Saturday, February 25, 2017

Daily Recovery Readings: February 25th

Recovery Meditations: February 25th

Vitality shows not only in the ability to persist,
but in the ability to start over.

F. Scott Fitzgerald

Before coming into this program I was, and probably still am to a certain extent, a perfectionist, so one of the things I really struggled with is being able make mistakes without feeling bad about myself. So when I came into the program, I decided that I was going to do this program perfectly, and proceeded to do just that. I followed a meal plan, lost weight and worked the steps, and I really thought I had it made. But I hadn't counted on the fact that this is a disease, and it is both cunning, baffling and powerful. So when I had my first slip, I was devastated and felt a real failure.

Fortunately for me, with the help of many loving sponsors over the years, I have realised that I am not a failure if I slip, but I am only one if I fail to get up. This program has enabled me to learn that when I make a mistake, I am not that mistake, and that all I need to do is to pick myself up and start over. In the old days if I failed at a diet, I would never have been able to pick myself up so soon, and it would always be an excuse to carry on eating and start the diet again on Monday. Now I know that my abstinence can even start at the end of the day, rather than waiting till tomorrow, next week or even next month. I am slowly starting to let go of the guilt I feel when I slip, and am also learning to love myself even when I do flounder, because with the love and support I am given in this program, I know I can always start over.
One day at a time...
I will remember that I can start afresh any time I like, and don't need to feel as if I have failed.
~ Sharon ~


Each Day A New Beginning

You need only claim the events of your life to make yourself yours.
  —Florida Scott-Maxwell

The search is on. Everyone, everywhere, asks the question at some time, "Who am I?" Women like ourselves are fortunate to have this program. It shows us the way to self-discovery. It directs our steps to the celebration of self that is a gift of recovery. The events of our past may plague us, but they did contribute to the fullness we feel today. And for them, for their involvement in who we've become, we can be grateful.

Claiming ourselves, the good and the bad, is healing. It's taking responsibility--for where we were and where we're going. Claiming ourselves makes us the active participants in our lives. The choices are many and varied. Not actively participating in life is also a choice. Passivity may have been our dominant choice in years gone by. But now, today, we are choosing recovery. We are choosing action that is healing, and wholeness is the result.

Making myself mine, will exhilarate me. It will give me hope. It will prepare me for anything to come. I will know a new joy.

Food For Thought

A New Place

After a slip, we do not go back and start again in the same place where we were before. Through the experience of making a mistake, we have reached a new place. Out of error, we can gain new knowledge and insight.

Often we find that wrong thinking got us into trouble. Perhaps we fell back into the old perception of ourself as the center of the universe. Perhaps we forgot to turn over whatever was troubling us and instead began to overeat. Perhaps we tried to depend on our own inadequate strength to get us through the day. Undoubtedly, we forgot that abstinence is the most important thing in our lives without exception.

Whatever the mistake, we can profit from it by growing in understanding and insight. We can mark a pitfall to be avoided in the future. We start again a few steps farther ahead, in a new place.

May I not be discouraged by mistakes. 

The Language of Letting Go

Accepting Imperfection

"Why do I do this to myself?" asked a woman who wanted to lose weight. "I went to my support group feeling so guilty and ashamed because I ate half a cookie that wasn't on the diet. I found out that everyone cheats a little, and some people cheat a lot. I felt so ashamed before I came to the group, as though I were the only one not doing my diet perfectly. Now I know that I'm dieting as well as most, and better than some."

Why do we do this to ourselves? I'm not talking strictly about dieting, I'm talking about life. Why do we punish ourselves by thinking that we're inferior while believing that others are perfect - whether in relationships, recovery, or a specific task?

Whether we're judging others or ourselves it's two sides of the same coin: perfection. Neither expectation is valid.

It is far more accurate and beneficial to tell ourselves that who we are is okay and what we are doing is good enough. That doesn't mean we won't make mistakes that need correcting; doesn't mean we won't get off track from time to time; doesn't mean we can't improve. It means with all our mistakes and wandering, we're basically on course. Encouraging and approving of ourselves is how we help ourselves stay on track.

Today, I will love and encourage myself. I will tell myself that what I'm doing is good enough, and I'll let myself enjoy that feeling. 

Today's Gift

The most useless day of all is that in which we have not laughed.
—Sebastian R. N. Champort

We are told that laughter is sunshine filling a room. And where there is laughter, there also is life. They say that people who laugh a lot live longer than do the sour-faced. When we laugh together, gratitude comes more easily, companionship thrives, and all praise is sincere. Laughter brings us joy that cannot be bought. Such joy is with us throughout each day. To hoard joy, to hide it away deep within us away from others, will make us lonely misers. We cannot buy or trade for joy, but we can give or receive it as a gift.

Laughter's joy celebrates the moment we are living right now. It is a gift we must share, or it will wither and die. Shared, it grows and thrives, and always returns to us when we need it most.

What can I find to laugh about right now?

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Daily Recovery Readings: February 5th

Recovery Meditations: February 5th

Your worth is not established by teaching or learning.
Your worth is established by God. 
Nothing you do or think or wish or make
is necessary to establish your worth.

Helen Schucman, scribe of "A Course in Miracles"

I have spent the last 30 years of my life wanting more, thinking that in proving myself I would be worthy of the love and affection I deserved and this would determine my value. I was always seeking the best path to take to show everyone what I could do and that I was worthy of more of their love and praises. 

Turning my life and my will over to God has allowed me to see that, no matter what I may think, in God's eyes I am worth plenty, and this has given me so much peace. I now know that what others say or think about me is not going to make me worthy or worthless. Allowing God to run the show and doing the next right thing is all I need to do. I don't have to concern myself if I am of value to anyone; I am of value to God, and that is all that counts. 

One Day at a Time . . .
I will continue to turn to God for my strength, knowing that I need not carry the burden of proof of what I'm worth.
~ Maureen ~

Each Day A New Beginning

Don't compromise yourself. You are all you've got.
  —Janis Joplin

When we don't know who we are, it's easy to compromise ourselves. When we don't know where we stand on an issue, it's easy to be swayed by a forceful voice. Values may be cloudy in our minds, or we may not be aware of them at all. It's then that we are vulnerable to the persuasion of another. In this Twelve Step program, we are offered the way to know ourselves. We are supported in our efforts, and we realize we have friends who don't want us to compromise ourselves - who value our struggle to know and to be true to ourselves.

One of recovery's greatest gifts is discovering we can make decisions that represent us, our inner selves, and those decisions please us. We all are familiar with the tiny tug of shame that locates itself in our solar plexus. When we "go along," when we "give in" on a personally important issue, we pay a consequence. We lose a bit of ourselves. Over the years we've lost many bits. We have a choice, however.

I will have a chance, soon, to act according to my wishes. I will take it.

Food For Thought


Most of us go through periods in our lives when nothing seems interesting, when our motivation and enthusiasm have deserted us. We feel dull and bored and depressed. Whether the slump lasts for an afternoon or for a month or for a year, the compulsive overeater tends to turn to food as a way out. For us, food has been exciting, and eating often used to be the most pleasurable activity we could imagine.

As most of us know all too well, eating is not a permanent solution to boredom. We may get a temporary high from food, but we invariably eat too much and end up feeling infinitely worse than before we started. Boredom is better than a binge. Food does not motivate nor does it generate enthusiasm. Overeating has just the opposite effect.

Joining OA does not ensure that we will never again experience boredom or have the blahs. What it does provide is a program of action to which we may turn when we are in a slump. Going to meetings, making phone calls, reading the literature, working the Steps - these are concrete actions we can take.

We have tried food and found that it eventually made things worse. Now let's try the OA program.

Give me grace to act. 

The Language of Letting Go

Financial Responsibility

We are responsible for ourselves financially.

What a frightening, grown up thought that is for many of us - taking responsibility for money and our financial affairs. For many of us, handing over responsibility for our financial affairs has been part of a codependent trade off in our relationships.
Some of our emotional dependency on others, on this tight tie that binds us to others, not in love, but in need and desperation, is directly related to financial dependency. Our fears and reluctance to take responsibility for our financial affairs can be a barrier to the freedom we're seeking in recovery.

Financial responsibility is an attitude. Money goes out to pay for necessities and luxuries. Money must come in, in order to go out. How much needs to come in to equal that which is going out?

Taxes... savings plans...appropriate spending habits that demonstrate an attitude of financial responsibility.... Part of being alive means learning to handle money. Even if we have a healthy contract with someone that allows us to depend on him or her for money, we still need to understand how money works. We still need to adopt an attitude of financial responsibility for ourselves. Even if we have a contract with someone else to provide for our financial needs, we need to understand the workings of the money earned and spent in our life.

Self-esteem will increase when we increase our sense of being financially responsible for ourselves. We can start where we are, with what we have today.

God, help me become willing to let go of my fears and reluctance to face the necessary parts of handling money responsibly in my life. Show me the lessons I need to learn about money.

Today's Gift

Let there be spaces in your togetherness.
  —Kahlil Gibran

Sometimes it is just as important to know when to leave others alone as it is to know when to talk with them. We all need to be alone at times - to think, to work out a problem, or just to be quiet with ourselves. This is especially true in families, where we're often surrounded by others. If we tune in to our other family members, we can develop sensors that will let us know when they need some time alone. Part of good communication is knowing when not to talk, too.

Can I be sensitive to my family's needs for privacy today?

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Daily Recovery Readings: February 1st

Recovery Meditations: February 1st

~ Strategy ~
"Better shun the bait than struggle in the snare. "
John Dryden

Perhaps the most important strategy for beating temptation is to avoid it altogether. Temptation pits me head-on with my disease and all of its cunning and baffling ways. It's so much easier to stay out of its claws and devices than to try to free myself once caught in its web.

What ways do I bring temptation right into my house or provide access to temptation when I go out? Do I keep forbidden foods in my house? Have I ever asked other family members to go without those things because they are dangerous to me or my recovery? Do I go places or engage in activities that increase my desire to eat compulsively? Have I considered that, for now, I just can't go certain places because of the risk to my recovery? Have I considered that I might have to give up socializing with certain groups of people because they lead me into temptation? Does watching TV trigger compulsive eating? Does putting myself in the company of a certain individuals lead to self- defeating behavior of any kind? Do I continually expose myself to stressful situations or people that tempt me to eat compulsively? Do I continue doing the things that tempt me to eat to ease the feelings or emotions that come up over it? 

Perhaps I am in an unwholesome relationship, or I overspend, or have another addiction or compulsion. What am I willing to do to recover? What am I willing to change to keep myself out of harm's way?

It is easy to pray for God to keep me from temptation, but I must do my part also. 

One day at a time ... 
I must remember to avoid the people, places and things that tempt me to eat compulsively and provide a way for the disease to touch me again.
~ Diane ~ 


Each Day A New Beginning

You were there when I needed you. You stood above all of the others with your strength and you guided me. To each of you I offer my being, my love and all that I am.
  —Deidra Sarault

Each of us is guided while we act as guides to one another, throughout the day, throughout our lives. We are interdependent. Everywhere we look, someone is learning from us and we from her. We often know not what we give, when we give it. And we seldom realize the value of what we're receiving at the time we accept it.

Resistance to what another person is offering us may be our natural response. But the passage of time highlights the value of the experience. We can look for the comforters in our lives. They are there offering us strength and hope enough to see us through any difficulty.

We need both the rough times and the soft shoulders of a friend. They contribute equally to the designs our lives are weaving. The rough times press us to pray, to reach out to others for solace. And our pain gives others the chance to heal our wounds. We are all healers offering strength. And we all need healing.

One of the greatest gifts of my recovery is giving and receiving strength.

Food For Thought


In this program, we never stop learning. It takes time to absorb the OA way of life. Some of us start with great enthusiasm, expecting perfection all at once. When we do not achieve it, we are sometimes tempted to give up and go back to the old, self-destructive way of eating the wrong kinds of food in the wrong amounts.

One of the most important things we learn in OA is patience with ourselves. We seek progress, not perfection. We work for it one step at a time, one day at a time. Our Higher Power accepts us and loves us as we are right now, today. By turning our lives over to Him and humbly asking for guidance, we become receptive to His teaching.

As we grow - slowly -we learn from our mistakes even more than from our successes. We are willing to be again as little children, and we are willing to accept suggestions and help from those who have had more experience and time in the program. We do not have to continue to make the same mistakes over and over again. We can learn the new way of life if we will walk into it patiently and slowly.

Open my body, mind, and heart to Your teaching, Lord. 

The Language of Letting Go

Step Two

Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
—Step Two of Al-Anon

We come to believe in a better life through the powerful gift of other people - hearing them, seeing them, and watching the gift of recovery at work in their lives.

There is a Power greater than us. There is real hope now that things can and will be different and better for our life and us.

We are not in a "do it ourselves" program. We do not have to exert willpower to change. We do not have to force our recovery to happen. We do not have to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps just so we believe that there is a Power greater than ourselves - one who will get the job done in our life. This Power will do for us what your greatest and most diligent efforts could not accomplish.

Our Higher Power will restore us to a sane and beneficial life. All we do is believe.

Look. Watch. See the people around you. See the healing they have found. Then discover your own faith, your own belief, your own healing.

Today, regardless of my circumstances, I will believe to the best of my ability that a Power greater than myself can and will restore me to a peaceful, sane way of living. Then I will relax and let Him do that.

Today's Gift

It's not enough to talk to plants, you also have to listen.
  —David Bergman

Plants grow best when we pay attention to them. That means watering, touching them, putting them in places where they will receive good light. They need people around them to notice if they are drooping at the edges or looking particularly happy in the sunlight. The more attention a plant receives, the better it will grow.

We need to be noticed in the same way. If we notice a family member or friend is drooping, perhaps we can pay some special attention to him or her. All of us need someone to care about how we are and to truly listen to us. We can share and double someone's happiness by noticing and talking about it also. We help the people around us to grow by listening to their droopy edges as well as their bright days. People need this as much as plants need light and water.

How can I help someone grow today?