The Recovery Group Newsletter

A Twelve Step Newsletter For All

December 2008

 

CONTENTS THIS ISSUE

From the Editor
Founder's Corner
From the Administration
From the Executive Committee
TRG Sponsor Program
The Recovery Group
From the Loops
From the Meetings
Spotlight Loops of the Month
OAsis
Exercise
Codependency
Quote of the Month
An Abstinent Recipe
Recovery Stories
From OA Lifeline
Qualifications
The Trusted Servants of Recovery
The Serenity Prayer & Invitation to Share

FROM THE EDITOR:

The holiday season is upon us as we swiftly move into the month of December. With this wondrous time of the year comes quality time spent with family and friends. This is the season to give of ourselves in a way that nurtures and strengthens our recovery. This is also the season in which we express our love for those around us with our whole heart. A time when we express our gratitude for the family and friends who journey through this life with us. For me, I am so grateful that this season no longer involves food as the sole purpose for celebration.

I used to live for this season. The food, the goodies, and the endless parties with family helped to fuel my addiction to new heights during this time of the year. I could eat as I wanted, when I wanted, and no one thought anything of it because that was what everyone else seemed to be doing, except I am not like everyone else. Once I start eating, I can't stop, and once I stop, I can't stop from starting again. It was always an endless cycle of eating, followed by self-loathing, which was closely followed by remorse, which lead to guilt, and ultimately, I'd always end up eating again.

Within this month's Serendipity, you will find my absolute favorite holiday story located within the Oasis Newsletter. The story is entitled, "The Ghost Of Christmas Binging Past." For me, this story is one of those must read selections before every holiday season. The Ghost of Christmas Binging Past reminds me how precious my own abstinence truly is and that I should be grateful for the peace, serenity, and recovery that I have found within the walls of Overeaters Anonymous. This story reminds me of what it used to be like and the trap I could easily fall into if I let myself believe that one bite will never hurt me. I heard a speaker in AA say, "It isn't the 3rd drink, the 5th drink or the 100th drink that makes me a alcoholic. It is the first drink that makes me what I am every time I pick up."

Happy Holidays,
Heidi L ~ December Editor

FOUNDER'S CORNER:

Dear Serendipity Readers,

As I am writing this, I find myself in a serious frame of mind. The reason is because I find some old behaviors creeping back into my life and I have to be on guard more than usual. Fear is causing them. When I experience certain behaviors I have to stop for a few minutes and take stock of myself. One of the stories in the Big Book is "The Man Who Mastered Fear." It's about a man who spent 18 years running away from things; and then he found he didn't have to run. So he started A.A. in Detroit. When he was fearful of something, he drank. When I was fearful of something, I ate.

The problem is that sometimes we have certain behaviors but haven't categorized them yet as being fear-based. It's like a disease ... the battle is half won when the disease is diagnosed. Fear is the same way. When I discover that my problem is because I'm frightened of some person, place or thing, I can deal with it. Fighting shadows gets me nowhere. Fear in the past made me run away. That was my cure for everything that caused me to be fearful. Fear would cause me to run from things but it would also cause me to run *to* things. Sometimes the things I would run to would exacerbate the problem. Food was one of them. Geographical cures was another. Certain relationships, another. Isolation, still another.

All human beings should try to learn before they die,
what they are running from, and to, and why.
James Thurber

Like the 'man who mastered fear', I haven't completely conquered this problem. But I no longer let it rule my life. It has taken me a long time but now when I run from something, I know exactly what I'm running from and why I'm doing it.

And when I run to something I know that also.

Wishing you all a happy December.

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

Monthly Happenings Around TRG

FROM THE ADMINISTRATION:

TRG Administration would like to wish happy holidays to all who celebrate something in the next month or so. It's a busy time for us as it is for all of you.

TRG Adm and Newcomers Adm are in the process of streamlining the newcomers program. The new format will last only two months, so those who find us in between starting times will only have a short time to wait for a new orientation to start. In the meantime, they can talk to others in an informal Yahoo loop called OANewcomerTalk.

WTS is winding up again with a thorough study led by Shlomo. A new study will begin January 1st.

We have had a new tech support guy (Bruce) in RecoveryTech. He's been answering all the questions that go to: RecoveryTech@TheRecoveryGroup.org

Several new members have become trusted servants and are doing wonderful service. We've also seen new meeting leaders and sponsors.

It's gratifying to watch the program grow in these new people and these new people grow in the program.

If you think you'd like to join the trusted servants of TRG, the only requirement at this time is that you have completed the orientation program (or equivalent). Please contact TRGAdm@lists.TheRecoveryGroup.org. if you plan to add service to your program in 2009.

Yours in Recovery,
Dodee & Nancy Lee
TRG Administration

FROM THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE:

The members of TRG's Executive Committee have done just about every Trusted Servant's job there is to do in 12 Step service to either OA, The Recovery Group or both. Working closely with TRGAdm, The Recovery Intergroup, and TRG's Founder, they bring 121 years of cumulative wisdom in handling the issues that come before them concerning members of our community.

In addition to its usual day-to-day duties, the committee had various other new business: a troubled newcomer, the announcement of a possible cyber intergroup, the resolution of an issue in our ItaliaOA support group, the nominations of Loops of the Month for the various Divisions, a proposal for a "Dear Santa" project failing unanimously because of it being an outside interest, and some discussion about starting a Russian Loop.

Linda K.
Committee Member & Ass't to Founder

TRG SPONSOR PROGRAM

Did you realize that The Recovery Group provides a Sponsor Program that helps connect members to an Online Sponsor?
http://www.therecoverygroup.org/sponsors.html

Who are these sponsors?

They are members of The Recovery Group who are working the 12 steps of OA and have become willing to share their recovery with others.

Why do they share their recovery?

So they can put the 12th step into practice and renew their own recovery...thereby receiving the joy that comes from seeing others recover!

How can a member be sponsored online?

The online sponsors share their experience, strength and hope that working the steps has brought to them and they encourage others to also take these 12 steps. An online sponsor uses the tools of email, phone calls, instant messages and literature that the internet makes available to keep in constant contact with their sponsees. Encouraging and gently guiding the new member on the road of happy destiny is the rewarding task of the sponsor and becoming willing to take each step is the task of the sponsee.

How does a member find an online sponsor?

There are several ways:

a. Getting to online meetings and listening to shares and then contacting the people that have what they want.

b. Joining a loop and sharing and meeting those who they feel would be a good match for them as a sponsor.

c. Writing to Sponsors@TheRecoveryGroup.net and asking for biographies of the sponsors who are listed there....(remembering to include the name of the Recovery Group you are now a member of) Then write to several sponsors on that list telling them a bit about yourself and what you expect from a sponsor.

d. Writing a post to RecoverySponsors@Lists.net The recovery group.org telling a little bit about yourself and what you expect from a sponsor. This post will go to every member of the Recovery Sponsor List.

Blessings and JOY to all sponsors and their sponsees!

Patt & Cate
TRG Sponsor Coordinators

Any member of TRG is invited to have their own photo album in a private list. Many have already done this and you're also invited to view them. Using the password, recovery, log into the link below and follow these instructions:

  • Click Here *
  • Click 'Create Album' at top of page
  • Give your album a name and description
  • Check 'personal'
  • Click 'browse' and upload your photos

It is not necessary for you to join the Photo Group to add your photos as some of you are trying to do. You can access this list with the user name, "trgphotos" and password, "recovery." Leave off the quotation marks. This list is strictly to house the album and keep it private. There are no members and no sharing. Just lots of photos.

 * To get the above link to work, I first went to http://www.yahoo.com and logged in as "trgphotos" then came back to this newsletter and clicked on the link above. I was then able to access the photo albums that have been published so far.
Lin, Serendipity Web Servant

FROM THE LOOPS:

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 type of 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 loops.

The Recovery Loops have members from around the world and serve compulsive eaters who speak many languages. A special thanks to translators who make it possible for many resources of TRG to be available to all. After all, recovery is a special language ... a language of the heart.

FROM THE MEETINGS:

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 are listed on the OA website at www.oa.org. If you would like more information about meetings or want to volunteer to lead a one hour meeting each week, please contact Terri and/or Tracy, the Recovery Meeting Coordinators, at MtgAdm@TheRecoveryGroup.org. If you would like to attend a meeting, here's the doorway.

 

TRG MEETINGS ~ CLICK DOORWAY

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

SPOTLIGHT LOOPS OF THE MONTH

TRG Loops fall into one of three divisions. We are pleased to spotlight one group in each of these three Divisions.

RECOVERY DIVISION
DISCOVERY DIVISION
ODAT DIVISION

ODAT DIVISION
SPOTLIGHT OF THE MONTH

 

CO-DEPENDENCY ~ ONE DAY AT A TIME

The Co-Dependency One Day at a Time Twelve Step support group is an anonymous support group where those of us with compulsive behaviors towards food and who must also deal with issues of co-dependency can meet with others and share our experience, strength and hope with each other. Here you are accepted and understood and loved exactly the way you are. You will meet a lot of "strangers" here to begin with, but you will find out that these "strangers" quickly become some of the best friends you will encounter.

Co-dependency is a learned behavior that can be passed down from one generation to another. It is an emotional and behavioral condition that affects an individual's ability to have a healthy, mutually satisfying relationship. It is also known as "relationship addiction" because people with codependency often form or maintain relationships that are one-sided, emotionally destructive and/or abusive. The disorder was first identified about ten years ago as the result of years of studying interpersonal relationships in families of alcoholics. Co-dependent behavior is learned by watching and imitating other family members who display this type of behavior.

WHO DOES CO-DEPENDENCY AFFECT?

Co-dependency often affects a spouse, a parent, sibling, friend, or co-worker of a person afflicted with alcohol or drug dependence. Originally, co-dependent was a term used to describe partners in chemical dependency, persons living with, or in a relationship with an addicted person. Similar patterns have been seen in people in relationships with chronically or mentally ill individuals. Today, however, the term has broadened to describe any co-dependent person from any dysfunctional family.

WHAT IS A DYSFUNCTIONAL FAMILY AND HOW DOES IT LEAD TO CO-DEPENDENCY?

A dysfunctional family is one in which members suffer from fear, anger, pain, or shame that is ignored or denied. Underlying problems may include any of the following:

1. An addiction by a family member to drugs, alcohol, relationships, work, food, sex, or gambling.
2. The existence of physical, emotional, or sexual abuse.
3. The presence of a family member suffering from a chronic mental or physical illness.

Dysfunctional families do not acknowledge that problems exist. They don't talk about them or confront them. As a result, family members learn to repress emotions and disregard their own needs. They become "survivors." They develop behaviors that help them deny, ignore, or avoid difficult emotions. They detach themselves. They don't talk. They don't touch. They don't confront. They don't feel. They don't trust. The identity and emotional development of the members of a dysfunctional family are often inhibited.

Attention and energy focus on the family member who is ill or addicted. The co-dependent person typically sacrifices his or her needs to take care of a person who is sick. When co-dependents place other people's health, welfare and safety before their own, they can lose contact with their own needs, desires, and sense of self.

HOW DO CO-DEPENDENT PEOPLE BEHAVE?

Co-dependents have low self-esteem and look for anything outside of themselves to make them feel better. They find it hard to "be themselves." Some try to feel better through alcohol, drugs or nicotine - and become addicted. Others may develop compulsive behaviors like workaholism, gambling, or indiscriminate sexual activity.

They have good intentions. They try to take care of a person who is experiencing difficulty, but the caretaking becomes compulsive and defeating. Co-dependents often take on a martyr's role and become "benefactors" to an individual in need. A wife may cover for her alcoholic husband; a mother may make excuses for a truant child; or a father may "pull some strings" to keep his child from suffering the consequences of delinquent behavior.

The problem is that these repeated rescue attempts allow the needy individual to continue on a destructive course and to become even more dependent on the unhealthy caretaking of the "benefactor." As this reliance increases, the co-dependent develops a sense of reward and satisfaction from "being needed." When the caretaking becomes compulsive, the co-dependent feels choiceless and helpless in the relationship, but is unable to break away from the cycle of behavior that causes it. Co-dependents view themselves as victims and are attracted to that same weakness in the love and friendship relationships.

CHARACTERISTICS OF CO-DEPENDENT PEOPLE ARE:

1. An exaggerated sense of responsibility for the actions of others.
2. A tendency to confuse love and pity, with the tendency to "love" people they can pity and rescue.
3. A tendency to do more than their share, all of the time.
4. A tendency to become hurt when people don't recognize their efforts.
5. An unhealthy dependence on relationships. The co-dependent will do anything to hold on to a relationship; to avoid the feeling of abandonment.
6. An extreme need for approval and recognition.
7. A sense of guilt when asserting themselves.
8. A compelling need to control others.
9. Lack of trust in self and/or others.
10. Fear of being abandoned or alone.
11. Difficulty identifying feelings.
13. Problems with intimacy/boundaries.
14. Chronic anger.
15. Lying/dishonesty.
16. Poor communications.
17. Difficulty making decisions.

QUESTIONNAIRE TO IDENTIFY SIGNS OF CO-DEPENDENCY

This condition appears to run in different degrees, whereby the intensity of symptoms are on a spectrum of severity, as opposed to an all or nothing scale. Please note that only a qualified professional can make a diagnosis of co-dependency; not everyone experiencing these symptoms suffers from co-dependency.

1. Do you keep quiet to avoid arguments?
2. Are you always worried about others' opinions of you?
3. Have you ever lived with someone with an alcohol or drug problem?
4. Have you ever lived with someone who hits or belittles you?
5. Are the opinions of others more important than your own?
6. Do you have difficulty adjusting to changes at work or home?
7. Do you feel rejected when significant others spend time with friends?
8. Do you doubt your ability to be who you want to be?
9. Are you uncomfortable expressing your true feelings to others?
10. Have you ever felt inadequate?
11. Do you feel like a "bad person" when you make a mistake?
12. Do you have difficulty taking compliments or gifts?
13. Do you feel humiliation when your child or spouse makes a mistake?
14. Do you think people in your life would go downhill without your constant efforts?
15. Do you frequently wish someone could help you get things done?
16. Do you have difficulty talking to people in authority, such as the police or your boss?
17. Are you confused about who you are or where you are going with your life?
18. Do you have trouble saying "no" when asked for help?
19. Do you have trouble asking for help?
20. Do you have so many things going at once that you can't do justice to any of them?

If you identify with several of these symptoms; are dissatisfied with yourself or your relationships; you should consider seeking professional help. Arrange for a diagnostic evaluation with a licensed physician or psychologist experienced in treating co-dependency.

HOW IS CO-DEPENDENCY TREATED?

Because co-dependency is usually rooted in a person's childhood, treatment often involves exploration into early childhood issues and their relationship to current destructive behavior patterns. Treatment includes education, experiential groups, and individual and group therapy through which co-dependents rediscover themselves and identify self-defeating behavior patterns. Treatment also focuses on helping patients in getting in touch with feelings that have been buried during childhood and on reconstructing family dynamics. The goal is to allow them to experience their full range of feelings again.

WHEN CO-DEPENDENCY HITS HOME

The first step in changing unhealthy behavior is understanding it. It is important for co-dependents and their family members to educate themselves about the course and cycle of addiction and how it extends into their relationships. Libraries, drug and alcohol abuse treatment centers and mental health centers often offer educational materials and programs to the public.

A lot of change and growth is necessary for the co-dependent and his or her family. Any caretaking behavior that allows or enables abuse to continue in the family needs to be recognized and stopped. The co-dependent must identify and embrace his or her feelings and needs. This may include learning to say "no," to be loving yet tough, and learning to be self-reliant. People find freedom, love, and serenity in their recovery.

Hope lies in learning more. The more you understand co-dependency the better you can cope with its effects. Reaching out for information and assistance can help someone live a healthier, more fulfilling life.

RECOVERY DIVISION
SPOTLIGHT OF THE MONTH

OASIS

Welcome Home!

The OAsis Meeting List offers a program of recovery from compulsive overeating using the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions. OAsis is more than an e-mail list to discuss issues relating to compulsive eating. The mission is the same as an Overeaters Anonymous face-to-face-meeting.

OAsis will provide a fellowship of experience, strength and hope where members respect one another's anonymity. We charge no dues nor fees; we are self-supported by dedicated Trusted Servants who volunteer their time and skills to carry the message to others and in so doing help their own recovery.

Unlike other organizations, OA is not just about weight loss, obesity or diets; it addresses physical, emotional and spiritual well-being. It is not a religious organization and does not promote any particular diet. To address weight loss, OA encourages members to develop a food plan with a health care professional and a sponsor. If you want to stop your compulsive eating, welcome to Overeaters Anonymous, to The Recovery Group and to OAsis.

The OAsis list is a moderated list. All sharing will be one-way just as in a face-to-face meeting. Only OA or Recovery Group literature will be used in this support loop meeting. Members of OAsis will have access to all loops, studies, programs and services of The Recovery Group.

OAsis Holiday Greetings

OUR TOPIC ~ "POWERLESSNESS"

"The fact is that most alcoholics, for reasons yet obscure, have lost the power of choice in drink. Our so-called willpower becomes practically nonexistent. We are unable, at certain times, to bring into our consciousness with sufficient force the memory of the suffering and humiliation of even a week or a month ago. We are without defense against the first drink." Alcoholics Anonymous, pg. 24

OUR QUESTIONS

1. Why are we "without defense against the first drink?" (How does this apply to you?)
2. Tell us about your experiences as a compulsive overeater during the holiday season. (How was it? Do you remember the holiday event itself or do more memories linger over what was served? How did you feel about yourself after the holidays were over?)
3. How do you plan to stay abstinent during this holiday season?
4. What are your 'relapse revelations?' (What have you learned about yourself?)
5. What can you do 'Just For Today' that will strengthen your program?

ADDITIONAL TOPICS FOR SHARING ~ ESSAY QUESTIONS

1. OA's 12&12, p. 2: "Compulsive Overeaters, however, often have an abnormal reaction when we overindulge. We can't quit. A normal eater gets full and loses interest in food. We compulsive overeaters crave more."
ESSAY: How has craving more hurt me in the past? Am I able to stop on will power alone?

2. FOR TODAY, p. 112: "I readily admit I have no self-control when it comes to eating. God can and does, however, do for me what I cannot do for myself."
ESSAY: Why do I have no self-control around food? How does God 'Do for me what I cannot do for myself?'

3. BIG BOOK, pg. 25: "If you are as seriously alcoholic as we were, we believe there is no middle-of-the-road solution."
ESSAY: Do you believe a 'middle-of-the-road solution' is possible this holiday season? Or do you agree that there is 'no middle-of-the-road solution' possible for a compulsive overeater during the holidays or for that matter, all year long? Why?

4. FOR TODAY, p. 359: "Today I know that the pain of compulsive overeating is worse than any problem I may have to face. . . Although my life is better than it has ever been, I need a daily reminder that abstinence is the single most important thing in my life. I have paid my dues as a compulsive overeater. . . I never want to go back to where I came from."
ESSAY: What is your daily reminder that abstinence is the single most important thing in your life?

OUR PRAYER

As we begin the week, can we stop for a moment this morning and quietly say these words:

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.

OUR LISTENING

Speaker: Dawn C.
Topic: "What A Gift"
OA Camp Highroad Retreat Speaker - Summer 2007
75 Minutes - Big File But Worth Every Ounce. Excellent Story.

http://www.oanova.org

OUR READING

The Ghost of Bingeing Past

On a quiet Christmas Eve in the house of an OA maintainer, everyone had gone to bed for the night. Carole lay awake in her bed, though, contemplating tomorrow's planned gathering of family and friends. She thought of two Christmases past, when she'd been losing weight and couldn't partake of the various treats at the party. But this year would be different; she'd been maintaining since March. "Maybe I could taste just a little bit," she thought as she drifted off to sleep.

Klump! Klump! Klump! Carole awoke and sat up quickly.

There at the foot of her bed stood a rather obese woman in a torn flannel gown holding a plate of food. Her hair was a mess, hanging down as she stared at her plate. She slowly looked up at Carole, her face smeared with jelly and crumbs and a tear trickling down her cheek. Carole gasped and thought, "She looks just like I did before I came to OA!"

Who are you?" Carole asked. "What are you doing here?" The sad-faced lady at the foot of the bed said with a shaky voice, "I am the ghost of Christmas-Bingeing Past. I have come to remind you how it was." As quickly as she'd appeared she was gone.

"What a dream," Carole thought, "I must be on a guilt trip about all the food I'll be serving tomorrow." She went back to sleep but was soon awakened, this time by a voice. A woman stood in front of Carole's mirror; from the woman's reflection, Carole could see the hurt and anger in her eyes. The woman was cursing her dress, which she couldn't zip up. She gave up in frustration.

"I don't understand it," the woman said as she looked into the mirror. "I didn't eat any more than anyone else over the holidays! Why me? Well, I'm not going to that OA meeting now that I don't have any clothes that fit right." Carole asked, "Who are you?" The woman in the tight dress replied, "Well, if you have to know, I'm the ghost of Christmas-Bingeing Present. All I had was a couple of small pieces of fruit cake and some eggnog." With that, she vanished.

At 4:00 a.m., Carole felt like she had just dozed off when she was awakened by the loudest, most uncontrolled sobbing she had ever heard. It was coming from the kitchen. She approached the room cautiously; as she looked in, she was shocked! It was a mess; dirty dishes were stacked on the counter with open food containers everywhere. The cupboards were open, and food was all over the table. A woman weighing over three hundred pounds stood peering into the refrigerator, sobbing loudly. "God, please make me stop," she wailed. "I don't want to die of overeating!"

Carole couldn't stand it. She approached the sobbing woman and said, "Who are you? Haven't you ever heard of Overeaters Anonymous?"

"Who am I? Have I ever heard of OA? I'm the lady who was in OA for three years and maintained my weight loss for ten months," the woman answered. ''I'm the one who quit going to meetings because my size-nine dress wouldn't zip up, and my pride was hurt. I'm the ghost of Christmas-Bingeing Future, and I could be you!" Carole ran back to her bed as the ghost disappeared. Mercifully, sleep finally came to her.

Carole awoke in the morning without any doubts of her abstinence. She thanked God for the beautiful day and for her family both at home and in OA. As Christmas day progressed, guests arrived and gifts were exchanged. There were also many treats. Each time Carole was asked to sample something, she just smiled and said, "No, thank you. I'm quite full with what I have inside right now."
Anonymous - Canada

Relapse Revelations

Two weeks ago I gave in to the compulsion to overeat, and I've been in a major relapse ever since. I'm by no means happy about this, but looking back, I've learned a lot of lessons I hope I'll never forget.

* I can no allow longer allow myself the luxury of a "one-day" binge. My illness has progressed far beyond that point.

* When I'm in relapse there's never enough food. I run frantically from sweet to salty, from cold to hot, and start the cycle all over again - never finding that one elusive "magic" food that will sedate me at last. I'm like a wild woman, cramming down food well past the point of feeling sick and stuffed - yet already planning what to eat next.

* The food I binged on didn't do one thing to make me feel better. All it did was steal two weeks of my life.

* When I'm in relapse, I become so obsessed that I can think of nothing else. Each evening is spent planning my binges for the next day, wrestling with the compulsion monster far into the night, wondering: "Will I binge tomorrow?

What will I binge on? How will I sneak the food? Where will I hide the wrappers?" Even in sleep the obsession controls me.

* When I give in to the food, my disease rapidly reactivates. I find myself behaving as destructively as I did in my pre-OA days, waking up each morning thinking: "This is it! I'm going to be okay today"- only to find myself diving desperately for the food just a few hours later .

* I haven't forgotten how to be sneaky. I caught myself secretly eating large amounts of food when no one was around, then hiding the trash. What I had forgotten was the tremendous amount of guilt and self-hatred that go along with that behavior. When I'm sneak eating, I feel like a phony while my true self gets lost under mounds of food and negative behavior.

But perhaps the most important realization that's come out of this is that I do know how to surrender after all. I always questioned the concept of surrendering to a Higher Power. But now I see that for the past two weeks I totally surrendered to food! I'd given food complete control and power over me. I was no longer in charge of my life or how I spent my time; the obsession decided that for me.

Since I already know what it means to give something complete power over me, why not surrender to what will truly care for me and love me as food never can: a loving Higher Power that I choose to call God?

As I've heard said so many times, and now truly believe: "It's much harder to get abstinent than to stay abstinent" and "Nothing tastes as good as abstinence feels."
- Florida, USA

Welcome Home!

HAVE YOU EVER WISHED you could lose ten pounds, twenty, forty, or a hundred or more? Have you ever wished that once you got it off you could keep it off! Welcome to OA; welcome home!

Have you sometimes felt out of step with the world, like a homeless orphan without a place where you really belong? Welcome to OA; welcome home!

Have you ever wished your family would get to work or school so that you could get busy eating? Welcome to OA; welcome home!

Have you ever awakened first thing in the morning and felt happy because you remembered that your favorite goodie was waiting for you in the fridge or in the cupboard? Welcome to OA; welcome home!

Have you ever looked up at the stars and wondered what an insignificant person like you was doing in the world anyway? Welcome to OA; welcome home!

Have you ever cooked, bought or baked for your family and then eaten everything yourself so that you wouldn't have to share? We know you in OA because we are you. Welcome to OA; welcome home!

Have you ever wanted to hide in the house, without going to work, without getting cleaned up or even getting dressed, without seeing anyone or letting anyone see you? Welcome to OA; welcome home!

Have you ever hidden food under the bed, under the pillow, in the drawer, in the bathroom, in the wastebasket, the cupboard, the clothes hamper, the closet or the car so that you could eat without anyone seeing you? Welcome to OA; welcome home!

Have you ever been angry, resentful, defiant - against God, your mate, your doctor. your mother, your father. your friends, your children, the salesperson in the store whose look spoke a thousand words as you tried on clothes - because they were thin, because they wanted you to be thin, and because you were forced to diet to please them or shut them up or make them eat their words and their looks? We welcome you to OA; welcome home!

Have you ever sobbed out your misery in the dark night because no one loved or understood you? Welcome to OA; welcome home!

Have you ever felt that God (if God existed at all) made the biggest mistake when God created you? Can you see that this is where such feelings get turned around? Welcome to OA; welcome home!

Have you ever wanted to get on a bus and just keep going, without ever once looking back? Did you do it? Welcome to OA; welcome home!

Have you ever thought the whole world was a mess and if they would just think and act like you, the world would be a lot better off? Welcome to OA; welcome home!

Have you ever thought that OA people must be a bit nuts? That they might be compulsive overeaters, but you just have a weight problem which you can take care of beginning tomorrow; they might be one bite from insane eating, but you are just a little or a lot overweight? Welcome to OA; welcome home!

Have you ever told anyone who would listen how great you are, how talented, how intelligent, how powerful - all the time knowing they would never believe it, because you didn't believe it? Welcome to OA; welcome home!

Have you ever lost all your weight and found that you were thin-unhappy instead of fat-unhappy? Welcome to OA; welcome home!

Have you ever worn a mask or hundreds of masks because you were sure that if you shared the person you really were, no one could ever love or accept you? We accept you in OA. May we offer you a home?

Overeaters Anonymous extends to all of you the gift of acceptance. No matter who you are, where you come from or where you are heading, you are welcome here! No matter what you have done or failed to do, what you have felt or haven't felt, where you have slept, or with whom, whom you have loved or hated - you may be sure of our acceptance.

We accept you as you are, not as you would be if you could melt yourself and mold yourself and shape yourself into what other people think you should be. Only you can decide what you want to be.

But we will help you work for the goals you set, and when you are successful we will rejoice with you; and when you slip, we will tell you that we are not failures just because we sometimes fail, and we'll hold out our arms, in love, and stand beside you as you pull yourself back up and walk on again to where you are heading! You'll never have to cry alone again, unless you choose to.

Sometimes we fail to be all that we should be, and sometimes we aren't there to give you all you need from us. Accept our imperfection, too. Love us in return and help us in our sometimes-falling failing. That's what we are in OA - imperfect, but trying. Let's rejoice together in our effort and in the assurance that we can have a home, if we want one.

Welcome to OA; Wecome home!

September/October 1977 - Lifeline Sampler - Page 173

HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO ALL

From the Trusted Servants of OAsis

DISCOVERY DIVISION
SPOTLIGHT OF THE MONTH

EXERCISE

As members of The Recovery Group community, we have the ability to enjoy all of the many services that TRG has to offer. The Exercise Group just happens to be one of those many services that TRG provides. The Exercise Group can also be used as a tool, in conjunction with ones program, as we "trudge the road of happy destiny."

As members of the Exercise Group, participants share their experience, strength and hope in exercise as it relates to them in the Twelve Steps. The Exercise Group is a place where people can come to find motivation, ideas, and the willingness to keep following their own individual exercise paths as they pull together to support one another.

The Exercise Group also offers information on various topics with web links to those sites. Some of these topics include, Health and Fitness, with links to Runnersworld and Cory Everson; Walking, with links to The Tri-athletes Web, American Volksport Association, Race Walking, and Tri Chat ~ Sports Chat; Running, with links to the All American Trail Running Association (AATRA) and Hal Higdon's On The Run; Compulsive Exercising with a link to Exercise Bulimia; other exercise links include, Why Is Swimming So Hard?

For more information regarding the various topics listed above or for information on how to join the Exercise Group click on the link listed below:
http://www.therecoverygroup.org/discovery/exercise/.

EXERCISE AND RECOVERY

I have been involved with the exercise loop for the past year. It has really been a blessing in my recovery. When I first started I thought "I" would help inspire the other members since exercise to me is second nature. Exercise for me has always been the "easy" part of my recovery.

Boy, how wrong I was. I have been so moved, blessed, and motivated by others in the loop. The days that I don't feel like getting out there I receive the strength I need from them. Some days I am just blessed that I can exercise after hearing their stories of recovery from injury. However, there are days that we focus only on OA and not exercise.

What I thought was going to be about "just" exercise has been the best thing that I have done for my recovery. Our loop is about exercise but it is also about support, love, OA and a meeting of really good friends!

Gerri Y.

THE VOICE TO SPEAK

My name is Teresa and I am a COE and recovering codependent. I joined the CoDependencyODAT loop approximately 2 years ago after being in OA for about a year. My issues with codependency fueled my eating disorder and I needed this loop along with my regular OA meetings to ensure my recovery from food addiction. I have heard that codependency is the root of all addictions and I firmly believe that to be true for myself.

On the group website, there is a list of the characteristics of codependency and I pretty much fit them all. Sharing on this loop gives me a voice to speak about those issues. I can share things here that really wouldn't be okay in a regular OA meeting. Plus, I learn so much from what others share around their codependency.

The CoDependencyODAT loop, along with my f2f meetings, gives my recovery a nice balance. I am very grateful to be a part of it and truly feel at home here.

Thanks for allowing me to share.

Love in Recovery,
Teresa

QUOTE OF THE MONTH

"God doesn't close one door without opening a better one ...
BUT
we've got to get out fingers out of the closing door. The reason
we're in pain is because we have our fingers in a door God is trying to close."

http://www.oahouston.org/oa-sayings.html

ABSTINENT RECIPE OF THE MONTH
FROM THE MAYO CLINIC

Recipe: Herb-Rubbed Turkey Au Jus

Dietitian's Tip: Instead of adding butter to the turkey and serving it with gravy, this healthy version is complemented with an herbal rub and a flavorful au jus. Serves 10.

For The Rub:
2 teaspoons dried sage
1 tablespoon dried thyme
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1 whole turkey (about 15 pounds), thawed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup water


For The Au Jus:
2 teaspoons dried sage
1 tablespoon dried thyme
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 cup apple juice
1 cup defatted pan drippings

 

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 325 F.

In a small bowl, combine the sage, thyme and parsley to make the rub. Mix well and set aside.

Remove the neck and giblets from the turkey and discard. Rinse the turkey inside and out with cool water. Pat dry with paper towels.

Starting at the neck area, insert fingers or a spoon between the layer of skin and meat to gently loosen the skin. Place the turkey breast-side up on a rack in a roasting pan.

Add about 1 tablespoon of the herb mixture under the skin of each breast. Rub the outside of the turkey with the olive oil. Rub the remaining herb mixture over the outside of the bird.

Loosely tie the legs together. Place into the middle of the oven.

After about 1 1/2 hours, cover the turkey with a tent of foil to prevent overcooking. Check the doneness after the bird has roasted about 3 to 3 1/2 hours. The turkey is done when the thigh is pierced deeply and juices run clear (180 to 185 F) or when the breast muscle reaches 170 to 175 F.

Remove the turkey from the oven. Let it stand about 20 minutes to allow juices to settle in the meat. Deglaze the pan by adding 1/2 cup water. Stir to scrape up the browned bits. Pour pan drippings into a gravy separator. Reserve 1 cup of defatted pan drippings for the au jus.

To make the au jus, combine the sage, thyme, parsley, honey and apple juice in a saucepan. Simmer over medium heat until reduced by half. Add the defatted pan drippings and bring to a low boil, stirring often.

Carve the turkey and drizzle turkey slices with the herbed au jus. Serve immediately.

Nutritional Analysis
(per serving)

Serving size: 5 ounces light and dark meat
Calories 215
Cholesterol 122 mg
Protein 37 g
Sodium 85 mg
Carbohydrate 5 g
Fiber < 1 g
Total fat 3 g Potassium 361 mg
Saturated fat 1 g Calcium 41 mg
Monounsaturated fat 1 g

The Triple Crown of Eating

Halloween!
Thanksgiving!
Christmas/Chanukah!

I've heard in the rooms of Overeaters Anonymous, that this season is fondly referred to as the Triple Crown of Eating.

On Halloween, we can sit back and watch the 'normies' throw a few pieces of candy into a bag, while joyfully stating, "Trick or Treat!" Then the kids sort through their stash and put it away, many forgetting about it entirely. They are more interested in the scary skeletons, pumpkins and creative costumes of their friends. Not me.

In my disease, I stole that candy from those sweet innocents. I ate so much that I got sick the next day. As soon as I could manage holding something down, it was back to the stash until it was gone.

Thanksgiving, a festive time, when families come together in a spirit of gratitude, at a table filled with traditional foods. They enjoy good conversation, eat a little too much, take a big nap after the meal and go back the next day to sane eating. Not me.

In my disease, I cooked and sampled during the entire preparation time. I sat at the table, with my loving family, eating demure, dainty portions. While I participated in the conversation, my mind was really on getting more food. Afterwards, I 'cleaned up', shooing everyone out of the kitchen so I could get what I needed. I gorged again the next day, and the next, in an unending cycle of binges and diets.

Then the Christmas holiday would come, with the fragrant smell of fresh baked cookies and other treats, stockings filled with delectable delights and lovely decorated packages under the tree. We could look forward to a special dinner with family and friends, good conversation, and exchange of gifts. Not me.

In my disease, I prepared the cookie dough, ate most of it, managed to bake maybe 50% of the batch and ate half of those. No wonder the yield was always so much less than the recipe. I'd buy treats for the stockings, raid them, buy more, eat that, buy more ... I bought gifts for others, sometimes very extravagant, gifts I couldn't afford. Oh, how I ached for them to like me. I felt lonely and detached from the people and their celebration, and needed more and more food to get through it all.

The Triple Crown of Eating season contributed greatly to my top weight of 248, where my end solution was just to quit weighing myself. I went up two more dress sizes before I was able to break out of that misery.

I am free of that vicious year-end cycle for the last fifteen and a half years, since finding Overeaters Anonymous. Those three holidays have taken on new meaning in recovery. I no longer need to steal food, practice gluttony or writhe in pain from eating raw cookie dough. I have learned new tools to help me get through the season. Wearing the same size in January that I wore in October, now that is a first class miracle!

Beside the well-known tools of OA (a plan of eating, sponsorship, meetings, literature, writing, service, phone calls, anonymity), I have found three more that really help, especially during the Triple Crown of Eating Season. Would you like to know what they are?

Okay, the first one is to Give!

We have a disease of self centeredness. If I find a way to give, it takes me out of that self-focus and I can concentrate on others. During Halloween, I love to carve pumpkins. They can be donated to assisted living facilities or hospitals. I can volunteer to write letters for the elderly and maybe even read them a book.

The second one is very similar to the first.

Give.

We used to gather at my younger sister's home in North Carolina for Thanksgiving. With extended family, we could have as many as 30 people for dinner! We celebrated the fall season by raking leaves in their big front yard and collecting the eggs from the barn in the evening. I didn't have to be messing around in the kitchen with the food - let the gourmet chefs in the family tend to that. The boys always make sure that there is plenty for me within the scope of my plan of eating. I can play with the younger kids, and now grandkids, talk with my mother, play games with the mid-range kidlets and help with the dishes after dinner.

I bet you know what I'm going to say for the third rule.

If you guessed "Give" you are right!

Now I start very early and make a lot of the gifts for family, crocheting, painting and writing stories for the little ones. I have turned over the baking cookies to the experts - my kids. I'll help, but it is so amazing. When I'm not the chief cookie baker, there are lots of cookies! I take tags off the trees in the church and grocery store to buy gifts for children who aren't as blessed as me. I carol with some neighbors at homes of shut in's.

I love the holidays now. And when they're officially over, I do not have to make a diet New Year's resolution. I can go into my closet and pick out a beautiful dress to wear from year to year, only worried about who's seen it, not whether it will fit or not.

Give.
Give.
Give.

It works for me. Maybe it could work for you too.

Written By: Gerri
Abstinent Since May 15, 1993. Maintaining A 100 Plus Pound Weight Loss.

CLOSER TO MY DREAM

I am closer to my dream
Close your eyes
Imagine me
To just hold out my hand, I can see it
My dream is within my reach
My dream is real, this I do believe
Just a glimpse into the future,
peeking through the light of a crystallized moon
I am there, I am here
I am a dream fulfilled
I used to be afraid to dream
I never believed that a dream could come true
But, now I do
It has happened to me
I have begun my journey
I am poetry and how sweet it is
I am closer to my dream
Close your eyes
Imagine me
My dream has become... a reality.
By Keisha L. Short

THE ROAD I HAVE TRAVELED

The road I have Traveled.
Bridges I have crossed.
I've gone the extra mile,
I've come to many stops...
I had a few road blocks,
toward what I thought,
could be the end..
But had to be brought back
a mile or two again.
So when closure comes,
I do know what it will mean.
I'll finally have peace of mind,
I'll be able to feel, think, and breathe
I probably won't believe it.
I'll think it is all a dream.
And although the journey will have ended.
I'll never forget what I've learned along the way,
or how I learned to take it day by day.

~ Regina J. Broker

From OA's Lifeline

I CHOOSE

 

I have received at least 10 invitations for holiday open-house events. It's nice to know people enjoy my company and want to invite me. However, it is overwhelming to think of all that food spread on tables, looking so tantalizing. I must remember that just because the rest of the world seems to eat with reckless abandon (it's the holidays; I deserve it!), that doesn't give me the green light to change my food plan by even a morsel. And I need to remember this is not a punishment. Keeping the same food plan during holidays, just like any other time, is one of the greatest gifts I can give myself and those around me.

I know that if I start playing in the holiday goodies, I will end up back where I started with my face in a candy dish and my soul full of shame. This can only bring misery. I don't know about you, but to me that sounds like a pretty sad way to spend the holidays.

This year I choose to do the following: stick with my food plan, attend meetings, talk to my sponsor and other recovering compulsive overeaters, and use the tools and Steps to help me through this holiday period without picking up that first compulsive bite.

This program gives me more than I could ever ask for on a wish list — inner peace, hope and unconditional love.

~ South Central Pennsylvania Intergroup, December 2004 ~ LIFELINE, December 2007

THE TOOLS OF RECOVERY

When dealing with holiday temptations, I stay sane by using the OA tools. When I was in relapse, holidays were a nightmare. I would sweat with fear over what I would and would not eat. If I overindulged, I thought everyone knew, and I felt immense shame. My clothes felt tighter at the thought of eating at a party. It was a nightmare.

Thank Higher Power! I finally woke up from my long and ugly relapse nightmare. Coming back to program lifted me out of the dark despair around food. Holiday parties don't frighten me any longer, because I take my OA toolbox wherever I go.

Literature: on the day of a party, I read the daily page of For Today and/or an article in Lifeline. It centers me to know I'm not alone and help is always available.

Service: when I feel I need help preparing for an event, I increase my service by sharing at a meeting, holding a service position (even if only for a day) or writing an article for Lifeline.

Anonymity: keeping meetings safe for others helps me feel safe. Feeling safe keeps me sane at social events.

Sponsorship: I share with my sponsor that I'm going to an event and ask for her feedback. I also share with my sponsees what's worked for me in the past. These relationships keep my program fresh and vibrant.

Telephone: I "bookend" my events by calling an OA member before and after the event. If I feel anxious, I make program calls on the way to the event. While I�m on the phone, I commit to saying a quick prayer before entering the event. This helps me consciously to bring my Higher Power with me.

Meetings: I share about upcoming social events at meetings. I ask for others to share their experience, strength and hope with me after the meeting. I love hearing what works for others.

Food Plan: Ah, my beloved food plan. It helps me know what I can have and what I don't need to worry about for that night. I find great freedom in knowing what I'll eat ahead of time.

Writing: If I have time, I write for five minutes or more about what I envision the event to be like. I write about the feelings I�d like to experience and the connection I'd like to feel with others and my Higher Power.

These tools remind me I'm not alone anymore. I have friends who understand and support me. My Higher Power has given me a loving community and workable tools to help me remain sane. When I use my tools, I am free to be the loving child of Higher Power I was meant to be. And let me tell you, I'm much better as a party guest when I'm in recovery!

~ Lisa B., San Francisco, California USA, LIFELINE, December 2000

SERENDIPITY'S STAFF

Reporter ~ Solicit Articles
Tina ~ oarecovery@YAHOO.COM
Gerri ~ yarmak@AOL.COM
Heidi ~ skipdun@MYCLEARWAVE.NET
Leeanne ~ Leeanne.SHILO@3DS.COM

Reporter ~ Contact Members For Stories
Gerri ~ yarmak@AOL.COM
Heidi ~ skipdun@MYCLEARWAVE.NET
Leeanne ~ Leeanne.SHILO@3DS.COM

Reporter ~ Find Pre-written Recovery Related Material
Sharon ~ loop92@YAHOO.COM
Gerri ~ yarmak@AOL.COM
Heidi ~ skipdun@MYCLEARWAVE.NET
Leeanne ~ Leeanne.SHILO@3DS.COM

Proof Reader
Leeanne ~ Leeanne.SHILO@3DS.COM


December Editor
Heidi ~ skipdun@myclearwave.net

COORDINATORS AND MEETING LEADERS

QUALIFICATIONS

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.

If interested in giving service ~ please send an email to:
TRGAdm@TheRecoveryGroup.org

TRG's Trusted Servants

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

Click on the link below for the directory of all of
TRG's Coordinators and Administrators:

TRG'S COORDINATORS & ADMINISTRATORS

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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