A Wellspring of Hope
Newsletter of The Recovery Group


July 2005
Volume 7, Issue 7

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

SERENITY, the color, 12-Step monthly magazine for all, is available to non-Recovery Group members by sending a blank email to:

SERENDIPITY, the Recovery Group Newsletter, is available only to members of The Recovery Group and is sent on the first of each month, year-round.

Both SERENITY and SERENDIPITY are sent monthly to all members of The Recovery Group.



Nothing Tastes Better Than Abstinence Feels

As the months go by almost like those calendar pages in old movies flying into the wind, we see changes. People come and go in our lives ... each one leaving a memory ... each one serving a need. This month the theme of Serenity Magazine and our Serendipity newsletter is Abstinence. Many of you have expressed your feelings about this wonderful state and it's all in the July Serenity Magazine.

The Recovery Group community is a blend of the old and the new and our job is to provide that for you. You help us do that by reporting things you want to read about, to learn about and to think about. You never need a "reason" to write to us.

If you have an article about some aspect of the Recovery Community please send it to SerendipityNewsletter@yahoo.com. If you have a personal recovery story or poem that speaks to you or a photo you'd like to share ... please send to us at

We hope you enjoy your newsletter and learn a little more about your recovery community as you read it. Thanks for being here.

In loving service,
    The Serendipity Team


"Sponsors learn to sing our songs ...
And then teach us to sing it better ...
They learn to feel our feelings ...
And replay them back to us."
~ Anonymous (Full Version in Serenity)

Our symptons may vary, but we share a common bond:
We are powerless over food and our lives are unmanageable.
~ Overeaters Anonymous

The means by which certain pleasures are gained bring
pains many times greater than the pleasures.
~ Epicurus

"Denial ain't just a river in Egypt."
~ Mark Twain (1835-1910)


"Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds"
     - Einstein

Abstinence is not a mere word to compulsive eaters. For those of us who live with our disease, we are conflicted and made to feel shame when we hear the words ... "you just need a little willpower," "just pull yourself away from the table" ... or "just cut back on this or that." How can they not understand?

And then I remember how I couldn't understand. I remember when I scoffed at anyone who said I had a disease ... or was obese .... or a compulsive eater. I remember when I didn't know what the Twelve Steps were and had never heard of the Big Book. Abstinence? What a silly word! Everyone knows that no one can abstain from food. It would be decades before I realized how wrong I was. It would be years before I began receiving the promises the BB talks about. And it would be an equally long time before I realized that this COE could internalize that Abstinence was the most beautiful word in the English language ... and that it meant, not doing without food, but abstaining from the act of eating compulsively.

Happy July, Loopbuds.



"It's a funny thing about life. If you refuse to settle for anything less than the best, that's what it will give you."
    . . . W. Somerset Maugham

When I first came to program, I was more in the diet mentality. After a few "slips," I had to face the facts ... I was in relapse, and I had never really surrendered. With the help of the program, I gained an increasing awareness of this progressive disease. Did I really want to recover? Was I really willing to go to any lengths to find relief from compulsive eating?

When I finally surrendered the food and began working the Steps, I didn't know what to expect. All I knew was that food could no longer be the answer. With seven months of abstinence, I now know that I have a long way to go in my recovery. However, one day at a time, I am willing to find my answers in the Steps instead of the food. Thank you, Higher Power!

One day at a time ...
I choose abstinence and to listen for God's calling in my life. God's will for me is the safest and most loving place I can be, and I know God wants me to live a life free from the compulsion to eat.

~ Christine S.


In our tenth year of serving compulsive eaters who love and want to work the Twelve Steps of Overeaters Anonymous, we invite you to join us in the Third Quarter WTS Twelve Step Study.

Our Step Leader for the WTS Study is a veteran OAer who has been program since February 11, 1986. I hope those of you who register for the Step Study will give a warm welcome to Lawrie Cherniack, a lawyer and educator, from Winnipeg, Canada. Lawrie has recently returned from England where he gave a Big Book Workshop and he has done BB studies in a number of places in Canada and the United States as well. He has been at a healthy body weight since May 1994 and free from the compulsion to overeat since May 1993. Lawrie does a lot of sponsoring and has been active in OA from the group level to the World Service level.

We are deeply grateful to Penny K. for the excellent job she has done for the past 12 weeks. Hundreds have participated under her leadership as they will under Lawrie's. As an aside, it is interesting that in this tenth year of WTS, Penny was also the WTS Step Leader in our very first Step Study.

To register for the study, please send a blank email to:

Please have a sponsor. If you don't, we have a wonderful Sponsor Program and can help you find one. Please read: www.therecoverygroup.org/sponsors.html.

Thank you, {{{{{{{{{{{{{{Penny}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}

Welcome, {{{{{{{{{{{{{Lawrie}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}


To submit your comments or letters to the editor, simply send an email to:

All comments and suggestions are welcome.

Hi, Everyone!

Thank you for this wonderful newsletter. I always enjoy reading it!

~ Nancy


The loop I'm in is really lovely and very helpful, plus the O.A. site. It looks like I found a sponsor! I'm so happy! I really hope it works out!


I have been following an eating plan that I can do alone for about six days, then depression strikes again.

I've just found your site and now know there is hope for me. I haven't been able to go to meetings for about five years related to an inability to secure childcare. Thank you to the dedicated people in service who have set up all this. Thank you for being here. I think I can make it now with people who are dedicated to honesty. Once again, thank you!

~ Christina M.

Just a note to acknowledge the tremendous work, and wonderful insights you shared this month. I loved reading it, and am printing it out to share with some members who aren't on the Internet. I'm also going to share it with a neighbor who is struggling with an angry, bulimic daughter who is not in recovery and is breaking up with a controlling man in her life. So, know that your work touches lots of people's lives.

Thank you. --

~ Tracy F.

~ TRG ADM ~ The Administrative Hub ~

If the Recovery Group community is a wheel, then the TRGAdm "office" is the hub. Here is where there is a link to everything that concerns the Recovery Group and Dodee and Nancy are the Recovery Administrators who manage it. If you ever have a question, a problem that no one seems to be able to solve, please feel free to write us.

Submitted by:
TRG Administrator

Contact: TRGAdm@TheRecoveryGroup.org

FFOA - Family and Friends of Alcholics

Often in our support groups which are life-saving recovery homes for compulsive eaters, we hear stories of alcoholism. What is is about compulsive eating and alcoholism that accounts for so many relationships with one of each?

Family and Friends of Alcoholics is one of the support groups of our community. Although The Recovery Group is for compulsive eaters, FFOA offers a self-help recovery program for the families and friends of alcoholics. It doesn't matter if the alcoholic in our life seeks help or not ... it doesn't even matter if they recognize they have a drinking problem. We are here, not for the alcoholic as much as for the compulsive eater who loves them.

FFOA is not a religious organization or a counseling agency. It's not a treatment center nor affiliated with groups such as Al-Anon. We require no dues or fees. Our only requirement is that the compulsive eater who joins us wants to quit eating compulsive and has been living a life adversely affected by someone else's drinking problem.

OAAnon is our sister support group. It is for those who live with or love a compulsive eater ... and we will talk about that group in another issue of Serendipity.


I wonder how many members know that The Recovery Group has a group for Compulsive Eaters who are also dealing with someone they love, or are concerned about, who is being hurt by Alcohol? It is called FFOA. This stands for "Family and Friends of Alcoholics" or someone dealing with alcohol in their lives. This is a place where you can share your feelings or experiences with others who are also walking in the same moccasins.

As in Al-Anon, everything said or done here is held in strict confidence. We respect each other's rights to privacy on such a hurtful subject.

Imagine having a group where you can share your feelings with others who have had the same experiences. Some may have been dealing with it longer and may have some really good thoughts or actions that you could adopt in your lives. Or, on the other hand, you may be able to pass on some crucial guidance to someone's life.

We invite those who think this may be a group they would like to be in to send us an email. There are some of us who are waiting for others who will share and listen to our stories too. I know that pain held inside us only festers and gets worse and keeps us anxious, sick and depressed. I also know that talking is therapy and when you can talk out the pain and bad memories or experiences, then we feel better than we could ever have believed possible. If you have had a chance to go to an Alanon meeting, you will understand that each meeting brings a greater ability to cope as we learn new ways from others.

I'm hoping that some of you will come and join in and help yourselves and others feel better.

Submitted by Myrlene, Coordinator of FFOA

Subscription information:
Visit our website located at:

To join FFOA, send a blank email to:




The ODAT Loops of TRG are special interest groups, where people who work the OA Program and also have a common focus can discuss their program and how their common focus affects it.

Some of our groups focus on the program(s) we are part of. The AA/OA group is for people who are members of both OA and AA, and how both programs impact their lives. FFOA is for those who are members of Alanon, or who have friends and family in AA. Oanon is for those who are not in OA themselves, but have friends and family in OA. Drug Abuse is for those who are addicted to substances other than food or alcohol; some may be in NA. Sex, Food and Love Addiction is for those who may be part of SLAA and/or those who are addicted to sex and/or love in addition to food.

If you are interested in finding out more about these groups please contact us and I will be happy to answer your questions.

In service,
Chairperson, The ODAT Division


The Recovery Loops Division is made up of TRG's Twelve-step general sharing support groups. Our common mission is to provide a safe and supportive space for anyone who wants to recover from the disease of compulsive eating to share their experience, strength, and hope with others.

The following is a brief description of each of these groups.

In addition to our common mission, this loop also focuses on issues and topics that are of interest to compulsive eaters whose disease takes the form of anorexia and/or bulimia.

This loop studies the first 164 pages of the Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book, which has been the blueprint for many 12-step programs, including OA. The loop has 7 chairpersons who are responsible for posting a short passage from the Big Book as the topic of the day. If you are interested in studying the Big Book, you may join this loop at anytime and begin sharing immediately.

200 PLUS
This support group is for men and women who have 200 or more pounds to lose ... or who have lost that much in the past. We also have a loop called HOTJ for those who have lost or need to lose much more than 200 pounds.

JTR was the first general sharing group in the Recovery Group. Compulsive eaters who join this Twelve Step group share on a wide range of topics.

While all groups receive the daily Recovery Meditation, the members of this group share with each other how the daily meditation relates to their own individual experience, strength and hope.

This loop does not have a special focus other than to provide a safe haven for compulsive eaters to discuss topics of interest to them in their recovery process. OA Friends is a group of men and women who come together and share the experience, strength and hope of their recovery in OA with each other. You will find sharing that ranges from questions about food plans to how to find a sponsor to someone struggling to find abstinence to tips from those who have found strong recovery and are willing to share it with others looking for the same thing.

This is a very special loop that helps newcomers to become more familiar with OA and The Recovery Group and to ask questions. Once members becomes more comfortable with the process, they are encouraged to join a "home" loop to work a full recovery program.

Like the Journey to Recovery loop, this loop was also one of the first Recovery Group loops. The mission of this loop is to be as much like an Overeaters Anonymous face-to-face meeting as possible in cyberspace.

This loop is a place for members who are in or have gone through a relapse to find support and to hear and share experience, strength, and hope with other members who have also experienced the pain of a relapse.

The members of our sponsors group ask questions and discuss concerns relating to the sponsor/sponsee relationship.

The very first Recovery Group loop established ten years ago, WTS is a quarterly, in-depth e-mail study of the Twelve Steps of Overeaters Anonymous. Each quarter a WTS Step Leader will post the step of the week and a personal share about that step. Members work with their personal sponsor on the Step work as well as post their own experiences with the Step to the loop.

Submitted by Cheryl S.,
Recovery Group Loops Division Chair

More details about these support groups can be found at:
Contact: TRGAdm@lists.TheRecoveryGroup.org


Come join us at The Abstinent Kitchen, Kids and Recovery, COKids, Exercise, Kitchen Archives and The Yellow Brick Road. These are fun-loving ways to work your recovery program, share food plans, get recipes, find others with children with weight problems, exercise solutions for compulsive eaters, overweight kids writing other overweight kids about their common problems and a Yellow Brick Road where anything goes. Athena is the Discovery Division chair and is busy recruiting dedicated Coordinators for each of the Discovery Loops.

Read more about The Discovery Division groups at:

Contact: DiscoveryAdm@lists.TheRecoveryGroup.org
or DiscoveryAdm@yahoo.com

On-Line Meeting Division

Meetings Around the World ~ Around the Clock

To receive our weekly meeting schedule, send a blank email to:

In loving service,

Terri, Barry, Christine and Audrey
TRG Meeting Division Co-Chairpersons

Enquiries to: MtgAdm@lists.TheRecoveryGroup.org



Sponsoring allows us to share our recovery on a one to one basis with other members of our Community in a way not always possible at meetings or even on a sharing loop.

  • When you sponsor others you will find that it will allow you to stay receptive to the gift of abstinence.
  • When you sponsor others you will find that your own recovery is enhanced and enriched on a daily basis.
  • When you sponsor others you will find that seeing the JOY of others recover is awesome.
  • When you sponsor others you will find that in helping others stay focused on their recovery will ensure that you will do the same.
  • When you sponsor you will experience that in sharing encouragement with others will inspire your own recovery.
  • When you sponsor you will find that the Spiritual Principles of the 12 Steps go deeper into your own heart.
The 12 Steps of recovery works because those who are recovering are willing to share their recovery with others.

If you are a member who has taken or is working the 12 Steps of recovery then we need your help in carrying the message to those who still suffer in a special way.

Are you ready to share what has so generously been given to you?
Are you ready to sign up to become a sponsor?

If so, please write to us and we will be happy to help you get started.

With love and JOY in service,
       Patt and Cate
       TRG Sponsor Coordinators

Contact: Sponsors@TheRecoveryGroup.org


     (\0/) (\0/) (\0/)
     / \   / \   / \


Be an angel. Consider using a common tool of recovery--the telephone! Give back what you have been given by volunteering your phone number to talk to others in recovery.

Your willingness to accept phone calls from fellow members of TRG when you are available will impact so many, keeping others from that first compulsive bite.

Many times I had balked at using the phone because I used it so much in a job-related way. But I tell you, when my food addiction began to press all the buttons in my elevator, I became willing to make the first call for help. Thank HP that a phone list was available and that there were others willing to listen and respond.

The telephone is yet another tool to break the isolation that is so very common among us. Alone, with my own thoughts, I am a goner. But when I hear a voice of reassurance reinterating that I do not have to listen to the urge to food splurge it is calming and sane.

Please consider being a Telephone Angel. It is such an amazing way to give back and serve at the same time.

To join our list of telephone angels - and share your recovery with others through this service -- please contact January, using the conact information listed below. In your email please include the following:

  • Your name
  • Email address
  • What State you live in (this way people can find someone closer to them)
  • Your phone number ~ area code and number
  • Your time zone (like Eastern Standard)
  • Best times to call?
  • And should folks leave a message or not?
Thanks in advance for considering giving service.

In service,
January K.
Telephone Angel Coordinator

The Recovery Telephone Angels Program
TRGAdm@TheRecoveryGroup.org. Please put "Attention: Telephone Angels" on the subject line.

A Very Old Timer

She's done it all, our Penny ... and she is the Recovery Group's Trusted Servant of the Month. Currently, the Coordinator of our Israel Loop, Step Leader for the WTS Twelve Steps in Twelve Weeks Study and Co-Distributor of the Recovery Meditations, she holds the record of being the longest running OA Online Trusted Servant in the Recovery Group.

Penny is a 'woman's woman.' By that we mean she does it all. Married, children, homemaker, job, community ... everything. She is also a singer and one of the few people who can tell it like it is and in doing so, you see her courage, her strength and her humility. In 1996, Penny wrote the following about Step Two ... and for those of us who insisted we were sane and read her words below, life was never the same again.

"And as I look at the damage I caused by trying to control the uncontrollable... the utter chaos I caused by behaving like a roaring tornado, Step 2 offers incredible hope that I can be restored to sanity. And believe me, my behavior, my attitudes, my beliefs were light-years removed from any semblance of any definition of sanity. I tried so hard to change myself and my attitudes, and I was stymied at every turn. What blessed relief to know that there is a power greater than myself that can restore me to sanity."
Now, almost a decade letter, she is still telling her story to hundreds and letting us see her imperfections which mirror our own. And she does it in such a way that it keeps us filled with eternal hope that we can recovery from this disease.

Congratulations, ODAT1836@..., our Penny ...our Trusted Servant of the Month

To nominate a TRG Trusted Servant to spotlight, please send an email to:


~ WTS ~ Working the Steps ~ Third Quarter Step Study ~

WTS ~ Working the Steps will be the Third Quarter Step Study on July 1st. A Step Leader takes the group through the 12 Steps in 12 Weeks. You may read more about the WTS Step Study at: www.TheRecoveryGroup.org/WTS/index.html and in other sections of the newsletter.

To join WTS, please send a blank email to:

To submit an article to Serendipity Newsletter, simply send an email to:



It is easy to let up on the spiritual program of action and rest on our laurels. We are headed for trouble if we do, for alcohol/COE is a subtle foe. We are not cured of alcoholism/COE. What we really have is a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition. Every day is a day when we must carry the vision of God's/HP's will into all of our activities. "How can I best serve Thee--Thy will (not mine) be done." These are thoughts which must go with us constantly. We can exercise our will power along this line all we wish. It is the proper use of the will. (Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 85)

Along with the above, I love the line that says, "If tempted, I recoil from it as from a hot flame. We must react sanely and normally, and we will find that this has happened automatically." (AABB, Pages 84-85)


I was thinking that it certainly is easy to start resting on our laurels when we have been in program for a certain length of time and think we have it all under "control!" This is the time to be aware that our disease is "cunning, baffling, and powerful", and it loves to see us letting up and thinking we are now "in control." This is when it strikes us when we least expect it! How many of us have started missing just a few meetings, then more, or didn't read our literature for a few days, or think, 'oh, just one bite won't hurt me. After all, I've been abstinent long enough that I know better than to binge now!! NOT!!

At this point we must remember to "recoil from it/COE as from a hot flame!"

I know I've been there and done that. I know that I've let reading my daily literature slip and soon start forgetting some of the slogans that had helped me in a tight squeeze. I let my busy life interfere and soon I was back again gaining a few added pounds that I certainly didn't want!

As the BB says, "we are granted a daily reprieve contingent on our spiritual condition." How safe is my spiritual condition now that I have let program slide for a few days or a few weeks?

We are all walking a slippery slope, One Day at a Time. Let's all do our best to remember "First things, First." And that first thing has to be OUR own health. No one will take care of us, but US!!

May our HP/God be with us all, ODAT!!

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


God, grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.


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 ~


~ Visit our beautiful scene for July ~

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


Serendipity Team ~ SerendipityNewsletter@yahoo.com
Subscriptions ~ SerendipityNewsletter-subscribe-request@lists.therecoverygroup.org
Recovery Group Administrators ~ TRGAdm@lists.TheRecoveryGroup.org
ODAT Administrators ~ ODATAdm@lists.therecoverygroup.org
Sponsor Coordinators ~ TRGSponsorsAdm@lists.TheRecoveryGroup.org
Recovery OA Online Meetings Coordinators ~ MtgAdm@lists.TheRecoveryGroup.org
Technical Support ~ RecoveryTech@mail.com
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."


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 7 © Copyright 2005 THE RECOVERY GROUP All rights reserved.