The Recovery Group Newsletter

A Twelve Step Newsletter For All

June 2009


From the Editor
Founder's Corner
From the Administration
From the Executive Committee
From the Loops
From the Meetings
Love In Recovery Series
TRG Sponsor Program
The Big Book Study
Spotlight Loops of the Month
Recovery Division
ODAT Division
Discovery Division
Low-Fat Recipe of the Month
Recovery Stories
OA's Lifeline
TRG'S Recovery Writings
TRG's Trusted Servants
Serenity Prayer
Serendipity Website

From The Editor:

"Today I reside among the living, no better, no worse than any of God's other children. Today I look in the mirror when putting on my makeup and smile, rather than shy away from looking myself in the eye. Today I fit in my skin. I am at peace with myself and the world around me."
~ Big Book ~ Page 318

There was a time when I didn't look in any mirrors of any kind. The sheer thought of seeing the reflection in that mirror was enough to keep me looking anywhere else but in a mirror. I knew how big I was, but if I never really looked, I never really had to face what I was doing to my body every time I picked up my drug of choice.

It was those trips through the mall that always got me. I'd be walking along, minding my own business, when I'd glance to my right and I'd catch a glimpse in a store window of who I had become, how big I really was, how I really looked to those around me and I stop wondering who was staring back at me. How did this happen? How could I have let this happen? What was wrong with me?

Today, I can look in the mirror and know that I am okay just as I am. To "fit in my own skin" is truly a blessing on so many levels other than just the physical plane. When I "fit in my own skin" it means that I am comfortable with who I am today on the inside. I once heard in an AA meeting, "I thank God for this program because my insides finally match my outsides." I couldn't agree more.

In this issue of Serendipity, you will find stories of individuals who will share their remarkable journey to recovery and beyond. These stories will give you hope, that following this way of life is possible even if one is pregnant. There is a story that will inspire, as you read about one woman's journey through twenty-two years of abstinence. There are stories that discuss just how a important having a plan of eating really is and how working our program, to the best of our ability, often times removes our weight entirely on it's own.

I hope this edition of Serendipity brings all of us hope, and in that hope, we realize that there is a chance for all of us to live a sane, happy and useful life just as God had intended. I wish all of you a safe and abstinent summer.

Heidi L ~ Editor

Founder's Corner:


Dear Serendipity Readers ~

"How silly," I thought after I attended my first OA meeting. "Abstinence means doing without something and all I heard during that meeting from this person and that was that they had been "abstinent" for so many days, months or years." Couldn't they find a better word? It doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize that one cannot do without food and I was ready to argue with anyone who told me otherwise. Hellooooo? I just didn't "get it" and would not "get it" for a few more weeks after that first meeting because my mind was closed. It took my First Sergeant sponsor to make me wake up and smell the coffee.

In OA, Abstinence doesn't mean doing without food. For compulsive eaters abstinence simply means to refrain from compulsive eating. Compulsive eating is a behavior. But abstinence can also mean to refrain from certain foods that trigger the need for more of that same food. You know that it's difficult for an alcoholic to take a few sips of cough syrup or a bit of wine to not just "want" more but to need more. To crave more. I'm not an alcoholic and could drink a whole bottle of cough syrup or three glasses of wine and it would do absolutely nothing. But to partake of a Krispy Creme doughnut or a chocolate chip cookie would be to succumb to a complex set of physical and psychological needs that could very well contribute to, if not cause me to lose my abstinence.

I have not been blessed with perfect abstinence as some of you reading this have. This does not make me value it any the less. I'm not sure why some of us can proudly proclaim when they're my age that they've been abstinent 30 years and others can barely make it a year. What is so wonderful about the 12 Step Program is that each one of us will wake up tomorrow morning abstinent and we will make choices to compulsively eat or not. Depend on the stage of recovery we're in, those choices may be easy or difficult ... But, nevertheless, the opportunity to spend the rest of our lives happy, joyous and free by choosing that beautiful state of abstinence.

The World Service Business Conference of OA met last month and one of the highlights of the conference was an official new definition of abstinence.

Overeater's Anonymous Official Definition of Abstinence
May 2009

"Abstinence in Overeaters Anonymous is the action of refraining from compulsive eating and compulsive food behaviors. Spiritual, emotional and physical recovery is the result of living the Overeaters Anonymous Twelve-Step program."

Wishing all of you a happy and abstinent June.

Love in recovery,




The Executive Committee is where everything that concerns the Recovery Group comes together. Composed of Trusted Servants from every area of TRG and OA, the committee serves as a clearing house, a think tank, a body to settle issues, rethink new projects and, when necessary, handle individual concerns of our members. The members of Excom works closely with the Administrators, TRGAdm and The Recovery Intergroup.

May was an interesting month for the committee. We voted on several potential new support loops, changed the mission of one and discussed and voted a number of Trusted Servants. We discussed leaders for WTS for 2009 and 2110, had a productive dialogue with the Board of Trustees of Overeaters Anonymous, reflected on innovative new future programs such as an exercise loop using line dancing and the possibility of incorporating instant messages in popular new resources for our community like Twitter. We met Botsy, our newest and most congenial new Trusted Servant who welcomes everyone who comes to our #Recovery meeting room and look forward to our month-end report from all the loops via their Administrators.

TRG's Executive Committee can be reached through the TRGAdm office by writing with a note on the subject line saying: Attention ExCom.

Members of the Executive Committee are:
Dodee and Shlomo ~ Executive Chairpersons
Athena, Linda, Nancy and Patt ~ Committee Members

Patt L, on behalf of TRG's Executive Committee


The Recovery Group Administrators work directly with the Coordinators of our many loops. While they do not work directly with members of each loop, they are there night and day anytime a loop coordinator needs them. Part of their job is to recruit the best possible Trusted Servant to train to become a support loop coordinator and, as part of their training program, make themselves available at all times for questions. By doing this, there is a steady path for any issue that comes up in a loop or meeting. It begins with the member approaching the Coordinator. Most times the Coordinator after being trained will be able to answer any question or handle any issue. Occasionally, however, the issue needs to be taken to the Administrator and handled at that level. The Administrators also work closely with TRG's Executive Committee and they with the Recovery Intergroup when necessary. To qualify to be a TRG Administrator, the candidate should be thoroughly familiar with the loop structure of TRG and given service as a Coordinator. Since the Coordinator is responsible for all Trusted Servant's positions in a loop, when they become an Administrator they are familiar with TRG's structure from the grass roots up. If you are interested in being put on a list to be appointed a future Administrator of TRG, write to and include your biography.


Many times we are asked by newcomers to The Recovery Group ... "what is a loop?" Loops are support groups and those who join them are called "loopies." We have many loops of just about every kind imaginable. If one can only join one loop, it should be a 12 Step General Sharing loop. Many prefer to be active in two loops, a general sharing one and another with a special focus in addition to their eating disorder. A third loop isn't really a "loop loop" because it's not specifically for sharing ... it's a study, a workshop, an orientation. You can find all our loops and their missions here. By clicking RECOVERY and ODAT, you can find our general sharing loops and our special focus ones.

The Recovery Loops are world wide and serve compulsive eaters who speak many languages. A special thanks to translators who make it possible for many resources of TRG to be available to all. After all, recovery is a special language .. A language of the heart.


The Recovery Meetings of Overeaters Anonymous are a vibrant community of meeting leaders and members. The Recovery Meetings are held daily every three hours around the clock beginning at midnight Eastern time. Dedicated meeting leaders volunteer to lead the meetings and there are also special focus, newcomer, and foreign language and speaker meetings. If you would like more information about meetings or to volunteer to lead a one hour meeting each week, please contact Linda, the Recovery Meeting Coordinators at The training program is brief and the awards are many. Meetings are held in the #Recovery channel on the Starchat network on IRC. If you have technical questions about the meetings are any other area of TRG, please contact Bruce at . Here is the doorway to the meetings. You will also find doorways on the main page of the Recovery Website. More information about the meetings can be found here.


Dear Serendipity Readers,

Are you a creative person? Would you like to express that creativity while giving service? The Serendipity Newsletter is looking for individuals, like yourself, who are interested in writing articles, obtaining stories from other OA members within the TRG, and proof-reading the next month's edition before it is released to the TRG community. If you feel this is a form of service you would like to try please write to:

Dear Serendipity Readers ~

I am pleased to announce that Dodee D. and Shlomo S. will be taking my place at The Recovery Group as I retire today, June 1st. All of you have a special place in my heart and I consider my time with TRG some of the most precious years of my life. With Dodee and Shlomo working together as TRGAdm and Linda as MtgAdm backed up by the most efficient and compassionate Executive Committee and Intergroup anywhere on earth, our beloved community will continue to prosper and carry its 12 Step mission to those who suffer world-wide.

I want to thank each of you, many of whom I know personally, for the dedicated service you give to so many. Our beloved fellowship is made a better one because of you. I also want to thank each of you who have written me the most beautiful letters I've ever received.

In loving service,
Mari, Founder



Dear Recovery Loopies,

We would like to invite you to browse our website in the coming weeks as TRG continues carrying the message to all who suffer via The Recovery Website.

As I type this we are at 990,000+ hits and have no idea who or when the one millionth person will be who will open these beautiful doors to find help. But whoever and whenever they appear, we will be here. You are the most caring and compassionate men and women on the planet and you will be the ones to take the hand of those who suffer and introduce them to our Fellowship.

Visit often!




Are you preparing to work the 12steps? Then having a sponsor is an important tool in the recovery process. Some qualities to look for in a sponsor:

1) Sponsors are usually those who have gone before us, and are committed to the practice & principles of the 12 steps in all their affairs.

2) Willing to share their experience, strength and hope with us as we take the 12step journey to recovery.

3) Someone who realizes that we are all equal in this fellowship.


1) A sponsor's primary responsibility is to help a sponsee work the 12 Steps.

2) A sponsor helps us work the 12 Steps by providing explanation, guidance and encouragement.

3) A sponsor helps us get established quickly in our Fellowship by explaining basic concepts and terminology and by introducing us to other members.

4) A sponsor is a safe person whom we can learn to trust.

5) A sponsor can answer the many questions that we can have as newcomers or develop as "mid-timers."

6) A sponsor can help us in the process of self-examination that the steps require.

7) A sponsor encourages us to read program literature and to engage in Fellowship activities and service work.

8) A sponsor can monitor our progress, confront us when it is appropriate and generally help us stay on the recovery path.

9) A sponsor confronts our behavior, not our being, and he or she does it with compassion.

10) A sponsor reminds us to apply 12 Step principles in our lives.

11) Sponsors model the 12 Step program of recovery to the best of their ability.


"No satisfaction has been deeper and no joy greater than in a Twelfth Step job well done. To watch the eyes of men and women open with wonder as they move from darkness into light, to see their lives quickly fill with new purpose and meaning,to see whole families reassembled,to see the alcoholic outcast received back into his community in full citizenship, and above all to watch these people awaken to the presence of a loving God in their lives -- These things are the substance of what we receive as we carry AA's message to the next alcoholic." ~ AA Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, p. 110

Ready to sponsor? Please write to us at: Sponsors@TheRecoveryGroup.Com and we will help you get started.

Waiting to hear from you,
Patt and Cate
TRG Sponsor Coordinators


(A Tongue in Cheek Expose of Trusted Servants)

Often we have members complaining about how leaders in any loop or group of loops respond or don't respond to certain things and with that in mind it could be possible that this tongue in cheek information 'ad' may serve to help us see that people are special whether we agree or disagree with how things are said and done. Would we really like this alternative?

We are writing to inform you of our latest products. Following upon the success of our cardboard policeman to deter shoplifting and our cardboard police car to discourage speeding, we are pleased to announce that we now have cardboard staff and loop members in the Recovery groups.

The cardboard Coordinator is invaluable to the hard-pressed Coordinator and other Trusted Servants seeking a holiday who cannot find anyone for relief duty. It is life-sized and comes with a people pleasing caring smile, who will never disagree with anything you say and a truly state-of-the-art 3D special FX emotions chip to sympathize and totally understand and agree with you no matter how weird and way out your sharing and suggestions may be. Group Conscience meetings are never a problem for this very special Cardboard Trusted Servant who will be seated at her computer to observe in silence all agreements and disagreements. Field trials have proved more than successful. A Cardboard Trusted Servant was placed in front of a computer recently during a Trusted Servantís absence without our members being told. Forty per cent of those questioned later had noticed no difference, whilst twenty-five per cent said there had been a considerable improvement.

Soon we hope to have available the cardboard Loop Owner which can be seated in her chair at her computer whilst the real owner is in the Canary Islands. A Trial model has been in place for time to time without being detected it was said, so it appears this may be an efficient alternative when all that is needed is a member to rant and rave and have no reaction at all from the Loop Owner. The cardboard Loop Owner is even said to have given an excellent contribution to the recent Group Conscience at TRG Admin.

Work on the cardboard version of TRG Admin has been abandoned because market research demonstrated that nobody wants the real thing. There is, therefore, unlikely to be much demand for substitutes.

Our cardboard loop members are selling well. It is said they are indistinguishable from that of the real thing, and it has the positive advantage that, when volunteers are requested, nobody makes a dash for the door or clicks into shutdown. Some people have even detected an improvement in the sharing. However, it might be prudent for real members to go back to their loop for a while from time to time and put their cardboard version into storage as it has been noticed by newcomers that sharing is down to the minimum on some loops.

Marlene ~ A Trusted Servant


"How It Works"

You are invited to join us for the start of Chapter 5.
This is my personal favorite chapter in The Big Book.
There is so much food for thought here!
Do join us as we study this truly amazing chapter.
You may join our study at any time during the year but, if
You haven't joined yet, this would be a wonderful time to do so.
We'll be happy to have you.




Greeter-- Patty
12 Step Within--Cheryl
Alternate Greeter and 12th Step Within Person--Irene

Additional Trusted Servants:

Sunday -Charles aloisio03@EARTHLINK.NET
Tuesday--OV, overeater anonymous oveater@GMAIL.COM
Thursday-- Marlene Brooks

Alternate Co-chairs:

Nancy nkirkbar@MAINE.RR.COM
Denise warnerd5@AOL.COM
Melanie mcorbett76@ATT.NET

Reports Person: Linda
Assignments Person: Marlene Brooks
Outreach Coordinator. Linda


Recovery Division ~ OA ONLINE

OA Online

OA Online is a support group dedicated to the Twelve Steps of Overeaters Anonymous. If you are a newcomer to the 12 Step Program, we urge you to join our newcomer's program and rejoin us here after you have finished this program. There is so much to learn and the newcomer's orientation will make it possible for you to reach your recovery goals without confusion or becoming overwhelmed. To join OA Online, please click here or send a blank email to

Coordinator ~
Coordinator ~


The mission of the Grey Sheet support group is to provide a 12-Step fellowship for compulsive eaters who wish to follow the Grey Sheet food plan.

The Recovery Group nor our Trusted Servants neither advocate nor discourage use of the Grey Sheet food plan. We take a neutral stance on use of the Grey Sheet food plan as a tool of abstinence from compulsive eating and overeating. As with all food plans, we urge you to seek the advice of your own doctor, nutritionist or other primary health care provider before beginning any new regimen of eating. The Grey Sheet Food Plan should be worked with a sponsor experienced with the Grey Sheet.

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

We are here together to build one another up ... To accept each other as we are ... And a place where we can focus on spiritual and emotional growth as well as physical. Please click here if you would like to join GreySheet or send a blank email to:

We invite you to read a story from a GreySheet member in this edition of Serendipity.

Coordinator ~

Pregnancy & Motherhood

The mission of the Pregnancy and Motherhood loop is to provide a place for those with eating disorders to come together in a safe environment to share their experience, strength and hope about various issues concerning their recovery program and how pregnancy can affect it. This loop is in TRG's Discovery Division; therefore, is more informal and less structured than the support groups in the Recovery and ODAT Divisions.

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

We are here together to build one another up ... To accept each other as we are ... And a place where we can focus on spiritual and emotional growth as well as physical. To join our loop, please click here .... or send a blank email address to

Coordinator ~ Georgia ~
Coordinator ~ Fiona ~

IF ...

If this is not a place where tears are understood,
Where do I go to cry?

If this is not a place where my spirit can take wing,
Where do I go to fly?

If this is not a place where my questions can be asked,
Where do I go to seek?

If this is not a place where my feelings can be heard,
Where do I go to speak?

If this is not a place where you'll accept me as I am,
Where can I go to be?

Where can I learn and try and grow?
Where can I just be me?

~ Ken Medema



Here's a quick and easy appetizer or sandwich filling that's low fat, low calorie, and a snap to put together. Serve atop red lettuce or romaine, or stuff into a whole-grain pita for a tasty sandwich.

Cooking Time: 10 minutes


1/2 pound cooked shrimp meat, patted dry
1/4 cup finely chopped celery
1/4 cup diced cucumber
1/3 cup fat-free strained Greek yogurt
Dash of hot sauce
1 tsp lemon juice
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp paprika


Combine ingredients in a small bowl. Serve atop lettuce leaves or stuff into a lettuce or spinach lined whole-grain pita.
Serves 4 as an appetizer or sandwich filling.
Per Serving: Calories 71, Calories from Fat 9, Total Fat 1g (sat 0.2g), Cholesterol 85mg, Sodium 107mg, Carbohydrate 2.6g, Fiber 0.2g, Protein 12.8g

Stories From Our Members


Linda GS's Story

My name is Linda G-S and I'm a compulsive eater. I am honored to have been asked to share my story in Serendipity. This is my experience, strength and hope: where I came from, what happened when I found the GreySheet fellowship, and how I work my program today. My abstinence date is May 2, 1999.. For someone who in other food fellowships like OA and HOW (for which I am very grateful) could never keep the weight off or stay abstinent back-to-back, these past ten years have been a miracle to me. (And yes, my maiden name begins with a G and my married name with an S -- how funny is that?).

I grew up in the same house in which my husband and I now live. I was always a chubby kid but not obese. I know that from the very first I was a compulsive overeater because my mother had to stop nursing me because I chewed on her voraciously! And the photos I have of myself back then had me with bags of snacks in my hand. I think I was in a sugar fog most of my early years because I've blotted out good things and nasty comments and hurts, and I don't remember a lot. I remember that my mother was told by the nursery school teacher (great shame) that she didn't know why "Linda hits the other children." I don't remember that, but I am sure I had the personality of an addict from the start. An only child who didn't know how to "make friends and influence people," I just went into a fairy-tale world down in the back fields with the snacks I'd get from the cupboard. My dad was an artist and children's book author and so I got praise for imaginative activities and being smart, but not for social interactions (because my parents didn't know those skills any better than I did).

I dieted some throughout high school but there arenít any photos showing that I had much success. I probably went on a variety of silly diets that teenagers think are so "healthy." Then in college I remember eating lots of junk food and stealing special treats from a close friend that her "auntie" had sent. I don't remember dieting actively in college, but I'm sure I did. Looking good for guys was the most important thing.

My disease took off after I had kids and I would try to get the weight off with all kinds of diets. Now, every spring when the magazines in the supermarket checkout line trumpet the "Lose 20 lbs. In a Week" headlines, I thank God for GreySheet and no more hopelessness.

I tried all of the following: The Grapefruit Diet. The Atkins Diet (until I realized that those ketone sticks were telling me that my body was eating itself! And I would eat those endless snacks of tasteless pork rinds, just because I could "have as much as I wanted.") I tried Weight Watchers, where the people at goal weight looked sickly and gaunt but I still wanted to get to goal, and could never go back after the third or fourth time because I'd learned all the loopholes in how to cheat. I tried the Diet Center, where I spent my family's hard-earned money twice and would start gaining weight one day after reaching my goal, so I felt like an ungrateful monster who didn't have the willpower to keep the weight off. The Fructose diet was where I learned that some things in life really could be TOO sweet, because you had to eat three tablets of straight fructose (fruit sugar) before each meal, so I started drinking my coffee without sugar in it. There was also a million other diets that I was sure this time would work.

I am not a bulimic, but I acknowledge that I definitely misused laxatives with every diet I was on. I would take many more chocolate Ex-Lax than were necessary, and it was only so that perhaps I would weigh 7 oz. Less the next morning at my weigh-in! If I hadn't found OA, I am sure the use of laxatives would have escalated. Also I used fasting as a way to diet, so now I am very careful never to fast because I believe God knows that this is an insidious, dangerous concept for me. I honor my spiritual commitments by staying abstinent on my GreySheet food plan as it is written and try to "fast" from other things, like meanness and procrastination and being judgmental.

During these years, I hurt my relationship with my husband, Ken, because I would stay up to "read" when I really just wanted to eat my stash of food hidden away. And I was a grazer, who would go back to the freezer a million times (probably every 3 min.) to get just one more tablespoon of something from the freezer. When I came to OA in 1985, I didn't think I was a compulsive overeater because to me that meant eating two boxes of X at a sitting. Well, if you'd taken all the food I ate "one spoon at a time" and put it in a bowl, it would have been HUGE, but I fooled myself this way. And I stole my kids' Halloween candy and they never knew it and blamed each other for years.

Someone 12-stepped me by telling me how much she loved OA, so then 10 years later when I was desperate -- couldn't walk upstairs without huffing and puffing, hated myself, would cry that I didn't want to die without knowing who I was, would tell my husband that I couldn't help it but food was my best friend and a comfort, would keep eating when I had promised myself that I wouldn't, would stop over and over at fast-food places, took food out of the trash can, had lots of physical ailments (which have ALL disappeared) -- I saw a teensy announcement in the newspaper that there would be an Overeaters Anonymous Beginners meeting on January 17th, 1985 in Ridgewood, NJ. Well, I cut that out, secretly tucked it into my new datebook before Christmas and just waited for that day without telling anyone. I made an excuse to get out of the house and went there. As I sat in the audience reading the "Are You a Compulsive Overeater?" booklet, and said yes to 13 of the 15 questions, I realized I was home. [This was God's way of getting me there, by the way, because there was a "beginnersĒ meeting" every Thursday night, but with my personality if I'd known that, I would have procrastinated forever, always promising myself to go the next week.]

But did my pink cloud last?. Sometimes, sometimes not. Did I give service?. Did I try to work the Steps?. Did I have a sponsor?. Did I do writings?. Did I figure out for myself that wheat gave me more cravings?. Yes and no to all of these, but something in my "recovery" was missing. I know I was dishonest with my sponsor(s) so many times. I never really let anyone in. The HOW food plan a few years later was better for me than regular OA, but there were lots of people there who claimed to be "HOW abstinent" for many years but kept on so much weight. And boy did I fool around with the food as time went on. I loved those "metabolic adjustments" (i.e., late-night snacks) and the carbs. The food plan said I could have a certain starchy vegetable twice a week. To me, if I could have it twice, then why couldn't I have it five times?

My weight went from 172 to 137 and then hovered around the mid-140's for a few years. At 5'4" I was 123 lbs. in GreySheet for about five years, but when I hit my 60s, it was suggested that I should gain five to eight pounds to fill out my face. Now when I weigh on the first of each month, it is 130, 131, just hovering in that range.

But I never left the rooms and am grateful to regular OA for keeping me there until I could learn that I am very sensitive to carbohydrates and needed to go to the "last house on the block," GreySheeters Anonymous.

When I came out to Connecticut 16 years ago, I brought HOW's "non-addictive food plan" with me and sponsored a lot of people who felt that a sugar-and wheat-free diet was a vast improvement for them. But I was still white-knuckling it a lot. And one couldn't give one's length of abstinence in a meeting unless it was over a year (occasionally 1-2 people said anything) and I remember thinking that that was THE most impossible goal in the world, so I didn't try. And since I didn't find much support in this journey, I started to get more and more dishonest. I would have a mound of fried carbs in a Mexican restaurant and call it my "cooked vegetable." I would fix two plates of dinner with my husbandís food s-p-r-e-a-d o-u-t on the plate to look like more than mine that was scrunched together (but I really had more). OR sometimes I would fix an entire plate for myself of seconds, and when Ken would ask, "Is that okay with your sponsor?" I'd lie and say "She said it was fine.". I was one sick lady.

Two things finally made me want to change. One was that I saw the old pre-OA dishonesty coming back. Employees would put out dishes of candy and expected others to take some. Well, I would never go to their desks when they were there, but when they were off at lunch, I would go by their desks and take huge handfuls. Still claiming I was on a "sugar-free food plan" if anyone ever asked me! And then one time in church I realized that I truly believed that God had brought me into these OA rooms, but it was as if I was saying to the Spirit of the Universe, "thanks, but no thanks. I'll get cleanly abstinent sometime, just not right now." And it hit me: who was I to slap God in the face, as it were? My Higher Power was offering me this chance at a way out of the gutter, and I was putting Him off. What if He wouldn't offer me recovery when I was good & ready?

Right around that time, some friends came back to my OA meetings and they glowed. And the things they shared weren't "Oh, my mother-in-law was in town and so of course I had to eat dessert." They told positive examples of how they had remained abstinent even in difficult circumstances. Wow. So a couple of months later I decided to check out this one GreySheet meeting in Westport, CT, but I knew one thing: I would never, ever weigh and measure again. Been there, done that, with HOW. I was curious, but very sure it wouldn't be something I wanted to do.

I got to the meeting early, watched a couple of GSers talking, and it was very different from any OA meetings I'd been in. Instead of surface chat, there was genuine concern, real conversation, caring. And someone was speaking who had been in Cambridge and NYC before bringing strong GS to Connecticut, and what I heard loud and clear that first day, August 17, 1998, was that we can do this No Matter What, No Matter What (said in a Bostonian accent). I wanted what these people had, so I got a sponsor that first day. She stayed my sponsor for years, even though there was one period where her life was too busy for her to sponsor, so I got to experience three other terrific GSA sponsors. They have all had what I love in a sponsor: they had very strict boundaries around the food, they were compassionate, they responded to phone calls or emails, they worked their programs in a very visible way (i.e., learning new things about themselves through working the Steps, meditating and journaling), they had healthy, trim bodies, and they watched out for me so I didn't feel alone with food decisions. Yes, I surrendered. (A favorite phrase from AA is that when your sponsor asks you to jump, you reply, "How high?" It works.)

The journey since then has been wonderful. I had one experience of taking my will back and going back to Day One after nine months doing GS, and I lost so much -- being able to give service, having to stop sponsoring -- that right away I gained a newfound respect for this precious gift of abstinence. It is my most priceless possession and I pray every day to keep it! I'm one of those people who knows how good I have it. I truly believe that once I surrendered, this IS the "easier, softer way" that OAers scoffed at, but only because the boundaries give me more freedom than I've ever had in my life with the food.

For the first time in my life, I have guilt-free eating. I have three delicious, abundant meals each day, and all that is required of me is to weigh and measure these meals without exception (of course I do this at home, in restaurants, at work, in friendsí homes), write them down in detail and commit them to my sponsor or a qualified person with 90+ days of back-to-back GreySheet abstinence, and then eat everything Iíve committed but not a bite more. And in between my three meals I have only coffee, tea and no-calorie diet soda if I wish. I am grateful to be abstinent. I know from watching the old-timers that this pathway just gets more interesting and the Promises come true, as long as I don't eat no matter what. I'm grateful when I have opportunities (even though they are tough at the time) to surrender the little things.

How do I work my program?

1) I weigh and measure exactly, because I can never judge what 4 oz. looks like. Before GreySheet, I would wake up each morning asking myself, "How abstinent was I yesterday?" Who was I kidding? Thatís like saying I'm a little bit pregnant! Either I am abstinent or I'm not -- it's not on a sliding scale. And I take my scale into a restaurant because then I can enjoy a meal and still know it's exactly what I've turned over. I bring back-up for the protein, salad and cooked vegetables so that I know I will have what I need.

2) I make phone calls when I have a problem (like someone grabbing some of my raw veggies because she thought the bowl was for everyone at a potluck dinner!).

3) I commit my food exactly each day because then I know what I am having for lunch and dinner and can look forward to it. I have awful memories from before GreySheet when I would stand at the refrigerator after work at 5:30 pm and ask, "What do we feel like eating?" and there was never anything delicious in there to choose.

Life is good today. Relationships are being restored. Our daughter and her husband have moved back to NJ, just an hour from here, with our grandchildren, and the joy of my life is visiting them each week. A few days ago I heard our 6-year-old granddaughter, Carly, telling her younger brother, Colin, age 2, that "You canít take Grandma's food because she's weighed it. BUT if she offers some food to you, you can eat it." What clear boundaries she has learned from me, and she loves her grandma.

I had a pancreatic tumor a year ago, found when a technician took a chest CT scan and aimed it too low, so my HP revealed this tumor. Because of the clarity that GS abstinence gives me, I didnít delay and went down to Johns Hopkins where they unanimously decided I needed a distal pancreatectomy. When I told the intake nurse that my husband had sugar-free ginger ale for me in the recovery room, this nurse said, ďLinda, I have a suggestion for you. Why donít you just forget about your food plan while youíre in the hospital and you can start up again when you get home.Ē From listening to those who have broken their abstinence and then tried and tried and tried to regain it, I got the courage to say to her, ďNo, I canít do that. I need to have the food I need.Ē And I did stay abstinent in the hospital (even when my Disease made all foods taste like sawdust!) I still weighed and measured my GS food, and I healed so quickly.

My life continues to get better (beyond my wildest dreams) the longer I stay abstinent. On May 2nd, I just celebrated 10 years. Not long ago, I had to accept a posthumous award given to my dad, and I didn't know a video had been made of my extemporaneous speech. Well, when a copy was sent to me, no way would I look at it. Old messages of how ditzy I am came to mind, and I couldn't watch this 66-year-old glumpy woman with the frown lines who says "you know" and gets words mixed up when talking. Finally, no one was around and I put it in the VCR. I watched myself. And it was like a lightning bolt: I thought, "If I met this woman in a store or a meeting, I'd really like her. She has a lot of warmth and radiant enthusiasm." Can you imagine that? THAT is what GreySheet is giving me -- love, self-acceptance -- and it has come from my Higher Power because the other "god" or idol I had between me and God -- food -- has been taken away and replaced with a spiritual awakening and an open channel to my HP.

A while ago I had a great time dancing with my husband to "Try to Remember" (sung by the original Brothers Four on PBS), "our song". I can be sexy and warm today because I have a body I only dreamed of all my life. I really don't care if it isn't taut and toned. I still look just fine at my age, thank you. Exercise is great, but no longer is it a requirement to keep weight off. My husband and I go to a yoga class twice a week together, and I am so blessed with my GreySheet friends.

I often go to the GreySheeters Anonymous website because there is so much ESH there. In the upper right corner one can click on Getting Started to answer so many questions about GreySheet abstinence. Itís and there is a loop one can join called the GreyNet and there are sponsors listed too. A GreySheet comes with a GS sponsor, because Iíve never known anyone who could follow it without the love and support and guidance of the GSA community.

I'm a compulsive overeater who thanks, to the grace of God and this GreySheet fellowship, is in recovery today because I weigh and measure three meals off the GreySheet, turn them over to my sponsor, don't eat in between No Matter What (there is always a solution if I pick up the phone), and abstinence is the most important thing in my life today because it has given me a life. My gratitude knows no bounds.

Linda G-S
Westport, Connecticut


Thought to Ponder . . .
Life is fragile, handle with prayer.

AA-related 'Alconym' . . .
H O P E = Hang On; Pray Every day.

ďUnderstanding is the first step to acceptance,
and only with acceptance can there be recovery.Ē
~ Joanne Kathleen Rowling

Retirement . . . is when you stop living at work
and begin working at living.
~ Unknown wise person


Carrie's Story

Since being in OA, I have traveled out of the country and locally; but there are some incredible journeys that go way beyond physical travel which I have and am experiencing in program.

The first series of travels happened when I was working the 5th step. I turned thirty, finally graduated from school with a teaching credential, and moved.

Not long after, when I was working the 6th and 7th steps, my husband relapsed in his disease and our relationship was shaken. With his recovery work and mine, we managed to work it out as individuals and a couple and we are still together.

Then, while I was working the 10th step, we conceived our first baby! Before program, I never wanted to have a child because I feared passing on my disease, and I feared losing control of my body and having to eat and gain weight. As I overcame my fears surrounding pregnancy, I realized that I had a lot to offer as a parent and that I wanted to take my life in a new direction. It took us a while to conceive, but the timing was right in the end--we are both now very grounded in our respective programs and have secure jobs and a home.

As a recovering compulsive eater/anorexic/bulimic, my "plan" going into pregnancy was (1) no restricting, dieting, or "pills;" (2) no "stuffing" myself; and (3) stick to my regular no-no's: sugar, fried foods, certain snack-y things. I was ravenous the first three months of pregnancy. I felt lightheaded and nauseated unless I ate every hour. Food consumed me and those forbidden items soon found their way into my eating, and with the constant hunger, I quickly gained well beyond "normal" levels. In addition, I stopped my usual vigorous exercise as I felt too ill and tired. Gaining so much weight so quickly and losing my prize size, I felt anxious and upset. I could only trust that if I worked the steps around this issue, my eating would again meet my program and my weight would even out. I admitted my powerlessness, and gave it over to my HP.

Now I'm in my fifth month of pregnancy and my weight gain has begun to peter off. Because I worked the steps around this and trusted the program and HP, I was able to eliminate the foods that don't serve me (or the baby), begin exercising again to my ability, and am no longer ravenously hungry. It is frightening to me in recovery to face the prospect of "losing" my body, but I also accept that this is just another amazing feat that my body is built to accomplish. The fact is, I still haven't and may not reach my highest weight in the course of this pregnancy. Even if I do, I know that it is for a purpose greater than stuffing my emotions with food, and that I will return to my pre-pregnancy weight with my program tools, the steps, and my food plan.

During this journey, I have occasionally been sharing my thoughts with a few of the loops I belong to: FFOA, Exercise, and Pregnancy and Motherhood. I hope that other parents and non-parents alike will feel free to share their thoughts and reflections with their home loops.

Thanks for reading and being here!


Rosalyn's Story

My name is Rosalyn. My OA birthday is coming in two weeks. On May 26, 2009, I will have 22 years of abstinence. With God as my higher power, He has restored me to sanity one day at a time. He has given me the courage and sanity to work this program and He has kept two hundred pounds off my body. I came into this program at 51 years old, a broken woman with a bad heart, liver disease, diabetes, angina, high blood pressure and six months to live. Three doctors told myself and my parents and my husband that I would not live more then six months with the damage I had done to my body. I could hardly walk any more...I lived in a darkness that only a COE could know..I weighed 390lbs.

Today, I am a normal weight and have a life. My life is not filled with all that I want but GOD gives me all that I need. GOD has given me courage, love, and joy to get through all the hard stuff in life. My husband has been ill for over eight years. He has been in a home for over three & half years.
I do not eat over this.

I was so close to death 22 years ago. I never want to go to that darkness again. I remember what I felt like and how sick I was. In and out of the hospitals. Not being there for my kids. Scaring my family and taking pills and just being out of it.

OA, the steps, the big book, doing a lot of service and being a sponsor and having a sponsor and being humble all the time is the way to recovery. I believe that I will never be fully recovered from this disease. Sometimes, I go up a few pounds and then down. I am not my weight any more. I am my soul. I turn everything over to GOD now because I have no power to change anyone or anything. I just do the footwork and let go. I am happy and serene. I get sad and I cry and I grieve and I write and I pray and I meditate. I love OA and my meetings because of this program I can feel again.

Please hang in there and you will have the best life ever. I would never trade one hard day for the best day I had before I got here.

Love to all of you


Sandy G's Story

"We are not fighting it, neither are we avoiding temptation. We feel as though we had been placed in a position of neutrality--safe and protected...the problem has been removed. It does not exist....That is how we react so long as we keep in fit spiritual condition....what we really have is a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition." Big Book of AA, Page 85.

I can see clearly that God is doing for me what I cannot do for myself. However, especially in the beginning, I could relate to "rebellion." My head here tells me to keep my mouth shut on this topic. My heart won't let me. I literally could not make myself fit into the requirement to prepare a food plan ahead of time and email it to my sponsor.

It is important to me that I state here: I do not for one minute think what I am doing about my POE (plan of eating) is the right thing for anyone else! There are extremes at both ends of the pendulum and they work for others...but for me I like to think I may be somewhere in the middle.

What I came to learn after much pain is that we have "Dignity of Choice" in our food. For instance, my doctor recommended a low starchy carb diet...but this does not mean NO starchy carb diet. Only God, my doctor, and I can direct what I eat, when I eat and I do not have to email this POE a day ahead of time to my sponsor. I believe OA offers suggestions and I have never heard even one demand. I do believe for most the practice of Emailing their POE to their sponsor ahead of time helps with their commitment.

After being in and out of abstinence for 5 months I chose to follow Weight Watchers (lifetime member for 28 years, never near goal for 27.9 years). I choose to have 3-4 small meals and 1 or 2 optional snacks. I only eat 100% whole grain products, some of those containing wheat (no white flour), no sugar and I make sure that every bite is high in nutrition....well balanced, modestly sized, portion controlled amounts. I WAM (weigh and measure) sometimes, but not always. I do "track" (write down every bite), for now, but not certain I will always do this. I follow Weight Watchers guidelines for portion control.

My POE is "evolving." I pray for God's guidance and direction for my POE. The point is I do have a POE, but substitutions based on Weight Watchers are allowed. This works for me may change tomorrow.

My POE is simple and my focus is not on food or what I eat. My focus is on my program.

"Focus on weight, lose program; focus on program, lose weight."

I hope this helps, if only a little. I could go on and write a book about this topic. I surely hope readers will not criticize many will not agree....and good for them! They have found what works for them, but what I have said above works for God!

Blessings and Love,

Sandy G. ~ Fresno, CA


Recovery Writing Series

Dear Friends on our Journey:

In our Journey to Recovery discussions, many topics of interest to those of us who have compulsions are discussed. One of the most important has been our collective and interactive discussions on the subject of sexuality. A big part of this discussion had to do with our bodies ... And our body image. Before I begin this essay on sexuality, I hope you will enjoy this extraordinary original poem by one of our members from Ireland.


My Body - a Wasteland,
A place of neglect, of abuse
Of uncaring indifference where
Nothing grew except to grow
Larger, each day.

In some small places creativity
Tried to seep through the cracked and
Useless earth, in the forms of Poetry,
Of Writing, of Painting and other Art Forms,
But these moments were short-lived in
A place of such annihilation, of despair and
Total neglect.

Then came a day - when a new Light began to Dawn,
A new Understanding of this wasteland,
An Understanding that whatever is created is
Created from Love, and
That even This Place has something of value,
Something of worth,
And a Reclamation began - a reclamation of
This wasteland I call my body.

A recognition of the true Beauty that has been
There for all of my life,
And a recognition that the responsibilty for
The neglect, was mine,
And the responsibility for
The Reclamation was mine -
And no one except my Creator and I
Could do this for me.

So in Gratitude I begin,
This day and every day that comes,
To water and to feed, to nourish and to
Love, to care for and to cherish this
Remarkable Body.

This Body - My Body! No Longer a Wasteland.

Lynda G. ~ A Member of TRG

You can tell that poignant poem was written by a COE. I doubt that there are very many reading this who at one time or another haven't had similar feelings about their own bodies.

Our bodies are beautiful. They truly are. For those of you who raised your eyebrows when you read that, maybe you have been listening all these years to rhetoric that says your body is NOT beautiful.

Look right now at your hands. Look at each of those ten fingers with little creases in each of them and the smooth nail on the end. Is that not beautiful? If you were at some sort of Trade Show and they displayed a model of just one of your hands, would there not be crowds and crowds of people around you exclaiming how beautiful and functional and perfect it is?

Put your hand on your hair. Take both of your hands and run it through each side of your hair. There is nothing more beautiful than our hair ... All colors and textures ... And so many things we can do to it to make it even more beautiful. Shampoos and conditioners .... Beautiful bows and barrettes ... Hair colors, frostings .... Special haircuts. But the main thing is that when you put those beautiful hands up to that beautiful hair it is just all so awesome.

Feel your stomach and your chest. How soft everything is. How flexible and perfect. So what if it has wrinkles or folds. It's still soft and flexible and perfect. Is there anything more beautiful than breasts... No matter how small or large? Another item in a trade show that would be state-of-the-art in terms of function and design.

Our legs. My legs were the only part of me that didn't match the other parts of me. If I'm overweight, they're normal but if I'm not overweight they're too slim. Legs are just wonderful things. The knees and the calves leading to our feet. Rivaled only by the hands, the feet are incredible.

And then there is that other part. Explore it. Wonder at it. Get your lover to do the same. It's wondrous. It's awesome. God created it. It has a purpose. We need to learn it's purpose. And to have that purpose fulfill us.

"When my beloved first stands before me naked, all open to my sight,
there is a feeling throughout the whole of me;

Awe. Why? If sex is no more than an instinct, why don't I simply feel horny
or hungry?

Such simple hunger would be quite sufficient to insure the propagation
of the species.

Why awe? Why should sex be complicated by reverence?
. . . . . Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled

I believe of everything I have ever read in The Road Less Traveled, these are the most beautiful words I have ever read by Dr. Peck. It is poetry in motion ... Spirituality at its best and says volumes about sex as God has created it. The human body to someone in love is awesome. During that period of a sexual encounter it is even more so.

Just imagine, though, if one is ashamed of their body. Try to imagine if one has been made to feel his/her body is not beautiful. In that event one of the most beautiful gifts God has ever given to us can turn into a nightmare. Instead of ecstacy, it can cause us pain. Rather than happiness, we are embarrassed. Instead of tranquility and peace, great anxiety.

Because our disease manifests itself with layers of fat, we have been socialized to believe that this is ugly. It really isn't. I had a strange experience a few years ago with my doctor ... a well-known gynocologist. I've known him for quite some time and he was about to do an endometrial biopsy on me and as one who talks with his hands a lot, he began rubbing my stomach. (Now don't laugh at this ~ this is just the way he is.) I was laying on his surgical table, he was rubbing my tummy and it felt good.

As he did that, he was oblivious and I laughed and said something like "Jeez, I wish you would give lessons to my husband " and we began to talk about sex and foreplay and body image. He then told me to lay down someday and take my hand and do to my tummy what he was doing. I did. It was wonderful.

And I thought about how much more interesting foreplay it would be than the back. :-)



"If you have built castles in the air,
Your work need not be lost;
That is where they should be.
Now put the foundations under them."
Henry David Thoreau

I could not survive without dreams. Even in the best of worlds and in the best of times ..... With the disease of compulsive overeating ... With the disease of compulsive ANYTHING .... There are times all that is left is our dream.

Before I found hope, I had given up dreaming. Before the disease grabbed me really bad, there was always hope that things would get better. But the more firmly this disease became entrenched in me, the closer I got to my bottom, the months and years I was deep in the disease ....... I did not dream. Loss of hope made me quit dreaming.

Gone were those thoughts of when I could walk down the street and look like a normal person. No longer could I go into a "regular" store and buy "regular" clothes. If I went to a restaurant, the first thing I did was look around and try to find a table instead of a booth ... Because it would embarrass me to try to fit into a booth.

I quit taking airplane trips simply because I was too embarrassed to spill over into someone else's seat. Dreams of appearing publicly in the profession I had spent a lifetime in ... Began fading. Simple dreams like lying out on a beach that I love? Totally gone .... Because I would not be seen in a bathing suit. I dreamed about once more taking my four children swimming and frolicking around in the water with them.

I dreamed I was beautiful and simply by making up and going to my hair dressers I would become more beautiful. Now, a new hairdo, careful makeup and new clothes made no difference. I dreamed of parties ... Going to them and giving them. I dreamed of sex with my husband and the freedom of participating in that once again without having to turn off the light.

I dreamed of wallking into a grocery store and not having the lady in the cart next to mine look at what I bought and shake her head. I dreamed of going to visit my mother and not hearing her say "Still having weight problems, I see." I dreamed of going to the mall with my teen-agers .... And they not walking six feet behiind me.

I dreamed to be whistled at again. And to be treated with respect by the store clerk who always seemed to wait on those more slender than I first. I dreamed of receiving a gift of beautiful clothes for my Christmas and my birthday instead of pots, pans and candy.

And little by little .... I dreamed less and less. Because I began to see that these dreams would never come true.

And finally ..... I stopped dreaming. This is absolutely true. I found myself so deep in my disease that there were no more dreams. I quit dreaming. I even quit day dreaming.

And I began to live in this disease.

Without dreams. . .

Dear God,
Life without dreams
Is not worth living.
If there are no dreams,
There is no purpose.
And, if there is no purpose,
What else is there left?

~ A TRG Member ~

*Editor's Note: A Subscription To Lifeline may be ordered online directly from



"Keep coming back" is one of the most important slogans for my recovery. I am now abstinent, and I am happier and healthier than I have ever been. I have a a 70-pound (32 kg) weight loss and 17 months of abstinence because I kept coming back to OA.

It's important to keep coming back because real change is a slow process, one that is hard to measure. After a year in program, I told my sponsor I felt frustrated because I hadn't changed at all. She told me I had changed but was too close to my own situation to see it. I trusted my sponsor and the program, so I kept coming back to OA.

Sometimes it's hard to be patient, but I'm glad I was. I slowly began to see that I was changing. After two years in the program, I felt saner, happier and more useful. All the small changes were slowly adding up, and I could see I was becoming a different person--the person God had designed me to be.

While it felt wonderful to feel serenity and faith grow inside me, I continued to struggle with the food. I knew I would never quite OA, but sometimes it got awfully hard. I watched others in my group achieve abstinence soon after arriving in the rooms, while I struggled for three years and couldn't seem to put the food down.

I often felt I would never get abstinent and was sometimes filled with despair, but I kept coming back to OA and working the program. God gave me an instinctive knowledge that OA was the only place I could find recovery and peace. Finally, after three years, I became abstinent--and the number-one factor is that I never gave up. I kept coming back.

Some people get abstinent right away, but a lot of people don't. I've seen many people get discouraged and leave after a year or two because they were struggling to become abstinent. I'm grateful I never left OA. Nothing else is out there that can help me, and I'm sure if I had left, I would never have found what I have now.

I'm grateful that I kept coming back until I got abstinent. I'm grateful for the slogan "Keep coming back until the miracle happens for you."

Tracy K, Ontario, Canada


Heidi ~

Proof Readers
Carrie ~ c.beckerfishman@GMAIL.COM
Leeanne ~ Leeanne.SHILO@3DS.COM

The Recovery Group Trusted Servants


All Coordinators and/or Meeting Leaders of The Recovery Group shall:

  • Be working and living a 12 Step program.
  • Have been a member of TRG for a period of no less than 3 months.
  • Read and commit to TRG's Guidelines and Traditions.
  • Read and understand the Trusted Servants' Training and Sharing pages.
  • Coordinators shall read their loops' mission statement and the Coordinators' Website.
  • Mentor with an experienced Meeting Leader and/or Coordinator.
  • Commit to serving until the end of the term, which currently is December 31 of each year.
  • Leave their Trusted Servant position mid-term only in the event of an emergency.
  • Have access to a personal computer.
  • Be personally responsible for all services needed by their support group or delegate others. Commit to recruiting, training and supervising them. (Please ask Mtg. Adm. or TRGAdm. for a list of specific duties expected of our Meeting Leaders and Coordinators.)
  • Please communicate with MTGAdm (Meeting Leaders) or TRGAdm (Coordinators) immediately when a member requires moderating. TRG Coordinators and Meeting Leaders shall be patient and correct people regarding inappropriate sharing privately and in kind, gentle and loving ways. In the event of blatant spam, porn or misconduct, Coordinators and Meeting Leaders should take immediate action. Meeting leaders shall remove such members from the meeting, while coordinators are to contact TRGAdm and report that a member needs moderated. Both Coordinators and Meeting Leaders shall send a detailed report to their respective administrators once the emergency has been attended to.
  • Be an example for others by sharing personally in a 12 Step Way, not using inappropriate signatures on TRG communications, and, if at all possible, writing your members individually and privately as your time permits when you think a note would be appreciated.

If Interested In giving service IN 2009 ~ please send an email to:

The 2009 Coordinators & Meeting Leaders

TRG has six divisions and our support groups each fall in one of these divisions:
Recovery, ODAT, Discovery, Special, Meetings and Business.

Click on the link below for the directory of all of
TRG's Coordinators and Administrators


God, 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.

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

Your Support Group Would Like to Hear From YOU!

Serendipity wants to you to use our writing resources to inspire you to share your own personal experience, strength and hope with your home support loop. Sharing with your fellow coes is an act of service and often without your ever realizing it, your words may touch someone deeply and be responsible for a significant change in their life.

Opinions expressed in this newsletter are not necessarily those of Serendipity Newsletter, or of The Recovery Group.

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