A LETTER TO NEWCOMERS

Overeaters Online Recovery

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Dear Newcomers to our Fellowship ~

You will think you are a stranger to us. You would be surprised to know how well we understand you. You are here because you are desperate. You have struggled with your weight problem, perhaps for a few years, perhaps all your life. You have been to doctors, taken pills, found that they brought your weight down for a time, but then it went right back up again. Perhaps you have tried many other things ... psychiatry, hypnosis, gyms, weight clubs, etc. Some of these things work for a little while, but they never work permanently. If they did, you wouldn't be here now.

Now, perhaps, you're wondering, can this group really help me, or will it be just another failure in a long list of failures? Please believe us, our program can help you, if you'll let it. All you have to do is muster enough energy to join us, come with an honest attitude, an open mind, and a willing heart; and we can give you the keys that will open the door to a wonderful new life. It is up to you to use them. We will give you the steps to follow that will lead you to the answer of a question you have probably been asking yourself for years; "Why do I eat the way I do; and what can I do to stop it?

You've believed all these years that you are a weak-willed person with no character. Perhaps other people have told you this, and you've failed so miserably at controlling your appetite that you've come to think that they are right. You've probably had people say, "If you really wanted to lose weight, you could do it. You have to want to." How can you possibly explain to them how much you want to overcome your food problem: how you would rather have that necessary self-control than be given a million dollars; how nothing seems fun when you're fat, and life often seems very cruel and not worth living. How can you possibly explain to them the agony of trying and failing over and over again; or perhaps losing a lot of weight only to gain it back again and again (often even more), with no ability on your part to stop it. No one can possibly understand all of these things except one who has been through it.

That is why we believe we can help you more than the doctors, the gyms, the hypnotists, the psychiatrists, even close friends and family members who don't have your food problem. We've been there. We understand the agony, the frustration, the loneliness, the heartbreak. We've suffered the same things you have and everyone of us is right with you. We are in recovery and want you to succeed in our program -- and you can do it -- the same way we have. You will have our help and support in your efforts, and even more important and sure is you'll have the help of a Higher Power (as you may come to understand him). So give us...and give your Higher Power..and give yourself a chance. We've found a way that has worked for us, not only to take our excess pounds off, but to keep them off. It will work for you too ... if you'll just follow the steps we have.

The Twelve Steps help us to deal with and overcome our mental obsession with food. For some reason we compulsive overeaters have come to use food, not as our Higher Power intended ... to nourish our physical bodies, but as a tonic for every emotional and physical discomfort; a pacifier when we are lonely or worried or nervous; an escape when we want to run away from reality; a hiding place when we want to hide from life or life's problems. We all know that overeating will not solve our problems, it will only increase them...but we continue to use it because it momentarily dulls the pain of living and we don't know anything better. The Twelve Steps are the spiritual part of the program. We encourage you to start working these steps right away...one day at a time...for they are the heartbeat of our program.

This program cannot be worked selectively. You either work it in total ... all the steps, and all the tools ... or you don't work it at all. There's nothing magic about the number of steps or tools, except for the fact that all of them when worked together work for us. If you insist on doing things your way, this program will not work. Remember, your way got you here in the first place.

You must be entirely ready to stop running away from reality. Life is often very painful and frustrating, but you must face it. You do this by giving up your will and choosing your Higher Power's will. You must believe He will give you grace and strength to bear whatever life gives you to bear and that you will be a stronger and better person for it.

Welcome to the Overeaters Online Recovery Fellowship. We are truly glad that you are here because we need you as much as you need us ... maybe even more. "KEEP COMING BACK....IT WORKS." It really, really does.
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PREAMBLE
The Recovery Group

The Recovery Group is a fellowship of individuals who, through shared experience, strength and hope, are recovering from compulsive eating. We welcome everyone who wants to stop eating compulsively. There are no dues or fees for members; we are self-supporting through our own contributions and volunteer service neither soliciting nor accepting outside donations. We are not affiliated with any public or private organization, political movement, ideology or religious doctrine; we take no position on outside issues. Our primary purpose is to abstain from compulsive eating and to carry the message of recovery to those who still suffer.

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SELECTION FROM CHAPTER FIVE OF THE BIG BOOK
(As adapted to the needs of the Compulsive Overeater)

HOW IT WORKS

Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path. Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves. There are such unfortunates. They are not at fault; they seem to have been born that way.
They are naturally incapable of grasping and developing a manner of living which demands rigorous honesty. Their chances are less than average. There are those, too, who suffer from grave emotional and mental disorders, but many of them do recover if they have the capacity to be honest.

Our stories disclose in a general way what we used to be like, what happened, and what we are like now. If you have decided you want what we have and are willing to go to any length to get it ~ then you are ready to take certain steps.

At some of these we balked. We thought we could find an easier, softer way. But we could not. With all the earnestness at our command, we beg of you to be fearless and thorough from the very start. Some of us have tried to hold on to our old ideas and the result was nil until we let go absolutely.

Remember that we deal with food ~ ~ cunning, baffling, powerful! Without help it is too much for us. But there is One who has all power ~ ~ that One is our Higher Power. May you find Him now!

Half measures availed us nothing. We stood at the turning point. We asked His protection and care with complete abandon.

Here are the steps we took, which are suggested as a program of recovery:

1. We admitted we were powerless over food -- that our lives had become unmanageable.

2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of our Higher Power as we understood Him.

4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

5. Admitted to our Higher Power, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

6. Were entirely ready to have our Higher Power remove all these defects of character.

7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with our Higher Power as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to compulsive overeaters, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Many of us exclaimed, "What an order! I can't go through with it." Do not be discouraged. No one among us has been able to maintain anything like perfect adherence to these principles. We are not saints. The point is that we are willing to grow along spiritual lines. The principles we have set down are guides to progress. We claim spiritual progress rather than
spiritual perfection.

Our description of the compulsive overeater, the chapter to the agnostic, and our personal adventures before and after make clear three pertinent ideas:

(a) That we were compulsive overeaters and could not manage our own lives.

(b) That probably no human power could have relieved our compulsion.

(c) That our Higher Power could and would if He were sought.



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