A Wellspring of Hope
Newsletter of The Recovery Group


March 2000
Volume 2, Issue 3


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


FEATURED ARTICLES

From Our Editor
From Our Founder
From Our Administrator
From Our Meeting Coordinators
From Our Loop Coordinators
From Our Recovery Group Members
From the Literature
The Recovery Group IRC Meetings
AOL Meetings - A&R Forum
Announcements
From Overeaters Anonymous
Recovery Group Contacts
The Serenity Prayer



FROM OUR EDITOR


Dear friends in recovery,

This is a very exciting time for the Recovery Group, and I am grateful to be a small part of its amazing growth. As many of you know, our beloved founder, Mari, has just announced a major special project -- publication of the Recovery Group's book of daily meditations. As Mari noted, the working title of the book is "Recovery Meditations ~ One Day at a Time." This wonderful book will include 365 pages of inspirational meditations from members of the Recovery Group.

And this is where all of you come in! Each of you is invited to contribute one of those 365 meditations. In Mari's vision, each page will begin with a beautiful and meaningful quotation and end with an original meditation. Each page will represent a day in our life, and each meditation will be about 150 words long. And each page will be written by one of you!

The best is yet to come. In The Founder's Corner this month, Mari has written the first meditation for "Recovery Meditations ~ One Day at a Time." This meditation serves not only as a beacon of hope to all compulsive overeaters, but also as a perfect example of the writings that will be included in the book. Take the words to heart, and, if you should decide to submit a writing for consideration, use Mari's work as a format for your original meditation.

Mari has set up a list called Recovery Meditations at http://www.onelist.com/group/RecoveryMeditations. The address to subscribe is RecoveryMeditations-subscribe@onelist.com This list is to be restricted to sharing a submission to the Recovery Meditations Book Committee for review, editing and inclusion in the project. We on the committee urge you to participate in this once in a lifetime project, and we look forward to reading many wonderful original writings in the days and weeks to come!

There is so much more in Serendipity this month, in addition to The Founder's Corner. John, the Recovery Group administrator, has written a thoughtful article on spirituality and religion, calling for unity in the program. Danny has contributed a wonderful and amusing profile of SilverRecovery, which is a loop for those of us over 50. Three of our members, Linda E., Didi M. and SueG, have contributed articles of experience, strength and hope, and Cate has submitted a moving poem called "The Convergence," which many of us will be able to relate to. Anne, co-editor of Serendipity and Recovery meetings coordinator, has included an updated meetings list and shares with us some changes in meetings co-coordinators. Literature for this month's edition is the Third Step Prayer and a quote from the Big Book's "How It Works." The newsletter concludes with a list of the weekly on-line Recovery Group meetings, announcements, OA information, and contact list.

We hope that all of you find this month's newsletter helpful and inspirational, and that you will continue to share such wonderful expressions of experience, strength and hope with your fellow Recovery Group members through SERENDIPITY.

Love in recovery,
Suzanne,
Editor
SERENDIPITY



SERENDIPITY SUBSCRIPTIONS



FROM OUR FOUNDER


HOPE

"Hope" is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all.
Emily Dickinson

I wanted desperately to lose weight ... to be happy ... to be spiritually and emotionally fulfilled ... to feel serenity in my soul. How long must one wait in a single lifetime to achieve these things? How long must one function day to day at a fairly high level; however, close the door at night to a world of emptiness? How long must one go without hope?

My compulsion for food had come close to destroying my life. I was in a constant state of denial that the simple act of eating food could account for a life amok and unmanageable. But the truth of the matter is that it could ... and it did.

I found Twelve Steps that empowered me to do things I've never dreamed of doing. These 12 Steps enabled me to see the simple reality that compulsive eating could destroy a life. That life was beautiful. That my disease could turn out to be my greatest blessing. Twelve Steps gave me something so precious that I am in awe of their power. Something so empowering that I had to admit powerlessness in order to become powerful. The 12 Steps gave me the most beautiful gift I have ever received ... a gift that no one can ever take away from me ... a gift that I treasure above all gifts.

The gift of hope.

One day at a time ... I will hold on to my hope.
One day at a time ... I will treasure my hope.
One day at a time ... hope perches in my soul.
And sings its song ... and will forever.

@-}-}-}------
Love in recovery,
Mari
The Recovery Group


FROM OUR ADMINISTRATOR


Dear Loopies,

There is a good bit of discussion from time to time about religion and spirituality. Some people never seem to understand the difference, and say, a ‘plague on both.' Others do not see the difference, and insist on making religion and spirituality into the same thing, often thereby offending others who do not hold with the particular religion being espoused.

Our dear loop friend, Shlomo, has reiterated recently some of the very real differences. I hope you got a chance to read it. I would like to try a hand at some further definitions.

Spirituality is a fully human reality. For most of us, it is our connection to our Higher Power, however we define such. Whenever I cross over from the spiritual to the religious, I begin to theologize. Theology is specific God-talk. Since I espouse a certain religion, my God-talk is in keeping with my understanding of it. It will differ from those of other religions, and certainly from those who espouse none at all. I find that it also differs from the God-talk of many of my coreligionists, who seem to me often to not be very clear about the difference between the spiritual and the theological.

I make a plea for some wisdom about this topic. Unity is a necessary part of recovery (have you read the Traditions lately?). The universal thing for recovery unity is spirituality. The divisive issue is name-brand God-talk in loops not designed specifically for the purpose. To go beyond the spiritual into the theological is to destroy recovery unity with an outside interest. Those who cannot or will not see this harm themselves and others. That is why the Steps refer to a Higher Power (something/someone outside ourselves), and the God of my understanding, which is saying the same thing. I understand God in a specific way. It works for me. It doesn't work for the people who belong to three other religions, and an agnostic, people whom I sponsor. Yet they are all coached carefully in the spiritual aspects of the program. They must like it – they have been with me for years. Recovery is the most important thing in my life. Without it, I was attempting to be my own god; with it, I have found a spirituality which has opened to me the true God. I do not deny my God by using the language of human spirituality, since I believe my God gave us that so we could all have meaningful conversations together. Together: including God, as I would understand it; but together, where we can do what we could never do alone.

I hope your HP, whomever or whatever, works as well for you as mine does for me! And let's get on with our program.

Love,
John
Recovery Group Administrator



FROM OUR MEETING COORDINATORS


Dear Friends,

The meetings are never a place to stand still - day by day they continue to change as more and more trusted servants are inspired to do more and to live out their recovery in some way. This month has been no exception.

Under the gentle guidance of Dottie and Stacy, #Christian&Recovery activity is growing with recovery meetings and chats from a Christian/Biblical perspective. People are meeting for prayer, Christian 12 step recovery meetings and fellowship chats. If you'd like to know more about these meetings, contact Dottie at Dottie805@aol.com.

This month, the Abuse and Recovery loop opened the #RecoverySafeHaven room as a safe place for abuse survivors to go to freely discuss abuse issues. We also recognised from the Abuse and Recovery meetings, that there was a need for something different - and so we piloted an Abuse and Recovery chat on Creating Safety. Over the last few weeks we have discussed ways of creating safety, establising privacy, creating a support system, helps and hinderances to healing and things to do when overwhelmed. The chats have been a wonderful way to explore ESH with fellow survivors and to give them skills to make it through some hard recovery times. The chats will be run for the next few weeks and further topic chats will be organised as needed. If you would like to know more about these chats, contact me at annes@weitech.com.au.

The last month has also seen major changes in the Meetings Coordination area. Cheryl, my Meetings CoCoordiator is taking a 3 month sabbatical from this role and I want to personally thank Cheryl for doing amazing service to the meetings and being an amazing support to me over the last 6 months that we have been working together. The meetings are fortunate enough to have two new meetings trusted servants to fill the gap that Cheryl leaves ~ Lloyd has offered to be the Meeting Hosts Coordinator and Carolyn as a Meetings Trusted Servant. You will be hearing from both Lloyd and Carolyn in the future months as they develop their respective roles. We have also been extremely fortunate to not only have our meetings growing in size and popularity, but also to have an additional 7 meeting leaders join us this month - welcome to our new leaders.

Why don't you come and join us all online in #Recovery ~ with 61 meetings and informal recovery talk sessions, you are sure to find something just right for you!

Love in recovery

Anne
Meetings Coordinator
The Recovery Group



FROM OUR LOOP COORDINATORS

SILVER RECOVERY


Somehow, in spite of the coordinater, this loop of white haired veterans continues a slow but steady growth. Now I know the ladies, or some of them, have covered up those beautiful grey hairs, vanity I guess. I'm so darn grateful to have just accumulated the grey and even to have some hair left that to change the color would be counter productive. What we do have is the wonderful gifts of the program, with enough age to temper the good and bad of life. Having this is just great but being able to share it with like minded people is like having your cake and losing weight too. (Ok, ok, so I just can't resist.)

I have yet to see any disagreeable posts on our loop, except when I get out of line. Yes, I can honestly say this is the kind of place where I would bring my grandkids. I'm looking forward to a new century of love and growth, mostly love, and to spending it all with my fellows. I do believe we had only one sign-off since the loop has started, and that was recently. Every day is a blessing.

AND WHY NOT?

Danny
Coordinator Silver Recovery Loop

Visit the Silver Recovery website at http://recovery.hiwaay.net/special/silver.html or signup at ONElist - http://www.onelist.com/subscribe.cgi/silverrecovery.


FROM OUR RECOVERY GROUP MEMBERS


UNITY AND RECOVERY


Over the years, I have discovered the importance of unity and the first tradition to my recovery. Tradition One states: "Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon OA unity."

Before program, unity was the furthest thing from my mind. I was isolated, afraid and socially inept. I preferred food to people. The shame I felt over my weight and eating was enormous. I couldn't imagine that anyone else in the world ate as I did.

Then came my first meeting. In OA I discovered acceptance, a sense of belonging, and a connection to other compulsive overeaters. Here was a chance to change my life. Nothing I had tried before OA worked in the long run. As recovery progressed, keeping OA healthy became a matter of life and death to me. It was then I began to learn the importance of Tradition One and unity.

One discovery was the relationship between dissention and my character defects. Three defects were my insistence that I am always right, demanding to have my own way, and overwhelming fear. When these defects take over, my mind slams shut. I become defensive and intractable. These traits function together to push unity and tolerance right out of the picture - unhealthy for me and for OA.

However, I have discovered simple solutions that improve my recovery and help me to do my part to promote unity. First, I have learned the importance of maintaining an open mind. When I disagree with another member, I need to look for similarities between my viewpoint and that of the other member. I must focus on our common ground - not on differences. When I listen with respect to the ideas of others, I often find they are not very far from my own ideas and goals. Many times it is just the details that differ. After listening to what the other person has to say, I need to respectfully state my own opinion without belittling him or her.

Second, when my meeting takes a group conscience, I need to be willing to adhere to that decision, even if the vote goes contrary to my personal choice. If God speaks through the group conscience, I must accept that God knows best. Once the group decides, I must set aside differences and adhere to the decision. Further, I must take the responsibility to see that others do the same. This is not always easy, as confrontation is a major fear. I would rather sit quietly by, but if I lead a meeting, I must accept responsibility to see that it functions in accordance with the group conscience. This may mean reminding others of time limits, interrupting cross-talk or pointing out that a Tradition is being violated. These are all actions contrary to my preferences, but required for health and unity.

Lastly, I need to be willing to support OA at all levels to the best of my ability by being an active member. This means I need to actively participate in meetings and attend special events. This participation does two things: it supports and strengthens OA in my area, and it strengthens my own recovery. We all win. I also must give service wherever I can - one on one, in my group, at Intergroup, Region or World Service. For OA to function optimally, it needs a variety of opinions, experience and talents. I need to remember that no single member, me included, has all the answers.

When I remember these points, I have recovery I can enjoy, and I promote a healthy, unified OA.

Linda E.


THIN GUILT


I am Didi, a 25-year old COE. I have been coming to OA for a year and a half, and want to write about something I've recently realized has been an obstacle in my recovery. I suffer from thin guilt!

I have come down over 30 lbs pounds since my top weight of 180. I am not too far from my goal weight, but it feels like miles. Although I have been abstinent this week, I have binged on occasion in the past few months--2 to 3 days worth of food in one sitting (we all know what I'm talking about!). This has kept me from reaching goal weight. I think I have begun to realize why I have been doing this.

I often feel guilty for privileges I have. Being thin is one of the greatest gifts a person can give himself or herself. To live freely, to be like other people, to wear what we want, and to look good in it, to run, to dance, to bike, to hug. Our bodies carry our message and become tools of expression. We are free from the prison of self.

I will often convince myself I am not worth gifts. My disease tells me that somehow, bad things will happen if I have too many privileges. Thin is the greatest gift I could ever have next to abstinence, sobriety, and the fellowship. It has made me feel more fortunate than many people. That makes me feel guilty.

For today, I will tell myself, "If I am thin, it doesn’t mean Karma will attack me. It simply means I will be more free to move and will be happier with myself and more productive in doing God’s will. It also doesn't mean I will be prideful or vain. I choose vanity in my head; my body or external beauty doesn’t necessitate vanity."

Thank you for helping me stay abstinent another day.

In faith and fellowship,
Didi M.
Buffalo, NY



FORGIVENESS


I have noticed that many times people behave towards me as though being overweight means I am stupid, I have no feelings, I am blind, I am deaf, and I have the muscles of Mike Tyson.

After years and years of being treated this way, I actually began to believe them!

It hurts when people comment on my size. Do they think I can't hear them, do they think I don't know how much of a shadow I cast? Do they think that I don't wake up each morning wishing I were different? Do they think that I don't care and haven't heard it all a thousand times before? The answer is that they probably don't think.

The truth is that reaching for a path of recovery takes guts, it takes strength, it takes wisdom, it takes humility, it takes commitment and it takes time.

I would love to be a person who can answer these people whenever their "thoughts" are within earshot. I would love to know what to say to the young child in the supermarket, who very honestly and innocently speaks about my size as if it is the latest news story. I would love to know what to say to the school children who know what they say is harmful, but being children have no wisdom about just how much it hurts. I would love to know what to say in answer to those adults who should know better, but don't.

I used to be angry with all these people. I used to eat to stuff my anger and the pain I felt because of their words and actions. Now as I write this, I realise that all I can really do is forgive them. By harbouring the pain, by letting it eat away at me I am not going to reach my recovery.

Yesterday in my church Care Group meeting we spoke about forgiveness. How many times must we forgive a person? How do we know that we have truly forgiven them?

I know that when it came to dealing with all the pent up anger and pain I had towards my mother, it took ages to actually feel that I had forgiven her. All I could do was to keep saying "I forgive you" in my mind and out loud when alone. One day when I was saying this over and over again, my heart felt light and I knew I had truly forgiven her. I was at peace with my feelings towards her and was able to move to the next step on my journey towards recovery.

How many times do I think I should forgive a person? Well, as many times as it takes to reach the point where I have peace within. My path of recovery is difficult enough without having to carry the excess baggage of pain from unforgiven situations. This is just my opinion. It is formed from observations of myself and how I used to deal with the pain caused by others' loud thoughts.

For me to move forward tomorrow, I need to leave today where it is.

Love
SueG



THE CONVERGENCE
By Cate


I struggle to keep my balance,
as I walk
in two worlds.
One of the day present.

One of the so long ago forgotten
that has come back
to haunt me.

I take one step at a time,
anchoring my foot
securely on the earth...
so careful not to fall.

One small slip,
and the tiger will get me.

sometimes I stand still...
waiting for the wicked winds to quiet.
sometimes I run quickly...
trying to out race the coming storm.
sometimes I cling to the willow
weeping...
waiting for the earth quake to pass.

My journey is long and painful.

It does take courage to heal,
and strength.

Hope is my energy.
Hope is my friend.

Hope that one day...
the two worlds will be one,
and the walk will be transformed...
into a skip
or a dance,
Secure enough to be itself
in its world.

The yellow brick road took Dorothy to Oz.

My converging roads bring me to wholeness.

I click the heels of my ruby slippers three times,
and I say:
I want to be whole.
I want to be free.
I want to be me.


FROM THE LITERATURE


THIRD STEP PRAYER


God, I offer myself to Thee
To build with me
and to do with me as Thou wilt.

Relieve me of the bondage of self,
that I may better do Thy will.

Take away my difficulties,
that victory over them
may bear witness
to those I would help
of Thy Power, Thy Love and
Thy Way of life,
May I do Thy will always!

Page 63 - A. A. Big Book



FROM "HOW IT WORKS"


We never apologize to anyone for depending upon our Creator.
We can laugh at those who think spirituality the way of weakness.
Paradoxically, it is the way of strength.
The verdict of the ages is that faith means courage.

c. 1976, Alcoholics Anonymous, page 68



RECOVERY GROUP MEETINGS
All Meetings US Eastern Time
All IRC meetings on Starchat Channel
All IRC meetings in #Recovery with the exception of the Spanish meetings which are held in #SpanishRecovery and Christian meetings held in #Christian&Recovery
SUNDAY:
7:00 AM IRC OA Topic
10:30 AM IRC For Today
11:30 AM IRC Spanish OA Topic
2:30 PM IRC OA Topic
3:30 PM IRC Italian Recovery
7:00 PM IRC AlAnon/OA Meeting
8:00 PM IRC Newcomers Meeting
9:30 PM IRC OA Topic
12:00 AM IRC Recovery Talk ~ Informal
MONDAY:
7:00 AM IRC Recovery Talk ~ Informal
10:30 AM IRC For Today
2:30 PM IRC Step Study
7:00 PM IRC Recovery Talk ~ Informal
9:30 PMIRC OA Topic
11:00 PM IRC OA Topic
12:00 AM IRC Recovery Talk ~ Informal
TUESDAY:
7:00 AM IRC Recovery Talk ~ Informal
10:30 AM IRC For Today
2:30 PM IRC OA Topic
7:00 PM IRC Recovery Talk ~ Informal
9:30 PM IRC OA Topic
10:00 PM IRC Christian Recovery
11:00 PM IRC OA Topic
12:00 AM IRC Recovery Talk ~ Informal
WEDNESDAY:
7:00 AMIRC OA Topic
10:30 AMIRC For Today
10:30 AM IRC Spanish OA Topic
2:30 PM IRC Step Study
7:00 PM IRC Recovery Talk ~ Informal
9:30 PM IRC OA Topic
11:00 PM IRC OA Topic
12:00 AM IRC Recovery Talk ~ Informal
THURSDAY:
7:00 AM IRC Recovery Talk ~ Informal
10:30 AM IRC For Today
2:30 PM IRC OA Topic
4:00 PM IRC Christian Recovery
7:00 PM IRC OA Topic
9:30 PM IRC OA Topic
11:00 PM IRC OA Topic
12:00 AM IRC Recovery Talk ~ Informal
FRIDAY:
7:00 AM IRC Recovery Talk ~ Informal
10:30 AM IRC For Today
2:30 PMIRC Step Study
7:00 PM IRC OA Topic
9:30 PM IRC OA Topic
10:00 PM IRC Christian Talk
11:00 PM IRC OA Topic
12:00 AM IRC Recovery Talk ~ Informal
SATURDAY:
7:00 AM IRC OA Topic
10:30 AM IRC Spanish OA Topic
2:30 PM IRC OA Topic
4:00 PM IRC Christian Talk
5:00 PM IRC Abuse & Recovery
7:00 PM IRC Recovery Talk ~ Informal
9:30 PM IRC OA Topic
11:00 PM IRC OA Topic
12:00 AM IRC Recovery Talk ~ Informal


AOL Online Meeting Schedule

All AOL meetings held in Stepping Stones on AOL

Monday 10:30 AM Recovery Chat
Tuesday 12:00 PM OA Topic
12:00 AM OA Topic
Wednesday 9:30 PM 100 Pounders
Thursday 9:00 PM OA Topic
10:30 PM OA Topic
Friday 11:00 PM Twelve Steps
Saturday 12:00 AM OA Topic


ANNOUNCEMENTS

DALLAS OA CONVENTION

March 17-19, 2000
For more information, please contact
Nancy Nichol
601 New Hope Road East
McKinney, TX 75069
972-562-2197
email:
Nannygo97@aol.com



FREEDOM FROM FOOD OBSESSION

An Abstinence Workshop sponsored by Tri-County OA and OA/HOW
DATE: Saturday, April 1st
TIME: Registration starts at 1:00 p.m.
The workshop runs from 1:30-4:30
LOCATION: Room ME 1-406 at the University of
North Texas Health Science Center in Fort Worth.
For more information, or for directions,
email Jenna at: JennaFTW@aol.com
or call Rachel at (817)496-1847



FROM OVEREATERS ANONYMOUS

Overeaters Anonymous
World Service Office (WSO)
6075 Zenith Ct. NE
PO Box 44020
Rio Rancho, NM 87124
USA

Telephone 505-891-2664
Fax 505-891-4320
http://www.overeatersanonymous.org/index.htm
E-Mail Address ~ overeatr@technet.nm.org

"I put my hand in yours ...
and together we can do what we could never do alone."
~ Rozanne, OA CoFounder ~



THE RECOVERY GROUP CONTACTS


Newsletter Editor ~ MeetingsNewsletter@yahoo.com ~ Suzanne
Newsletter Subscriptions ~ SerendipityNewsletter@mail.com ~ Suzanne
Meetings ~ RecoveryMeetings@yahoo.com ~ Anne
Sponsor/Telephone Angel Directory ~ Pamela969@aol.com ~ Pamela
Special Interest Loop Coordinators ~ SILoops@mail.com ~ Anne and Sande
ICQ Angels Directory ~ bingebuster@hotmail.com ~ Natalie
Technical Support ~ RecoveryTech@mail.com ~ Cindy
Recovery Group Administrator ~ jomarst1@aol.com ~ John
Recovery Group Founder & List Owner ~ Marisok@aol.com ~ Mari



Grant us the SERENITY to accept the things we cannot change;
The COURAGE to change the things we can;
And the WISDOM to know the difference.

What we could never do alone ~
We can do together.

One day at a time ~
One step at a time.


BACK
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OVEREATERS ANONYMOUS



Disclaimer

The Recovery Group and our newsletter has as its mission and purpose that of carrying the message of recovery to those who suffer from the disease of compulsive eating. We are an anonymous organization and follow the 12 Steps and 12 Traditions of Overeaters Anonymous; however, we are not affiliated with that group. Your articles, announcements and information are welcome. All opinions in this newsletter represent only the opinions of the writers and not necessarily that of The Recovery Group or OA, Inc.

The Trusted Servants of Recovery


© Copyright 1999-2000 THE RECOVERY GROUP All rights reserved.