Serendipity ~ Our 12 Step Newsletter
1995-2005 ~ CELEBRATING THE FIRST DECADE OF THE RECOVERY GROUP
Volume Seven ~ Issue
Both SERENITY MAGAZINE and SERENDIPITY
are sent monthly to all members of The Recovery Group.
SERENITY, the color 12 Step monthly
magazine for all is available
to non-Recovery members by sending a blank email to:
ser*en*dip*i*ty ~ (noun) First appeared 1754:
the faculty or phenomenon of finding valuable
or agreeable things not sought for.
THIS MONTH IN SERENDIPITY
From The Serendipity Team
Recovery Meditation ~ Secrets
Quotation of the Month
Founder's Corner ~ Imperfections
Letters to Serendipity
TRGAdm ~ The Administrative Hub
The Recovery Group ~ Administration Highlights
ODAT Loops Division
Recovery Loops Division
Discovery Loops Division
TRG/OA Online Meeting Division
TRG Sponsor Program
TRG Telephone Angels
From The Literature ~ The Big Book
The Serenity Prayer
Overeaters Anonymous Contacts
Recovery Meditations Calendar
The Recovery Group Contacts
The Serendipity Team
FROM THE SERENDIPITY TEAM
Serendipity is our community's newsletter and is filled
with information pertaining to you, our members. We love
having your input and articles. Each month, also, the
administrators, coordinators and other trusted servants
tell you about events occurring here. Serendipity's
counterpart, Serenity Magazine, is for articles, personal
recovery stories, poems and inspirational writings. The
combination of these two, we hope, gives you a month
of pleasurable reading. Please contribute to each as
often as you can. Please also feel free to print out,
send to your friends, read the copies on the website
and invite people to subscribe and receive Serenity
Magazine in color.
This month brings us some wonderful news. I'm very
pleased to announce that we have two highly skilled people
coming to take my place putting together Serenity and
Serendipity to you. Rob and Pamela have agreed to offer
their extensive gifts, skills and love of program to us and the
next issues of Serenity and Serendipity will be under their
guidance. Their contact address will be the same as always:
You will notice the absence of Trusted Servant of the Month
many nominations and we had not discussed how these
were to be chosen, we thought it best to have some
discussion about how to make choices for those
dedicated trusted servants and wonderful loops we highlight
each month. There were five Trusted Servants nominated
and I could have very easily spotlighted all five of them
because I've worked with each. Suggestions about if and
how to do this in the future would be appreciated.
Have a wonderful August ... and we hope you enjoy reading
Serendipity this month.
In loving service,
The Serendipity Team
RECOVERY MEDITATION ~ SECRETS
"There were deep secrets hidden in my heart,
never said for fear others would scoff or sneer.
At last I can reveal my sufferings, for the strength
I once felt in silence has lost all its power."
. . . . Deidra Sarault
I've heard it said in program that we are only a sick as the secrets
we keep. If that is the case, then I was very sick when desperation
forced me through the doors of this wonderful fellowship. Not one of
my friends or family knew what I was doing around food, as most of it
was done in secret, and I was always careful to remove all the
evidence. I couldn't believe that anyone would love me if they knew
what I was doing around food, and felt that I was either really bad
or totally crazy, or both. But for the first time ever, I was able to
come clean about what I was doing around food, and I wasn't judged or
frowned upon. The love and acceptance I have received here has been
totally overwhelming, but in addition I found out that others had
done the same or similar things to what I had done, and so for the
first time ever, I felt that I wasn't alone.
Not only have I been able to talk freely about my food and what I had
been doing, as well as what it was doing to me, but in the fourth and
fifth step, I was finally able to share with another person my
darkest deepest secrets, that for years I'd thought had made me this
terrible person. It was in fact in sharing all the things that I'd
thought of as so bad, that I came to realize that it was only my
magnifying mind that had made them appear so, and that in fact they
really weren't bad at all. I would never have found that out, had I
not been in this program, and I'm so grateful for the relief that
sharing all these things has given me.
One day at a time ... I will learn to get honest and share with my
sponsor and others in this program, all the things that are bothering
me, whether it be food or other issues, so I can be relieved of the
pain that all my secrets are causing me.
QUOTATION OF THE MONTH
"The problem of distinguishing what we are and what we
are not responsible for is one of the greatest problems
of human existence. To perform this process adequately
we must possess the willingness and the capacity to
. . . . The Road Less Traveled, Page 37
FOUNDER'S CORNER ~
Facing The World ~ And Me
"Many of us have become experts in self-deception after years of
lying to ourselves about how much we were eating and the problems
our compulsive eating was causing us physically, emotionally and
. . . . The 12&12, Page 30
I remember the first time I worked Step Four. More interesting than
that is the memory of how long it took me to do it! I was not a shy,
introverted person who kept things to myself living life in a lonely
world. Or was I? Why did I give my sponsor every possible excuse
week after week for almost four months before I put the first word
down of my inventory?
I wrote, kept a journal, made notes on a recorder, read biographies,
autobiographies, probed into the psyches of anyone who would let me.
So why did peeling the onion which was ME become one of the most
difficult things I have ever done in my life?
Was the problem admitting my imperfections to myself? Or was the
problem the "admitting to another human being" in Step 5 that I was
I decided to begin Step Four in a different way. I took the
proverbial pen to paper but instead of writing down people I had
offended, bad things I had done, character flaws that I knew I had
didn't acknowledge, I decided to begin my writing down all the good
things about me ... the positive things I did. This helped so much. I
began to feel good about myself and finally I was able to begin the
searching of both the bad and good so necessary to an honest fourth
step. Day after day I was able to examine my life and when I had
finished I believe I made the searching and fearless moral inventory
myself that needed to be made to truly have taken Step 4.
Happy August, dear Loopies ~ Stay cool.
Love in recovery,
LETTERS TO SERENDIPITY
To submit your comments or letters to the editor,
please send an email to:
All comments and suggestions are welcome.
~ ~ ~ ~
I'm 14. Do you know of any recovery groups for teens like me?
~ ~ ~ ~
Can you help me?
After years of yo-yo dieting, and hating my body. I finally know I am
a compulsive overeater and I know I need help in eating healthy, I
just don't know where to begin. I am scared. I am 33 years old,
overeating most of my life. Have been overweight since I was 16.
Everytime I look in the mirror I hate myself. Although I have a
successful career. I feel there is something missing in my life. I am
sitting here in front of the computer crying. I don't know what to do
anymore. I want to have a family, a meaningful life. I don't want to
come home at night looking forward to bingeing anymore.
THE RECOVERY GROUP - ADMINISTRATION HIGHLIGHTS
The Recovery Group Administration team of Dodee and Nancy are here
everyday to offer help and support to all members of the Recovery
This month we would like to remind you of some of the Recovery Group
special services available to anyone wishing to abstain from
compulsive eating through working the 12 Steps.
We are very proud of our Recovery Meditations written by you - our
members - and sent out daily to over 900 subscribers. All of these
meditations can be found on our Recovery pages too.
Another very important part of our Recovery Group is the many web
pages. Among them you will find The Recovery Services - twelve step
programs and writings. Here are Danny's Letters to God and Mari, our
founder's, Reflection's of the Twelve Steps. Another site is View
From My Journey, stories of personal experience, strength and hope
written by one of our members, and Odyssey, A Personal Journey.
One man's inspiring personal journal as he lives his journey to
recovery one day at a time.
There are so many helpful and inspirational sites in the Recovery
Group that it's hard to keep the list to a minimum. Why don't you go
Read the Welcome Home Message from OA and then take time to surf
and see what's here. New pages are being added or upgraded all of the
time so be sure to check in occasionally.
A special thanks to all of you who help keep these loops, meeting
rooms, the list of sponsors, telephone angels, special writings and
the step studies available for us. You are appreciated more than you
will ever know.
We are happy to announce new coordinators for some of our loops.
For Abstinent Kitchen, Johannah and Dar, both active member of
the loop, have agreed to give service. For Exercise, cp, another
active member of Exercise loop, has agreed to step up and be
one of its coordinators. We are delighted to have them join us
as Trusted Servants.
YellowBrickRoad folk are sharing more of their thoughts and
feelings. Several new people have joined Cokids loop. And
interest is growing in the Kids loop. Abstinent Kitchen
members have been sharing favorite recipes from their own
kitchens and from the rich AK archives.
All in all, the increased level of participation in Discovery loops
is very exciting. We look forward to much more of this in
Discovery Division Chair
~ ~ ~ ~
ODAT SPECIAL FOCUS SUPPORT GROUPS
At The Recovery Group, we recognize that just because
we share a common disease, it doesn?t mean we all work
our recovery in the same way. We all have different
challenges, and different ways that we focus our thoughts
while in recovery. It is for these different foci that the ODAT
groups were created. These groups exist to discuss
OA recovery with others who share a specific focus.
Whether you want to be with others who share your specific
faith (Pagan,Christian, Latter Day Saints, and Jewish loops)
or if your challenge is with the people in your life (Parenting,
FFOA, Oanon, Relationships), we have a group for you. If
you want to talk about a special food plan, then perhaps Grey
Sheet or HOW is for you. If your physical condition is a
challenge to you,maybe you will find peers in the Disability,
PMS or Pain loops.
Some COEs are also addicted to other substances. It is for
these members that we created the AA and Drug Abuse Loops.
In these groups, you can talk with other COEs who are either
addicted to alcohol, or to other substances (such as cocaine,
prescription painkillers, nicotine and others.)
Whoever you are, there is probably an ODAT group for you.
To find it, either visit the Recovery group?s home page
(www.therecoverygroup.org) or write to ODATAdm.
Submitted By: Donna, Odat Division Chairperson
THE RECOVERY GROUP LOOPS
The Recovery Loops Division is made up of TRG's Twelve-step general
sharing support groups. Our common mission is to provide a safe and
supportive space for anyone who wants to recover from the disease of
compulsive eating to share their experience, strength, and hope with
others. In addition, some of these loops also have a special focus.
The loops that make up this Division are: Anorexia and Bulimia, The
Big Book, 200 Plus, Journey to Recovery, Meditations, OA Friends,
OA Newcomers, OA Recovery, Relapse, Sponsor-Sponsee-Talk,
Working the Steps (?WTS?), and WTS Weekly. As you know, the WTS
loop started a new in-depth study of the 12 Steps on July 1. There
was so much interest in doing this quarter?s step study that the
membership limit for this loop had to be expanded. This should be
an excellent series.
The majority of the loops in this Division are doing very well with
lots of members sharing their experience, strength and hope on a
daily basis. There are two special purposes loops, however, that
could use a boost from existing and new members. One of these is
the Meditations loop and the other is the Sponsor-Sponsee-Talk loop.
The Meditations loop is where Recovery Group members can gain from
the experience, strength, and hope of other recovering compulsive
eaters and to share their own ESH as it relates to the meditation of
the day. We explore the many ways the disease of compulsive eating
affects us and apply what we learn in our topic discussions to
enhance our personal recovery program. We would love to have you join
us as we explore the endless spiritual, mental, and physical tools
contained in these little daily vignettes. If you are already a
of this loop, we would encourage you to begin sharing your ESH
on a regular basis. If you would like to join this loop, please send
a blank email to:
If you are interested in only receiving the meditations and not in
the sharing regarding them, you want to subscribe to:
rather than the previous address.
The Sponsor-Sponsee-Talk loop was set up so that sponsors and
sponsees alike can explore the various aspects of the sponsor-sponsee
relationship. This is a place where a sponsor can ask other sponsors
how they handle particular situations. Sponsees can also ask
questions about the sponsor-sponsee relationship and receive ESH back
from members who are actively sponsoring others. In order to maintain
anonymity on this loop, please do not use the personal names of
sponsors or sponsees. If you would like to join this very important
loop, please send a blank email to:
If you are interested in giving service on one of these loops, please
send an email to email@example.com.
Cheryl S, Chair
The Recovery Group Loops Division
OA TRG ONLINE MEETING DIVISION
Meetings Around the World ~ Around the Clock
Occasionally, we get letters from leaders or prospective leaders
asking us about the "requirements" of our Trusted Servants.
Sometimes that translates to: Does TRG require their Trusted
Servants to be abstinent? And, of course, depending on the
answer, the next question would be ... "If you relapse, do you
lose your job?"
The answer is "no"...with an explanation...
We do feel that when you are abstinent that you can lead with a clear
head and handle things better if they arise, however, we all have our
ups and downs with abstinence and longtimers in this program will
always tell us "to do the 'service' no matter what".
Many of us want to run and isolate when we run into problems but by
sticking it out we find our recovery can become stronger. The
solution in the BB says that when are on shaky ground we had better
work with another COE. What better way than to work with that COE
than to give service and help the newcomer?
We are not saying to lie. Be honest about where you are. Tell those
who attend you share with your experience, strength and hope and let
them learn from you. And remember...no one expects you to be perfect
just because you lead meetings.
Submitted by: Terri, Barry, Christine and Audrey
TRG Meeting Division Co-Chairpersons
THE RECOVERY GROUP SPONSOR PROGRAM
The TRG sponsor program coordinates a list of members
of our community who are willing to share their recovery
with others through sponsorship. Service as a sponsor
can be of benefit to others as well as to your own
recovery! The first lines of the AABB chapter
Working with Others speak of this when they say:
"Practical experience shows that nothing will so
much insure immunity from [compulsive eating] as
intensive work with other [compulsive eaters]. It works
when other activities fail. This is our twelfth suggestion:
Carry this message to other [compulsive eaters]!
If you are ready to give your recovery a boost of heart,
and to share what has been so generously shared with you,
please write today and we will send you the information
needed to join our list of available sponsors!
Cate and Patt
TRG TELEPHONE ANGELS
YOU'RE AN ANGEL!
If you have a telephone you could become a telephone
angel to those who are members within our TRG support
As mentioned at most of our meetings, the telephone is an
excellent tool by which to reach out and touch those who
are in isolation or just needing to talk to another person who
In helping another, many of our current "angels" have shared
with me how becoming a Telephone Angel has improved or
strengthened their own commitment to recovery.
On a more serious note, people who are out of contact are in
essence eating their hearts out! A problem shared is a
problem cut in half. It is simply amazing, when the simple
process of sharing one-to-one over the telephone lightens
the heart of another to successfully carry on the recovery
footwork yet another day.
Become a telephone angel today. The greatest gift of kindness
that you can give another person is your attention and listening
To sign up, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Submitted by January K., Telephone Angel Coordinator
WHY DO WE SHARE?
WHAT IS A "GOOD" SHARE?
"Whatever we possess becomes of double value when we have
the opportunity of sharing it with others."
. . . Bouilly
There is not a loop in the Recovery Group that has not
had a member who at one time or another questioned
the "right" way to share? Some are intimidated ...
others huff off. "The shares are too long" ... "the shares
aren't long enough". "Too many people writing". "Not
enough people writing." "I quit! I can't stand these
one-liners for one day more." Why can't people send
private letters privately?" Doesn't anyone have anything
good to say?" "Whine. Whine. Whine". "I like to lurk.
What's the matter with lurking?" "Did you read that???
She mentioned FOOD!!!!!!" "There's too much God
talk in here." "We don't talk about faith enough." "I'm
leaving unless everybody promises not to crosstalk."
"What the heck is crosstalk?"
Someone came to us recently, said she had decided
to unsubscribe from her support group because half
the letters were off-topic. She suggested we send a
letter to all members about how to share. Never to let
an opportunity pass by to put someone to work, we
asked her to write it. You may be seeing it the next
time you join a new loop. But before the letter
about how to share is one from one of our
coordinators on why share at all? Why not just
lurk. We hope you enjoy these.
Why bother to share here at the loop? Why bother to
comment on someone else's share? Why bother to think
about daily topics? Fair questions all. I share,
because it's a tool I use that helps me stay focused
on my recovery and to stay out of the refrigerator.
Sharing gives me a chance to focus my thoughts - it
helps me make connections in my recovery that I may
never have made before, giving me an even stronger
foundation in my Program. Sometimes, something from
my share might be just what another person needs to
hear - so others can benefit from my share as well!
Sharing helps me stay in touch with my loop. When I'm
posting, or responding to other people's posts - it
let's them know that the loop is something I value -
that THEY - as loop members - are people whom I value
- and what they have to say - matters! Answering posts,
also helps me to explore the topic from a different
viewpoint and helps me discover new ideas and
connections. We here in the Recovery Group Community
have such a wealth of experience, wisdom,strength and
inspiration to share - why not take the time to use it!
Today! Help yourself - help others in the the process!
Show that you care!
Welcome to our loop! We trust you will find the support and
encouragement you seek in your recovery, through the experience,
strength and hope shared here. In order for you to receive as much
as possible from this loop, we feel it is important to point out what
it does and does not offer. First and foremost, we are here to offer
you support in recovery through the 12 Step program of OA, as
patterned after Alcoholics Anonymous. However, we are not a
therapy group,nor are we simply a prayer support group. While
prayer is an essential part of recovery as we surrender daily to a
power greater than ourselves, this forum?s focus is on OA 12 Step
recovery. It is designed to help you gain experience, strength and
hope as you grow in recovery---and ?grow away from the food.?
This happens as a result of the members here sharing their own
experience with working the program---without giving
advice or counsel, and by staying focused on program principles.
We encourage a solution-oriented focus to life?s challenges through
the use of the 12 Steps, the 12 Traditions, and the tools of
recovery. Whenever possible, feedback should be given in terms of
a step,tradition or tool that we have applied to our own particular
personal challenge. We stay aligned with 12 step program solutions
rather than other sources of self-help outside of O.A. in order to
provide more than just compassionate support through this loop,
but beyond that, tools for recovery from compulsive overeating by
following the 12 Step program.
Simply stated, if you have attended a face to face OA meeting, you
may have seen a card displayed with the following: "OA spoken
here". The reason for this card, is to remind the speaker to focus
on the experience, strength and hope of the OA program and avoid
off-topic discussions. Please remember on this loop as well:
?OA spoken here.? Following is an example of what is
meant by ?OA spoken here.? and keeping a program focus. Let?s
use the experience of a job loss as an example of a life challenge
could well affect our eating.
Non OA focused post:
"I lost my job. Please pray for me. I'm not sure now how I'm going
to pay my bills. My dh is also unemployed. Last year my son got
into a car accident and we supported him for several months and
this really depleted our savings. My son has a great job now. He
works as an ?? We are so proud of him. Our other son lives
about twenty miles away and he?..? etc., etc.,
OA focused post:
?I lost my job and my stress level is off the charts. Please pray
for me and my abstinence. I feel very afraid and shaky. I know
that "Just for Today" I can get through this one day without the
use of food to alleviate my stress. But, the food is really calling
to me. I know I?m just seeking comfort in the food. I need
now especially, to turn my life and will over the care of God. But,
this is so hard to do right now. I?m so afraid. I am trying to get
to a face to face meeting this week.I need the extra support right
If anyone has gone through a job loss and remained abstinent I
could really benefit by hearing about your experience,strength and
hope. I would greatly appreciate the support. Thanks."
Hopefully, you can clearly see the difference between these two
sharings of the same life challenge. Simply responding to either
of these posts with your own tale of woe about a job loss will not
help the receiver in their recovery. However, responding with a
focus on the steps and tools that helped you or that will help this
person through their trial is what we aim for. Following is an
example of a program focused response:
Program focused response to the above post:
Mary, I understand how afraid you are right now. I was in the same
spot at this time last year. I know it?s a scary place to be. I
have found self-care to be especially important during times of high
stress. Do you have a list of the tools of recovery? Using the tools
helps to keep me out of fear. They force me into action. I would also
say the Serenity prayer many times throughout the day and this would
bring me peace. Using food will not change your situation. I have
found that it only makes it worse. Just for today, Mary, you can get
through this day without the use of food to calm you in this
stressful situation. As the Big Book states: ?There is one who has
all power. That one is God.
May you find him now.? Mary, God is with you right now. And, so
are we. Let go and let Him help you now. You are not alone.
Hopefully, these examples will help to guide you in your own
responses to others. We want you to get the most support possible
here. We welcome you and ask God?s blessing on your recovery.
One day at a time
January 1, 2006 ~ Recovery Group Slate of Trusted Servants
presented to Recovery Intergroup for vote of acclamation.
May 1-6, 2006 OA World Service Business Conference
Albuquerque, New Mexico
FROM THE LITERATURE ~ BIG BOOK READING
BIG BOOK READING
"We turned back to the list, for it held the key to the future.
We were prepared to look at it from an entirely different angle.
We began to see that the world and its people really dominated us.
In that state, the wrong-doing of others, fancied or real, had power
to actually kill. How could we escape? We saw that these
resentments must be mastered, but how? We could not wish them
away any more than alcohol/COE." (AABB, page 66)
I was both excited and scared as I prepared my list and
resentments. I could soon see that I had let my world have the power
to make many drastic changes in my life. As I could not go along
with or reconcile myself with the God of my childhood, I was always
at odds with some person, place or thing where I lived. It took me
many years to try and shake the ingrained teachings , but when I
found the AABB and started studying the 12 Steps, I was so grateful
because I was free at last!!
I learned that most of the resentments I had were because of
"fear". Fear of being struck down by my punitive & punishing God.
But now I have learned that my God is loving and kind and accepts
me!! I forgave the ones whom I had resentment for because I learned
that I'd been feeding myself the poison for years. I could now see
that it was "they" who were spiritually sick. At last I can
truthfully say that I am a much happier and serene person and I owe
it to the Big Book and its' wonderful teachings!!
Thanks for letting me share!!
. . . Myrlene
For many more articles, recovery stories, poetry,
food tips and inspirational writings, please read
our new SERENITY MAGAZINE in your mailboxes
soon. If you have 12-Step friends who would like
subscribe, the address is:
THE SERENITY PRAYER
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
OVEREATERS ANONYMOUS CONTACTS
World Service Office (WSO)
E-Mail Address ~ email@example.com
"I put my hand in yours ...
and together we can do what we could never do alone."
Rozanne, OA Co-Founder
RECOVERY MEDITATIONS CALENDAR
Visit our beautiful scene for August.
To receive the daily meditations, send a blank email to:
THE RECOVERY GROUP CONTACTS
Serendipity Team ~ SerendipityNewsletter@yahoo.com
Recovery Group Administrators:
"In the deepest part of the soul of a compulsive eater ... is
the realization that recovery begins when we find one another."
Best Wishes to all From the Serendipity Team,
the Recovery Administration, the Meeting Leaders
and the Trusted Servants of Our Community.
Contact Address: SerendipityNewsletter@yahoo.com
The Recovery Group and our newsletter has as its
mission 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 Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Overeaters
Anonymous. Your articles and announcements are
welcome. All opinions in this newsletter represent
only the opinions of the writers and not those of the
Recovery Group or Overeaters Anonymous.