A Wellspring of Hope
Newsletter of The Recovery Group


May 2001
Volume 3, 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
Founders Corner
From Our Administrators
From the Loops: Spotlight of the Month
Danny's Corner
Tools of Recovery
From the Recovery Group Members
From the Literature
Announcement
The Recovery Group IRC Meeting Schedule
AOL Meetings - A&R Forum
Overeaters Anonymous Contacts
Recovery Group Contacts
Serenity Prayer



~ FROM OUR EDITOR ~

Dear friends in recovery,

Welcome to the May edition of Serendipity! I hope that you enjoy the newsletter of the Recovery Group each month ~ and, if you do, that you will take the time to share your experience, strength and hope with all of us. All written contributions to Serendipity can be sent to SerendipityNewsletter@yahoo.com. As I myself have heard so often, you can only keep it if you give it away!

In this month's edition, TRG founder Mari shares her thoughts on Tradition Four, and The Recovery Group's loops living together in harmony under the guidelines. Writing for the administrators of TRG, Cate expresses "gratitude to the many people who share their recovery through service." Our loop spotlight of the month is Alanon and Recovery, whose mission statement lets us know that the loop is for compulsive eaters who love or live with an alcoholic. This month in Danny's Corner, in his conversation with God, Danny explains "easier the mountains than sand in our shoes." In the Tools of Recovery, we have included a share from Lifeline's May 2000 issue about the joys that abstinence brings.

In the section dedicated to shares from Recovery Group members, Jo talks of the fear she lived with before recovery, Chris P. talks about the power of recovery, Deborah H. writes about the gift of balance, and Lizzie writes about true friendship.

In the Literature section, you will find The Promises from the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous as a constant reminder of what is possible, as well as Step Five from Reflections on the Twelve Steps of Recovery. This month's edition ends with a list of on-line meetings, OA and TRG contacts, and the Serenity Prayer.

I am grateful that all of you are here in this wonderful cyberworld of recovery, and that we are all on the road to recovery together. Peace, my dear friends.



Love in recovery,
Suzanne, Editor
SERENDIPITY


SERENDIPITY SUBSCRIPTIONS



~ FOUNDERS CORNER ~


TRADITION FOUR

The Recovery Group is made up of many dozens of loops, meetings and services. We are a community bound by the diversity of each of our entities. Tradition Four states that "Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or The Recovery Group as a whole." This is why when you join a certain loop, it may have a completely different "flavor" than another loop. When you attend one of our meetings on Monday morning and another on Thursday night, you might feel you're in two different places. This is because each of our loops have the freedom to do what works best for them. UP TO A POINT.

If a group or meeting decides they want to throw out anonymity because that works best for them, that is not an option. TRG has guidelines and even the autonomy of one of our loops does not take precedent over these guidelines. Our guidelines represent the glue that holds us all together and to make changes for one affects all of us. Some of our loops have wanted to restrict membership and be autonomous in that way. We can't do that. Our guidelines state clearly that the only requirement for joining a Recovery loop is the desire to stop eating compulsively. To ask someone why they're joining and make a judgment and restrict that person affects our community as a whole and violates our guidelines. There are numerous other examples.

Acting autonomously does not negate living together in harmony. We can have a loop for diabetes or abuse victims and the members of those loops have the freedom to not just focus on their compulsive eating but also share their experience, strength and hope on these secondary issues.

Finally, our Trusted Servants leading these loops realize that many of the members who join them are brand new to the Recovery Group and Twelve Step recovery. They take care that their group's attitude and actions may affect this newcomer greatly .... and, as a result, may also affect the overall impression of others toward the Recovery Group.



@-}-}-}------
Love in recovery,
Mari



~ FROM OUR ADMINISTRATORS ~

Dear Friends in Recovery ~

The Recovery Group has so many avenues for the sharing of recovery, and on each of those roads there are many dedicated people who reach out to others along the way! We would like to take a moment this month to express our gratitude to the many people who share their recovery through service.

TRG currently has 45 loops for recovery sharing, as well as the ICQ and IM connections. These loops are supported by Coordinators and Trusted Servants, and the many members who reach out by sharing their questions and ESH.

We currently have 63 weekly meetings, all supported by the meeting leaders, substitute leaders, meeting assistants, and the many participants who attend these meetings and share their recovery.

There are also so many other people who reach out to all of us by sharing their recovery ... the Telephone Angels, the Sponsors, the Editors, the Web Servants, the Meditation Authors, and so many others ... so many people sharing recovery!

What a wonder it is to be a part of this community of recovery sharing! A special thanks to each of you, as you live and share your recovery each day, and bring to life these important words from the AABB (p.164):

"Give freely of what you find and join us. We shall be with you in the Fellowship of the Spirit, and you will surely meet some of us as you trudge the Road of Happy Destiny. May God bless you and keep you - until then."



The Recovery Group Administrators ~
TRGAdm@TheRecoveryGroup.org



~ LOOP SPOTLIGHT ~


~ Alanon And Recovery ~

Alanon and Recovery is a Twelve Step email discussion loop for compulsive eaters who love and/or live with an alcoholic. While we are not affiliated with either Alanon, OA or AA, many of our members are. We are a fellowship of men and women whose lives are affected by the abuse of alcohol by a family member or friend. The primary message of Alanon and Recovery is "Keep the Focus on Ourselves". By working our own program of recovery we are able to "detach with love" from the alcoholic in our life.




~ DANNY'S CORNER ~

~ Easier the Mountains Than Sand in Our Shoes ~

Dear God,

There is so much to be thankful for today as everyday I enjoy the gifts You provide for me. Brunch with the family on Sunday was marvelous, and I felt so complete when all the grandbabies were all vying for my attention. I'll bet You feel that way too, when we come to You for love and affection. I am sad we did not get to the beach, but it was probably too hot anyway.

As I look back over all the years since my original sobriety and Abstinence, one very important fact jumps out at me. It was during the hard times that my attitudes were in-line with You, and not eating was easier, and the good times were rough for food problems. Now my life is great and eating compulsively does not enter the picture. You have given me yet another miracle in my life -- there is no end to Your generosity. To sum it up, I say, as the old wise man told me many years ago, "mountains we climb easily, it's the sand in our shoes we trip over."

Please take over the ladies in my family and this wedding extravaganza taking place soon. I listen to them argue and fight over hemlines, and who needs longer or shorter, and what if this or that. Everything is a major catastrophe. The groom asked me what to do? I laughed and told him to stay out of the way and do as told. If that does not work, HIDE!!!!

As I sit here gabbing away with You, the clock tells me to hurry up, but it feels so good and easy to talk to You. The clock be damned. There was a time when talking to my God was not so easy, that's when I still wanted those old comfortable character defects, which by the way I am at times inclined to fall back into. I also know that as I love my children even when they are doing wrong that You love me even more. Now that's a warm fuzzy feeling.

Please watch over my family, friends, loop buddies, those who still suffer, and especially the people in my life who have harmed me, and relieve me of any resentments I have toward them. Thanks for yet another day.



AND WHY NOT......Danny




~ TOOLS OF RECOVERY ~
Sweet Recovery


Daily writing helps me feel more serene. It helps me see that life is good, and I have a lot to be grateful for. I'm grateful that I don't "pass out" at night because I've binged. I'm grateful that I gently fall asleep after doing my Tenth Step. I'm grateful that when I reach for the alarm clock in the morning, I don't have to worry about knocking empty wrappers on the floor.

I am grateful for the growth I continue to experience. When I entered the doors of OA, all I wanted to do was stop eating. Because I kept coming back, I received much more. I learned I had a friend in my HP. I made peace with my family and myself. I started living instead of focusing on wishing I were dead. I cleaned my house. I became successful and well liked at work. I made many close friends in OA. I volunteered in the community. I started a garden. I decorated my house. I could go on and on. Recovery is sweet, and it gets better and better as I keep coming back. Thank you, HP!

Reprinted from Lifeline, May 2000, Volume 28, No. 5 (Anonymous, edited and reprinted from Cocoon newsletter, Milwaukee Area Intergroup, March 1999)





~ FROM THE RECOVERY GROUP MEMBERS ~


Fear


Each day that I work my OA program, my ability to deal with life in a healthy, spiritual and mature manner is strengthened. This is not pie in the sky. This is stuff that can be measured, seen and touched.

Before OA, fear was my constant companion. Fear to begin because I might make a mistake. Fear to do or go because someone might laugh. Fear to make decisions because it might be wrong. Fear to express opinions because others might find it strange. Fear kept my mouth closed to expressing myself. I checked with others first to see if it was funny, sad or impolite. My reaction came after others expressed their reaction, so I could be part of the group.

This haunts me yet. I'm better. At least I now decide when to laugh. I have given an opinion or two and was not laughed out the door. And if I were, what would happen? It's my opinion and that's all it is. Faith in myself is the biggest gain since entering OA.

I was what others wanted me to be. An easy going, non-threatening, non-opinionated person, easily swayed and ready to please others with no regard to my own feelings. I would laugh at those who took time to find themselves. I am still looking. It will be a life-long hunt. I keep changing and that is good. I am changing each day into a better person, able to deal successfully with life most of the time.



Yours in ESH, Jo




The Power of Recovery


Today is 21 years of blessed, back to back imperfect abstinence. Only God, and the Steps, could have saved this one.

I was a morbidly obese child, adolescent and young adult. I truly believed the Tab commercials that suggested thinness equals happiness. I totally relate to the gym clothes memories, the thighs chafing, the "fatty fatty two by four" that rang out as I walked by.

When I got to OA, I was a terrified, scrawny, 35 year old, who was purging 55 thousand calories a day. Ten, twenty, thirty times a day, I would eat as much as I could hold, get rid of it, and start over ........... is that the life? Oh, and on top of that, add periodic alcohol binges, and two to three packs of cigarettes a day. At 17 years old, I began the process of progressive and often fatal purging. By thirty five, I was a pro.

Today, thanks to God, complete honesty and accountability about my food, copious amounts of inventories, some service to others, regular meeting attendance, the truth (even when it is really embarrassing), and a whole lot of grace, I live a life beyond my wildest dreams.

It is, of course, not without heartache, loss, depression, spiritual voids, moments of terror, etc. You told me when I got here that if I worked the program I would feel better. You didn't tell me that you meant I would feel EVERYTHING better. Believe me, the prize far outweighs the price.



The prizes are:

  • 21 years without binge/purging
  • Sobriety
  • A great man, to whom I have been married for 37 years (even though I spent too many of those years trying to change him and cutting his b%lls off)
  • Really enjoyable relationships with two grown sons, their wives, and their gorgeous babies.
  • A size 10 cute figure (it doesn't resemble a 14 year old boy, but only this society would pressure middle aged women to believe it should)
  • A willingness to always tell the truth when I am uncomfortable with the way I have eaten, so that I can get on with the business of living, and loving, and working my program
  • Some great daily opportunities to serve God
  • Three or four meetings a week within a few miles of my home
  • A wonderful internet connection with recovering people from all over the world
  • Fabulous, funny, honest friends, who love me poopy diapers and all
  • A pretty, comfortable, peaceful empty nest, with the whole crew back for family dinners every Sunday
  • Wow, I think I could go on and on and on, but I will spare you. My husband says I need a program called On and On Anon.
  • I am, at this moment, truly awed by the Power of this recovery program.

Chris P.




The Gift of Balance


I do not think of myself as merely a compulsive eater. I am a compulsive talker, a compulsive breather, a compulsive thinker. Everything I do, if left to my own nature, is done compulsively. For me, recovery is not simply freedom from compulsive eating, but compulsive being. I have learned that to be a compulsive person is to lack balance.

Balance is that middle road of sanity, and reason. Balance is perspective, seeing things as they really are, without minimizing or over-reacting. I lack balance in every area of my life. Because I am compulsive, everything is all or nothing. Either I have perfect abstinence or I binge, there can be nothing in between. Either everyone loves me, or everyone is talking about me behind my back. If I cannot do a thing perfectly, I will not do it at all.

This warped way of thinking is applied to every situation in my life and is the standard for every relationship. Eventually everything falls apart because nothing in life is perfect, at least not for long. I even have difficulty recognizing truth when I see it. I cannot be satisfied with losing four pounds a month because my expectation was to lose 20.

Like a deaf person learning to speak, I must learn balance artificially. I use God, my sponsor, and my husband as sounding boards. I get a second opinion because my vision is skewed. Or it used to be. As I have grown, I have learned balance, but it still does not come naturally. I remember when first in program, I asked my sponsor ten times a day if a feeling was rational. At first, it hardly ever was. Then came the time when she could confirm my suspicion that my thinking was fuzzy. One day I did not need to ask; I could recognize my own irrationality and correct it for myself.

I now have a mechanism which automatically screens my perceptions for lack of balance. Oh, I still find it lots of times. But I have also experienced the joy of being able to shrug off an insult (real, not imagined) and the peace of being satisfied with the best I can do. I hardly ever worry about who likes me, and I figure those people laughing are listening to a good joke. That ability to put things in perspective is a real gift; I am grateful for it every day.



Deborah H.




"A Friend is a Gift you give yourself."
Robert L. Stevenson



For a long time, my friend was food. I learned to turn to food for comfort when I was a teenager.

It made me feel good, not only satisfying my hunger, but satisfying my aching heart as well.

One day my friend turned on me, and I realized I had a problem that could not be solved by this presence any longer. It just compounded what I was going through.

Thank God that I found a true friend when I discovered the Twelve Steps. A friend that would be there for me through thick and thin, never judge me or torment or turn on me.

I have found a friend of late in the Recovery Group. Lots of friends just waiting to hear from me and love me no matter what I have to face in this life. They are there for me One Day at a Time, One Moment at a Time.



In Recovery,
Lizzie




~ FROM THE LITERATURE ~


The Promises from the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous


We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness.
We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.
We will comprehend the word serenity.
And we will know peace.
No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our
experience can benefit others.
That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear.
We will lose interest in selfish things and gain insight in our fellows.
Self-seeking will slip away.
Our whole attitude and outlook will change.
Fear of people and economic insecurity will leave us.
We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us.

We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.





~ Reflections on The Twelve Steps of Recovery ~



"Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs"

~~THE FIFTH STEP~~

The Twelve Steps of Recovery

As a sponsor, I have listened to 5th steps. As a sponsee I have given them. And each and every time there is something so incredible that happens that it defies even writing about. It begins when we look over our inventory and then at ourselves in the mirror and acknowledge that "yes, we've done all those things .... and they were wrong." It continues when we get down on our knees and admit to God as we understand Him, that this is us ... these are the things that have occurred in our lifetime .... these are our wrongdoings. And we are so full of shame and remorse and pain.

And then we take all this pain and shame and remorse to another human being and we sit there and we let it come forth and we pour out the truth and we find ourselves crying so hard we can hardly talk and then see the person who is listening to us crying just as hard. And no hug ever meant as much. And we feel as though the arms encircling us are truly the arms of our Higher Power.

Then, my friends, there is not a single doubt ..... we have taken the Fifth Step. That awesome Fifth Step that catapults us into that place we have never been. That place where, when we go there, life is never the same again. That place that puts us almost half-way to the place we're making our journey of recovery to ....... and where, when we get there ..... our lives will never be the same again.

Dear God,

I'm scared to take this Fifth Step; I don't want to do it; I don't want NOT to do it. Please help me just do it. Soon.





~ ANNOUNCEMENTS ~


The editor of Serendipity, the newsletter of The Recovery Group, is looking for written shares on the tools of recovery and on experience, strength and hope for future editions of the newsletter. Please send your submissions to SerendipityNewsletter@yahoo.com.





The editors of the Meditations Project are looking for more meditations to complete the first book of meditations for The Recovery Group, which will be offered free to recovery groups throughout the world. Can you think of a more worthwhile way of offering service to recovering compulsive eaters and addicts than to write a meditation for inclusion in this beautiful book? Please send many many submissions -- let's overwhelm Jeff! -- to RecoveryMeditations@yahoo.com.




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
MONDAY:
7:00 AM IRC OA Topic
9:30 AM IRC Christian & Recovery
10:30 AM IRC Recovery Meditations
2:30 PM IRC OA Topic
5:00 PM IRC OA Topic
7:00 PM IRC OA Topic
9:30 PM IRC OA Topic
11:00 PM IRC OA Topic
TUESDAY:
12:01 AM IRC Recovery Chat
1:00 AM IRC Topic Varies
7:00 AM IRC OA Topic
10:30 AM IRC Recovery Meditations
2:30 PM IRC OA Topic
3:00 PM IRC OA Topic
5:00 PM IRC OA Topic
7:00 PM IRC Step Meeting
9:30 PM IRC OA Topic
11:00 PM IRC OA Topic
WEDNESDAY:
1:00 AM IRC Topic Varies
7:00 AM IRC OA Topic
10:30 AM IRC Recovery Meditations
2:30 PM IRC OA Topic
4:00 PM IRC Christian & Recovery
5:00 PM IRC Christian & Recovery
7:00 PM IRC OA Topic
9:30 PM IRC OA Topic
11:00 PM IRC OA Topic
THURSDAY:
7:00 AM IRC OA Topic
10:30 AM IRC Recovery Meditations
2:30 PM IRC OA Topic
4:00 PM IRC Christian & Recovery
5:00 PM IRC OA Topic
7:00 PM IRC Tools of Recovery
8:00 PM IRC Ask It Basket
9:30 PM IRC Big Book
11:00 PM IRC OA Topic
FRIDAY:
1:00 AM IRC Topic Varies
7:00 AM IRC OA Topic
9:30 AM IRC Christian & Recovery
10:30 AM IRC Recovery Meditations
2:30 PM IRC OA Topic
5:00 PM IRC OA Topic
7:00 PM IRC Tradition Meeting
8:00 PM IRC Step Meeting
9:30 PM IRC OA Topic
10:00 PM IRC Christian Talk
11:00 PM IRC Newcomers
SATURDAY:
7:00 AM IRC OA Topic
10:30 AM IRC Recovery Meditations
2:30 PM IRC OA Topic
4:00 PM IRC Christian Talk
7:00 PM IRC OA Topic
9:30 PM IRC OA Topic
11:00 PM IRC OA Topic
SUNDAY:
7:00 AM IRC OA Topic
10:30 AM IRC Recovery Meditations
2:30 PM IRC OA Topic
3:00 PM IRC OA Topic
3:30 PM IRC Italian & Recovery
7:00 PM IRC OA Topic
9:30 PM IRC OA Topic
11:00 PM IRC OA Topic


AOL ONLINE MEETING SCHEDULE
All Meetings US Eastern Time
All AOL meetings held in Stepping Stones on AOL (A & R Forum)
MONDAY
1:00 PM AOL How It Works
9:00 PM AOL Open Topic
10:30 PM AOL Recovery Chat
TUESDAY
12:00 PM AOL OA Topic
10:00 PM AOL Relapse & Recovery
11:59 PM AOL OA Topic
WEDNESDAY
9:30 PM AOL 100 Pounders
THURSDAY
9:00 PM AOL OA Topic
10:30 PM AOL Recovery Chat
FRIDAY
8:00 PM AOL Beginners/Step One Study
11:00 PM AOL 12 Step
SATURDAY
8:00 PM AOL OA Topic
11:59 PM AOL OA Topic
SUNDAY
3:00 PM AOL Anorexic/Bulimia
9:00 PM AOL How It Works


All Recovery meetings held in #Recovery Room on IRC
All Spanish Meetings are held in #SpanishRecovery Room on IRC
All Christian Meetings are held in #Christian&Recovery Room on IRC
All Swedish Meetings are held in #SwedishRecovery Room on IRC
All AOL meetings held in Stepping Stones on AOL
All times Eastern Daylight Time


Meetings Information ~ The Recovery Group
http://recovery.hiwaay.net/support/meetings.html
or RecoveryMeetings@yahoo.com


To volunteer as a meeting leader or substitute leader, please contact us at
RecoveryMeetings@yahoo.com

Meetings Information ~ AOL
http://recovery.hiwaay.net/support/aolmeetings.html
or HOSTAnRUnity@aol.com
or HOSTAnRTalia@aol.com




~ OVEREATERS ANONYMOUS CONTACTS ~

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


"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 ~ SerendipityNewsletter@yahoo.com ~ Suzanne
Newsletter Subscriptions ~ SerendipityNewsletter@yahoo.com ~ Suzanne
Letters to the Editor ~ SerendipityNewsletter@yahoo.com ~ Suzanne
Sponsor/Telephone Angel Directory ~ sophie@coiinc.com ~ Cate
Special Interest Loop Coordinators ~ hopeful@teleport.net ~ Sande
ICQ Angels Directory ~ bingebuster@hotmail.com ~ Natalie
IM Directory ~ bingebuster@hotmail.com ~ Natalie
Technical Support ~ RecoveryTech@mail.com ~ Steph
Recovery Group Administrators ~ TRGAdm@egroups.com ~ John, Cate and Patt
Recovery Group Founder & List Owner ~ Marisok@aol.com ~ Mari


"In the deepest part of a compulsive eater's soul . . .
Is the realization that recovery begins when we find one another."
~ Mari, Recovery Group Founder ~


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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SPECIAL INTEREST LOOPS
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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 2001 THE RECOVERY GROUP All rights reserved.