A Wellspring of Hope
Newsletter of The Recovery Group

July/August 2002
Volume 4, Issue 7/8

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


From Our Editor
Founders Corner
From the Administrators
From the Loops: Spotlight of the Month
Danny's Corner
From the Recovery Group Members
From the Literature
The Recovery Group IRC Meeting Schedule
Overeaters Anonymous Contacts
Recovery Group Contacts
Serenity Prayer


Dear friends in recovery,

Welcome to the July/August edition of Serendipity! And welcome back to Serendipity! Think I have most of the bugs worked out, and hope to be back on schedule in September ........ We continue with the tools of recovery in this month's edition, and so many of you shared that we are going with all member shares instead of some of the other features of prior newsletters. There is so much recovery among our members -- I think you will find the shares of our members' experience, strength and hope an inspiration in your recovery.

And, for those of you who want a head start, the topic for September's edition of Serendipity will be "Favorite Passages from the Big Book." We look forward to many great shares -- all submissions to Serendipity should be sent to

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

Peace, my friends.

Love in recovery,
Suzanne, Editor



Dear Recovery Friends,

One of the joys of my life has been being the Mother Hen of the Recovery Group. Some tease me by saying that I'm more like a Mother Lioness with her cubs than a Mother Hen, however. :-) God has blessed me personally to have had the privilege of starting our extensive programs to benefit compulsive eaters around the world. And working with the hundreds of Trusted Servants over the years has been the highlight of my life.

Beginning July 4th, I will be taking a year off to do some personal projects and feel fortunate to be able to do this and know that TRG, under the loving and capable hands of our Administrators working with the Trusted Servants will inspire my beloved recovery home to continue flourishing and growing and meeting the needs of so many.

I would like to encourage any of you who would like to do service to please do so. We need so much help to keep things going ~ from Loop Coordinators, Meeting Leaders, Big Book and WTS Study Leaders, Web Servants to Greeters, 12th Step Within Trusted Servants to those who Sponsor and share in their home loops. Just write
TRGAdm@TheRecoveryGroup.com or contact your Coordinator and I guarantee you that you'll be put to work in the best job you've ever had.

Wishing you all a happy summer, abstinence and the joys of our 12 Step program. Please always remember that in the deepest part of the soul of a compulsive eater ... is the realization that recovery begins when we find one another.

I'm glad I found you. I'm glad we found each other.

Love in recovery,


Dear Members of The Recovery Group,

The Administrators are: Cate, John, and Patt, with Mari having seat and voice but no vote, as the founder. We try to keep things running, and to see that the Traditions are followed.

One of the big issues for us has been the change in meetings. Perhaps the meetings grew too fast, but we found that we had meeting leaders who were not following the Guidelines, and some who even argued that the guidelines were optional. In TRG, the guidelines are the Twelve Traditions as adapted for use in cyberspace. Everyone knows that the Twelve Traditions are almost as sacred as the Twelve Steps themselves. We had to act, and our decision was to start over with meetings led by people who knew what to do and were willing to do it. In time, we will once again offer a full schedule to meetings, but we are going to train the new leaders very thoroughly, and build slowly and carefully. As we all know, meetings are very important, but it is also very important that the meetings follow the rules. Our new meetings are going very well.

Keeping the loops with Trusted Servants is an ongoing operation, but one which we try to keep up with as much as possible. Our biggest problem is that few loop members will volunteer for service. This is a trait common to our disease, but service is one of the tools of recovery, right up there with meetings. Each loop should have at least five TSs. Some can get by on a little less, while some of the very large ones can sometimes put a few more to work. We are always asking for service. The only requirement for service is a willingness to do it. Please let us know of any interest you have. You don't have to start as a coordinator, if that's the issue. We need greeters, Twelfth Step Within (farewellers), web servants in many instances, as well as two coordinators.

We are working on a number of other projects, and you will here from us about them in the future. In the meantime, be aware that you can ask us questions and make suggestions at any time. Sometimes the best ideas come in over the transom.

Our wish for all of you is a happy, abstinent month, with great growth through the Steps.

Love in recovery,

The Recovery Group (TRG) Administration
Cate, John, and Patt, with Mari


~ The Discovery Kitchen ~
A Place to Share Food Plans and Recipes

Dear Recovery Friend,

Dear Recovery Friend, Welcome to the Discovery Kitchen. Here you'll find recipes, links, and food ideas for those seeking recovery in Overeaters Anonymous. Please remember that in OA, abstinence is defined as abstaining from compulsive overeating, and we endorse no specific food plan. While we all suffer from the disease of compulsive overeating we are all different people; what's forbidden on your personal food plan may be allowed on someone else's. As with anything you find in the recovery programs, take what you like and leave the rest. The links on our web page go to sites where there are recipes that are low in fat and/or calories. However, there is no restriction as to the amount of each.

Visit our website located at:
To join, please send a blank e-mail to: DiscoveryKitchen-subscribe-request@lists.therecoverygroup.org


~ GOMU ~

Dear God,

Good morning! Thanks for letting me get up and feel life. The window behind my chair is wide open, and the coolness with its very own smell is delightful. When this is done and posted I'm going to Brooklyn, one of my favorite things to do. I suppose You're happy at all the God talk going on around the loops. One very clear point is jumping out at me. Those who are willing to admit a need for You are abstinent. They don't necessarily need a religion or a specific idea of who or what, just be willing to believe, to seek You out and the food compulsion is lifted on a daily basis. Pretty neat. So I ask, are they dumb, or do they enjoy the suffering too much to look for You? I gotta tell You that I found out that You are an inside job. Yep, right there on the inside looking out and I gotcha. You, the God of my understanding, dwell within me, and probably everyone else. Easy to find, hard to accept for some.

Yesterday I said some pretty hard things for which I expected some hot flack. None has been forthcoming. I don't know what prompted my rather strong opinions on character and faith, but it must have hit a nerve in a lot of folks. We all know the difference between right and wrong. I just wish wrong wasn't always so damn tempting. You and I need to stay close these next few days, as I will be in need of You. Meanwhile, please look after my family, friends, fellow loopies, all those who still suffer, and as usual, those I don't like at all. There is one special case out there I ask You to look after, and grant the ability to accept life in all ways on life's terms so that one may find the peace they seek so hard.

And Why Not?


~ The Tools of Recovery ~

My name is Elfa and I am a compulsive overeater. I have been in OA for almost two years now and have been abstinent since 19th of January 2001. I consider my abstinence as one of the greatest gifts that my Higher Power has given me. Recently I have been struggling a bit with my food, a slip here and a slip there and then it dawned upon me; I havenīt been using all of the OA tools. If I were to make a table for example I would need wood, saw, hammer, nails, something to measure with etc. My table will not be good enough (and hardly a table) if I donīt use all the tools needed. That is the same for my abstinence even if I tend to "forget" that simple truth. I have to use all the tools, they are there to help me to stay abstinent and work my program which is the 12 steps of OA/AA. And I am so grateful for having these tools, in my mind I have put one more - the internet, but that can also fall under the writing tool and the reading tool and even sometimes the telephone tool and.. Hey, just realized that when I use the internet I use all the tools. Still I have to do them separately as well and here is how I use them:

  • meetings - that is where I find recovery and get out of my isolation. I have to go to f2f meeting and am so fortunate that there are many in my town. I go to at least 3 a week but if I can go more often it always pays off with more serenity in my life and mind. This is also the plays to meet others, both newcomers that I can help if they want me to and old-timers with something that I need to learn from.

  • literature - I love to read, actually when I was active in overeating that was very often with a book in my hand. But today it is different. For me the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous is the basic text for me. I have read it many times and actually try to read it aloud with my sponsees and there is always something new there. If I need an answer to my problems it is for sure in that book, I just have to be willing to see it. But I also read a lot of other literature, OA, AA and Al-Anon. And on the internet I read the "Thought of the day" and strangely it usually is there especially for me in my then current situation.

    sponsors - I have to have a sponsor. For me a sponsor is a person that I have given the permission to be very honest with me and tell me when I am heading in the wrong direction. That person needs to be living in the 12 steps and can guide me towards practicing their principles in all my affairs. I have been so grateful for sponsoring some women through the steps and I believe that has helped me more then them. Both by studying the steps all the time but also because I believe that every person I have sponsored have been sent to me for a purpose, something new for me to learn and change about myself comes out of each and every relationship. I am truly thankful for being able to give away so freely what I have been giving. I know for me that is the only way to save me from the hell of compulsive overeating.

    anonymity - this program wouldnīt thrive without anonymity. I for myself is not shy about who I am and what I am doing but principles before personalities is what this is all about. I have been on the TV once and twice on radio but made it very clear that I would not tell my name or do anything that would make me recognizable. Not to protect myself but for the purpose of this program.

    telephone - I am scared of people and communicating even if I hide that fact pretty well most of the time. But I have to talk to my fellow COEs every day. That way I get out of myself. I also need a safety net because not all days are all sunshine and happiness. When the bad days happen I have to be able to call people that I trust to fight my disease. I canīt do it alone, I need other people because through them my HP often talks.

    writing - Just sitting here and writing is great. I get such a good perspective on my work and program. For instance when I was writing about anonymity I felt very strongly that I need to think more about that and maybe read something as well. I donīt write every day but am working on it because I can feel how well it works for me. At night I try to write about the day and do my inventory as well. Have I been resentful, scared, selfish or dishonest today? Do I need to make my amends to anybody? Writing is a very good way for my to get to know me better, I get my thoughts out of my head where the can do pretty much harm and down on paper (computer screen) and by that the thoughts loose their power.

    service - I am lost without service that I know. If I donīt give my service to my meetings in some way, they are not my meetings anymore. But by making the coffee, being a secretary, photocopying literature or whatever service there is to be done I am responsible for that meeting, I go there and my heart stays there. Here is not to be forgotten that by promising some service you have to go to the meeting, even when I donīt feel like it but need it the most.

    food plan - I have to have a food plan. It has changed a few times during my abstinence but there are only 3 basic rules I have to set down for me. They are; what food is my drug and I therefore have to eliminate from my diet, how many times over the day am I going to eat and how much every time? The answers to these questions have changed for me in the past and will do so also in the future. But the beauty of all this is that I only have to do this today. Tomorrow I will make a brand new decision whether I want to stay abstinent from compulsive overeating or not. What I must remember that food plan is not the same as abstinence. I follow a food plan, use the other tools and try to practice the principles of the twelve steps in all my affairs and then I am abstinent.

~ Talking ~

Hi there, I am Terrie Lynn .... I go by both names. :) I am really new to the OA program, although not new to 12 stepping. I thought I would take a moment and share the two tools that work the best for me.

1. Talking with others. Talking seems to make every little thing better. It doesn't have to be a sponsor, or even a close friend.... just the opening up and sharing one on one with another is enough to take the voices out of my head! You know, the voices that seem to never stop yakking about food.... I have also found a good way to 'talk' with others through the use of email and online support groups. When you 'have' to write in order to 'talk' with another recovering friend, it just makes it all work better for me.

2. Talking with God. Nothing quite as good as a heart to heart with my HP. A simple morning prayer asking Him to remove my obsession to over eat for the day. Another simple prayer to thank Him for doing it at the end of each day. It's working for me. I have also found that just letting Him know when food is on my mind helps to relieve the thought. Cause I can't talk to God and think about food at the same time.

Thanks for letting me share!

Terrie Lynn
txnladie@yahoo.com or sober010190@hotmail.com
Abstinent 05-15-02

~ Abstinence ~

Although I make good use of many tools of recovery, I have to say that abstinence is the most important tool in my own recovery from compulsive overeating. By the grace of God, I have 602 days of consecutive "back-to-back" abstinence from compulsive overeating, sugar, white flour and personal binge foods. This has brought me not only a weight loss of over 90 pounds, but amazing serenity, clarity and joy.

As part of my recovery, many months ago, my sponsor asked me to write on "Abstinence is the most important thing in my life without exception". The following is what I wrote, revised to allow for reflection of my experienced abstinence since then and to this day.

At first glance, the idea that abstinence should be the most important thing in anyone's life seems impossible. "Yes," a newcomer to the Program might say, "abstinence is important. It's a part of health, and staying healthy is important. But what about the rest of my health issues -- and what about the *really* vital things in my life? What about my family? What about my career? What about providing for my old age? How can I put a food plan ahead of all that?"

First of all, abstinence isn't just a food plan. Of course, eating three meals a day with nothing in between and sticking to the list of permitted foods are a major part of abstinence. But there's much more. Abstinent recovering compulsive overeaters don't just abstain from certain foods or excess quantities and from eating between meals. We abstain from a whole lot of past behaviors. Some of them are related to food -- such as eating our food standing up, working or arguing while we eat, or eating in unaesthetic conditions. And some of them aren't directly related to food. For example, we abstain from people-pleasing at our own expense; we abstain from the use of chemical substances other than when prescribed to treat an illness; and we abstain from putting ourselves down.

Now back to the rest of our hypothetical newcomer's questions. The way I see it, if I am not abstinent, my chances of remaining healthy -- that is, of remaining free of heart disease, diabetes, orthopedic problems, high blood pressure and a score of other woes -- will be much lower. Moreover, if I am numbing myself with food, it will be harder for me to be a strong, loving, supportive family member. I may be a good "doormat" when I'm full of food, but in the long term, I can't say "I love you" until I know how to say "I" -- and stuffing my feelings down with carbohydrates isn't the way to maintain a loving, honest dialogue.

Career? Yes, some of us compulsive overeaters have managed to keep up an impressive career. But there's always the risk that it won't stay that way. Who among us hasn't experienced sick days due to overeating? What compulsive overeater has never been too preoccupied with the next meal or snack to remember a deadline? And think about the impression we make when we walk into a meeting with crumbs down our fronts, or the woofing, mumbling sounds we make trying to talk to a client on the phone and gobble food at the same time... The examples are many.

And as for old age: I recently heard someone say at a meeting that compulsive overeaters who aren't abstinent don't have to worry about providing for their old age -- because, statistically speaking, they are much more likely to die before they get there.

The sentence stuck in my mind, and it reminded me of something that happened just before I got abstinent. I had just applied for additional life insurance and disability compensation insurance. I canceled my application after being told by my insurance agent that the company would require a 250% supplement on my premium. "In other words," she said, "they think people who weigh what you do are a lot less likely to survive."

People do die of compulsive overeating. People get heart attacks; they get strokes; they get atherosclerosis. Or they become diabetic and have to spend the rest of their lives under a strict program of diet and medication, at the risk of blindness and even death. Or their lives are shortened by years of sleep apnea. Or they're just too heavy and too slow to make it across the street before the car hits them. But until my agent said what she did, I had really never thought that I might be one of those people.

As a medical translator, I know the exact term used by doctors to denote the condition of people as fat as I was before the Program. It's called "morbid obesity." Somehow, until the conversation with my insurance agent, I had never, ever considered the literal meaning of those words. But now, I really can't think of anything else to write about overeating and longevity that would be nearly as forceful as they are.

Morbid obesity means that I could have died from what I have. I could still die from it, if I stopped being abstinent. And I don't want to. I have fought all too long and all too hard to get to the point where I love my life.

In short: for me as a recovering compulsive overeater, abstinence is a value which has a crucial effect on all of my other values -- an effect shared by no other single factor that I can name.

Love in recovery,
Sharon from Tel Aviv, Israel

PS: I recently reinstated that insurance application, 19 months after I had originally applied. It was approved. With no supplement on the premium!


After being in the program for about two years now, I have to admit that I still don't use all the tools available to me all the time. However, I am always grateful that they are there for me when I DO choose to use them! And the one I am most grateful for is the one that OA doesn't even truly seem to acknowledge, and that is our Recovery Loop because it provides me with an opportunity to use several of the OA tools all at the same time! Being a recovery agoraphobic, I tend to isolate a lot, so when I found the Recovery Loops, the Isolation and Homebound Loop definitely 'spoke' to me and I've been there ever since! So, when I need to share, there are always people on my loop to share with. I can 'call' them up whenever the need arises day or night, and there's usually someone right there who cares and who understands where I'm coming from! Also, I feel like I am doing 'writings' when I post thoughts and ideas to my loop because often I just have the need and desire to vent or work through something, so I can just 'voice' my thoughts 'out loud' on the loop (and often I don't really expect a reply but I'm always delighted when I get one!)

The Recovery Loop also provides 'literature' in the form of this newsletter and the Daily Meditations -- both of which I love and both of which help me a great deal! And let's not forget the meetings for those who cannot get to face-to-face meetings! Also, I feel I am able to do 'service' every day when I post and share on my loop and when I try to help others with their programs. So my most favorite and useful tool is the Recovery Loop, which I am truly grateful for every day -- and I just wish it was totally sanctioned by OA because without it, I would surely still be one of those lost and suffering souls!

Lorraine, Isolation & Homebound Loop


I am Barbara. I am a frustrated author(ess). I have written all my life and nobody has ever begged me to write some-thing so they could publish it. I shall favor you with my best shot. This is not exactly a prepared article, but I have lived these 12 Steps for the past 45 years. Through them, in Al-Anon came my first glimpse of what sanity was. And then serenity. At first, I thought serenity was just when I wasn't screaming. Then I learned that there was more to it than that.

Oh yes, you wanted to know my favorite tool. It is very difficult to say that any one tool is more important than the rest, because they are all necessary to recovery. The circumstances of my life have eliminated what used to be my favorite tool--the telephone. I have no OA numbers to call--at least, none that are not toll calls, and I have never made short program calls. When I need somebody, I need a lot of you! Also, there are no f2f meetings that I can get to. I am 78 years old, and the nearest meetings are 25 miles away. I don't drive at night. I don't drive to the city alone. So what saved my life? This loop! I couldn't even get the address from anybody. I just sat down one day and typed "overeaters anonymous" in the address line, and here I am!

I am not obese, but at the rate I was going, I was in a fair way to become obese. I had gained about 20+ pounds, going out with the love of my life. I had stopped gaining over a year ago, by writing down everything I ate, after I ate it. I was in OA, in the LA area 20 years ago, when we wrote down our food for the next day and committed it to our sponsor, by telephone. Took me six months to lose 25 pounds back then. I went to a few meetings that Rozanne also attended, by the way.

So I could remember that tool, and use it, but I couldn't lose a pound. I searched for meetings, but there were none in my area-- it's a small town, with lots of fat people and no OA! I didn't have the energy to start a meeting, because I was packing, sorting and getting ready to move two houses, mine and that of my beloved.

The obvious fact here is that this loop is a life-saver for me. I spend every evening reading every post, and answering some. My beloved is a TV addict, and I am not. I am a food addict, and what better place for a food addict than in front of a monitor full of wonderful OA people?

Barbara, barbarawp@tcsn.net, one happy abstinent food addict.

~ Sponsorship ~

Sponsorship is a key to this program in that it takes two individuals through an experience together that they could not have experienced alone. It allows things to be seen by the Sponsee as well as the Sponsor from perspectives that they do not individually posses. It is a relationship where both persons benefit emotionally, spiritually and physically by working the 12 steps of OA.

My sponsor was the first person I saw as I came through the door to my first OA meeting. I realize that this does not happen to the majority of newcomers, but for me, I think my higher power was giving me a safety net for my fear. I might not have been able to handle not having a sponsor right away. I just don't know. In any event, at our first meeting he told me that he would be my Sponsor if I would work the 12 steps with him. I agreed and we were off on a journey that I could not have imagined in my wildest dreams.

He took me through all of the steps giving me constant "pats-on-the-back" and a hug every time I saw him. We met religiously every week. He listened to my high times and my low. The once or twice that schedules didn't allow us to meet left a feeling of emptiness inside. We developed a relationship that was different than friends, different than a working relationship, different than blood relations, different than marriage. It was different from each, yet it was like every one of these relationships in many respects. It is one that, no matter how long it lasts, I will cherish always. It was a gift from God.

Now I am a sponsor. I am giving my time, my love and as many hugs as I can. In a male-to-male relationship I found that hugs are a more difficult issue due to the limits that society places on us. My higher power is helping me through it, though. We are at the beginning stages of our journey together, but I already feel that bond developing. We have cracked open the big book and are both ready for our adventure. I am reaping immediate benefits in my own recovery from being a Sponsor, and look forward to the coming months and years.

Sponsorship is a relationship unlike any other. It should be cherished and sought after. I can not advise anyone on what they should or should not do. I can only share what I have. And that is, by getting a sponsor immediately, as I was led to, by my higher power (whether I knew it or not), and beginning my program by immediately working the steps, my life has been greatly and eternally affected. I have been given gifts that I did not even believe existed.

Dan H in CT

~ Keeping in Touch ~

I think the most useful tool is e-mailing and the telephone. Keeping in touch is very important to those of us who are compulsive eaters.

Linda -- COE and diabetic



Humbly asked him to remove our shortcomings.


Every loop and meeting of our group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.


My Creator, I am now willing that you should have all of me, good & bad. I pray that you now remove from me every single defect of character which stands in the way of my usefulness to you & my fellows. Grant me strength, as I go out from here to do Your bidding.


Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.


Overeaters Online Recovery Group should remain forever nonprofessional.


Higher Power, I ask Your help in making my list of all those I have harmed. I will take responsibility for my mistakes and be forgiving to others as You are forgiving to me. Grant me the willingness to begin my restitution. This I pray.



This room on the Starchat Channel on IRC will be open 24 hours a day seven days a week for informal talk. We have a direct doorway to this room on the main page of our website and many will be using it. The #RecoveryTalk doorway is located close to the top of the main page of the Recovery Website at

And here is the direct link to #RecoveryTalk:
#RecoveryTalk on StarChat.Network

For AOL members:
Here is the direct link to #RecoveryTalk: #RecoveryTalk'>http://www.starchat.net/recoverytalk/">#RecoveryTalk on StarChat.Network


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 TRGAdm@TheRecoveryGroup.org. The doorway for #Recovery meetings is also on the main page of the Recovery Website about half way down.

Here is the direct link to #Recovery:
#Recovery on StarChat.Network

For AOL members, here is the direct link to #Recovery:
#Recovery'>http://www.starchat.net/recovery/">#Recovery on StarChat.Network


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 ~ Suzanne
Newsletter Subscriptions ~ SerendipityNewsletter@yahoo.com
Sponsor Directory ~ sarkar@cableonda.net ~ Maureen
IM Directory ~ andybirkhead@mac.com ~ Andy
Telephone Angel Directory ~ vine19@nyc.rr.com ~ Jessica
Recovery Meeting Coordinator ~ vickiw@gci.net ~ Vicki
Technical Support ~ RecoveryTech@mail.com
Recovery Group Administrators ~ TRGAdm@TheRecoveryGroup.org ~ John, Cate and Patt
Recovery Group Founder ~ Marisok@aol.com ~ Mari

"In the deepest part of a compulsive eater's soul . . .
Is the realization that recovery begins when we find one another."
~ Mari, Recovery Group Founder ~

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 4 Issue 7/8 © Copyright 2002 THE RECOVERY GROUP All rights reserved.