A Wellspring of Hope
Newsletter of The Recovery Group


April 2001
Volume 3, Issue4



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
Founders Corner
From Our Administrators
From the Loops: Spotlight of the Month
Danny's Corner
Tools of Recovery
From the Recovery Group Members
From the Literature
The Recovery Group IRC Meeting Schedule
AOL Meetings - A&R Forum
Overeaters Anonymous Contacts
Recovery Group Contacts
Serenity Prayer



~ FROM OUR EDITOR ~

Dear friends in recovery,

Welcome to the April edition of Serendipity! I want to take this opportunity to thank all of you who contributed such wonderful shares to the newsletter in the past month. As Jim writes in his meditation this month, recovery that is shared grows exponentially. I encourage all of you to live the Twelfth Step and share your experience, strength and hope with all of us -- through Serendipity, the newsletter of The Recovery Group, or through the Recovery Meditations project. You can only keep it if you give it away!

In this month's edition, TRG founder Mari shares her thoughts on Tradition Three, and the desire to stop eating compulsively. Writing for the administrators of TRG, John talks about the Twelfth Step and the rewards of service. Then comes an update of the Recovery Meditations project - get involved, the rewards are worth the effort! Our loop spotlight of the month is Exercise and Recovery, and Deborah lets us know that the loop is for those who exercise too much as well as those who need to start. Lynne, WTS Coordinator and Meetings Leader, talks about the new three month session of Working the Steps. With all the information you will need to participate. This month in Danny's Corner, in his conversation with God, Danny writes of his little teabag (his granddaughter!), and finding the way. In the Tools of Recovery, Jana writes about the importance of the tools in her recovery.

In the section dedicated to shares from Recovery Group members, Cate tells us to keep on keepin' on, Jim shares his meditation on the Twelfth Step, Jo talks about the motion of recovery, and George shares his journey from addiction to recovery.

In the Literature section, you will find The Promises from the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, to remind all of us of what is possible, as well as Step Four from Reflections on the Twelve Steps of Recovery. This month's edition ends with a list of on-line meetings, OA and TRG contacts, and the Serenity Prayer.

We are all on this road to recovery together, and some day, if we keep on keepin' on, we will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves. Peace, my dear friends.

Love in recovery,
Suzanne, Editor
SERENDIPITY

SERENDIPITY SUBSCRIPTIONS


~ FOUNDERS CORNER ~


TRADITION THREE

One of the most time honored things we enjoy in the community of the Recovery Group is something that I hope we will never take for granted. And that is our requirements for membership. "The ONLY requirement for membership in the Recovery Group is the desire to quit eating compulsively."

Did you notice that it does not say that we MUST quit eating compulsively ... the Third Tradition states that we must have the DESIRE to quit eating compulsively. If we do not have that desire, we will continue doing what we have always done and we will continue getting what we have always gotten.

Unless someone is blatantly violating our guidelines, we cannot bar anyone from our community. We have members from practically every country in the world and our community members have differences in "opinions, political views, values, lifestyles, age, gender, sexual orientation and economic status."

The Recovery Group is a little different from OA, Inc. in that we do have e-mail discussion groups that stress specialized aspects of our disease; however, those groups cannot and do not restrict their membership. For example, we have a group called Diabetes and Recovery. In addition to having the desire to quit eating compulsively, those members also would like to control their diabetes by sharing with other diabetes.

The Trusted Servants of all our loops encourage *everyone* to take part in discussion and we try to make everyone feel welcome. We have many in our group who in ordinary circumstances might be categorized as "celebrities" or "VIPs" .... but not here. We all just Bozos on the same bus in our beloved community.

When someone walks into one of our rooms, they immediately know that they have found a place unlike any place they have ever been. And when they first hear the words "Welcome Home" they know that those words come from the heart.

@-}-}-}------
Love in recovery,
Mari


FROM OUR ADMINISTRATORS

This month, for the Administration, I want to talk about service. Service, we all should know, is one of the tools of recovery. Service is also a part of the Twelfth Step, giving away to others what we have received, in order to keep our own abstinence.

The Recovery Group needs volunteers for service. This borders on being a constant crisis, but thankfully, has never crossed that border. Our larger loops need several servants to be efficient, and really, all loops should have at least two or three. But many of our loops operate with only one. There seems to be a feeling that service takes too much time. Each of us much be the judge of that for ourselves, but I can share my story.

I have a full time job, and a family. I enjoy my work, and I'm considered to be one of the best in my field, too. I love my family, and they suffer from no neglect. My wife and I have now been on a thirty-six year honeymoon, and that takes a bit of work. I go to church, and am active in civic affairs. I do a number of things to take good care of myself, too, which means that I have kept healthy. Yet nothing is more important than recovery to me. Without recovery, I think everything else would go down the tubes. So in my priorities, I set recovery as the first one. I don't see this as interfering with anything else, since everything else depends on it. Nor do I think I can continue in good recovery by just taking from the program. I have to give back to the program. I have to do my Twelfth Step. I have to volunteer for service, and be faithful to my commitment. That keeps my priorities in order. Recovery = life for me.

So that's why I find service so good for me. I have coordinated loops, been an administrator, a step leader, and a sponsor. Every time I open my email box, I know with great delight that it will be full of things to do with recovery. A lot of people's recovery, but especially mine.

I believe you would find it rewarding, too, as most of our loop servants have. Volunteer for service. I promise we will find a place for you, and you will find huge dividends in giving it.

Once I attended a small private school. While there were secretaries and accountants, the Head was the only person with responsibility for operations. The students took keen delight in referring to this gentleman as "The Administration," which annoyed him considerably. Your administration consists of four people, and we are Cate, Patt, Shlomo, and John. You can write to us anytime, and get a personal reply from one of us.

Love in Recovery,
The Administration (in this case, John)



~ Update on the Recovery Meditations Project ~

Dear Recovery Family,

We are about halfway to our goal of 366 meditations for the Recovery Meditations book project. This is a vitally important and exciting project for The Recovery Group, because it will give us our own program literature to use at online meetings and in our loops.

More important, though, is that the book will be written entirely by and for members of The Recovery Group. What a wonderful way to share our experience, strength and hope with each other, and with other compulsive eaters around the world! While we will hold the copyright, our book will be available to any recovery related group that finds it helpful, without the restrictions placed on program literature by other recovery programs.

BUT WE NEED YOUR HELP TO COMPLETE THIS WONDERFUL PROJECT!!!!! Please consider writing just one meditation and submitting it to RecoveryMeditations@lists.TheRecoveryGroup.org If you'd like to see some examples of meditations already received, you can go to http://recovery.hiwaay.net/meditations/december.html

There are thousands of us. We need about 200 meditations. All we need is a little of your time. Just think of it ........ "Recovery Meditations -- One Day At A Time." Let's make it a reality!

Love in recovery,
The Editors of Recovery Meditations


~ LOOP SPOTLIGHT ~

Exercise and Recovery

Hello Fellow Loopies,

I am Deborah and a compulsive eater and food addict. I am also the coordinator for the Exercise And Recovery list.

The Exercise list started a long time ago when there was only 4 or 5 people on a manual list who were also into exercising for their recovery program. It grew over time, and then the list leader resigned and I have had this list every since. It exists to give those who are athletes who are also compulsive eaters in the Recovery group, a place to talk and share about their experiences in their exercise program while working the 12 steps of recovery. It is also for any of us here who need to work an exercise regimen into our program of recovery as well. Not all of us are athletes, but some of us are. I for one am not but have been into some running and have done a 5k run and am working to get my self back into the shape for doing that. I am currently jogging and walking just about any chance I can get. There are a lot of good shares on the list, and some of us even post our workout regimens to the list for others to see, too.

If you would like to join us please send a blank message to
    ExerciseAndRecovery-subscribe-request@lists.therecoverygroup.org

Also please check out our homepage http://recovery.hiwaay.net/special/exercise.html

Or contact me: Deborah at diannes_mail@y...

Yours in Recovery,
Deborah

What we could never do alone,
We can do together.
One day at a time
One step at a time.

To subscribe, please go to the loop's web page at http://recovery.hiwaay.net/hotj/index.html





The WTS loop (Working the Steps)

invites you to work

12 Steps in 12 Weeks

Hi, to Serendipity Readers from Lynne, WTS Coordinator and Meetings Leader

I'd like to invite you all to study the Twelve Steps with WTS (Working the Steps) during April, May and June of 2001 - 12 Steps in 12 Weeks. Our WTS Step Leader this 2nd quarter of 2001 is Thumper, the Coordinator of the Big Book loop, who will be taking a "Big Book" approach to working the Twelve Steps, using wonderful "traditional" Twelve Step literature, such as the Big Book and the 12 x 12. This Step Study starts on 4/1/01, and you are all welcome to participate.

I would also like to invite you to attend our Twelve Step Study online Meetings for compulsive eaters, which are planned to coincide with the Step we are studying each week at WTS. They are attended by members of many loops, including WTS members. These Step Study online meetings run year-long, every Friday at 8pm Eastern Time, starting over with Step One the first week of January, April, July and October. These meetings are in our #recovery online Meetings room, where our Recovery Group Meetings are held. You can go there through the link near the top of the Recovery Group website, by using an IRC program such as mIRC, or by going through the Starchat website using this link:
http://www.starchat.net/recovery

WTS is one of our Recovery Group email loops. It is an in depth quarterly study of the Twelve Steps for compulsive eaters. As a WTS member, you receive an Essay and Step Leader's Share every week, one step per week for 12 weeks, starting with Step One on 4/1/01, and ending with Step Twelve near the end of June. (Then we start over again each quarter, working Step One the first week in January, April, July and October.) These Essays and Shares are written by a Step Leader - a different one for each quarter.

WTS members are invited by the Step Leader to share on the step being studied that week, or are welcome to share on the step they are currently working on, whatever one it is, all year long. They are also welcome to post reply sharings to what other WTS members have posted, supporting and encouraging WTS members and furthering the study of the step they shared about. This past quarter, the sharings on WTS and the reply sharings have been very beautiful and open and honest, very inspiring and thought-provoking, very caring and encouraging - and we expect the same this 2nd quarter of WTS that starts 4/1/01.

The WTS Step Leader's Essays and Shares are also put on our WTS website, a couple days after they are shared on the WTS loop. The entire Twelve Step Study from the 1st quarter of 2001 is now up on the WTS website, for you to read and use (as are the yearly Step Studies for 1996 through 2000). Our Step Leader for the 1st quarter was John S., who most of you know. He was the WTS Co-Coordinator and Coordinator for 2 years, and is now one of our Recovery Group Administrators. He led us on a wonderful adventure last quarter, asking us to define in Step One, "The Box" we found ourselves in as compulsive eaters, and leading us through working the Twelve Steps to discover how to get out of "The Box." Read more about this by reading John's 1st quarter 2001 Step Essay and Share on our WTS website at:
http://recovery.hiwaay.net/wts/index.html

To join our WTS loop and study the 12 Steps in 12 Weeks:
    1. Sign up for WTS by sending an email addressed to: listserv@m...

    (You don't need to put anything in the Subject line. In the body of your email message, type:
     subscribe WTS firstname lastinitial)

    2. Get a sponsor, if you don't have one already. Your Step Sponsor can be face-to-face or online. If you don't have one, email our WTS Sponsor List Coordinator, Pat, at JUSTHENRY@a... and ask her to email you our WTS Sponsor List (it has the names, email addresses and brief bios of all our WTS sponsors, so you can read about us and choose a WTS sponsor).

Please email me if you have any questions about WTS, about our 12 Steps in 12 weeks, or about the Twelve Step Study online Meetings on Fridays at 8pm Eastern Time.

Love in Recovery,

Lynne
WTS Coordinator
victorious@g...


~ DANNY'S CORNER ~

MY LITTLE TEA BAG

Dear God,

So, it's good and early today as my eyes opened at 6:20 a.m. I looked out the window and saw the grass from the green side and figured it was OK to get out of bed. Thanks for another day with abstinence, please. I read some shares this morning, and the thought of losing a child or a grandchild makes me fill with fear. Please give me the faith to offset that fear. The tea bag (Erin) blew me off the phone yesterday because she wanted to play with her friends after school. Forgive me as I delighted in holding her on the phone with silly questions just to hear the frustration in her voice. It's good to be Pop Pop!!

To all who are brave enough to change their lives, I pray for strength so that they may succeed. Life has a way of pushing us in directions that are contrary to the core of our being, and the need to change course comes from You, so must be aided by You. Then again, there are those who never know, and for them life must be a constant struggle, filled with frustration. I am thankful my future was always plain to me. My goal was and still is to grow old in Your service, and a little fun wouldn't hurt.

The vision of someone standing before You seeking to enter heaven and You telling them, "Listen, why did you suffer so trying to be a pear when I made you a perfectly good banana?" The difference here is having the WISDOM to know which way to go. The trick to all this is daily meditation and constant contact with You.

Just for today, allow me to know Your will and supply the power to do same. Keep all of my family, fellow travelers, loopie pals, friends and ugly people I don't like, and also the first person who mentions the WEDDING today. Maybe they could develop an itch, the kind you can't scratch.

AND WHY NOT......Danny



~ TOOLS OF RECOVERY ~

Dear recovering sisters and brothers,

Working the steps is so important. Am I worrying about something or resenting someone? If I want to eat between meals, what am I still hanging on to, or not letting go of? Am I worrying about what will happen next? Am I trusting the highest power of the universe (whom I choose to call GOD)?

Last night I woke up, I was soooo worried. We need to move in two weeks and we have not actually found a place to move to. I spent a lot of time deep breathing. I mean DEEP < DEEP < BREATHING. I did not have to eat, and it was not time to eat.

Working the tools is vitally important to me. Having a plan of eating, calling a sponsor, calling a friend, writing my feelings down, writing my daily tenth step, praying, meditating, giving service, if I just keep busy working this program everything will fall into place, and I don't have to stuff my face, and I get the promises of the program . . . self respect, instead of self contempt. Pass the word along. We need you.

Love, Jana



~ FROM THE RECOVERY GROUP MEMBERS ~

Keep on keeping on...


I have always been touched by ebb and flow of life in the changing seasons of nature. As I live out my recovery, I have been receiving more and more awareness of how recovery also has an ebb and flow so similar to the to the transformation of the seasons ~ all calling forth life!!

I headed off on a journey one winter weekend this year, and on the way learned a lesson about my recovery journey. As I headed out of town the roads had turned to ice, but I decided to drive ahead to the highways ...because they are so often clearer than the roads in town. I was initially sooooo relieved, the roads were clear. Whew!! I was sure all ahead was sooth sailing!

That experience of smooth sailing lasted until I changed directions ... then I drove into complete whiteout ... There was nothing to do but keep going slowly ... and I slowly drove through it to a clear space. Hmmmmm ... should I turn around? I decided not, there were only 26 miles of this journey on these country roads ... then it would be on freeway for the remaining 90 miles ... that would be an easier drive. I decided to keep on going.

I continued encountering whiteout ... but then making my way through it. I figured as long as I traveled slow and steady - all would be well. Then, I hit the huge Z curve in the road ... and the white out was so bad that I could not see the road (it was completely snow packed), I could not see the sides of the road (they were completely snow packed also),and I could not see in front of me more than a foot .... and I had no idea whether or not I had the wheel of the car turned in the proper direction to take the curve correctly. I literally could see nothing but the very space I was in at each instant. I almost came to a complete halt - wondering if there were any cars coming ... knowing my only choice here was to keep on keeping on. And so, I did.

The curve was the most frightening moment ... and it was obvious that the conditions were worsening each moment - and at this point it would have been more difficult to try to turn around as to proceed. So, I kept on ...

As I continued down this road ... occasionally there would be a stream of four or five cars headed towards me ... and when I could see their lights coming ... I knew more clearly which direction to head ... and that the road was passable. I was sooooo grateful each time, for those on the road shining their lights ... helping me to see which direction to go.

As I traveled this road, sometimes the space was clear enough that I could see where I was headed... sometimes I could see the lights guiding me through the snow , and I followed them in gratitude ... and sometimes I could see nothing ahead at all ... simply the very white space surrounding me in the moment, and I inched my way through that space in faith ... keeping on keeping on.

Those experiences remind me of my recovery journey. :) ~Sometimes I think I have it all together, and am skipping and singing down the road to recovery. ~Sometimes I question where I am going, and am deeply grateful for the ESH of the many others on this road who help me to find direction. ~Sometimes I can not see anything at all, and I simply keep on keeping on ...Knowing that All is in God, all is life-giving, and ALL IS WELL.

More and more I am aware of the ebb and flow of life and recovery ... and that everything is working just fine!! When life feels a little out of sorts, that's ok - all I have to do is keep on keeping on ... the recovery journey continues through it all. And, like the changing seasons - each part of this journey contains the gift of life!!

Cate



Step Twelve

"We can only keep what we have by giving it away" is often heard in program, but it seems to me that it is also true that "We multiply what we have by giving it away." This second formulation, for a greedy man like me, seems more promising and inspiring.

This is the promise of Step Twelve, that by giving the opportunity to profit from the message to others, we multiply the strength of the message, the fellowship, and the resource pool we have to draw on. By helping others, we help ourselves also. This is reminiscent of the Christian loaves and fishes story: the message is like spiritual bread multiplied by the miracle of loving giving, and our emotions, and healthy mental-emotional habits, are like the fishes of the school, which are also multiplied to provide better nutrition for all.

J. G. Bennett, a physically deceased spiritual teacher, referred to conscious cooperation between man and God as synergism. Synergy in science, as explicated by R. B. Fuller, is the holistic action of a system and the products of that action, which cannot be predicted by the summing of the parts, except by reference to previous actions, and the addition of the components produced by synergetic combination, as predicted from lessons of past experience.

Step Twelve is about synergism, and the benefits of Step Twelve emerge from synergy's action. Conscious Step Twelve Planning is about learning and understanding more of the properties, and benefits, of synergistic strategy, in order to increase benefits of such synergetic activities.

Synergy is part of God's creation, that plays an active role in man's salvation. Such action can produce what, to the uninformed, are amazing and miraculous events.

Today, I thank God for synergy and synergism, and strive to learn more about how to utilize them effectively in God's service, as a means of manifesting my gratitude and appreciation for what I have been gifted with.

Jim




Jo here, a recovering coe.

Nothing stands still. Anything with life is on the move, either forward, up, backward, sideways. Life is always moving. Only things with no life are still. It is a fact of life. The God of my understanding made it that way. Not only is movement a part of life, it moves other things and picks up people and stuff and carries them along, weather good or bad. Movement creates more movement.

In OA we are never still. We are growing as we practice the 12 steps. If we do not practice the 12 steps we are not growing. It is an either/or situation. If we don't work, neither does the program. It doesn't take much energy to work the program. Only a desire to work. When the desire enters the mind and the spirit agrees, the body follows. The body is the weak link. It always follows the heart and mind. That is why it is necessary to keep the program uppermost in our minds. When that happens we are growing in the program. We are never still. If we don't keep our mind on the program we are falling into relapse. Again the movement creates movement. Falling into relapse only begets more relapse and the relapse grows.

We as compulsive overeaters have to be on guard to keep our growth going in the right direction. We will never stand still. Let's be sure we grow in abstinence.




Thank you for the opportunity to write about my addiction and my new quest for recovery.

I remember the first time I knew that eating what I wanted was wrong when I was nine years of age. I was told by my parents (gently, I think) that I was too fat. Perhaps it could have been their counsel in response to a less than sensitive child at school who called me "blob" or "fatso," making me cry. It may have also been in response to other peer insults. Maybe it was because I did not make the Little League team because I was slow and uncoordinated and had to join the "farm team." I remember dieting for the first time that summer and I think I lost four pounds. I was proud of myself, but also confused. Why couldn't I eat what I want? How come other friends ate candy and junk and did not gain the weight like I did? It wasn't fair.

At this time, I was also becoming aware that alcoholism, anger, and abuse, were problems in my family. I had an uncle (my father's brother) who lived next door to us. Once when we were home from school, he came over to the house in a drunken rage with a shotgun, threatening to shoot my mother. I also remember him falling into a fireplace when he was drunk. He committed suicide when I was in my early twenties.

My father also used to tell me that his father was a drunk. This story got more "golden" after his father died of a heart attack, taking on a "Bunyanesque" quality. He would say things like, "My father got so mad at me when he found out I was drinking that he tore a door right off its hinges." I think this was the way he distanced himself from the man who my mother says did abuse my father.

Later, in my teens, I would learn that my mother's father was also a drunk. Her father preferred whiskey and scotch and was also physically and emotionally abusive to her and her brother. Neither of my parents drank, partly because, I believe, the experience of being the super responsible oldest child in an alcoholic family was scary enough. My father was scared to drink because of what he saw it do to his family. Perhaps it was for the same reason that my mother didn't drink. So, at this point in my life I had both the family dysfunction and the hereditary pre-disposition for developing an addiction.

After a very difficult adjustment in high school (I moved in tenth grade to another school), peer pressure and the desire to be accepted led me to my first use of marijuana. This progressed into using Dexedrine (orally or inhaling), LSD (a LOT), hashish, and Quaaludes. I also began drinking more and more, but mostly beer. In my early twenties, I began to do cocaine, more LSD, smoked a lot of marijuana, and was drinking more and more. In short, anything that could go in my mouth or up my nose when there. Nothing in my veins, however. A brief period of sobriety occurred in my early twenties, when I married for the first time. What this marriage was really about, however, was driving an angry wedge between my wife and me and my family. My wife was from an upper class family. Her father was an insurance executive and he got me a "real" job in an insurance company. I diligently sought to adopt a false identity and to be just like him, complete with Brooks Brother Suits, wingtip shoes, and a brief case. I looked just like the other insurance executives. I really tried to be someone for the first time in my life. A white collar executive, not a lowly blue collar laborer, like my father. This false identity only hid the real anger, low self-esteem, and poorly constructed identity that was who I was. I succeeded in totally alienating my family, and then, when the cracks in my self wore thin, I abused my wife out of anger at her when I realized that she was getting more attention from her executive father than I was and that I was getting left behind. She soon divorced me, and I was totally alone and 26 years old. I was isolated from my family, and my inlaws alienated me.

So what did I do? I went back home. I went back to the old neighborhood. I tried to get my rock band back together. Started drinking more and more because I had lost my old drug dealer contacts. My parents were also divorcing at the time. My father and I lived together after my mother moved out and all we did was fight. He kicked me out that winter and I ended up renting a room from a young woman who advertised the room in the newspaper and whose boyfriend was a dope dealer. Talk about landing on your feet (or head?), right? This would later fizzle as I recognized, somehow, that doing drugs at 27 was "wrong." But drinking was O.K., right? So I retreated to my own apartment, lived alone, and wrote self-pitying poetry long into the night with a bottle of Bacardi rum at my side. I thought I was Rod McKuen. I soon believed I could not write poetry unless I drank at least a half-pint or more of rum a night. I also began to experiment with other liquors, learning I liked gin. I rationalized all this as a "mystical" and "spiritual" quest for "the self." It worked for Jim Morrison and the "beat poets," didn't it? I now laugh at everything about this period of my life except that through this perversity, I did some actual spiritual searching, becoming a Buddhist, and met the woman who is now my wife.

After becoming a Buddhist and marrying my wife, I felt like I was cured. I no longer did drugs, I no longer drank. I stopped smoking cigarettes. Life was good, except that, after two years of marriage, my wife and I were having problems with "intimacy." I had a lot of mixed up messages about marriage from my own family of origin and guilt and confusion from my earlier marriage. My wife also had difficulty opening up to me, and this caused confusion, anger, and hurt. I would later learn from her that she was an anorexic, starting at age eleven, going through her teens. We both shared our crazy and unhealthy pasts. We both went into psychotherapy. This helped both of us reappraise and close off those things that influenced us to engage in addictive behavior.

I also decided, again, to get a "real" career, gaining admission to graduate school and a doctoral program in clinical psychology. My wife thought I was finally getting some peace of mind, doing what I "really" wanted with my life. Except that now, the obsessive-compulsive behavior that is addiction manifested itself in excessive study rituals, excluding my wife from what was really going on with me, masquerading that I was doing this "for our family" and that if she wanted it too for "us," she needed to let me study. I also began gaining weight because my life was so unbalanced. I wasn't taking time for me. I was studying hard to complete my doctoral study and obtaining prestigious training opportunities, yet I was neglecting myself. As I write this, I weigh 295 pounds and 95 of this was put on after my marriage in 1990 and through my college and graduate school years, which was most of the 1990's. I did not pay this weight gain much attention, however, until the physical problems began. My feet and knees constantly hurt, I have insomnia, I was diagnosed with sleep apnea two years ago, and I have a herniated lumbar disk, mostly from the pressure of my weight and poor posture. My blood pressure has increased, and my doctor is now considering medication for hypertension.

Still, however, I didn't think that my eating was a real problem and certainly not an addiction, although I tried Weight Watchers this year, losing 22 pounds before relapsing. In May, needing some extra money to pay the family bills, I took a second job working --of all things -- as an addiction counselor. I had some training in addiction counseling and certainly had enough family history to justify a "need" to work with others who were addicts. But who was I? I didn't do "drugs." I didn't drink. However, I knew I could not stop eating. I knew, somehow, a few years back -- perhaps from my wife's history with anorexia -- that compulsive eating was a real problem. I had read several books, including books on dieting and compulsive eating. As I worked with addicted persons, and through the internet, I began to search. I found the OA website, treatment programs for binge eating, and other compulsive eating sites. I also began to think that I was an addict, after all. In appraising my life, I saw all the signs and realized that I too had been an addict all along -- forming an unhealthy bond with food since I was nine years of age.

As I write this, I have just started going to OA groups, have re-appraised the work that I do with addicted persons from being a "psychologist" to being a person in recovery, just like them. Struggling with the steps. Just last night I felt a sense of fear, sadness, and shame about admitting that I had a food addiction. I was going to tell another counselor, but as I began to re-appraise my motives for doing so, I chose not to. In the past I would often try to seek help from others in a dependent way, expecting too much from them, expecting them to save me. To love me. I am sure that this comes from my childhood and family dysfunction. In nearly every case with other people I meet who occupy a position of influence in my life, my expectations for them become too high and unmet, only hurting me in the process. This time, I have chosen to pursue my recovery for me and me only, but with the loving support of my family, co-workers, and cybersupport group members.

Thank you for this opportunity. I am struggling with this, but coming to terms with my identity as an "addict" -- for me -- may be the best thing I have ever done for myself. It may also be the best thing that I have done for the others who love me.

Thanks for letting me share.
George.



~ FROM THE LITERATURE ~

The Promises from the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous

We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness.
We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.
We will comprehend the word serenity.
And we will know peace.
No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our
experience can benefit others.
That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear.
We will lose interest in selfish things and gain insight in our fellows.
Self-seeking will slip away.
Our whole attitude and outlook will change.
Fear of people and economic insecurity will leave us.
We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us.

We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.



~ Reflections on The Twelve Steps of Recovery ~


"Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves."

~~THE FOURTH STEP~~

Sunday, we admitted we were powerless over food. Monday we came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. Yesterday we made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him. And today .... the Fourth Step. We begin having to do some footwork. Everything is not going to be about just plain faith. We're going to have to get busy. Footwork doesn't just do itself. We must prepare for the step which most OAers seems to dread ... and because we dread it .... we begin to procrastinate. So hear we go. The Fourth Step.

A searching and fearless MORAL inventory of OURSELVES???? I think of the neighborhood grocery store when I think of doing an inventory. Counting cans of soup and boxes of cereal and punching numbers into a computer to see what are the good sellers and what are the bad. Taking our own inventory is much the same as that. We begin to do some soul searching. We pull out our computers or our pencils and begin to write. And write and write and write. We go back over our entire life and write down everything we can possibly think of about ourselves ... but not just those bad things about us but also the good.

And as those bits and pieces of our character are laid out on a piece of paper or on a floppy disk ... we suddenly begin to see the areas of our life in which we have done things so very wrong. Hurts we have inflicted on other people. Duties we have shirked. Sins we have committed. Some more serious than others. And we are careful not to forget to write down returning that money we found that we could just as easily have kept. The kindness to the elderly lady in the nursing home that we went to see every Sunday for four months. And then back to gossiping on our best friend. And lying to our spouse. And stealing from our employer.

And then off to the other side of the page and remember our agreeing to commit ourselves to one year serving in the soup kitchen and that had turned into five. And on and on we go. And then we rest .... but it is not over.

The next day we begin again ... and we are becoming more courageous. We write down the affair we had ten years ago. And the money we stole. And all the lies. And even things more serious. And as my sponsor used to say ... as the ink came out of the pen, the poison came out of the soul. And so we wrote some more. And prayed. And reflected. My God!!!!! How bad we seemed to be! So we began to focus on some more good things. And suddenly saw how good we were.

Our inventory was taken. Not everything ... but much of it. There will still be things that pop into our minds. And we will forever be doing 4th steps. But never quite like the first one. Never quite as bone-chilling as that lifetime of things some of which we've never even admitted to ourselves.

We have taken our Fourth Step. We have made that searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves. And we feel the weight of the world has been lifted from our shoulders. And about 10 pounds off our bodies. And a world of shame from our psyches. And we feel cleansed .... and refreshed .... and wholesome ..... and we are beginning to like ourselves .... No! We are beginning to LOVE ourselves.

Dear God,
Help me to not avoid
taking my fourth step. Give
me the courage to be honest
and do my inventory with integrity ....
and with courage ... and at the same time,
help us to keep loving ourselves from the time
we pick up the pen until we put it down again.




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
MONDAY:
7:00 AM IRC OA Topic
10:30 AM IRC Recovery Meditations
2:30 PM IRC OA Topic
5:00 PM IRC OA Topic
7:00 PM IRC Recovery Talk
9:30 PM IRC OA Topic
11:00 PM IRC OA Topic
12:00 AM IRC Recovery Talk
TUESDAY:
1:00 AM IRC Topic Varies
7:00 AM IRC OA Topic
10:30 AM IRC Recovery Meditations
2:30 PM IRC OA Topic
3:00 PM IRC OA Topic
5:00 PM IRC Tools of Recovery
7:00 PM IRC Step Meeting
9:30 PM IRC OA Talk
11:00 PM IRC OA Topic
12:00 AM IRC Recovery Talk
WEDNESDAY:
7:00 AM IRC OA Topic
10:30 AM IRC Recovery Meditations
2:30 PM IRC OA Topic
5:00 PM IRC OA Topic
7:00 PM IRC OA Topic
9:30 PM IRC OA Topic
11:00 PM IRC OA Topic
12:00 AM IRC OA Topic
THURSDAY:
7:00 AM IRC OA Topic
10:30 AM IRC Recovery Meditations
2:30 PM IRC OA Topic
4:00 PM IRC Christian & Recovery
5:00 PM IRC OA Topic
7:00 PM IRC Tools of Recovery
8:00 PM IRC Ask It Basket
9:30 PM IRC Big Book
11:00 PM IRC OA Topic
12:00 AM IRC Recovery Talk
FRIDAY:
1:00 AM IRC Topic Varies
7:00 AM IRC OA Topic
10:30 AM IRC Recovery Meditations
2:30 PM IRC OA Topic
5:00 PM IRC OA Topic
7:00 PM IRC Tradition Meeting
8:00 PM IRC Step Meeting
9:30 PM IRC OA Topic
10:00 PM IRC Christian Talk
11:00 PM IRC Newcomers
12:00 AM IRC Recovery Talk
SATURDAY:
7:00 AM IRC OA Topic
10:30 AM IRC Recovery Meditations
2:30 PM IRC OA Topic
4:00 PM IRC Christian Talk
7:00 PM IRC OA Topic
9:30 PM IRC OA Topic
11:00 PM IRC OA Topic
12:00 AM IRC Recovery Talk
SUNDAY:
7:00 AM IRC OA Topic
10:30 AM IRC Recovery Meditations
2:30 PM IRC OA Topic
3:00 PM IRC Swedish Recovery
3:30 PM IRC Italian & Recovery
7:00 PM IRC Recovery Talk
9:30 PM IRC OA Topic
11:00 PM IRC Recovery Talk
12:00 AM IRC Recovery Talk


AOL ONLINE MEETING SCHEDULE
All Meetings US Eastern Time
All AOL meetings held in Stepping Stones on AOL (A & R Forum)
MONDAY
1:00 PM AOL How It Works
9:00 PM AOL Open Topic
10:30 PM AOL Recovery Chat
TUESDAY
12:00 PM AOL OA Topic
10:00 PM AOL Relapse & Recovery
11:59 PM AOL OA Topic
WEDNESDAY
9:30 PM AOL 100 Pounders
THURSDAY
9:00 PM AOL OA Topic
10:30 PM AOL Recovery Chat
FRIDAY
8:00 PM AOL Beginners/Step One Study
11:00 PM AOL 12 Step
SATURDAY
8:00 PM AOL OA Topic
11:59 PM AOL OA Topic
SUNDAY
3:00 PM AOL Anorexic/Bulimia
9:00 PM AOL How It Works


All Recovery meetings held in #Recovery Room on IRC
All Spanish Meetings are held in #SpanishRecovery Room on IRC
All Christian Meetings are held in #Christian&Recovery Room on IRC
All Swedish Meetings are held in #SwedishRecovery Room on IRC
All AOL meetings held in Stepping Stones on AOL
All times Eastern Daylight Time


Meetings Information ~ The Recovery Group
http://recovery.hiwaay.net/support/meetings.html
or RecoveryMeetings@yahoo.com


To volunteer as a meeting leader or substitute leader, please contact us at
RecoveryMeetings@yahoo.com

Meetings Information ~ AOL
http://recovery.hiwaay.net/support/aolmeetings.html
or HOSTAnRUnity@aol.com
or HOSTAnRTalia@aol.com




~ OVEREATERS ANONYMOUS CONTACTS ~

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 ~ SerendipityNewsletter@yahoo.com ~ Suzanne
Newsletter Subscriptions ~ SerendipityNewsletter@yahoo.com ~ Suzanne
Letters to the Editor ~ SerendipityNewsletter@yahoo.com ~ Suzanne
Sponsor/Telephone Angel Directory ~ sophie@coiinc.com ~ Cate
Special Interest Loop Coordinators ~ hopeful@teleport.net ~ Sande
ICQ Angels Directory ~ bingebuster@hotmail.com ~ Natalie
IM Directory ~ bingebuster@hotmail.com ~ Natalie
Technical Support ~ RecoveryTech@mail.com ~ Steph
Recovery Group Administrators ~ TRGAdm@egroups.com ~ John, Cate and Patt
Recovery Group Founder & List Owner ~ Marisok@aol.com ~ Mari


"In the deepest part of a compulsive eater's soul . . .
Is the realization that recovery begins when we find one another."
~ Mari, Recovery Group Founder ~


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.




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Disclaimer


TheRecovery 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 2001 THE RECOVERY GROUP All rights reserved.