A Wellspring of Hope
Newsletter of The Recovery Group

January 2005
Volume 7, Issue 1

Please feel free to pass Serendipity on to others who are working a Twelve Step program of recovery.

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

Serendipity CONTACTS:
The Serendipity Archives




Dear Serendipity Readers,

A new year begins. For compulsive eaters it is a year full of hope. The Big Book has promised us certain things if we fulfill our commitment to the Twelve Step program and we will strive to do that.

The Serendipity Team will do its part to bring you timely articles, recovery stories and interesting and newsworthy pieces that we hope you will enjoy. We invite you to actively participate in your newsletter during the coming year by sending letters to Serendipity letting us know your thoughts and concerns.

You will find this issue speaks to you who share your miracles with one another ... and who continue to dream your recovery dreams one day at a time.

Happy New Year!

The Serendipity Team


For last year's words belong to last year's language
And next year's words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning.
. . . T.S. Eliot



The Third Tool of Recovery

Happy New Year, Loopies ~

Each month I've been writing about one of OA's eight tools of recovery. A Plan of Eating is the first tool, Sponsorship the second and the third Tool of Recovery is one dear to my heart ~ MEETINGS!

My first face-to-face OA meeting was an emotional event for me. I cried during it. It was the first time I had been around men and women who knew what I was talking about when I shared my story. My first online meeting was not as traumatic but it was wonderful. It was how I met my first sponsor and began a life I would have never considered possible for me.

We are blessed to have the advantages of so many resources now that were not even in existence a decade ago. I burst with pride when I look at our beloved Recovery Group and see dedicated men and women leading 56 registered OA online meetings each week.

God is indeed good.

Wishing each of you the happiest new year of your life.

Love in recovery,



The Recovery Group Administration is the hub of the Recovery Group. Every loop, meeting and project finds its way at one time or another in this busy office. The Recovery Group Administrators are Dodee, Nancy and Cody, and you may contact them at:

Contact: TRGAdm@TheRecoveryGroup.org


The ODAT Loops are Twelve Step support groups for men and women who are working the OA program. In addition to the main focus of compulsive eating, the ODAT Loops have a second focus. The second focus of these thirty six very special loops can range from diabetes, alcoholism, compulsive spending and drug abuse to religious groups, relationship issues, sex addiction and issues concerning aging. The Chairman of the ODAT Loops Division works directly with the Coordinators of these support groups.

For more information please go to:

Please send email to: ODATAdm@lists.therecoverygroup.org


The Recovery Group Loops Division Chair administrates our Twelve Step general sharing support groups. Many of these are also our largest loops. The Chairperson of the Recovery Group Loops works with the Coordinators of each of the fifteen individual Recovery loops.

More details about these support groups can be found at:

The Recovery Loops
Contact: RecoveryLoopsAdm@lists.TheRecoveryGroup.org


We have six Discovery Group loops and, although these aren't Twelve Step loop that provide interesting and necessary resources for the Recovery Group community. The Chairperson of the Discovery Group Loops Division administrates the Coordinators of Kids and Recovery, COKids, Exercise and Recovery, The Discovery Kitchen, The Discovery Kitchen Archives and The Yellow Brick Road. More details about these special loops can be found by going to:

Contact: DiscoveryAdm@lists.TheRecoveryGroup.org


The Recovery Group has meetings every three hours daily and the Chairpersons of this busy division coordinates the activities of the meeting leaders of our 56 weekly meetings. All of our meetings follow the Twelve Traditions of Overeaters Anonymous and we strive for strict OA protocol in each meeting. If you're interested in leading or attending our meetings, you can learn how by going to:

*Note: If you would like to receive a weekly copy of the OA Recovery Online Meeting Schedule and topics, please send a blank email to the following address:

If you are interested in being a meeting leader, please contact MtgAdm@lists.TheRecoveryGroup.org,
and you will be given further guidance. We hope as many of you as possible will write us back and let us know you can help. Please don't be shy ... meetings are easy and rewarding to lead.

We will get back to you as quickly as possible.


One of The Recovery Group's most popular resources is the Recovery Sponsor program. It is our hope that every member of our community working a Twelve Step Program does so with an individual sponsor. This program has two dedicated coordinators who work individually with each of our sponsors as well as members of our community who contact us. We have a continual need for Sponsors and hope you will read more about this wonderful program at:

Contact: TRGSponsorsAdm@lists.TheRecoveryGroup.org


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There are times when a compulsive eater needs help right then! The Recovery Telephone Angels are members from all over the world who have given their permission to be available by telephone. A directory of these volunteers is sent regularly to all members of The Recovery Group. To learn more about the Telephone Angels, please contact:
TRGAdm@TheRecoveryGroup.org and put "Attention: Cody Re: Telephone Angels" on the subject line.


  • January 1, 2005 ~ Register for 2005 Abstinence
  • January 1, 2005 ~ WTS Study Begins
  • January 1, 2005 ~ TRG Term of Service Begins
Future Announcements should be sent to:


Overeaters Anonymous
World Service Office (WSO)
PO Box 44020
Rio Rancho, NM 87124 USA

Telephone 505-891-2664
Fax: 505-891-4320
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 ~


1995-2005 ~ TRG'S FIRST DECADE

It was 10 years ago, in 1995, that a long time dream began to come true. That was the year the first loop of what was to become The Recovery Group went on line. Since that first day the Recovery Group has remained a safe and welcome place for any person who has the desire to stop eating compulsively. The 12 Step Program of Recovery is now available throughout the world through these rooms.

During the year of 2005 we ask you to join us as we celebrate this first decade of service.


I was looking at our meditations recently. I like doing that occasionally because I love landscapes and the beauty of nature. Anticipating that we are now in January and that our web visitors would be going to the January calendar page, I followed the link and found myself gasping. And suddenly there were tears in my eyes as I looked at the date, 2005 ... and the photo.

As I looked at the photo on the Recovery Website taken by the dearest friend I have ever had at sunrise one morning, my memories began to surface. It was 1995 and I sat on some rocks at that very spot overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and poured out my grateful heart to my Higher Power. By then I had experienced the wonderment of Twelve Step recovery emotionally, physically and spiritually. After I talked with God, I meditated ... which means I listened to what He had to say. At that moment, He planted the seeds for the Recovery Group and it seemed very clear to me how it was to begin.

The rest of 1995 found me going through the machinations of finding ways to carry the message to as many people who had suffered from eating disorders in the way that I had. I was directed to the Internet, more specifically to St. John's University where I approached the Department Head in charge of donating state-of-the-art list servers to organizations who needed their help. I wanted a support group for members of Overeaters Anonymous to work a Twelve Step program together .... and WTS ~ Working the Steps was born. A few months later, we had 12 Step Leaders and hundreds of interested people sign up. We began a sponsor program. At first I typed in all the members' names by hand but soon we had our very own L-Soft Listserv. We were ready to fly.

WTS was followed by Journey to Recovery, then HOTJ ~ Heavyweights on the Journey, then the Recovery Loop, and COKids and as the months and years went by we grew and there was OA Friends and Anorexia and Bulimia and dozens and dozens of support groups. Soon the online meetings began and one program or service after another.

As we celebrate our decade of service, I think of that special day, those special rocks and that special conversation with God and my heart is full today because I saw the miracle that is us from the moment it began. I am filled with gratitude for the hundreds of dedicated Trusted Servants who have made the Recovery Group possible and who have gone out taking what they learned here and started support groups and meetings and services and worked in the trenches day in and day out as we have to make the world we live in a better place for people like us. The Recovery Group has one commodity ... and that is hope. It is available to all with only one simple requirement ~ the desire to quit eating compulsively. There has not been a single penny during the decade of the Recovery Group either solicited or spent. There has been rotation of service, honored Traditions, a history of doing the next right thing and ever and always a philosophy of keeping it simple.

If you are reading this and have given service in any way, whether it be sharing with your loop, becoming a sponsor, attending a meeting, or doing one of the dozens of Trusted Servants jobs, you have our deepest and heartfelt thanks. And if you haven't, we have another decade beginning this moment and I hope you will join us and make your journey to recovery with us.

If you'd like to see the spot where we began ~ please visit the following URL:

Love in recovery ~


Consider yourself invited!

To what? You are invited to be part of the 2005 Abstinence ODAT loop; part of a group of people committed to daily abstinence, and supporting others also looking forward to their next 24 hours of recovery.

Many members of this group have found that this group supports their efforts to put down the food, just for today. Each commits to his/her chosen plan of sane eating, and shares at day's end with a posted"I did it!". Each chooses to be accountable to others in the group who walk the same walk. Members share their experience, strength, and hope, in addition to the rhythm of their daily commitment and action.

If you're looking for a safe, friendly place to commit (or re-commit) to your recovery, we invite you to join us in 2005Abstinence.

To read more, visit:

To join, send an empty email to: 2005Abstinence-subscribe-request@lists.therecoverygroup.org.

~ From our Members ~

Each month, Serendipity readers are asked to send their recovery stories. If you would like to contribute your story, please send to:
SerendipityNewsletter@yahoo.com. Please try to make it about 500 words.



It was another day like any other day in my life. What will I eat today? This was the first thought in my head before my feet even hit the floor.

My books were all dusted and neat upon their shelves. My desk was clear, my house clean. Now if only I could straighten my mind as well. Everything looked so bright and cheerful outside. With that old fleeting glimmer-ghost of hope I stood before my bookshelf, reaching for a diet book.

Health was ever pressing on my mind. I was obsessed with it, yet couldn't transfer the information from the written page into my heart.

Face it! I was without hope. I'd never thought about God being concerned about my issues with food. I am a seminary graduate who once believed that God doesn't mess with the "small stuff."

Maybe this book would have the answer! Ah, who was I kidding! I pushed the book back into place. This is just too hard. I've come too far. It's too late. If I cannot be perfect I might as well not even start reading a book. I know I can't follow this. For crying out loud, they had to write a book about it!!! How could anyone memorize a BOOK?

A familiar and consuming fear surged within me. Typically, almost automatically, I felt drawn to the kitchen. But for just a moment I paused. I heard bird song and chatter outside my window. That momentary pause was all that God needed.

A small bird had built her nest atop my fence line. What an odd place to build a nest. Couldn't she find a better place? And then I remembered the neighbor's cat from two doors down. Likely the mother bird had not had much time to decide the best place to start building a nest. She just started with a will and let God do the rest.

--- Humm! Doing something was better than nothing. I was easily discouraged these days. This little bird seemed to be a lot smarter than I'd been. She was willing to start where she was with what she had, and like me, she had started to build from nothing.

There was a time when I had something, though. I grieved for the young woman I had been, the time that had been lost.

FROM 1985 AND ON . . .

I was one of the folks that never made the news--a person whose health had been radically and inhumanely medically discounted because I did not look as though I took "good care" of myself.

My abdomen was grotesquely distended, I appeared swollen,overblown, and yes -- by the time I began my petitions for help from medical staff, I was obese.

* Part Two Continued in February Serendipity

~ Anonymous


I pray daily but never about my weight. I say I am going to when someone reminds me that God is there for me in all things but I just never get around to mentioning my weight. And now that I think about it I believe it is because I feel so guilty about being a COE. I've been taught that it's all because of some flaw in my character; that I am weak, lazy, and undisciplined.

THAT ISN'T TRUE! I am a smart woman . I try to make myself look as nice as I can! I am a teacher. I help others! I must keep reminding myself to ask God for strength and courage to beat this disease.

~ Anonymous


She sits squeezed in a booth with her friends
smiling, smiling, smiling ...
They order their lunch with abandon as she quietly says
"salad .. dressing on the side, please."

Hours later she's free from the world
the world which judges her by her girth ...
And she can make up for the luncheon salad
with the dressing on the side which she only dribbled.

The clothes are removed as she prepares for bed
and catches a glimpse of her body in a mirror ...
Spellbound she looks intently at her thighs, her pendulous breasts
and gasps at the food filled enormity of her stomach.

Her husband does not hear her silent screams
as he awaits her arrival to their marriage bed ...
He does not see the eyes full of tears ...
nor will she describe the pain she's in.

She quietly slides into bed praying that he is asleep
So that he doesn't touch the grotesque rolls that engulf her ...
She turns off the light as he reaches for her
And begins to rub her in places she chooses not
to acknowledge.

He turns on the dim light so he can look at her
And she is smiling, smiling, smiling,
As he removes her gown
She closes her eyes and begins to satisfy him.

Knowing that when it's over, he will sleep
And she will quietly slide out of bed ...
And pass the mirror without looking
As soon will begin to satisfy her needs in the kitchen.

~ Anonymous


I give up. I am at the bottom of my rope and having strong suicidal feelings. This is not who I am and I hate this person inside of my head. This is it, this is bottom. I feel like a little blind child feeling my way around a cave. There are so many twists and turns and I have been wandering aimlessly for years. So, exhausted, I am going to sit down and rest. Whatever monsters are out there will have to come get me because I am through with this pointless meandering through my life. I have no will to go on.

So, HP, I'm here waiting. I can't make my own decisions right now so you'll have to help me. I'm totally miserable and I've made a mess of my life and I've been working on making a mess of my family's life. Help me, HP, for them and for me. I'm NOT STRONG, I'm just a great actress. I'll be here at my desk, bawling my eyes out for as long as is needed. I will do my work and go through the motions for as long as is needed, but I am listening and willing and hurting.

~ Anonymous



ARE YOU OVERWEIGHT? [1513 responses]

Yes (1452) 96%
No (61) 4%
25-50 pounds (544) 37%
50-100 pounds (515) 35%
100-200 pounds (344) 24%
200-300 pounds (41) 3%
300-400 pounds (8) 1%
400-500 pounds (4) 0%
More than 500 pounds (7) 0%
Yes (587) 42%
No (804) 58%
DO YOU HAVE A SPONSOR [1382 responses]
Yes (249) 18%
No (1133) 82%
Yes (398) 29%
No (966) 71%
Yes (904) 77%
No (274) 23%


When someone tries to build a house, they need tools. They need hammers, and saws, and paintbrushes, and many other tools. The houses don't build themselves. And, no matter how skilled a carpenter may be, they need these tools. The carpenter and the tools are both indispensible for the job.

For those of us in OA who want to lose weight, or even just to control certain unhealthy eating patterns, we need both the "carpenter" (ourselves) and the "tools". Most of us have tried many tools, before and since coming to OA. Let's review some of these:

a) FAD DIETS - A food plan which emphasizes certain food groups or types, and excludes others. Some of these are healthy, and some are not. This is kind of like building the entire house just using a saw. Not really easy, and who can keep that up on an everyday basis?

b) DIET PILLS - Taking medication to control your appetite. I have tried many types of these pills, and all they seem to do is to make me broke! This is like putting up a frame which will build a big house, but then building with pieces which are too small. You will never be able to make the pieces fit your planned house.

c) WILLPOWER - Trying to control your food choices with your own power. This would be building the house by wishing it into existence. That WOULD be nice, wouldn't it?

d) HYPNOSIS - Another way that people try to control their appetites. I have heard some say that it works for them, but to me this would be like telling the house to build itself. Nice try, carpenter, but I don't think it brings much in the way of results.

e) GASTRIC BYPASS - Some people have surgery, to control the size of their stomachs. This is effective, but only when the participants realize that the surgery doesn't ever cut out our addiction. To get the surgery and think you have a permanant solution to your problem is like showing up at the construction site, with a brand new tool belt, and thinking the tool belt is going to do the work for you.

f) EXERCISE - It does help your body use up calories, but by itself it cannot help control your weight. Many find this method to be ineffective, as we seldom can exercise enough to erase our poor food choices. Using only exercise would be like swinging the hammer and wielding the saw with all your might; but finding our construction materials are just won't change, when the tools impact on them.

g) PSYCHOTHERAPY - This is somewhat like hypnotism, because someone is trying to help you get your mind to control your food intake. This can help us with some of the problems which lead us to choose food as a substance, but therapy alone won't cure your addiction. This is like building that house in your mind, and just leaving it there as a dream. The dream may get us through some very tough times, but it falls short of a total solution.

None of these tools is completely bad for you. But none is going to be your complete solution. The solution to the problem inside of you is to seek help from Outside of you. You need a Power greater than yourself; something that uses the right "tool", and begins to radically change the "carpenter". As a wise sponsor once told me, it isn't easy, but it's simple.

Overeaters Anonymous offers a different set of tools. Here they are:
http://www.oa.org/tools_of_recovery.html ):

a) A PLAN OF EATING - As individual as each member, it is a plan which you make, with your sponsor; and which becomes the basis of your abstinence from compulsive overeating. This makes sure that you have the right tools, in your belt. It will be up to you to use them in the way that you agree to.

b) SPONSORSHIP - Everyone needs advice and support from someone else, who has "been there." Sponsors offer their listening ears, and help you become accountable for your food choices. They guide you through the steps. Like a master craftsman mentoring an apprentice, they are your guide and companion, on the Road to Recovery.

c) MEETINGS - We gather to listen; to share; to do service. We gather both to learn and to teach. "Together we can do what we could not do; alone" This is like a carpenter joining a guild; they band together, for the common good. So do we! Keep coming back!

d) TELEPHONE - Our "meetings between meetings". We reach out to give support, ask questions, and just greet and be there for each other. This is like craftsmen who socialize on the worksite; sharing the task in a comaraderie which speeds and eases the job for all.

e) WRITING - While we work the steps, and/or grow from the changes which come during recovery, writing is a valuable tool to help us express our inner journey. In a similar way, carpenters often record statistics and details of their progress; it helps them see how each challenge was met, and serves as a resource for future jobs, and/or for other craftsmen.

f) LITERATURE - OA members find inspiration, support and instruction in the Big Book of AA, and in OA literature. These resources are a valuable tool for our Program. As a resource, carpenters need blueprints, and often refer to their own manuals, when facing a construction problem.

g) ANONYMITY - One of the founding principles of OA. It ensures us that what we share stays private, and that we respect each member's right to keep their personal business to themselves. Although craftsmen at a building site do not insist on anonymity, they often work side by side with workers that they don't know well; and only need to know each other's construction skillset, rather than the more personal details of their family lives.

h) SERVICE - I once heard this defined as "anything we can do to help the meeting run smoothly". To me, service is reaching out a hand to another OAer. No matter who we are, we have a skill that can be offered for service. When a building is being constructed, there are many tasks to do, and people of all skills and personalities can all be a valued part of the team. Each one is needed; each is valuable.

Each of us has a road to travel; a plan to follow; a "building" to "construct."

Will we choose the right tools?

~ Donna




"We are going to know a new freedom
and a new happiness.
We will not regret the past
nor wish to shut the door on it."

The Promises as set forth in the Big Book are listed on page 83. They begin to come true after taking the seventh step - giving away your inventory and asking your Higher Power to rid you of your personal defects of character. A lot of OA's seem to fear steps 4 - 7. They CAN sound a little intimidating, I know. It involves taking a completely honest look at yourself, especially the wrongs you have done in the past - never a very comfortable thing for anybody. However, the miracle of the promises comes immediately after completion of steps 4 - 7.

When I first did Step 7, I felt elated afterward at the sudden change in the burdens I had been carrying around with me for so long. There was so much fear, resentment, false pride, self depreciation, shame and other defects that I had always spent so much energy covering up, even to myself, let alone others. By admitting them to another human being, I robbed them of their power. Hidden secrets can be amazingly powerful. When the promises began to happen in my life, I could hardly believe it! I had such a sense of freedom as I had never felt before in my life. Those horrible secrets were out - and you know what? They really weren't all that horrible. In my mind I had blown them all out of proportion. My sponsor listened to all of it and assured me that she had heard most of the same things before, and that they could be released.

My life has changed drastically since these promises began to come true for me. I am no longer as afraid of other people. I think that people were my greatest fear. I was so afraid that they could all see right through me and see all those character defects, which none of them possessed. I somehow thought that I was the only one in the world who had a problem with food; that I was the only one in the world who could mess things up as badly as I seemed to be able to do; that I really didn't deserve to be happy. I now know that others have many of the same thoughts and problems that I have had, and, most importantly, that I deserve to be happy and to be respected. I have as much personal worth as anyone else and on the other side of the coin - others deserve my love and respect even when they don't do things my way.

~ Dawn



"And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing, or situation--some fact of my life--unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing, or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment. Nothing, absolutely nothing happens in God's world by mistake. Until I could accept my alcoholism I could not stay sober; unless I accept life completely on life's terms, I cannot be happy. I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and in my attitudes".

~ Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 449


At least several times during the year I find myself going back over some issue in my life and wishing I had done it differently and then such and such wouldn't be this way! It is then that I have to go back over this page in the Big Book and read that there are NO mistakes in God's world; that everything that happened was supposed to be for whatever plan God had for me.

It is such a stress reliever!! I wanted to pass this on to those who are new also. I must accept "life on life's terms." That is not easy to do sometimes, but I am not the Maker of this world and I will surrender myself to a Higher Power who does know All the Plans.

Love in Recovery,
    Myrlene (Big Book and Recovery Group)


~ The spot where The Recovery Group had its beginning ~

To receive the daily meditations by email, send a blank email to:


Serendipity Team ~ SerendipityNewsletter@yahoo.com
Subscriptions ~ SerendipityNewsletter@yahoo.com[Subject=Request Subscription(web)]
Recovery Group Administrators ~ TRGAdm@TheRecoveryGroup.org
ODAT Administrators ~ ODATAdm@lists.therecoverygroup.org
Sponsor Coordinators ~ Sponsors@TheRecoveryGroup.org
Recovery OA Online Meetings Coordinators ~ MtgAdm@lists.TheRecoveryGroup.org
Technical Support ~ RecoveryTech@mail.com
TRG Webmaster ~ Mari@TheRecoveryGroup.org
Recovery Group Founder ~ Mari@TheRecoveryGroup.org

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

Happy New Year to All!
~ From the Serendipity Team, The Recovery Administrations, the Meeting Leaders and the Trusted Servants of Our Community.


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 7 Issue 1 © Copyright 2005 THE RECOVERY GROUP All rights reserved.