Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Daily Recovery Readings: November 30th

Recovery Meditations: November 30th

People are lonely because they build walls instead of bridges.
Joseph Fort Newton

When I was growing up I remember always being lonely and I never had many friends. In order to protect myself from the pain of rejection, or perhaps because I didn't have self-esteem or believe in myself, I gave the impression that I didn't need people. I was probably thought of as a snob. I thought that people didn't like me because I was shy and introverted, but I had built up around myself an impenetrable protective wall which didn't invite anyone in. It was small wonder that I spent many lonely nights buried in a book or food or any other solitary pursuit for that matter.
In my adult years I became a people-pleaser in the hopes that people would like me more. That even spilled over to include my children as well, which meant that I wasn't able to say no to them or anyone else unless they stopped loving me. I would say yes when I really meant no, and consequently I was always filled with resentment and felt even lonelier than ever. I didn't know how to set boundaries and was terrified that if I said no, people wouldn't love me anymore.
I now know that when I set boundaries, it is an affirmation of my worth, and in most cases I am respected and liked by those people who are really my true friends. My children, too, have benefitted from my having set boundaries with them, and they have more respect for me than before. I am beginning to realize that it is just fine to do what is right for me, and that it doesn't have to jeopardize any of my relationships.
One day at a time . . .
I am learning that it is right for me
to define my boundaries with those that I love,
knowing that I set these boundaries in love and friendship,
rather than hostility, and that I am still a lovable person.
Sharon S.


Each Day A New Beginning

Doubt indulged soon becomes doubt realized.
  —Frances Ridley Havergal

We are powerless over our addictions, whether liquor, pills, people, food. We are powerless over the outcome of all events involving us. And we are powerless over the lives of our friends and family members. We are not powerless, however, over our own attitudes, our own behavior, our own self-image, our own determination, our own commitment to life and this simple program.

Power aplenty we have, but we must exercise it in order to understand its breadth. We'll find all the day's activities, interactions, and plans decidedly more exciting when we exercise control over our responses. We don't have to feel or respond except in the way that pleases us. We have total control and we'll find this realization exhilarating.

Our recovery is strengthened each time we determine the proper behavior, choose an action that feels right, and take responsibility where it is clearly ours to take. The benefits will startle us and bring us joy.

I will take charge of my life today.

Food for Thought


We will never make it if we feel we are responsible for solving everyone else's problems. It is tempting to our ego to feel that we can exercise control over the lives of those around us, but it is counter to reality. We cannot protect those we love from sadness, sickness, or pain. Making martyrs of ourselves only prepares the ground for future retaliation.

Our primary task is to remember our dependence on our Higher Power and by His grace to maintain our abstinence. The problems, which we face, are best deal with if our spiritual condition is strong. Without abstinence from compulsive overeating, we are not much help to anyone, least of all ourselves.

There are times when all we can manage is to hang on, to survive. We know in our heads that these times will eventually pass. Practicing Step Eleven convinces us in our hearts that God is in charge, no matter how far away He may seem to be.

By Your grace, may I survive the hard times.

The Language of Letting Go


One day, my son brought a gerbil home to live with us. We put it in a cage. Some time later, the gerbil escaped. For the next six months, the animal ran frightened and wild through the house. So did we - chasing it.

"There it is. Get it!" we'd scream, each time someone spotted the gerbil. I, or my son, would throw down whatever we were working on, race across the house, and lunge at the animal hoping to catch it.

I worried about it, even when we didn't see it. "This isn't right," I'd think. "I can't have a gerbil running loose in the house. We've got to catch it. We've got to do something."

A small animal, the size of a mouse had the entire household in a tizzy.

One day, while sitting in the living room, I watched the animal scurry across the hallway. In frenzy, I started to lunge at it, as I usually did, then I stopped myself.

No, I said, I'm all done. If that animal wants to live in the nooks and crannies of this house, I'm going to let it. I'm done worrying about it. I'm done chasing it. It's an irregular circumstance, but that's just the way it's going to have to be.

I let the gerbil run past without reacting. I felt slightly uncomfortable with my new reaction - not reacting - but I stuck to it anyway.

I got more comfortable with my new reaction - not reacting. Before long, I became downright peaceful with the situation. I had stopped fighting the gerbil. One afternoon, only weeks after I started practicing my new attitude, the gerbil ran by me, as it had so many times, and I barely glanced at it. The animal stopped in its tracks, turned around, and looked at me. I started to lunge at it. It started to run away. I relaxed.

"Fine," I said. "Do what you want." And I meant it.

One hour later, the gerbil came and stood by me, and waited. I gently picked it up and placed it in its cage, where it has lived happily ever since. The moral of the story? Don't lunge at the gerbil. He's already frightened, and chasing him just scares him more and makes us crazy.

Detachment works.

Today, I will be comfortable with my new reaction - not reacting. I will feel at peace.

Today's Gift

I've never sung anything that I wasn't ready to sing.
  —Claudia Schmidt

Most of us are curious about the "olden days" before we were born. We ask our parents what life was like when they were kids, what they did, what they looked like, and what they thought about. But most of us, even those who are parents ourselves, have probably never asked our parents, "Were you ready to go to school, to grow up, to get married, to get a job, to have me?"

So often we are afraid to take even a small new step, afraid of change. We feel so alone in our uncertainty. From our point of view, if often looks as though everybody's ready except us.

Perhaps another way to look at it is that, for most of our lives, readiness really isn't much of an issue. Were we ready to be born? Were we ready to walk, to read, to sing? Maybe we were; maybe not. What's important is what we did, not what we were ready to do. For life is mostly a matter of jumping in feet first shouting, "Here I come, ready or not!"

What am I going to do today, ready or not?

Monday, November 28, 2016

Daily Recovery Readings: November 28th

Recovery Meditations: November 28th

Above all, let us never forget that an act of goodness
is in itself an act of happiness. 

Count Maurice Maeterlinck

While in the disease, most of the goodness I tried to do was for ulterior motives. It was only in recovery that I learned to give unselfishly and without strings to help another. In doing so, I have found happiness beyond measure. I can create my own happiness in the service of my Higher Power and other compulsive overeaters. I can make the promise of a "new happiness and a new freedom" come true.
One Day at a Time . . .
I will do acts of goodness.
~ Judy N. ~


Each Day A New Beginning

The idea of God is different in every person. The joy of my recovery was to find God within me.
  —Angela L. Wozniak

The program promises peace. Day by day, step-by-step, we move closer to it. Each time we clearly are touched by someone else, and each time we touch another, carries us closer to a realization of God's presence, in others, in ourselves, in all experiences. The search for God is over, just as soon as we realize the Spirit is as close as our thoughts, our breath.

Coming to believe in a greater power brings such relief to us in our daily struggles. And on occasion we still fight for control to be all-powerful ourselves, only to realize that the barriers we confront are of our own making. We are on easy street, just as soon as we choose to let God be our guide in all decisions, large and small.

The program's greatest gift to us is relief from anxiety, the anxiety that so often turned us to booze, or pills, or candy. Relief is felt every time we let go of the problem that's entrapped us and wait for the comfort and guidance God guarantees.

God's help is mine just as quickly as I fully avail myself of it. I will let go of today's problems.

Food For Thought

A Strong Father

Many of us understand God in terms of a father, one on whom we can rely no matter what the situation. Our biological father may have been a tyrant or a pal, remote or accessible, firm or weak. However much we loved him and depended on him, he was only a person and not infallible.

For recovery from compulsive overeating, we need a source of strength to which we may turn in any emergency. We require a Power to lean on through the minor ups and downs of every day. Though our families and friends support us, their assistance is not enough. They can provide neither the control nor the sustenance, which we need in order to recover from our illness.

The firm, unfailing guidance which we require comes from our Higher Power. If we are willing to again become as children and cast ourselves on God without reservation, we shall receive His support. It is His Power that frees us from our false dependency on food.

Be for us a strong Father, we pray.

The Language of Letting Go

Back to the Steps

Go back to the Steps. Go back to a Step

When we don't know what to do next, when we feel confused, upset, distraught, at the end of our rope, overwhelmed, full of self will, rage, or despair, go back to the Steps.

No matter what situation we are facing, working a Step will help. Focus on one, trust your instincts, and work it.

What does it mean to work a Step? Think about it. Meditate on it. Instead of focusing on the confusion, the problems, or the situation causing our despair or rage, focus on the Step.

Think about how that Step might apply. Hold on to it. Hang on as tightly as we hang on to our confusion or the problem.

The Steps are a solution. They work. We can trust them to work.

We can trust where the Steps will lead us.

When we don't know what step to take next, take one of the Twelve.

Today, I will concentrate on using the Twelve Steps to solve problems and keep me in balance and harmony. I will work a Step to the best of my ability. I will learn to trust the Steps, and rely on them instead of on my protective, codependent behaviors.

Today's Gift

for most this amazing day . . .
. . . for everything
which is natural which is infinite
which is yes.
  —e. e. cummings

Let us be thankful today for all simple obvious things: for the sun's rising this morning without our having to awaken it; for another good turn the earth makes today without expecting anything in return; for our ability to know right and wrong by heart. Let us give thanks for all small things that mean the world to us; for bread and cheese and clean running water; for our ability to call our enemies our friends, to forgive even ourselves; for our own bodies, however sagging and worn, which insist on continuing for at least another day.

How much ordinary daily good do I take for granted?

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Daily Recovery Readings: November 27th

Recovery Meditations: November 27th

There will come a time when you believe everything is finished.
That will be the beginning.

Louis L'Amour

During my life I've always found it hard to start anything. I don't know whether it comes from being a compulsive overeater, but I do know that I took my time in starting a recovery program. Maybe it was a fear that, if I didn't succeed, I could never start over.
Luckily, this is a very forgiving program. If I slip, I can get up and start over. I don't have to stay down. In fact, I can be down, but I can never be counted out, because all I need to do is begin again. My Higher Power helps me stay on track, and it comforts me to know that, if I fall, I can be picked up and allowed to continue my journey to recovery.
One day at a time . . .
I will remain "higher powered" and start over if I need to.


Each Day A New Beginning

Limited expectations yield only limited results.
  —Susan Laurson Willig

Schoolchildren perform according to the expectations their teachers have of them. Likewise, what we women achieve depends greatly on what we believe about ourselves, and too many of us have too little belief in ourselves. Perhaps we grew up in a negative household or had a non-supportive marriage. But we contributed, too, in our negative self-assessment. The good news is that it no longer needs to control us.

We can boost our own performance by lifting our own expectations, even in the absence of support from others. It may not be easy, but each of us is capable of changing a negative self-image to a positive one. It takes commitment to the program, a serious relationship with our higher power, and the development of positive, healthy relationships with others.

It's true; we can't control other people in our lives. And we can't absolutely control the outcome of any particular situation. But we can control our own attitudes. Interestingly, when we've begun tagging ourselves competent and capable, instead of inadequate, we find that other people and other situations become more to our liking, too.

I will be fair with myself. I can do what I need to do wherever I am today. Only I can hold myself down.

Food For Thought

One Bite Means a Binge

By this time; we know that we do not overeat moderately. One extra compulsive bite sooner or later becomes a binge. Keeping this fact firmly planted in our consciousness prevents us from deluding ourselves into disaster. For us, there is abstinence or there is chaos. Nothing in between.

Having proved this fact over and over again, we must avoid at all costs the insanity that makes us think we can handle one small extra bite. Our only sure defense against such inexplicable insanity is a Power greater than ourselves. Alone, we cannot control what we eat and we cannot manage our lives.

Each day we begin by admitting to God our powerlessness over our compulsion, and we ask for His control. Whenever we are tempted or overwhelmed, we release our whole selves into His care and protection. At the end of the day, we give thanks for the Power that keeps us from taking the one small, disastrous bite.

Deliver me from the bite that means a binge.

The Language of Letting Go

We can Trust Ourselves

For many of us, the issue is not whether we can trust another person again; it's whether we can trust our own judgment again.

"The last mistake I made almost cost me my sanity," said one recovering woman who married a sex addict. "I can't afford to make another mistake like that."

Many of us have trusted people, who went on to deceive, abuse, manipulate, or otherwise exploit us because we trusted them. We may have found these people charming, kind, and decent. There may have been a small voice that said, "No - something's wrong." Or we may have been comfortable with trusting that person and shocked when we found our instincts were wrong.

The issue may then reverberate through our life for years. Our trust in others may have been shaken, but our trust in ourselves may have been shattered worse.

How could something feel so right, flow so well, and be such a total mistake? We may wonder. How can I ever trust my selection process again, when it showed itself to be so faulty?

We may never have the answers. I believe I needed to make certain "mistakes" to learn critical lessons I'm not certain I would have otherwise learned. We cannot let our past interfere with our ability to trust ourselves. We cannot afford to function with fear.

If we are always making the wrong decision in business or in love, we may need to learn why we insist on defeating ourselves.

But most of us do improve. We learn. We grow from our mistakes. Slowly, in increments, our relationships improve. Our business choices improve. Our decisions about how to handle situations with friends or children improve. We benefit from our mistakes. We benefit from our past. And if we have made mistakes, we needed to make them in order to learn along the way.

Today, I will let go of my fears about trusting myself because I have made mistakes in the past. I understand that these fears only serve to impair my judgment today. I will give my past, even my mistakes, validity by accepting and being grateful for it all. I will strive to see what I've gained from my mistakes. I will try to look at all my good decisions too. I will keep a watchful eye for improvement, for overall progress, in my life.

Today's Gift

The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science.
  —Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein knew in his heart that the source of all his knowledge was not himself, but a mystery - something or someone outside himself. And it left him in awe and wonder. He knew also that while genius may be ninety percent hard work and only ten percent inspiration, all the hard work in the world amounts to nothing without that outside, mysterious inspiration.

He was right. We can work hard and play hard. We can paint and draw and write and develop formulas all our lives, but none of it will be new or different unless we are open to inspiration from some power outside ourselves that also, somehow, is deep within us. To be really good at anything, whether it's playing baseball, designing fashion clothing, fixing an engine, or cooking, we must believe in some creative force that helps us excel. When we see that force at work, we stand in awe at the wonderful and mysterious gift we have been given.

How have I been inspired to discover something?

Friday, November 25, 2016

Daily Recovery Readings: November 25th

Recovery Meditations: November 25th

The strongest principle of growth lies in human choice.
George Eliot

I spent most of my life blaming others for my woes and the fact that I was a compulsive overeater. I thought, "If you had had a mother like I did, an ex-husband or a tough life like mine, you would also have turned to food for comfort or to block all the painful feelings." I was sure that had I had an easier life like I perceived others to have, I wouldn't have had to do the things around food that I did. I never took responsibility for my part in all this because, in truth, I was the one who chose to react to my life in that way. Nobody forced me to behave the way I did and nobody held me down and forced food into my mouth.
I never used to realize that I do have choices in life. I can choose not to eat foods that are harmful to me; I can choose not to surround myself with unhealthy relationships; I can choose not to let other people's problems become my own; in fact, I have choices in most things that I do. I can choose to have a more positive attitude today, instead of focusing on all the negatives. I do not have to react to life's adversities with destructive behaviors. I can choose to be active in my life rather than being reactive, like a sailing ship in a stormy sea that is totally at the mercy of the weather. I can choose to seize life with both hands and live it the best I know how.
One day at a time... . . .
Today I choose to work this program of recovery knowing that, even with life's difficulties, the promises of the program will come true in my life, and I will know serenity and peace.
Sharon S.


Each Day A New Beginning

Change occurs when one becomes what she is, not when she tries to become what she is not.
  —Ruth P. Freedman

Learning self-acceptance, and then loving the selves we are, present perhaps our two biggest hurdles to the attainment of emotional and spiritual health. Fortunately, they are not insurmountable hurdles. The program offers ready assistance.

Women everywhere are making great strides in self-love and self-acceptance. We are learning self-love. And we are changing. The support we can give our sisters, and the support we receive, multiplies many times the healthy energy created - healthy energy that touches us all.

Emotional and spiritual health are gifts promised by the program, when we work it. We must move beyond our perfectionism and relish our humanness. And the Steps are the way. We must learn humility and develop faith, and the Steps are the way. Learning to love all our parts, the qualities we like and the traits that discouragingly hang on, offers a new freedom. A freedom that invites change. A freedom that safeguards the emotional and spiritual well-being that we strive for.

Confidence will come with my healthy self-acceptance.

Food For Thought

Regaining Control

Temporary loss of control resulting in a slip does not need to send us off on a protracted binge. We have tools, which we may use to regain control and reestablish firm abstinence.

If we find ourselves deviating from our food plan, however slightly, we need to make contact with our sponsor or another OA member. Honestly admitting that we are having trouble prevents us from losing touch with reality and slipping back into our old habits. If we pretend that all is well when it is not, we cut ourselves off from the help and support we need.

When we are tempted, it is a good idea to remove ourselves from the source of temptation and get involved in another activity. Reading the literature or going to a meeting can renew our OA commitment.

In the last analysis, it is our Higher Power who provides the control, which we lack. To turn over our lack of control is to open ourselves to the Power that keeps us abstinent.

Control my life. Lord.

The Language of Letting Go


When we first become aware of a problem, a situation, or a feeling, we may react with anxiety or fear. There is no need to fear awareness. No need.

Awareness is the first step toward positive change and growth. It's the first step toward solving the problem, or getting the need met, the first step toward the future. It's how we focus on the next lesson.

Awareness is how life, the Universe, and our Higher Power get our attention and prepare us for change. The process of becoming changed begins with awareness. Awareness, acceptance, and change - that's the cycle. We can accept the temporary discomfort from awareness because that's how we're moved to a better place. We can accept the temporary discomfort because we can trust God, and ourselves.

Today, I will be grateful for any awareness I encounter. I will display gratitude, peace, and dignity when life gets my attention. I will remember that it's okay to accept the temporary discomfort from awareness because I can trust that it's my Higher Power moving me forward.

Today's Gift

All music is what awakes from you when you are reminded by the instruments.
  —Walt Whitman

A small group of friends sat in a room around a record player. It was a heavy old thing, with parts that had to be operated by hand and only one speaker - nothing like a modern stereo at all, but more like an antique phonograph. The record - a recording of their favorite music - was old, too, and scratched, its grooves worn smooth as a stone in some places. The tone arm skipped and scratched, and the sound was tinny, hard on the ears.

Most of the friends squirmed in their seats as they listened, and several grumbled that it was impossible to hear the music with such inferior equipment.

But one of the group sat listening, her eyes closed, swaying to the music and humming softly to herself.

"How can you enjoy this?" the others asked.

"Ah," she said with a mysterious smile. "I am listening beyond the recording to the music I know is there!"

Can I find the music that's playing for me today?

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Daily Recovery Readings: November 24th

Recovery Meditations: November 24th

~ Gratitude ~
If the only prayer you said in your whole life
was, "Thank you," that would suffice.

Meister Eckhart

I spent most of my life blaming my circumstances and those around me for the way I felt, for my eating problem and for my terrible life in general. There was nothing good in my life at all and I viewed everything through a dark cloud of negativity. I couldn't see anything good in my life, and life became totally unbearable. Poor me, I thought. It really wasn't fair that I had been made to suffer the way I had, and I felt awash with self pity. The more sorry I felt for myself, the more I ate, and the more I ate, the worse I felt; it became a vicious circle.
When I was brought to my knees by this disease and came into the fellowship, I was forced to take stock and look honestly at my life. For the first time ever I considered the losses and difficult situations in my life that I had perceived as unfair and negative. In each case there had been amazing gains. For example, the car accident I'd been in hadn't been my fault at all. In fact, it became the catalyst that enabled me to change careers. One of the bereavements that I had brought a wonderful and special friend into my life. And so it went. Before, I had bemoaned my fate as a compulsive overeater. Now, I am actually grateful to be a compulsive overeater, because without my disease I never would have a wonderful program that helps me to live my life sanely and serenely, nor would I have all the very special people who love and support me through thick and thin.
One Day at a Time . . .
I am grateful for all the wonderful miracles that have happened in my life as a result of this program ... may I never forget to thank my Higher Power for all these wonderful blessings.
~ Sharon S. ~


Each Day A New Beginning

"If onlys" are lonely.
  —Morgan Jennings

The circumstances of our lives seldom live up to our expectations or desires. However, in each circumstance we are offered an opportunity for growth or change, a chance for greater understanding of life's heights and pitfalls. Each time we choose to lament what isn't, we close the door on the invitation to a better existence.

We simply don't know just what's best for us. Our vision is limited. Less so today than yesterday, but limited still. The experiences we are offered will fail to satisfy our expectations because we expect so much less than God has planned for us in the days ahead.

We get what we need, in the way of relationships, adventures, joys and sorrows, today and every day. Celebrating what we get and knowing there is good in it eases whatever trial we are undergoing. We are cared for, right now. We need not lament what we think we need. We do have what we need. We will always get what we need, when we need it.

I will breathe deeply and relax. At this moment my every need is being attended to. My life is unfolding exactly as it should.

Food For Thought

Principles Before Personalities

One of the strengths of our fellowship lies in the fact that we place principles before personalities. OA is not a social club. We form meaningful and lasting friendships, but personal friendship is always subordinate to the program itself.

Putting principles before personalities means that we may expect help and consideration from any other member. Conversely, we are expected to give our attention and assistance to anyone who asks, regardless of how well we like that individual personally. The Twelve Steps and principles of OA unity are more important than the personal relationships of any members in our group.

Because we are committed to abstinence from compulsive overeating and to working the program, we respond honestly and say what we believe to be in the best interest of those we sponsor and those we talk with. We do no one a favor if we dilute our program in order to make it more palatable to someone we personally like.

May I remember to place principles before personalities.

The Language of Letting Go


Surrender means saying, "Okay, God. I'll do whatever You want." Faith in the God of our recovery means we trust that, eventually, we'll like doing that.

Today, I will surrender to my Higher Power. I'll trust that God's plan for me will be good, even if it is different than I hoped for or expected.

Today's Gift

I went to sleep with gum in my mouth and now there's gum in my hair and when I got out of bed this morning I tripped on the skateboard and by mistake I dropped my sweater in the sink while the water was running and I could tell it was going to be a terrible day.
  —Judith Viorst

Some days, for all our good intentions, seem to go sour from the start. Maybe we're tired or feeling ill or preoccupied with a problem that seems insurmountable. Maybe we just got up on the wrong side of the bed.

Living one day at a time means getting the most we can out of today. It also means we know today does not have to doom or dictate tomorrow. If we have a bad day today, that's all it is - a bad day. It does not mean we're bad or that the world is against us or that we might as well give in to our worst attitudes and behaviors since nothing is going right anyway. And it does not mean tomorrow will be a bad day, too.

When we have a bad day - and everyone does - there are a few things we can do while we wait it out. We can slow down. We can be quiet. We can pray. And we can let go. How else will we be able to recognize a wonderful day?

Am I living today - good or bad - and not tomorrow or yesterday?

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Daily Recovery Readings: November 23rd

Recovery Meditations: November 23rd

~ Successful Recovery ~
I always remember an epitaph which is in the cemetery
at Tombstone, Arizona. It says: 'Here lies Jack
Williams. He done his damnedest.' I think that is
the greatest epitaph a man can have.

Harry S. Truman

No matter what their drug of choice, compulsives all have one thing in common. If we don't practice our program, we run the risk of relapsing back into the disease.
What separates those who find recovery and those who don't is this: those who don't find recovery slip and fall, and don't get up again. They figure, "I've already relapsed, so why not just continue using my drug of choice? Why not wallow in my disease?"
Those who recover are like Jack Williams...they do their damnedest. They continue to read program literature, they continue to do service, they continue to reach out to others and to their Higher Power. The winners in this program don't wallow...they pick themselves up, dust themselves off, and keep on keeping on.
One day at a time... . . .
I will do my damnedest. I will work my program to the best of my ability, and if I fall, I won't stay down.


Each Day A New Beginning

When you send out real love, real love will return to you.
  —Florence Scovel Shinn

Real love is selfless love. It expects nothing in return. It is not conditional. It doesn't keep score. It is too seldom given. Many of us came into the program hurting, feeling unloved, looking desperately for love, unable to love selflessly. But we are learning.

We are climbing the same mountain, all of us. Our particular paths will cross the paths of many others before reaching the top where we will find full enlightenment. And any path we cross has a special contribution to make to our own progress. We can be grateful for all intersecting paths, no matter how adverse they seem at the time. We can offer all our fellow travelers real love, and our own trip will benefit many fold.

We need not be ashamed of our desire for love. Nor need we feel shame that we've bargained for it. But we do need to understand that the kind of love we seek can only be gained when we quit searching for it and simply offer it to all the people in our midst.

I will look into the hearts of all the people I encounter today and offer them love. I'll receive that which I give.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Daily Recovery Readings: November 22nd

Recovery Meditations: November 22nd

Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family:
Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one.

Jane Howard
(from the book "The Simple Abundance Journal of
Gratitude" by Sarah Ban Breathnach)

As an only child of parents who immigrated and left their own families behind, I have always felt that I was missing out on the great wealth of sharing and caring that I saw other people have in their families. That was before recovery.
Today, I have an extended family -- not only by marriage -- but by the simple fact that my Higher Power led me to the great wealth of caring and sharing that I have found in perhaps the strangest place of all -- cyberspace -- in the form of online recovery loops.
Being prone to isolation, my disease first led me to seek out others who have struggled with compulsive overeating, and that, in turn, led me to my new 'family.' As someone so wonderfully expressed it to me recently, it's a "family of choice." What a concept! My family of choice not only has sisters and brothers, it also is filled with mothers and fathers, aunts and uncles -- more than I could ever have dreamed of before, and each brings into my life more experience, strength and hope than I could ever have imagined.
One Day at a Time . . .
I thank God that I have found this huge, loving family that constantly offers me hope, inspiration, understanding ... and most of all love.


Each Day A New Beginning

All of the fantasies in your life will never match those I once tried to attain. Now older, it's more important reaching the more realistic goals, and having them come true.
  —Deidra Sarault

Simply knowing that we are important creatures of the universe offers too little security for most of us. We do have a role to play; our talents are special and unique to each of us. Using them in a well-planned manner will benefit us emotionally and spiritually. Others will profit from our talents as well.

Fantasies have their place in our lives, too. They often tempt us to even greater heights. We can't always collar our fantasies, but we can take the necessary steps to realize the goals that our fantasies have birthed.

Recovery is freeing us to achieve those goals we'd only dreamed of or perhaps feared tackling in the past. The defects that we hid behind before are, with patience, giving way to positive behavior. We can accomplish our heart's pure desires. We need not let the fear of failure trap us again as it did so many of us for so long.

I will set my sights high and trust the program to coach my progress. My goals are attainable. It only takes one small step at a time.

Food For Thought


All of us go through times of depression. When we were overeating, we may have felt depressed almost continually. We find that abstinence and the OA program lift us out of depression. The outward circumstances of life may not change radically, but by means of our program we experience more inner joy and contentment and less gloom and despair.

When we do feel depressed, we can take positive action. We can work on a specific step. We can make a phone call. We can offer to help someone else. Focusing our attention on someone or something outside of ourselves is an effective means of combating depression.

Maintaining abstinence does not ensure that we will never again feel depressed. In general, however, our spirits do not sink as low as they did before and they do not stay down as long. As we improve our contact with our Higher Power, we find ourselves less and less despondent. We have new hope, faith, and love - all-powerful antidotes to depression.

Thank You for lifting me out of depression.

The Language of Letting Go

The Magic of Gratitude and Acceptance

Gratitude and acceptance are two magic tricks available to us in recovery. No matter who we are, where we are, or what we have, gratitude and acceptance work.

We may eventually become so happy that we realize our present circumstances are good. Or we master our present circumstances and then move forward into the next set of circumstances.

If we become stuck, miserable, feeling trapped and hopeless, try gratitude and acceptance. If we have tried unsuccessfully to alter our present circumstances and have begun to feel like we're beating our head against a brick wall, try gratitude and acceptance.

If we feel like all is dark and the night will never end, try gratitude and acceptance.

If we feel scared and uncertain, try gratitude and acceptance.

If we've tried everything else and nothing seems to work, try gratitude and acceptance.

If we've been fighting something, try gratitude and acceptance.

When all else fails, go back to the basics.

Gratitude and acceptance work.

Today, God, help me let go of my resistance. Help me know the pain of a circumstance will stop hurting so much if I accept it. I will practice the basics of gratitude and acceptance in my life, and for all my present circumstances.

Today's Gift

The greater part of our happiness or misery depends on our dispositions and not on our circumstances.
  —Martha Washington

We all have friends who seem happy even though they run into lots of bad luck. And we all know other people who seem grumpy all the time. Nothing makes them very happy. It's puzzling, but some people have decided, maybe without even knowing it, that life is fun and should be enjoyed. No bit of bad luck has to make us miserable unless we let it.

A broken bike, a lost math assignment, a rained-out picnic are things that might make us miserable. But, we can decide they won't. Feeling happy can be a habit - just like brushing teeth before bedtime.

Will I stop and think today before I let things make me unhappy?

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Daily Recovery Readings: November 20th

Recovery Meditations: November 20th

Patience is the key to paradise.
Turkish proverb

I used to be the queen of the "quick fix." Anything I wanted done had to be done today, if not yesterday. I'd even do a job myself because I couldn't wait for someone else to do it in their time. I ended up chasing my tail most days, and trying to run the show myself, simply because I couldn't wait. Even all the many diets that I went on had to get results fast or they weren't worth their salt. Small wonder, being the compulsive person that I was, that when I wanted to eat, there was no such thing in my vocabulary as delayed gratification. When I wanted it, I had to have it right then.
Imagine my horror at coming into the program and seeing that people who had been in the fellowship for years were still there. Surely they should have gotten it right by now and graduated from this program. But I soon learned that this is not something we graduate from. Recovery and abstinence happen in God's time, not mine. I've had to learn that this a journey. Progress can sometimes be painfully slow, but the rewards for those who wait for the miracle is a gift I wouldn't want to be without. Not only am I offered freedom from compulsive eating, but also sanity and serenity to live my life the way I was intended to do.
One Day at a Time . . .
Even when progress seems slow, I will keep coming back and working the program to the best of my ability, knowing that recovery will come to me if I wait.
~ Sharon S. ~


Each Day A New Beginning

Continuous effort--not strength or intelligence - is the key to unlocking our potential.
  —Liane Cordes

Perseverance may well be our greatest asset. As we forge ahead on a project, it loses its power over us. Our confidence and abilities grow in concert with our progress on the project, preparing us to tackle the next one too.

We have something special, uniquely our own to offer in this life. And we also have the potential to offer it successfully. However, we don't always realize our potential. Many of us stifled our development with fears of failure, low self-worth, assumed inadequacies. The past need plague us no longer.

Help is readily available for us to discover our capacities for success. Abilities stand ready to be tapped; goals and projects await our recognition. Any commitment we make to a task that draws our interest will be reinforced by God's commitment to our efforts. We have a partner. Our efforts are always doubled when we make them - truly make them.

I will not back away from a project today. I will persevere and find completion. I'll feel completed.

Food For Thought

Eating For Mother

As babies and children, we made Mother happy by eating what she gave us. Since our emotions were closely tied to hers, when she was happy, we were also happy. We may have developed the mistaken notion that the more we ate, the happier Mother would be and, therefore, the happier we would be.

This illusion may be persisting into our adult life. On some level, we may not yet realize that no amount of food we can eat will make Mother permanently happy, anymore than it will make us happy. We may have eaten many times in the past in order to please Mother, rather than because we really wanted food. Subconsciously, we may still think we could please her by consuming more food than we need.

Working the OA program often brings to light other things we are doing in order to please someone else. Since each individual is responsible for his or her own happiness, there is nothing we can do to ensure the happiness of another individual. Realizing this on a gut level is a powerful tool for maintaining abstinence.

May I realize the utility of eating to please someone else.

The Language of Letting Go

Wants and Needs
So many of us have been brainwashed to think that we can't have what we want in life. That is the belief of the martyr. It is born of deprivation and fear.

Identifying what we want and need, then writing it down, sets in motion a powerful chain of events. It indicates that we are taking responsibility for ourselves, giving God and the Universe permission to supply our wants and needs.

The belief that we deserve to have a change in character, a relationship, a new dimension to an existing relationship, a possession, a certain level of health, living, loving, or success, is a powerful force in bringing that desire to pass.

Often, when we realize that we want something, that feeling is God preparing us to receive it!

Listen. Trust. Empower the good in your life by paying attention to what you want and need. Write it down. Affirm it mentally. Pray about it. Then, let it go. Give it to God, and see what happens.

The results may be better than you think.

Today, I will pay attention to what I want and need. I will take time to write it down, and then I will let it go. I will begin to believe I deserve the best.

Today's Gift

Without solitude, there can be no real people.
  —John Euder

We all need some time alone. It's a good idea to set aside a few minutes every day to be alone with ourselves. This is a very special time that is all our own. It's a time to relax and refresh ourselves.

This goes for every member of the family, and it's important that we allow others some time for themselves. It shows them we respect, love, and care about them. Without that solitude, they cannot be truly themselves - and neither can we.

Nature teaches us that each thing, even the earth itself, needs a retreat. Bears hibernate; cats crawl off out of sight, even the plants disappear for the winter. It is this time that refreshes life for the Spring to come. If we want to have healthy, fulfilling relationships with each other, we all need time to ourselves every day. Without being "real people"--truly ourselves - how can we be full members of our family?

How can I better spend my time alone today?

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Daily Recovery Readings: November 19th

Recovery Meditations: November 19th


“We will intuitively know how to handle situations
which used to baffle us. We will suddenly realize that
God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.” 
The Big Book

When I first came into program and heard these words I couldn't grasp their meaning. Life baffled me. I had no idea who I was or what I was doing. I was completely in the grip of this disease. I felt like I was the disease. Why would God do anything for me?
Initially I thought these people were crazy and even worse off than I was. My opinion soon changed when I noticed wonderful differences between them and myself. They seemed calmer, verbalized their feelings more clearly, appeared to have their act together, and seemed to enjoy life. I was hooked! I wanted what they had. I finally wanted to want to live. I was drawn to those who demonstrated traits I wanted to have. I talked to them and listened when they shared. I asked them how to work the program and how to find my Higher Power. I started working the Steps. I began my search for a God I could relate to. I found online recovery loops and people who shared how they worked their program.
Then I had a crisis develop which almost overwhelmed me. Yet as I read the Big Book, I realized that the promises God had given to the other program people were given to me too. I had been so busy working this program that I needed to pause and examine all I had received. Yes, it does work when you work it. I proved it to myself by allowing God to prove it to me.
One Day at a Time . . .
I will remember that the promises really are for everyone and that they come into my life as I work my program to the best of my ability.
~ Judith A.


Each Day A New Beginning

Experience is a good teacher, but she sends in terrific bills.
  —Minna Antrim

It is not by chance but by design that the sorrows we experience throughout our lives are countered by equal servings of joy. One offsets the other. And we are strengthened by their combination.

Our longing for only life's joys is human - also folly. Joy would become insipid if it were our steady diet. Joyful times serve us well as respites from the trying situations that push our growth and development as women.

Laughter softens the cutting edges of the lessons we seek or are cornered by. It offers perspective when the outlook is bleak. And for those of us who are recovering, wallowing in the bleaker times used to be acceptable behavior. But no more. The reality is that each day will present both occasions for anguish and ones inviting easy laughter. Both are valuable. Neither should dominate.

Joy and sorrow are analogous to the ebb and flow of the ocean tide. They are natural rhythms. And we are mellowed by their presence when we accept them as necessary to our very existence.

Any pain today guarantees an equal amount of pleasure, if I willingly accept them both.

Food For Thought

Appetite Is Not Hunger

Confusing a "hearty" appetite with genuine, physical hunger is a mistake made consistently by compulsive overeaters. Our idea of how much food our body needs is usually a great exaggeration of the actual requirement. Because of an overdeveloped appetite, we are unfamiliar with the feeling of true hunger.

Since we cannot rely on subjective feelings to tell us how much we need to eat, we require an objective, definite plan. When we reach our normal weight, we continue to eat according to a measured food plan, rather than according to appetite. We will never be able to satisfy the demands of our appetite without destroying ourselves physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

When we think we require more food than is called for by our plan, we need to examine our thinking. Usually we find that we are being deluded by the demands of our overdeveloped appetite. We would like to eat more, but in fact, our body does not need more.

I pray for the wisdom to distinguish between appetite and hunger.

The Language of Letting Go

Accepting Our Feelings

Why do we struggle so with our feelings? Why do we work so hard to deny our emotions, especially concerning other people? They are only feelings!

In the course of a day, we may deny we feel frustrated in reaction to someone who is selling us a service.

We may deny that we feel frustrated, angry, or hurt in reaction to a friend.

We may deny feelings of fear, or anger, toward our children.

We may deny a whole range of feelings toward our spouse or the person with whom we're in a love relationship.

We may deny feelings provoked by people we work for, or by people who work for us.

Sometimes the feelings are a direct reaction to others. Sometimes people trigger something deeper - an old sadness or frustration.

Regardless of the source of our feelings, they are still our feelings. We own them. And acceptance is often all that is necessary to make them go away.

We don't have to let our feelings control our behavior. We don't have to act on each feeling that passes through us. We do not need to indulge in inappropriate behavior.

It does help to talk about our feelings with someone we trust. Sometimes we need to bring our feelings to the person who is triggering them. That can breed intimacy and closeness. But the most important person we need to tell is ourselves. If we allow our feelings to pass through us, accept them, and release them, we shall know what to do next.

Today, I will remember that feelings are an important part of my life. I will be open to my feelings in family life, in friendships, in love, and at work. I will feel my feelings without judging myself.

Today's Gift

We all fear what we don't know - it's natural.
  —Leo Buscaglia

If we put a blindfold over our eyes and begin to walk around an open field, we would feel unsure with each step. We might be afraid of falling, afraid of walking over some unseen edge and hurting ourselves.

When any of us face something and we don't know what the outcome will be, we often feel blindfolded. We fear we may get hurt. We fear we can't do it. We have a hard time trusting ourselves. A blind person often finds help or guidance from others, or will gain confidence by walking on - slowly at first, finding trust and sureness with each step.

These same things help us when we are afraid. It is also helpful to remember there is no right or wrong way to explore what faces us - only our own way.

What new trust can I place in myself today?

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Daily Recovery Readings: November 17th

Recovery Meditations: November 17th

~ Aging ~
Those who love deeply never grow old;
they may die of old age, but they die young.

Benjamin Franklin

I used to be afraid of getting older. I was also afraid to become friends with older people, because I would come to love them and then they would die. I could not handle unpleasant feelings (other than if I overate to stop feeling them) because the feeling of unpleasantness would totally devastate me.
In working the Twelve Step program, my Higher Power has brought me great recovery in this area ... I am now able to handle the grief and sorrow that come up when I allow myself to get to know and love older people and then they die. I am now free in this area! I get to enjoy the wisdom and beauty that they have to share, from all their life experiences, and from the beautiful people they are!
Another beautiful gift from my Higher Power came when I started relating to older people again. When the first one died, it really threw me, and I was very sad. But I got up the next day and had a great spiritual awakening: this person was missing and that was sad, but I looked around and saw all the other wonderful people still there in my life, with whom I got to share another day! Life suddenly became much more precious to me ... to have one more day to be with and share with someone who touches my soul!
One Day at a Time . . .
I enjoy myself as I become older. I allow myself to enjoy friendships with those who are older than me. I thank my Higher Power for every day and every moment of precious life!
~ Lynne ~


Each Day A New Beginning

I think happiness is like the effect on an audience (when acting), if you think of it all the time you will not get it, you must get lost in the part, lost in your purposes and let the effect be the criterion of your success.
  —Joanna Field

Happiness is a gift that accompanies every instance of our lives if we approach each situation with gratitude, knowing that what's offered to us is special to our particular needs. The experiences we meet day to day are honing our Spirit, tempering our hard edges. For these we should offer gratitude.

Our well-being is the gift. Deciding what will make us happy, in fact, what we must have to be happy, prevents us from grasping the unexpected pleasure of the "chance" events of the moment. When we intently look for what we think we need, we may well be blind to more beneficial opportunities God has chosen for us.

Our self-centeredness hinders every breath we take. It prejudices every encounter. It stifles our creative potential. And most of all, it blocks any chance for a spontaneous reaction to the moment. Spontaneity is the breeding ground for creative living. And happiness is the byproduct.

Happiness is my decision, every moment.

Food For Thought

Escape into Sleep

After we stop eating compulsively, we may be tempted to use sleep as a form of escape. Though not as detrimental as excess food, too much sleep can also make us lethargic and dull. The danger lies in allowing ourselves to escape the realities of living, rather than coping with them.

We all need adequate rest in order to feel good and function efficiently. Sleep becomes an escape, however, if we take long daytime naps instead of finding worthwhile and enjoyable activities. Just as we may have overeaten because of boredom, we may oversleep because we have nothing better to do.

Our Higher Power has a plan for the time and talents He gives us. It is our job to discover how and where we can best serve God and each other. With the new life we are given in OA goes the responsibility to use it productively. Since this is the only life we have, we do not choose to sleep it away. By facing our problems with the help of this program, we learn how to deal with them.

Deliver me from indolence.

The Language of Letting Go

Grief and Action

Trust in God and do something.
  —Mary Lyon

It's important to let ourselves grieve as a passage between yesterday and tomorrow. But we do not have to be controlled unduly by our grief, or our pain.

There are times when we have grieved, surrendered to the heaviness, tiredness, and weariness of a circumstance long enough. It becomes time to break out. It comes time to take action.

We will know when it's time to break the routine of grieving. There will be signs within and around us. We will become tired of the heaviness. An idea will occur; an opportunity will present itself. We may think: No. Too much effort... Do it anyway. Try something. Reach out. Stretch. Do something unusual, something different, and something special.

A new activity may help trigger the transformation process. Stay up two hours later than usual! Make an appointment to do something for yourself that is different from what you usually do. Visit someone you haven't seen in years. Do something to encourage and help the new energy coming your way.

We may not feel like breaking out of grief. It may feel safer, easier, to remain in our cocoon. Begin pushing out anyway.

Test the walls of your cocoon. Push. Push a little harder. It may be time to emerge.

Today, I will trust God and the process, but I will also take action to help myself feel better. 

Today's Gift

Down in a green and shady bed
A modest violet grew;
Its stalk was bent, it hung its head,
As if to hide from view.
  —Jane Taylor

Shyness can be painful. Those of us who are shy do not choose to be this way. There are no quick and easy solutions to shyness, but it isn't the worst thing that could happen to us. And there are some things we can do about it. We can be willing to talk about it with someone we trust. We can exercise to build strength and self-confidence, and we can avoid dwelling on the problem. Most of all, we should not let shyness keep us from doing things. We may be a little uncomfortable, but that doesn't have to stop us from doing the task at hand to the best of our ability.

We can be assured that the ability to succeed is within us, and keep in mind that, if we offer love to those around us, their answering love will help us overcome our shyness.

What am I no longer too shy to try today?