A Wellspring of Hope
Newsletter of The Recovery Group


April 2000
Volume 2, Issue 4


ser*en*dip*i*ty ~ (noun) First appeared 1754:
the faculty or phenomenon of finding
valuable or agreeable things not sought for.


FEATURED ARTICLES

From Our Editor
From Our Founder
From Our Administrator
From Our Meeting Coordinators
Loop Spotlight of the Month
From Our Recovery Group Members
From the Literature
The Recovery Group IRC Meetings
AOL Meetings - A&R Forum
Announcements
From Overeaters Anonymous
Recovery Group Contacts
The Serenity Prayer



FROM OUR EDITOR


Dear friends in recovery,

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,
Suzanne,
Editor
SERENDIPITY



SERENDIPITY SUBSCRIPTIONS



FROM OUR FOUNDER


Dear Serendipity Readers,

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.

@-}-}-}------
Love in recovery,
Mari
The Recovery Group


FROM OUR ADMINISTRATOR


Twelve Step Programs

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.

Love,
John
Recovery Group Administrator



FROM OUR MEETING COORDINATORS


Dear Friends,

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.

If this doesn't work, please email us explaining what happened to RecoveryMeetings@yahoo.com or Cindy at RecoveryTech@mail.com and we will help you get into the meetings.

Hope to see you online at our meetings.

Love in recovery

Anne
Meetings Coordinator
The Recovery Group



LOOP SPOTLIGHT

PMS AND RECOVERY


We just started our PMS Loop and we are very excited. This is a special place dedicated to COE women who would like to share openly about issues of recovery that arise during PMS. There are a total of 18 members in our group. If you struggle with recovery during that time of the month and feel like you would like to share your hope, strength and recovery with us, we would love to have you! This group was started because I myself was struggling and felt that PMS was such a personal and womanly issue that I did not feel comfortable discussing it on any other loop. I heard others share the same, so here we are!

Love
Sue PMS And Recovery Coordinator


MISSION STATEMENT FOR PMS AND RECOVERY LOOP


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 PMSAndRecovery-subscribe@onelist.com

~ 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.

Love,
Lisa


FROM OUR RECOVERY GROUP MEMBERS


THE SEARCH ~ ON COMPLETION OF MY
4TH, 5TH AND 6TH STEPS
JudyN

I scurry here and there
Searching, gathering
A fear, a hate, a prejudice,
A hurtful word, an undone
Act of kindness for a friend
A grain of sand, a little stone
A bolder here and there
Pushing, shoveling,
Scraping with bare hands
That tire and bleed
Unearthing everything

The mortar of my friend is
Gently given and feverishly
We stack them up
Arranged just so
These ravages of my
Past laid down with
Care and hopefulness

Then in strength and trust
With faith and hope
We place each one
Just where it fits
Exactly in its place
As if all were cut out
Long ago to a pattern
And a plan!

I cleanse my mind, my heart
In ancient rituals of sage
Smoke swirling round about
Like wind that draws the
Blanket near and gives a
Time to rest to search
I close my eyes
I open a lonely heart
With hands that tremble
With hope

The voice resounds
With clarity
“Take one step more”!
I do and turn and stare
An archway rises high
Behind me! I made it
Through!
Beyond the past dissolves
And in each place where a stone
Was gathered a brilliant gem appears

Each gem is picked up quickly
And placed into my hand
“You will need them in
Your journey as Light to guide
The way for others
to this door

I clutch them tightly
To my breast
Mine! They are my
Reward for all my pain
For all my work
“Oh, no my child they
Are not your reward”
They are the gifts I
Gave long ago for
You to give away
Because I knew from
The start you would
Find your way

So I hand them out
At every chance
In hopes that others
See what G-d has
Done for me



KEEP COMING BACK


It was quite obvious at my very first OA meeting 11 years ago (March 23, 1989) that I didn't belong here. After all, there were some very odd people in that room. Most of them weighed more than I did, thus proving that *I* didn't have a problem.

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."

Debbie T.



EXCERPTS FROM A JOURNEY TO RECOVERY


Dear Friends,

In an effort to share my experience, strength and hope, I would like to share some excerpts from my journal:

5/25/99
Called OA yesterday and got a lovely woman named Robin who was quite helpful, and said she'd meet me at the meeting on Thursday night. I was so moved. I sat and cried while telling Reinie (my husband) about it. I had forgotten how giving program people are.

6/5/99
I'm so grateful for this time of abstinence. It's wonderful to be hungry at mealtime, and then satisfied afterwards. But I am so afraid of losing it........

6/19/99
(Writing in the 12-Step Workbook of OA)
I could be called a professional dieter because I've spent so much time and money developing the skill. I am facing the fact of utter defeat. I returned to OA (after a 10 year relapse), kicking and screaming and clutching my halo. There is so much more God has to reveal to me and I'll trust he'll do it at the right time and in the right way. If self-will would have helped, I'd not be overweight now.

7/19/99
Something is keeping me from beginning my 4th step inventory. I don't look forward to dredging up old feelings. Maybe if I just write a little bit each day........

8/19/99
When I thought I was through with my 4th step inventory, I prayed about it. Then today I wrote 5 more pages. This was a breakthrough for me.

9/19/99
What I've learned about fear when 5th stepping my inventory is that I was hanging onto it in order to avoid growing up and being an adult. I see that I can just put fear aside and be myself because I'm good enough. Fear keeps me stuck, and has been my excuse for inaction.

12/31/99
Dear God, Please take all of me. Make whatever adjustments you want, and then when you return me, and whatever else in my life you want me to have, it will all be as it should.

1/8/2000
Did several unselfish acts today that only God and I know about. (In continuing the work of step 4 I will examine) Pride: noticed no false pride today. Fear: Yes. But I handled it by using the "I" message. Anger: Yes, at myself when I saw the results of my blood test. Too much fat. I overreacted but quickly brought it under control. Self-pity: None today. Greed: not today. Honesty: I allowed myself a snack before bedtime, but did not limit the amount of almonds I ate, and feel as though I ate too many.

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.

Love,
Shirley G


EATING ISN'T THE ISSUE


After a life of being a compulsive overeater, and 25 years of hearing personal shares in the OA rooms, I have come to believe that there is no "MO" (mode of operation) or typical childhood that springs forth a compulsive overeater.

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,
Shana


FROM THE LITERATURE


FOURTH STEP PRAYER


Dear God,

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.


FROM "HOW IT WORKS"


Resentment is the "number one" offender
>From it stem all forms of spiritual disease,
for we have been not only mentally and physically ill,
we have been spiritually sick.
When the spiritual malady is overcome,
we straighten out mentally and physically.

c. 1976, Alcoholics Anonymous, page 64


25 RECOVERY SLOGANS


Easy does it.
First things first.
Live and let live.
One day at time.
Let go and let God.
KISS---keep it simple stupid!
Act as if ...
This too shall pass.
Expect miracles!
I can't ... God can ...I think I'll let him. (Steps 1,2,3)
I came; I came to; I came to believe. (Steps 1,2,3)
If it works ... don't fix it.
Keep coming back .... it works if you work it.
Live in the NOW.
If God seems far away, who moved?
Turn it over.
We are only as sick as our secrets.
Let it begin with me.
Just For today.
It's in the book.
You either is .... or you ain't.
Don't quit five minutes before the miracle happens.
Practice an attitude of gratitude.
The road to abstinence is a simple journey
for confused people with a complicated disease.
Wherever you go .... there you are.



RECOVERY GROUP MEETINGS
All Meetings US Eastern Time
All IRC meetings on Starchat Channel
All IRC meetings in #Recovery with the exception of the Spanish meetings which are held in #SpanishRecovery and Christian meetings held in #Christian&Recovery
SUNDAY:
7:00 AM IRC OA Topic
10:30 AM IRC For Today
11:30 AM IRC Spanish OA Topic
2:30 PM IRC OA Topic
3:30 PM IRC Italian Recovery
7:00 PM IRC AlAnon/OA Meeting
8:00 PM IRC Newcomers Meeting
9:30 PM IRC OA Topic
12:00 AM IRC Recovery Talk ~ Informal
MONDAY:
7:00 AM IRC Recovery Talk ~ Informal
10:30 AM IRC For Today
2:30 PM IRC Step Study
7:00 PM IRC Recovery Talk ~ Informal
9:30 PMIRC OA Topic
11:00 PM IRC OA Topic
12:00 AM IRC Recovery Talk ~ Informal
TUESDAY:
7:00 AM IRC Recovery Talk ~ Informal
10:30 AM IRC For Today
2:30 PM IRC OA Topic
7:00 PM IRC Recovery Talk ~ Informal
9:30 PM IRC OA Topic
10:00 PM IRC Christian Recovery
11:00 PM IRC OA Topic
12:00 AM IRC Recovery Talk ~ Informal
WEDNESDAY:
7:00 AMIRC OA Topic
10:30 AMIRC For Today
10:30 AM IRC Spanish OA Topic
2:30 PM IRC Step Study
7:00 PM IRC Recovery Talk ~ Informal
9:30 PM IRC OA Topic
11:00 PM IRC OA Topic
12:00 AM IRC Recovery Talk ~ Informal
THURSDAY:
7:00 AM IRC Recovery Talk ~ Informal
10:30 AM IRC For Today
2:30 PM IRC OA Topic
4:00 PM IRC Christian Recovery
7:00 PM IRC OA Topic
9:30 PM IRC Big Book
11:00 PM IRC OA Topic
12:00 AM IRC Recovery Talk ~ Informal
FRIDAY:
7:00 AM IRC Recovery Talk ~ Informal
10:30 AM IRC For Today
2:30 PMIRC Step Study
7:00 PM IRC OA Topic
9:30 PM IRC OA Topic
10:00 PM IRC Christian Talk
11:00 PM IRC OA Topic
12:00 AM IRC Recovery Talk ~ Informal
SATURDAY:
7:00 AM IRC OA Topic
10:30 AM IRC Spanish OA Topic
2:30 PM IRC OA Topic
4:00 PM IRC Christian Talk
5:00 PM IRC Abuse & Recovery
7:00 PM IRC Recovery Talk ~ Informal
9:30 PM IRC OA Topic
11:00 PM IRC OA Topic
12:00 AM IRC Recovery Talk ~ Informal


AOL ONLINE MEETING SCHEDULE

All AOL meetings held in Stepping Stones on AOL

Monday 10:30 PM Recovery Chat
Tuesday 12:00 PM OA Topic
12:00 AM OA Topic
Wednesday 9:30 PM 100 Pounders
Thursday 9:00 PM OA Topic
10:30 PM OA Topic
Friday 11:00 PM Twelve Steps
Saturday 12:00 AM OA Topic


ANNOUNCEMENTS

OVEREATERS ANONYMOUS WORLD SERVICE CONVENTION

Recovery Roundup 2000
August 3 - 6, 2000
Dallas, Texas
Information about the convention is available at
http://www.overeatersanonymous.org/recovery2000/index.html
All are welcome to attend!!



FROM OVEREATERS ANONYMOUS

Overeaters Anonymous
World Service Office (WSO)
6075 Zenith Ct. NE
PO Box 44020
Rio Rancho, NM 87124
USA

Telephone 505-891-2664
Fax 505-891-4320
http://www.overeatersanonymous.org/index.html
E-Mail Address ~ overeatr@technet.nm.org

"I put my hand in yours ...
and together we can do what we could never do alone."
~ Rozanne, OA CoFounder ~



THE RECOVERY GROUP CONTACTS


Newsletter Editor ~ MeetingsNewsletter@yahoo.com ~ Suzanne
Newsletter Subscriptions ~ SerendipityNewsletter@mail.com ~ Suzanne
Meetings ~ RecoveryMeetings@yahoo.com ~ Anne
Sponsor/Telephone Angel Directory ~ Pamela969@aol.com ~ Pamela
Special Interest Loop Coordinators ~ SILoops@mail.com ~ Anne and Sande
ICQ Angels Directory ~ bingebuster@hotmail.com ~ Natalie
Technical Support ~ RecoveryTech@mail.com ~ Cindy
Recovery Group Administrator ~ jomarst1@aol.com ~ John
Recovery Group Founder & List Owner ~ Marisok@aol.com ~ Mari



Grant us the SERENITY to accept the things we cannot change;
The COURAGE to change the things we can;
And the WISDOM to know the difference.

What we could never do alone ~
We can do together.

One day at a time ~
One step at a time.


BACK
EMAIL US
RECOVERY HOME
THE TWELVE STEPS
RECOVERY SITE MAP
ONLINE MEETING LIST
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
SPECIAL INTEREST LOOPS
THE TWELVE TRADITIONS
LANGUAGE TRANSLATOR
OVEREATERS ANONYMOUS



Disclaimer

The Recovery Group and our newsletter has as its mission and purpose that of carrying the message of recovery to those who suffer from the disease of compulsive eating. We are an anonymous organization and follow the 12 Steps and 12 Traditions of Overeaters Anonymous; however, we are not affiliated with that group. Your articles, announcements and information are welcome. All opinions in this newsletter represent only the opinions of the writers and not necessarily that of The Recovery Group or OA, Inc.

The Trusted Servants of Recovery


© Copyright 1999-2000 THE RECOVERY GROUP All rights reserved.