A Wellspring of Hope
Newsletter of The Recovery Group


December 2003
Volume 5, Issue 12



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


PLEASE SEND LETTERS TO THE EDITOR TO:
SerendipityNewsletter@yahoo.com
with a Subject of 'Letter to the Editor'


PLEASE SEND Serendipity ARTICLES TO:
SerendipityNewsletter@yahoo.com
with a Subject of 'Serendipity Article'


TO VIEW Serendipity ONLINE, PLEASE VISIT:
The Serendipity Archives


THIS MONTH'S FEATURED ARTICLES

From Our Editor
Founder's Corner
From the TRG Administration
From Our ODAT Committee
From The Recovery Loops Coordinator
From Our TRG Sponsor Program
Letters to the Editor
Kids' Corner
The Twelve Steps of OA ~ Adapted for Kids
For Our Teens
December Loop Spotlights:
Relapse and Recovery
Relationships and Recovery
Silver Recovery
Spending and Recovery
Recovery Writers' Series
From the Literature
Recovery Meditations Calendar
The Recovery Group Online Meetings
Overeaters Anonymous Contacts
Recovery Group Contacts
Serenity Prayer





~ FROM OUR EDITOR ~

Dear Serendipity Readers,

December...the last month of the calendar year....the month for the holidays of Christmas, Hannukah and Kwanzaa....a festive season... full of pretty lights, decorations and the fun of sharing gifts with friends and loved ones. The holidays are a wonderful time, but for recovering compulsive overeaters such as ourselves, they can also pose a problem. It is precisely at this time of year, when we are dealing with the stresses of extra food and the time crunch of "doing it all", that we are glad to be recovering COEs, with the 12-steps and tools of recovery which we have available to us to get us through sanely, and "in one piece".

I hope this issue of Serendipity helps you center on your recovery during this time of the year. We can enjoy them, but we must depend on the tools of recovery as we travel through the upcoming days.

Service is one tool which has a constant presence in The Recovery Group. Whether it be hearing of those who are volunteering their service to a loop, or of one who has given many years of service and recognizes the health in stepping down in order to "make room" for new blood, I am reminded that TRG absolutely cannot survive without service. I hope that our gift to TRG this year will be to serve, in one capacity or another; there are lots of opportunities. If you would like to let others know how giving service to TRG has helped your recovery, please do so in a Letter to the Editor. I'll be happy to print all those that come my way in the January 2004 issue!

Whatever holiday you will be celebrating this month, or even if you will not be celebrating any holidays at all, I hope the month of December is kind to you as your travel your route to recovery.

Love in recovery to you all,

     Marty
     Editor, SERENDIPITY
     Newsletter of The Recovery Group





~ FOUNDER'S CORNER ~
~ HOLIDAY EMOTIONS ~


"God does not play dice with the universe."
       . . . . Albert Einstein
How did it all happen? Are there really no coincidences? Where and when did it begin ... and how will it all end? Or will it never? These questions and others will be on our minds as we find ourselves in the most emotionally treacherous months of the year for addicts. Even though our Twelve Step program has prepared us well for this, the holidays present things which cause us to ponder life more than usual. We have time off ... we spend it surrounded by people and things that trigger our deepest and most private emotions. Some of these emotions are wonderful ~ some are not.

We try to accept the randomness of life ... there are no coincidences ... or perhaps everything is a coincidence. Somehow knowing that there is a Greater Power handling things, allows us the freedom to put aside past hurts and use our energy to combat holiday emotions rather than succumb to them. One might say that believing in randomness is simply a way of giving up, that admitting powerlessness is wimpish. Somehow, I don't think so.

Happy Holidays, dear loopies!

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




~ FROM THE TRG ADMINISTRATION ~

The Recovery Group is enjoying one of the most peaceful times in its history. A blanket of serenity seems to have been spread from one end of us to the other, resulting in our loops, studies, programs and meetings quietly humming along with experienced and dedicated Trusted Servants doing their jobs.

Members of the loops are beginning to feel more and more that they have a second home; we've noticed many are focusing and participating more in a home loop rather than spreading themselves among a lot of loops and really participating in none. The programs have much vitality, and as we approach 2004, we are reminded that our Step and Big Book studies have both had extraordinary years. Probably the biggest surprise of all has been the meetings. The Recovery Meeting Leaders have gone far beyond what we could have ever imagined in their quest to provide members around the world 56 meetings a week every three hours of every day. The ODAT, Discovery and Recovery Loops are exciting to watch, and Serendipity, Meditations the Writer's Series and the Sponsor Program are making us all so very proud. TRG Adm has an overview of every aspect of The Recovery Group, and during this season which is so special to many of us, wants to thank those who make it all possible by offering to be Trusted Servants.

All of us who serve you, wish to express our gratitude to you for giving us the privilege to serve .... and to wish you and those you love the happiest holidays ever.

TRGADM administrators
TRGAdm@TheRecoveryGroup.org





~ FROM OUR ODAT COMMITTEE ~

THE ODAT/DISCOVERY LOOPS

The ODAT Loops are Twelve Step Special Focus Loops and a very important part of the Recovery Group Community.

There are a few loops which can be very quiet and some which are thriving beautifully. I wish you could see what I see ... the recovery, the support of each other, the participation by so many. It touches my heart to be able to help such special people. We are a family, that much is evident and I am proud to a part of our family of choice.

If you would like to review our dozens of loops, read the mission statements and, perhaps, even join one, we extend an invitation to you to visit our website, given below.

On behalf of all the Trusted Servants of the ODAT Loops, may I take this opportunity to thank you for your loving support this past year; we wish you all the very best for the festive season.

In loving service,
Marl and The Trusted Servants of ODAT

http://www.TheRecoveryGroup.org/odat/index.html





~ FROM THE RECOVERY LOOPS COORDINATOR ~



Hello from the Recovery Loops.

It's been exciting to see new people subscribe to the loops. Cody has agreed to coordinate Anorexia & Bulimia, and she has breathed new life into that important loop. Thanks to Lynne and Rynn for their previous service.

  • OA Friends and Newcomers have been kind of quiet lately; perhaps they will pick up after the holidays. An influx of new members is a common phenomenom at that time.

  • WTS continues, and will be starting a new study on January 1st. If you're interested in working the steps, this is a good way to do it.

  • The Big Book study is in the chapter "To Employers".

  • There are several people journaling online in Journey to Recovery. Perhaps they think of it as "Journal to Recovery".

I am happy to be in contact with so many people working the program to the best of their abilities.

    Dodee (One day at a time since April 30th of '87)
       Coordinator of The Recovery Loops
       
RecoveryLoopsAdm@lists.TheRecoveryGroup.org





~ FROM OUR RECOVERY GROUP SPONSOR PROGRAM ~



Dear Friends,

As most of you realize, it is possible for The Recovery Group (TRG) members to find online sponsors through our Sponsor's Program.

Throughout the month we send notices to all of The Recovery Loops explaining our program so that newcomers will have all the information needed to find an online sponsor.

As a tool, Sponsorship allows members to find a person to help guide and encourage him/her as they work the 12 steps of recovery.

"Sponsors are members who are living the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions to the best of their ability. They are willing to share their recovery with other members of the Fellowship and are committed to abstinence.

We ask a sponsor to help us through our program of recovery on all three levels: physical, emotional and spiritual. By working with other members and sharing their experience, strength and hope, sponsors continually renew and reaffirm their own recovery. Sponsors share their program up to the level of their own experience.

Ours is a program of attraction; find a sponsor who has what you want, and ask that person how he or she is achieving it. A member may work with more than one sponsor and may change sponsors at will."

We never again need to be alone as we trudge the Road of Happy Destiny!

With love and great JOY in service,

Patt and Dreena
TRGSponsor Coordinators

NOTE:
To find out about the Recovery Sponsor Program go to:
http://recovery.hiwaay.net/sponsors.html, or write:
TRGSponsorAdm@yahoogroups.com

If you wish to become a Recovery Sponsor please write to:
Sponsors@TheRecoveryGroup.org.



~ LETTERS TO THE EDITOR ~





~ KIDS' CORNER ~



Please see the following web sites for information concerning loops which exist to help kids with eating problems.



~ THE TWELVE STEPS OF OA, ADAPTED FOR KIDS ~


STEP 1: We told ourselves that we didn't eat like other boys and girls and that we could not stop eating when we wanted. We felt different.

STEP 2: We thought that God could help us stop thinking about food so much.

STEP 3: We decided to stop worrying about food and let God help us with our problems. (Some people use the words Higher Power instead of God.)

STEP 4: We wrote down everything we ever did that bothered us.

STEP 5: We read our list to God (Higher Power), then to a person who cares about us.

STEP 6: We felt ready for God to take away the sad or upsetting things we do.

STEP 7: We honestly asked our Higher Power to take away the sad or upsetting things we do.

STEP 8: We wrote down the names of people we had hurt and felt ready to say we were sorry.

STEP 9: We told these people that we were sorry, unless it would hurt them or others. We tried to make up for what we had done.

STEP 10: Every day we thought about how we acted and how we could improve..

STEP 11: We asked God what to do and for help to do it.

STEP 12: Because it had helped us, we told people about OA and the twelve steps when they asked. We kept using the steps everyday.



~ FOR OUR TEENS ~




Hi!

TeensODAT, a small and intimate group, would love more participation! In particular, someone is needed who can be there for the teens who check in, feeling scared and alone, but slip away again if they feel no one is hearing them. If you feel you could be that someone, who could "hug", listen to, and talk with these shy, scared teens, please join the group, at:
TeensODAT-subscribe-request@lists.therecoverygroup.org . (Just send an empty email to this address, and the proper process will be set in motion.)

Also, if anyone feels able to help as co-coordinator of this very special loop, please do contact:
dietrich12000@yahoo.com.

Love,
  Marl
  Coordinator
  TeensODAT

[ Editor's note: For information, please see these web pages:
http://recovery.hiwaay.net/special/teens.html and
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/TeensODAT. ]


~ DECEMBER LOOP SPOTLIGHTS ~

RELAPSE AND RECOVERY

"Relapse and Recovery" - sounds like a bunch of people who have failed. But, it is far from that; our members have just not found the way to be abstinent quite yet. We are searching for answers to our questions. We do not judge each other. We encourage one another by posting both good and bad. We become a "family" where some of us do not have someone rooting for us in our corner. We are not required to post every day, but some do. I myself have grown much closer to the enduring goal of "abstinence", but not on a full time basis. If your recovery is not where you want it to be, we encourage you to join us. This time of year, the holidays, can be taxing on your recovery. When I write to new members I always say --"I may be down, but I'm a long ways from being out".

Yours in recovery
Mickie, COE, Greeter, Sponsor

To find out more, please visit:
http://recovery.hiwaay.net/special/relapse.html or
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/RelapseAndRecovery/

To join, please send a blank email to:
RelapseAndRecovery-subscribe-request@lists.therecoverygroup.org.



RELATIONSHIPS ODAT

What's on our minds and in our hearts is pretty easily interpreted by the people sharing our lives. Our demeanour, our attitude, and our gestures, speak loud and clear. The relationships we have with others mirror what is happening within ourselves.

Most of us, whether we are new, or not so new, to Recovery crave control. We think we would find lasting happiness if only others would do what we want. But wringing our hands over their independence won't change anything. On the contrary; addressing our own behaviour, our own thinking, our own attitudes can encourage the very behaviour we tried to demand all along. This is one of the miracles that comes from working this program.

The Relationships ODAT Loop is a Twelve Step Discussion Loop for compulsive eaters who are dealing with relationship issues. Here, we invite you to share your thoughts, concerns, and feelings, in a safe and loving environment. We all know how difficult it can be to live in an unhappy or unsettled relationship, and we care. This loop is a place where you will have a safe haven (24/7) in which you can interact with others who are suffering. We provide a place to both work our own recovery program and to carry that message to others. We are here together to build one another up ... to accept each of us as we are ... to support each other ... and not to judge one another.
We offer you safety and serenity.

Please join us at Relationships ODAT. The discussion is frank and oftentimes moving; always warm, loving and supportive. To join just go to:
http://recovery.hiwaay.net/special/relationships.html.

To read more, please visit:
http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/RelationshipsODAT/,

Danielle, Coordinator
RelationshipsODAT



SILVER RECOVERY

The Silver Recovery Loop is for those men and women who are compulsive eaters and over fifty. Young in heart and full of spirit, members of Silver Recovery want a safe environment to discuss their disease; a fellowship of others who have had similar experiences. We are a Twelve Step Recovery loop and the only requirement for joining is to have a desire to quit eating compulsively.

Most of us have been compulsive eaters much of our lives. In addition to living through a disease that has affected the quality of our lives, we have also reached an age where we now realize that many of the things we did in our youth exacerbated that disease. The Big Book tells us that we should not regret the past; what many of us find ourselves doing now is using our past mistakes as learning tools and are the happiest we have ever been in our lives.

To read more about Silver Recovery, please visit:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/SilverRecovery/ or
http://recovery.hiwaay.net/special/silver.html

If you would like to join this loop, to experience its special sense of family, please send an empty email to:
SilverRecovery-subscribe-request@lists.therecoverygroup.org.



SPENDING ODAT

"Spending ODAT" is a loop for recovering Compulsive Overeaters (COEs) who have problems with spending money. It seems that the two go hand-in-hand, so we study both our compulsive eating and our compulsive spending. As we proceed into recovery, the issue of how much money we spend on junk (stuff we don't really need) comes to light. Spending ODAT is a 12-Step special focus group which concentrates on not spending, one day at a time. We also see how we spent money on our addiction: food. Another concern of ours is to see that, although there is more money now, we still have to watch how we spend it.

If you would like to subscribe, or know someone who would benefit from this loop, simply send a blank e-mail to:
SpendingODAT-subscribe-request@lists.therecoverygroup.org.

Of course, you can also visit our web page at:
http://recovery.hiwaay.net/odat/spending/index.html or
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/SpendingODAT/

Mary, Coordinator


~ RECOVERY WRITERS' SERIES ~

~ Recovery Inspirations ~

In this column we bring you shares from Recovery Meditations, Odyssey, Danny's "Letters To God", Journey to Recovery, Reflections, The Promises and many others. This month we continue highlighting "Recovery Inspirations", a collection of twenty different writings which we hope will inspire you. Most of the inspirations are unknown, so if you can identify the author of any, please let us know so the appropriate credit can be given. The inspiration we have chosen to highlight this month is called "The Present", a topic appropriate to the holiday season in which we now find ourselves.



~ THE PRESENT ~


Stella had been prepared for her husband's death. Since the doctor's pronouncement of terminal cancer, they had both faced the inevitable, striving to make the most of their remaining time together. Dave's financial affairs had always been in order. There were no new burdens in her widowed state. It was just the awful aloneness...the lack of purpose to her days.

They had been a childless couple. It had been their choice. Their lives had been so full and rich. They had been content with busy careers, and with each other. They had many friends. Had. That was the operative word these days. It was bad enough losing the one person you loved with all your heart. But over the past few years, she and Dave repeatedly had to cope with the deaths of their friends and relations. They were all of an age - an age when human bodies began giving up. Dying. Face it -- they were old!

And now, approaching the first Christmas without Dave, Stella was all too aware she would be on her own. With shaky fingers, she lowered the volume of her radio so that the Christmas music became a muted background. To her surprise, she saw that the mail had come. With the inevitable wince of pain from her arthritis, she bent to retrieve the white envelopes from the floor. She sat on the piano bench to open them.

They were mostly Christmas cards, and her sad eyes smiled at the familiarity of the traditional scenes and at the loving messages inside. She arranged them among the others on the piano top. In her entire house, they were the only seasonal decoration. The holiday was less than a week away, but she just did not have the heart to put up a silly tree, or even set up the stable that Dave had built with his own hands.

Suddenly engulfed by the loneliness of it all, Stella buried her face in her hands, and let the tears come. How would she possibly get through Christmas and the winter beyond it!

The ring of the doorbell was so unexpected that Stella had to stifle a small scream of surprise. Now who could possibly be calling on her? She opened the wooden door and stared through the screened window of the storm door with consternation. On her front porch, stood a strange, young man, whose head was barely visible above the large carton in his arms. She peered beyond him to the driveway, but there was nothing about the small car to give clue to his identity. Summoning courage, the elderly lady opened the door slightly and he stepped sideways to speak into the space.

"Mrs. Meadows?" She nodded. He continued, "I have a package for you."

Curiosity drove caution from her mind. She pushed the door open, and he entered. Smiling, he placed his burden carefully on the floor and stood to retrieve an envelope that protruded from his pocket. As he handed it to her, a sound came from the box. Stella jumped. The man laughed in apology and bent to straighten up the cardboard flaps, holding them open in an invitation for her to peek inside.

It was a dog! To be more exact, a golden Labrador retriever puppy. As the gentleman lifted its squirming body up into his arms, he explained, "This is for you, ma'am. He's six weeks old and completely housebroken." The young pup wiggled in happiness at being released from captivity and thrust ecstatic, wet kisses in the direction of the young man's face. "We were supposed to deliver him on Christmas Eve," he continued with some difficulty, as he strove to rescue his chin from the wet little tongue, "but the staff at the kennels start their holidays tomorrow. Hope you don't mind an early present."

Shock had stolen her ability to think clearly. Unable to form coherent sentences, she stammered, "But ... I don't ... I mean ... who..?"

The young fellow set the puppy down on the doormat between them and then reached out a finger to tap the envelope she was still holding. "There's a letter in there that explains everything pretty much. The dog was bought last July while her mother was still pregnant. It was meant to be a Christmas gift."

Unbelievably, the stranger was turning to go. Desperation forced the words from her lips. "But who...who bought it? Pausing in the open doorway, he replied, "Your husband, ma'am." And then he was gone.

~~~


It was all in the letter. Forgetting the puppy entirely at the sight of the familiar handwriting, Stella had walked like a sleepwalker to her chair by the window. She forced her tear-filled eyes to read her husband's words. He had written it three weeks before his death and had left it with the kennel owners to be delivered along with the puppy as his last Christmas gift to her. It was full of love and encouragement and admonishments to be strong. He vowed that he was waiting for the day when she would join him. And he had sent her this young animal to keep her company until then.

Remembering the little creature for the first time, she was surprised to find him quietly looking up at her, his small panting mouth resembling a comic smile. Stella put the pages aside and reached for the bundle of golden fur. She had thought that he would be heavier, but he was only the size and weight of a sofa pillow. And so soft and warm. She cradled him in her arms and he licked her jawbone, then cuddled into the hollow of her neck. The tears began anew at this exchange of affection and the dog endured her crying without moving.

Finally, Stella lowered him to her lap, where she regarded him solemnly. She wiped vaguely at her wet cheeks, then somehow mustered a smile.

"Well, little guy, I guess it's you and me." His pink tongue panted in agreement. Stella's smile strengthened and her gaze shifted sideways to the window. Dusk had fallen. Through fluffy flakes that were now drifting down, she saw the cheery Christmas lights that edged the roof lines of her neighbors' homes. The strains of "Joy to the World" floated in from the kitchen.

Suddenly Stella felt the most amazing sensation of peace and benediction washing over her. It was like being enfolded in a loving embrace. Her heart beat painfully, but it was with joy and wonder, not grief or loneliness. She need never feel alone again. Returning her attention to the dog, she spoke to him. "You know, fella, I have a box in the basement that I think you'd like. There's a tree in it and some decorations and lights that will impress you like crazy! And I think I can find that old stable down there, too. What d'ya say we go hunt it up?" The puppy barked happily in agreement, as if he understood every word. Stella got up, placed the puppy on the floor and together they went down to the basement, ready to make a Christmas together.

Author Unknown



~ FROM THE LITERATURE ~




~~THE TWELVE STEPS ~ STEP TWELVE~~

Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to compulsive eaters and to practice these principles in all our affairs.



~~ THE TWELVE TRADITIONS ~ TRADITION TWELVE ~~

Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.



~~ BIG BOOK SELECTION ~~

We never apologize to anyone for depending upon our Creator. We can laugh at those who think spirituality the way of weakness. Paradoxically, it is the way of strength. The verdict of the ages is that faith means courage. All men of faith have courage. They trust their God. We never apologize for God. Instead we let Him demonstrate, through us, what He can do. We ask Him to remove our fear and direct our attention to what He would have us be. At once, we commence to outgrow fear.

AABB, P. 68 (all editions)






~ RECOVERY MEDITATIONS ~


~
December Meditations Calendar ~
(http://www.therecoverygroup.org/meditations/december.html)





~ THE RECOVERY GROUP MEETINGS ~

THE RECOVERY GROUP ONLINE MEETINGS

Dear Family:

The OA program offers its members a new pattern of living. One of the basic elements of that new pattern is regular meetings and meeting attendance. For the newcomer, living without Compulsive Overeating (COE) is a brand new experience. All that once was familiar is changed, and the old people, places and things that served as props on the stage of their lives are gone. New stresses appear, no longer masked or deadened by the food. That's why we suggest that newcomers attend a meeting every day. No matter what comes up, no matter how crazy their day gets, we know that a daily meeting will await them. No day should go by without the relief which our fellowship offers.

Then there are the old timers. No matter how long we are in Recovery we must attend regular meetings to reinforce our identity as *recovering* COEs, and each meeting helps us get that much further away from becoming active in our addiction again.

Meetings are a huge part of our new pattern of living.

We attend meetings for a variety of reasons: sometimes we go to meetings to share our experience, strength and hope with newer members; sometimes we go just to connect with our friends; and sometimes we go just because we need a hug (even a cyber hug will do on those days.) Occasionally, we leave a meeting and realize that we really haven't retained a word that was said, but for some reason we still feel better. The atmosphere of love and joy that fills our meetings has kept us abstinent another day. No matter how hectic our schedule, meeting attendance must be a priority.
Our meetings are held every three hours starting at Midnight EST, (12 midnight, 3AM, 6AM, 9AM, 12 noon, 3PM, 6PM, and 9PM. You can get there through the "Blue Door" at:
http://recovery.hiwaay.net/, or directly, at:
http://therecoverygroup.org/meetings/index.html.

For AOL members, there is a direct link to #Recovery: #Recovery on StarChat.Network. AOL users need to first go to the Meeting website and look at the special instructions for AOL users before they can fully participate in the meetings or they can go to: http://www.starchat.net/aol.php.

#Recovery is the meeting room for Recovery Group. There is a doorway to #Recovery on the Recovery Group website, www.therecoverygroup.org. The meeting room can be directly accessed by going to either of these sites: http://www.starchat.net/recovery or http://www.starchat.net/chat/?chan=recovery.

You can find other helpful information, including on-line meeting protocols at:
http://recovery.hiwaay.net/support/meetings.html.

If you wish to offer your time to lead a meeting, please send an email to:
MtgAdm@lists.TheRecoveryGroup.org.
We will get back to you as quickly as possible.
Love in service,

Danielle,
Meetings Committee Chairperson





~ 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.htm
E-Mail Address ~ info@overeatersanonymous.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 ~



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


~~ The Serenity Prayer ~~

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.


Disclaimer


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

Volume 5 Issue 12 © Copyright 2003 THE RECOVERY GROUP All rights reserved.