A Wellspring of Hope
Newsletter of The Recovery Group


May 2000
Volume 2, Issue 5


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 Coordinator
Loop Spotlight of the Month
From Our Recovery Group Members
From the Literature
Letters to the Editor
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,

Welcome to the May edition of Serendipity. It's hard to believe that the newsletter is six months old! Mari's baby is growing up quickly. But Serendipity needs your help to continue to flourish. Anne and I will continue our work to make Serendipity the best we can make it, but we cannot do this without your contributions about your experience, strength and hope. As Shirley says in this month's new feature, Letters to the Editor, Serendipity is "another beautiful endeavor to carry the message." Help us to carry the message to people all over the world by taking a few minutes and writing a short piece about a meaningful part of your recovery. Addresses for submission are at the bottom of this newsletter, and on the web page. Let's make Serendipity about all of us!

In this issue, our beloved founder, Mari, discusses major changes in both the Recovery Group and her own life. John, administrator of the Recovery Group, offers his ESH on the impact of service to his recovery program, and asks for volunteers for the many service positions still unfilled. Anne, meeting coordinator for the Recovery Group and co-editor of Serendipity, invites all of us to join in the miracle of online meetings. Our loop spotlight this month is on Sponsors and Recovery, a loop dedicated to bringing sponsors and sponsees together. Pamela, the retiring coordinator of Sponsors and Recovery, gives a wonderful overview of the loop and welcomes Cate, the new loop coordinator. If you're looking for a sponsor, this is a wonderful resource for you. I know, it worked for me! Also included are the loop's mission statement and a poem which Mari located, celebrating sponsors everywhere.

Although ESH shares are reserved for Recovery Group members only, this month we have made an exception. Diane, a member of the Board of Trustees of OA, has written and submitted a wonderful poem for OA Unity Day. We also have articles written by two of our very own, and are privileged to share excerpts of Danny's journey to recovery and Jo's delightful analogy between recovery and baseball.

Literature for this month includes the Fifth Step Prayer, a quote from the Big Book's "Into Action" about the results of taking the fifth step, and 25 more recovery slogans. Then comes our new feature this month, Letters to the Editor. Tell us what you like, what you don't like, what you'd like to see added, we welcome all comments. The newsletter concludes with a list of the weekly on-line Recovery Group meetings, announcements, OA information, and contact list. Pay particular attention to the contact list, it tells you where to submit your ESH and your Letters to the Editor!

We want to thank all of you for your support in the first six months of Serendipity's mission to carry the message. Now let's take it a step further. Become active, give service, share your ESH with compulsive eaters world-wide. Participate!



Love in recovery,
Suzanne,
Editor
SERENDIPITY



SERENDIPITY SUBSCRIPTIONS



FROM OUR FOUNDER


"To every thing there is a season ~
and a time to every purpose under the heaven."


Dear Serendipity Readers ~

There is even a time to untie apron strings ... and some of us know how difficult that can be. I have four children ... now all grown and living such beautiful lives. In looking back I don't know why I agonized so when they began to leave the nest one by one ... but I did. I clung to them almost by the ankles as they passed from babyhood to toddlers to teen-agers to adulthood. When the last one walked out the door to college, I literally felt my job was over. Little did I know that my life had really just begun.

For the Recovery Group, there is a new season. It began this past winter when I began to slowly untie the apron strings with the able help of a man named John who became the Administrator of this beloved child I began raising when God gave me the gift of the idea. I began to see things I had been neglecting simply because I was so busy with other aspects of the group. I began to wonder why my Journey to Recovery writing had fallen from one each day to one each week to one each month and now hardly any at all. But winter turned into spring and John and I began to talk more and more about the future of the fellowship so many of us love. And then we looked around and saw the devotion of so many others. It hit me right in the face ... "time to every purpose under the heaven." Thank you, Ecclesiastes. Thank you, God.

Beginning January 1, 2001, this miracle in cyberspace will be under the direction of a Board of Trustees who will work with our Intergroup of almost 100 Trusted Servants who dedicate themselves daily to providing a recovery home for compulsive eaters, many of whom come to us as the last train out of the depot. The forerunner of the Board of Trustees is a temporary committee approved by a Group Conscience followed by an affirmation of our Trusted Servants. Prior to that, the Recovery Guidelines led the way in a polled group conscience followed by a unanimous affirmation of 100% of our Trusted Servants.

As the seasons before us unfold, those who work daily with so much dedication will structure this community so that by the time the autumn of our group arrives, we who love Recovery will untie our apron strings for the last time. By winter and without reservation we will let go and let God ... we will then be guided into the new millennium by those to whom we have turned over a fresh, new and beautiful apron. One with very long strings.



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


FROM OUR ADMINISTRATOR


Dear Loopies,

One problem I have had as a compulsive eater is that I want to hide. I do not want to be seen. To be seen is to be laughed at, teased, taunted, humiliated. Sometimes to be seen is to be abused in even worse ways. I developed a radar that helped me stay out of the way, stay behind, stay hidden. It did not seem to work too well, but sometimes it may have.

Now I am in recovery, and I am still an odd looking person. Funny, no one notices, except for me. The new person I have become is so centered on other things that people don't notice the sags and bags. Here's John, they seem to say, we can laugh and play, or we can be very serious and be heard, whichever. How did all this begin?

My very first sponsor, a temporary, was a meeting "leader" for a Beginner Meeting. She was a good one, she was. She kept up with all her babe chicks, and made us qualify when we had the right amount of abstinence. There were a few other old timers who were regulars, including the one who became my first permanent sponsor. She prodded us into sharing when we were reluctant.

One week she and the other old timers were all going to be away it was summer, and vacation time. I had just reached my full time to qualify, and she told me to lead the meeting and qualify. It was a meeting that took 90 days. I cannot begin to tell you how much fear I was in, but I managed to do the whole thing. Of course, there was a notebook with all the format options and materials. So away I went. There were some newcomers. They thought I had 90 years abstinence rather than 90 days, until I gave my qualification.

It was at that very moment that I realized that service is for them and for me. I no longer needed to be ashamed of my public visage. I had a wonderful story to tell of what the Twelve Steps had done for me, and in telling that story, worked the steps as well. And that was very good for me, and very good for others.

My point is that of all organizations, the Recovery Group (and OA) have more trouble getting volunteers for service, because of the nature of our disease. My further point is, that it is in doing service that we find new dimensions to our own recovery, while helping others in the process.

It is a maxim of volunteer organizations that the only way to keep members is to give them something to do. In the Recovery loops we have jobs going begging, and hundreds of members doing little more than lurking. Do not be afraid. You are in a safe place now. Serve. You will be surprised at how much good it will do you, and how much you will do for those who still suffer. Write to me or Mari and tell us you'd like to help. After we get over our faint, we will gladly find you a job.

Love,
John
Recovery Group Administrator



FROM OUR MEETING COORDINATOR


Dear Friends,

Have you had a chance to go to an online meeting lately? Have you managed to log onto IRC and go to either #Recovery, #Christian&Recovery, #SpanishRecovery or #RecoverySafeHaven? Well it is certainly worth the effort.

In these rooms miracles happen. Newcomers get introduced to the wonders of the 12 Steps and 12 Traditions; sponsees find sponsors that have the ESH that they are looking for; loopies expand on their recovery by attending Step meetings, Big Book meetings and general recovery meetings. In these rooms our Spanish and Italian loopies get to share their ESH with other Spanish and Italian speaking loopies throughout the world. Christian loopies get together and share their recovery in the context of their individual beliefs in the God of their understanding. Abuse survivors get together and explore specific emotional issues that affect their recovery.

You can come up with a curly question to throw in Danny's Ask It Basket, you can join in the fun with Audrey's Saturday Nite Live, you can explore the 12 Steps with Blue, wake up and start your day with a meeting with Severt or Kathy or you can test your Spanish with Cindy. The list goes on, the miracles go on.

Come join us in our our meetings room:
http://cluster.starchat.net/recovery/ for the miracle of online meetings.



Love in recovery

Anne
Meetings Coordinator
The Recovery Group



LOOP SPOTLIGHT

SPONSOR AND RECOVERY
The Recovery Group Sponsor Program


There is nothing quite as special as the relationship one has with his or her sponsor. And in order for us to keep our program, we have to give it away. It is in the sharing of our experience, strength and hope that we renew and reaffirm our own recovery. Doing together what we could never do alone.

When I walked into my first OA meeting almost 3 years ago, the first thing I was instructed to do was find a sponsor. I didn't ask questions, I just followed the "elders" and did what I needed to do. I began working with a wonderful sponsor who had and still has a lot of great program in her to share. Little did I know that this relationship would grow to become one of the most important relationships in my life. I didn't quite understand why I needed to have a sponsor; but today I see that it is key to vital success in this program of recovery. There are many reasons for that, including giving back what we have been given, strengthening the fellowship and witnessing the transformation of the fellow COE as they travel the journey from isolation to recovery.

Shortly before I joined the f2f fellowship of OA, I stumbled upon these loops in cyberspace. The sponsor program was nothing more than a small group of people sent out on request. In fact, the only loop that was part of the Recovery Group was Journey to Recovery, and it was just a small group of people. As the loops grew into this magical place in cyberspace, the need for a balanced, available sponsor program emerged. Letters and letters and letters were constantly being written about finding an online sponsor ... after all, not everyone has the luxury of attending f2f meetings and working with a f2f sponsor. So from all the letters and all the needs, came the Sponsor Program of the Recovery Group.

I took on the position of Sponsor Coordinator in July 1999 and worked with approximately 50 available online sponsors, a list of temporary sponsors and a list of ICQ and Telephone Angels who were available day or night to lend an ear to a fellow compulsive overeater who needed to share, talk, vent ... or just have someone to hold their hand. It was then that Sponsors And Recovery was born ... a list dedicated to finding a sponsor or finding a sponsee. At last count, there were more than 100 people on this list, many of whom share their ESH on sponsoring.

Currently, the sponsor program encompasses a list of biographies that are sent out on a weekly basis to the Sponsor and Recovery loop members, a directory that is sent out to all lists weekly and a sponsor coordinator who is there to answer any/all questions that Recovery Group members might have about sponsoring. The Recovery Group's sponsor program has the potential to grow to monumental proportions. Our loop founder once told me that she would like our sponsor program to be such that anyone in cyberspace who wants a sponsor can have one ... and I believe that it will happen one day. Sponsors are the key to the program and if you are available to sponsor, please volunteer. You will be getting so much back by giving so much of yourself.

If you have any questions about sponsoring, you might find some information in the OA approved pamphlet called "A Guide For Sponsors"... or please write to Cate, the new Sponsors Coordinator at
sophie@coiinc.com.



Love in recovery,
Pamela


MISSION STATEMENT FOR THE SPONSORS AND RECOVERY LOOP


The Sponsors and Recovery Loop is a loop restricted to members of the Compulsive Eaters Online Recovery Group who are actively sponsoring or actively seeking a sponsor. This loop is a place where sponsors and sponsees alike may discuss their issues privately and where questions, comments and suggestions about the Recovery Sponsor Program and sponsoring in general may be asked and answered.

To subscribe, send a blank e-mail to: SponsorsAndRecovery-subscribe@egroups.com.


ABOUT SPONSORS

Out of the dismal dark of dispair
Into the bright light of hope ...
I came through the trenches of my disease
and landed in the arms of my sponsor.

She took me by the hand
Loved me until I could love myself ...
Listened while I talked; read what I wrote
And guided me gently into recovery.

A sponsor is more than just a friend ...
More than just a mentor or teacher...
More than a lighthouse in an ocean ...
More than an oasis in a desert.

A sponsor is someone who knows what's out there
Someone who's been there and done that ...
Someone who is capable of giving love
And can teach me to receive it.

A sponsor is sometimes my teacher ...
And I am sometimes hers.
A sponsor is a human being
A perfectly imperfect human being.

Will the program work without a sponsor?
Probably.
Will the program work as well?
Probably not.

Sponsors are guardian angels ...
Special in that they are not.
A sponsor is me ... or you ...
A sponsor is ageless.

Sponsors learn to sing our songs ...
And then teach us to sing it better ...
They learn to feel our feelings ...
And replay them back to us.

My sponsors never really left me ...
Each word comes back to me
And I can hear her saying it again..
But this time just in my heart.

Author unknown


FROM OUR RECOVERY GROUP MEMBERS

TIDES OF RECOVERY


A poem written on Unity Day, February 26th, 2000

As the tides ebb and flow
So too does our program grow
Each one different yet uniquely the same
A reminder of OA and the reason I came
A reminder of Higher Power who always is there
Like the waves of the ocean make me aware
The constant working from under the sea
That results in a sense of serenity
Working together much like we do
Becoming an ocean that changes its hue
But "keeps on coming back" whatever its course
A strong, dynamic ... unified force ....

Diane


EXCERPTS FROM A JOURNEY TO RECOVERY


December 22,1999

Today I read a post from a woman who spoke of her childhood years of sexual, verbal and emotional abuse and my heart cried out to her to be free of all this. It has nothing to do with who or what you are, but it does, doesn't it, and we know that.

I'm prompted to relate to you, my chosen family, what few recollections I have of my life up to the day I walked, or waddled, into my first OA meeting. I am the youngest of the male members born to the families of both parents. Mom's folks were a combo of Irish American and English (Grandma was Catholic, Grandpa was Jewish), so now you know where my humor comes from. We lived on the west side of Manhattan where my dad, along with my uncles and cousins, made their living by hijacking, burgling, armed robbery and assorted mayhem. Dad changed his life style and moved us to the country (another part of the city), somewhat removed from the family business. However, many nights were interrupted by assorted relatives hiding out with us for brief periods. I just kind of bumbled along, moving from one apartment to another, going to four grade schools in one year, until we moved and I was sent to a Catholic school, "Our Lady of Perpetual Barbed Wire." Hate it as I may, the good sisters beat one good foundation for learning into me, and I thank them for that.

Somewhere along the line I was sexually assaulted by an older male relative, and he disappeared, never to be seen again, who knows, who cares. I grew up as the dirty fat boy of the block but never wanted for friends, some of whom are with me fifty five years later, some dead, some just gone. I am the last of the male members of my family, many of whom died in prison or by violent means. Twice I watched as my dad was carted off to jail for refusing to inform on relatives. This I do not, can not judge, he was my dad and could do no wrong in my eyes then or now. I remember long hot do-nothing summers, going to the ocean or sneaking into Ebbets Field, the Polo Grounds or Yankee Stadium to watch the Dodgers, Giants or Yankees play. The city museums were a favorite (air cooled), and the local streets made up most of our play time.

My tenth year produced the first of several real brushes with the angel of death, and my left lung, kidney and spleen were removed. Seven major surgical procedures and three months in an oxygen tent gave me special privileges for twenty seconds after thirteen months in hospital. My folks came to visit once a week, who knew it should have been more. Maybe that's why I visit nursing homes? My brother told me that mom and dad would go bar hopping and leave us from Friday night until the wee hours on Sunday. We were hauled out of our apartment by the fire department one Saturday afternoon, guess we were neglected and abandoned. Maybe that's why I am so protective towards my babies?

We all have our crosses in this world, it is how we carry them that makes us who we are. Take what you like and leave the rest.



AND WHY NOT??

Danny


THREE BASE CHALLENGE


The OA program covers all bases for those of us looking for a home run. First base is emotional havoc. We step on first base to ease the emotional pain our resentment has caused. Second base is our physical side. We step on second base with abstinence for our physical nature to heal. Third base, our spiritual side, needs to be touched to bring peace and healing to the rest of our life. Rounding third and heading for home, to the cheers of our fellowhip, is a joyous occasion when we celebrate our road to recovery.

Today we hit a home run. Tomorrow we must again stand at the plate of life and swing our bats, hoping we will touch all the bases. Sometimes we strike out, but we are not taken out. We are given another try. We face the same perils, and we make connections and step on the bases. Once in a while we are given first base. We accept the challenge and keep trying to round third and head for home.



Jo


FROM THE LITERATURE

FIFTH STEP PRAYER

Higher Power,

My inventory has shown me who I am,
yet I ask for Your help in admitting my wrongs
to another person and to You.

Assure me, and be with me, in this Step,
for without this Step
I cannot progress in my recovery.

With Your help, I can do this,
and I will do it.


FROM "INTO ACTION"

Once we have taken this step,
withholding nothing, we are delighted.
We can look the world in the eye.
We can be alone at perfect peace and ease.
Our fears fall from us.
We begin to feel the nearness of our Creator.
We may have had certain spiritual beliefs,
but now we begin to have a spiritual experience.
The feeling that the drink problem
has disappeared will often come strongly.
We feel we are on the Broad Highway,
walking hand in hand with the Spirit of the Universe.

c. 1976, Alcoholics Anonymous, page 75


MORE RECOVERY SLOGANS

Use the 24-hour plan.
When all else fails, follow directions.
Count your blessings.
Let go of old ideas.
Change is a process, not an event.
I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired.
To keep it, you have to give it away.
Take what you like and leave the rest.
One bite is too many and a thousand isn't enough.
Bring the body and the mind will follow.
The first step in overcoming mistakes is to admit them.
A journey of a 1,000 miles begins with the first step.
God = good orderly direction.
If you turn it over and don't let go of it,
you will be upside down.
Serenity is not freedom from the storm
but peace amid the storm.
Principles before personalities.
We all have another binge in us, but we don't know if we have another recovery in us.
H.A.L.T. = don't get too hungry, too angry,
too lonely, too tired.
You're not required to like it,
you're only required to DO IT.
We are not human beings having spiritual experiences. We are spiritual beings having human experiences.
Remember, nothing is going to happen today that you and God can't handle.
HOW = honesty, open-mindedness, willingness.
You are exactly where God wants you to be.
God will never give you more than you can handle.
There is a God and I am not it!


LETTERS TO THE EDITOR


Dear friends who do our newsletter,

And here is yet another beautiful endeavor to carry the message. Thank you for all the work and love that goes into this publication. You make it look easy. All the loose ends are tied, and we are left with only the greatest of details . . . pieces of each other's hearts. You serve us well, dear friends. And, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. You are sooo loved.

Love, Shirley G



LETTERS TO THE EDITOR




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,
Christian meetings held in #Christian&Recovery and
Abuse and Recovery meetings held in #RecoverySafeHaven
SUNDAY:
7:00 AM IRC Recovery Talk ~ Informal
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 Recovery Talk ~ Informal
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 OA Topic
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
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 Big Book
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 Recovery Talk ~ Informal
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 Recovery Talk
10:30 AM IRC Spanish OA Topic
2:30 PM IRC OA Topic
4:00 PM IRC Christian Talk
7:00 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 Meetings US Eastern Time
All AOL meetings held in Stepping Stones on AOL
MONDAY
10:30 PMAOL Recovery Chat
TUESDAY
12:00 PMAOL OA Topic
12:00 AMAOL OA Topic
WEDNESDAY
9:30 PMAOL 100 Pounders
THURSDAY
9:00 PMAOL OA Topic
10:30 PMAOL OA Topic
FRIDAY
11:00 PMAOL Twelve Steps
SATURDAY
12:00 AMAOL OA Topic



ANNOUNCEMENTS

OVEREATERS ANONYMOUS WORLD SERVICE CONVENTION

Recovery Roundup 2000
August 3 - 6, 2000
Dallas, Texas
Information about the convention is available at
http://www.overeatersanonymous.org/recovery2000/index.html
All are welcome to attend!!



TEXAS OA INTERGROUP CONVENTION

Heart of Texas OA Intergroup Twelve Step Within Committee Presents:
Recovery From Relapse -- Renewed Hope
Saturday, May 13, 2000 from 2:00 - 5:00 P.M.
Congress Ave. Baptist Church, 1511 S. Congress Ave., Austin, TX
For further information, email Zisman@swbell.net




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.html
E-Mail Address ~ overeatr@technet.nm.org



THE RECOVERY GROUP CONTACTS


Newsletter Editor and Subscriptions ~ SerendipityNewsletter@yahoo.com ~ Suzanne
Meetings ~ RecoveryMeetings@yahoo.com ~ Anne
Sponsor/Telephone Angel Directory ~ sophie@coiinc.com ~ Cate
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 ~ 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
EMAIL US
RECOVERY HOME
THE TWELVE STEPS
RECOVERY SITE MAP
ONLINE MEETING LIST
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
SPECIAL INTEREST LOOPS
THE TWELVE TRADITIONS
LANGUAGE TRANSLATOR
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.