A Wellspring of Hope
Newsletter of The Recovery Group

July 2003
Volume 5, Issue 7

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


REGISTER TODAY for the upcoming OA Convention!

for more information about the 2003 OA Convention
coming to New Orleans August 7-10, 2003.

News Flash! Hotel rates have just been reduced!!!

See the Convention page
(http://www.oa.org/ws_convention.html#location) for more information.

Greetings from www.TheRecoveryGroup.org/meetings/index.html!

RECOVERY HAPPY HOUR begins at 10:30PM Eastern in #RecoveryTalk on IRC. Come have coffee after the meeting ... or even if you don't attend the meeting, come join us and relax until bedtime. Note: please see The Recovery Group Meetings (below) for directions on getting to IRC.

Oh, and BYOC!

with a Subject of 'Letter to the Editor'

with a Subject of 'Member Share'

The Serendipity Archives


From Our Editor
From Our Founder
From a TRG Veteran
From Our ODAT Committee
From Our Recovery Group Sponsor Program
Letters to the Editor
Special Announcement ~ OA Convention
Kids' Corner
Twelve Steps of Overeaters Anonymous ~ A Kid's View
Teens' Corner
July Loop Spotlights
French and Recovery
German and Recovery
HOTJ: Heavyweights on the Journey
From Our Recovery Group Members
Recovery Writers' Series
Selection from OA's Lifeline
From the Literature
Recovery Meditations Calendar
The Recovery Group Meetings
Overeaters Anonymous Contacts
Recovery Group Contacts
Serenity Prayer



Dear Serendipity Readers,

Warm hugs of welcome to you all!

The July 2003 issue of Serendipity is here for you, full of loving thoughts from many Recovery Group volunteers, who give service to the group in many ways. You will see how they contribute when you read their various articles. Our founder, Mari, passes along her thoughts on how we can share our abstinence and recovery on all three levels via two special loops. In addition, this month we have a new treat: an article written by John S., a very special "veteran" TRG member, who shares some of his own, very personal Experience, Strength and Hope.

We hope that more and more of our younger people will read the "Kids Corner" and "Teens"; we want to reach more of the younger age-bracket and catch them before they grow up with many of the same COE problems with which we landed in adulthood! You can help us spread the word!

I have also included, in two spots (can you find them both?!), information about the upcoming OA Convention, whose title this year is "Happy, Joyous and Free in 2003!" Check out the links included. Think about going; it's just around the corner and hotel rooms seem to be getting cheaper!

So, now that the July issue is ready for your reading and absorption, please enjoy it!!!

Yours in recovery,

     Editor, SERENDIPITY
     Newsletter of The Recovery Group


~ Nothing Tastes Better Than Abstinence Feels ~

Dear Serendipity Readers,

I am noticing something very exciting that seems to be happening more and more in the Recovery Group. As you know, we have dozens of loops for compulsive eaters and as I roam from one to the other, I read heart-warming stories of our members achieving abstinence. Some are receiving this gift for the first time; others have maintained abstinence for many years and express daily gratitude. It's very exciting and inspiring to see "Woo Hoo" across the subject line and open the letter and read ... "I reached goal weight today." Those five words speak volumes to the struggling newbie, gives hope to someone in relapse and inspires us all. It seems to have a domino effect as spirits lift across our community and we ignite the hope that physical normality awaits us.

The Recovery Group is dedicated to providing services that help us reach our emotional, spiritual and physical goals. Sometimes we forget that many of us would not be here if it weren't for the fact that we are compulsive eaters. Our problem is, has been and always will be food. Our issues are with things that cause us to eat. Working a recovery program on all three levels has proven time after time the only thing that works for a compulsive eater. If you are abstinent and wish to let others know, send a blank email to:

If you are close to or have reached goal weight and wish to share with others who have, send a blank email to: StrongRecovery-subscribe-request@lists.therecoverygroup.org.

Happy July to all.

Love in recovery,


Dear Friends:

I would like to share with you today some thoughts about The Recovery Group, where I have been active for seven and a half years now. During that time it has been the primary inspiration of my recovery, which is now a bit over ten years old itself.

I suppose I could try to summarize all the features to be found on our web site, and try to translate that into the many ways TRG has helped people. That would be a good article, and who knows, maybe even of some use in advertising us. Instead, I have chosen to offer you some of the Experience, Strength, and Hope that I have today as a result of being in The Recovery Group. This is not hypothetical.

The first thing I learned was that all I, or anyone, has to do to be truly active in TRG is to volunteer to do so. There seems to be some reticence about volunteering, despite the fact that volunteering for service is one of the things the Twelfth Step is about. But nowhere else is the OA slogan so true as here: Service is slimming.

Another thing that I have learned in TRG is that sponsoring is really important. It is most important to have a sponsor, and once one has come to understand something about program, being a sponsor is a vital tool of recovery. I cannot say how many friends I have around the world due to my willingness to be a sponsor. But even more important, in this dialogue with my fellow sufferers, I have been stretched and forced to grow and grow. I have found that apart from the basics of the program, I have nothing lofty to say. It's a dialogue in recovery. It's often a bit scary, but as long as I stick to telling my own story and don't pontificate, only good things seem to happen.

The most important thing I have learned is that abstinence and recovery are not exactly the same thing. Abstinence standing alone is but another name for a diet. There can be no recovery without abstinence, but there can be no diet without recovery. Alas, I have known several people with lots of abstinence and seemingly not one day of recovery, at least as far as I could see. They had simply transformed themselves into compulsive non-overeaters. They were addicted to restricted eating. This is not recovery. I am so glad that seemingly at all times and in all places TRG has focused on spiritual recovery. From the beginning, our founder, Mari, has put the Steps and Traditions in the center of TRG's efforts. As the Traditions for face to face meetings needed to evolve for use in cyberspace, so the Traditions evolved into our Guidelines, which are just the Traditions modified for use in cyberspace, but unchanged in any essential feature. The core of my recovery has come to be a relationship with my Higher Power as understood by the Steps and Traditions. They have been my mother's milk, and have become my meat and drink as my own program matured. My relationship with my higher power has given me serenity and great joy. These gifts have come to me despite my own history of past abuse, and a lifetime of clinical depression, sometimes serious. It has come to me and removed my desire to overeat one day at the time. It will, I am convinced, remove those cravings one day at the time for the rest of my life, as long as I maintain my spiritual connection. Seeing the power of this connection has been one of TRG's greatest gifts, unless daily help in maintaining it be so. I am so grateful, not only to the God of my understanding, but to the countless others who have shared with me so meaningfully about theirs.

There was a time when I was quite certain that my cup was half empty. When I first came into the rooms, my vital signs were moving apace toward an early death, and I utterly despaired of being able to do anything about it. When I came to program, I found hope. Before very long, I found that my cup was half full. I am thankful to say that in TRG, I have come to see that my half full cup also runs over regularly. I have a life. And the materials with which I have constructed it have come in such large measure from the Program, in The Recovery Group.

My prayer for everyone is that you will either find your recovery, or subsequently the Power to remain in it. This is what my story is all about. I can only offer my own experience, strength, and hope. But a mighty source in giving me this ESH has been The Recovery Group. We have clasped hands, and the circle is complete. Yet, there is always room for more in it. It's something like the half full cup that runs over. It is the paradox of recovery.

May you all have abstinence with great joy and serenity, just for today. And when tomorrow becomes today, all will be well.

John S. (TRG Advisor)



We welcome anyone who would like to serve in any capacity, whether it be coordinator, greeter, or 12th step within. Just send me an email and ask any questions you might have.

Our loops continue to provide a safe place to work on recovery issues. If you haven't explored the One Day at a Time and Discovery loops, check out this URL and see if something looks interesting.


With love,
Sande (hopeful@bigzoo.net)
ODAT Administrator


TRG is very proud to be able to offer its members an extraordinary Online Sponsor Program. The mission of this program is to ensure that we have enough sponsors, both permanent and temporary, for any Recovery Group member who might need one.

Sponsors and Recovery is a general sharing loop we have for sponsors and sponsees to discuss issues relating to sponsoring.

To join this loop send a blank email to:
RecoverySponsors@yahoogroups.com and it will reach all the sponsors, who in turn write back to the potential sponsee. Many matches have been made in this way.

We also have another list for Temporary Sponsors. WTS has a "Twelve Steps in Twelve Weeks" Step Study each quarter, and these temporary sponsors are for those who sign up for the study and are without a sponsor.

If you need to contact the Sponsor Coordinators, they are Dreena and Maureen.

For more information about our sponsor program and/or to be sent a copy of the Recovery Sponsor Directory and Biographies, please write to: TRGSponsorsAdm@lists.TheRecoveryGroup.org

In service to all,

The Recovery Group Sponsor Program Trusted Servants

www.The RecoveryGroup.org/sponsors.html



Letters to the Editor are encouraged and welcomed. Please send your letter to SerendipityNewsletter@yahoo.com, with 'Letter to the Editor' in the subject line.



REGISTER TODAY for the upcoming OA Convention!

for more information about the 2003 OA Convention
coming to New Orleans August 7-10, 2003.

News Flash! Hotel rates have just been reduced!!!

See the Convention page
(http://www.oa.org/ws_convention.html#location) for more information.



The Kids and Discovery loop is for kids who are aware they have a problem with food and eating. Hopefully and prayerfully there will be some new members in the near future.

Ten copies of "The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions: A Kid's View" (by OA WSO) will be distributed soon to certain places where kids may be (like libraries and rec centers). The url of this loop will be added at the top of the booklet. In this way I will try to spread the word to generate new interest in this loop.

But you, dear reader, can help, too! If you are aware of anyone who has, or knows of, a child with an eating problem, I pray that you would pass along the loop's url:

The booklet to be distributed is available at no cost from the OA WSO, and can be distributed by everyone who wishes to do service for this loop in his/her local area!

Please feel free to contact Deborah if you have any questions or suggestions for spreading the word about this loop. Or, you can find (and join!) Kids and Discovery at/from:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/KidsAndDiscovery/ or www.TheRecoveryGroup.org/discovery/kids.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or suggestions for spreading the word about this loop.

Yours in service,
Coordinator, Kids and Discovery


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Sometimes as I go through my day, something happens and I try to fix it or make it better. It doesn't work out and I get angry. I try again and it doesn't work, I get really mad. Again and again I try to fix it myself and get into even worse problems. I didn't pause; I didn't stop for a bit to see if I got an inspired thought from my HP which would have shown me how to relax and let HP sort it. The angel flies by and I never even noticed. I get exhausted and all I can think of is going into the food, or drink, or whatever - anything to make me feel better.

Sometimes I think an Angel (or HP) has to be something 'up there' watching over me, but I just can't feel 'it' or 'them' and then I really feel alone.

But, an Angel doesn't have to be an ethereal being or something supernatural, for me; sometimes my angels have skin on and come to me in the form of a brother or sister, a friend, or a loop member.

So tonight I will remember: Angels 'with skin on' can guide me just as surely as any angel in a holy book or something. Did I meet an angel 'with skin on' today? Were my eyes open to them being there for me?

[ Editor's note: For information, please see:
http://recovery.hiwaay.net/special/teens.html. To join TeensODAT, send an empty email to: TeensODAT-subscribe-request@lists.therecoverygroup.org ]



FFOA stands for "Families and Friends of Alcoholics". We are a group of men and women who have been affected by the disease of alcoholism in a relative or friend. Although our loop has been very quiet lately, we are at different times a sounding board for the frustrated, a listening ear for those who need to be heard, a cheering audience when the news is good, and/or a shoulder to cry on in the hard times. We always try to be a supportive group for those who have the challenge of having been affected by someone else's drinking. By sharing with each other, we find that we have a common bond, and through shared experience, strength and hope, we can find solutions that we can live with, and ultimately, peace of mind, whether the alcoholic is still drinking or not.

We would love to hear from you!

To find out more, please visit http://recovery.hiwaay.net/odat/ffoa/index.html.

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


One of The Recovery Group's foreign language loops is "French and Recovery". If you know of a French-speaking person who might be interested in the benefits of such an online group (written and operated entirely in French), please pass the following links on to him/her.

To read more, please visit the following webpages: http://fr.groups.yahoo.com/group/FrenchAndRecovery/, or


Another of The Recovery Group's foreign language loops is "German and Recovery". As with the French and Recovery group, the German and Recovery group is truly a group for the German-speaking COE. If you know of a person wishing the benefits of a German-speaking/writing online group, please pass the following links on to him/her.

To read more, please visit our webpages:
http://recovery.hiwaay.net/discovery/kitchen/index.html or


The "Heavyweights on the Journey" group is more than just a meeting and a website in cyberspace. It is a place where thoses with compulsions can meet with others who suffer and share their experience, strength and hope with one another. It is a place where the members can feel at home. It can become their recovery family and a place where they know that they will be heard and not judged; a place where their anonymity is important, and also a home, as the poet said, "where, when we have to go there, they have to take us in."

The HOTJ Loop focuses on compulsions and addictions relating to food. Many of the members weigh over 400 pounds... some of them considerably over that.... and this is the place to discuss the problems that come about with the disease from which we suffer. The members have dreams and goals, and through the process of working towards these dreams and goals we hope to reach them. Although many of our members are also members of Overeaters Anonymous (OA) and other world-wide groups, the only requirement for being a member of HOTJ is to have the desire to quit compulsively overeating.

To read more, please visit our webpage: http://recovery.hiwaay.net/hotj.index.html.
Or, if you are interested in joining this loop, please proceed to http://maelstrom.stjohns.edu/CGI/wa.exe?SUBED1=hotj&A=1.


Dear GOMU (God of My Understanding), Whom I know as God,

You have been leading me in a study of myself, in my 'feelings' and as has already been shared in our group this morning, 'fear' is a big part of my feelings. Thank You for sharing!!!! There are a lot of 'fears' in my life, a life-long list of fears, a 70-ish number of years on that list, that's a looonngg list. :(

All I can do is, with Your help, direction and wisdom, face those fears as they pop up, one fear at a time. I am finding that at the base of all my fears is the root of 'frozen feelings' developed early in my childhood, imitating my 'dear sweet mother' as she lived a life of an invalid with MS. The strength andcontrol that mom had, I have copied in my life to the best of my ability, carrying it farther than needed. And in that, I have developed early on a demeanor, an ability of hiding my feelings, in expressions, actions and reactions, etc. (even repress them entirely) for my survival. Today, God of mine, I admit I do have feelings, and they do run deep, even in a frozen state!!! As an adult I carried my stored feelings of pain, guilt, shame and rage deep within myself, frozen and unaware of their existence and intensity. Oh my, and I could only allow myself to have 'acceptable' feelings in order to feel 'safe'. The way I learned to respond to life was distorted in order to protect myself from reality of what I was actually feeling. When I have 'frozen feelings' I may:

  • Be aware of my feelings;
  • Have distorted feelings;
  • Repress my feelings;
  • Experience depression;
  • Develop physical illness;
  • Have shallow relationships.
As I recover from my frozen feelings, get in touch with my feelings and learn to express them, exciting things can happen. My stress level decreases as I express my feelings, which helps lower my blood sugar levels. I'm learning that expressing my true feelings is a healthy way to communicate. As I release my stored feelings, I admit, it is a painful process, but as my willingness to allow my feelings surface increases, the pain lessens and I find myself less frightened and overwhelmed by my feelings and my fears. The more willing I become to release my emotions, I am more capable of having a relationship with You, God of mine, as well as others.

As I experience and express my feelings, I begin to:
  • Identify my feelings;
  • Openly express my feelings;
  • Experience my true self;
  • Express my needs to others.
Dear God, Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference. Amen.

Hugs, SYL...
      Living life One Day At a Time,
      Somedays One Moment At A Time.


~ Danny's Letters to God ~

In this column we bring you shares from Recovery Meditations, Odyssey, Danny's Letters To God, Journey to Recovery, Reflections, The Promises and many others. For the next three months we want to highlight the series, "Danny's Letters to God". The first letter is called "Tell me again, who is in charge?".

Dear God,

My day went exactly as You planned it, however, it in no way resembled my plans, which were to sit and watch all the sporting events taped on three VCR's these past few days. Ha!! Danny plans and God giggles; will I ever learn?

Although the major redecorating has been done, it seems certain doors will not function as the new carpeting is much thicker than the old. Which, by the way, I was content with. But, hey, who is complaining? The old doors are eight feet high, and because of the peculiar construction need special tools for cutting. Well, why not?. SIGH!!!!

Then good Aunt Mae calls to ask me if she did the right thing when she threw away stock certificates because the company went off the board. Of course, this happened fifteen years ago, and I'm still searching.

Three grand nieces have come down with chickenpox, and guess who got stuck driving them to the doctor? HA!!! Oh, let us not forget the last minute phone call from Tommy and Barbara asking me to go with them to a mortgage refinance closing.

Now, here I settle in for the Yankee playoff game, and my cable goes out. You are trying my patience today, and, oh yes, my meat loaf got burned because of my CRS.

All in all, this has been one great day, and this fool is quite happy, thanks. Tomorrow I plan to go to Brooklyn and ask only for knowledge of and the power to do Your will, just for tomorrow.

Please watch over my family, friends, fellow loopies, those whose lives seem harsh and the folks I just don't like.

Thy will, not mine, be done.

And Why Not?


Good-Bye Defects

I am working on removing my character defects of resentment, control and anger. Mostly, I hold anger and resentment toward some family members who still practice compulsive behaviors and who have introduced my 15- and 10-year-old children to those behaviors. I try to work my program and be a good example. I've been in therapy for underlying issues, and I try to stay close to my Higher Power.

How am I letting go of the anger and resentment? I do a Tenth Step daily, turn these issues over to my Higher Power and trust He won't give me more than I can handle.

My sponsor has helped me with control issues. When we first began working together in 1997, I screamed at my children too much, and I thought it was my fault that my bills were too high. My sponsor is helping me realize that my Higher Power can help if I turn things over to Him.

Some things are out of my hands. It's not my fault if family members, including my children, choose compulsive behaviors. It's not up to me to be angry or resentful or to try to fix them. I'm only responsible for every compulsive bite I choose not to eat. I'm responsible for behaving with love, care and respect toward others. I'm responsible for going to meetings, calling my sponsor and writing my OA pen pal. By turning issues out of my control over to my Higher Power, I can say good-bye to anger, control and resentment.

Most days now my life is calmer and more serene, but sometimes, even after six years of recovery, I still have a bad day. I just have to have faith in my Higher Power, and He'll help remove some of those defects.

- E.K.S., Erie, Pennsylvania USA
(Lifeline, September 2002)



Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.


Every OA group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.

"Most of us feel we need look no further than Utopia, we have it with us, right here, right now"
Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book - Page 16 (all editions)


July Meditations Calendar ~


Online Meetings Update

On Monday, 23 June, TRG started a new group of meetings at noon, Eastern time. These meetings are held every day in the same place as our night meetings. As you can imagine, we are very excited to be able to bring these meetings to you and are especially proud of the energetic and enthusiastic people who volunteer their time to lead these meetings. If you haven't yet stopped by, please do. We would love to see you there, sharing your experience, strength and hope. Of course, in addition to these new meetings, we continue our popular evening meetings, held every night at 9:30 PM Eastern time. Our evening leaders are dedicated and loving trusted servants who volunteer their time so that we may all experience the joy of fellowship in recovery online at Recovery Group.

Our meetings are the best: the members are accepting, loving and supportive and our leaders are the best in cyberspace!

We would love to have you become one of our great leaders. If you are interested in giving service in our Recovery Group meetings, please write:

If you would like to receive information regarding the meeting topics, please write Pat D. at the above address. You can choose to receive information on an individual meeting(s), all noon meetings, all evening meetings or every meeting we have. Please specify "Add to Topic Reminder" on the Subject line and let Pat know which meeting(s) you would want to receive information on.

You are invited to go to the Recovery Group website at www.therecoverygroup.org. Click on the "Recovery Meetings" icon and check out the "Meeting" pages. Or, go directly to the meeting webpage at:

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

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

You can find other helpful information, including on-line meeting protocols at:

.....and after the evening meeting.....

RECOVERY HAPPY HOUR begins at 10:30PM Eastern in #RecoveryTalk on IRC. Come have coffee after the meeting ... or even if you don't attend the meeting, come join us and relax until bedtime. Oh, and BYOC! ;-)
Again, if you have any further questions or we can help you in any way, please write either of us, at:

VickiW and PatD
Meeting Co-coordinators


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

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 ~


Newsletter Editor ~ SerendipityNewsletter@yahoo.com ~ Marty
Newsletter Subscriptions ~ SerendipityNewsletter@yahoo.com(Subject=Email Subscription)
Letters to the Editor ~ SerendipityNewsletter@yahoo.com(Subject=Letter to the Editor)
Sponsor Coordinator ~ sponsors@therecoverygroup.org
Recovery Meeting Coordinator ~ MtgAdm@lists.TheRecoveryGroup.org
Technical Support ~ RecoveryTech@mail.com
TRG Webmaster ~ Mari
Recovery Group Administrators ~ TRGAdm@TheRecoveryGroup.org
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."

~~ The Serenity Prayer ~~

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

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

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


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 7 © Copyright 2003 THE RECOVERY GROUP All rights reserved.