A Wellspring of Hope
Newsletter of The Recovery Group


January 2003
Volume 5, Issue 1



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


FEATURED ARTICLES

From Our Editors
From Our Trusted Servants
From Our Founder
From Our Recovery Administrators
From the ODAT Committee
From the Loops: Spotlight of the Month
Stories from OA's Lifeline
Danny's Corner
Recovery Meditations Calendar
Shares From Recovery Group Members
90 Tools for Abstinence
From the Literature
The Recovery Group Meetings
Overeaters Anonymous Contacts
Recovery Group Contacts
Serenity Prayer




~ FROM OUR EDITORS ~

FROM OUR EDITORS

Dear Friends in Recovery,

Welcome to the January 2003 edition of Serendipity!

For those of you who want a head start, the topic for February's edition of Serendipity will be "Working On All Three Sides of the Triangle -- physical, emotional and spiritual" (Thanks, Marjee!). We look forward to many great shares -- all submissions to Serendipity should be sent to
SerendipityNewsletter@yahoo.com. We will be working on that issue soon, so please forward your shares as quickly as possible.

In this issue you will find thoughts from Mari on WTS (Working the Steps), from our Administrators on volunteer needs both for some loops and some possible daytime online meetings, from the AngerODAT loop, from Danny on the joy of living, and from our own TRG members on the importance of knowing ourselves. You will also find "90 Tools for Abstinence"; there's something for everyone in that list!

So, read on for inspiration from others' experience, strength and hope!

And please remember, if you have any suggestions of topics you would like to see addressed in future months of Serendipity, e-mail us with your suggestions.

Peace, friends.

  Love in Recovery,
     Suzanne and Marty
     Co-Editors, SERENDIPITY
     Newsletter of The Recovery Group



SERENDIPITY SUBSCRIPTIONS



~ FROM OUR TRUSTED SERVANTS~


2003 GREETINGS

Dear Recovery Members ~

Welcome to the January edition of Serendipity! A new year is always refreshing and although we may not make resolutions, there is a firm resolve within many of us to make it the best year of our lives. This is especially true for compulsive eaters and as we move through the year, we hope all of you will participate in the Recovery programs and let us know how Serendipity can have more meaning for you.

To all members of the Recovery, Discovery and ODAT loops and meetings, we wish you a wonderful 2003.

In loving service to all ~
The Recovery and ODAT Administrators
The Trusted Servants of the Recovery Loops





~ FOUNDERS CORNER ~


Dear Friends in Recovery,

January is a special month around the Recovery Group because it is when the 2003 First Quarter Step Study begins at WTS. Four times a year we work the Twelve Steps in Twelve Weeks and Sponsors are available.

The Twelve Steps are more than just important. They are why The Recovery Group exists. Recovery is not just about losing weight ... it is about recovering on three different levels and, quite honestly, I don't know how that can be done without working the Twelve Steps. If you want to feel better emotionally, physically and spiritually ... get a sponsor and come join us.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the Trusted Servants who worked with such dedication during 2002 and to welcome all our new Trusted Servants who have volunteered to do service during 2003. Many exciting programs are planned and it's going to be a wonderful year.

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




~ FROM THE ADMINISTRATORS ~

Dear Members of The Recovery Group,

We are beginning a new year, one day at a time, in recovery.

Some of our Trusted Servants have left, some have stayed on, and we also have some new ones. With dedicated service, Online Recovery for compulsive eaters will be available for all those who still suffer from this disease.

We are still in need of a coordinator on some of our Recovery Loops, namely Meditations and Recovery, HOTJ, GermanAndRecovery and FrenchAndRecovery. If you are interested in giving service on any of these loops please contact us at:    
TRGAdm@TheRecoveryGroup.org.

Our 9:30 Recovery Meetings are going well. We have dedicated leaders and good attendance.

Our Meeting Coordinator informs us that we are getting close to opening a new block of daytime meetings. If anyone is interested in leading meetings during the day, please contact Vicki at: MtgAdm@lists.TheRecoveryGroup.org and she will share all the information needed.

To all our members we wish you a JOY-filled New Year as together we continue to trudge the Road of Happy Destiny!

With love and peace and JOY in recovery

Cate, John and Patt
TRG Administration Team

TRGAdm@TheRecoveryGroup.org
http://www.TheRecoveryGroup.org





~ FROM OUR ODAT COMMITTEE ~

Dear ODAT/TRG Members,

We have had a very busy few weeks getting our new slate of Trusted Servants ready for 2003. We are well on the way to having that completed, although new volunteers are always welcome. Below is a list of loops needing coordinators:

  • AA
  • Christian
  • CoKids
  • Discovery Kitchen
  • FFOA
  • Jewish
  • OA Anon
If you are interested in these jobs, or any other Trusted Servant position, please write to me, Sande, at
hopeful@bigzoo.com and I will get right back to you.

In addition to the usual loop activity, we have recently begun two new loops. The first is called Strong Recovery. It is for those who have reached their goal weight and want support for maintenance. If you're interested in joining this loop, send an email to StrongRecoveryODAT-subscribe-request@lists.therecoverygroup.org.

The other new loop, only a week old, is called Abstinence2003. It is for making a daily commitment to physical abstinence on your chosen food plan. Lots of support here .. and sometimes it's just the added extra we need ... having somebody else to be accountable to. I know that helps me along the way. If this loop interests you, please send an email to 2003Abstinence-subscribe-request@lists.therecoverygroup.org .

Have an abstinent 2003!!
Join a new loop.
Give service.
Remember how important daily gratitude is in your recovery.

Love to all,
Sande
ODAT Adm Chair




~ LOOP SPOTLIGHT ~


~ ANGER ~

The mission of the Anger ODAT loop is to provide a place for men and women with eating disorders to come together to share their experience, strength and hope about various issues concerning eating disorders. One of the most destructive emotions we have is anger ... and if we are a compulsive eater or have an eating disorder of any kind, anger can take the focus from our recovery program and exacerbate the disorder. In some cases, if we don't share about our anger and keep it within us, it can result in depression which can greatly affect a program of wellness.

Anger ODAT provides a safe place to work a recovery program and may even become a second home. Lifelong friends happen can happen here or you may choose to be alone and reflect on your life and your eating disorder. We offer anonymity and you should feel free to use an e-mail alias here. It offers serenity and peace as you work your personal program and gives you the opportunity to carry the message to others.

We are here together to build one another up ... to accept each other as we are ... and a place where we can focus on spiritual and emotional growth as well as physical.

Visit our website located at:
http://recovery.hiwaay.net/odat/anger/index.html

To join, please send a blank e-mail to: AngerODAT-subscribe-request@lists.therecoverygroup.org

In Loving Service To All,
   The Trusted Servants of Anger ODAT



~ STORIES FROM OA'S LIFELINE ~


HOW IT WAS ~ WHAT HAPPENED ~ HOW IT CAN BE

GOING SANE

The "Big Book" of Alcoholics Anonymous says, "More will be revealed." I denied my food problem so strongly that I rarely even noticed it. My life was a tumult of drama and excitement from alcohol, drugs, sex, love, exercise and sloth. My family excused my overeating by saying I was just a growing boy as I filled out a large-boned, 6-foot-4-inch frame.

I was 15 when my parents divorced. After that, an insatiable appetite drove me. In three months over summer recess, I gained 50 pounds. My friends and teachers were shocked. I hated all the negative attention I received as a fat high-school freshman. I soon discovered parties, girls, drugs, smoking, stealing, rock concerts and work. The fat faded away, but my eating compulsion remained.

My anorexic years lay ahead. I kept busy and ate only once a day - sometimes only once every three days. I exhausted myself with other compulsions. The memory of being called a "fat fatty" shamed me.

In 1976, I joined Alcoholics Anonymous. Later, I wrote a Fourth-Step inventory with my sponsor. I stared at the word "gluttony" and casually brushed over writing anything. "No problem," I said. "I don't relate."

After an AA meeting, a group would go out for coffee and fellowship. I didn't like drinking coffee, so I drank soda instead. For the next decade, I didn't realize that soda, whether regular or diet, was nothing but liquid candy for me. I soon was drinking two six-packs a day.

Overeating is patient and devious. One day a friend said he hadn't had dinner. He ordered his and offered to pay for mine. Just like that, I began eating my fourth or fifth meal of the day about 10 p.m. That went on for years.

At four years sober, I quit smoking and gained 50 pounds in three months. Memories of school agony flooded in. A friend told me she had lost weight and kept it off by jogging.

My friends advice was good, but more was better to me. Overexercising and overeating as a reward became my daily routine. I would stretch, swim, bike and gorge. This vicious cycle ended with my running the 1986 New York City Marathon. My overexercising ended, but my overeating didn"t. I went from 184 pounds to 234 pounds in one year.

On January 7, 1987, I walked into my first OA meeting. The group name is Going Sane. I just celebrated 14 years in OA and feel so grateful.

- S.B., Tucson, Arizona USA
Lifeline ~ Overeaters Anonymous





GOODBYE, "LARGER WOMAN"

Today I gratefully celebrate my 21st month in OA. Each month's anniversary is still an event.

A clothing catalog dedicated to the "larger" woman just came in the mail for me. I'm delighted and amused at this gentle reminder that I was a larger woman before OA. Instead of a size 22, I now wear a size 10.

Today I am free from the burden of carrying an extra 65 pounds - free from the burden of isolation, shame, insanity over food and the certainty that I am the center of the universe.

Receiving this catalog reminds me to pause and express my thanks to my Higher Power, the OA program and my fellow OAers. I have taken each of the Twelve Steps with the help of my fellows. God has done for me what I could not do for myself. It's true what we say: it works if you work it. I look forward to continuing this lifelong process and sharing the joy of program miracles.

I'll gratefully toss this catalog into the recycle bin. Today I have something better - 21 months of OA recovery and the Steps to hold onto it.

~ K.K., Ontario, California USA
Lifeline ~ Overeaters Anonymous





SURVIVING AND THRIVING

It took me a long time to admit that I am a compulsive overeater. I was angry with people who said my eating was out of control. I realized that I was a compulsive overeater when I found myself hiding food, eating in secret and hoping no one would catch me. I was desperate; then someone told me about a Twelve-Step program. I am thankful for that person. If she had not told me about OA, I would not be the person I am today.

Fifteen months have passed since I first walked into the rooms of OA. As the weeks and months went by, I began to see how this program works and how it helps me survive. It gave me the willingness to take one day at a time. I lost 43 pounds in eight months and have kept it off. I learned that I am not alone and that I will survive as long as I remember to take one day, one hour at a time. Thanks to all my OA friends, life is worth living once again.

~ T.L., Wagram, North Carolina USA Lifeline ~ Overeaters Anonymous




~ DANNY'S CORNER ~

~ HAPPINESS ~

Dear God,

Oh my how my heart sings this morning as I sit here realizing You have granted me another of Your marvelous days in which to enjoy my life. The newly risen sun is so bright with clean, fresh, cool air to breathe, thanks. This man has absolutely no idea as to why he has this current feeling of joy, however it is readily accepted as another gift. There have been so many mornings in my life filled with dread and fear of some unknown thing that never happened. Just an empty void, filled with some unseen terror. Then, somehow the courage to call an unseen God to dispel the unknown terror; thanks.

As I sit here with my java close by and the woman You sent to run my life safely snuggled in her bed, I am complete and I am happy. Her ability to wake up with that little girl smile and gentleness is something I am so grateful for, thanks. There is a certain amount of wisdom forced upon me by the years I have lived. I should say survived, because until I gave up being God I merely survived, and now I may live, thanks. Yesterday I told You I considered myself the luckiest man alive and this morning I know why and where I heard the phrase. It was spoken by Lou Gerhig during his farewell to 60,000+ people at Yankee Stadium in the 1940's. He knew he would die a slow, painful death, but was full of gratitude for the short life he would have. Thanks for the memory.

My life has been blessed with role models, some good some not, but all are a part of me. They have shaped and molded me as surely as You have directed, and this bit of information is what gives me the feeling of happiness and joy this morning brings. It is in fact those dark valleys that allow me to appreciate the pure freshness at the top of the mountain, thanks. Because I'm so full of life today and there are no contractors to deal with, my thoughts turn to replacing the shower head which has seen better days and in fact does not operate as it should. You know how poorly I do at fix-it stuff, so stay with me on this.

Meanwhile, I'm ready for this day to unfold as You wish, and am prepared to do my best with all You send my way. I will of course need the wisdom to know and power to do same. Please watch over the family, friends, fellow loopies, those who still linger at step three and the folks I just don't like.

And Why Not?
Danny




~ RECOVERY MEDITATIONS ~


~
January Meditations Calendar ~
(http://www.therecoverygroup.org/meditations/january.html)





~ FROM THE RECOVERY GROUP MEMBERS ~


~ THE SOLUTION ~


The solution to this disease is not simple. One has to remember: it's taken a number of years to get where we are, and it's going to take as many years to recover. Part of the recovery process is when we can see and acknowledge our behavior. That is the start of the recovery road. >From this day forward, we must be aware of OUR needs and ensure that all our actions point to that end. We must have, and practice, rigorous honesty if we hope to recover. Be patient, live and let God, and above all, let's be good to ourselves. Here are some daily affirmations that will assist us towards getting in touch with ourselves:

  1. Just for today I will respect my own and other's boundaries.
  2. Just for today I will vulnerable with someone I trust.
  3. Just for today I will take one compliment and hold it in my heart for more than just a fleeting moment. I will let it nurture me.
  4. Just for today I will act in a way that I would admire in someone else.
  5. I am a child of God.
  6. I am a precious person.
  7. I am a worthwhile person.
  8. I am beautiful inside and outside.
  9. I love myself unconditionally.
  10. I have ample leisure time without feeling guilty.
  11. I deserve to be loved by myself and by others.
  12. I am loved because I deserve love.
  13. I am a child of God and I deserve love, peace, prosperity and serenity.
  14. I forgive myself for hurting myself and others.
  15. I forgive myself for letting others hurt me.
  16. I am willing to accept love.
  17. I am not alone. I am with God and the universe.
  18. I am whole and good.
  19. I am capable of changing.
  20. The pain that I might feel by remembering can't be any worse than the pain I feel by knowing and not remembering.
~ Ed & Marielle



~ 90 TOOLS FOR ABSTINENCE ~



1. Stay away from that first compulsive bite, taking the 1st step daily.
2. Attend OA regularly and get involved.
3. Progress is made ONE DAY AT A TIME.
4. Use the 24 Hour plan.
5. Remember, your disease is incurable, progressive and fatal.
6. Do first things first.
7. Don't become too tired.
8. Eat at regular hours.
9. Use the telephone ~ not just after the fact but during too.
10. Be active - don't just sit around. Idle time will kill you.
11. Use the Serenity Prayer.
12. Change old routines and patterns.
13. Don't become too hungry.
14. Avoid loneliness.
15. Practice control of your anger.
16. Air your resentments.
17. Be willing to help whenever needed.
18. Be good to yourself, you deserve it.
19. Easy does it.
20. Get out of the "IF ONLY" trap.
21. Remember HOW IT WAS. Your last binge, the feelings etc.
22. Be aware of your emotions.
23. Help another in his/her recovery, extend your hand, listen.
24. Try to turn your life and your will over to your Higher Power.
25. Avoid all mood-altering drugs, read labels on all medicines.
26. Turn loose of old ideas.
27. If necessary, avoid situations/occasions centered around food.
28. Replace old binge buddies with new OA buddies.
29. Read the Big Book.
30. Try not to be dependent on another (sick relationships).
31. Be grateful, and when not make a GRATITUDE list.
32. Get off the "Pity Pot"...the only thing you'll get is a ring around your bottom if you don't.
33. See knowledgeable help when troubled and or otherwise.
34. Face it! You are powerless over food, people, places and things.
35. Try the 12 and 12, not just 1 and 12 or 1, 12 and 13!
36. Let go and Let God.
37. Use the God bag and the answers: yes, no, or wait, I have something better in store for you. Don't forget to say thanks.
38. Find courage to change through the example of others who have.
39. Don't try to test your will power - give a compulsive overeater one shovel and one pail and in one hour he/she will need 100 wheel barrels.
40. Live TODAY, not YESTERDAY, not TOMORROW - projection is planning the results before anything even happens.
41. Avoid emotional involvements the first year - you end up putting the other person first and lose sight of "your" program.
42. Remember food is - cunning, baffling and powerful.
43. Rejoice in the manageability of your new life.
44. Be humble--Humility is not in thinking of yourself more, but in thinking more of yourself less often. Watch your ego.
45. Share your experience, strength and hope.
46. Cherish your recovery.
47. Dump your garbage regularly - GIGO = Garbage In Garbage Out.
48. Get plenty of "restful" sleep.
49. Stay abstinent for you - not someone else - otherwise it won't work.
50. Practice rigorous honesty with yourself and others.
51. Progress is made ONE DAY AT A TIME, not 10 years in one day!
52. Think of trigger food as "someone else's food". Say this aloud when you see the trigger food.
53. If you've had a binge, write down all your feelings the very minute you finish it. Stick the list somewhere to read when you think you might binge again.
54. Never shop hungry.
55. Make no major decisions the first year.
56. Get a sponsor and use him/her -- don't just selectively share.
57. Know that no matter what your problems, someone's had them before. Don't be afraid to share, as a problem shared is one half-solved.
58. Strive for progress not perfection.
59. When in doubt ask questions. The only stupid question is the one not asked. You weren't afraid to speak before, so why start now?
60. Use prayer and meditation...not just pillow talk; get on those knees.
61. Maintain a balance: spiritual, physical, emotional and mental.
62. Don't use other substances as a maintenance program.
63. Learn to take spot check inventories.
64. Watch out for the RED FLAGS ... things that give excuses for poor behavior and inevitable relapse.
65. Know that it's okay to be human ... just don't eat over it.
66. Be kind to yourself; it's about time, don't you think.
67. Don't take yourself so seriously; take the disease seriously!
68. Know that whatever it is that's causing pain - it shall pass.
69. Stay as far away from the COMPLACENCY SYNDROME as is humanly possible.
70. Don't give away more than you can afford too, your abstinence comes first and must be the Number One priority. Protect it at all costs.
71. Take down those bricks from the wall around you; you'll be able to see the daylight better.
Let people know who you are.
72. Get a home group and attend it regularly.
73. Know that the light at the end of the tunnel is not an oncoming train, but actually a ray of hope. Drop the negativity.
74. Know that you are not alone, that's why the "We" is in the steps.
75. Be willing to go to any lengths to stay and be abstinent.
76. Know that no matter how bleak and dark your past may be, your future is clean, bright and clear if you don't eat compulsively today.
77. Stay out of your own way.
78. Don't be in a hurry--remember "TIME = Things I Must Earn".
79. Watch the EGO. "EGO = Ease God Out".
80. Protect your abstinence at all costs. Keep the light on you.
81. Learn to listen, not just hear. Be open-minded and nonjudgmental.
82. Know that if your insides match your outsides, everyone looks good.
83. If the rest of the world looks bad, check yourself out first.
84. Gratitude is in the attitude.
85. When all else fails ... punt! Up the number of meetings!!!
86. Remember FEAR = FALSE EVIDENCE APPEARING REAL!
87. Remember FINE = Fouled up, Insecure/insane, Neurotic and Emotionally imbalanced...watch the FINE.
88. Handle what you can and leave the rest, don't overtax yourself. You can only accomplish so much in a given 24 hours.
89. Honesty and consistency are key factors in recovery.
90. Let the little kid in you out - learn how to laugh from the gut.



~ FROM THE LITERATURE ~




~~STEP ONE~~

We admitted we were powerless over food - that our lives had become unmanageable.



~~ THE TWELVE TRADITIONS ~~
~ TRADITION ONE ~

Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon OA unity.



~~ BIG BOOK QUOTE ~~
Resentments
If you have a resentment you want to be free of, if you will pray for the person or the thing that you resent, you will be free. If you will ask in prayer for everything you want for yourself to be given to them, you will be free. Ask for their health, their prosperity, their happiness, and you will be free. Even when you don't really want it for them, and your prayers are only words and you don't mean it, go ahead and do it anyway. Do it every day for two weeks and you will find you have come to mean it and to want it for them, and you will realize that where you used to feel bitterness and resentment and hatred, you now feel compassionate understanding and love.
Page 552 ~ The AABB





~ THE RECOVERY GROUP MEETINGS ~

THE RECOVERY GROUP ONLINE MEETINGS

Each day at 9:30 PM Eastern Daylight Time, an OA Topic Meeting will take place in the Recovery Meeting Room on the Starchat Channel on IRC. These meetings are hosted by dedicated Trusted Servants of the Recovery Group who are experienced, loyal and caring meeting leaders. As time goes on we will be adding additional meetings and if you would like more details about being a Recovery Meeting Leader, please let us know by writing to:
MtgAdm@lists.TheRecoveryGroup.org

The doorway for #Recovery meetings is also on the main page of the Recovery Website about halfway down.

For AOL members, here is the direct link to #Recovery: #Recovery on StarChat.Network

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

#Recovery is the meeting room for Recovery Group. To get to #Recovery, go to http://www.starchat.net/recovery

If you have any further questions, or if I can help you in any way, please write MtgAdm@lists.TheRecoveryGroup.org.






~ OVEREATERS ANONYMOUS CONTACTS ~

Overeaters Anonymous
World Service Office (WSO)
6075 Zenith Ct. NE
PO Box 44020
Rio Rancho, NM 87124
USA

Telephone 505-891-2664
Fax: 505-891-4320
http://www.overeatersanonymous.org/index.htm
E-Mail Address ~ info@overeatersanonymous.org

"I put my hand in yours ...
and together we can do what we could never do alone."
~ Rozanne, OA CoFounder ~





~ THE RECOVERY GROUP CONTACTS ~



Newsletter Editor ~ SerendipityNewsletter@yahoo.com ~ Suzanne and Marty
Newsletter Subscriptions ~ SerendipityNewsletter@yahoo.com
Letters to the Editor ~ SerendipityNewsletter@yahoo.com
Sponsor Coordinator ~ sponsors@therecoverygroup.org
Telephone Angel Directory ~ vine19@nyc.rr.com ~ Jessica
Recovery Meeting Coordinator ~ vickiw@gci.net ~ Vicki
Technical Support ~ RecoveryTech@mail.com
TRG Webmaster ~ Mari
Recovery Group Administrators ~ TRGAdm@TheRecoveryGroup.org ~ John, Cate and Patt
Recovery Group Founder ~ Mari


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


Grant us the SERENITY to accept the things we cannot change;
The COURAGE to change the things we can;
And the WISDOM to know the difference.

What we could never do alone ~
We can do together.

One day at a time, ~
One step at a time.


Disclaimer


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

Volume 5 Issue 1 © Copyright 2003 THE RECOVERY GROUP All rights reserved.