The Recovery Group Newsletter

A Twelve Step Newsletter For All

August 2008



From the Editor
From the Administration
From the Loops
From the Meetings
Recovery Website Countdown
Recovery Stories
From Overeaters Anonymous
OA Lifeline
Voices of Recovery
OA Podcasts
WTS ~ A Sample
The Trusted Servants of Recovery
Directory of Trusted Servants
The Serenity Prayer & Invitation to Share


The programs of The Recovery Group are in full swing. You will read more about them in this issue. The Recovery Committee has been busy working with the Intergroup and you will learn what they have been up to. Most important of all is that we have many new members community-wide. And the good news is that many, if not most of them are reaching out to those who and experiencing the Promises and really listening to what they have to say. Welcome Home to all who have recently joined us. And to all others, thank you from the bottom of our hearts for making TRG not just an address in cyberspace ... but a home. A real, honest-to-goodness home where some of the most important people in your life reside.

Have a wonderful, recovery-filled August.


Monthly Happenings Around TRG

We hope you enjoy reading our news and stories below!


As an administrator of TRG, I am often asked "What is The Recovery Group?" I'd like to share my response to this question with you.

The Recovery Group is a worldwide 12-step online community of meetings, support groups,studies, sponsors and services for compulsive eaters.

So what does this mean for us compulsive eaters? To me it has come to mean a fantastic place that I can come to for help any time day or night.

Some days what I need most is an online meeting. For myself this has been a real blessing because I am in a rural area without face to face meetings.

Everyday I need program contact with others through my e-mail loops. It seems that so often another member has written exactly what I needed to hear that day or by sharing my own experience I have been able to help someone else.

I can attend Big Book studies, presented by other COE's who share with me how they are using the 12 steps in their recovery and ask provocative questions that make me think. A 12 Step Study is presented by different members every 4 months. There is no way I would ever have the opportunity to have these precious people lead me through my 12 step work were it not for TRG.

TRG also provides us the names of sponsors who are available. There is a list of persons we can phone, Instant Message or e-mail when we need someone to talk program with immediately.

All of this and more is what The Recovery Group is. What a wonderful resource for all who want recovery from compulsive eating.

As in any organization there are many people behind the scenes who are making sure that the many resources available are kept running smoothly. Every one of these busy, caring people are volunteers.

Managing the loops are the Coordinators. The coordinators are always there to answer questions and make sure we have a safe place to share our experience, strength and hope with each other.

Meeting Leaders are there to guide us through the OA meetings available around the clock each and every day.

There are TRG Administrators who watch over all of the services of TRG and is who the coordinators and members can contact with their suggestions and comments.

Meeting Coordinators train and guide the Meeting Leaders as they keep the on-line meetings available.

Then there is the Executive Committee where any and all business in regard to The Recovery Group is discussed.

The Recovery Intergroup is the final policy making body. The Intergroup consists of voting representatives from all loops and meetings of The Recovery Group.

That is what The Recovery Group is to me. A place that is made up of caring, compulsive eaters who are here to recover from compulsive eating as they carry the message to COE's throughout the world.

Nancy, TRG Administrator


The Recovery Group (TRG) is blessed with a "willing and able" executive committee. Capable and caring representatives from the loops, online meetings, and administration are appointed by Mari and serve on the committee. The Recovery Group's Executive Committee works closely with TRGAdm and The Recovery Intergroup in seeing that TRG's important programs and policies are in place.

This month the Committee has approved several coordinators to fill in terms until the end of the year (and hopefully to continue another term). They've discussed a focus for a new loop. A bigger project was writing and approving protocol for meeting leaders and list coordinators.

The Committee gets an overview of TRG -- its loops, meetings and special services.


The level of sharing is up so high on many of the loops. Some that were just private chats are now sharing about recovery. Many newcomers are joining, telling their stories and sharing their recovery. WTS is very active with members claiming their abstinence.

OAsis is the name of a loop that is a meeting -- sort of a hybrid. It's a meeting that is done by email. No crosstalk -- just like in a meeting. Each week the coordinators (Heidi and Cindi) send out a newsletter with possible topics for discussion. Marian is a faithful Trusted Servant to see that all new members are welcomed and those who leave are told goodbye. It's wonderful to be able to attend a meeting at any time day or night and to find others who have done the same.


TRG meetings are held every three hours around the clock. Each time a slot opens up, the meeting administrators ask for volunteers and meeting leaders raise their hands (virtually). The level of service by administrators (Terri & Tracy) and leaders ensure that anywhere in the world, compulsive eaters are only three hours away from their next meeting. (or less) In addition we have a 24 hour informal room called #RecoveryTalk. Both private rooms are on IRC and utilize the Starchat Network.


In July, Cindi sent out "Love in Recovery" each day. Many of you are responding on your loops and to administration. Each Monday, Kathy sends out topics for discussion to selected loops. Again, many of you respond to your respective loop.


The sponsors programs are getting a workout this month. More emphasis has been put on getting sponsors for newcomers. The sponsor administrators (Cate and Patt) are handling that. We also have sponsor lists for selected loops and Shlomo coordinates that. Remember to use the sponsors tool, you should have a sponsor and as soon as you are able, be a sponsor.

Dodee ~ Chair, TRG Executive Committee


Many times we are asked by newcomers to The Recovery Group ... "what is a loop?" Loops are support groups and those who join them are called "loopies." We have many loops of just about every kind imaginable. If one can only join one loop, it should be a 12 Step General Sharing loop. Many prefer to be active in two loops, a general sharing one and another with a special focus in addition to their eating disorder. A third loop isn't really a "loop loop" because it's not specifically for sharing ... it's a study, a workshop, an orientation. You can find all our loops and their missions here. By clicking RECOVERY and ODAT, you can find our general sharing loops and our special focus ones.


Recovery Meetings are held every three hours around the clock beginning at midnight Eastern time. Dedicated meeting leaders volunteer to lead the meetings and many special focus and foreign language meetings are held. All regularly scheduled meetings are registered by Overeaters Anonymous and reflected on the OA website at If you would like more information about meetings or to volunteer to lead a one hour meeting each week, please contact Terri and/or Tracy, the Recovery Meeting Coordinators at If you would like to attend a meeting, here's the doorway.

If you would like to attend a meeting, here's the doorway.


Midnight, 3, 6, 9 AM Eastern Time
Noon, 3, 6, 9 Eastern Time
Please arrive and leave on time.
OA Protocol Observed during the meeting.
Type * to share
Type "done" when finished


Click Here
Counter code 8-1-08 = 889581

Stories of Recovery

TRG's community has thousands of members. And each member has a story. Some have come to us in despair and are at the very bottom and view our 12 Step Program as the last train out of the depot. Others are happily ensconced with their sponsor and in the middle of working their program. Still others have been here for years and enjoying the promises of recovery. But each has a remarkable story of courage, perseverance and, most of all, hope. Our first story will be by Cindi. Most of you have been enjoying her series, Love in Recovery during the month of July. We felt it fitting to end her time with us by using the very first share she wrote to her home loop quite some time ago.


Love in Recovery

“We’ve got some bad news for you. It was bad news for us, and it will probably be bad news for you. Whether you quit six days, months or years, if you go out and take a drink or two, you’ll end up in this hospital tied down, just like you have been in these past six months. You are an alcoholic.”
. . . . . The Big Book, Pg. 187

Of course, we food addicts change the word drink to overeat and the word alcoholic to compulsive eater. I spent thirty-five years of my adult life fighting against being a compulsive overeater. I did not want to be a food addict. I wanted to be normal and I spent most of my adult life trying very, very hard to prove to myself and to others that I could eat normally if only I put my mind and my heart into it. It never happened.

I came to OA in January of 2002 and this marks my sixth year in program. Yet it took me two and a half years before I finally was able to face the truth of my addiction and accept a simple fact of my life. I am an addict. I will always be an addict. I will be an addict until the day I die. The moment, the absolute moment that I had that acceptance was the moment I was able to surrender my disease and my self will over to the care of my Higher Power. That surrender gave me, for the first time in my adult life, freedom from the obsession of food.

Acceptance comes at a very steep price. It means giving up the illusion that someday I would be able to eat normally. It meant giving up what I perceived my needs to be also known as self will. It meant that I had to stop fighting against my addiction, lay down my armor (food) and show my vulnerability. Total acceptance allowed me to become willing to do whatever it took to have abstinence and good recovery. Only then did I know freedom from my obsession with food. Only then was I free to become the person that I was born to be.

Today, after having been in recovery for three and a half years, I am the person my Higher Power meant me to be. Acceptance may come at a steep price but the reward is priceless.

Love in recovery,
Cindi L


A 12 Step Love Story

Editor's Note:
There is no greater joy than working the extraordinary 12 Step Program with someone you love. With their permission, we are pleased to share with you two of our members' honest account of their marriage and recovery.


What has really helped our marriage is the "Acceptance" pages in the BB. Also the slogans, "Live and Let Live", "Let Go and Let God" and "Detach with love." I am in a different place in my recovery than my husband is, and rather than compare and think I am "less than," I am trying to keep an open mind and learning from the principles he practices in all our (married) affairs. I had no concept of what a happy marriage was. There were never such examples in my life. However, the more time I spend with him, the more I am becoming convinced that this is our Highter Powers' doing. Whatever problems we have, we work through them using program, especially Steps One, Two and Three.. We may not always agree on things, but I have learned to love and respect my husband regardless and treat him in that same fashion. I am grateful to have someone in my life who understands me because he is just like me.

Since I am willing to go to any lengths for my abstinence and recovery today, so too am I willing to go through whatever Higher Power has for me to go through and which helps me to have continuous growth in this wonderful relationship. We are growing and loving together!



Hi, my name is Dave and I am a compulsive overeater. I was wondering just how I would write about something so personal as my marriage.. At first I thought I should make notes or some kind of outline, but then I realized that just like when I share in the rooms, that I need to turn it over and go to it.

This is not my first marriage in recovery, and I think, for the sake of contrast, I should give some description of the first one, so here goes: I got married in 1981. I was in another fellowship at the time, knew that I needed to address my food problem, and I joined OA at this time but thought I had it all down pat since I worked my AA program "so well." In a few months I had lost my abstinence and did not return to meetings until 1994.

The main problem, as I see it, in this relationship, was my refusal to ask for help with anything. I was clueless about raising my son and about conversation on an emotional level with my wife. If a problem arose, I usually tried to pass it off onto wife or deny it to death. This upset my first wife a lot. I felt guilty about it, yet still refused to do anything to help myself.

I think another thing that would have helped a lot, would have been working the Steps. Unfortunately, I had walked out on my sponsor, and as previously stated, was not accepting help from anyone.

You know, it's funny, even though I was trying to do this by myself, I thought that for at least the first year, that ours was a model marriage. But as time passed, I came to see that other couples had what we didn't and almost entirely because of my unwillingness to do my footwork. All this time I thought that program wasn't working; that it was fine for single folks, but no-way did it apply to the problems of marriage. So I did what seemed the only logical thing at the time to me, I tried to parent and be a marriage partner like my own parents did. Of course that was even worse. My parents had also been clueless, and we were a very dysfunctional family. I tried manipulation, dishonesty and all sorts of controlling. My son just got into more and more trouble and was becoming harder and harder to live with. All the while my wife was wanting me to do a better parenting job. I was angry and afraid. I went to lots of meetings, and that helped me with the fear and resentment. I was completely self-focused and totally unaware of it. Neither was I even aware that that fear and resentments are regarded as the most basic of problems that the AA Big Book deals with. At this time I became involved with another woman via the mail and telephone. I thought she understood me and accepted me as I was. I did love my wife and son but I think I was trying to run away from all that pain and guilt even though I had heard about the myth of the geographical cure.

Well ... I wound up leaving in 1989 after much family counseling. I loved my wife, as I said, yet, I loved this other woman too even though I had never actually met her. (Insanity?) I had hoped that once I left, the "other" woman would find me more desirable, but that washed out. Well at least now I was free of all that pressure and now I could be happy and relax, right? Well that lasted not quite 2 weeks and I discovered I was having the same feelings I had had before I left! There is a slogan: "Wherever you go, there you are." Boy that sure suited me!

I remained single then for about 7 years. I went to a lot of meetings, but still was quite full to overflowing of myself, and unaware that that was even a problem. I would hear people at meetings share that they had sponsors and were working their way thru the Steps. I don't remember much about what they shared, but I do remember how hopeful and confident they sounded. I wanted what they had, but I wasn't willing to do the work to get it. Instead I indulged in frivolous material things. I tried to impress people and manipulate people, and just like in my marriage, I got nowhere.

Well in 1996, I had been back in OA for about 2 years. I was lonely at times. There was at that time a sort of OA pen-pals kind of a thing available from the WSO. I joined it and met Linda, the wonderful woman who later became my wife. I asked her to be my sponsor, and she was a great sponsor! She wanted me to do all this footwork which I wasn't thrilled about, but I also knew that I needed to do something about me or I would go back to eating compulsively. As time passed, and letters went back-and-forth, we became more than sponsor and sponsee, and I wound up going down to Florida from New York State to see her. All this time I was still loaded with character defects (still am actually) and had to keep letting go of fantasies and turning it all over.

We decided that we wanted to keep seeing each other. But it was months between visits because we are not rich and have to work for a living. Eventually, in 1997 we were married and Linda moved up here in 1997. We had a really good time spending beyond our means. I pretty much ran everything and did everything. I was resentful about it but just like before, I didn't talk about it. Because of the agony of my first marriage, I began to be more willing to talk. I didn't want to put Linda through what I had put my first wife through. She had left her job to come be with me. I was determined that this time i was not going to fail due to my character defects. We went to OA meetings together. We also got a computer. At first, it was so that Linda could have more outside contact but eventually I became involved too. I got another sponsor and got to work. As I said, Linda was and is a great sponsor but I knew I needed a sponsor who I wasn't emotionally involved with.

Linda and I aren't perfect and we don't profess to have a perfect marriage. We definitely have our differences. I don't spend a lot of time arguing about much. If she wants to run the show, I may present my feelings, or not, for it may be that it's God's will that someone besides me run things for a change. Our relationship grows daily. We are together because we choose to be one day at a time. We talk about just about everything that we have to deal with and I believe that we both have the fundamental believe down deep inside of us of a power greater than ourselves. It is that same Power that chooses the direction like takes and keeps us together. Linda and I have been together for more than eleven years. Thought we didn't have a classic courtship or follow the rules perfectly, I feel good about us! I'll gladly spend the rest of my life with Linda and, if it's God's will even the hereafter.



(The Personal Thoughts Of A New Coordinator)

Serving With Honor

There was a day when I was contemplating what else I could possibly do to be of service to my fellows. How could I add to my recovery? Was there a way to possibly pay back all the benefits received from this beautiful program?

Then all of a sudden, it was as if God wrote the answer himself. An email was presented to those of us who are fortunate enough to be members of “The Recovery Group”. In that email was a plea for volunteers to become Coordinators of the variety of loops that we hold so dear to our hearts. Without hesitation, I asked if I could train to become one of the Coordinators for the 200 Plus Loop. I have been morbidly obese for many years and I felt this would be the ideal place for me.

My fear and worry about being a new Coordinator was soon replaced by a sense of fulfillment and contentment. Many individuals on the loops as well as the wonderful TRG Administrators made me feel right at home. Every time I see someone share on that loop my heart leaps for joy, because I know there is someone out there reaching for recovery.

Those of us who are in recovery usually suffer from some sort of low self esteem. So we may feel that we do not qualify for such service. How do we know if we have the skill and attributes to be a Coordinator?

If you have a desire to continue striving for recovery and want the same for others, then you may make a wonderful Coordinator. . . If you are willing to be caring, selfless and dedicated, then you will make a tremendous Coordinator. . .

If you view Service as an Honor, then it’s my privilege to stand next to you in this new world of hope, a place we call recovery.

Peace in Recovery,
Tina, 200 Plus Coordinator

From OA's Lifeline

My Unmanageable Life

“It is truly awful to admit that… we have warped our minds into such an obsession for destructive [eating] that only an act of Providence can remove it from us” (AA Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, p. 21).

Before I came to OA, I had a miserable life. It consisted of eating, trying to hide what I was eating, lying about it and feeling hopeless. Everything else—work, family, friends—was secondary to my food obsession. I honestly thought if people didn’t see me eat, they wouldn’t know I ate too much.

I weighed almost 300 pounds (135 kg). Fear, lying, shame, humiliation, excuses, obsession, dread and hopelessness filled my days. I didn’t know what it was like to love, respect or trust myself. I didn’t keep commitments, especially to myself. After every binge, I would feel ashamed and vow tomorrow would be different. It never was.

Today I can’t go back to that way of living. Some days I think I want to, that it would be easier, but it wouldn’t. My mind is warped into an obsession, and I can’t fix it. I am without defense against the first bite. Sometimes I understand that; sometimes I don’t.

Now that I’m abstinent, my days are different. Since I’ve admitted I am powerless over food and my life is unmanageable, I eat to live, not live to eat. I wake up each day with a clear head. I’m not hung over from a binge the night before, and my first thoughts are not about what I’m going to eat. I’m not looking to the floor beside my bed to see what’s left that I can put in my mouth so I can face the day.

I don’t want to die now. I look forward to my day with hope and begin with repeating Steps One, Two and Three and reading from For Today. This reminds me of who I am and who I want to be in control of my life.

I can get out of bed and like what I see in the mirror. I feel good about my physical self. When I’m abstinent, my body looks 100 times better, no matter what I weigh. I can go to my closet, pick out something to wear and know it will fit. I will have bought it in a regular store, and I’ll look good in it.

With abstinence and practicing the OA principles, I can do my job well and believe I’m good at it. I don’t fear I’ll be fired because I’m more concerned about food than work. My day isn’t focused on selfish desires. I can take care of and stand up for myself. I no longer feel others are better than I am; we are equals. I can commit to calling my sponsor and to eating certain foods. I value myself enough to realize I deserve good things.

I can come home and be nice to my parents. I don’t have to blame them for what I thought they did to me. I can love them for who they are and forgive them if they weren’t the greatest parents. Through soul-searching in OA, I realize I am lucky to have them. I know they did the best they could.

I can eat dinner without resenting my mother because I think she’s watching every bite I put into my mouth. I can eat a meal without feeling I don’t deserve to eat because I’m fat.

I can call my friends without wondering if they like and care about me. Before OA and abstinence, I questioned why anyone would want to spend time with me because I thought I was ugly, disgusting and no fun to be around. Today, I know that’s not true. I am lovable, fun, trustworthy and a good friend. Today, I care about others more than I ever could when I was eating compulsively. I couldn’t be a real friend until I learned to love myself. In OA, I know that everyone else in the meeting has felt the same pain, obsession and suffering I have.

Today, I have people I can reach out to and be honest with; I don’t have to fear judgment or ridicule. I receive compassion, understanding and love. I end my day thanking my Higher Power for all he has given me. I feel worthy of his attention, love and forgiveness. I know he wants me to be happy, joyous and free, and not return to the hell of compulsive overeating.

For today, as long as I continue to admit my powerlessness over food and the unmanageability of my life, I can go to bed each night full of joy and love.

~ Anonymous

.... Lifeline is published by Overeaters Anonymous and subscriptions are available directly from OA at


In this issue of Serendipity we are including a library of audio tapes from members of Overeaters Anonymous. Many are long ... but all are inspirational. The library concludes with the first four Podcasts of Overeaters Anonymous. There are twelve tapes and the dates of recording range from old as in the Joe & Charlie tape to the most recent one on July 26, 2008. If you listen to any of the tapes and enjoy them, please feel free to write the group who makes it possible for us to truly hear recovery in action. All twelve tapes have been tested on several computers and mail programs. If for any reason you are not able to hear them, you are probably missing an audio program in your computer. Enjoy ... and, as Overeaters Anonymous tells us in the first of the tapes, hearing is truly believing.

Hearing Is Believing
Joe & Charlie

Overeaters Anonymous Podcasts

This is the first Overeaters Anonymous (OA) Podcast. In this edition, Managing Director, Naomi Lippel and OA member and Chairman, Dodie H. discuss what OA is and how it can help. LISTEN NOW
In this edition, OA member Mary discusses what motivated her to seek out OA and how her involvement with OA has helped her. LISTEN NOW
In this edition, OA member AJ discusses her relationship with food, what brought her to OA and how her involvement with OA has helped her in the recovery process. LISTEN NOW
In this edition, OA member Bob discusses the circumstances that brought him to OA and how his involvement with OA has improved his life. LISTEN NOW

More information about OA's Podcasts available at

WTS ~ Working the Steps

WTS is a large group of men and women who gather together four times a year to work the 12 Steps of Overeaters Anonymous together. The Study appeals to everyone from those who have been in program a very short time to old timers with decades of 12 Step recovery. The Step Leader this quarter is Lawrie Cherniack and we are pleased to give you a sample of what one week in the Step Study is like. If you would like to participate in the next Step Study, be sure and mark October 1 on your calendar and get a sponsor. We wish to caution you to not "work" this Step with or without a sponsor unless and until you have started at the beginning. This sample WTS Share is to enable our readers to see the thoroughness the WTS Step Study is and to plan ahead and prepare for it to be one of the most significant events of your life. It represents only a part of the complete WTS Study. Those who join WTS to "test it out" or to come in without a sponsor may jeopardize the potential that this Step Study Offers. Newcomers, particularly, should partake of our OANewcomer's Program before they register for the WTS Step Study.


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


My name is Lawrie Cherniack, and I’m a compulsive overeater.

This is a practical Step Study. It is designed to use what I’ve been taught are the directions from the Big Book to recover from compulsive eating, and to maintain that recovery on a one-day-at-a-time basis for the rest of your life.

Don’t forget to go to to download (for free, of course) some forms and documents I’ll be referring to in this Step Study, as well as a book I’ve written, based on a 2005 Step Study I did for WTS, which provides the theoretical background for this 2008 Step Study.

If you’re offended by anything I write, please don’t be critical until you have read the book I’ve written to see where I’m coming from. In this Step Study I am deliberately getting to the nub and not trying to justify and explain everything I’m saying.

This is a long post, but we're covering a lot of ground.

Summary of Where We Are:

If you’ve been following the instructions, you’re at Step Four. Let’s just look back and see where we’ve come from.

In Step One, we learned that we had a illness of our body and our mind.

Our body gets uncontrollable cravings when it takes in certain foods or food ingredients or combinations, or when it indulges in certain eating behaviors. It is an allergy­an abnormal physical reaction to a physical substance. These uncontrollable cravings go beyond our mental control. Unlike normal people, we don’t get full and we don’t get a sense of unease or discomfort when we eat too much; quite the contrary­we get a sense of ease and comfort when we ingest these foods or food ingredients or indulge in those eating behaviors. This is a physical disability.

But it is not our real problem. People who live with other physical disabilities learn to accept to them and adapt to them in order to live well. Most people who learn that they’re allergic to certain foods and will die as a result of eating them (or even touching them) simply avoid those foods. [I say 'most' rather than 'all' because I have a friend in OA who is in fact deathly allergic to peanuts but who, before OA, took risks with foods that might have had peanuts in them because the food beckoned to her.]

Our real problem is in our mind. We have a mind that keeps giving us permission to eat those foods or food ingredients, or indulge in those eating behaviors, which give us uncontrollable cravings. That mind is always there. It is a mental obsession­a thought that overpowers all others. It always finds some excuse. The excuse can be deeply emotional or simply plain stupid. So even if we’ve been able to go on a diet, our mind gives us permission to go back to those things that cause us uncontrollable cravings.

This mental obsession is, of course, made even worse because most people who we look to as experts­the food experts, the doctors, the nutritionists, the dietitians­tell us that once we achieve a healthy weight we can eat anything we want, in moderation. Even though that’s not true for us­because we can’t eat certain foods, food ingredients, or indulge in certain eating behaviors without getting uncontrollable cravings­we continue to persuade ourselves that maybe this time it will be true for us.

It is a vicious circle. We can’t stop once we’ve started­that’s the physical allergy. But the real problem is that we can’t stop from starting­that’s the mental obsession.

We are, on our own, powerless over those foods, food ingredients, and/or eating behaviors. On our own we have no hope whatsoever.

In Step Two, we acknowledged that there were people in this world who used to be like us but are no longer like us. They have found a power that has changed their minds and got rid of their mental obsession. They no longer give themselves excuses to return to those things that cause uncontrollable cravings. They say they had nothing to do with it­that all they did was follow some simple directions called the Twelve Steps, and doing those steps gave them a power which was clearly greater than they were, since they had no power themselves before they did the Twelve Steps.

We regained hope. Maybe, just maybe, with the Twelve Steps we will achieve some kind of power that will change our mind and allow us to become sane, so that we know perfectly what kind of foods, food ingredients, and eating behaviors we have to abstain from, and we don’t persuade ourselves that we can go back to them.

We learned that our real problem is that we are blocked from that power­that if we could only get rid of the thing that blocks us from that power­we will be sane.

We prepared our list of foods, food ingredients, and eating behaviors, to abstain from. We did this by adopting a plan of eating that made certain that we abstained from those things that cause us uncontrollable cravings. This plan may be a list of things to abstain from; or it may be a list of things that we allow ourselves; or a combination; any way we do it, we know that once we adopt that plan of eating we are abstaining from things that cause us uncontrollable cravings.

In Step Three, we learned that our mind has been clouded by our wish to be in control, and in order to get our minds sane, to get rid of the thing that blocks us from the power that will restore us to sanity, we have to get rid of our wish to be in control of life. To do that we have to embark on a course of action. To begin that, we have to make a decision to embark on that course.

So we adopted our plan of eating, and made a decision to follow a path which would end up with our being able to accept our lack of control.

We’re now at Step Four.

Has Anyone Slipped?

If anyone has slipped up to now, let me offer a few words of advice based on my experience of relapse and the experience of many many people I’ve spoken to, who have sponsored me, or whom I’ve sponsored.

First, don’t panic, don’t let up, and pick yourself up from the floor. The Steps work, so if something went wrong, you made a mistake. Figure out what your mistake was, and don’t do it again.

Second, figure out your mistake. Given the approach the Big Book takes to our problem and the solution, I suggest the mistake can be one or both of two possibilities.

(a) Allergy of the Body:

You’re not eliminating ALL the foods, food ingredients, or eating behaviors, that cause you uncontrollable cravings. So your allergy of the body is taking over, and you’re eating uncontrollably. So be honest with yourself about what it is that you’re eating, or how you’re eating, to see whether you should be abstaining from it.

Or maybe you’ve created a Plan of Eating that goes beyond what you really need it to in order to abstain from what you know you should abstain from, so that your definition of a 'slip' or of 'relapse' is wrong, and you’ve really been abstinent. That’s always a possibility.

(b) Obsession of the Mind:

You’re not working the steps as quickly or as commitedly as you can, so your mind is persuading you to go back to those things you have to abstain from.

The fact is, you can be abstinent a day at a time­a minute at a time, a second at a time­if you have a definite HOPE that you’ll be completely free from the bondage of food AND a definite PLAN by which you’ll achieve that freedom.

The Hope I can’t help you with other than to tell my story and to ask you to look at the stories of thousands, millions, of people who had addictions as bad as yours and overcame them with the Twelve Steps. Either you have the Hope or you aren’t desperate enough.

The Plan I can help you with. Work on a PLAN by which you will complete the steps quickly before your mind gets to you again. Make an appointment with some for three weeks from now to do a Step Five (and you’ll be doing Six and Seven the same day on your own), and then work towards that Step Five by working on Step Four really hard.

Third, JUST KEEP ON GOING! Are you abstinent now? Terrific! Do Step Four. Do it abstinent, but do it! Don’t look back. Don’t redo Steps One or Two or Three. Just follow through! My experience is that you have to abstinent to do Steps Four through Nine, but you sure don’t have to retrace any steps. Just start up again!

Overview of Step Four

We’re going to be taking three weeks to work on Step Four. That’s not a long time. It’s certainly much shorter than many other ways of doing Step Four. I think you’ll find, however, that there are great advantages in doing Step Four the way the Big Book suggests.

First, and most important, it gets to the heart of our problem.

Second, it’s fast, and thus can get you through Step Nine before your mental obsession persuades you to break your abstinence.

Third, it doesn’t make you feel so bad about yourself that you’ll want to go back to eating. You will get a clear direction about where you can go to change.

Fourth, you find that you have only four character defects which, once you get rid of them through Step Nine, will release you from the bondage of self­so that Steps Six and Seven are done quickly (actually the same day that you do Step Five).

This and next week, we’re going to be dealing with resentments. Two weeks from now we’ll deal with fears and sex conduct. We’re going to find how brilliantly things fit together. Dealing with resentments will show us our character defects. Dealing with fears and sex conduct will give us guidance on how we can get rid of our character defects.

It will be easiest if you are able to download the three Step Four forms found at, but I'll be giving sufficient information to allow you to do it on a blank sheet of paper.

You will make lots of copies of these forms, or use lots of paper. There’s quite a bit of writing to do.

In all cases, on each of the forms, you fill out EACH column before you go on to the next column. You go DOWN rather than across.

If you use the forms on your computer, as you can, you’ll note that using the TAB button will take you down each column. If you’re filling the forms out on your computer, then when you finish one column, save the form with a different name (I will save the form with a filename of LawrieResentment1.Pdf, LawrieResentment2.Pdf, LawrieResentment3.Pdf, etc.) so you can keep the original form clear.

Step Four­The Resentment Form, First Three Columns

First Column:

On the left-hand side of the paper, make a list of everything that you think about that you wish hadn’t happened­where the past didn’t go your way, the what-ifs and if-onlys of your life­relating to people, institutions, or principles. Think of 'resentment' not simply as something you’re angry at, but as something that you wish weren’t true or real or hadn’t happened. It’s anything that’s on your mind.

People: you can write down the names of people you may have hurt or who have hurt you or others, whether you’ve met them or not. I’ve written down old my wife, the driver who cut me off when I was riding my bike, ex-girlfriends, certain politicians, teachers, people I’ve harmed, Hitler, particular talk-show hosts, that guy who had his cellphone on during the movie, etc. The names can be people with whom you are or have been deeply enmeshed, or people who just bug you.

Institutions: you can write down the names of institutions, organizations, that bother you. I’ve written down a particular university, the justice system, particular governments.

Principles: you can write down thoughts about yourself or about the world, like 'I’ll never get thin' or 'Life sucks for most people' or 'why do we have to die?' I’ve written down 'People are suffering horribly in this world and it doesn’t look like that’ll stop soon' and 'I’m doomed to be lonely.'

Some practical advice:
Make lots of copies of the forms, or use lots of paper.

Leave space between everything on the list, because you’ll be writing a lot more in column 2. If you know you’ll be writing quite a bit in column 2, then leave a lot more space. (On the form, for instance, just fill out the top little box but don’t write anything in the next two.)

Make your list in the evening, and then when you wake up in the morning, you’ll remember more things to put down. Or you take a few days to make this list because you keep remembering more things to put down. That’s okay. You’re venting. You’re taking things that are occupying your mind and putting them on paper. You’re going to feel a sense of relief. Imagine all those thoughts, all those resentments, going on in your head. Now they’re on paper, and it’s easier to keep track of them!

Don’t put down things that no longer bother you—only things that on your mind right now. (For instance, I have a friend who was raped many years ago. Before she joined OA, she went through intensive and healthy therapy and no longer dwelled on the rape at all. She had no need to put that down in her Step Four.)

Second column:

Now, opposite each name of the person, institution, or principle, write down, in point form, the various reasons you have put down that name in column 1. Don’t write a book on this. Just do it in short points. Be specific. Write down every little point that occurs to you. You’re not telling a story­you’re just putting down reasons. Write enough down so that you understand it. No one else will see it (you won’t be reading this in Step Five), so it’s just for your purposes.


Spawned anti-semitism
Responsible for the death of millions
Got away with it
Could happen again

Guy on the cellphone in the movie:
Thinking only of himself
Bothered everyone, including me
Made me miss part of the movie
Broke my mood

People are suffering and it won’t get any better:
I don’t want people to suffer
People don’t have to suffer
There’s a better way
The world has to change

The shoemaker:
Did a lousy job on my shoes
Didn’t apologize
I yelled at him

An imaginary wife (I stress this is NOT my wife nor me­ but it’s an example of what someone might put down):
Spends too much money
Not enough sex
Nags me about my eating
Gets too angry with the kids
I don’t know whether she loves me
I cheated on her
I lie to her about money


(Notice that I've written down things that others have done to me, but also things that I've done to others. Often it's mixed. Sometimes it's one-sided. The truth is what matters. Write down the truth. But keep it short!)

You can see how simple this is. You’re putting down on paper things that you’re already thinking. You’re organizing your thoughts. You’re moving from the people, institutions, or principles, to what it is about them that bothers you. Again, your mind will feel relieved of some of its confusion already.

Be sure you have filled out all the second columns besides all the names in the first columns before you go on to the third column!

Column Three:

This consists of six sub-columns. You have to put a check-mark besides those aspects set out in each sub-column that are affected by the particular point you’ve put in Column 2. Go down each sub-column one-by-one.

Does this particular point affect my self-esteem, how I feel about myself? Some will, some won’t. Put a check-mark (in the UK, a 'tick') in the self-esteem column for those points that affect or affected your self-esteem. (Just as a small example, the shoemaker's doing a lousy job on my shoes didn't affect my self-esteem, but that he didn't apologize to me and that I yelled at him did.)

Now go on to 'Security (pocketbooks)', or my sense of security or safety. (Pocketbooks is an older word meaning wallets or purses.) Put a check-mark beside any point that has affected or affects your sense of safety (in the widest sense) or security. (The guy on the cell-phone in the movies didn't affect my security a bit in any of the points I put down.)

After doing that sub-column for all the points on all the sheets, then go on to Ambitions­what you want out of life. (The chances are that you’ll be checking this for most of your points; if these things bother you, then they are affecting what you want out of life.) Ambitions aren’t just what you want to be, but also what you want to have happened.

After filling that sub-column for all the points on all the sheets, then go to Personal Relations. Have any of those points affected, or do they continue to affect, your personal relations with anyone at all? Check those points which do. (Hitler's spawning of anti-semitism and being responsible for the death of millions did affect my personal relations, but that he got away with it and could do it again doesn't.)

Then you go on to Sex Relations. Have any of those points affected, or do they continue to affect, your sex relations (in the broadest sense, not just physical), with anyone at all? Check those points which do. (Few of the examples affected my sex relations. With the imaginary wife, it's possible that spending too much money and lying about money doesn't affect the sex relations, but that the others do.)

Then you go to Was Fear Involved? Was fear involved in any of these points? Check those points where it was. (With People are suffering, the chances are that all of those involve fear.)

Wasn’t that simple? Notice how we’re now moving from the names of things that bother us, to what it is about them that bothers us, to how those things that bother us are affecting us.

At this point it is becoming obvious why our minds are clouded. Things haven’t gone our way, and they’re affecting how we feel about ourselves (Self-Esteem), our sense of security (Security), what we want out of life (Ambitions), and our personal and sex relations; plus we’re full of fear. No wonder we can’t keep sane about food! These things are controlling us, precisely because we're not in control!

Next week we’ll learn how to overcome our anger at those who have harmed us or others, and what our four central character defects are that are blocking us from a power greater than us which will restore us to sanity. Relief is on the way!

Some Final Words:

This seems almost mechanical. There’s little thinking involved. We’re just writing down what’s on our minds. But you’ll find it almost a relief to get these things down on paper!

Notice what we’ve done by comparing that to what we haven’t done. We haven’t written our life story on page after page after page. We haven’t written down how awful we are. We have simply put down what’s on our mind in an organized fashion. But next week we'll see how powerful this all is.

This Week’s Assignment:

1. Are you abstinent?

2. Have you filled out the first three columns on the resentment forms?

3. What have you noticed? Are there are any recurring themes? Have you noticed the similarities among many of the "Causes" (Column 2) for the different people or institutions or principles you've put down?

4. Do you realize how these things that bother you are keeping your mind completely clouded? That they affect how you feel about yourself (self-esteem), how safe you feel (security), what you want out of life (ambition), your personal and sex relations, and that you're full of fear? How could you possibly keep your mind clear about the things that you know cause uncontrollable cravings?

See you next week.


Editor's Note: Next WTS Study begins October 1, 2008



All Coordinators and/or Meeting Leaders of The Recovery Group shall:

  • Be working and living a 12 Step program.
  • Have been a member of TRG for a period of no less than 3 months.
  • Read and commit to TRG's Guidelines and Traditions.
  • Read and understand the Trusted Servants' Training and Sharing pages.
    Coordinators shall read their loops' mission statement and the Coordinators' Website.
  • Mentor with an experienced Meeting Leader and/or Coordinator.
    Commit to serving until the end of the term, which currently is December 31 of each year.
  • Leave their Trusted Servant position mid-term only in the event of an emergency.
  • Have access to a personal computer.
  • Be personally responsible for all services needed by their support group or delegate others. Commit to recruiting, training and supervising them. (Please ask Mtg. Adm. or TRGAdm. for a list of specific duties expected of our Meeting Leaders and Coordinators.)
  • Please communicate with MTGAdm (Meeting Leaders) or TRGAdm (Coordinators) immediately when a member requires moderating. TRG Coordinators and Meeting Leaders shall be patient and correct people regarding inappropriate sharing privately and in kind, gentle and loving ways. In the event of blatant spam, porn or misconduct, Coordinators and Meeting Leaders should take immediate action. Meeting leaders shall remove such members from the meeting, while coordinators are to contact TRGAdm and report that a member needs moderated. Both Coordinators and Meeting Leaders shall send a detailed report to their respective administrators once the emergency has been attended to.
  • Be an example for others by sharing personally in a 12 Step Way, not using inappropriate signatures on TRG communications, and, if at all possible, writing your members individually and privately as your time permits when you think a note would be appreciated.

The 2008 Coordinators & Meeting Leaders

TRG has six divisions and our support groups each fall in one of
these divisions: Recovery, ODAT, Discovery, Special, Meetings and Business.


(12 Step Protocol Sharing Support Loops)

200 PLUS
Coordinator ~ Tina ~
Coordinator ~ Bill ~
Coordinator ~ Shlomo ~

Coordinator ~

Coordinator ~

Coordinator ~ Gianna ~

Coordinator ~ To be appointed.

Coordinator ~ To be appointed. (Advisor - Lolly)

Coordinator ~ Sharon ~
Coordinator ~ Amanda ~

Coordinator ~ Lisa ~

Coordinator ~ Dodee ~ (Pro Tem)
Coordinator ~ Nancy ~ missust@PEOPLEPC.COM (Pro Tem)

Coordinator ~ Shlomo ~

Coordinator ~ Heidi ~
Coordinator ~ Cyndi ~

Coordinator ~ Lisa ~

Coordinator ~ ninacharlottaemilia@HOTMAIL.COM

Coordinator ~ To Be Announced

Coordinator ~ Linda ~
Coordinator ~ Gracie ~
Coordinator ~ Sandra F ~

Coordinator ~ To Be Appointed.

Coordinator ~ To Be Appointed.


(12 Step Special Focus Support Loops With OA Protocol Sharing - Okay To Share 2nd Focus)

Coordinator ~ Terrie ~
Coordinator ~ Tracey C. ~ mothertbird@YAHOO.COM

Coordinator ~ Kathy pacngo@MSN.COM
Coordinator ~ Cate

Coordinator ~ Judy

Coordinator ~ Lisa
Coordinator ~ Janet

Coordinator ~ To Be Appointed.

Coordinator ~ Marg ~

Coordinator ~ Q ~

Coordinator ~ Sharon ~

Coordinator ~ David ~ dselzer@sbcglobal

Coordinator ~ Sharon H. ~
Coordinator ~ Marian ~

Coordinator ~ To Be Appointed.

Coordinator ~ Terrie ~

FFOA (Family & Friends of Compulsive Eaters)
Coordinator ~ Alice ~

Coordinator ~ To Be Appointed.

Coordinator ~ To Be Appointed

Coordinator ~ Lisa ~

Coordinator ~ Kathy

Coordinator ~ Max

Coordinator ~ To Be Appointed.

Coordinator ~ Tricia

Coordinator ~ To Be Appointed.

Coordinator ~ Shlomo shlomosh@ACTCOM.CO.IL

Coordinator ~ Vickie

Coordinator ~ Brenda brendao@LAMPCHC.ORG

Coordinator ~ Judy ~
Coordinator ~ Amanda ~ asnow3@TAMPABAY.RR.COM

Coordinator ~ To Be Appointed

Coordinator ~ To Be Appointed

Coordinator ~ Nina ~ ninacharlottaemilia@HOTMAIL.COM

Coordinator ~ Dressy ~

Coordinator ~ Nancy Pro Tem

Coordinator ~ To Be Appointed.

Coordinator ~


(Informal Support Groups For Those With Eating Disorders)

Coordinator ~ Athena ~ (Pro Tem)

Coordinator ~ Athena ~ (Pro Tem)

Coordinator ~ Georgia

Coordinator ~ Melissa

Coordinator ~ Linda,

Coordinator ~ Elana ~

Advisor ~ Athena ~ (Pro Tem)

Coordinator ~

Coordinator ~ To Be Appointed.

Coordinator ~ Georgia ~

Coordinator ~ (Pro Tem)

No Coordinators By design.


(Informal Discussion of Business Matters For Trusted Servants of The Recovery Group)
The Business Division of The Recovery Group is not for general sharing groups, although each includes specific kinds of sharing. This division includes TRG's many groups designed to conduct business matters related to the management of our groups and, as such, works closely with the respective Trusted Servants of each group.

Chair/Contact ~ (Mari)

alice_catlady@YAHOO.COM (Alice)
Annieflorance@HOTMAIL.COM (Annie)
asnow3@TAMPABAY.RR.COM (Amanda)
Athena1480@AOL.COM (Athena)
captainfisherman1055@YAHOO.COM (Kathy)
cardiotricia@YAHOO.COM (Tricia)
CateNdes@GRICS.NET (Cate)
Cathystarr67@YAHOO.CO.UK (Cathy)
crystalrclass@YAHOO.COM (Crystal)
DressyFemme@AOL.COM (Dressy)
jjhayden2@SBCGLOBAL.NET (Janice)
judyco65@EARTHLINK.NET (Judy)
lawann94@YAHOO.COM (Ann)
lfwatson@WINDSTREAM.NET (Linda)
lklingman@STNY.RR.COM (Linda)
lvillesvik@HOTMAIL.COM (Lisa)
madcapmaggie@YAHOO.COM (Cate)
missust@PEOPLEPC.COM (Nancy)
ODAT0487@AOL.COM (Dodee)
plomba3200@AOL.COM (Patt)
sharon_s@TELKOMSA.NET (Sharon)
shlomosh@BEZEQINT.NET (Shlomo)
tgrtym@HOTMAIL.COM (Cynthia)
tlinza@COMCAST.NET (Tracy)
twansitler1854@YAHOO.COM (Terri)
vlsmith9292@SBCGLOBAL.NET (VLS)


Contact: (Mari)
Committee Member, Athena1480@AOL.COM (Athena)
Committee Member, (Dodee)
Committee Member, lklingman@STNY.RR.COM (Linda)
Committee Member, missust@PEOPLEPC.COM (Nancy)
Committee Member, shlomosh@BEZEQINT.NET (Shlomo)
Committee Member, twansitler1854@YAHOO.COM (Terri)
Committee Member, tlinza@COMCAST.NET (Tracy)

Administrator ~ Dodee ~
Administrator ~ Nancy ~ missust@PEOPLEPC.COM

Coordinator ~ Terri ~ twansitler1854@YAHOO.COM
Coordinator ~ Tracy ~ tlinza@COMCAST.NET

Coordinator ~ Linda ~ lklingman@STNY.RR.COM




Mari ~


(Support Groups, Studies and Projects Geared To The 12 Steps of Overeaters Anonymous)

The loops in the Special Division of The Recovery Group are not general sharing groups, although each includes specific kinds of sharing. This division includes TRG's studies, workshops, orientation groups, etc.

Coordinator ~ Linda ~ lklingman@STNY.RR.COM

Coordinator ~

Coordinator ~ Linda ~
Coordinator ~ Gracie ~
Coordinator ~ Sandra F ~

Coordinator ~ (Pro Tem)

Coordinator ~ (Pro Tem)


(TRG OA Registered Meetings Around the World Around the Clock)


TRG OA Online Meetings Coordinator ~ Terri ~
TRG OA Online Meetings Coordinator ~ Tracy ~

Amy ~
Barbara ~
Catherine ~
Char ~
Gail ~
Georgia ~
Harold (Hardy) ~
Jeanne ~
Karen B ~
Kati ~
Lin ~
Linda ~
Lisa B ~
Marg ~
MaryannR ~
Meter ~
MillieL ~
Pamela Pjs ~
Pete ~
Sharon ~
Sherri ~
Terri ~
Tony ~
TracyL ~

Mark H. ~
Tina ~ oarecovery@YAHOO.COM


Terri -
MaryAnnR -
LinS -
Sam -

Alice ~
Audrey ~
Joanne ~
Marg ~
Margie ~
Pamela (Pjs)
Sue ~
Terri ~

Calixto -
Gianna -
Sandra R. -

Meter ~

Francecso -
Guilia -
Lellina -
Margherita -

Joanne ~
Tracy ~
Lin ~

Britten -
AnneMaj -


Recovery Tech ~ Audrey, TRGAdm, MtgAdm, OutreachAdm

Coordinator ~ Patt
Coordinator ~ Cate

Coordinator ~ Shlomo shlomosh@ACTCOM.CO.IL

rainbowsend45@YAHOO.CO.UK (Kathy)


Coordinator ~ Linda ~

Distributor ~ Todd ~
Weekend Distributor ~ Tricia ~ cardiotricia@YAHOO.COM

Coordinator ~ Patt ~

Gary ~

Mari ~

God, 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.

"In the deepest part of a compulsive eater's soul
is the realization that recovery begins when we find one another."

Your Support Group Would Like to Hear From YOU!

Serendipity wants to you to use our writing resources to inspire you to share your own personal experience, strength and hope with your home support loop. Sharing with your fellow coes is an act of service and often without your ever realizing it, your words may touch someone deeply and be responsible for a significant change in their life.

Opinions expressed in this newsletter are not necessarily those of Serendipity Newsletter, or of The Recovery Group.

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