A Wellspring of Hope
From Our Editor
Welcome to the April issue of Serendipity. And what an eventful month it has been! The Recovery Group is a vital, growing, ever-changing presence on the web, reaching compulsive eaters throughout the world, and the trusted servants are giving countless hours to the group, working hard to make the Recovery Group a true beacon of recovery from this dreadful disease we share.
In this issue, our founder, Mari, addresses the Recovery Intergroup's revision of the guidelines that guide our group. John, the Recovery Group administrator, has written a powerful message to all compulsive eaters on the loops and in the meetings about the importance of working the steps. Anne, meetings coordinator and co-editor of Serendipity, keeps us up to date on the changes in the on-line meetings and the new access to the #Recovery room. Then we added something new this month, a new way of introducing you to the many loops. Each month we will spotlight one or two loops, with a brief introduction from the loop coordinator, directions to join the loop, the loop's mission statement, and, if we're lucky, a brief message from a member of the loop to give us an idea of how the loop has impacted his or her recovery. This month we are featuring a loop that is new to the Recovery Group, PMS and Recovery. Sue, the loop coordinator, explains the genesis of the loop, and Lisa, a PMS and Recovery loopie, shares with us her gratitude for the loop.
As always, we are fortunate to have several of our members share their experience, strength and hope. JudyN has contributed a wonderful and enlightening poem about the completion of her fourth, fifth and sixth steps. Debbie T. describes her early experiences with OA, and her story is certainly one I and many of you will relate to! Shirley G. honors us by sharing some excerpts from her recovery journal, and Shana reminds us that "Eating Isn't the Issue."
Literature for this month is the Fourth Step Prayer and a quote from the Big Book's "How It Works" about resentment, along with the first of a three month list of recovery slogans - 11, 21 and 25 are my personal favorites from this group. The newsletter concludes with a list of the weekly on-line Recovery Group meetings, announcements, OA information, and contact list.
I want to take this time to personally thank all of you for your contributions, and for your support of the newsletter. Our distribution list grows monthly, and all of the comments we have received have been positive. I only hope that you will continue to contribute your experience, strength and hope, because that's what SERENDIPITY is all about!
Love in recovery,
A group or organization is only as strong as its foundation allows it to be. The firmer the foundation ~ the healthier the group. The Recovery Group is growing larger each day ~ compulsive eaters are reaching out to us for help almost every minute of the day through our loops, our online meetings, our studies and our website. We're there for them 24/7. But it is not enough just to be there ~ we must provide them with a recovery home that will be safe .. and serene .. and we must not be here today and gone tomorrow. If there is one person in our loops and meetings or if there are 1000, we must strive to let compulsive eaters everywhere know that they can depend on us.
In keeping with our mission, we aim to make our foundation as strong as we can possibly make it. As I write this, the Recovery Intergroup is reviewing, discussing and preparing to vote on something that will assure the firmness of our foundation ~ our Guidelines .... The Recovery Traditions. By the time Serendipity reaches you the revised guidelines for the new millennium will be well on their way to being in place.
And our foundation will add yet another link in the chain that holds us all together ... and keeps us strong.
Idiotic as it may seem to say, the purpose of a Twelve Step recovery program is to work the Twelve Steps. In the Big Book we read the wonderful Promises. These are stated to come about as a result of having worked the Steps. In Chapter Three, How It Works, we are told that there is no other way than to take the Steps. And on the other hand, for those who work the Steps, "Rarely have we seen a person fail..."
Someone said to me recently that the proof of completing the first three Steps is to be actively working on the Fourth. Turning our life and our will over to the care of the God of our understanding is not accomplished by words, but by continuing to work the Steps.
I can tell you that for me, the last seven years of my life have seen wonderful changes. I began with a sponsor to work the Steps. And I have done so ever since. My sense of the spiritual has become profound. I have been given a release from my compulsion one day at a time for almost seven years now. The "middle" steps have helped me to recreate a way of life for myself that has so little of resentment and fear compared to the past. I have found the power of my true self in my Higher Power as a result. Life is rich. Abstinence is wonderful.
So I urge everyone to take the Steps. The escalator is broken. There are no softer, easier ways.
As always, another month of change within the Recovery Online Meetings. We have had an exciting change to our meeting schedule with the addition of a new Big Book Meeting. The meeting is held on Thursday nights, 9.30 PM and hosted by Lloyd. Last week we had a record number of forty people at this meeting, so grab your Big Book and join with other loopies in sharing your experience, strength and hope as you go through the Big Book.
This month has seen new meeting leaders join us and I would like to personally welcome our new meeting leaders Becky, Deborah, Lloyd, Sharon and Syl. I would also like to thank all of our Meeting Leaders and Substitute Meeting leaders who have kept our meetings going despite being low on permanent meeting leaders. I would especially like to thank Audrey, who has been doing up to seven meetings a week consistently for almost six months and provides amazing support and service to our meetings, as well as putting everything into each meeting that she leads.
The other change this month is the web access to the #Recovery room. StarChat have made some changes and provided us with a new address to access meetings ~ http://cluster.starchat.net/recovery/
To access our online meetings, here is what you need to do:
1. With your web browser (Netscape or Internet Explorer) go to http://cluster.starchat.net/recovery/
Be patient! It takes a few minutes for the page to download because of the chat software (called an applet).
2. If a screen comes up asking you if you want to accept the Java Link, click YES. (Not all computers get this message).
3. On the first line, type in your nickname eg. Jane
4. On the second line, type in the channel name. It should by default be set at Recovery so for meetings in #Recovery leave it as is. If you want to go to another channel, type in the channel name, such as SpanishRecovery or Christian&Recovery.
5. Click on the Connect Now button at the bottom left and wait again - takes a while.
A new window will open with the chat room in it.
Hope to see you online at our meetings.
Love in recovery
The PMS and Recovery Email Discussion Group is a place where those of us who have compulsive behaviors towards food and who are also experiencing PMS issues can meet with others who suffer, and can share our experience, strength and hope with one another. One of the nice things about our loop is that you are accepted and understood and loved exactly the way you are. PMS is biochemical and can be treated. It is not a joke and you aren't crazy. If you are going through a PMS crisis, we understand. If your abstinence has been threatened by PMS, we've been there. If mood swings make your recovery harder each month and your life miserable, we know where you're coming from. You will meet a bunch of "strangers" here, but you will find out that these strangers may become some of the best friends you will ever have in your life.
To subscribe to PMS and Recovery, send a blank email to PMSAndRecoveryfirstname.lastname@example.org
~ A letter from one of our members follows ~
I am a COE who suffers from my disease about tenfold every 4th week. Why? I have PMS. I have known a lot of people in program to look at me funny when I say that one week out of the month my cravings go through the roof. I really needed to talk to someone who understood my problem. When the PMS and Recovery loop came along it was a gift from God. This loop is so special to me because I know I am not alone. I know there are other people who suffer like I suffer, and to whom I can turn when I am having trouble. There is also a lot of experience, strength and hope shared in the loop, which helps me to not feel stuck in my disease. Just the knowledge that they are there, the support they have given, and the feeling of no longer being alone, has made this month go by much more smoothly for me. I am deeply grateful to my HP for putting these people in my life.
I was highly insulted that I wasn't asked to leave until I listened to the lead for the evening. She was bulimic and I realized that THAT was why I wasn't asked to leave. Those people thought *I* was bulimic too. Well, I wasn't, so I sure didn't belong here.
They ended that meeting with the Lord's Prayer. Being a good Catholic girl, I was STUNNED when they added, "For Thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory forever." Catholics didn't say that part! Obviously, I had entered the room of some Protestant/odd people/bulimic group. I sure didn't belong here!
To top it off, I ran smack into someone I knew. How HUMILIATING! And what was wrong with this woman anyway? She was Catholic, wasn't odd, but I didn't know if she was bulimic.
I wonder why I went back the next week. There was nothing said that first night that made me want to return. Yet there I was again. And again. And again....
One of the things I heard was to get a sponsor. Find someone who had what I wanted. What I WANTED? Oh puleeezzze. I went straight for someone who had what I did NOT want. She was obese. I figured by choosing someone who weighed more than me, if she ever said anything I didn't want to hear, I could say, "Look honey ... Like you can talk!" I quickly added crow to my food plan because she was a wonderful sponsor!
I had a delightful honeymoon with the program. I immediately got abstinent and lost every pound. At my first lead I was fit, trim and gorgeous. So, naturally, there was little need for me to continue in OA.
Boom! Flat on my face!
There is a Big Book story called "Doctor, Alcoholic, Addict." If you need to know anymore about me, you just need to read that story. As he said, "Shakespeare said, 'All the world's a stage, all the men and women merely players.' He forgot to mention that I was the chief critic. I was always able to see the flaw in every person, every situation. And I was always glad to point it out, because I knew you wanted perfection, just as I did."
I have struggled many, many times in this program. My self-will continues to run riot. But I always know where the answers are. And I know that all of you will accept me, wherever I am, even with crumbs on my face. That is the truest blessing of this program.
So, if you're a newbie or a seasoned veteran who still hasn't perfected your abstinence, I say this, "Keep coming back! It works IF you work it."
In an effort to share my experience, strength and hope, I would like to share some excerpts from my journal:
Today, I continue the journey, confident that the God of my understanding will never leave me .... even when I leave myself! I am a work in progress that will terminate when I do. Please know, you who read this, that you are dearly loved and treasured.
Eating ISN'T THE ISSUE. If we look to the Big Book and 12 and 12, we can see that we come from all walks of life; we have either been deprived of food as a child; overfed out of "love;" sweets were never kept in our homes, therefore we went in search of sweets to our friends' homes; sweets were always kept in our home and we felt that we were never given limits regarding food; our sisters and brothers were given dessert but we weren't because we were chubby, thereby making us feel rejected and we got even by eating food on the sly! Do I have to go on? We have done it all, heard it all, and eaten it all.
We are COMPULSIVE OVEREATERS! To not see that food is not the issue is to reject the bottom line... We are all given the same road to take in OA, there are no detours for the junk food addicts, no stop signs for the over the top protein eaters -- in fact, we are here for the same reason with the same problem. So, why do I feel that if I hadn't been given potato chips as a child I would have been thin? Or, if my mother would have baked me cookies then I would have felt happier and would have been thin? Why does my sister weigh 60 lbs. less than me and why has she never had an interest in food? Why?? Because she doesn't have a compulsion to destroy herself with food as her drug of choice! That's why!
If we spend too much time concentrating on who to blame ... we may never get well. Blame is a bullet waiting to destroy good people; moms, dads, doctors, friends, sisters, brothers, you and me. Let's concentrate on getting well, on working on our souls and "feeding" our minds and hearts clean abstinence so we can live in this world blame free. Let's read our books, pray to our HPs for clarity and serenity, eat the foods that don't call out our worst instincts, and live and be well.
Live and Be Well,
FOURTH STEP PRAYER
It is I who have made my life a mess.
I have done it, but I cannot undo it.
My mistakes are mine,
and I will begin a searching and fearless moral inventory.
I will write down my wrongs,
but I will also include that which is good.
I pray for the strength to complete the task.
c. 1976, Alcoholics Anonymous, page 64
All AOL meetings held in Stepping Stones on AOL
Recovery Roundup 2000
All AOL meetings held in Stepping Stones on AOL
Recovery Roundup 2000