We are nearing the finish of our orientation session and this is the last of the twelve important topics you have spent time on in this loop over the past months. OA Newcomers was not meant to give you a complete experience as far as your recovery program is concerned .... that begins when you leave us. By the time you are transferred to your first online support group, we hope you will have a sponsor, a food plan, a copy of the OA 12&12 and be ready to fly into a life that, as OA's Co-Founder says, is beyond your wildest dreams.
Toward the end of the month you will have a review of our topic of Sharing and all other topics. This is an overview of the review so the more you remember now, the less you'll have to remember then when all 12 of the topics are hitting you broadside. :-) (No pun intended)
How does one share on a 12 Step support group or at an OA meeting? The answer is in every way known to man. But if the question is "How does one share appropriately on a 12 step loop or at an OA meeting" there is an even short answer. You share your ESH.
Many of you may think that this is something you already know and don't need to be "taught." A lot of us thought the same way until we began our journey. Some of us even questioned this "new" way of sharing but after reading the reasons given by Overeaters Anonymous and experiencing this ourselves, we can see how important it is that we share appropriately.
The Recovery Group has many support loops and there are some of them that are more casual than others. There are some with dual missions ... and even some that have no rules at all. For example, we have a loop called DIABETES. In that special focus loop, the compulsive eaters also talk about the disease of diabetes along with their Twelve Step sharing. The same is true of DRUGABUSE, KIDS, ISOLATION, DIVORCE, SEX AND LOVE ADDICTION and many more. These loops are called Special Focus loops and are in a Division called ODAT. An example of a loop which has no rules at all is THE YELLOW BRICK ROAD. Compulsive eaters gather there to talk about anything their heart desires. There isn't even a Coordinator. Another example is the DISCOVERY KITCHEN where food plans, recipes, etc. are the main topics. And very important to Newcomers is our OANEWCOMERTALK loop.
The Recovery Group home loops are different from each of these ~ and very different from this OA Newcomer's Orientation Loop. In the OAsis, OAOnline and OARecovery General Sharing Loops, we try to share in much the same way as a compulsive eater would share in an OA face-to-face meeting. We don't have cross talk in those loops. We don't send messages to the whole loop that should be sent to someone privately. We don't mention specific foods or talk about politics or specific religions or Deities. We don't give advice. We don't flame other members. We don't sign our letters with commercial signatures or advertising of any kind. Each member tries to write their home loop often because they realize by doing so it helps them; it helps others; and in fact it is giving service. It has been proven over many decades that sharing our experience, strength and hope with others is why we recovery in Overeaters Anonymous. And because many of you are graduating now, we send you off to your home loop knowing so much more about things like this than the average OA Newcomer.
Here is a very good way to remember how to share. It's recommended by Overeaters Anonymous and The Recovery Group and you will find after sharing this way that there are very few things that you will not be able to write to your home loop. It isn't so much what you say or what you don't say .... it's how you say it.
1. WHAT WAS I LIKE?
2. WHAT HAPPENED?
3. WHAT AM I LIKE NOW?
Can you remember those three things? Does it make sense to you? You can apply this to situations and life experiences. If we're having struggles, we want to share how we use program to overcome them. We want our shares to inspire others, give hope just as other's shares did for us when we first walked through the doors.
Here's some ideas of "What I was like"....
1. How was your life in the past? When did you begin to put on weight? Were there problems in your childhood? Did you have a bad marriage? Were you abused? Did you suffer from an illness? Were you fat? Did children tease you on the playground? This would be your first paragraph.
Here's "What happened".....
2. Do you remember the light bulb moment in your life when something happened that made you realize that you were a compulsive eater and that there were other compulsive eaters just like you and they had found a Twelve Step program and suddenly you knew that they had what you wanted. You said to yourself ... and then aloud ... I am a compulsive eater. And then maybe you read the First Step again and suddenly it made sense and you admitted that you were powerless over food and that your life was unmanageable. Was it equivalent to a spiritual experience? Did the words "Welcome Home" suddenly mean more to you? Did you "get it?" Tell your new friends about it in the middle section of your letter.
Here's "What I'm like now".....
3. For the sake of yourself and those who are reading your share, always try to end your share with a positive paragraph. If you have lost weight, inspire others. If you conquered a phobia, inspire others. If you have two days abstinence for the first time in your life, inspire others. Did program give you the courage to change jobs, husbands or homes? Inspire others. Were you a high school dropout who is going back for a PhD? Inspire others. Have you been off sugar six months? Inspire others. Do you buy your clothes from off the rack instead of a catalog now? Inspire others. Did you become a nicer person? Are you a better mother? Do you now really taste and enjoy your food? Do you smile more often? Do you sleep better and feel better and look better and act better? Inspire others.
When you are at your new home loop, I hope you will send a brief introduction and let the other members know you're there. Just a couple of sentences at first and then when everyone is settled, you can begin writing longer and longer shares and before you know it, you will come to love where you are. Then read the shares and get to know your family. You won't like them all. You'll love some of them. This is because, like all families, there's a little bit of bad in the best of them and a little bit of good in the worst. The one thing you and your new family have in common is that you're all compulsive eaters and share a disease that you didn't ask for and do not want. Our newcomers will be fine. You could have been a chicken or an eagle. You're an eagle .... and will soar.
God, grant me the serenity to ACCEPT the things I cannot change;
COURAGE to change the things I can;
and the WISDOM to know the difference.
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