The Recovery Group's

12 Step Community Newsletter

February 2009 ~ Volume 10, Issue 2

 

CONTENTS

From the Editor
Two Important Announcements
I'm a COE! Why Study the Big Book?
Founder's Corner
From the Administration
From the Executive Committee
From the Loops
From the Meetings
TRG Sponsor Program
Trusted Servants ~ Service
The Voice of Recovery/TRG Style
Big Book Study
Spotlight Loops of the Month
Recovery Division
ODAT Division
Discovery Division
Low-Fat Recipe of the Month
Recovery Stories
OA's Lifeline
TRG'S Recovery Writings
Qualifications
TRG's Trusted Servants
Serenity Prayer
Serendipity Website

FROM THE EDITOR:

Dear Serendipity Readers,

I heard a gifted OA speaker once say, "Every morning we wake up on the edge of a cliff with a decision to make. We can make the decision to step off that cliff into our addiction or we make the decision to step back from that cliff by doing service. The service work we did yesterday or last year will not keep us safe from the edge of that cliff. It is the service work that we do today that keeps us from stepping over the cliff's edge."

I've always enjoyed service work. For me, doing service is like taking out an insurance policy on myself. Every ounce of service work I participate in, no matter how small, keeps me focused on the program while allowing me the chance to give back what was so freely given to me.

Opportunities in which to give service within my local face-to-face group, my intergroup, and here on TRG are always readily available. It is just a matter of my being willing to go to any length for the recovery I have been given.

I have an AA sponsor who is excellent at volunteering me for service jobs wether I am willing or not and no is never an acceptable answer. My sponsor says that by doing service I am in a way showing how grateful I am to this wonderful program for the benefits that it has brought into my life. My sponsor has a valid point, any form of service that I can give today helps to keep me from stepping off that cliff's edge back into my addiction.

Heidi L ~ Editor

TWO ANNOUNCEMENTS

SPEAKER MEETING TONIGHT
February 1st ~ 10:00 PM ET ~ JOIN RAY & FRIENDS

Nothing inspires us more than reading about someone who is in love with life because of their Twelve Step Program. A few days ago you were sent Ray's story and invited to join him in our #Recovery Meeting Room to share with him, ask him questions and to enjoy an informal speaker meeting. Lin, one of our 12 Step Online Meeting Leaders will facilitate the meeting tonight, introduce yourself to Ray and he will take it from there. Ray is Coordinator of TRG's Big Book Friend's support loop and recently spoke to the Newcomers on Food Plans. So come join us for an hour of inspiration and fun.

CLICK HERE TO READ RAY'S STORY BEFORE THE MEETING

CLICK HERE TO JOIN RAY AND FRIENDS AT 10:00 TONIGHT

BEGINNING TODAY, FEBRUARY 1ST
The 2009 Big Book Study

Later in this issue, you will find a a complete description of our
Big Book Study, the Big Book Leaders and Trusted Servants
and a handy button to join the 2009 Study.

I'M A COMPULSIVE EATER!

WHY STUDY THE ALCOHOLIC'S ANONYMOUS BIG BOOK?

When I came to OA nearly 23 years ago I was sufficiently beaten down by my food related problems that I was willing to listen to anyone who exhibited any degree of sanity when it came to behavior around food. It was a blessing that my first sponsor introduced me to the Big Book and I gave no argument. But I know that is not always the case for others. My favorite is the OA member who bought the Big Book as instructed and read it from cover to cover. This OA member says she read it as a novel and felt real sorrow for those poor alcoholics in the stories. After finishing the Big Book she gave it to a university fund raiser. Years later she returned to the Big Book and today is a strong advocate for studying it.

Why do I continue to study the Big Book and try to guide those desiring recovery through it? The Big Book instructions for living have completely changed my life for the better. To start with, I could not remain a stable size before coming to OA and meeting the Big Book. But, reaching and maintaining a stable weight (150.5 lbs, 68.4 kilos, 10 stone 10.5 at 5'10"/1.8 meters tall) for over 20 years was only the beginning. Not only has my relationship with food changed, but my relationship with the world has changed.

The forward to the first edition of the Big Book starts with, “We, of Alcoholics Anonymous, are more than one hundred men and women who have recovered from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body.” When it came to my behavior around food I could identify with the “hopeless state of mind and body.” Then it goes on to say that they will show “PRECISELY HOW WE HAVE RECOVERED.” Twice they used the word “recovered” in the Forward. There are over ten references to “recovered” in the pages up to page 164.

In the Chapter, “Into Action” we read, “We have not even sworn off. Instead, the problem has been removed. It does not exist for us.” (Big Book, p.85) in the paragraph called the “Tenth Step Promises.” Releasing 100 lbs/45.4 kilos/7 stone 2 is only a small part of the miracle. The changes in my whole attitude toward life are extraordinary.

In the TRG Big Book Study we have covered the AA 12 Traditions and “The Doctor’s Opinion” in the Big Book in January 2009. We are about to start “Bill’s Story” in February. If you want to be relieved of the problems with food consider joining us for the rest of 2009.

AtlantaCharles

FOUNDER'S CORNER

IN CHAOS THERE LIES OPPORTUNITY

Dear Serendipity Readers,

The Recovery Group had a decision to make recently. It wasn't a difficult decision ... but the aftermath of it was difficult. As you know, the essence of The Recovery Group fellowship is one of "community." Unlike many other virtual support groups and meetings,TRG has incorporated many venues for compulsive eaters who love the 12 Step way of life to come and work the program together. "Together" is the keyword here.

I like to think of TRG as a little town with trees and flowers and buildings and homes ... and in each building are resources to help us carry and receive the 12 Step message ... and in each home are those who need to hear it and who want to share their experience, strength and hope with others. We aren't just a lot of online 12 Step Meetings ... nor are we just many support loops ... or Big Book and WTS Step Studies. Like a giant spider web, woven in and out of these are sponsor programs, recovery writings, websites, special focus loops and meetings and so much more. It is not uncommon to have someone work their program incorporating all of our resources as well as their OA face-to-face meetings. Intertwined with these can be a visit to our extensive website and daily readings from our original literature. We are, indeed, a community, one in which our members come for recovery but not only find that but also many take root here, give service and make lasting friendships.

TRG loves OA. Most of our members belong to OA and we know that OA loves TRG. One of the requirements of OA, however, is that no OA meetings can be affiliated with an outside interest group. We like that. But what we don't like and there's no getting around it ... is the fact that The Recovery Group is categorized as an outside interest group to OA and will continue to be until they rethink its definition of this. That definition has to do with "real time" and needs to be revisited. OA says that you can't be OA if you aren't in real time; therefore, no virtual 12 Step Support loop can be a part of OA. But there's a caveat. OA says our meetings can be OA. That was a wise move on OA's part but it had a significant drawback. TRG/OA members couldn't announce anything that had to do with The Recovery Group in Recovery Group meetings. What that meant was that we couldn't talk about or make announcements about our 12 Step support loops in our meetings ... or our WTS and Big Book Studies ... or quote one of our meditations ... or mention our website or even share this newsletter you're now reading. It seemed wrong to our members. It confused them. And so we chose to keep our meetings the way they have been for well over a decade and not fracture our community by making it into a hybrid.

There were some who didn't understand this and who over-reacted. Nothing at all changed but their voices were loud and there were disruptions in both the meetings and the loops. We anticipated some of this but both the Group Consciences we took were unanimous and so we notified OA that our fellowship would continue as it always had and turned down the invitation to be listed on the OA website. It was a matter of credibility. OA cannot with credibility say that they are not affiliating with an outside interest group when they register their meetings and advertise them on their website. So the solution will be a simple one ... to one day set forth the criteria for 12 Step organizations for compulsive eaters such as TRG to be inclusive rather than exclusive. As it now stands, anyone can open a chat room, be in real time, follow some basic rules and be registered and listed on the site. But an organization like ours serving tens of thousands of compulsive eaters world wide cannot be listed without giving up what we have worked so hard for so long to build.

~ In chaos there lies opportunity ~

The chaos is no longer. TRG's decision was the only decision possible and was a good one. For several weeks we worked hard to keep up with the questions and give honest answers. Credibility is important to us. Our Trusted Servants rose to the occasion, proved their loyalty and dedication as they focused on why they were here in the first place ... and we are a cohesive fellowship again. The opportunities in the future are there just waiting for us to take advantage of them. And, one day at a time, so we shall.

The Recovery Group is an Outside Interest to OA. OA is not an Outside Interest to The Recovery Group.

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

MONTHLY HAPPENINGS AROUND TRG

FROM THE ADMINISTRATION:

The TRG Administration was busy this month with the beginning of a new Working the Steps study, the Big Book study and a Newcomers Orientation. The questions and comments sent to the TRG Administrators are slowing down as members are settling in.

Look for some new changes to be taking place soon in the TRG Administrative office. We are excited and believe it will give us the opportunity to provide improved services to our fellow compulsive eaters here at our recovery home.

Just a reminder that TRG has well over a thousand web pages of help and information available for our use also. If you haven't already done so, please check out the web site and click on the links.

http://www.therecoverygroup.org

Yours in Recovery,
Dodee & Nancy Lee
TRG Administration

FROM THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE:

The Recovery Group (TRG) has several areas of administration. One is the Intergroup where discussions are held, many leading to group consciences. Another is called TRG Administration or TRGAdm. And still another is the Executive Committee. These three administrative bodies work cloesly with MtgAdm and the business loops of the Recovery, ODAT, Discovery, Foreign and Special Divisions of TRG.

The Executive Committee is made up of administrators and veterans of TRG. All Coordinators are approved by the Committee after the requirements for trusted servants are met. They are then presented to the the Recovery Intergroup for approval.

Members make proposals and the Executive Committee reviews them. Global changes to TRG are discussed.

If you have something you think you would like to have discussed by the Executive Committee, you may forward your email to:
TRGAdm@lists.therecoverygroup.org.

Dodee
TRG Administrator and Executive Committee Member

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 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.

The Recovery Loops are world wide 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 daily 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. If you would like more information about meetings or to volunteer to lead a one hour meeting each week, please contact Linda, the Recovery Meeting Coordinators at MtgAdm@TheRecoveryGroup.org. If you would like to take part in a brief training program and give service once a week as a Meeting Leader, contact us. Brenda H. and Linda will welcome you with open arms. 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 meeting.
Type * to share
Type "done" when finished

TRG'S SPONSOR PROGRAM

JUST SAY YES!

Dear Recovery Friends,

There is no greater service to and for compulsive overeaters than that of being a sponsor. The Recovery Group has a dedicated online sponsorship service. We all know that we can not keep it unless we give away. We invite you to share what you have been blessed with and become a sponsor. We sponsor up to the level of recovery that we have. By doing so, we learn and grow ourselves as we give this service to others.

There are two different types of Sponsorship in The Recovery Sponsors' Program.

RECOVERY SPONSOR: A permanent sponsor who takes their sponsees through the steps and helps them learn to live a three-fold abstinent life consisting of emotional, physical and spiritual abstinence.

Temporary Sponsor: Will sponsor someone until she/he finds a permanent sponsor. Temporary sponsors can help us begin our three-fold abstinence we look for a permanent sponsor.

If you are interested in giving back what you have so generously been given by becoming a sponsor, please contact: Sponsors@TheRecoveryGroup.org. We will send you all the information you will need to get started. We will also be available to answer any questions you might have.

We look forward to hearing from you!

In loving service to all,

Patt & Cate
TRG Sponsor Coordinators
Sponsors@TheRecoveryGroup.Org

TRUSTED SERVANTS

(The Satisfaction of Rendering Service)

Occasionally you receive mail asking you to consider giving service to others via various trusted servant positions now open in our community. These unique opportunities can take as little as 15 minutes a week to many hours a day. They can require basically no technical skills to many. Requirements will depend on the specific job but the main requirement is to have the desire to quit eating compulsively and to serve others. Please contact TRGODAT@aol.com or TRGAdm@TheRecoveryGroup.org for further information

One of our Trusted Servants sent me a quotation recently that I think is appropriate to use as we begin 2009 intent on filling every slot we have open with the most dedicated, tenacious, loving and hard-working men and women on the planet. You may want to highlight the words below and keep these heartfelt wishes close to you each day of the year.

"We wish you the strength to meet any challenge;
the joy of knowing that you are loved;
the satisfaction of rendering service;
and the peace of a quiet heart."

~ Author Unknown

Come join TRG's Trusted Servants. It could well be the best job of your life.

In loving service,

Mari

THE VOICE OF RECOVERY / TRG STYLE

We would like to be able to start voice recorded shares for our membership for those who are interested. The goal would be to distribute the experience, strength and hope of our members.

How does this work?

If you have a voice recorder - into WAV, mp3, WMA files, etc, you can forward the recordings to me. For a start we could distribute them to others to download and listen to on their mp3 players, to listen to while driving, in the gym. Think of it of having TRG with you while "on the go" away from your computer! A home away from home!

We may change formats as time goes on - for example sharing directly to a voice loop or RSS feeds, but we are just starting out with the technology and would like to keep things simple!

What can you do to help?

1) If you would like to help me listen to the shares so we can select which shares to distribute, please email me trgvoice@gmail.com. Also, we would need help with maintaining the email list, having people place the list on search engines, every process that a working loop would need.

2) If you would like to record something to distribute, please email it to me as well at trgvoice@gmail.com. For starters we would like to keep the shares small - 3 minutes or less. As time goes on, we could have qualifiers who can share for longer time periods. Remember - first things first!

3) If you would like to listen to shares to download, email me as well trgvoice@gmail.com.

This is not for everyone, so take what you need and leave the rest. Welcome to the 21st century! (Would Bill W have thought of this method of recovery!)

Remember to remain abstinent!
OV COE
The Voice of TRG Coordinator

BEGINNING SUNDAY ON PAGE ONE

(Please Feel Free To Forward This
Invitation To 12 Step Friends)

Dear Friends,

Beginning February 1st, we will be beginning our study of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous with page 1 and will continue throughout the year to page 164. Each month we study a different chapter and February will begin with Bill's Story. Bill was the Co-Founder of AA and we are sure you will benefit from his experience, strength and hope. Each day we enjoy a different leader who shares on a section of the AABB and follows his/her share with questions so members can share back.

The following are the Trusted Servants and Big Book Study Leaders.

BIG BOOK STUDY LEADERS:

SUNDAY ~ Charles ~ aloisio03@earthlink.net
MONDAY ~ Carolee ~ maranelfen@comcast.net
TUESDAY ~ OV ~ oveater@gmail.com
WEDNESDAY ~ Linda ~ the-smallwoods@pris.bc.ca
THURSDAY ~ Marlene ~ dietrich12000@yahoo.com
FRIDAY ~ Gracie ~ ackme194@aol.com
SATURDAY ~ Rob ~ rwheat05@yahoo.com

CONTACTS:

Linda ~ Coordinator ~ the-smallwoods@pris.bc.ca
Gracie ~ Coordinator ~ ackme194@aol.com
Mary Ann ~ Greeter ~ olm2m@hotmail.com
12 Step Within ~ Gracie ~ Pro Tem


To join our study, please send a blank email to the following address:

TheBigBook-subscribe-request@lists.therecoverygroup.org

BIG BOOK WEBSITE
BILL'S STORY
THE BIG BOOK ONLINE

SPOTLIGHT LOOPS OF THE MONTH

Journey To Recovery ~ A General Sharing 12 Step Loop
Silver Recovery ~ A 12 Step Loop For Seniors
The Yellow Brick Road ~ An Informal Chat Loop For Coes

THE RECOVERY DIVISION:

JOURNEY TO RECOVERY

If you are here, it probably means that you are someone who is looking for something. Something more ... An intangible ... A more centered existence. A wholeness that you don't quite have yet.

We are making a personal journey to recovery. In one way or another we all are. The way some chose to make their journeys was serendipitously. Many have given up hope .... And found it in the strangest place ... In cyberspace of all places ... On a loop just like this one. And it can changed lives!

There are many ways that we can go through this life and find that same hope. It doesn't have to be on a computer screen ~ or in a book ~ or at a retreat ~ We've provided some links for you to begin your search for your own recovery.

For your own Hope ...
For your own Miracles ...
For your own Journey to Recovery.

This Journey-To-Recovery e-mail list is more than just a list in cyberspace. It is a place where those of us with compulsions can meet with others who suffer and share our experience, strength and hope with one another. It is a place where we can feel at home, it can become our cyberspace family and where we know that we will be heard and not judged. A place where your anonymity is important to us. And a place, as the poet said, "where, when we have to go there, they have to take us in."

Journey-To-Recovery will focus on food compulsions and addictions but also can include discussions relating to compulsive overeating such as Relationship Addiction, Love Addiction and Co-Dependency. While most of our members are also members of the world-wide groups of Overeaters Anonymous, CODA, Emotions Anonymous and similar groups, it is not a requirement to be. The only requirement to be a member of JTR is to have a desire to recover from our disease.

Members of this list find much emphasis on the Twelve Steps. The Twelve Traditions are the guidelines of this group along with several others which are geared mainly to etiquette and cyberspace.

Because this list is composed primarily of members of anonymous groups, it is not a public media of communication and thus members may use their last names if they desire. Pseudonyms are also acceptable. Readers of this list are urged to respect the anonymity of the users of this list. What you read here, what you see here, let it stay here.

Our group differs from most other cyber recovery groups in many ways. One is that, while we focus on compulsive overeating, we also have special focus support groups for related cross addictions. While the great majority of us are in recovery from compulsive overeating, we have found that many of us become cross addicted as we recover from food addiction and often find ourselves in another. Our experience has been in the recovery process of, for example, compulsive overeating ... As the weight is lost and our self-esteem returns, we find ourselves, perhaps, in a relationship addiction ... Or love addiction. In the recovery process, we may also find that we are co-dependent. Not having our "drug of choice" to help us any longer, we are unable to cope. Here we find a place to discuss that.

Another way we differ from other groups is that this is a topical group. Regularly, each member is sent copies of the Writer's Series ... Inspirational messages with a wide variety of topics such as Abstinence, The Twelve Steps, Compassion, Friendships, Addiction, Compulsions, Grief, Hate, Love, Patience, Serenity, Isolation, Hope and many, many more. There is a different topic each week and the Journey-To-Recovery focuses on that topic each day of that week and sharing is related but not restricted to that topic.

Anything that one would share at a recovery meeting is welcome here. Users are particularly encouraged to share their own recovery stories knowing that no matter how insignificant the share might be to a person not deep in our disease, our words can be life saving to one who is.

JOIN JOURNEY TO RECOVERY

CONTACTS:
Coordinator ~ Sharon ~ sharon_s@telkomsa.net.
Coordinator ~ Amanda ~ asnow3@tampabay.rr.com

THE ODAT DIVISION:

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 in 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. Many of our members are also members of Overeaters Anonymous; however, we are not affiliated with that organization.

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 many of the things we did in our youth exacerbated that disease. The Big Book tells us that we should not regret the past ... And 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.

We hope those of you visiting our website will choose to join us. And when you do, we hope you will make yourselves comfortable and share often. We will be so very happy to have you here with us.

JOIN SILVER RECOVERY

THE DISCOVERY DIVISION:

The Yellow Brick Road

There is only one support group in the entire Recovery Group community that by design has no Trusted Servants taking care of it. There are no topics, no protocols and crosstalk is welcome. It's the Yellow Brick Road. And it's the Discovery Division's Spotlight Loop of the Month.

As we proceed to the Emerald City of our potential, this loop offers you fellow travelers. You may argue with them, debate with them, dislike them or love them. They may inspire you, bore you, disgust you or excite you. Our members from all over the world will be composites of The Tin Man, Glenda the Good Witch of the North or Dorothy. Some will remind you of The Scarecrow, The Lion or the Wicked Witch of the West. You may discover yourself here .. Not who you think you are but who you really are.

The Yellow Brick Road has 123 members, sometimes talkative, sometimes not. If you'd like to join them just click the yellow brick road in the painting above and introduce yourself when you get there. They'll welcome you with open arms.

JOIN THE YELLOW BRICK ROAD

RECIPE OF THE MONTH:

ZESTY BAKED SALMON

4 servings (serving size: 1 fillet)

Ingredients

  • 4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets
  • Cooking spray
  • 2 tablespoons chopped green onions
  • 1 tablespoon low-fat mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon plain fat-free yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon lemon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
  • Chopped green onions (optional)
  • Lemon wedges (optional)

Preparation
Preheat oven to 425°.

Place fish, skin side down, in a baking dish coated with cooking spray.. Bake at 425° for 18 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork.

Combine 2 tablespoons green onions and next 5 ingredients; spread evenly over fish. Bake 2 additional minutes or until sauce is bubbly.

Serve immediately. If desired, sprinkle with additional chopped green onions, and garnish with lemon wedges.

Tip: Because it has a higher fat content than many other kinds of fish, salmon stays moist and flavorful even if it's slightly overdone. It's a great choice if you're not used to cooking fish.

Nutritional Information

Calories: 282 (0.0% from fat)
Fat: 13.4g (sat 3.1g,mono 0.0g,poly 0.0g)
Protein: 36.4g
Carbohydrate: 1.6g
Fiber: 0.1g
Cholesterol: 87mg
Iron: 0.0mg
Sodium: 293mg
Calcium: 0.0mg

All-New Complete Step-by-Step Diabetic, Oxmoor House

Submitted by Tina

QUOTATION OF THE MONTH

"We earn today's abstinence today!
We can't stay abstinent on meetings we attended last year,
12th Step calls we did last year, Steps we worked last year.
We cannot keep what we have based on what we gave away last year."

TRAVELING IN RECOVERY

My husband and I love to travel. We go overseas usually once a year, and often take a second trip within the United States. For me, traveling in recovery is a priority. I take program wherever we go.

Over the years I’ve tired various ways of working the steps, using the tools, and staying abstinent on the road. Here are some methods that work for me. I pack snacks. These have varied and obviously need to be geared to one’s own food plan. Usually, mine include portable fruits, which could be in small cans or packages, or as they are (apples, oranges). To get enough vegetables at meals, I learned a trick from my sponsor – small cans of low-sodium V-8 juice. For protein, I include tuna, canned in water with a pop top. Recently, I bought a can of skinless, boneless sardines and am going to try it to see if it’s something I like and could include as well.

I’m finding it easier than before to buy healthy snack foods abroad but it’s helpful to bring some along for the first few days. We haven’t traveled beyond Europe and the Caribbean so I don’t know the situation in other countries. But supermarkets seem to be pretty universal now, and one can Google ahead of the trip to get information on countries being visited.

We travel by coach tour a lot. I’ve found they will accommodate meal requests, either by my letting them know ahead, or at the hotel, I can request fruit for dessert at dinner, for example. I find hotel breakfast buffets carry a wide variety of choices – my only concern here is to avoid overeating. I can also get one or two fruits to carry with me from the buffet for the rest of the day.

Working steps 3, 10, and 11 for me on travel involves carrying a Lifeline issue and reading an article a day and also reading through the steps each morning, stopping to take step 3 (and I take it more later on as needed). I do this in the hotel room or on the bus if we have a morning tour. I also carry other spiritual reading. For step 10, I write it out in the small journal I carry to record thoughts, feelings, and experiences on the trip. For step 11, I pray and talk with my Higher Power, and I open myself up to my Higher Power each day through 20 minutes of sitting quietly during which I let go of any thoughts and experience G-d’s presence).

At times, I have written down my food and thoughts each day and mailed these to my sponsor, either while traveling or later in one envelope when I return home. And because I carry an international phone card on foreign trips and a cell phone on domestic ones, I can call my sponsor or other OA members as needed. All these practices help ground me and keep me sane and abstinent amidst hectic days with lots to see, do, and experience.

I take care of my body further through getting enough sleep (I carry my own small pillow) and enough exercise (climbing the high coach steps and taking walking tours certainly qualify).

So far, I haven’t attended OA meetings on foreign trips though I know many people do just that. Usually the pace of these trips and lack of a car make going to meetings too challenging. At times, I’ve been able to attend meetings on domestic trips. It’s easy to locate online where meetings are anywhere in the world. While traveling one can check the OA or TRG websites for this information through Internet cafes, which are springing up everywhere, it seems.

For me, travel is no different from the rest of my life. I am going to work program every day anywhere I go. In that sense, there’s no vacation from program, and truly I wouldn’t have it otherwise. Program has given me the freedom and joy to appreciate and participate fully in our trips. We’ve met wonderful people on these tours, some of whom we stay in touch with. I’m not in the food or the disease, one day at a time, and staying fresh with program I’ll anticipate many more happy travels. I wish the same happy, joyous, and free experience to each one of us, whether we’re on the road or enjoying the pleasures of home.

Athena

DREAMS

By Langston Hughes

Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly

Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow

CHANGING MY LIFE

Happy February everyone! I have 4 months of GREAT abstinence and have now lost 50 lbs! Go me! Wait, no that’s not right. Go God (of my understanding)!!

It’s amazing how much you can get done in your life when you are not busy being angry, resentful, frustrated, depressed, lonely, scared, negative, and busy thinking about the food. Having all this free time has opened up doors that I never new where there.

Now that the “old crazy me” is fading away, I can now choose to be who ever I want to be. I can decide what kind of health I want, what kind of career I really want, my relationships, and even my personality. We are what we think about, and now that I am leaving the “stinking thinking” behind, I want my life to blossom and flourish in goodness and with optimistic hope.

Everyday when I wake up, the very first thing I do is talk to my Higher Power and then do a gratitude list (it’s amazing how good that will make you feel.) I then read my results (goals) I want in life followed by my positive affirmations (I have a healthy body, I deserve success, I love to exercise, etc…) which are all nicely typed out and in a folder on the night stand. I now have purpose and direction, and every day I can choose how I want to feel and what direction I will take. But as I keep reading and learning, and as God (of my understanding) keeps opening up all these new realms of consciousness to me, I see I am missing a vital component to my recovery.

Character defects are what got me into this mess. I was angry, resentful, and felt sorry for myself. I used those defects as an excuse to binge and keep my life unmanageable. As my life continues to improve, I see the need to evaluate my character ethics. There are all kinds of pump-you-up, quick fix, motivational books I can learn from, but I what I want is something long lasting and with a strong foundation. What I desire are characteristics that get me the desired results I want (abstinence, happiness, serenity, a great job, money, a good relationship, a healthy body, etc...) in life, but do not lead to feelings of guilt, shame, remorse, or resentment. In other words, I don't want to have to sell my soul to get what I want and then have to do a LONG step 10 every night! That is insane and will only lead to relapse.

I must be honest and admit, I never thought about how my character had led me to one mucked up life before OA. And because I was so selfish and self-centered, I certainly never thought about how my neurotic behaviors effected others. So one of the first things I focused on was the Golden Rule, or the Rule of Reciprocity. Never in my life did I give any consideration as to how I wanted to be treated by others, nor did I ever think about how I wanted to treat them. I saw this as a golden opportunity to not only do some soul searching, but I realized this was also an important step for me to build my character.

I first thought about how I wanted to be treated by others, and then I turned those into “I” statements. This is what I have came up with so far (and as I am learning – do not write things in stone as they change and progress over time):

The Golden Rules:

I treat others as I want to be treated.
I treat others with love, respect and kindness.
I listen to both sides before making a decision.
I am an empathetic listener and understand what I others are trying to say (and not judge others harshly.)
I am aware of my thoughts and what I am saying as to not gossip about others.
I am honest – but not to hurt another persons feelings.
I talk calmly during discussions and not yell, insult, or be insolent.
I am compassionate and empathetic.
I am aware of my thoughts and what I am saying as to not dump my emotions on others with excessive and constant complaining.
I am supportive and offer advice with love (and not with arrogance and not to condemn others.)
I offer praise and words of encouragement (and not criticize.)
I work to a conclusion with respect for both people.
I have fun and laugh yet not at the expense of putting others down.

The Character Traits needed to treat others with respect are:

Tolerance, compassion, empathy, honesty, dedication, discipline, persistence, self-control, accountability, courage, humility, integrity, self-respect, respect for others, patience, gratefulness, trustworthiness, moral courage, responsibility, courtesy, fairness, self-awareness.

The first thing I needed was to make goals of what I wanted in life and from there I was able to develop affirmations to support the results. The next layer was for me to focus on the character traits I needed to attain my goals. The 3rd step is to put everything into action because "Faith without works is dead."

So far my plan of action has been to dream of what I want (a wonderfully happy abstinent life, a loving husband, a fit body, live the 12 steps every day, a deeper level of spirituality, money, good character, etc…) and then list those dreams on paper. Then I turned those dreams into goals (dreams with a deadline) supported by affirmations (I have a healthy body, I live the 12 steps, I am happy, I choose success, etc…) and typed them all out. The new update is adding the character traits needed (tolerance, compassion, empathy, etc…) to achieve the goal. I have the goals broken down into daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, and 5 years from now. This has become my road map of where I want to go in life. And of course, I make sure that I seek the guidance of my Higher Power and make sure I am following my Higher Powers will and not my own insanity. I am currently blessed as my Higher Power lets me know instantly on 90% of things whether it is good or not. Sometimes I needed deeper conversations with God (of my understanding) and time to get the answer. Either way, I am very grateful that the answers do come to me – in God’s time, not mine – which is a great exercise in patients.

The statement on page 88 of the AA Big Book is true; it [the 12 steps] works it really does! I am a walking testimony that this program does work as long as we take action, make a connection with our Higher Power, and make a commitment to live the 12 steps every day. Once we get our life in order, anything is possible!

"Most people say that it is the intellect which makes a great scientist. They are wrong: it is character."
— Albert Einstein, Swiss-American mathematician, physicist and public philosopher (1879-1955)

With Love,
TRGStefani

PERFECTLY IMPERFECT

We talk! We walk!
We love, and need.
We are humans...blessed
With all The fingers and toes
Of "perfection."
Forgetting, at times
That Perfection exists as
A concept for those
Who desire the Finite.
Is it possible to allow
Ourselves the liberty
Of being the perfectly
Imperfect but Perfectly
Accepting of
That?
Can I still dream dreams?
Can I still run in green fields
With my spirits soaring
If my underwear is ripped
Or my knees are bloodied
From falling again
On the path to Perfection?
In the Path lies the pleasure
And pain Of living,
Of loving Of losing,of striving.
But coming up short
To again seek once
Again, the Path...The Beloved.
On the Path's where we feel
What it is to need God.
Whomever whatever that
Is, shall appear.
On the day least expected
On the road dark and dreary
Or a day filled with brilliance
Will we find our Power.
Who waits even now
Gently patient...slightly teary
Cause they love us. Let's
Be gentle, and patient,
Right now.

L.L.M.

FROM OA'S LIFELINE:

New Purse, New Hope

Today is day six of this beautiful gift of abstinence my Higher Power has given me. Last night I went out to eat with my sister and best friend. This was my first time eating out since my abstinence began. I was nervous and frightened, but I had a plan.

Before we went, I knew what I would order and how much I would have. I even brought my pocket scale to keep myself honest. Before our meals came, my dear friend accidntally knocked her drink across the table and into my open purse. I immediately began salvaging the contents and assured her I needed a new purse anyway.

As I cleaned my wallet, I noticed a dampened OA pass-along card. It was still usable, so I pulled it out and set it on the table to dry. When our food came, I pulled out my pocket scale and began to weigh my portions. The server stayed and watched in amazement as he said, "You must be on one serious diet!"

I smiled up at this tall, rotund young man and said kindly, "I have a binge eating disorder. If I don't weigh and measure my food, I will find a way to eat more than my share." With a nervous chuckle he rubbed his belly as he said, "I have that too! Can you tell?" I laughed with him, and he left us to our meal.

As I cleaned my pocket scale and put it away, I spotted the pass-along card and felt a nudge from my Higher Power. I wrote the local OA hotline number on the card and left it with the server's tip. I don't know if he will consider the Fellowship, but I can say that my abstinence is a gift from my Higher Power. It blesses my life and gives me the courage to reach out to those who still sufffer. Miracles happen.

I needed a new purse, and this young man may have needed new hope.

--Kathy F., West Jordan, Utah USA

TRG'S RECOVERY WRITINGS:

~ Love in Recovery ~

Hi, I am Cindi, a compulsive overeater. I returned to program in January of 2002 when I was unable to find a job. No one wanted to hire a 50 year old, 300 pound woman with a high school education. It did not matter that I had years of experience as a bookkeeper. One look at me and my resume and the answer was always NO.

One day it occurred to me that there might be help online in losing weight. Diets did not work for me anymore but I did remember the Twelve Step programs. I came back to program to lose just enough weight so that someone, anyone would hire me. I did not return to stop compulsively overeating and I did not return to be free of the obsession with food. Losing weight was my only goal. I have this image of myself sitting at the computer, logging online and putting Twelve Step programs into a search engine. That moment was to change my life forever but, of course, I did not know that at the time.

My life before recovery was far different from my life today. Back then, I had little self-esteem although I hid it well in the form of pride resulting from my quest for perfection. I knew how much I weighed and what I looked like but I thought if I did the absolute best I could do, no one would notice the weight. Every time I was forced to be weighed, the result was self-hatred. How could I continue doing this to me? The blame, the shame and the guilt from being obese and unable to control my food intake affected my sense of self. Compulsive overeating is more than being overweight. Food addiction not only affected me physically but emotionally and spiritually. Denial of my disease of addiction nearly destroyed me. By the time I arrived in program in January of 2002, my true sense of self was nearly gone.

Fast forward to the present where I am currently celebrating my20seventh year in program and four and a half years in recovery. Losing 111 pounds sounds exciting, right? Today I wear a Misses size 12 jeans, down from a Women’s plus size 26/28. I look at myself in a mirror and I can hardly believe it is me. There I am, all of me and much less than before. Yet losing the weight and wearing smaller sizes are what I call “side benefits” of working program. You see, as much as I wanted to lose weight, it is NOT my most prized possession. I am thrilled to be where I am on the scale and in the size 12 clothing but there is something else that has become more valuable to me. What is that?

Recovery! For the first time in my adult life, I am a whole, complete person of value. Program has allowed me the pleasure of finding out who I am and what I am. The Twelve Steps have given me principles to live my life by and value as a human being. I never had a sense of self before but I do now. I am more than my disease. Recovery has allowed me to fall in love with myself. I love me! I love how hard I try and how I never give up. I love the enthusiasm I have for program and the commitment to service in sharing that excitement with others. I love that I am able to write well and share with you how I think, feel, and act. I love that I am able to put into words what recovery has given to me and what it can give to you .

Recovery is so much more than just losing weight. The first miracle of my program was the freedom from the obsession with food. Can you imagine waking up and not having food on your mind? The second miracle was ongoing abstinence in the face of anything and everything. Knowing that I can remain abstinent, no matter what, gives me a sense of security and comfort I never had before. As fantastic as those two miracles have been in my life, it is the third miracle that has made recovery worthy of doing whatever needs to be done. The third miracle is a sense of self, of who I am and what I am and accepting myself as is. Acceptance of self is the greater miracle of all. It is okay to be me. I no longer need to seek perfection but I am allowed to be “just me.” I am a human being, doing the best I can with what I have at the moment and that is more than all right. This is what working program has given to me. I just know working program can also give this to you. I am worthy of recovery as are you. We all are worthy of recovery and the miracles of program.

What do you envision recovery giving to you? Are you willing to do whatever it takes so that you might have the benefits of recovery? Would you be willing to give up the excess food so that you might have miracles in your life? Do you believe you are worthy of recovery?

Love in recovery,
Cindi

SERENDIPITY'S STAFF

Editor
Heidi ~ skipdun@myclearwave.net

Serendipity Web Servant
Lin ~ ls8937-odat@yahoo.com

Reporters
Tina ~ oarecovery@YAHOO.COM
Carrie ~ c.beckerfishman@gmail.com

Proof Readers
Carrie ~ c.beckerfishman@GMAIL.COM
Leeanne ~ Leeanne.SHILO@3DS.COM

Advisor
Mari ~ Mari@TheRecoveryGroup.org

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 in IN 2009 ~ please send an email to:
TRGAdm@TheRecoveryGroup.org

The 2009 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.

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.

© Copyright 1995-2009 THE RECOVERY GROUP All rights reserved