Monday, October 31, 2016

Daily Recovery Readings: October 31st

Recovery Meditations: October 31st

“Service is the rent that you pay for room on this earth.”" 
Shirley Chisholm 
Midway through my first fourth step someone asked me to sponsor her. I was thrilled and eager to share my experience, strength and hope. As my work with my sponsee progressed, something began to happen in my own program. All that I had learned and was sharing with my sponsee reminded me of where I came from and how far I had progressed. I found that my recovery was strengthened through this process of giving away my experiences in program. This service allowed me to keep what I had received.

It is vital for me that I serve the program of OA in all different manners: as a sponsor; as a leader of a step meeting; as treasurer of a local meeting; and by reaching out to newcomers, people in relapse, and others in the OA fellowship. The more I give, the more I receive. 

One day at a time...
I will give service to the OA fellowship so that I may remain in recovery.
~ Cindi L.


Each Day A New Beginning

It's a simple formula; do your best and somebody might like it.
  —Dorothy Baker

We're never guaranteed success by others' standards. However, if we do our best according to the standards we think God has in mind, we'll be successful. And from God we'll always receive unconditional love and acceptance.

In the past many of us were haunted by fears that our best wasn't good enough. And not infrequently those fears hindered our performance, thus validating our fears. We can slip back into those immobilizing fears if we don't attend, with vigilance, to the program and its suggestions.

Our higher power will help us do whatever task lies before us. And no task will be ours except those for which we've been readied. Our job is simply to go forth, taking God as our partner, and set about completing the task. We will not falter if we remember where our strength rests, where the guidance lies.

Self-esteem is one of the byproducts of a job done with God's help. An additional byproduct is that we learn more quickly to rely on God's direction and strength the next time, thus reducing the time we give to fear.

I can be successful today, in every endeavor, if I let God manage my moves. 

Food For Thought

Gifts of the Spirit

Through the OA program, we come to desire spiritual gifts as well as material necessities. Experience shows us that serenity is priceless and something to be desired more than unnecessary food. Courage, wisdom, faith, hope, love, and humility - these are all spiritual gifts, which come to us from our Higher Power as we abstain and work our program.

As we receive these gifts of the spirit, we are able to share them with others. Giving them away to our families and friends ensures that we will receive them more abundantly ourselves. We come to realize that a small gift of time and attention can mean more than an expensive material present.

God's gifts are available to us whenever we are open to receive them. By abstaining from compulsive overeating, we make our spirits ready to accept their rightful gifts.

I pray that I may be ready to accept Your spiritual gifts. 

The Language of Letting Go

All Our Needs

And my God shall supply every need of yours according to His riches in glory...
  —Phil. 4:19

This verse has helped me many times. It has helped me when I have wondered where my next friend bit of wisdom, insight, or meal was coming from.

Everything I need today shall be supplied to me.

People, jobs, what we have to our immediate disposal, are not our source.

We have tapped into a Greater Source, a source of infinite and immediate supply: God and His Universe.

Our task is to allow ourselves to come into harmony with our Source. Our task is to believe in, and look to, our true Source. Our task is to release fear; negative thinking, limitations, and short supply thinking.

Everything we need shall be provided to us. Let it become a natural response to all situations, and all situations of need.

Reject fear. Reject short supply and limited thinking notions. Be open to abundance.

Cherish need because it is part of our relationship to God and His Universe. God has planned to meet our every need, has created the need within us, so God can supply.

No need is too small or too great. If we care and value our need, God will too.

Our part is taking responsibility for owning the need. Our part is giving the need to the Universe. Our part is letting go, in faith. Our part is giving God permission to meet our needs by believing we deserve to have our needs - and wants - met.

Our part is healthy giving, not out of caretaking, guilt, obligation, and codependency, but out of a healthy relationship with ourselves, God, and all of God's creations.

Our part is simply to be who we are, and love being that.

Today, I will practice the belief that all my needs today shall be met. I will step into harmony with God and His Universe, knowing that I count. 

Today's Gift

The only sense that is common in the long run is the sense of change - and we all instinctively avoid it.
  —E. B. White

Nature reveals to us a world that is always changing. No two sunsets are alike. Winter brings invigorating days while spring brings new buds and blossoms every day. Summer brings lazy warmth and star-filled evenings while fall brings crisp afternoons and a sense of nostalgia.

Even though nature shows us a constantly changing world, we often resist the changes in our own lives. Changes can be both hard and sad, yet they are a part of life. Perhaps we are moving on to a new school or a new neighborhood, or perhaps we are feeling the changes that come with a divorce in the family.

With every change we say a sad goodbye to something old, something familiar  - in the same way we feel sadness for summer's end when the first leaves begin to fall. Yet every change also offers us the excitement and potential of a new season - with its own opportunity for new smells, special gifts, and invigorating days.

How have I changed today? 

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Daily Recovery Readings: October 30th

Recovery Meditations: October 30th

“The truth that makes men free is for the most part
the truth which men prefer not to hear.”
Herbert Agar
I spent thirty-five years of my adult life running from the truth. It wasn't until I came to OA and began to work through the Twelve Steps that I had enough emotional support to turn and face the truth. What is my truth? I am a food addict.

Once I was able to face and accept that truth, surrender to my Higher Power was immediate. At long last I was free of cravings, free of bingeing, and free of obsessive food thoughts. That freedom allowed me to work toward the goal of becoming the person I had always wanted to be.

The way I see it, I can be an addict in recovery or I can be an addict in hell. I choose recovery.

One day at a time...
I will seek the truth in my life by working the program of recovery.
~ Cindi L.


Each Day A New Beginning

Intuition is a spiritual faculty and does not explain, but simply points the way.
  —Florence Scovel Shinn

Should we make this move? Should we change jobs? Should we talk to others about our feelings? We are seldom short on prayers when we're filled with fear and indecision. We are, however, short on answers. Our worries block them out.

No prayer ever goes unanswered. Of this we can be certain. On the other hand, the answer may not be what we'd hoped for. In fact, we may not recognize it as the answer because we are expecting something quite different. It takes willingness on our part to be free of our preconceptions - free to accept whatever answers are offered.

Our answers come unexpectedly, a chance meeting on the street, a passage in a book or newspaper, a nagging feeling within. God speaks to each of us throughout the day. Our prayers are answered, our problems find solutions, and our worries are eased, if we but attune ourselves to the messages. They are all around.

I will be attentive to all the signs from God today. Whatever answer I seek is finding its way to me. 

Food For Thought

Accent on the Present

When we were obsessed with food, we were often obsessed with the past as well. We would rehash old hurts and resentments, old fears and desires. Our dreams, along with our waking hours, may have been filled with people from our past. Such preoccupation with the past prevented us from focusing on the present.

By realizing that compulsive overeating is a nonstop trip back to the hurts of the past, we become more determined to maintain abstinence. If we are to be alive in the present, we need to let go of the past. What is over is over and cannot be replayed except in our minds.

What we can do is turn our memories over to our Higher Power for healing. The creative Spirit, which is not bound by time, can take away old hurts and resentments. Then we are free to deal with the present and concentrate on doing God's will for us now, today. Living in the present keeps us in touch with the Power, which restores us to sanity.

May I remember that You are always now. 

The Language of Letting Go

Self Value

We have a real life of our own. Yes, we do.

That empty feeling, that senses that everyone except us has a life - an important life, a valuable life, a better life - is a remnant from the past. It is also a self-defeating belief that is inaccurate.

We are real. So is our life. Jump into it, and we'll see.

Today, I will live my life and treasure it as mine. 

Today's Gift

You have three choices: keep on fighting, ignore each other, or make up and be friends.
  —John Knoblauch

Once there were four sixth-graders - two boys and two girls - who started to fight even though they'd been friends for years. One morning at the bus stop, the boys started playing keep-away with the girls' shoes and wouldn't give them back. One of the mothers called the school.

Later that day, the counselor called them in and asked them what the fight was all about. They said they didn't really know.

"Well," said the counselor, "it doesn't really matter why you started fighting. Right now, you've got three choices: keep on fighting, ignore each other, or make up."

The group chose to ignore each other, after discussing it among themselves. They were happy to be able to stop fighting. About the time of winter vacation, they decided to be friends again.

What conflicts can I resolve by letting them be? 

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Daily Recovery Readings: October 29th

Recovery Meditations: October 29th

Trial and Error
“Anything worth doing at all is worth doing poorly.”
Joachim de Posada
Imagine my shock the first time I heard this statement, which happened to be in a Twelve Step (OA) meeting. I had been reared in an environment in which anything worth doing at all was worth doing well. In fact, in my world this concept was practiced as if it had religious authority. It was perfectionism given flesh and bones.

Perhaps the idea that “anything worth doing at all is worth doing well” worked for some folks. For me, it was paralyzing. There were many things that I needed to do that I simply could not do well. These included things like trimming the hedge, praying, and making good investment choices. So how did my sick, obsessive-compulsive self respond? Predictably, of course: I just didn't do those things I felt I couldn’t do well. I was rarely willing to take the chance of acting and being wrong, so I did not act at all. Soon I was living a very restricted life -- a life hemmed in by the fear of messing up. I needed to be perfect or just not be at all.

Then I found the program. There I learned that I am human and that making mistakes is part of being human. I even learned that making mistakes is a good thing, because in doing so I have acted. This is a program of action. I learn by acting and by making mistakes. How liberating! How freeing. I can't tell you how much my constricted, warped life began to open up. I acted and did things poorly, and people responded warmly and in a helpful manner. I took their advice and I joined the human race. I now consider this simple concept -- act, even if it means doing a thing poorly -- as one of the greatest gifts of the program. My life is really my life now. Perfectionism occasionally rears its ugly head, but when it does, I simply remember where I came from and then I go ahead and make a mistake and set myself free again.

One day at a time...
Today I will do what I need to do, and I will do it as well as I can. When I make a mistake I will not conclude that I am a mistake. I will accept that I am human and I will ask for help. Perfection has never been a goal of this program and it is not a goal for my life.
~ Pete M.


Each Day A New Beginning

Let your tears come. Let them water your soul.
  —Eileen Mayhew

Letting down our guard, releasing the tension that keeps us taut, often invites our tears, tears that soften us, melt our resistance, and reveal our vulnerability, which reminds us that we are only human. So often we need reminding that we are only human.

Perfectionism may be our bane, as it is for so many of us in this program. We've learned to push, push harder, and even harder yet, not only ourselves but also those around us. We must be better, we think, and we tighten our hold on life. The program can teach us to loosen our grip, if we'll let it. The magic is that when we loosen our grip on this day, this activity, this person, we get carried gently along and find that which we struggled to control happening smoothly and naturally. Life is a series of ironies.

We should not hide from our tears. We can trust their need to be present. Perhaps they need to be present for someone else, as well as ourselves. Tears encourage compassion; maybe our assignment in life, today, is to help someone else experience compassion.

My tears will heal. And the wounded are everywhere. 

Food For Thought


Overeating covered up the truth. We fed our illusions with food, which harmed our bodies. The illusions grew bigger and stronger until our minds were fog bound by the illusions instead of illuminated by truth.

Giving up our illusions is frightening and painful, but in the long run it is less difficult than trying to live with them and by them. It is impossible to get rid of our illusions by ourselves. The Higher Power leads us to truth by means of the Twelve Steps and the OA program. Abstinence from compulsive overeating is necessary in order to stop feeding our illusions and let the truth come through.

Knowing the truth sets us free. We no longer have to cling to old dependencies and self-defeating habits. Our Higher Power gives us as much truth as we are willing to work for and accept. We are not overwhelmed, but are gradually able to assimilate the reality of our situation. By accepting reality and refraining from using food as an escape, we are able to live with truth instead of illusions.

Lead me by the Power of truth. 

The Language of Letting Go


A magical potion is available to us today. That potion is called acceptance.

We are asked to accept many things: ourselves, as we are; our feelings, needs, desires, choices, and current status of being. Other people, as they are. The status of our relationships with them. Problems. Blessings. Financial status. Where we live. Our work, our tasks, our level of performance at these tasks.

Resistance will not move us forward, nor will it eliminate the undesirable. But even our resistance may need to be accepted. Even resistance yields to and is changed by acceptance.

Acceptance is the magic that makes change possible. It is not forever; it is for the present moment.

Acceptance is the magic that makes our present circumstances good. It brings peace and contentment and opens the door to growth, change, and moving forward.

It shines the light of positive energy on all that we have and are. Within the framework of acceptance, we figure out what we need to do to take care of ourselves.

Acceptance empowers the positive and tells God we have surrendered to the Plan. We have mastered today's lesson, and are ready to move on.

Today, I will accept. I will relinquish my need to be in resistance to my environment and myself. I will surrender. I will cultivate contentment and gratitude. I will move forward in joy by accepting where I am today. 

Today's Gift

There is nothing so moving - not even acts of love or hate - as the discovery that one is not alone.
  —Robert Ardrey

Our fears are normal. Some of us fear going to a new school and making new friends. Taking an important test causes jitters in the bravest looking person. Maybe staying alone in the house for the first time has you looking under beds and in closets every time you hear a strange noise. Our fears are merely reminders that we've forgotten to let God help us out.

So often we think we're alone, but we never are. We each have a Higher Power just waiting to be relied on. Nothing is too difficult or fearful for us to handle with the help of our Higher Power. When we develop the habit of letting God ease our way, our fears are gone.

Today, which fear can I replace with trust in my Higher Power? 

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Daily Recovery Readings: October 25th

Recovery Meditations: October 25th

“If you're going through hell, keep going.”
Winston Churchill
Recovery work takes great courage. Everyone who tells you differently has not explored themselves in great depth.

It takes great courage for many of us to get up each morning to face a day of physical challenge. Others feel the pull of emotions, job, or family issues.

If but for today, reach inside and give yourself a big hug for being willing to hang on one minute longer. That minute will turn into moments, and before you know it, you will have lived out the Program message, “One day at a time."

One day at a time...
I will honor and celebrate the courage shown in working this program.
~ January K.


Each Day A New Beginning

Love has the quality of informing almost everything--even one's work.
  —Sylvia Ashton-Warner

We are changed through loving and being loved. Our attitudes are profoundly and positively affected by the presence of love in our lives. Each time we offer a loving response to a friend, co-worker, even a stranger, we powerfully influence the dynamics of the interaction between us.

Every response we make to someone changes us while it informs him or her. When we treat others with disdain, we invite the same. When we express only criticism of others, our self-assessment is equally negative. The beauty of a loving posture is that it calls forth love in response. The more love we give away, the more we receive.

Any task before us is lessened when we carry love in our hearts. Love is more powerful than fear. Love helps to open the channel to God, assuring us of the strength, the understanding, and the patience needed to complete any assignment confronting us.

God loves me, unconditionally. And I will experience the reality of that love the more I give it away. Love wants to change me - and it can. 

Food For Thought

Abstaining from Harmful Relationships

Habit sometimes locks us into relationships, which are not in our best interest. It is easy to mistake dependency for love. When we stop overeating compulsively, we can evaluate our attachments to other people with greater clarity and perception than was possible when we continually escaped into food.

Our OA friends act as sounding boards for us as we try to sort out the healthy from the unhealthy relationships in our lives. We may find that for our continued growth we need to move away from old emotional entanglements, which are hampering our progress with the program. Abstaining from a harmful relationship can be as difficult at first as abstaining from compulsive overeating! The same physical restraint is necessary to keep ourselves from following old habit patterns.

By taking Step Three, we make all of our relationships with other people subject to the will of our Higher Power. When God comes first, other loves fall into their proper places.

Show me how to love. 

The Language of Letting Go

Letting Go of the Past

... in thy book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me when as yet there was none of them.
  —Ps. 139:16

Some people believe that each of our days were planned, Divinely Ordered, before we were born. God knew, they say, and planned exactly what was to transpire.

Others suggest we chose, we participated in planning our life - the events, the people, the circumstances that were to take place, in order to work through our issues and learn the lessons we needed to master.

Whatever our philosophy, our interpretation can be similar: Our past is neither an accident nor a mistake. We have been where we needed to be, with the necessary people. We can embrace our history, with its pain, its imperfections, and its mistakes, even its tragedies. It is uniquely ours; it was intended just for us.

Today, we are right where we need to be. Our present circumstances are exactly as they need to be - for now.

Today, I will let go of my guilt and fear about my past and present circumstances. I will trust that where I have been and where I am now are right for me. 

Today's Gift

I love him and I cannot seem to find him.

Where can we find the ones we love? Do they always live in our world, or do we have to go out of our way? They often are not at home; we can find them at their work. Their play is different from ours; we could try having their kind of fun.

Too often, we look only for friends who are much like ourselves, and we tend to avoid those who are not. This kind of narrow-mindedness isn't fair to others or ourselves. We are each unique, like the pieces of a puzzle. We are each necessary to the whole picture.

When we go out of our way to know someone else better, we stretch our own boundaries; we give ourselves new space in which to grow.

What part of my life can I discover in someone new today? 


Monday, October 24, 2016

Daily Recovery Readings: October 24th

Recovery Meditations: October 24th

“Fear is not created by the world around us,
but in the mind, by what we think is going to happen.” 

Elizabeth Gawain

There are different kinds of fear. Certain fears are good, because they help preserve our lives. Babies, for example, have a fear of falling. It just seems to be a natural instinct. Any fear that protects us from harming ourselves is a good fear.
However, when fear becomes an obsession, it is getting out of hand. Why do we go looking for trouble? There is a saying, “Don’t let clouds of fear of the morrow hide today’s sunshine.” We can get so anxious about what’s going to happen in the future that we don’t enjoy living today.
Life is a precious gift to be lived one day at a time, and is to be shared with others.
One Day at a Time . . .
This is how I will live my life: One day at a time, one moment at a time, sharing my precious gift with another through Twelve Step giving.


Each Day A New Beginning

The universal human yearning (is) for something permanent, enduring, without shadow of change.
  —Willa Cather

The specter of change builds dread in most of us. We fear the effects on our personal lives. We lack faith that the impending change will benefit us. Only time can assure us of that. And it will, just as every change we've survived up to now has done.

Changes are gifts, really. They come as hallmarks to our present attainments. They signify successful growth. And they announce our readiness for more growth. How we struggle to understand this, and how quickly we forget it once we have adapted to the change. The struggle is then repeated the next time change visits us.

We long for permanence, believing it guarantees security, not realizing the only real security available to us come with our trust in God, from whom all change comes as a blessing on the growth we've attained. If we were to experience total lack of change, we'd find death. Life is challenge, continued change, always endurable and growth enhancing. We can reflect on what's gone before, and trust that which faces us now.

Change means I am progressing, on course. 

Food For Thought

Accepting God's Will
Disappointments and hurts can send us into an orgy of self-pity if we are not willing to accept them as part of our Higher Power's plan. We do not understand why we must suffer disappointments and frustrations, but trusting God means that we accept our share of this world's pain.

When we look back on former disappointments, we are often able to see that what we so desperately wanted at the time would not have been the best thing for us. Our vision and judgment are limited. Faith that God is managing our lives according to His purposes can relieve us of unnecessary hurt and frustration.

To accept God's will is not to passively absorb all that happens to us like an inert sponge. It is to actively seek knowledge of His plan for our lives and to purposefully work according to the knowledge we receive. Acceptance is positive and cooperative.

Your will is what I seek to accept. 

The Language of Letting Go

Opening Ourselves to Love

Open ourselves to the love that is available to us.

We do not have to limit our sources of love. God and the Universe have an unlimited supply of what we need, including love.

When we are open to receiving love, we will begin to receive it. It may come from the most surprising places, including from within us.

We will be open to and aware of the love that is and has been there for us all along. We will feel and appreciate the love from friends. We will notice and enjoy the love that comes to us from family.

We will be ready to receive love in our special love relationships too. We do not have to accept love from unsafe people - people who will exploit us or with whom we don't want to have relationships.

But there is plenty of good love available - love that heals our heart, meets our needs, and makes our spirit sing.

We have denied ourselves too long. We have been martyrs too long. We have given so much and allowed ourselves to receive too little. We have paid our dues. It is time to continue the chain of giving and receiving by allowing ourselves to receive.

Today, I will open myself to the love that is coming to me from the Universe. I will accept it and enjoy it when it comes. 

Today's Gift

Before he closed his eyes, he let them wander round his old room . . . familiar and friendly things . . . which were so glad to see him again and could always be counted on for the same simple welcome.
  —Kenneth Grahame

When they moved into the house, the room at the top of the stairs was just a junk room. As the years passed, they slowly transformed the room into a guest room.

When they decided they needed another voice in the house, they transformed the room again: out went the fold-out couch, in came a crib and rocking chair; off went the art gallery prints from the walls, up went Winnie-the-Pooh. It was no longer a guest room, but a place for the baby, a new - and permanent - member of the family.

We always have room for more in our lives. When we are ready for it, what we need for growth will emerge.

What do the rooms inside our homes and ourselves have to tell us about the way we live our lives? 

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Daily Recovery Readings: October 23rd

Recovery Meditations: October 23rd

“People are taught that pain is evil and dangerous ... 
Pain is meant to wake us up ...
You should stand up for your right to feel your pain.”

Jim Morrison 

I am what some might call a “pain expert.” Inside, outside, stuffed, unavoidable ~ there are so many kinds of pain. I used to think that if I were really strong, I would never let pain effect me, regardless of its source. And there were plenty of sources. I walked around with this smile on my face and this wall built around me, trying to ward off the pain.

Then one day I cracked. I lost someone very close to me. When I actually accepted that, I just broke down. There was so much pain I had been avoiding for years. At that moment I was confronted by all of it!

That was when I started to realize that I couldn’t go through life avoiding pain. It was still there and it would come back. And it would be worse. Joining this program and reading the Big Book helped me to recognize my pain and feel it. I’m now able to not fear it, but to see it for what it is: a piece of me. I grow from what I feel, including pain. Without it I wouldn’t be me.

One day at a time...
I will feel my pain and I will do what is necessary to accept it. Together we are bound by pain. Together we can see our strength.
~ Miranda G. 


Each Day A New Beginning


...words are more powerful than perhaps anyone suspects, and once deeply engraved in a child's mind, they are not easily eradicated.
  —May Sarton

How burdened we became, as little girls, with the labels applied by parents, teachers, even school chums. We believe about ourselves what others teach us to believe. The messages aren't always overt. But even the very subtle ones are etched in our minds, and they remind us of our "shortcomings" long into adulthood.

Try as we might to forget the criticisms, the names, they linger in our memories and influence our self-perceptions as adults. The intervening years have done little to erase whatever emotional scars we acquired as children.

Our partnership with God will help us understand that we are spiritual beings with a wonderful purpose in this life. And we are as lovely, as capable, and as successful as we perceive ourselves to be. Our own thoughts and words, our own labels can become as powerful as those of our youth. It takes practice to believe in ourselves. But we can break the past's hold on us.

My higher power will help me know the real me. I am all that I ever needed to be; I am special, and I will come to believe that. 

Food For Thought

Tomorrow Is Another Day

As compulsive overeaters; we can be tormented by the urge to finish everything right now, today. That was the way we used to eat, and it may still be the way we try to operate in other areas of behavior. It is possible to exchange our addiction to food for an addiction to work or perfection.

Trying to do everything today is just another example of self will run riot. We are not super people and we cannot perform miracles. It is our Higher Power who makes possible our accomplishments, and His work is done slowly and gradually. God never expects more of us than we are able to deliver. It is our own pride that entices us to tackle the impossible.

As long as we are alive, our work will not be finished. Each day we are given new tasks to do and new experiences to enjoy. What we do not complete today can be continued tomorrow, according to the will of our Higher Power.

I leave tomorrow's tasks for tomorrow. 

The Language of Letting Go

Morning Cues

There is an important message for us first thing every day.

Often, once we get started with the day, we may not listen as closely to life and ourselves as we do in those still moments when we first awaken.

An ideal time to listen to ourselves is when we are laying quietly, our defenses are down, and we're open and most vulnerable.

What is the first feeling that floods through us, the feeling that perhaps we are trying to avoid during the business of the day? Are we angry, frustrated, hurt, or confused? That is what we need to focus on and work through. That's the issue we need to address.

When you awaken, what is the first idea or thought that enters your mind? Do you need to finish a timely project? Are you in need of a fun day? A restful day?

Do you feel sick and need to nurture yourself? Are you in a negative frame of mind? Do you have an issue to resolve with someone?

Do you need to tell someone something? Is something bothering you? Is something feeling particularly good?

Does an idea occur to you, something you could get or do that would feel good?

When you awaken, what is the first issue that presents itself? You don't have to be fearful. You don't have to rush. You can lay still and listen and then accept the message.

We can define some of our recovery goals for the day by listening to the morning message.

God, help me let go of my need to be in resistance to the harmonic flow of life. Help me learn to go with the flow and accept the help and support that You have to offer me. 

Today's Gift

I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself.
  —D. H. Lawrence

Sometimes when we feel sorry for ourselves we will sit alone in our bedroom. We may even feel so down in the dumps that we decide to stay there, indulging in self-pity, thinking about how the world is against us.

However, if we use our imagination to step outside our own point of view for a moment, we might think differently. If we were deer in the forest, we would be thinking about keeping safe from the wolves, and where our next meal would be coming from.

The animals have no time to feel sorry for themselves, they are too busy doing what has to be done to survive, and each thing that happens presents a new survival problem to be solved.

When we feel blue, it helps to keep this in mind. If we have the time to feel down, and can get physically comfortable while doing it, how bad can the problem really be?

In what ways is my life comfortable, easy, and full of love? 

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Daily Recovery Readings: October 22nd

Recovery Meditations: October 22nd

“Dwelling on the negative
simply contributes to its power.”
Shirley MacLaine
I’ve lived most of my life filled with bitterness towards people, God and myself. My mind, soul, and body were consumed by hatred, self-pity, pain, hopelessness, and a complete sense of powerlessness. I focused my energy on reviewing my scars. I counted them, checked them, nurtured them, and flaunted them. They were proof of all the wrongs I’d endured. They were my source of energy. They were my identity. They were my badge of sorrow.

As I work my recovery, I am beginning to see everything from a new perspective. Gradually my head is lifted and my eyes are turned away from my once-beloved scars. The more I allow myself to accept that my powerlessness is not a prison of doom, the more I discover that it is my doorway to faith, surrender, and serenity.

My scars are still here. There is no magic potion to remove them. What is magical, however, is that I see them so differently. I find that I have a choice to make every day: I can cherish my scars as proof of the pain I have suffered, or I can be thankful for them as evidence of things I have survived. Scar tissue forms and creates a stronger, thicker skin in its place. I can either pick at it and make it bleed, or I can welcome the lessons and endurance it has built into my life.

One day at a time...
I will choose to see my scars as proof of the difficulties I have survived. I will choose to appreciate them as evidence that God has brought me through suffering and has used all things to strengthen my faith in Him, my hope for tomorrow, and my serenity for today.
~ Lisa


Each Day A New Beginning

Children awaken your own sense of self when you see them hurting, struggling, testing; when you watch their eyes and listen to their hearts. Children are gifts, if we accept them.
  —Kathleen Tierney Crilly

Children look to us and their world with fresh eyes, un-cynical attitudes, open hearts. They react spontaneously to the events in their lives; what they feel is who they are.

Close observation of children can help us. See how complex we have made our lives! Their simple honesty can serve us well. To look at the world, once again, with wonder, is a byproduct offered us when we live the principles of this program.

So many gifts await us when we accept the program and its principles. We dispense with the baggage of the past. We learn to live this day only. And we come to believe that there is a power greater than ourselves that has everything and us in our lives under control. Children instinctively trust those who take care of them. We can learn to trust, once again, when we apply the Steps of this program to our lives.

I will look to this day with wonder and trust. Everything is okay. I am in the care of a power greater. 

Food For Thought


God, as understood by each of us, has the Power to heal our bodies, minds, and hearts. Once we realize that we are sick, we can open ourselves to the Power, which will affect our recovery. As we delve more deeply into the OA program, we see that it is not only the body, which suffers from the disease of compulsive overeating. Mind and emotions are also muddled and in need of God's cleansing.

The healing process can be painful. Sometimes we have to get worse in order to get better. Sometimes we have to be more devastated by overeating, by pride, by fear and selfishness before we are willing to turn ourselves over to our Higher Power for healing. We do not make the effort to work the Twelve Steps until we see how desperately ill we are.

God heals, but He requires our cooperation and effort. The extent of our recovery is determined by the intensity of our desire to get well. When our desire is focused on the source of health and held there steadily, we can become whole.

We pray for healing.

The Language of Letting Go

Holding Your Own

Trust yourself. Trust what you know.

Sometimes, it is hard to stand in our own truth and trust what we know, especially when others would try to convince us otherwise.

In these cases, others may be dealing with issues of guilt and shame. They may have their own agenda. They may be immersed in denial. They would like us to believe that we do not know what we know; they would like us not to trust ourselves; they would prefer to engage us in their nonsense.

We don't have to forfeit our truth or our power to others. That is codependency.

Believing lies is dangerous. When we stop trusting our truth, when we repress our instincts, when we tell ourselves there must be something wrong with us for feeling what we feel or believing what we believe, we deal a deadly blow to our self and our health.

When we discount that important part of ourselves that knows what is the truth, we cut ourselves off from our center. We feel crazy. We get into shame, fear, and confusion. We can't get our bearings when we allow someone to pull the rug from under us.

This does not mean that we are never wrong. But we are not always wrong.

Be open. Stand in our truth. Trust what you know. And refuse to buy into denial, nonsense, bullying, or coercion that would like to take you off course.

Ask to be shown the truth, clearly - not by the person trying to manipulate or convince you, but by yourself, your Higher Power, and the Universe.

Today, I will trust my truth, my instincts, and my ability to ground myself in reality. I will not allow myself to be swayed by bullying, manipulating, games, dishonesty, or people with peculiar agendas. 

Today's Gift

Sometimes it takes a rainy day just to let you know, everything's gonna be alright.
  —Cris Williamson

Rainy days let us slow down. We are busy people, driving ourselves to go places and get things done. But rain seems to slow life down, even in our hearts. And slowing down can show us the peace in our lives, the peace of knowing we have all we need right inside us. The pressures of the world can drop away for a time while we reflect.

As the rain soaks into the ground, its serenity enters our hearts. Leaves on trees begin to look more green. Plants and flowers are no longer thirsty. When we slow down, we can be comforted by what we have in our hearts, knowing everything is going to be all right.

What comfort can I find within myself right now? 

Friday, October 21, 2016

Daily Recovery Readings: October 21st

Recovery Meditations: October 21st

“If we wait for the moment when everything,
absolutely everything is ready, we shall never begin.”

Ivan Turgenev
This was one of my biggest obstacles in recovery: I wanted everything to be perfect. This type of thinking kept me stuck for many years in the disease. Instead of my program being One Day At A Time, it was always "one day later and I will do your will God."

Now I know that today is all I have. I have no guarantees for tomorrow. So I let go and let God, and do the best I can. I have discovered that I do not have to work a perfect program. Not everything has to be just “right.”

One day at a time...
One day at a time I do the footwork that is required of me and leave the results to God.
~ Terri


Each Day A New Beginning

The strength of the drive determines the force required to suppress it.
  —Mary Jane Sherfey

We are all struggling to succeed. And each day of our lives we'll be confronted with major or minor adversities that might well interfere with our success. Adversities don't have to hinder us, however. They can strengthen us, if we incorporate them as opportunities for growth.

For many of us, the ability to handle adversity is a fairly recent phenomenon. And not always can we do it securely and with ease. But we are coming to believe that a power greater than ourselves is at hand and will guarantee us all the strength we'll ever need. Knowing that action is always possible, that passive acceptance of any condition need never be necessary are unconditional gifts of living the Twelve Step program.

Our path forward is as certain as our commitment to it, our belief in the strength of the program, and our faith that all is well even when times are troubled. No one ever promised that our new way of life would be always easy. But we have been promised that we'll arrive at our proper destination if we do the footwork and let God do the navigating.

Success is at hand. I will apply what I'm learning, and I'll meet it. 

Food For Thought

New Memories

If certain times of the year and certain activities are associated in our minds with overeating, we need to create new memories to blot out the old ones. If we are hung up on past loves, hates, and hurts, we need to let go of them so that we can live in the present.

Old eating habits keep alive old wounds and frustrations. Even after we have maintained abstinence for a significant length of time, we may be troubled by unresolved conflicts from the past. The fact that we are abstaining from compulsive overeating gives us a chance to see the problems more clearly and to then walk away from them when we have done all that we can do to resolve them.

The past and the future are in the hands of our Higher Power. If we work our program now and live the best we can today, we are creating good memories, which will sustain us in the days to come.

Take charge of my memories. Lord. 

The Language of Letting Go

Financial Responsibility

"When I began recovery from chemical dependency, I had to face my money mess stone cold sober, and I really had a mess," said one woman.

"I wasn't able to earn much at first, and it was important to me to make amends. I had past due bills from years before. I needed to try to stay current with my new bills. I had a lot more money before I sobered up. But in time, slowly, gradually, my financial situation cleared up. I restored my credit. I had a checking account. I had a little money in the bank.

"Then I married an alcoholic and began to learn about my codependency - the hard way. I lost myself, my feelings, my sanity, and all the progress I had made with my financial affairs. My husband and I opened a checking account together, and he over drafted checks until I lost the right to have a checking account. I let him charge and charge on my credit card, and he drove that into the ground.

"We borrowed and borrowed to keep our sinking ship afloat - and we borrowed a lot from my parents," she said. "By the time I began my recovery from codependency, I was again facing a real financial mess. I was furious, but it didn't matter who did what. I had some serious financial matters to face if that part of my life was ever going to become manageable again.

"Slowly - very slowly - I began to work out of my mess. It seemed impossible! I didn't even want to face it, it felt so overwhelming and hopeless. But I did. And each day I did the best I could to be responsible for myself.

"One decision I made was to separate and protect myself financially from my husband, the best I could, before and after we divorced. The other decision I made was to face and begin reconstructing the financial affairs in my life.

"It was difficult. We owed over fifty thousand dollars, and my ability to produce income had dramatically decreased. I was grieving; my self-esteem was at an all time low; my energy was low. I did not know how I would ever untangle this nightmare. But it did happen. Slowly, gradually, with the help of a Higher Power, manageability crept in and replaces chaos.

"I began by not spending more than I earned. I paid back some creditors, a little at a time. I let go of what I couldn't do, and focused on what I could do.

"Now, eight years have passed. I am debt free, which I never imagined possible. I am living comfortably, with money in the bank. My credit has been restored, again. And I intend to keep it that way.

"I am not willing to lose my financial sanity and security again, ever, for love or for alcoholism. With the help of God and the Twelve Steps, I won't have to."

One day at a time, we can be restored in recovery - mentally, emotionally, spiritually, physically, and financially. It may get worse before it gets better - because we are finally facing reality instead of dodging it. But once we make the decision to take financial responsibility for ourselves, we are on our way.

God, help me remember that what seems hopeless today can often be solved tomorrow, even if I can't see the solution. If I have allowed the problems of others to hurt me financially, help me repair and restore my boundaries around money - and what I am willing to lose. Help me understand that I do not have to allow anyone else's financial irresponsibility, addiction, disease, or problem to hurt me financially. Help me go on with my life in spite of my present financial circumstances, trusting that if I am willing to make amends and be responsible, things will work out. 

Today's Gift

Great events make me quiet and calm; it is only trifles that irritate my nerves.
  —Queen Victoria

Isn't that always the way? We cope with major events, like births and weddings, fairly well. It is the little things - so inconsequential in the long run - that upset us. If the kids don't pick up their rooms, or dinner is late, or we can't go to the movies because we haven't done our homework, we become irritated and annoyed. Minor things like these upset us much more than they should.

Are they really so important? A messy room is not a terminal illness. A late dinner won't affect our health unless we get so upset about it we make ourselves sick. We'll survive.

If we think back to the last time we were angry or upset, does it seem important now? We probably can't even remember why we reacted that way. How much better life is when we let go of the little irritations.

What irritation can I let go of today? 

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Daily Recovery Readings: October 19th

Recovery Meditations: October 19th

Live and Let Live
“If I knew for a certainty that a man was coming to my house
with the conscious design of doing me good,
I should run for my life.”

Henry David Thoreau
I have gleaned from the OA program that I can let others be themselves and make their own decisions unless an issue involves me as well. What a powerful concept. I have struggled long and hard with the issue of letting others live their lives as they choose without the benefit of my wise, profound advice. I really believed that I had all the answers and that by listening to me, one could get his or her life on the right track and be forever grateful to me for the magnanimous favor I had done them. I really believed this! I was also deeply frustrated when people did not immediately do whatever it was I had “advised” them to do. How could they be so dumb?

More importantly, how did I overlook the fact that my own life was heading downhill at a remarkable clip? Thanks to the OA program, I have slowly learned to keep my mouth shut. My motto for relationships is simple: sweep off my side of the street. It makes being me so much easier and it makes the lives of those around me a bit better too.

One day at a time...
Today I will accept and love those around me without acting on the urge to make their lives “better.” I will live and let live as I continue to realize the freedom the program offers me.
~ Pete


Each Day A New Beginning

One of the conclusions I have come to in my old age is the importance of living in the ever-present now. In the past, too often I indulged in the belief that somehow or other tomorrow would be brighter or happier or richer.
  —Ruth Casey

How easily our minds jump from the present to the foibles of the past or our fears about the future. How seldom are our minds on this moment, and only this moment.

Before we picked up this book, where were our thoughts? We need to practice, with diligence, returning our minds to whatever the experience at hand. A truly creative response to any situation can only be made when we are giving it our undivided attention. And each creative response initiates an even more exciting follow-up experience.

All we have of life, all that it can offer us is here, now. If we close our mind to the present, this present, we'll only continue to do so when the tomorrow we dream of now becomes the present. There are no tomorrows.

I will let go of the past and the future. My only reality is here, now. God's gifts are here, today, right now. 

Food For Thought

To Abstain Is to Live

If we do not abstain from compulsive overeating, we do not live - we merely survive. Without abstinence, joy and creativity fade and we are left with only the effort of getting from one day to the next. We remember the despair of living without the OA program, and we are grateful that we have been given a reprieve from our former misery.

Abstaining is what we do each day in order to live the life our Higher Power intends us to have. There are good days and bad days and mediocre days. As long as we abstain from compulsive overeating, we are able to accept our passing moods and the events of each day with inner serenity. We make progress in our activities and in our understanding. We are alive to the possibilities of each moment.

To abstain requires that we choose a long-term satisfaction rather than a short-lived indulgence. To abstain is to walk with our Higher Power in the way He shows us.

Thank You for the power to abstain. 

The Language of Letting Go

Our Good Points

What's a codependent? The answer's easy. They're some of the most loving, caring people I know.
  —Beyond Codependency

We don't need to limit an inventory of ourselves to the negatives. Focusing only on what's wrong is a core issue in our codependency.

Honestly, fearlessly, ask: "What's right with me? What are my good points?"

"Am I a loving, caring, nurturing person?" We may have neglected to love ourselves in the process of caring for others, but nurturing is an asset.

"Is there something I do particularly well?" "Do I have a strong faith?" "Am I good at being there for others?" "Am I good as part of a team, or as a leader?" "Do I have a way with words or with emotions?"

"Do I have a sense of humor?" "Do I brighten people up?" "Am I good at comforting others?" "Do I have an ability to make something good out of barely nothing at all?" "Do I see the best in people?"

These are character assets. We may have gone to an extreme with these, but that's okay. We are now on our way to finding balance.

Recovery is not about eliminating our personality. Recovery aims at changing, accepting, working around, or transforming our negatives, and building on our positives. We all have assets; we only need to focus on them, empower them, and draw them out in ourselves.

Codependents are some of the most loving, caring people around. Now, we're learning to give some of that concern and nurturing to ourselves.

Today, I will focus on what's right about me. I will give myself some of the caring I've extended to the world. 

Today's Gift

All power is a trust. We are accountable for its exercise. From people and for people all power springs, and all must exist.
  —Benjamin Disraeli

The sun is power. It warms, and it burns, it feeds the plants without which we could not live. Yet, for all its power, the sun cannot make so much as a rainbow by itself. For that, it needs the rain, at just the right time and angle.

No matter how strong we are - or smart or talented or attractive - we realize our full power only by filtering it through others. Our most meaningful achievements are born of combined efforts. Even when we do something that feels like ours alone - paint a painting, win an award, and hit a home run - there is always a constellation of friends and family and teachers, even enemies, who've been a part of our success.

Like the rain's part in the rainbow, the contributions of others do not detract from our achievements, but enhance them and bring them to their fullest light.

How are others enhancing my growth today?