A Wellspring of Hope
From Our Editor
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 RecoveryMeditationsemail@example.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,
"Hope" is the thing with feathers
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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
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?
Visit the Silver Recovery website at http://recovery.hiwaay.net/special/silver.html or signup at ONElist - http://www.onelist.com/subscribe.cgi/silverrecovery.
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.
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,
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.
One of the so long ago forgotten
I take one step at a time,
One small slip,
sometimes I stand still...
My journey is long and painful.
It does take courage to heal,
Hope is my energy.
Hope that one day...
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,
THIRD STEP PRAYER
To build with me
and to do with me as Thou wilt.
Relieve me of the bondage of self,
Take away my difficulties,
Page 63 - A. A. Big Book
c. 1976, Alcoholics Anonymous, page 68
All AOL meetings held in Stepping Stones on AOL
March 17-19, 2000
An Abstinence Workshop sponsored by
Tri-County OA and OA/HOW
All AOL meetings held in Stepping Stones on AOL
March 17-19, 2000
An Abstinence Workshop sponsored by
Tri-County OA and OA/HOW