Saturday, December 31, 2016

Daily Recovery Readings: December 31st

Recovery Meditations: December 31st


Life Is Worth Living
"These, then, are my last words to you:
Be not afraid of life.
Believe that life is worth living.
and your belief will help create the fact. 
William James (1842 ~ 1910) 
I have lived my life as a compulsive eater and I have known many other compulsive eaters. I believe I can say unequivocally that life is much more difficult in so many ways for us than for many others. I denied that what I suffered from was a disease; yet I watched as over the years it robbed me of so many things others take for granted. Most of us will acknowledge early on that the manifestations of compulsive eating affects us spiritually, emotionally and physically. Volumes have been written about each of these so most reading this know the devastation it causes. When I began to inventory my life and saw how much the quality of it had suffered, it saddened me greatly.

I believe one of the most difficult ways the disease of COE, or any compulsive illness, affects us is the way society looks upon us. Because I have experienced life both ways, I know how behavior and attitudes change in interacting with a COE vs a non-COE. We wear our disease on the outside ... but the extensive damage is far more wide-spread than just the physical. The disease wrecks havoc in every area of our lives as we silently go about our life doing the things expected of us. We don't dare scapegoat the disease. After all, this is not a cancer ... or heart disease. Yet it can be just as serious.

Many decades ago, a group of alcoholics gathered and, as a result, life began to change for those of us who struggled with the disease. When I reached the point in my life that I could actually acknowledge that compulsive eating was affecting it and that I had done everything possible to stop it and couldn't, it was one of the most freeing moments I've ever experienced. I learned that I was as powerless over this as I would have been suffering a heart attack. I also learned that I couldn't handle it alone. I learned that there were twelve steps that were absolutely necessary if I were to survive emotionally and, perhaps even physically.

I went from fighting the disease to acknowledging it. Because of the Steps I learned that there were tens of thousands of others exactly like me and that we all spoke the same beautiful language. I learned not to be afraid of life ... and that, despite this despicable disease, life is truly worth living. I was told to "act as if" and by doing this it became no longer an act.

One day at a time ...
I affirm that my life is worth living. One day at a time, I affirm that I will not be afraid of anything that makes me feel otherwise.
~ Mari

____________________________________

Each Day A New Beginning


 
In the process of growing to spiritual maturity, we all go through many adolescent stages.
  —Miki L. Bowen

Progress, not perfection, is our goal in this recovery program. And many days we'll be haunted by the feeling that we've regressed. We will display old behavior. We will feel unable to change, to go on, to make gains once again. But these periods will pass, and soon progress will be evident again.

We must be wary of our need for perfection. It's this need that makes normal progress seem not good enough. And yet, that's all we're capable of - and all we'll ever need to be capable of. The program, its Steps and the promises offered, provide the tools we have lacked, yet need to use in order to accept ourselves wholly and imperfectly.

Daily attention to our spiritual side will foster the spiritual and emotional health we long for. Prayer and meditation, combined with honest inventory-taking, can show us the personal progress needed, the personal progress made. However, we will falter on occasion. We will neglect our program some days. But it won't ever be beyond our reach. And each day is a new beginning.

Today is before me, and I can make progress. I will begin with a quiet prayer and a moment of meditation. 



Food For Thought

No Exceptions

Abstinence is the most important thing in my life without exception. Since I am a compulsive overeater, any exception would mean that I might lose control. If I do not control my disease, it controls me. Therefore, there are no exceptions to the rule that abstinence is the most important thing in my life.

In order to follow this rule, I need to depend on a Power greater than myself. Alone, I am not strong enough to maintain abstinence at all times and in all places, but through the grace of God and the support of the OA fellowship, I can do it.

With abstinence, the rest of my life falls into place. I have an incurable illness, but one which can be controlled day by day through following the OA program, working the Twelve Steps, and staying in contact with my Higher Power. There are good days and bad days. but there is always abstinence. I am grateful to be an abstaining, recovering, compulsive overeater.

May I remember each day there are no exceptions to abstinence. 



The Language of Letting Go

Affirming the Good

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


Wait, and expect good things - for yourself and your loved ones.

When you wonder what is coming, tell yourself the best is coming, the very best life and love have to offer, the best God and His universe have to send. Then open your hands to receive it. Claim it, and it is yours.

See the best in your mind; envision what it will look like, what it will feel like. Focus, until you can see it clearly. Let your whole being, body and soul, enter into and hold onto the image for a moment.

Then, let it go. Come back into today, the present moment. Do not obsess. Do not become fearful. Become excited. Live today fully, expressing gratitude for all you have been, all you are, and all you will become.

Wait, and expect good things.

Today, when I think abut the year ahead, I will focus on the good that is coming. 



Today's Gift

Finish each day and be done with it. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well.
  —Ralph Waldo Emerson


Two of the most useless phrases in the English language are "what if" and "if only." We waste so much time and energy thinking about what we might have done and wishing we had acted or reacted differently. We imagine how things might have turned out "if only . . ."

All of us make mistakes. To go back and wonder and wish about our yesterdays prevents us from living fully today. Each day is a fresh chance; a new beginning. We can only squeeze what we can out of the moment and let the drops fall where they may. Some will evaporate and some will form rainbows.

Can I forget about yesterday and start a fresh new day? 



Monday, December 26, 2016

Daily Recovery Readings: December 26th

Recovery Meditations: December 26th


~VISION~
A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile 
the moment a single man contemplates it, 
bearing within him the image of a cathedral.

Antoine De Saint-Exupery


It never ceases to amaze me how the disease of compulsive overeating distorts the vision. Some compulsive overeaters can look into a mirror and see a fat person where there is none. Others can look into the same mirror and not see the weight that is there.

Recovery brings new eyes to the compulsive overeater. It lets us to see what's really there in the mirror. Recovery allows each of us to see the cathedral we really are, rather than the pile of rubble we think we see. Recovery corrects our vision.
One Day at a Time . . .
As I work my recovery program, I will see myself as I really am, rather than seeing what the disease shows me.

Jeff


_______________________________________

Each Day A New Beginning


 
It is only framed in space that beauty blooms; only in space are events, and objects and people unique and significant and therefore beautiful.
  —Anne Morrow Lindbergh


We must look closely; focus intently on the subjects of our attention. Within these subjects is the explanation of life's mysteries. To observe anything closely means we must pull it aside with our minds and fondle it, perhaps. We must let the richness of the object, the person, and the event, wash over us and savor its memory.

Many of us only now are able to look around ourselves slowly, with care, noting the detail, the brilliant color of life. Each day is an opportunity to observe and absorb the beauty while it blooms.

I will look for beauty today, in myself, and in a friend, and I will find it. 



Food For Thought

Control

Control was something we either feared or did not know much about before we began the OA program. We resisted control as being opposed to our idea of spontaneous living, especially spontaneous eating, Control was for other people - our children perhaps - but not for us.

Without control, we watched as self-will ran riot with our lives. We ate what we pleased, and then, angry and depressed, we said what we pleased and did what we pleased. The problem was that we ended up being not at all "pleased," but full of disgust and despair. Dimly, we may have realized that our suffering was due to lack of self-control, but we did not know how to go about acquiring what we lacked.

By relinquishing our so-called control to a Higher Power, we learn what it means to be free. By using the OA concept of abstinence to control our eating, we find spontaneity in living. Rather than inhibiting us, the kind of control we develop through this program liberates us from the bondage of self-will.

Control my life, I pray. 



The Language of Letting Go


Growth

Just as when we were children and grew out of favorite toys and clothes, we sometimes grow out of things as adults - people, jobs, and homes. This can be confusing. We may wonder why someone or something that was so special and important to us last year doesn't fit the same way in our life today. We may wonder why our feelings have changed.

When we were children, we may have tried to fit an outgrown article of clothing on to our body. Now, as adults, we may go through a time of trying to force fit attitudes that we have outgrown. We may need to do this to give ourselves time to realize the truth. What worked last year, what was so important and special to us in times past, doesn't work anymore because we've changed. We've grown.

We can accept this as a valid and important part of recovery. We can let ourselves go through experimentation and grief as we struggle to make something fit, trying to figure out if indeed it no longer fits, and why. We can explore our feelings and thoughts around what has happened.

Then, we can put last year's toys away and make room for the new.

Today, I will let last year's toys be what they were: last year's toys. I will remember them with fondness for the part they played in my life. Then, I will put them away and make room for the new


Today's Gift

I take it that what all men are really after is some form of, perhaps only some formula of, peace.
  —James Conrad


When snow drifts quietly down on a winter evening, the hush of nature brings a great sense of peace. Each of us has known times like this. Many of these times did not depend on conditions like snow, or soft music. When we are able to keep a quiet center within ourselves, we are truly in tune with the spirit. Peace of the heart comes from a Power greater than ourselves, and from the faith that all of us, and all that happens to us, are part of a great plan.

Just as the snow falls softly, without fear, without regard for whether it will land on a tree bough or in the street, we, too, can live our lives with peaceful acceptance of whatever comes along, knowing it comes to us naturally and from God.

Am I prepared to accept wherever I will land today? 

































Sunday, December 18, 2016

Daily Recovery Readings: December 18th

Recovery Meditations: December 18th




ACTION
"You learn to speak by speaking, 
to study by studying,
to run by running, 
to work by working; 
in just the same way, 
you learn to love by loving."
St. Francis De Sales
(1567 - 1622) 
(in French, St Fran├žois de Sales)
Bishop of Geneva, Switzerland and a Roman Catholic saint.


St. Francis de Sales lived from 1567 to 1622. Isn't it amazing that a man who lived over 300 years before the birth of our recovery program could encapsulate its meaning in the above quote? Put another way, what St. Francis was saying was, "You work the program by working the program." 

I've met so many people who had theoretical knowledge of recovery, but no practical experience. They don't work the program; they just talk the talk without walking the walk. I'm not proud to admit that I've been one of those people myself. 

It's a wonderful feeling to actually work the program, to take the Steps, and to trust in the God of my understanding to keep me working it. Paying lip service to the program doesn't bring recovery; only working it does. Anything else is a waste of time and energy.
One Day at a Time . . .
I will work the program by working the program; today, I'll take action to bring about my recovery.

Jeff

__________________________________

Each Day A New Beginning


 
Destruction. Crashing realities exploding in imperfect landings. Ouch. It's my heart that's breaking, for these have been my fantasies and my world.
  —Mary Casey


We frequently aren't given what we want - whether it's a particular job, a certain relationship, a special talent. But we are always given exactly what we need at the moment. None of us can see what tomorrow is designed to bring, and our fantasies are always tied to a future moment. Our fantasies seldom correlate with the real conditions that are necessary to our continued spiritual growth.

Fantasies are purposeful. They give us goals to strive for, directions to move in. They are never as far-sighted as the goals our higher power has in store for us, though. We have far greater gifts than we are aware of, and we are being pushed to develop them at the very times when it seems our world is crashing down.

We can cherish our fantasies - but let them go. Our real purpose in life far exceeds our fondest dreams. The Steps have given us the tools to make God's plan for us a reality.

How limited is my vision, my dreams. If one of mine is dashed today, I will rest assured that an even better one will present itself, if I but let it. 


Food For Thought

Concentrating

Our program requires concentration. It is not something that we may consider casually in odd bits of leftover time. Since abstinence is the most important thing in our lives, we devote our best energies to maintaining it. Many of us find that time spent concentrating on our program at the beginning of the day is most fruitful.

These periods of concentration do not need to be long. It is the quality of our attention that counts. A few minutes in the morning spent in contact with our Higher Power can set the tone for the entire day. We touch base with who we are and where we are going. Concentrating brings results.

Whenever thoughts of food and eating interrupt our activities, we can stop for a moment to concentrate on our program. Abstinence is not always foremost in our minds, but it is always there when we are threatened by a return to old thoughts and cravings. Compulsive overeating was concentration on food; abstinence is concentration on recovery.

I pray that You will direct my concentration. 


The Language of Letting Go

Staying Open to Our Feelings

Many of us have gotten so good at following the "don't feel" rule that we can try to talk ourselves out of having feelings, even in recovery.

"If I was really working a good program, I wouldn't feel angry."

"I don't get angry. I'm a Christian. I forgive and forget."

"I'm not angry. I'm affirming that I'm happy."

These are all statements, some of them quite clever, that indicate we're operating under the "don't feel" rule again.

Part of working a good program means acknowledging and dealing with our feelings. We strive to accept and deal with our anger so it doesn't harden into resentments. We don't use recovery as an excuse to shut down our emotions.

Yes, we are striving for forgiveness, but we still want to feel, listen to, and stay with our feelings until it is time to release them appropriately. Our Higher Power created the emotional part of ourselves. God is not telling us to not feel; it's our dysfunctional systems.

We also need to be careful how we use affirmations; discounting our emotions won't make feelings go away. If we're angry, it's okay to have that feeling. That's part of how we get and stay healthy.

Today, I will refuse to accept shame from others or myself for feeling my feelings. 



Today's Gift

Endurance is nobler than strength, and patience than beauty.
  —John Ruskin


It's hard to keep from trying to control the lives of others, especially in a family. We can learn from the man whose friend drove twenty miles to and from work on the freeway every day. "How can you do it?" he asked. "I've tried, and I can't go a mile in such traffic without screaming at the crazy drivers who cut in, go too slow, change lanes. Nobody listens. I'd lose my mind if I had to do it your way." His friend replied, "Your trouble is trying to drive every car around you. I relax and drive only one car - my own."

We have only our own lives to live, and this is usually enough to keep us busy. If we pay too much attention to how others live, we will neglect ourselves.

What acts of others can I ignore today? 




Saturday, December 17, 2016

Daily Recovery Readings: December 17th

Recovery Meditations: December 17th


PEACE
"We cannot find peace if we are 
afraid of the windstorms of life."
 
Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
(Psychiatrist and author of 'On Death and Dying')


My life always seemed so filled with difficulty. I seemed to have more than my fair share of traumas and losses. Why was I always being tested like this? It just didn't seem fair. I was so wrapped up in myself and the unfairness of my difficult life that I couldn't see that each of these harsh experiences had been opportunities for growth. Instead of bemoaning my fate and blaming people or situations for what seemed to me to be the cause of the current difficulty, I never looked at what part I had played in the whole situation, or the lessons I could learn from each of these experiences.

It has often been said that God doesn't give us more than we can cope with. What I realized later, once I'd come into the program, was that each of these experiences had been a unique learning opportunity for me; they were a chance to grow and mature. I had been too stuck in self-pity and blame that I hadn't seen the wonderful gifts that I was being given with each new life experience. When I was able to open myself up fully to the lessons that I could learn from life, I became a whole person. It was then that the promises of the program begin to be fulfilled in my life, and I began to know serenity and peace.
One Day at a Time . . .
I will look for what lesson my Higher Power wants me to learn from life. I am then able to grow and change, and by doing so, I will come to know serenity and peace.

Sharon S.


___________________________________

Each Day A New Beginning


 
Give to the world the best you have, and the best will come back to you.
  —Madeline Bridge


We do reap, in some measure, at some time, what we sow. Our respect for others will result in kind. Our love expressed will return tenfold. The kindness we greet others with will ease their relations with us. We get from others what we give, if not at this time and place, at another. We can be certain that our best efforts toward others do not go unnoticed. And we can measure our due by what we give.

A major element of our recovery is the focus we place on our behavior, the seriousness with which we tackle our inventories. We can look at ourselves and how we reach out and act toward others; it is a far cry from where we were before entering this program. Most of us obsessed on "What he did to me," or "What she said." And then returned their actions in kind.

How thrilling is the knowledge that we can invite loving behavior by giving it! We have a great deal of control over the ebb and flow of our lives. In every instance we can control, our behavior. Thus never should we be surprised about the conditions of our lives.

What goes around comes around. I will look for the opportunities to be kind and feel the results. 



Food For Thought
 
Remembering

We remember what we were like before we joined OA. We remember the confusion and despair, which threatened to overwhelm us. We remember the agony of eating binges which started so innocently and which ended in such pain.

As we recover from compulsive overeating, we remember events from the past in a new light. We see how our disease contributed to seemingly unrelated problems. We recognize feelings, which we were not aware of at the time. We understand the real reasons for some of our strange actions and mysterious fears.

At the same time that it keeps us anchored in the present, abstinence helps us to understand the past. Integrating our memories gives us strength and confidence for the future. What we always need to remember is that we are compulsive overeaters still, no matter how long we have abstained. Remembering this fact protects us from allowing our disease to become active again.

Today, I remember I am a compulsive overeaten. 



The Language of Letting Go

Nurturing Ourselves

Many of us have been so deprived of nurturing that we think it's silly or self-indulgent. Nurturing is neither silly nor self-indulgent; it's how we show love for ourselves. That's what we're striving for in recovery - a loving relationship with ourselves that works, so we can have loving relationships with others that work.

When we hurt, we ask ourselves what we need to help us feel better. When we feel alone, we reach out to someone safe. Without feeling that we are a burden, we allow that person to be there for us.

We rest when we're tired; eat when we're hungry; have fun or relax when our spirits need a lift. Nurturing means giving ourselves gifts - a trip to the beauty salon or barbershop, a massage, a book, a new jacket, or a new suit or dress. It means a long, hot bath to forget about our problems and the world for a few moments when that would feel good.

We learn to be gentle with ourselves and to open up to the nurturing that others have to offer us.

As part of nurturing ourselves, we allow ourselves to give and receive positive touch - touch that feels appropriate to us, touch that is safe. We reject touch that doesn't feel good or safe and is not positive.

We learn to give ourselves what we need in a gentle, loving, compassionate way. We do this with the understanding it will not make us lazy, spoiled, self centered, or narcissistic. Nurtured people are effective in their work and in their relationships.

We will learn to feel loved by ourselves so much that we can truly love others and let them love us.

Today, I will nurture myself. I will also be open to the nurturing that I can give to others and receive from them. 



Today's Gift

Volunteers are the only human beings on the face of the earth who reflect this nation's compassion, unselfish caring, patience, and just plain loving one another.
  —Erma Bombeck


The most precious time we will ever have we give away by doing volunteer chores to help others get more out of life. There is no material wage for this kind of work, but a host of emotional rewards. The height of volunteer giving is doing an act of kindness or love so quietly that none but ourselves will ever know we had a part in it.

What great humility this can bring to us, who live in a world where selfish people often insist on credit for all their deeds - often things they had nothing to do with.

All we need do is think of all we have received without deserving it or asking for it. By taking part in the giving end of life, we find the true wealth of our own generosity.

What secret gift can I give today? 




 
 

Monday, December 12, 2016

Daily Recovery Readings: December 12th

Recovery Meditations: December 12th



~GOD IS ~
Open your eyes and the whole world is full of God.

Jakob Bohme


When I was a child, my family never talked about God. I never knew the light of God, never felt His love or power, or recognized His presence in my life. When things were rough, I could only see the darkness. When I was lonely, I didn't know He was with me all the time. When I was weak or scared, I thought I had to overcome and be strong, and not be afraid. I didn't feel His presence with me, or believe that He was watching over me. Then, for twenty years I was married to a religious man who did talk about God. I tried so hard to believe as he did, but his words soon lost their meaning. The abuse began to overshadow the hope that things would change, and the belief that God would make everything okay, if only I believed like my husband. For years I have struggled with my faith, trying to believe in a God that was willing to light my way, love me, and protect me ... not just in the good times, but in the painful times.

When I first came into recovery, I was still struggling, but I became "willing to believe" that God cared about me. I started watching for signs that He was there, ready to light my path when I could see only the darkness, ready to enfold me in His arms when I felt unloveable, and ready to protect me when I was scared. I became willing to recognize His presence in my day-to-day life.

Now that I am willing, I can find God's love everywhere ... in a friendly smile, in the kind words of a friend, in the beauty of a flower, and in a child's eyes. Sometimes, when life gets rough, I have to look a little harder, but it's there. I only have to remain open and willing to see it and accept it. Wherever I am, God is there with me, ready to love and protect me.
One Day at a Time . . .
I will be willing to see God's presence in my life, and know that wherever I am, God is. I will let go, and let God be there.

Debbie K.

_________________________________________

Each Day A New Beginning



If I am to be remembered, I hope it is for the honesty I try to demonstrate, the patience I try to live by, and the compassion I feel for others. 
  —JoAnn Reed


Each of us hopes we are leaving a lasting, positive impression on those we befriend and maybe even those we encounter by chance. Having others speak well of us provides the strokes that are often necessary to our "keeping on" when difficulties surface. What we sometimes forget is that we are responsible for whatever lasting impression we leave.
Our behavior does influence what another person carries away from our mutual experience.

We may have left unfavorable impressions during our using days. On occasion, we do yet. However, it's progress, not perfection, we're after. And each day we begin anew, with a clear slate and fresh opportunities to spread good cheer, to treat others with love and respect, to face head-on and with full honesty all situations drawing our attention and participation.

As I look forward to the hours ahead, I will remember that I control my actions toward others. If I want to be remembered fondly, I must treat each person so. 



Food for Thought

Meal by Meal

We abstain from compulsive overeating day-by-day and meal-by-meal. After breakfast, we do not worry about how we will feel at dinnertime. After breakfast we know that we have had an abstinent meal and that we can forget about food until it is time for lunch. If we allow ourselves to start thinking about what we will have for the next meal, and the meal after that, we turn on our obsession.

The beauty of abstinence is that it permits us to get from one meal to the next without being constantly preoccupied with food. By abstaining from refined sugars and carbohydrates and our individual binge foods, we no longer have to fight the craving for more. By working the Twelve Steps, we fill our minds with nourishing thoughts, which drive out our former obsession with food.

This meal, which I have planned, is the only one that concerns me now. I do not need to think about other meals or other foods. I will enjoy this meal, and then I will walk away from food into the rest of my life.

Keep me abstinent, meal-by-meal. 


The Language of Letting Go

God's Will

Each day, ask God what God wants us to do today; then ask God to help. A simple request, but so profound and far reaching it can take us anywhere we need to go.

Listen: all that we want, all that we need, all the answers, all the help, all the good, all the love, all the healing, all the wisdom, all the fulfillment of desire is embodied in this simple request. We need say no more than Thank You.

This Plan that has been made for us is not one of deprivation. It is one of fullness, joy, and abundance. Walk into it.

See for yourself.

Today, I will ask God to show me what God wants me to do for this day, and then ask for help to do that. I will trust that is sufficient to take me into light and joy. 



Today's Gift

Patience is needed with everyone, but first of all with ourselves.
  —Saint Francis De Sales


One night Sandra was having trouble putting a puzzle together. Angrily, she pushed all the pieces into a huge pile.

"I can't do this," she said. She got up and walked over to the couch and plopped down.

"Let me tell you a story," said her dad, as he sat down next to her. "There was a daughter who helped her dad take care of her baby sister. Again and again, she helped her baby sister stand and try to walk. One day the daughter tried to put a puzzle together but gave up after only a few tries. She had forgotten how many times she had helped her baby sister."

We are all like Sandra, sometimes. We forget to allow ourselves to fail, even though our growth up to now has been a series of failures that we learned from. With patience, we allow ourselves to take chances we might not otherwise explore, and we widen our world of possibilities. Life has been patient with us so far, now it's our turn.

What have I failed at that I can try again today? 




 

Friday, December 9, 2016

Daily Recovery Readings: December 9th

Recovery Meditations: December 9th



~ LIFE ~
Life is the movie you see through your own unique eyes. 
It makes little difference what's happening out there. 
It's how you take it that counts.

Dennis Waitley in "The Winner's Edge"


Life is a very precious resource. Everyone has a different interpretation of reality, and people who are happier in life make the most of what they have been given, no matter how good or bad it may seem at the time.

Everything happens for a reason. Although we may not understand something at first, we must seize the moment and make use of every single second that our Higher Power has blessed us with. Enjoy all the good times that you deserve, but remember to accept those down times for all the lessons that you will learn, too. It is important to remember the Serenity Prayer and keep on going.

Make the most of each day but remember to stop and smell the flowers along the way. Today only happens once.
One Day at a Time . . .
Life is not a dress rehearsal, so have a good day, unless you have other plans.

Natalie



________________________________________

Each Day A New Beginning


 
To do nothing is failure. To try, and in the trying you make some mistakes and then you make some positive changes as a result of those mistakes, is to learn and to grow and to blossom.
  —Darlene Larson Jenks

Life is a process, one that is continuously changing. And with each change, we are offered unexpected opportunities for growth. Change is what fosters our development as women. It encourages us to risk new behavior and may even result in some mistakes. Fortunately, no mistakes can seriously hinder us. In fact, most mistakes give us an additional opportunity to learn.

Where we stand today is far removed from our position last year, or even last week. Each and every moment offers us new input that influences any decision from this moment forward. The process that we're participating in guarantees our growth as long as we remain conscious of our opportunities and willingly respond to them. We can be glad that the life process is, in fact, never static. always moving, always inviting us to participate fully.

I will have the courage to make a mistake today. It's a promise of growth. 



Food For Thought

Developing Our Potential

Abstinence is the key to developing our potential. For years, our illness has probably controlled our life and reduced our ability to function. Since so much of our energy was tied up in the mental obsession with food and the physical effects of overeating, we were unable to develop the talents and abilities we possessed.

Getting in touch with a Higher Power gives us contact with the source of our potential. Our self-centeredness kept us from believing in our capacity to be activated by a Power greater than ourselves. When we see and hear of the results produced by working the OA program, we develop faith in our own buried talents.

When food controlled our lives, we were using only a very small percentage of our actual potential for work, recreation, and relationships with other people. Through abstinence from compulsive overeating, we discover strengths, abilities, and energies we never knew we had!

Direct my efforts. Lord. 



The Language of Letting Go

Asking for Help

It's okay to ask for help.

One of the most absurd things we do to ourselves is not asking for the help we need from a friend, a family member, our Higher Power, or the appropriate resource.

We don't have to struggle through feelings and problems alone. We can ask for help from our Higher Power and for support and encouragement from our friends.

Whether what we need is information, encouragement, a hand, a word, a hug, someone who will listen, or a ride, we can ask. We can ask people for what we need from them. We can ask God for what we need from God.

It is self-defeating to not ask for the help we need. It keeps us stuck. If we ask long and hard enough, if we direct our request to the right source, we'll get the help we need.

There is a difference between asking someone to rescue us and asking someone in a direct manner for the help we need from him or her. We can be straightforward and let others choose whether to help us or not. If the answer is no, we can deal with that.

It is self-defeating to hint, whine, manipulate, or coerce help out of people. It is annoying to go to people as a victim and expect them to rescue us. It is healthy to ask for help when help is what we need.

"My problem is shame," said one woman. "I wanted to ask for help in dealing with it, but I was to ashamed. Isn't that crazy?"

We who are eager to help others can learn to allow ourselves to receive help. We can learn to make clean contracts about asking for and receiving the help we want and need.

Today, I will ask for help if I need it - from people and my Higher Power. I will not be a victim, helplessly waiting to be rescued. I will make my request for help specific, to the point, and I will leave room for the person to choose whether or not to help me. I will not be a martyr any longer by refusing to get the help I deserve in life - the help that makes life simpler. God, help me let go of my need to do everything alone. Help me use the vast Universe of resources available to me. 



Today's Gift

Faith is the seamstress
who mends our torn belief
who sews the hem of childhood trust
and clips the threads of grief.
  —Joan Walsh Anglund


A seamstress takes large pieces of material and cuts them to size. Then, with the help of needle and thread and buttons, she goes to work to create a finished piece. Sometimes, in the beginning, it is hard to imagine a finished product. But the seamstress believes it is possible and goes to work on it.

Faith is like a seamstress. Faith is what can pull all the unfinished pieces of life into some sort of order. Faith is what lets us know we are all right even when life doesn't seem to make sense. We all need the faith to believe our skills and dreams, and even our heartaches can be sewn into a shape that is beautiful and useful.

Our faith is the seamstress who guides the needle, mends the tears, and helps create a shape and meaning to our lives.

How can I show my faith today? 



Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Daily Recovery Readings: December 6th

Recovery Meditations: December 6th


~ FORGIVENESS ~
We realized that the people who wronged us were spiritually sick.
When a person offended we said to ourselves,
"This is a sick man. How can I be helpful to him?
God save me from being angry. Thy will be done." 

Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous


This has been one of the most important paragraphs for me in recovery. I have used it for any type of hurt I have in reaction to another person. Besides my asking God to save me from anger, I ask God to heal all feelings I have toward that person that block me from having a closer relationship with the God of my understanding. For me, this has meant I have had to learn to forgive everyone who my thinking told me had injured me in some way. I was unable to do this no matter how hard I tried. I prayed to the God of my understanding to teach me how to forgive those others and to work with my heart to create that forgiveness. It involved a long process of discovering my part and the other's part; separating acts from people.
Once I had done this work and knew in my heart that God had given me the miracle to forgive these people, an interesting thing happened. During Step Four and Five work, my sponsor told me I also had to forgive myself. I discovered, by going through this process, that working through the anger and pain, I ended up also having forgiven myself. For me, it wasn't enough to tell another person all my Fourth Step. I had to feel the feelings in my heart and give them to God to heal. Then, after I truly forgave others I could forgive myself. I wasn't able to forgive myself until I gave it away to others.
One Day at a Time . . .
I will remember that God will help me in anything I ask, the answer just may be different than I expected. When the miracle occurs I will be able to see God's hand in it.
Judy A..

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Each Day A New Beginning


 
Each day provides its own gifts.
  —Ruth P. Freedman

We are guaranteed experiences that are absolutely right for us today. We are progressing on schedule. Even when our personal hopes are unmet, we are given the necessary opportunities for achieving those goals that complement our unique destinies.

Today is full of special surprises, and we will be the recipient of the ones which are sent to help us grow - in all the ways necessary for our continued recovery. We might not consider every experience a gift at this time. But hindsight will offer the clarity lacking at the moment, just as it has done in many instances that have gone before.
We are only offered part of our personal drama each day. But we can trust our lives to have many scenes, many acts, points of climax, and a conclusion. Each of us tells a story with our lives, one different from all other stories and yet necessary to the telling of many other stories too. The days ahead will help us tell our story. Our interactions with others will influence our outcomes and theirs. We can trust the drama and give fully to our roles.

Every day is a gift exchange. I give, and I will receive.


Food For Thought

Stretching

If we do only what feels good and what is comfortable, we do not grow. If we do not stretch our minds, we vegetate intellectually. If we do not discipline our bodies, we become physically flabby and weak. If we do not exercise our goodwill, we stay emotionally immature.

To settle for minimum achievement is to miss the satisfaction of accomplishing more than we once thought possible. It is trite but true that we never know what we can do until we try. Abstaining from all refined sugars and carbohydrates may have seemed impossible to us at one time. Accomplishing this, through the help of our Higher Power and OA, makes possible other achievements that we formerly may have considered to be beyond our reach.

In this program, the only way we can fail is by not continuing to try. By abstaining from compulsive overeating and working the Twelve Steps, we can stretch ourselves to a fuller extent of our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual potential.

May I not be too lazy to stretch as far as I can. 


The Language of Letting Go

Letting Go of Shame

Many of us were victimized, sometimes more than once. We may have been physically abused, sexually abused, or exploited by the addictions of another.

Understand that if another person has abused us, it is not cause for us to feel shame. The guilt for the act of abuse belongs to the perpetrator, not the victim.

Even if in recovery we fall prey to being victimized, that is not cause for shame.

The goal of recovery is learning self-care, learning to free ourselves from victimization, and not to blame ourselves for past experiences. The goal is to arm ourselves so we do not continue to be victimized due to the shame and unresolved feelings from the original victimization.

We each have our own work, our issues, and our recovery tasks. One of those tasks is to stop pointing our finger at the perpetrator, because it distracts us. Although we hold each person responsible and accountable for his or her behavior, we learn compassion for the perpetrator. We understand that many forces have come into play in that person's life. At the same time, we do not hold on to shame.

We learn to understand the role we played in our victimization, how we fell into that role and did not rescue ourselves. But that is information to arm us so that it need not happen again.

Let go of victim shame. We have issues and tasks, but our issue is not to feel guilty and wrong because we have been victimized.

Today, I will set myself free from any victim shame I may be harboring or hanging on to. 



Today's Gift

Believe that life is worth living, and your belief will help create the fact.
  —William James


Before Orville and Wilbur Wright ever flew the first airplane at Kitty Hawk, they believed flight was possible. They had a picture of it in their minds. The first step in creating anything is to be able to picture it in our minds. If we can picture it as a possibility, we can work to make it happen.

When we were small, we dreamed a thousand dreams about what could happen in our lives. Anything, even magical things, seemed like they could happen, and our world was full of visions. That part of us that believes wonderful, magical things can happen is still in us. It may have been beaten down for a while, but it is still there waiting to help us seek the wonderful, lovely, and good things in life.

Which of my dreams can I work toward today? 




Sunday, December 4, 2016

Daily Recovery Readings: December 4th

Recovery Meditations: December 4th



~ COURAGE ~
Courage faces fear and thereby masters it. 

Martin Luther King, Jr.


I've never been a brave person and was always very fearful. I would watch movies where the hero would rescue the heroine, or where someone would climb Mount Everest, or perform some feat of daring, and I would be totally in awe. I was afraid of the dark, of rejection, of failure and of most other things that I was convinced took courage. No way would I go parasailing or deep sea diving as that seemed to require the courage that I lacked. I didn't understand then that people who do those kinds of things are not totally without fear, but they have a way of overcoming their fear and still doing it anyway.
When I came into the program and learned that I would have to do an inventory and then, worse still, make amends to the people I had harmed, I was paralyzed by fear. Eventually I realized that, even though I feared doing these things, all I had to do was ask my Higher Power for strength and guidance and then do the things I'd most feared. Perhaps these weren't the feats of daring that I had seen heroes perform, but for me they were great victories, and in being able to do them, I knew that I was developing courage.
One Day at a Time . . .
I will continue to walk through my fear with my Higher Power at my side, knowing that I am developing the courage that I thought I lacked.
Sharon S.


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Each Day A New Beginning


 
I want to feel myself part of things, of the great drift and swirl; not cut off, missing things, like being sent to bed early as a child.
  —Joanna Field


Feeling apart from the action and always looking on; wanting attention, and yet afraid of being noticed; no doubt these are familiar memories to most of us. We may still struggle with our self-perception, but we can celebrate that we no longer drown our moods. Connecting with the people next to us, though difficult, is no longer impossible when we rely on the program.

There is a way to be a part of the action, a way that never fails. It takes only a small effort, really. We can simply look, with love, at someone nearby today and extend our hearts in honest attention. When we make someone else feel special, we'll become special too.

Recovery can help each of us move beyond the boundaries of our own ego. Trusting that our lives are in the loving care of God, however we understand God, relieves us of the need for self-centeredness. We can let go of ourselves now that God is in charge, and we'll discover that we have joined the action.

I will open my heart, and I'll be joined to all that's around me. 



Food For Thought

Our Daily Bread

Doing the will of our Higher Power each day is what sustains us. We trust Him to provide the food we need, both physical and spiritual. We do not have to be anxious about our supply for the future. If we seek to do God's will today. He will take care of us in the future as well.

Anxiety over material things arises when we forget to stay in touch with the source of our existence. By ourselves, we cannot even assure an adequate intake of oxygen; much less all of the other elements we need for survival. Since we are dependent on our environment to sustain us, we make life extremely difficult when we try to live a self-centered existence.

Our daily sustenance comes from a Power greater than ourselves. As children of God, we have faith that He will take care of us. Exaggerated emotional dependence on physical food blocks us from the spiritual nourishment, which our Higher Power offers us today and every day.

Give us this day our daily bread. 



The Language of Letting Go

Letting Go

"How much do we need to let go of?" a friend asked one day.

"I'm not certain," I replied, "but maybe everything."

Letting go is a spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical process, a sometimes mysterious metaphysical process of releasing to God and the Universe that which we are clinging to so tightly.

We let go of our grasp on people, outcomes, ideas, feelings, wants, needs, desires - everything. We let go of trying to control our progress in recovery. Yes, it's important to acknowledge and accept what we want and what we want to happen. But it's equally important to follow through by letting go.

Letting go is the action part of faith. It is a behavior that gives God and the Universe permission to send us what we're meant to have.

Letting go means we acknowledge that hanging on so tightly isn't helping to solve the problem, change the person, or get the outcome we desire. It isn't helping us. In fact, we learn that hanging on often blocks us from getting what we want and need.

Who are we to say that things aren't happening exactly as they need to happen?

There is magic in letting go. Sometimes we get what we want soon after we let go. Sometimes it takes longer. Sometimes the specific outcome we desire doesn't happen. Something better does.

Letting go sets us free and connects us to our Source.

Letting go creates the optimum environment for the best possible outcomes and solutions.

Today, I will relax. I will let go of that which is upsetting me the most. I will trust that by letting go, I have started the wheels in motion for things to work out in the best possible way. 



Today's Gift

They were the first . . . self-created people in the history of the world. And their manners were their own business. And so were their politics. And so, but ten times so, were their souls.
  —Archibald MacLeish

There once was a child named Yemaya. Even before she could walk or talk, her mother introduced her to the trees. Yemaya touched them and they accepted her. They told her she was wonderful and she knew it was true.

As she grew up, Yemaya occasionally met people who said unkind things to her. When this happened, she went back to her trees, who continued to tell her she was just fine. She couldn't understand what was wrong with those who were mean to her. Whenever they appeared and insisted on being mean, she pretended what they said was an arrow that sailed right by as she stepped out of the way.

We can do the same. What others say or think is part of them and their lives, not ours. When we are wise enough to let go of things that don't belong to us, we will find our own treasures.

What can I step out of the way of today? 




Saturday, December 3, 2016

Daily Recovery Readings: December 3rd

Recovery Meditations: December 3rd


INTUITION
Don't listen to friends when the Friend inside you says, "Do this!" 

Mahatma Gandhi


The Oxford dictionary describes intuition as "immediate apprehension by the mind without reasoning." Well, I certainly never acted on intuition for most of my life because, in order for me to make any decision, it had to be based on cold hard logic. I would literally make a scientific "if - then hypothesis" based on all the possible consequences of any action I was contemplating, and by the time I'd looked into all the possible negative outcomes, I'd more than likely have talked myself out of it. Part of the problem was fear that if it didn't turn out well, I would not be taken care of. How could I trust that my Higher Power would take care of me, seeing I had for a long time been angry at God and believed that He was definitely not there for me?
One of the miracles of the program has been my returning belief in a Higher Power who is always there for me when I need Him. I am slowly learning that I just need to turn my will and my life over to Him on a daily basis as it tells me in Step Three, and amazing things are beginning to happen. Because I wasn't able to do this for many years, I had blocked my intuition, which we are told is the way in which we are in direct contact with our Higher Power. Slowly, the intuitive thoughts are returning as I work on a daily relationship with my Higher Power, and I am now more able to act on them, knowing that I will always be taken care of.
One Day at a Time . . .
I will continue to turn my will and my life over to my Higher Power knowing that my connection with Him, my intuition, is getting stronger each day, and that I am more able to do God's will for today.
~ Sharon S.

______________________________

Each Day A New Beginning


 
Sometimes, sisters have the same journey in their hearts. One may help the other or betray her. Will they cross over? Will the ship sail without them?
  —Louise Bernikow

Other women share our struggle. When we treat our women friends as sisters and fellow pilgrims, we find great joy in our mutual help. We pray for the wisdom to let go our feelings of insecurity and rivalry with other women.

Rivalry is not good for us. It leads us to forget our own unique qualities. We each are the best person in the world at one thing: being ourselves. When we compete, we need to retain a balanced perspective and to think well of ourselves whether we win or lose. We run the best race we can; therefore, let us not regard other women as rivals. They are our sisters, and they, too, are doing the best they can.

Today, I will pray for the serenity that will let me see when my sisters have the same journey in their hearts as I. 



Food For Thought

Insanity

The longer we maintain abstinence from compulsive overeating, the more we realize how insane we were before we found OA. Our withdrawal from people and reality into eating to excess was definitely not a sane way to live. As we work the Steps of this program, we see that many of our thoughts and attitudes were as insane as our destructive behavior.

It is our Higher Power who restores us to sanity, but He requires our surrender and cooperation. We can actively seek out the people and experiences which are life enhancing rather than detrimental to our mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being. The activities and associations, which went along with our compulsive overeating in the past, may have to be eliminated if we are to enjoy a sane, sober life in the present and future.

Continuing to beat our heads against the brick walls of past failures is insanity. We have a new life to live, provided we relinquish the attitudes and behavior, which we now know to be insane.

Preserve us from old insanities. 



The Language of Letting Go

Developing Healthy Tolerance

Many of us are skilled at denying and discounting what hurts us. We may endure a particular situation, telling ourselves repeatedly it's not that bad; we shouldn't be so demanding; it'll change any day; we should be able to live with it; it doesn't annoy us; the other person didn't really mean it; it doesn't hurt; maybe it's just us.

We may fight and argue with ourselves about the reality and validity of our pain - our right to feel it and do something about it.

Often we will tolerate too much or so much that we become furious and refuse to tolerate any more.

We can learn to develop healthy tolerance.

We do that by setting healthy boundaries and trusting ourselves to own our power with people. We can lessen our pain and suffering by validating and paying attention to ourselves. We can work at shortening the time between identifying a need to set a boundary, and taking clear, direct action.

We aren't crazy. Some behaviors really do bug us. Some behaviors really are inappropriate, annoying, hurtful, or abusive.

We don't have to feel guilty about taking care of ourselves once we identify a boundary that needs to be set. Look at the experience as an experiment in owning our power, in establishing new, healthy boundaries and limits for ourselves.

We don't have to feel guilty or apologize or explain ourselves after we've set a boundary. We can learn to accept the awkwardness and discomfort of setting boundaries with people. We can establish our rights to have these limits. We can give the other person room to have and explore his or her feelings; we can give ourselves room to have our feelings - as we struggle to own our power and create good, working relationships.

Once we can trust our ability to take care of ourselves, we will develop healthy reasonable tolerance of others.

God, help me begin striving for healthy boundaries and healthy tolerance for others and myself. 



Today's Gift

I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields that it kisses them so gently.
  —Lewis Carroll

In different times and places, clouds can produce snowflakes, raindrops, or even hailstones. Each one seems to have its own purpose and mood as it falls from the sky. The snowflake is the lightest of these, and so it falls slowly and softly. Rainfall can be soft or hard. It sometimes feels angry, almost cleansing.

No matter how thick the snowfall is, it is still soft. We can rarely hear it land. It covers the world in a peaceful white. If we look closely, we can see that each small snowflake is unique.

Like the snowflakes, each of us has a unique design. Perhaps what we can learn from the snowflakes is how to gently touch the lives and growing things around us. Times of anger and rain are necessary, but a soft snowfall brings peace to all humanity.

How can I show my gentle side today?