The Recovery Group's
12 Step Community Newsletter
March 2009 ~ Volume 10, Issue 3
From the Editor
From the Administration
From the Executive Committee
From the Loops
From the Meetings
TRG Sponsor Program
Big Book StudySpotlight
Loops of the Month
Low-Fat Recipe of the Month
TRG'S Recovery Writings
TRG's Trusted Servants
FROM THE EDITOR:
Dear Serendipity Readers,
There is a saying that I have written down inside my For Today book that just happens to be one of my favorites; "Serenity is not the absence of the storm, it is peace within the storm."
Life has a way of producing challenges that seem to require continual growth. Which virtually means that at no time am I ever going to graduate from this program. I will always be a student in this life as I learn how to weather out the storms in a healthy, productive manner. Of course, I may not always get it right but as long as I strive for progress, and not perfection, I don't believe I could ever really go wrong.
I have always found my Serenity in the morning sunrise. It doesn't seem to matter how busy I am or how much may be weighing on my mind because a sunrise will grasp my attention immediately. I just can't help but watch as the evening sky gives way to reds, pinks, purples and oranges. It is during this time that I find myself closest to my Higher Power, it is one of the rare times that I find I am able to breathe deeply and without reservation.
Everyone has a different and unique way, in which, they are able to find that peace within a storm. A sunrise just happens to be where I find my center, or peace, and that center helps me to weather out whatever storms may be headed my way. I encourage you find your inner peace as we travel this road of recovery together.
Heidi L ~ Editor
Happiness, Simplicity & Music
Dear Serendipity Readers,
I don't know how things are for you this month ... But the world I live in is spinning 100 miles an hour. What is unusual about this is that in the past I was usually the one who was spinning and it just seemed like it was the world. But I'm not going, doing, seeing, traveling, working or gallivanting as much as I used to. Still I feel as though I'm standing in the middle of a giant ball and it's going around so fast that it's hard to keep my feet glued to the surface. My 12 Step program keeps me stable and from toppling over. The program offers me ways to achieve happiness.
I long for a simpler time. How many times a day do I say "Please God, let me keep it simple" and I truly try ... but the mind boggles at how complicated life can truly be. I think the reason for this is human emotions. If I were a robot, I could clunk around, observe what's going on around me, do my assigned job and crumble up at the end of the day when my switch was turned off. That to me would be simplicity personified. But I'm not a robot and all around me I see fun and sadness, sweet babies being born and friends dying. I see politicians doing bad things and five minutes later their counterparts doing something so wonderful that I forget all the badness on this planet.
I wish the whole world could be played like a symphony. I believe that the God of my understanding has a score and knows every part played by every instrument and yet each instrument has only its own part to worry about. With the slight movement of a hand ... Even a single finger, the violins can be softened to allow the sweet sound of a lone French horn come through to tie in the cellos and brasses to combine into something so beautiful that tears begin to form. As the music develops and twists and turns I am so caught up in it that when the last note is played I find myself unable to move. The music ends ... But feelings evoked by the music don't leave. I'm like my little dog who must stretch and then shake before I'm ready to begin whatever I need to do. I've listened to a lot of music this week and am grateful that now because of technology I can see the face of the performer. A true artist is oblivious to thousands of people mesmerized by the tones produced by fingers that can only be described as magical. Just by looking into his eyes or his grimaces I become aware that he is lost from any earthly place. Ivory keys once silent played with 10 fingers can bring an audience to a place that blocks out the complications of life and is as close as I am getting right now to the simple life. For me this simple life equals a doorway to happiness.
It is no accident that I found a program that evokes in me some of the same feelings about life that music does. Day after day I see parallels in my little world equal in emotional intensity as those in our enormous world. I see me in so many others and no matter how we find it, I think we are all looking for the needs we require to bring us happiness. Part of finding happiness is discovering things that make us so. And I also think that there are degrees of happiness. Hearing a well-played symphony makes me happy. Seeing a new Trusted Servant bursting with enthusiasm makes me happy. Looking into my dog's eyes for a long time and watching him look back as though we were each testing the other to see who could look at each other the longest without blinking makes me happy. Figuring out how to turn one file extension into another to make it playable makes me happy. But what makes me the happiest of all is knowing that there is a smile on the face of someone I care about ... And knowing that I put it there.
Love in recovery,
MONTHLY HAPPENINGS AROUND TRG
FROM THE ADMINISTRATION:
There have been big changes in The Recovery Group Administration this past month. The Executive Committee and the administrators feel these changes will enhance the services already offered here at our Recovery Home.
Instead of only two administrators, there are now five serving the needs of our members.We each have been assigned specific loops and will be there at all times to assist the coordinators of these loops.
Your TRGAdministrators are:
Athena ~ TRGAdm@yahoo.com
Dodee ~ TRGAdm@hotmail.com
Nancy ~ TRGAdm@hotmail.com
Sharon ~ TRG_Adm@yahoo.com
Tina ~ TRG_Adm@yahoo.com
We are all looking forward
to being of service in this way.
Yours in Recovery,
Dodee & Nancy
FROM THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE:
The Executive Committee has been busy reading biographies of applicants for coordinator positions, and then approving or not approving the applicants. There have been many new coordinators approved.
One of the jobs of the Executive Committee is to hold group consciences for loops who have decided one is in order. Recently the Committee has discussed one in particular.
All the members are actively involved in making decisions for TRG -- the decisions made help to keep all the loops, meetings, etc safe for compulsive eaters to work their programs on TRG.
TRG Administrator and Executive Committee Member
FROM THE LOOPS:
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.
FROM THE MEETINGS:
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 many special focus and foreign language meetings are held. 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 Coordinator at MtgAdm@TheRecoveryGroup.org. If you would like to take part in a brief training program and give service once a week as a Meeting Leader, contact us. Brenda H. and Linda will welcome you with open arms. If you would like to attend a meeting, here's the doorway.
TRG MEETINGS ~ CLICK DOORWAY
Midnight, 3, 6, 9 AM Eastern Time
Noon, 3, 6, 9PM Eastern Time
Please arrive and leave on time.
OA Protocol Observed during the meeting.
Type * to share
Type "done" when finished
If you would like to give one hour per week service as a Meeting Leader, now is your opportunity to register for a brief training preparing you for that. Come join us as Linda, Tina, Bruce, Brenda and Mari work with you to help you become and join the Recovery Twelve Step Meeting program in its 14th year of "Around the World, Around the Clock" meetings.
The Recovery Group is pleased to announce that we now have five administrators serving our community. Joining our long term Administrators, Dodee and Nancy, are Sharon S., Tina L, and Athena. If you are interested in being a Coordinator and work with one of these Administrators, please write them directly or send a note to Shlomo at TRGAdm@TheRecoveryGroup.org.
WTS STEP STUDY
Each Quarter, the Recovery Group begins a study of the 12 Steps. A large group works the Twelve Steps with one another and their sponsor in response to a Step Leader's share and questions. In its 14th year, WTS Step Studies begin on January 1, April 1, July 1 and October 1. To subscribe to this quarterly study, send a blank Email to:
TRG has a Sponsor Program for those who need a Step Sponsor, a Food Sponsor or both. Read more about this program at the following URL. This program is for members of the Recovery Group only. For more information send an email with your home loop name to:
An original daily meditation written by our members can be subscribed to by sending a blank email to the URL below. We want to thank Todd and Tricia for sending them out so faithfully each morning.
The World Service of Overeaters Anonymous can be written at info@OA.org The main website at OA is: http://www.oa.org/index.htm The Recovery Group is not affiliated with OA or any other organization; however, most of TRG's members are also members of OA.
TRG 12 Step Online Meetings Coordinator ... TRGLinda
TRG 12 Step Online Meetings Coordinator Pro Tem .. TRGTina
TRG Newcomer Meeting Leader Trainer/Advisor ... TRGBrenda
Meeting Contact: MTGADM@TheRecoveryGroup.org
THE RECOVERY GROUP
Recovery Group Contact - TRGADM@TheRecoveryGroup.org
TRG'S SPONSOR PROGRAM
A CALL FOR SPONSORS
Dear Members of The Recovery Group:
We will begin another Newcomer's Orientation session on March 1st. Can you remember when you were a newcomer? Can you remember when you found a sponsor? Can you remember working the steps with your sponsor? Can you remember how grateful you were that someone was willing to help guide, encourage and at times inspire you on your journey through the 12steps?
Can you remember hearing; You will not keep it until you give it away? Are you now willing to share what you have so generously received from your sponsor with those who still suffer?
Please write to Sponsors@TheRecoveryGroup.Org and ask them to add your name to the sponsor list. When this new group of newcomer's will be seeking a sponsor there will be enough for all of them.
We need your help in helping the newcomer getting all the help they will need to recover.
The JOY you will receive in sponsoring others is beyond your wildest imagination.
Waiting to hear from you,
Patt and Cate
TRG Sponsor Coordinators
THE BIG BOOK STUDY
AN OPPORTUNITY FOR SERVICE
When you joined the loop, your probably received a very informative and welcoming letter from our loop greeter. Mary Ann has been filling this post for several years and doing an excellent job. She has needed to resign this week. I know we will all miss her and that, if you feel at home here, it is largely due to Mary Ann's kindness and her ability to know just the kind of information you needed to have when you were new. Mary Ann was so kind that she even gave us a very good idea of exactly what a greeter does and of what needs to be said to newcomers. I am writing now to ask for volunteers to take over this very important form of service. If you are interested, please email both Gracie and myself privately, at our own email addresses, and we will give you all the information you will regarding what is entailed in this form of service.
Also, our Twelfth Step Within person, Mimi, left us in December and Gracie has graciously been sending out the good-bye letters. But, Gracie is also a loop co-coordinator, a co-chair, an alternate and anAll-around busy person. So, if anyone out there in cyberland wants to be the person to thank our outgoing members for giving us a chance and assuring them that we'll be happy to have them back at any time, also, please email Gracie and me privately and we can tell you more and, if you're still interested, get you started.
Thanks so much for reading my letter and for considering giving service in this way. Remember, if you are interested, please email Gracie and me privately rather than through the loop.
BIG BOOK STUDY LEADERS:
SUNDAY ~ Charles ~ firstname.lastname@example.org
MONDAY ~ Carolee ~ email@example.com
TUESDAY ~ OV ~ firstname.lastname@example.org
WEDNESDAY ~ Linda ~ email@example.com
THURSDAY ~ Marlene ~ firstname.lastname@example.org
FRIDAY ~ Gracie ~ email@example.com
SATURDAY ~ Rob ~ firstname.lastname@example.org
Linda ~ Coordinator ~ email@example.com
To join our study, please send a blank email to the following address:
Gracie ~ Coordinator ~ firstname.lastname@example.org
Mary Ann ~ Greeter ~ email@example.com
12 Step Within ~ Gracie ~ Pro Tem
BIG BOOK WEBSITE
THE BIG BOOK ONLINE
A PEEK INTO A BIG BOOK STUDY
ARE THE "CURTAINS" OUT FOR YOU?
Monday, February 9, 2009
"It relieved me somewhat to learn that in alcoholics the will is amazingly weakened when it comes to combating liquor, though if often remains strong in other respects. My incredible behavior in the face of a desperate desire to stop was explained. Understanding myself now, I fared forth in high hope. For three or four months the goose hung high. I went to town regularly and even made a little money. Surely this was the answer--self-knowledge.
But it was not, for the frightful day came when I drank once more. The curve of my declining moral and bodily health fell off like a ski-jump. After a time I returned to the hospital. This was the finish, the curtain, it seemed to me. My weary and despairing wife was informed that it would all end with heart failure during delirium tremens, or I would develop a wet brain, perhaps within a year. She would soon have to give me over to the undertaker of the asylum.
They did not need to tell me. I knew, and almost welcomed the idea. It was a devastating blow to my pride. I, who had thought so well of myself and my abilities, of my capacity to surmount obstacles, was cornered at last. Now I was to plunge into the dark, joining that endless procession of sots who had gone on before. I thought of my poor wife. There had been much happiness after all. What would I not give to make amends. But that was over now."
(AABB, page 7-8)
I thought that once I grew up and away from my birth family, I could insulate myself perfectly from all mistakes and needless suffering, that I would make for myself a safe, enviable, well-controlled life. I had always thought of myself as a very, very strong-willed, determined, capable person, one who could move mountains and could outsmart anyone or anything. I admired myself for always staying three, four, five steps ahead. I always made sure I had a very well-conceived Plan A with equally brilliant backup Plans B, C and D, all so carefully contrived. (I didn’t know how desperately fear-ridden I was in doing this, and what that fear was doing to me.)
I couldn’t understand why I could not seem to control my food, though – but I had lost weight enough times to keep deluding myself that I had what it took to defeat the problem of food, too. I analyzed and made excuses for my weakness with food. I blamed my childhood, my Italian-American food-centered upbringing, my stresses, myself…anything but my disease. I had everything else under tight control though, so I was going to be just fine…or so I thought.
About my eating, all my introspection, reading, therapy, self-analysis, etc., self-knowledge availed me nothing. The carefully planned adult life I set out to create and control crumbled around me slowly at first, but increasing in speed by accelerating degrees. This I blamed on my marriage, my husband, his self-destructive acts (of course, I didn’t have any), the damage this had done to our finances, the shame and embarrassment I felt as our life changed in ways that I could not hide from others…and the weight packed on. I reflected on my life with ideas such as, “if ONLY he had not done this, if ONLY this had happened instead of that, if ONLY we had been able to keep the house, if ONLY I had chosen that instead of this, if only, if only, if only! As time went on and my suffering increased, my personal will in all areas of my life was weakening and I began to seriously isolate. I went from obese to morbidly obese to super-morbidly obese. All of it I blamed on everything and everyone else, as well – unhappiness in marriage, financial insecurity, an exhausting job, losses of loved ones, loss of our house, my husband’s foibles, my disappointments, etc. I blamed my weakening resolve and my disappearing social life on the shame of our losses, on aging, on life. I knew I was getting fatter and that I was losing mobility, but was I expected not to at least be able to eat in peace??? I had had to give up so much, so many dreams – did I have to give up food, too? I did not understand that at the very heart of all of my increasing losses and health decline was a disease of addiction that fed into all of these other issues and would ultimately claim not just my security and happiness, but also my very life.
In HP’s wisdom, I received an unlikely gift – cancer. At first, I thought this time it really was curtains for me. I had wished to die so many times that I was finally going to get what I had so carelessly asked for. Though of course I didn’t know this at first, it turned out that I was in the early stage of a very treatable cancer. How I was so lucky to be blessed with a warning that was not going to be harder on me than it was, I don’t know and can only attribute to HP’s wisdom. HP had plans for me to live. It was not time for me to end my service in this iteration of my humanly being, and now I had a chance to go on living and to realize that the “If Onlies” I had been eating myself up with were a fiction, a ridiculous story I was telling myself. What it was was what it really was, where I am is where really I am, and what is is what my life realy is…and that had become unmanageable! The spiritual awakening that followed my cancer led me to OA. I learned that my life indeed had become unmanageable and I was going to die from the complications of my compulsive overeating if I didn’t accept responsibility for what is and let go of what wasn’t.
It is very hard even today to let myself really think about what my disease and my wrong-thinking has done to my husband, daughter and other loved ones. I can’t bear the thought of so much wasted time and happiness. The best amends I can make is to release the demons and fears that tie me to the past and to embrace today in willingness and surrender through the tools of my HP and this program so that I may be happy, joyous and free and able to share that with them one day at a time.
1. Do you currently feel or have you ever felt you have self-knowledge? What has that done for you with respect to compulsive overeating?
2. Can you recall times when you thought, like Bill W., that it was “curtains” for you, that you were lost to your compulsive overeating beyond all hope of being saved? If so, will you share this with us?
3. How has your compulsive overeating affected your pride? How do you feel about that?
4. Do you believe it is ever too late to make amends? Why?
Blessings, all, and thanks for this opportunity to do service.
THE BIG BOOK STUDY
BEGINNING MARCH 1ST
"There Is A Solution"
You are invited to join us for the start of Chapter 2 http://recovery.hiwaay.net/bigbookstories/1999/chapter2.html
To Join Us, Click the Big Book Above
SPOTLIGHT LOOPS OF THE MONTH
Recovery ~ Relapse
ODAT ~ Sex & Love Addiction
Discovery ~ Big Book Friends
THE RECOVERY DIVISION:
If you are struggling right now and have found yourself "back in the disease," you will find support at TRG's RELAPSE support group. "Relapse" is the word that strikes fear in the heart of every compulsive eater. Yet for many compulsive eaters who find themselves in this state, by sharing our experience, strength and hope with one another we can find our way to abstinence again. The mission of the Relapse Loop is to offer a peaceful and safe place to discuss our disease with others ..... And to find the hope we once had again. All are welcome who desire to no longer eat compulsively.
The Relapse Loop is a 12 Step Support Loop and part of the Recovery Division. 12 Step Protocol is used in this loop and one can share as they would in their face-to-face 12 Step Meeting. Many find that by sharing with the group regularly, they find the abstinence once again they lost temporarily.
The home page of RELAPSE is
The Coordinator of RELAPSE is Jill and she can be
contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ill works with Tina, TRG Administrator and
her contact address is: TRG_Adm@yahoo.com.
To join TRG's Relapse Loop, please send a blank email to:
THE ODAT DIVISION:
SEX & LOVE ADDICTION
The mission of the Sex and Love Addiction support group is to provide a safe place where compulsive eaters who are also struggling with delicate sexual issues can meet together in a safe environment for mutual support. This private list is restricted to members only and it is not a place to act out fantasies, or find partners with which you can act out. SLFA is about recovery from compulsive eating and sex and love addiction or avoidance.
Many SLFA members recovering from one or both addictions have discovered through our recovery journey that the two issues (sex/love addiction and overeating) overlapped each other, presenting unique challenges. Some felt when faced with life's challenges, "acted out" either through using food as a coping mechanism to deal with our problems (or not to deal with them at all), or used sex and love to cope with the feelings brought on by compulsively overeating. Either way, we found ourselves needing a special place where both issues could be addressed simultaneously, a place where we could again find fellowship, work the 12 steps of recovery and knew that we again would not be alone.
As in all the support groups of The Recovery Group community, you may use an alias if you feel more comfortable doing so. Dressy is the Coordinator of SLFA and can be contacted at: DressyFemme@AOL.com. Tina is the Administrator of this loop and her contact address is: TRG_Adm@yahoo.com...
The SLFA Website is:
To join the group, please send a blank email to:
THE DISCOVERY DIVISION:
BIG BOOK FRIENDS
Big Book Friends is a happy loop led by our charismatic Ray J. The mission of this list is to provide a safe and enjoyable environment for men and women worldwide to discuss the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. As part of the Discovery Division, members of Big Book Friends chat informally daily about the Big Book as Ray takes them from the beginning to the end throughout the year. Online is a perfect venue to study and share about the Big Book. Recognizing that, the forward of the Big Book says:
THE LANGUAGE OF THE HEART
"While our literature has preserved the integrity of the A.A. Message, sweeping changes in society as a whole are reflected in new customs and practices within the Fellowship. Taking advantage of technological advances, for example, A.A. Members with computers can participate in meetings online, sharing with fellow alcoholics across the country or around the world. In any meeting, anywhere, A.A.’s share experience, strength, and hope with each other, in order to stay sober and help other alcoholics. Modem-to-modem or face-to-face, A.A.’s speak the language of the heart in all its power and simplicity."
. . . . . Foreword to the Fourth Edition.
To contact Ray, Big Book Friends Coordinator,
please e-mail email@example.com.
To reach the Administrator of Big Book Friends,
contact Athena at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To join Big Book Friends, send an e-mail to:
RECIPE OF THE MONTH:
Black Bean Soup
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup chopped white onions
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh ginger
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 3/4 teaspoon allspice
- 1/8 teaspoon celery salt
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- 1 (14.25 ounce) can tomato puree
- 2 (16 ounce) cans refried black beans
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon white sugar
- 2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 (8 ounce) container sour cream
2. Cooking Directions
Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, and cook the onion until tender. Mix in ginger and garlic, and season with cayenne pepper, thyme, allspice, and celery salt. Pour in the broth. Mix in tomato puree, refried black beans, black pepper, and sugar. Cook and stir until heated through.
Mix the remaining black beans and lemon juice into the soup. Continue cooking until heated through. Top each serving with a dollop of sour cream.
Yield: 8 servings
3. Nutrition Info
Calories: 335 cal
Carbohydrates: 45 g
Dietary Fiber: 15 g
Fat: 11 g
Protein: 14 g
Sugars: 11 g
About: Nutrition Info
Powered by: ESHA Nutrient Database
Peace in Recovery,
QUOTATION OF THE MONTH
"Often it was while working on this step with our sponsors or spiritual advisers that we first felt truly able to forgive others, no matter how deeply we felt they had wronged us. Our moral inventory had persuaded us that all-around forgiveness was desirable, but it was only when we resolutely tackled Step Five that we inwardly knew we'd be able to receive forgiveness and give it too." - AA 12 & 12 , Page 58
PHYLLIS, PHONE CALLS, STRESS & FOOD
Phyllis here; chunkie, drunkie, junkie...clean, sober, abstinent since May 20, 1972...85# lighter ~
VOR, 2/9: "No matter how long we abstain from eating compulsively, and no matter how adept we become at facing life's problems, we will always have these abnormal tendencies."
Bad weather was predicted, again, for today. So, I figured I would make phone calls that I have been putting off for a while. The first call I made, I was on hold for 87 minutes, being told not to hang up, by a recording, or I would lose my place in the queue. Although I had the speaker phone on, the music they played made my head spin. I took 2 Tylenol.
The second call also put me on hold, for about 20 minutes, after which they requested information that I had in my folder but had to search for. This call lasted about 40 minutes...after which it was lunchtime. And, wow, was I hungry!!! However, ate my usual lunch.
The third call, with all due respect, I was transferred at least three times to someone in a very far away country, who I am sorry to say, I did not understand. In trying to transfer again, you guessed it, I lost the connection. Started all over.
The last call was for something on TV. They told me I had to order it on line. I went online, and after losing my page a few times, I finally got the order placed. Then they asked me for a special coupon number that I had. And, I was told I couldn't use that discount. I cancelled the whole thing.
Is that what "Life on life's terms" means? I spent most of my day on the phone, which is not my favorite tool. I hope I have clarified, rectified, and satisfied all those issues that led me into the morass of questions and answers. I must admit, I was dizzy and hungry. Another two Tylenol and a quiet hour with my dog in my lap worked. I did not have to binge "at those stupid people". I did not have to end up hating myself. I did not get angry with my husband who couldn't do it because of his failing eyesight. I didn't even have to go to sleep.
Isn't Program wonderful?
In fellowship and love, G-d bless,
When a TRG Trusted Servant was asked
How we should carry the message to our members
Who tend to lurk rather than to share ....
This was the response.
Candles for Recovery
What we should do
Is continue to dance our dance
And sing our song
Because it makes life much better.
Those who are interested may join
and the majority who just want to watch
May continue with their business.
We are like a candle.
We don't lose our light
By trying to help light other candles.
And even if only one candle catches the light
There will be double the light in this world.
Let's get spiritual in 5 simple (but not easy) steps
I began a 12-step program nearly a year ago in the hopes of kicking a very serious addiction to alcohol. In addition to stopping drinking, I now have a daily spiritual practice that leaves me more centered and happier than I've ever been.
For those of you who think of Stuart Smalley when you hear "12-step support group," here are 5 daily practices that even the most cynical might enjoy utilizing:
1. Gratitude - If you'd asked me a year ago to be more grateful, I would have probably kicked you in the shin. One of my early tasks in sobriety was to make a list each day of 10 things for which I was grateful each day. This exercise forces the mind to track positive things. In doing so, even the most negative begin to see the world in a more positive light.
2. Prayer - If you don't believe in God, no worries. You can say a prayer to the sun, your mother, or your great uncle Ed. In your daily prayer ask to have greater understanding, tolerance, and love.
3. Letting Go - For those of us with any kind of "life map" that hasn't yet gotten blown out of the water, the concept of letting go of what our future might hold is amazingly freeing. For me, this means saying aloud a few times a day "I'm not in charge. I don't know what will happen next." By giving up the fantasy that we know or can control life's outcomes, we're definitely happier (and wiser) people.
4. Don't Say Mean Things - This seems obvious, I know, but if you enjoy snark as much as I do, you might find biting your tongue anathema to your "self-expression." What this means in daily practice is to keep those nasty comments inside your brain. And if you can't help yourself, count to 10 and leave the room, or write it down instead of saying it.
5. Be Part of Something - For me, this means attending a daily meeting with like-minded people. For others it might mean joining a group of parents, or other divorcees or single parents, or people who like to wear purple. By joining up and letting yourself be known, great relief from loneliness and isolation can be found.
TURNING IT OVER
Years ago I rode with my brother and his little boy to pick up the baby sitter. He explained with a wink that the boy would always hide in the back seat and when the baby sitter got in the front seat, she would always ask where he was, he would always jump up and yell, "Here I am," and she would always be surprised, which was exactly what happened.
Review: After some point decades ago, I knew that if I touched a certain high sugar, high fat "food" and/or any of it's many substitutes I'd soon have to do so again, then sooner, then into a full-blown pig-out where I'd be mad at myself for eating that way, blame it on whoever came to mind, minimize how bad it was, make excuses, and take it out on anyone handy, until it had run its course weeks or months or years later and I'd collapsed, sick, fat, and miserable, gasp, gasp. Then after a while..I'd do it again!
Step Two: Was I always surprised? I was not straight-jacket crazy but so far as trying "the desperate experiment of the first [bite]", even convincing myself that this time it would go OK or that I didn't care, I was admittedly pretty nuts; I knew better and did it anyway. Then after it was over I'd "try harder" for a few months (my record), weeks, or days, then..well, never mind. I think the insanity was that, in the face of repeated failures, I was still trying to restore myself to sanity, understandable but obviously futile. Should I abandon all hope? Even though I came to OA seeking seeking, oh, self-esteem, motivation to be stronger and maintain abstinence, blah, blah, lose weight, what I lacked was that power. Step Two is coming to believe that God could restore us to sanity [and would if He were sought --would! --merely sought! I'd like that, whatever the rest of that power turned out to be.
Preview: Once very early on, I was asked to read the long version of "How It Works" from the printed handout almost always used at AA meetings, and did so. The front side goes through Step Three and the rest is on the back. I read "Three: Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him," and wondered for the umpteenth time just how to turn it over, turned over the page, and read "Made a searching and fearless moral..." AHA! Turning it over is the rest of the Steps! That was how to clear away my junk yard to let God inside. Indeed He, working through those steps and often through us seems to have restored me to sanity. I've not touched those "foods" in over a year, and now often I am surprised, and most grateful to God as I understand Him for the Program and the people of the Fellowship who helped me with it, and grateful to them for God.
FROM OA'S LIFELINE:
DEFENDING OUR RIGHTS
Compulsive eaters spend a tremendous amount of time and energy defending their right to eat compulsively. I tell my sponsees that a natural part of the road to spiritual recovery is the fear that surfaces when they have to give up large portions, comfort foods and unhealthy food rituals. Working through it is fundamental to their future success.
How can one be "living in recovery" while still actively eating? An overfed or underfed body produces a malnourished spirit. If we're still eating, we are actively extinguishing the spirual spark we need to move beyond the food to long-term abstinence.
I hear people talk about doing their Step work, but even as they do, a great many won't strucutre their day to avoid putting themselves in harm's way with food. A long time ago someone told me "failing to plan is planning to fail." Abstinence is hard enough without aiding and abetting the enemy.
The most empowering thing I did while I dealt with the underlying causes of my compulsive eating was to plan, shop and prepare nourishing meals that took me to a healthy weight.
Every time I achieved a break-thorugh, I became aware of the internal conflict that was my disease, trying desperately to get me to go back on my disciplines, ignore my returning healthy instincts, blur my judgment and foster a return to eating.
If my food plan is so flexible it varies widely in portions and times between meals, I will hardly be able to distinguish a return to compulsive eating from a day where I have to tighten up my food choices.
I have a disease that wants me dead. If it can't accomplish that, it will settle for generating guilt, self-doubt and a loss of self-esteem. It will be pleased to simply undermine my resolve and reduce me to a diminished version of my best self. It will wait patiently, until the lessons I learned when my physical recovery was strong have morphed into the false sense of confidnece that "I'm still way ahead of the game for being in OA, even if my food has become a little sloppy."
Nothing is more painful to watch than longtimers who are years past their last period of extended abstinence, talking program-speak while consistently avoiding doing the very things they would recommend to newcomers. Such is the power of the disease to hone rationalization and self-delusion to art forms.
Telling sponsees not to worry so much about the food--that they have a spiritual malady and only a spiritual solution will help them--is not doing them any favors. Achieving a healthy body weight is good for OA's credibility. It's far from easy, but who said getting well was supposed to be easy?
Did you come into OA looking for spiritual recovery? When did optimizing our physical recovery become the enemy of spiritual recovery? Perhaps this is behind some of the discord in OA. Perhaps some of us are still defending our right to settle for less.
--N.R., Baltimore, Maryland, USA
TRG'S RECOVERY WRITINGS:
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! Enough fighting and crying or struggling to hold on. And, like a child quieting down after a blind tantrum, your sobs begin to subside, you shudder once or twice, you blink back your tears, and through a mantle of wet lashes you begin to look at the world through new eyes. This is your awakening. 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 (or any other combination of fairytale characters) and that in the real world there aren't always fairytale 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 acceptance.
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 new found confidence is born of self-approval.
You stop bitching 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 & 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 & 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. You begin to sift through all the crap you've been fed about how you should behave, how you should look, how much you should weigh, what you should wear, where you should shop, what you should drive, how and where you should live, what you should do for a living, who you should sleep with, who you should marry, 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 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. Your learn that principles such as honesty and integrity are not the outdated ideals of a by gone era but the mortar that holds together the foundation upon which you must build a life.
You learn that you don't know everything, that 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 you learn the importance of setting boundaries and of 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 familiar love. You learn 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 or woman 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.
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 or a perfect 10 and you stop trying to compete with the image inside your head and agonizing over how you "stack up."
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 you learn 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 decide you won't settle for less. And you allow only the hands of a lover who cherishes you to glorify you with his or 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 prophecy. You learn that anything worth achieving is worth working for and that wishing for something to happen is different than 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 personalize things. 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 that 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 building 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 you make yourself a promise never to betray yourself and never, ever to 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 a point to keep smiling, to keep trusting, and to stay open to every wonderful possibility.
Finally, with courage in your heart, you take a deep breath and you begin to design the life you want to live as best as you can.
Heidi ~ email@example.com
Serendipity Web Servant
Lin ~ firstname.lastname@example.org
Tina ~ oarecovery@YAHOO.COM
Carrie ~ email@example.com
Gerri ~ Yarmak@AOL.com
Carrie ~ c.beckerfishman@GMAIL.COM
Leeanne ~ Leeanne.SHILO@3DS.COM
Barry ~ barefoot11@cfl.RR.com
Mari @ Mari@TheRecoveryGroup.org
COORDINATORS AND MEETING LEADERS
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 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
TRG'S COORDINATORS & 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.