~ FOUNDER'S CORNER ~ TRG'S MOVING DAY IS HERE!
Dear Recovery Friends,
I want to congratulate Kathy for bringing us this wonderful
issue of Serendipity. I knew last month when I saw what a
quick study she was in putting our newsletter together that
it wouldn't take her very long to put forth her individual
and delightful style. With the help of Marty, who is in
charge of subscriptions and putting Serendipity on our
website, and the wonderful Serendipity Staff and reporters, I
believe you will have some exciting things in store for you
in the future.
The theme for this issue is "Growth and Awakening." Nothing
could be more appropriate than these words as The Recovery
Group is put to the test of a cohesive and loving community
of Twelve Step loving COEs all over the world. Do you
remember when you last moved? You left one house full of
precious things and one by one gave them their special place
in another. In doing this, there was a period of time in
which felt like pulling your hair out and wondered if it
would ever all come together as you envisioned it to be!
Try moving over 90 houses at one time ... because that's
what has happened to us. Our loops are in the process of
migrating from Yahoo to L-Soft and for every list we have,
there are dozens of "parts" of that list ... and each part
has to be just right before we will be satisfied.
To those of you who are giving more to this effort than
anyone could ever imagine, I watch you with awe. To Dodee
and Nancy, two of our Administrators who have the patience
of Job, you're the best. And to Cindy and Jasper, two
technical angels who serendipitously dropped down from heaven,
I express, on behalf of all our members, the deepest
We're not finished! And in this period of growth and
enlightenment of what we have here ... we have miles to go
before we sleep.
Happy March, Loopies!
~ DISCOVERY LOOPS DIVISION ~
Established to help anyone afflicted with an eating disorder, the
Discovery Loops empower men, women and children to learn about OA
and connect with others who share the same disease.
For some, isolation has been their way of life. When they join
one or more of the Discovery Loops they can begin to see there is
hope in Recovery.
The Discovery Division has five loops. Two of them were created
for children and their parents: Kids & Discovery, and COKIDS.
Kids & Discovery is a loop where only children can share. There
is one adult moderator. CoKids is the loop for parents,
grandparents, friends, and teachers; anyone who needs assistance
helping a child with an eating disorder.
For those who like to cook and have some great recipes, Kitchen
and Discovery is a great loop. Here we can share food plans,
recipes and food ideas; food can be discussed freely.
Then we can swing on over to Exercise and Recovery. On this loop
members can commit to some exercise goals along with others, and
just hear what others are doing. This loop can function as a
discussion group and services are available like all other loops;
sponsors, meetings, Big Book Studies, etc.
The last loop -- The Yellow Brick Road -- offers a way to travel
our journey of recovery and at the same time be able to go back
to our childhood if we have left some unfinished business or wounds
there. Yellow Brick Road has no Coordinators or guidelines. It
is a spiritual loop, but not religious. Participants choose where
to begin the journey -- childhood, teens, adult and on from there.
The important thing is to DISCOVER who one really is and that we
are not alone!
~ FEATURE ARTICLE ~
With all of our modern-day technology, we often get accustomed to
the pace of the cyberworld. And, in the technological world, the
key is speed. There is modem speed, printing speed, access speed
and download speed. So many types; it is hard to knock this drive
for speed. Therefore, it is easy to understand why we might
expect the OA (or AA) Program to work for us, and quickly. Once
we admit we are powerless over food, we want to run up, get our
Abstinence Pill (take this with 8 cups of water a day; be sure to
eat a balanced food plan and call your sponsor in the morning) and
walk out of our first meeting, completely cured. Well, if you've
been around any length of time, you already know it doesn't work
I once read a passage in a 12-step book that compared being in
Program to pickle-making. You don't get pickles by shaking salt
on them, or by sprinkling them with salt, garlic and dill. They
have to soak in the brine. And, to get anything valuable out of
the Program, you have to "soak" in the process of the steps, the
tools and the meetings. The truths slowly soak their way into your
consciousness, just as the flavor soaks into cucumbers, and turns
them into pickles. Over the months and years which you spend in
the rooms and loops of OA, you slowly absorb things that you aren't
aware of absorbing. And, one day, you become aware that you are
a "pickle": a changed person, who has become awash with serenity,
love, acceptance, humility and a new kind of openness to the things
of our Higher Power.
I can remember that my own first few years of being in OA were not
very helpful to me. I wanted it to work... really I did. But I
just didn't "get it." I saw varying degrees of Program
effectiveness, and heard many success stories. But to me, the 12
steps were just words on a poster that hung on a wall in a church
I normally would not attend. These steps weren't part of my
life. It was almost as if it were another diet program, but without
the cheery lady who stuck those pretty stars on my red ribbon.
I could readily accept that I was a food addict. Life had taught
me that I used the food in ways which made me a Bigger Person (and
I DON'T mean that in a good way). And I also saw truth in the
stories that others in meetings shared. I knew I was the same as
they. They said they found hope and help in OA. I just didn't see
how it could help me. But I played along.
Then there was a day when everything changed for me. If I were
a cartoon character, a large light bulb would have been visible
above my head. I heard a share on "working the steps", and it
was as if I were hearing about it for the first time. It wasn't
the speaker's profound words, because they were simple. It wasn't
their thin, average size body that I envied.
Rather, it was how the speaker spoke about actually WORKING the
steps, applying OA's truths to everyday situations - that was
what spoke to me. This person also spoke taking a specific
problem and "12-stepping it". For example, if you had a problem
with your friend Bobby, you could say, "I accept that I am
powerless over Bobby's anger toward me. I believe that a Power
Greater than myself can restore our relationship. I turn my will
and my life over to my Higher Power."
I think that every time I go through the steps, whether it is
online in the WTS study, or live at a face to face meeting, I
learn more about myself. And it is in these lessons about myself
that I learn more about my HP, and about what I am destined to be.
The awakening that I experienced in that meeting was not about a
specific food plan, or a special passage from the Big Book, or
even about an inspired speaker. They are about being in the right
place at the right time; for HP to speak the words which brought
about my own awakening to the truths of the Program. Once I
understood this, other Program truths became clearer. And I began
to see that the Program is a way of self-discovery and self-growth.
And that I could open my mind to hear and accept the truth that
HP wanted me to hear.
Will I ever stop learning? I don't think so. Will I ever stop
needing to go to meetings; use the tools and work the steps? I
can't see that happening. Because, to me, the truths and the
tools of the Program have become the tools and the truths of my
life. They are as ingrained in me as the garlic in the pickles.
And they flavor my life, in the same way. The Program has become a
way for me to discover who I can become, with HP's help... and for
that discovery, I need to connect with HP on a daily basis. Each
day's physical awakening prompts my mind to recall that day of
emotional awakening. And each day finds me seeking HP and the path
of serenity, with a refreshed and wakened mind. And that, to me, is
the essence of our Program.
Donna ~ ODAT Loops Division Leader
~ YOU CAN'T ESCAPE DEATH AND TAXES ~
Many TV game-show watchers scratched their heads in puzzlement
when "Jeopardy!" whiz Ken Jennings missed a question about the
IRS. Because, in retrospect, their effect on the lives of
Americans during the months that are designated as "tax season"
is all too well-known. Unless you are completely supported by
another person, you are most likely either now preparing your
taxes, spending your refund, worrying about where the funds are
coming from to pay your taxes, or sticking the tax forms in a
drawer until you are ready to deal with them. These reactions
may be based on your income, your personality, your willingness
to do paperwork (or computer work, if you file online).
It occurs to me that tax preparation may, in some ways, resemble
our recovery journey. Now, go with me on this, and understand
that this was written with "tongue in cheek". As we do with
taxes, we all have to eventually have to accept the reality of
our addiction. We can "stick it in a drawer" (be in denial) for a
time, but just as the papers are always there, right under those
hideous blue pants we got from Aunt Agatha, our need to move
forward with our recovery journey is always there. You know you
have to do it. You may dread it, but it has to be done.
Putting off our taxes can even increase our anxiety about the
preparation process. Putting off action, in using the tools of
recovery or working the steps of OA, can likewise increase our
anxiety; about the effects of putting the principles of the Program
into practice, in our daily lives.
Consider, if you will, some of the ways that people prepare
their taxes. I know people who meticulously save every business
receipt, and note every tax-exempt expense. They save their
returns in a neat, well-ordered file. They are ready, as soon
as their W2s come in. They tackle those formidable 1040 forms
with gusto, and dive right into the numbers. Their returns are
stamped and in the mail, before Valentine's Day. There are people
who approach the Program like this. They enthusiastically embrace
its principles, carefully study the Big Book, and write down all
the sayings they hear in the rooms. They copy phone numbers, and
check off their little lists as they call their 3 OA people each
day. They are organized. (And I salute them, but am NOT in this
Some people choose to have their taxes prepared for them. They
make their appointments, and they come fearfully (or expectantly)
to those bright green offices: tax papers and receipts in hand,
and sit trustingly while somebody else does the hard work of
"crunching" the numbers. And I don't knock them, because I did
that for many years. It was a good system. And some people really
need to use a professional tax preparer, so I am not saying it is
wrong. But we can possibly compare this tax-preparer to the OA
member who comes to the meeting, identifies with all the speaker
says, but is reluctant to share "in case I do it wrong." This
OA-er sometimes sits back while others give service, and does the
minimum in terms of mental preparation. He comes to the meetings,
and works his program, in a passive way... and though this gets
the job done, it doesn't really get the person mentally involved
in the recovery process.
Then there are the people who are not in either category, and I
think this is where most of us fall. When going through our year,
we keep receipts (when we remember); we note expenses (when it
occurs to us) and save last year's return (in various places).
And we bravely tackle the boxes and lines and questions on the 1040
ourselves, or with our mates. We do the best we can and send the
letter out with a sigh or a cheer. Because that's what you do.
You do your taxes because you have to.
And, in my opinion, that's a good metaphor for working the
Program. I once had a teacher whose motto was "the best I can do
is the best I can do."
The worst thing to do, in my opinion, is to put the tax prep
process off. Whether because you don't want to deal with it, or
because you are afraid (or know) that you will have to pay the
IRS, the task won't get done by the socks in your drawer, and the
money won't drop out of the sky. Somewhere in their heart, the
procrastinator knows that their taxes need to be done, and that the
sooner they are done, the sooner the answer to "how bad is it gonna
be?" will be known.
Similarly, when we are contemplating putting the tools of the
Program into practice in our lives, some of us balk. Some of us
repeatedly try out those old "half measures"; even though we know
from experience they don't "avail us" anything. We tell ourselves
"tomorrow I'll be abstinent. Tomorrow I'll make my phone calls,
go to meetings and even journal." But today is here... we can put
the tools into practice now... and it won't be even half as
complicated or costly as doing our taxes!
Don't keep your Program "in your drawer." If you are the organized
type, you don't need me to tell you what to do. If you are among
those who need help, ask HP for the courage to ask for it. If you
are the type who goes with the flow and does the best the can, with
each day, then keep it up. The promises of the Program include the
old saying "it works if you work it." And THAT's as sure as death
ODAT Loops Division Leader
~ Perceptions ~ A Recovery Story by Lisa ~
Hello. My name is Lisa and I began OA around April or May of 2003.
I live in the Atlanta, Georgia metro area and have maintained a
healthy size for over a year, losing around 30 lbs by December of
2003. I have had much abstinence in program. While my back to
back abstinence had been only for a few weeks at a time, since
the beginning, I have maintained solid non-white knuckling for a
few months with few slips in between. I am still far from perfect,
but I am working the program solidly and consistently by using ALL
the tools including prayer, meditation, sponsoring, having a
sponsor, reading OA literature, reaching out for help, giving help
when asked,writing, sharing, meetings online and face to face, and
a food plan and regular moderate exercise.
When I woke this morning, the word "perception" was in my mind.
I mean, here I am, a single mother, 39 years old, self employed,
living in a great neighborhood with my awesome 15-year old son.
Most of the families around here are dual income, highly educated,
upper middle class....probably earning much more than I earn.
My son and I may live on much less income than most around here,
but we do pretty well. I actually qualified for my son to get
free health care and free lunches at school. We drive a Honda that
is 10 yrs old, and have a very modest (like almost nothing) savings.
I have liver disease (Hepatitis C), and my son's father was a drug
addict and died about 8 yrs ago, earning too little for our son to
receive a dime of social security benefits.
Oh yeah, and I am a COE. Did I mention that? I have so many
blessings, and so many setbacks. Some days, my biggest "problem"
is just remember that I am a COE. I am not rich in materialistic
things, but I am rich with a large, albeit dysfunctional, family.
I doubt that I will ever suffer from hunger, homelessness, or be
without friends or family. "Poor" for me means my car is over
five years old and I can only eat out once every week or two.
In the aftermath of the tragic tsunami in Asia and the
inconceivable devastation and pain being experienced by so many
people, I find myself realizing that so many of my feelings that
I have had, and occasionally still have, are based on man-made
perceptions. Whether it is the size of my home, the perfection
of my body, the size of my bank account, quality of my health,
or my educational level, I realize that so often in my past, I
have allowed myself to feel badly by comparing with others by what
I DON'T have. I found myself feeling sorry for myself, thinking
about all that I don't have. For example, I clean a yoga studio
every week in exchange for the privilege to take unlimited classes.
In the past I'd have been resentful that I had to do menial labor,
scrubbing toilets in exchange for yoga! (where's the rich
doctor/husband that I was supposed to marry that would pay for these
luxuries?) Today, I am grateful that I CAN do it; that the owner
has given me an opportunity to be part of her community, and I
actually ENJOY my cleaning gig. I am also grateful for the energy
I have, and for all I have gotten spiritually, emotionally, and
physically from my yoga practice.
There is turmoil all around: war, natural disasters, high crime
rates, to name a few. I go to sleep in a comfortable bed every
night. I never hear gunshots outside of our home. I can work
whatever hours I choose. I take long bubble baths in a wonderful
whirlpool bath most days. No one cleans my home for me, but I
have the energy to keep ours up fairly well. I have a mother who
lives nearby and has been supportive of me in many ways. I have
a child who is very bright and will probably receive scholarships
to go to college. And if not, he will still go, thanks to us
having resources like a home to refinance or family to help. He
is drug free and physically and emotionally well balanced.
How much more blessed can I be?
I guess I am just thinking about the reality of things and how I
believe we create these realities based on our own perceptions.
When I think that my most pressing issues in my life are to work
my steps surrounding my COE disease, I realize that I am indeed a
very blessed person. While it IS something that could kill me if
I let it, ultimately, it is a BREEZE in my life compared to other
obstacles I have overcome (and possibly have still yet to overcome)
and will never even need to consider. Rather than feeling helpless,
I feel empowered by my own willingness to take action in my life
to progress and work my own program to grow and progress.
Today, I have made a decision - to recover. To try. To surrender.
To pray. To not wallow in self pity. To not compare with anyone
else. To not engage in negative behaviors that may lead to my
loss of abstinence - and that includes physical and mental
abstinence. To be positive. To be helpful. To be humble and
teachable. To take action when I should and can. To search for my
truths. To evolve and grow in my life. To have faith (and not
fear) that the universe will provide for me exactly what I need.
To focus on the positive. To live in the moment. To let go and
let God. To release the past, to not worry about the future.
To take action. To be a good mother, sister, daughter and friend.
To love myself and to have TOTAL acceptance of what IS right now.
Today I have decided to have a good day, plain and simple.
What are YOUR perceptions today?
With love and light,
~ CREATING A FOOD PLAN ~
One of the things I like best about OA is the freedom for each
individual to create his/her own food plan. However, I know this
can be confusing for some newcomers. In my years in OA, I have
sponsored people with different aspects of our food allergy.
Some overeat bread. Some overeat pasta. Some can't have any
white flour or sugar.
Because our bodies react differently to different food substances,
we need to find what best fits our needs. This is frequently a
trial and error process. After several months of abstinence, I
went to my sister's wedding in her back yard. I was alone in the
living room with a bowl of mixed nuts. I decided I could eat one
cashew. Then I ate two. In a few minutes of digging through the
bowl, I had eaten every cashew in the mixture. Needless to say,
cashews are NOT on my food plan.
OA recommends a visit to a doctor or a nutritionist if you are not
sure what kind of foods you should be avoiding. My history is that
I have to avoid foods that I eat strictly for recreational value.
These can include chips, sugar and fat combinations like donuts, all
candy that includes sugar and fat, etc. These are my red light
Then, I have my yellow light foods. I can eat these foods without
triggering the compulsion, but they definitely are not taking me
where I want to be with my physical recovery. These include things
like real butter, fried foods, fast food burgers, etc.
When it comes down to it, I need to remember that, as my sponsor
has reminded me, food is fuel. I have developed a food plan that
I hope fuels my body in a healthy way including foods from the
food groups that are on the food pyramid.
Because there many ways to develop a food plan, it is wise to find
a food sponsor and work with that person to find your own. I have
found that one of the things on my plan is that I don't take any
money to work with me; that way I can't be tempted to visit the
candy machine in the staff lounge. This was a suggestion of a
Reading the new OA pamphlet that includes several suggested food
plans is a good idea, too. There are several plans and perhaps
one will meet your needs.
Whatever the food plan, it's been my experience that I need to be
willing to adapt it and change it as the need arises. Some foods
that start out to be on my green light list may become red light
foods if I find that I am cleaning up my plan.
Good luck in developing a plan that will bring you the physical
recovery that you want and need.
~ THE STORY OF THE PHOENIX ~
The Phoenix is symbolic of rebirth, hope, purity, chastity,
marriage, faith, constancy, summer, eternity, immortality, and
There is a bird that lays no eggs and has no young. It was here
when the world began and is still living today, in a hidden,
faraway desert spot. It is the phoenix, the bird of fire.
One day in the beginning times, the sun looked down and saw a
large bird with shimmering feathers. They were red and gold --
bright and dazzling like the sun itself. The sun called out,
"Glorious Phoenix, you shall be my bird and live forever!"
The Phoenix was overjoyed to hear these words. It lifted its
head and sang, "Sun glorious sun, I shall sing my songs for
But the Phoenix was not happy for long. Poor bird. Its feathers
were far too beautiful. Men, women, and children were always
chasing it and trying to trap it. They wanted to have some of
those beautiful, shiny feathers for themselves.
"I cannot live here," thought the phoenix. And it flew off toward
the east, where the sun rises in the morning.
The Phoenix flew for a long time, and then came to a far away,
hidden desert where no humans lived. And there the phoenix
remained in peace, flying freely and singing its songs of praise
to the sun above.
Almost five hundred years passed. The Phoenix was still alive,
but it had grown old. It was often tired, and it had lost much
of its strength. It couldn't soar as high in the sky, nor fly
as fast or as far as it could when young.
"I don't want to live like this," thought the Phoenix. "I want to
be young and strong."
So the Phoenix lifted its head and sang, "Sun, glorious sun, make
me young and strong again!" But the sun didn't answer. Day after
day the Phoenix sang. When the sun still didn't answer, the
Phoenix decided to return to the place where it had lived in the
beginning, and ask the sun one more time.
It flew across the desert, over hills, green valleys, and high
mountains. The journey was long, and because the Phoenix was old
and weak, it had to rest along the way. Now, the Phoenix has a
keen sense of smell and is particularly fond of herbs and spices.
So each time it landed, it collected pieces of cinnamon bark and
all kinds of fragrant leaves. It tucked some in among its feathers
and carried the rest in its claws.
When at last the bird came to the place that had once been its
home, it landed on a tall palm tree growing high on a mountainside.
Right at the top of the tree, the Phoenix built a nest with the
cinnamon bark and lined it with the fragrant leaves. Then the
Phoenix flew off and collected some sharp-scented gum called
myrrh, which it had seen oozing out of a nearby tree. The Phoenix
made an egg from the myrrh and carried the egg back to the nest.
Now everything was ready. The Phoenix sat down in its nest,
lifted its head, and sang, "Sun, glorious sun, make me young and
This time the sun heard the song. Swiftly it chased the clouds
from the sky and stilled the winds and shone down on the
mountainside with all its power.
The animals, the snakes, the lizards, and every other bird hid
from the sun's fierce rays -- in caves and holes, under shady
rocks and trees. Only the Phoenix sat upon its nest and let the
suns rays beat down upon it beautiful, shiny feathers.
Suddenly there was a flash of light, flames leaped out of the nest,
and the Phoenix became a big round blaze of fire.
After a while the flames died down. The tree was not burnt, nor
was the nest. But the Phoenix was gone. In the nest was a heap
of silvery-gray ash.
The ash began to tremble and slowly heave itself upward. From
under the ash there rose up a young Phoenix. It was small and
looked sort of crumpled, but it stretched its neck and lifted its
wings and flapped them. Moment by moment it grew, until it was the
same size as the old Phoenix. It looked around, found the egg made
of myrrh, and hollowed it out. Then it placed the ashes inside and
finally closed up the egg. The young Phoenix lifted its head and
sang, "Sun, glorious sun, I shall sing my songs for you alone!
Forever and ever!"
When the song ended, the wind began to blow, the clouds came
scudding across the sky, and the other living creatures crept
out of their hiding places.
Then the Phoenix, with the egg in its claws, flew up and away. At
the same time, a cloud of birds of all shapes and sizes rose up
from the earth and flew behind the Phoenix, singing together, "You
are the greatest of birds! You are our king!"
The birds flew with the Phoenix to the temple of the sun that
the Egyptians had built at Heliopolis, city of the sun. Then
the Phoenix placed the egg with the ashes inside on the sun's
"Now," said the Phoenix, "I must fly on alone." And while the
other birds watched, it flew off toward the faraway desert.
The Phoenix lives there still. But every five hundred years, when
it begins to feel weak and old, it flies west to the same mountain.
There it builds a fragrant nest on top of a palm tree, and there
the sun once again burns it to ashes. But each time, the Phoenix
rises up from those ashes, fresh and new and young again.
~ WRITERS' SERIES ~ The Awakening ~
A time comes in your life when you finally get it ... when in the
midst of all your fears and insanity you stop dead in your tracks,
and somewhere the voice inside your head cries out - ENOUGH!
You realize that it's time to stop hoping and waiting for something
to change or for happiness, safety and security to come galloping
over the next horizon. You come to terms with the fact that he is
not Prince Charming and you are not Cinderella and that in the real
world there aren't always fairy tale endings (or beginnings for
that matter), and that any guarantee of "happily ever after" must
begin with you; and in the process, a sense of serenity is born of
You awaken to the fact that you are not perfect, and that not
everyone will always love, appreciate or approve of who, or what,
you are ... and that's OK. (They are entitled to their own views
and opinions.) And you learn the importance of loving and
championing yourself; and in the process a sense of newfound
confidence is born of self-approval.
You stop complaining and blaming other people for the things they
did to you (or didn't do for you) and you learn that the only
thing you can really count on is the unexpected. You learn that
people don't always say what they mean or mean what they say, and
that not everyone will always be there for you; and that it's not
always about you. So, you learn to stand on your own, and to take
care of yourself; and in the process, a sense of safety and
security is born of self-reliance.
You stop judging and pointing fingers ... and you begin to accept
people as they are, and to overlook their shortcomings and human
frailties; and in the process, a sense of peace and contentment is
born of forgiveness.
You realize that much of the way you view yourself and the world
around you is as a result of all the messages and opinions that
have been ingrained into your psyche. And you begin to sift
through all that you've been fed about how you should behave,
how you should look, and how much you should weigh; what you
should wear and where you should shop, and what you should drive;
how and where you should live, and what you should do for a living;
who you should sleep with, who you should marry, and what you
should expect of a marriage; the importance of having and raising
children, or what you owe your parents.
You learn to open up to new worlds and different points of view
and you begin reassessing and redefining who you are and what you
really stand for. You learn the difference between wanting and
needing and you begin to discard the doctrines and values you've
outgrown, or should never have bought into to begin with; and in
the process you learn to go with your instincts.
You learn that it is truly in giving that we receive. And that
there is power and glory in creating and contributing; and you
stop maneuvering through life merely as a "consumer" looking for
your next fix.
You learn that principles such as honesty and integrity are not
the outdated ideals of a bygone era, but the mortar that holds
together the foundation upon which you must build a life.
You learn that you don't know everything, it's not your job to save
the world ... and that you can't teach a pig to sing.
You learn to distinguish between guilt and responsibility and the
importance of setting boundaries and learning to say NO.
You learn that the only cross to bear is the one you choose to
carry, and that martyrs get burned at the stake.
Then you learn about love, romantic love and familial love. How
to love, how much to give in love, when to stop giving, and when
to walk away.
You learn not to project your needs or your feelings onto a
relationship. You learn that you will not be more beautiful, more
intelligent, more lovable or important because of the man on your
arm or the child that bears your name. You learn to look at
relationships as they really are and not as you would have them be.
You stop trying to control people, situations and outcomes. You
learn that just as people grow and change, so it is with love ...
and you learn that you don't have the right to demand love on your
terms ... just to make you happy.
And, you learn that alone does not mean lonely. And you look in
the mirror and come to terms with the fact that you will never be
a size 5, 6 ft. tall, or a perfect 10, and you stop trying to
compete with the image inside your head and agonizing over how you
You also stop working so hard at putting your feelings aside,
smoothing things over and ignoring your needs. You learn that
feelings of entitlement are perfectly OK ... and that it is your
right to want things and to ask for the things that you want ...
and that sometimes it is necessary to make demands.
You come to the realization that you deserve to be treated with
love, kindness, sensitivity and respect; and you won't settle for
less. You allow only the hands of a lover who cherishes you to
glorify you with his/her touch ... and in the process you
internalize the meaning of self-respect.
And you learn that your body really is your temple, and you begin
to care for it and treat it with respect. You begin eating a
balanced diet, drinking more water and taking more time to exercise.
You learn that fatigue diminishes the spirit and can create doubt
and fear. So you take more time to rest. And, just as food fuels
the body, laughter fuels our soul. So you take more time to laugh
and to play.
You learn that for the most part, in life you get what you believe
you deserve ... and that much of life truly is a self-fulfilling
You learn that anything worth achieving is worth working for, and
that wishing for something to happen is different from working
toward making it happen. More importantly, you learn that in order
to achieve success you need direction, discipline and perseverance.
You also learn that no one can do it all alone and that it's OK to
risk asking for help.
You learn that the only thing you must truly fear is the great
robber baron of all time, fear itself.
You learn to step right into and through your fears because you
know that whatever happens, you can handle it, and to give in to
fear is to give away the right to live life on your terms. And
you learn to fight for your life and not to squander it living
under a cloud of impending doom.
You learn that life isn't always fair, you don't always get what
you think you deserve; and that sometimes bad things happen to
unsuspecting, good people. On these occasions you learn not to
You learn that God isn't punishing you or failing to answer your
prayers. It's just life happening. And you learn to deal with
evil in its most primal state -- the ego. You learn those
negative feelings such as anger, envy and resentment must be
understood and redirected or they will suffocate the life out of
you, and poison the universe that surrounds you.
You learn to admit when you are wrong and to build bridges instead
of walls. You learn to be thankful and to take comfort in many of
the simple things we take for granted, things that millions of
people upon the earth can only dream about: a full refrigerator,
clean running water, a soft warm bed, a long hot shower.
Slowly, you begin to take responsibility for yourself by yourself;
and to make yourself a promise to never betray yourself and to
never, ever, settle for less than your heart's desire. And you
hang a wind chime outside your window so you can listen to the
wind. And you make it a point to keep smiling, to keep trusting,
and to stay open to every wonderful possibility.
Finally, with courage in your heart and with God by your side you
take a stand; you take a deep breath, and you begin to design the
life that you want to live as best as you can.
. . . . . . . Virginia Marie Swift
~ The Promises ~ Promise Three ~
Dear Friends in Recovery ~
This is Dawn's series on the Promises. This month we explore the
Third Promise. The soothing words of the second Promise are:
Serenity. What a beautiful word. What a beautiful third Promise.
"We will comprehend the word serenity."
The word, serenity, itself means serene ... and to be serene means
that one is untroubled and in a state of tranquility.
There is a short saying by David Grayson that I like. "Back of
tranquility lies conquered unhappiness." I had never thought
about conquering unhappiness but I am absolutely convinced now
it can be done because I've done it. Unhappiness is the state
of not being serene ... and in many cases it is a matter of
different perceptions for the same events. The program given
to us by Overeaters Anonymous offers so many ways for us to reach
a state of serenity ... so many ways we can begin to conquer our
"God grant us the 'serenity' to accept the things we cannot
change." As Dawn shares with us her views of the Third Promise
as found in the AABB, I hope we can think about why that word is
in this beautiful prayer.
THE PROMISES ~ PART THREE
The third promise is: "We will comprehend the word serenity and
we will know peace." Before I came to OA, I thought that a serene
life had to be the most boring thing there was. I couldn't
comprehend of life without continual problems and emergencies.
If there was no crisis going on, I would create one. That way I
didn't have to live in myself. I could ignore the mess inside my
head and my problems with relationships.
Now, having been working the steps, and maintaining abstinence, I
have reached a state of serenity that I never thought possible.
It isn't boring at all! I have more time to work on the inner me.
I have more time to focus on relationships. These are now the
truly exciting things in my life.
I have found an inner being who is a rather interesting person.
This inner person is far from being perfect, but what is perfection
Life is a journey, and accepting myself as I am has been a
milestone for me. I can now accept my imperfections without
thinking that they spoil all that is good within me. I no longer
have to constantly work to try to keep others noticing my real or
perceived imperfections. I can admit them to others and work on
improving them. I have discovered that others share the same
shortcomings I have, and life has not always been easy for them,
This has taken a lot of worry and anxiousness out of my life. I
can now relax and be myself. I am no more and no less than any
other person in this world. I am not perfect, and neither is
anyone else, no matter how perfect they appear to be on the surface.
Somehow, that awareness of this fact has helped me find serenity.
The serenity is not perfect. Sometimes problems can interfere,
but if I keep my head together and listen to my inner voice, which
has become much stronger, I am able to deal with them without
panicking. Serenity has opened up a whole new frontier for me.
That frontier is within myself. Every day I discover new strengths
and new ways to improve upon the weaknesses I find there. I am
able to resist the forces which I used to allow to rule my life -
panic, anxiety, and fear.
~ FROM THE TWELVE-STEP LITERATURE ~
~~ FROM THE BIG BOOK ~~
"The feeling of having shared in a common peril is one element in
the powerful cement which binds us. But that in itself would never
have held us together as we are now joined. The tremendous fact
for every one of us is that we have discovered a common solution.
We have a way out on which we can absolutely agree, and upon which
we can join in brotherly and harmonious action."
c. 2001, Alcoholics Anonymous, page 17
The feeling of having shared in a common peril is the inescapable
truth of all of us who are COE's. But the powerful cement that
has held us all together is the Recovery Group!! We have finally
discovered a common solution after years of despair, frustration,
and lack of hope to ever quit overeating! All of us have tried
every diet plan known to man and had them proven worthless. Oh,
maybe they would work temporarily, but we would always return to
our addictive ways. We were still trying to solve our problems
with our "Will Power". Our willpower only works for a short while
and then we needed something "far greater than". We needed
constant guidance and surrender to a Higher Power!! Our next task
was to take the daily Steps to stay on the right path. With this
new plan we could join together as an even stronger and harmonious
group, helping each other and all those who came after to join us ,
at last, in a Plan that is Victorious!! One Day at a Time is all
we can handle!! Together we can do what we could never do alone!!
I am grateful I finally found the Recovery Group and the lessons
I've learned in the Big Book and the 12 Steps!!
Myrlene (Big Book and Recovery Group)
~ Closing Recovery Meditation ~ A New World ~
"A new world is not made simply by trying to forget the old.
A new world is made with a new spirit, with new values."
When I was four or five years old, I was falling off a cliff and
I grabbed a piece of rope called food. I held on to it for the
longest time; it didn't fray. It was my strength, my comforter,
and it kept me from falling down into the abyss below. My health
was the price, but without the rope I was dead.
In program, they ask us to let go of that rope that we've been
holding on to for decades! They give us a few thin, weak-looking
ropes called the Steps, Traditions, slogans and tools. Surely
they won't hold me! I'll fall into the abyss!
Others had taken the smaller ropes and were doing fine. It didn't
seem they were having to hold on as hard as I did to the food rope.
I decided to try. Keeping a toehold on the food rope, I tested the
strength of the other ropes...first the slogans rope, then the
tools rope, eventually the Steps rope and Traditions rope. I saw
the food rope nearby, and I have reached out to it from time to
time, but I let it go again. These other ropes are supporting me
just fine without burning my hand or cutting my fingers or killing
me slowly. The program ropes are more comfortable.
I can swing from the program ropes, climb them, have fun, laugh.
I can weave them together into a nice hammock where I can rest and
relax. I can look up and focus on the new day instead of having to
constantly worry about the abyss below.
One day at a time ...
I will remember to turn to the program to help maintain my peace and
serenity, especially through the bad times.
~ Rhonda ~
~ RECOVERY MEDITATIONS ~
~ Visit our beautiful scene for March ~
To receive the daily meditations by email, send a blank email to:
~ THE RECOVERY GROUP CONTACTS ~
"In the deepest part of a compulsive eater's soul . . .
Is the realization that recovery begins when we find one another."
The Trusted Servants of Recovery
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.
Volume 7 Issue 3 ©
Copyright 2005 THE RECOVERY GROUP All rights reserved.