The Recovery Group

Question Twenty-Eight

Dear Web Visitors and Recovery Friends,

My name is Donna and I am a compulsive overeater. I am going to be sharing with you my own experience, strength and hope as it relates to Questions 20-30. I have been a member of OA for about 20 years now. The responses that I will give to the questions represent my own views ... they may or may not echo yours. I hope you will share your responses with your home loop. I am honored to share these words as my service. I pray you will find something useful in the words that I write.

Please note that previous questions are already up on the web site and can be found at


Question 28:

Discuss and reflect upon the use of the seven tools in your daily recovery: 1. Food Plan 2. Telephone 3. Sponsors 4. Meetings 5. Service 6. Literature, Writing, Burning and 7. Anonymity


My name is Donna and I am a food addict. These 7 tools have helped many people throughout the years. In Program, the way you use these tools - and the extent to which you use each one - is up to you. NO one will or should "score" you on your devotion to any of them. They are tools... they do help you with your recovery. But if you are uncomfortable with one of them, it does not mean that the others will not help. I find that when I am challenged in one area (such as physical abstinence, a frequent challenge) I work whatever tools I am comfortable with; to the extent that I am comfortable... and I feel closer to HP and experience a degree of serenity for which I can be grateful.

I want to share briefly on the tools.

Food plan. As compulsive eaters, it is important to have a written plan of what we will eat, for 24 hours. It is important to commit that plan to a sponsor or other COE and to stick to it, no matter what. Once you "turn over" your food plan, it is important not to let the circumstances of the day change your food plan. No matter what your alternate choice is, when you change your food selection for any reason other than unavailability of a food item, you are trying to control your own food and THAT is counterproductive, to our recovery.

Telephone This is a way of reaching out to another COE, or for yourself, between meetings. At most face to face meetings I attend, they send around a "we care" book, with phone numbers. There are also phone numbers available on most meeting lists. These people put their numbers there because they choose to give service. Calling someone can be service, both to you and to them.

Sponsors A sponsor is an invaluable guide to and through the Program. Sponsors are people with our same addiction... they are not perfect. They struggle with their own disease. Yet they can listen, pray, and be there for us. Some sponsors "take" your food; others help you through the steps. Being a sponsor is a great service... and giving your food to the sponsor is a service you give to them, because sharing your recovery can help them maintain their own.

Meetings I have recently struggled with relapse, and found myself avoiding meetings. It seemed that I was unwilling to go where recovery was ... that I avoided being with "live" people and "hid" my recovery struggle by working my Program completely online. When two Program friends encouraged me to go to a meeting, the feeling of relief and acceptance there was overwhelming. I have heard it said: "meeting makers make it." I have never yet been to a meeting where I did not get SOMETHING out of the sharing or the experience.

Literature In OA, we use the Big Book of AA, and other literature approved by World service in meetings and with our individual recovery. When I read these writings with an open heart and mind, I find many insights for my life... and I am able to apply them to whatever I am going through. I also find that reading literature from whatever my spiritual belief system might be is also helpful to my Program, since getting in touch with my HP on a daily basis is part of my recovery.

Service service is anything we do, to help the meeting or Program gathering. I find that when I am committed to a particular service, it helps me keep my resolve to attend meetings and continue toward recovery. Service can be arranging chairs, being a speaker (or a meditation writer!), or just listening. Service can be as simple as a smile. I have heard it said: "if you take the 'serve' out of service, you are left with the 'ice' of isolation.

Writing/Burning I find writing to be a very good tool, for working the steps. Responding to a step or meeting share helps me organize and crystallize my thoughts. Also, when I am upset about something and cannot articulate how I should respond, writing can help me get my thoughts into order. I also find it to be a valuable tool when I am tempted to pick up food: I just grab whatever paper and writing instrument I can find, and I put whatever words come into my mind onto the paper. I write until I feel that my feelings have been expressed, and many times the urge has passed in this way. Many people choose to destroy their writings, as they feel that burning banishes the negative thoughts.

Anonymity a very important part of the Program. It allows me to share freely of my life and struggles... and lets me know that what I share in confidence will not be revealed. I respect others' anonymity when seeing them in public or calling them on the phone. It is how we respect each other.

These tools are gifts. It is up to you to choose which - if any - you will use in your own recovery, for this 24 hours.

Blessings Donna - food addict


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