~ DISCOVERY LOOPS DIVISION ~
Change is afoot this month with the move to L-soft and with the
change of seasons. Before program, I generally feared and
distrusted change, that is, unless I had instigated it! I lived
in the past or the future.
Changes in the past were over and living there was comfortable
for me; it was a relief to know I didn't have to repeat some of
the changes ever again. It could often be lonely living in the
past, though. Change in the future I could, in fantasy, mold
and shape to my own desires. The present was where I did not
live. In the present, things seemed to change willy nilly,
without my permission, and often despite my prayers.
Or, the change I wanted and prayed for was not happening in
OA changed all that for me. I can't say I honestly always
welcome change. But I certainly fear it a lot less. I know
I have the steps and the tools, and Higher Power, as well as
all of us in program, to see me through. Often, these days,
I take step three, even knowing that could well involve change,
because I have learned HP's will is best for me, not my own.
In a very real sense, we change continually. Our bodies' cells
change every seven years. I am truly not the same person I was
seven years ago, even a day ago, as some cells are changed each
day. I've been in OA since December 1980. This means I've
changed completely physically at least three times! And the program
has changed me emotionally and spiritually many times.
Now, I live the day I'm in, as best I can, in gratitude for
GOMU's infinite, continued blessings. Change? It doesn't hold
the fear it once did for me. Why? I know the GOMU will walk
with me through every change, every challenge, every grief, every
joy - one day at a time. May the spirit of change - refreshing,
vital, even exhilarating - be with all of us as we enter this
Love and hugs,
~ THE RECOVERY OA ONLINE MEETINGS ~
On-Line Meeting Division
"I will not wait idly for things to get better. I will ask my
Higher Power to guide me to make necessary changes"
~ One Day At A Time - Daily Meditations
As we learn here in recovery, giving service is a vital part of
our recovery, and leading meetings is a wonderful way to
change our isolating tendencies and reach out to help others and
We are sending out a call for help to members living in the
United Kingdom, Australia, South Africa and the Netherlands,
because we still have meetings without regular leaders.
These are the basic requirements of becoming a meeting leader:
If you can answer our call, please contact:
- You need to belong to at least one TRG loop
- You need to be willing to work the steps.
- You need to be able to commit to leading one meeting per
week on a regular basis
- You need to be able to commit to, and follow, the protocol
and guidelines advised by TRG
- You need to attend a short Meeting Leader
On-Line Training course
- You need to be reasonably familiar with your
computer and the meeting room (chat) environment.
and we will help you get started!
In loving service,
Terri, Barry, Christine, Audrey and Cindy
On-Line Meeting Coordinators
Enquiries to: MtgAdm@lists.TheRecoveryGroup.org
~ TRG TRUSTED SERVANT OF THE MONTH ~
Sometimes when working on a project, building something
worthwhile or starting something new and, perhaps, difficult,
there is someone behind the scenes who seems to have an
overview of the whole thing and they quietly begin doing
whatever it is to be done. In the early days of our newsletter,
there was someone like that! Her name is Marty. When we
gave our newsletter its name, Serendipity, that word applied
to Marty ~ she appeared unexpectedly at a time when we
needed her most and we honor her this month by making her
our "Trusted Servant of the Month."
Marty appeared out of nowhere, serendipitously, and began coding
the newsletter so that it could become a permanent part of the
Recovery Website. This is not an easy job, but month after month,
year after year, there it was ... ready to be added to the site,
and today and always it will be there, thanks to Marty. But coding
wasn't all that Marty was doing .... she was learning. And she
learned well. When it was time to become Editor of Serendipity,
she was ready and faithfully and efficiently saw to it that a
beautiful newsletter was on our desktops each and every month.
Marty didn't stop at being Editor and Webmaster of Serendipity,
she started and maintained a subscription list for those who
were not members of the Recovery Group and that list has
"graduated" to an L-Soft List all its own. Even though her
plate was very full, Marty took an interest in the ABSTINENCE
list and became its Coordinator. Editor, Webmaster, Organizer,
Coordinator, she epitomizes the word "service" and is one of our
best. In addition to serving members of our community, Marty is
married, a devoted mother of three (two out of the nest, one
starting his departure), an active member in her church and church
choir, a member, librarian and Board member of her community
chorus, a part-time government worker with over 30 years of
service, and can usually be found doing lots of extra little
things that make the world a better place.
Congratulations, Marty . . . The Recovery Group's Trusted
Servant of the Month!!
To nominate a TRG Trusted Servant
to spotlight, email:
~ LOOP SPOTLIGHT OF THE MONTH ~
JOURNEY TO RECOVERY
This special loop was the beginnings of all of us together, here
at TRG. Journey to Recovery (JTR) began in 1995 and became a
manually served list. Mari, the founder, typed the names of
subscribers individually and at first it was just for them to
receive Journey to Recovery, the journal. It began to grow and
the subscribers began sharing back. They did this until the
subscriber list grew so large that a list server was needed.
St. John's University donated an L-Soft list and below is
the first letter on what is now Journey-To-Recovery. WTS and
Journey to Recovery were the beginnings of the Recovery Group,
which is now entering its first decade.
Journey-To-Recovery is an e-mail list that is more than just a
list in cyberspace. It is a place where those of us with
compulsions can meet with others who suffer, and share our
experience, strength and hope with one another. It is a place
where we can feel at home, it can become our cyberspace family,
a pleace where we know that we will be heard and not judged; a
place where your anonymity is important to us. And a place, as the
poet said, "where, when we have to go there, they have to take us
Journey-To-Recovery focuses on food compulsions and addictions
but can also include discussions relating to compulsive overeating:
such as Relationship Addiction, Love Addiction and Co-Dependency.
While most of our members are also members of the world-wide groups
of Overeaters Anonymous, CODA, Emotions Anonymous and similar
groups, it is not a requirement to be. The only requirement to
be a member of JTR is to have a desire to recover from our disease.
Members of this list find much emphasis on the Twelve Steps. The
Twelve Traditions are the guidelines of this group along with
several others that are geared mainly to Netiquette and
cyberspace. Copies of the Twelve Steps and the Twelve Traditions
and our other guidelines will be sent to you separately. We are
not affiliated with any other organization, e-mail list or
This group differs from most other cyber recovery groups in many
ways. One is that, while we focus on compulsive overeating, we
also have discussions on related cross-addictions. While the
great majority of us are in recovery from compulsive overeating,
we have found that many of us become cross addicted as we recover
from food addiction and often find ourselves in another.
Another way we differ from other groups is that this is a topical
group. Regularly, each member is sent copies of the Writer's
Series ... inspirational messages with a wide variety of topics
such as Abstinence, The Twelve Steps, Compassion, Friendships,
Addiction, Compulsions, Grief, Hate, Love, Patience, Serenity,
Isolation, Hope and many, many more. There is a different topic
each week and the Journey-To-Recovery focuses on that topic each
day of that week and sharing is related, but not restricted, to
For subscription information, visit our extraordinary 650-page
web site located at:
~ FEATURE ARTICLE ~
DEALING WITH CHANGE
I don't know why, but I fear change. Even if I think that the
changes will benefit me, in some way, I tend to feel some fear
as I contemplate and anticipate changes in my life and routine.
Part of it may be because I like knowing what to expect. I am
a person who prepares things (my end table has about ten lists
on it, right now, as I prepare for various events of my life)
and I can't prepare these if I'm not familiar with what will
happen. Change brings with it the possibility of new routines,
new effects, new interactions and, inevitably, new problems.
Some people welcome changes. They actually seek them out,
either from boredom, or because the people or events in their
life leave them needing or wanting to change. Some actively
seek these changes, but, for the one who forces random change,
the change doesn't always make a positive impact. They flit
from circumstance to circumstance; like bees grazing every
flower in a garden, and, for them, the changes they make
can become yet another substance which anesthetizes the pain of
life, which they are unable to deal with in a healthy way.
But changes come to everyone, so it is better for us to learn
to explore the right way to approach the changes we will face.
If we think carefully about the right reasons for change, and
the right way to accept the process of change, we will be better
able to put it into perspective within our lives.
In my opinion, change is needed when the old ways aren't working,
and there is an extent to which that is true for all of us
(or why would we be in Program?)
The beginning of the change process might be an honest look at
our lives, to see what needs to be changed. Is our food plan the
right one for us? Have we been honest in the way we work it? Is
our sponsor helpful? If so, are we following what he or she advises
us? Are we honest with our sponsors? Are we in healthy
relationships, and are we behaving in healthy ways, within them?
Is our job the right one for us, or are we just going through the
motions? Are we being wholehearted in our approach to Program,
and/or to our spiritual journey? Are there character defects which
we cling to, long after we know they are truly hindering
Once we identify changes that are needed, how do we know what
changes to make? I believe that is an individual answer, and it
comes to us by asking wise friends, and by prayer and meditation.
We look around at those whose lives we admire and think
"I want to be as serene as _________. I heard she was able to
make the change I am thinking about by ________. So that is what
I will put into practice in my own life". I think that this
process is flexible, and that we may have this inner dialog many
times in a day, while we contemplate various changes in
When I am in the midst of a planned change, I need a constant,
strong connection to my Higher Power. I need to be focused on
that HP as much as possible, to avoid feeling overwhelmed by the
effects of the change. I need the foundation of prayer, and of
scripture and to be around others who believe the same way I do.
It helps me to journal my feelings, during every step of a change.
When the first feelings of "did I do the right thing" sweep over
me, it is helpful, to me, to look back at that journal and be able
to see the reasons that I gave for making the change, and for
choosing the option that I am now experiencing.
And, little by little, as I accept the change, and the impact it
makes on my life, it becomes slowly woven into the fabric of my
life in a way which makes it part of my new routine, and is no
longer a change for me. I can see it from a more objective
perspective, and can evaluate whether it was the right decision
for me. If it wasn't, maybe the positive process of this change
will have convinced me that I can survive changes, and be less
apprehensive about the next one in my life.
But what about the changes that I do not plan? Those are the ones
which frighten me most. Those are the ones which give me the most
pause, because I go through life, with certain expectations, and,
when those unplanned changes come, I am left feeling adrift and
unprepared for their impact on my life. The process of change has
been uprooted by a spontaneous event, person or circumstance and I
am forced to quickly react to its emergence in my life.
But, if we reflect, after we catch our breath and take stock of
the situation, these unexpected changes can be processed in the
same way as the ones we purposely plan. We can take a look at
our lives, and think "what purpose can this change have?
What needed changes can be brought about because this has
happened?" or, if we can see no positive outcome from the change
we can think, "how can I make this into a positive experience?"
or "what is the least amount of negative impact this can have
on my life?" Once we begin to assess the effect of the unplanned
change, it can be placed into the same process as any other change,
and be faced with the same mindset as our other changes.
The key, in my opinion, to facing these unplanned changes is that
same strong connection to our HP. No matter what, we can remain
focused on the positive energy that we get from this connection.
I find that my faith becomes much stronger in adversity, and in
the changes that I am forced to make as a result of it. If I look
at my circumstances, I can get angry, frustrated and depressed.
But if I think about my HP, and about the positive things in my
life, and ask HP to guide and help me through the change, I am
able to reframe each step of the process of change in a more
positive and productive light. I am able to find joy within
the pain of sorrow; hope within the emptiness of frustration,
and I am able to find strength when my own resources seem to
have failed. Our Program teaches us to "accept the things we
cannot change", which is a good lesson to learn, and it
encourages us to move on from there to have the "courage to
change the things we can". Let us all look within ourselves,
and pray for that courage when we need it, and to embrace the
connection to our HP which makes that courage possible.
Submitted by Donna
TO SUBMIT AN ARTICLE:
To submit an article to Serendipity Newsletter,
simply send an email to:
The May issue will focus on the theme of "Action".
~ FROM THE TWELVE-STEP LITERATURE ~
~~ FROM THE BIG BOOK ~~
"...And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When
I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing,
or situation - some fact of my life unacceptable to me, and I can
find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing, or
situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this
moment. Nothing, absolutely nothing, happens in God's world by
mistake. Until I could accept my alcoholism/COE I could not
stay sober; unless I accept life completely on life's terms, I
cannot be happy. I need to concentrate not so much on what
needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed
in me and in my attitude.
c. 2001, Alcoholics Anonymous, page 449
I can't tell you how many times I've had to come back to this
paragraph in the Big Book because something or someone was
stressing me out or I was getting depressed over something I
couldn't handle. I have a predisposition to depression anyway,
so this reading has been very helpful to me. How can I say that
this and that should be different or that I know things would be
better If...! I have had to practice acceptance so many times.
I don't run the world or my own life, for that matter. I keep
trying to take control back and it never works. When I find myself
back in my depression, all I have to do is look back and see what
part of my world didn't go according to what Myrlene thought it
It has been a hard journey for me, after so many years of not
practicing it, but each day I have to ask for my Higher
Power's guidance and to please show me in a way I can understand,
because I am also one who can't see the forest for the trees.
I do hope that this reading can help others as it has helped me
through several years of a much better life, more serenity and
peacefulness and that alone makes the depression much less likely
Blessings in your Recovery,
Myrlene (Big Book and Recovery Group)
~ The Promises ~ Part Four ~
"And we will know peace."
In our series on the Promises, Dawn has taken us through the
First Promise in which we were told we were going to know a new
freedom and a new happiness ... the Second Promise that we would
not regret the past nor wish to close the door on it and the
Third Promise that we would know serenity.
And now the Big Book promises us that we will know peace.
THE PROMISES ~ PART THREE
The Fourth Promise: And we will know peace. WOW!! There was
a time in my life, and even some periods now, when I thought
that I would never be able to be at peace with my surroundings.
It seemed like I had to fight for anything I wanted. Sometimes
things would get so hectic that I felt like I was being swept
helplessly down a flooding river. At those times, I felt that
I had absolutely no control over ANYTHING.
A curious thing happens when working the steps. By giving up
trying to control things we can't control, we actually gain MORE
control over the things we CAN control. Now, whenever I feel that
the river is beginning to catch me, I step back, take a deep
breath, and make up my mind to do one thing at a time. I'll
recite the Serenity Prayer to myself. Then I'm able to ignore
the confusion and actually get things done. If I don't do that,
I drive myself crazy by running from one task to another, never
finishing any of them. It takes some self-discipline to accomplish
But the best thing about this peace is the inner peace I have
found. I have made peace with myself. I no longer fight myself.
I can accept my good qualities along with my personal
weaknesses. I have to work very hard sometimes to overcome my
weaknesses, but I don't berate myself over them. They're a part
of me. I don't think I'll ever be good at keeping things organized,
but I lovingly push myself to be as organized as I can. I think
I'll always be forgetful about such things as appointments, so
I write them down.
On the other hand, I have certain skills that I should be proud
of. These are things that have come to me naturally. I can paint,
sew, draw, write, cook, teach, and ride horses very well. That's
not to say that I don't have any more to learn about these
things. That's where humility comes in. Its important to remain
teachable. It's important to recognize the skills others have, and
learn from them.
I think that peace comes from this humility. Knowing that I am no
better and no worse than anyone else gives me an inner peace. I
don't have to show off to impress people. I don't need to feel
superior to anyone. We are all equal in this world, and we each
have our own gift, and we each have our own weaknesses. By
accepting the weaknesses within myself, I am more able to accept
other's weaknesses. Also, by accepting my own weaknesses, I am
able to be nicer to myself. That is, I don't beat myself up over
small mistakes. I don't have so much of the drive to perfectionism.
Peace is a very spiritual concept to me. When I am at peace with
the world and at peace with mysel f, I feel a connection to the
creative spirit of the universe. I am actually a part of that
creation. I have a role to play. Each of us has a place in the
Serenity is not freedom from the storm ~
but peace amid the storm."