ... we have to let go and let others take control. We must wait it out and hope that our decision to let go was a good one. Many times it is. Sometimes it isn't.
I have become a very patient person ... and sometimes that is to my detriment. It can be hard to find a middle ground in the decision making process. Snap decisions aren't good. Neither are those we sit on forever.
One Day at a Time . . .
I will patiently wait on my Higher Power
to direct me ... to guide me ...
and to help me with the decisions I must make. 

~ Mari ~


Each Day A New Beginning

In soloing--as in other activities--it is far easier to start something than it is to finish it.
  —Amelia Earhart

Procrastination plagues us all, at one time or another. But any activity that is worthy of our effort should be tackled by bits and pieces, one day at a time. We are too easily overwhelmed when we set our sights only on the accomplished goal. We need to focus, instead, on the individual elements and then on just one element at a time. A book is written word-by-word. A house is built timber-by-timber. A college degree is attained course-by-course.

By the time we got to this program, most of us had accumulated a checkered past, much of which we wanted to deny or forget. And the weight of our past can stand in the way of the many possibilities in the present.

Our past need not determine what we set out to do today. However, we must be realistic: We can't change a behavior pattern overnight. But we can begin the process. We can decide on a reasonable, manageable objective for this 24-hour period. Enough days committed to the completion of enough small objectives will bring us to the attainment of any goal, large or small.

I can finish any task I set my sights on, when I take it one day at a time. Today is before me. I can move forward in a small way.

Food for Thought

Being Available

In our search for security, we turned to food in times of stress. Now we are growing in reliance on our Higher Power instead of food. We do not, however, "use" the Higher Power the way we tried to use food. We do not use God; He uses us.

What we do is make ourselves available to the Higher Power, and open to light and guidance. We pray each day that we may do His will, not ours. Often this means a more flexible schedule than we may have had in the past. Since the Higher Power is ever creative and new, we cannot cling to our old routines and habits. To insist on our time, our way, our plan is to block out God's guidance.

Sometimes we may be called on to perform a service, which means giving up our plan for the day. When the prompting comes from deep within, following it will further our growth in the program.

Today I will be available for Your use.

The Language of Letting Go

Willing to Make Amends

The Eighth Step is talking about a change of heart, a healing change.

This attitude can begin a great chain of repair and healing in our relationships with others and ourselves. It means we become willing to let go of our hard heartedness - one of the greatest blocks to our ability to give and receive love.

In the Eighth Step, we make a list of all people we have harmed, and we allow ourselves to experience a healing attitude toward them. It is an attitude of love.

We do not, in this Step, dash madly about and begin yelling, "Sorry!" We make our list, not to feel guilty, but to facilitate healing. Before we actually make amends or begin to consider appropriate amends, we allow ourselves to change our attitude. That is where healing begins - within us.

It can change the energy. It can change the dynamics. It can begin the process, before we ever open our mouths and say sorry.

It opens the door to love. It opens the door to the energy of love and healing. It enables us to release negative feelings and energy, and opens the door to positive feelings and energy.

That energy can be felt around the world, and it starts inside us.

How often have we, after we have been hurt, wished that the person would simply recognize our pain and say, "I'm sorry?" How often have we wished that the person would simply see us, hear us, and turn the energy of love our way? How often have we longed for at least a change of heart, a small dose of reconciliation, in relationships tainted by unfinished business and bad feelings? Often.

Others do too. It is no secret. The energy of healing begins with us. Our willingness to make amends may or may not benefit the other person; he or she may or may not be willing to put matters to rest.

But we become healed. We become capable of love.

Today, I will work on a change of heart if hard heartedness, defensiveness, guilt, or bitterness are present. I will become willing to let go of those feelings and have them replaced by the healing energy of love.

Today's Gift

... self-love is an unequivocal acceptance of the validity of getting what one wants--of respecting one's needs.
  —Marion Weinstein

Once there was a woman who loved her husband and children so much that she did everything for them and nothing for herself. She thought taking care of herself was selfish. She never considered taking a vacation when she needed it. She stayed to take care of her family no matter what it cost her personally. Then she realized how much she resented them because she wasn't taking care of herself. So she began to ask for what she needed. At first, her family didn't like it. Little by little they began to notice that when she was relaxed, their lives were more serene, too. It wasn't always easy for her to love herself enough to ask for what she needed, but she learned that when she said no to demands she couldn't meet, she felt calm and centered. Best of all, she no longer resented them for asking. When she said yes, she did what they asked with real pleasure.

Do I sometimes resent doing things I could have chosen not to do?

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Daily Recovery Meditations: August 24th

Recovery Meditations: August 24th

The greatest happiness you can have
is knowing that you do not necessarily require happiness.

William Saroyan

How many times during my life have I said that all I want is "just to be happy." We are told early on that our legacy is "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." Did you notice that our forefathers used the word "pursuit?" How very wise they were.
Happiness is not automatic. Life is difficult and it's supposed to be that way. If we expect happiness and we expect life to be easy, at some point in time we are going to be very disappointed. I thought eating food made me happy and it did ... for a short time. There were other temporary compulsions in my life that made me think I was happy ~ but again for only a short time.
As I began to work the Steps, I began to desire something other than happiness. I found myself yearning for serenity ... and I found it. The way I found it was by not expecting the world and everyone in it to make me happy. I learned that life was more of an adventure than a bowl of cherries. I learned that the more I expected from people, places and things, the more disappointed I was ... and the more disappointed I became, the less happy I was.
One Day at a Time . . .
I will not require happiness. But when I least expect it .... happiness will find me.
~ Mari ~

Each Day A New Beginning

There were many ways of breaking a heart. Stories were full of hearts broken by love, but what really broke a heart was taking away its dream - whatever that dream might be.
  —Pearl S. Buck

No new door is opened without the inner urge for growth. Dreams guide us, encourage us, stretch us to new heights — and leave us momentarily empty when they are dashed.

Recovery has given us resilience and a multitude of reasons for living. We have come to understand that when one dream serves us no longer, it is making way for an even better one. Our dreams are our teachers. When the student is ready, a new one comes into focus.

Dreams in our earlier years often come to nought. They couldn't compete for our attention as effectively as the self-pity. The direction they offered was lost. Each day that we look forward with positive anticipation, we put the wreckage of the past farther from our minds.

Our dreams are like the rest areas on a cross-country trip. They refresh us, help us to gauge the distance we've come, and give us a chance to consider our destination.

Today's dreams and experiences are points on the road map of my life. I won't let them pass, unnoticed.

Food For Thought


We are made to be physically active. When we were loaded down with food and fat, we probably moved around as little as possible. Now that we eat for health, we have the necessary energy to exercise our bodies.

Taking the stairs rather than the elevator, walking instead of riding, a few simple calisthenics when we need a break from work, a jump rope - there are many ways to begin an exercise program in easy stages. We do not need to train to become Olympic athletes, but we do need to keep our bodies in good working order.

Each day we also need mental, emotional, and spiritual exercise. Reading something worthwhile, refraining from criticism, performing a service for someone anonymously, taking time for prayer and meditation --these are actions which develop our minds, hearts, and spirits. Our growth in the program depends on overcoming resistance and inertia each day and taking concrete steps to improvement.

By Your power, may I overcome laziness.

 The Language of Letting Go


Step Eight

Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
  —Step Eight of Al-Anon

The Eighth Step is not meant to punish us; it is meant to set us free from guilt, anxiety, and discord.

We begin by making a list of everyone we have harmed on our journey, as we have struggled to survive. We have probably done more damage to ourselves than to anyone else, so we put ourselves first on the list.

Often, our tendency is to feel guilty about everything we've ever done, everyone we've come in contract with. That is unearned guilt. Writing helps us clarify whether or not we are punishing ourselves for no reason. But we need to be open to guidance as we work this Step, getting everything out of us and on to paper, so we can be healed.

Once we have made the list, we strive to become willing to make amends to everyone on it because that is how we heal. Making amends does not mean feeling guilty and ashamed and punishing ourselves; it means swallowing our pride and defenses, and doing what we can to take care of ourselves. We become ready to improve our self-esteem by taking responsibility for our behaviors. We become willing to have our relationships with ourselves, others, and our Higher Power restored.

Today, I will open myself to an honest understanding of the people I have harmed. God, help me let go of my defenses and pride. Help me become willing to make amends to those I have harmed, so that I can improve my relationships with others and myself.

Today's Gift

To those of us who knew the pain
of valentines that never came,
and those whose names were never called
when choosing sides for basketball.
  —Janis Ian

Each of us at some time has known the feeling of not belonging; the painful emptiness of feeling left out. We've stood on the sidelines longing to be invited into what we think is some sort of magical circle. If only they would ask us in, we think, we'd be transformed - we'd be somebody then.

But look around. The circle is composed of people just like us: insecure at times, frightened, unsure. They have felt anxiety and feared rejection just as we have.

The pain will pass, and if we use these times to get to know and understand ourselves a bit better, we'll be better able to understand others when they're feeling left out and lonely. And when it's our turn to choose a team or send a valentine, we'll remember.

Who can I remember today?

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Daily Recovery Readings: August 23rd

Recovery Meditations: August 23rd

“Accept that all of us can be hurt,
that all of us can – and surely will at times – fail.
Other vulnerabilities, like being embarrassed
or risking love, can be terrifying, too.” 
Dr. Joyce Brothers 
The prospect of failing ~ or worse yet, “ Being A Failure” ~ was a crippling monster which held me in its cold and unforgiving stranglehold. If I thought I could not do a thing perfectly, I would not do it at all. If I didn’t know the “Right” way to act or to be, I was paralyzed. One day my therapist shocked me by suggesting I make a mistake on purpose. She wanted me to practice giving myself permission to make mistakes and to survive the experience.

I vividly recall intentionally dropping a gum wrapper on the ground and leaving it there. The Fearful Perfectionist inside of me screamed, “Pick it up! You never litter! This is wrong!” Yet I also heard a whisper welling up from within: “It will be alright. Just let it go.”

As part of my Recovery, I am exploring with brutal honesty the mistakes I’ve made in my life: the ways and the people that I’ve failed. Though doing so is embarrassing, humbling, and frightening, I am surprised to find a budding sense of relief. My attempts to avoid Failure never made me Perfect; rather, they caused me to be more entrenched in my pride, insecurities, fears, and stunted growth. A young girl I know is an expert skater. I asked her how she learned, and her answer stopped me in my tracks: “Mostly by falling down.”

One day at a time...
I will practice accepting my failures as necessary steps towards my healing. I will remember that the word “practice” honors the fact that we gain our progress by making attempts, failing, and learning from our mistakes.
~ Lisa V.


Each Day A New Beginning

Were our knowledge of human relationships a hundredfold more reliable than it is now, it would still be foolish to seek ready-made solutions for problems of living in the index of a book.
  —Mirra Komarovsky

The problems each of us experience have within their own parameters the solutions most fitting. And we each must discover those solutions, understand their appropriateness, and absorb them into the body of information that defines who we are and who we are becoming.

We learn experientially because only then is our reality significantly affected. Others' experiences are helpful to our growth and affirm how similar is our pain, but each of us must make our own choices, take responsible action in our own behalf.

How fortunate that we are now in a position to make healthy decisions about our relationships! No longer the victim, we have the personal power to choose how we want to spend our time and with whom. Through active participation in all our relationships, we can discover many of the hidden elements in our own natures and develop more fully all the characteristics unique to our personhood. Our growth as recovering women is enhanced in proportion to our sincere involvement within the relationships we've chosen.

I can inform myself about who I am within my relationships. Therein lie the solutions to my problems.

Food For Thought


When my inside looked at your outside, I overate. Envy of what others seemed to be and of the possessions they had was a prime trigger for overeating, turning to food to compensate for an apparent lack. No amount of food can satisfy envy.

Why is it that the other person seems so much more fortunate, or talented, or happier than we? We are painfully aware of our own inadequacies and quick to envy whoever appears to "have it together." Looking at the outside image or mask is deceptive, however, and prevents us from seeing that underneath is a fellow human being beset with problems and difficulties just as we are.

Who we are, where we are, and what we have is God's gift to us. What we do with ourselves is our gift to God. The more we seek to do His will, the less we envy our neighbor's abilities and possessions. The peace of mind we receive through this program fills us with such gratitude that there is increasingly less room for envy.

Take away my envy, I pray.

The Language of Letting Go

Self Care

When will we become lovable? When will we feel safe? When will we get all the protection, nurturing, and love we so richly deserve? We will get it when we begin giving it to ourselves.
  —Beyond Codependency

The idea of giving ourselves what we want and need can be confusing, especially if we have spent many years not knowing that it's okay to take care of ourselves. Taking our energy and focus off others and their responsibilities and placing that energy on to our responsibilities and ourselves is a recovery behavior that can be acquired. We learn it by daily practice.

We begin by relaxing, by breathing deeply, and letting go of our fears enough to feel as peaceful as we can. Then, we ask ourselves: What do I need to do to take care of myself today, or for this moment?

What do I need and want to do?

What would demonstrate love and self-responsibility?

Am I caught up in the belief that others are responsible for making me happy, responsible for me? Then the first thing I need to do is correct my belief system. I am responsible for myself.

Do I feel anxious and concerned about a responsibility I've been neglecting? Then perhaps I need to let go of my fears and tend to that responsibility.

Do I feel overwhelmed, out of control? Maybe I need to journey back to the first of the Twelve Steps.

Have I been working too hard? Maybe what I need to do is take some time off and do something fun.

Have I been neglecting my work on daily tasks? Then maybe what I need to do is get back to my routine.

There is no recipe, no formula, no guidebook for self care. We each have a guide, and that guide is within us. We need to ask the question: What do I need to do to take loving, responsible care of myself? Then, we need to listen to the answer. Self-care is not that difficult. The most challenging part is trusting the answer, and having the courage to follow through once we hear it.

Today, I will focus on taking care of myself. I will trust myself and my Higher Power to guide me in this process.

Today's Gift

Whenever you fall, pick something up.
  —Oswald Avery

There was once a very active boy who fell and broke his leg. He could run again in the spring, the doctors said, but only if he stayed in bed for an entire month and kept his leg still. At first the boy fought the rule, but he found that the more he thought about things he couldn't do, the more tired and angry he felt.

His parents put in a phone by his bed and friends called every day. He'd never much liked talking on the phone, but he felt better when they called. He wrote letters and got replies, and was surprised at what fun it was. Usually, he didn't have time to write letters.

He learned to play chess and began to enjoy reading. His days were slower and quieter than he'd been used to, but he learned a month really isn't a very long time. When spring came, he was running again, a little more joyfully than before.

When we can learn to accept our troubles, we find, like the boy, that they are just packages in which new growth and discoveries are wrapped.

If something unexpected slows me down today, what joys might I find at the slower pace?