~ FOUNDER'S CORNER ~
Loyalty and Trust
"Trust the instinct to the end, though you can render no reason"
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
"I'll take fifty percent efficiency to get one hundred percent
- Samuel Goldwyn
The azaleas are in bloom where I live. Springtime is that time of
the year when I begin assessing things ... relationships, finances,
my home, my work, my health and many other areas of my life.
Maybe I do this because I see around me so much new growth.
Ugly little plants blossoming into breath-taking flowers, dead
looking trees suddenly alive with green leaves, brown grass
becoming lush and warm breezes making it possible to close
my eyes and feel the luxury of not being too hot nor too cold.
I am writing this on a day where I took advantage of Springtime,
sat on my porch with my feet propped up and my little dog on
my lap .... closed my eyes and thought. I found myself
reviewing some recent events in my life in which I fought some
instincts and in doing so made some decisions based on trust.
I began to think of the first time I worked the Twelve Steps and
my sponsor and I talking about insecurities and why, as a COE,
I would trust the opinions of another more than my own. I can
remember us talking about dysfunctions and her shocking
comment to me that she believed I had tendencies to give
loyalty to people and things not deserving of that loyalty. She
said it was not atypical behavior for many of us, viewed this
as one of my shortcomings and we began to work Step Seven on
loyalty and trust issues. She implored me to listen to my
instincts ... to pay attention to them ... to value them. I now
believe this may be one of God's ways of directing me to do
the right thing. I'm going to try to listen even more carefully.
Happy Springtime to all of you ~
Happy April, Loopies!
~ ODAT LOOPS DIVISION ~
The ODAT Loops are for compulsive eaters who are working the
program of recovery, but share a special interest with others
on that loop.
Do you want to discuss recovery issues with people who share the
same faith as you do? Do you want to talk about the philosophy
of your own faith with others who understand how that faith
impacts on your Program journey? If so, we have a Christian loop;
a Latter Day Saints loop; a Jewish loop; and a Pagan loop.
Do you want to make a daily commitment to abstinence? We have a
loop called "Abstinence". We have another loop, called
"Strong Recovery", whose name denotes its purpose. Our Silver
Recovery group is a place where those over 50 years old can share
with those of the same age.
There are 33 Special Focus loops. Each loop offers you a safe
place to talk about your program of recovery and how it is
affected by your special interests. Join in as others share their
experiences, strengths, and hope.
Within these many-faceted groups are many opportunities for
service. Each of these loops needs people who understand how those
in that loop are thinking, and each needs service. If you are
interested in more information about the ODAT loops, or are
willing to give service, please contact:
Chairman, The ODAT Division
~ RECOVERY LOOPS DIVISION ~
Our move from YahooGroups to L-Soft has been completed. As things
begin to slow down somewhat for TRG Administrators, we are making
some small changes so the lists will be even better.
One of the changes made has been the e-mail program we now receive
our Recovery Meditations, Serendipity Magazine and announcements
from. When we were using YahooGroups these had to be sent to
each of the loops. That meant that if you were a member of more
than one loop, you would receive multiple copies. With LSoft, we
are able to have an email address called ALLRecovery. Now these
letters are able to be sent directly to your mailbox if you are a
member of any of the Recovery Groups lists. These means that no
matter how many loops you belong to,when you see From ALLRecovery
in your mailbox, you know that will be the only copy you will
receive of that particular article.
More loops and other additions to our Recovery Rooms are on the
horizon. These things can only be accomplished because of you,
the members of The Recovery Group. Thank you all for being here
as we share our Journey of Recovery.
Dodee, Cody and Nancy
More details about these support groups can be found at:
~ DISCOVERY LOOPS DIVISION ~
This wonderful OA program of ours is rightly described as a program
of action. Each of the steps involves action and each aids us in
our recovery. For me, it has been necessary to take the steps one
at a time, and over the course of 24 years to date in recovery, to
take them many times. We are changed by working the steps and
using the tools. We cannot help but be!
Before OA, I tried many diets and weight loss methods. It was a
losing proposition, pun intended. Yes, I could lose weight, and
did so many times. But there were no actions I knew of that could
keep the weight off. Gradually it would come back on, once again.
And I was not a happier or wiser or better person as the result of
losing weight. I had not changed emotionally, mentally, or
spiritually. One weight-loss program did involve behavioral change.
But I found I needed more, I needed a life changing program that
involved spiritual, emotional, and physical change and recovery.
That program, of course, was OA.
It helped me to sort out the actions required and not believe I
could do everything at once. Changing one's life takes a lot of
action, many small and steady actions done daily, at least for me.
It definitely took action for me to admit I was powerless over food,
and that my life was unmanageable. I can still feel the inner
wincing, the hard resistance I felt to that inside me. I had a
strong will! How could I be powerless over anything?
Well, obviously that wasn't the case with food. And that fixation,
compulsion, obsession with food took up so much of my life time
that little action in other arenas was possible. I was spending
all my energy on food in one way or another, thinking about it,
wanting it, looking for it, lovingly studying it before I plunged
in and ate it, then all the guilt and shame, the stupor, the
exhaustion, the food hangover the next day. So a lot of action
was going on but not any that helped me or let me be of much use
to others, either.
Once I started "acting as if" I were powerless and then came to
believe it (another action) I was on my way and in recovery. As I
slowly progressed through the steps, it helped me greatly to see
each one separately. For example step four was not step five.
Realizing that let me complete the action and finish the inventory.
Finishing it meant I had completed step four. It did not mean I
had to rush and do step five right away. Realizing that calmed
me enough so I could finally finish my first inventory. Later, I
was ready for the action of giving it away, to my sponsor. I had
a similar experience with steps six and seven, and steps eight and
Having done the steps over and over in relation to food, as well as
other substances, I have come to see how they apply in every area
of my life, truly they are a blueprint for living. "Practice these
principles in all our affairs" means just that. There are actions
I can take in every situation I face. I am never left alone or
without guidance. And being a stubborn individual, I cherish the
fact that it is guidance I am offered in the steps and the tools,
not a demand. Having learned, through much trial and error, how
uninformed and plain dangerous my own unaided will is for my life,
however, I am more than happy to take the actions suggested by the
program, every day of my life. And for me, these guidelines have
metamorphosed into the GOMU's law and the GOMU's will for me, and
I am deeply happy and blessed to follow that law and will as I
understand it through my own particular religious beliefs.
What an awesome gift this program is! It continues to offer us the
hope of recovery each day. I pray for that recovery daily for
each one of us. I also pray for those still suffering outside
these rooms, that they will come one day to join us on the happy
road of our common recovery!
Love and hugs,
~ THE RECOVERY TELEPHONE ANGELS ~
(\0/) (\0/) (\0/)
/ \ / \ / \
BE AN ANGEL ~ Become A Telephone Angel Today!
Many folks have heard about Telephone Angels
yet not understand just exactly what it is that
Telephone Angels do. Sometimes it is easy
to forget that the telephone is a recovery tool.
Telephone Angels are members of our
various Recovery Groups who use this tool,
donating their time via their phone numbers
to current Recovery Groups members.
There is an opportunity available for you all to
give back what you have been given by
carrying the message through the use of the
telephone. By just being willing to accept
phone calls from fellow members of TRG
when you are available you will impact so many
and possibly help keep someone from that first
Our program can be very simple, yet just by
a member of a loop reaching out and making
a phone call from a list available to them, lives
can be changed. So many times I have been
going through a tough time and picked up the
phone and with the kind words spoken on the
other end I was able to express my pain thus
preserving my Abstinence one more day.
And sometimes just the act of dialing the
phone and releasing the negative energy is
enough so even if the person is not home the
negativity or obsession has begun to be lifted
and another tool can then be utilized.
On the other side there have been so many
times when I received a call and just the
right thing was said. I know a lot of times
I would thank the person for keeping me
Abstinent, one more day by listening
to them because it got me out of my own
So please consider being a Telephone
Angel. It is such an amazing way to give
back and serve at the same time. I always
love what Rozanne said in her promise: "I
put my hand in yours and together we can
do what we never could do alone......" We
all share a common bond and need each
other, sometimes online email is enough
and sometimes we need more like a
To join our list of telephone angels - and
share your recovery with others
through this service -- please contact:
In your email please include the following:
Love in service,
- Your name
- Email address
- What State you live in (this way people
can find someone closer to them)
- Your phone number ~ area code and
- Your time zone (like Eastern Standard)
- Best times to call?
- And should folks leave a message or not?
Coordinator, Telephone Angels
and in behalf of TRG Adm
The Recovery Telephone Angels Program
TRGAdm@lists.TheRecoveryGroup.org. Please put "Attention: Telephone Angels" on the subject line.
~ SPECIAL SPONSORSHIP RECOVERY STORIES ~
From Lea - On Having a Sponsor ~
My sponsor has totally made my recovery a success. I
am 9 weeks abstinent today after a 5 year relapse and
regain of 50# and gain of an additional 36 pounds. I
am a single parent and find it hard to attend
face-to-face meetings. The online meetings and
sponsor list have made all the difference. I tried
two other sponsors but they were not a fit and I am
committed enough to my recovery, no matter what, that
I was willing to risk finding another one. This
sponsor has a story similar to mine and is available
by email, and by phone if I really need her. She is
also a parent and has also struggled with relapse and
large weight gain. The AA big book is very important
to both of us, as is abstinence and working the steps.
She has a close relationship with her sponsor. She
reads all my long email writings on the steps and is
accepting and nonjudgmental; but she offers
suggestions, like emailing her my food, which I do now
and find very helpful but was never willing to do
before; she also recently suggested more vegatables in
my diet, a correct appraisal. She's not the food nazi
I'd feared. She is also unwaveringly committed to
working the steps. I am very wordy and she's not so
and that is a good fit. I am grateful to her for my
very life, and just signed up today to be a sponsor
myself. A sponsor is one of the most powerful and
necessary steps for me.
~ LOOP SPOTLIGHT OF THE MONTH ~
The homebound group is for those who work the OA Program but
are not able to leave their homes, because of illness or other
reasons. Our isolation group is for those whose fears and/or
feelings cause them to isolate from others, either in Program
or life. Our Drug Addiction group is for those for whom food
is not their only addiction; they are addicted to other drugs
The mission of the homebound group is to provide a safe place
for discussions about eating disorders. Many of us compulsive eaters
have found ourselves isolating from the world and in, in some
cases, this isolation has progressed until we are now homebound
or have been in the past.
We have learned that some of the causes of this disorder are
weight related; however, not all. It is the mission purpose of
this loop to find out all we can about ourselves by exploring
this topic in safety and privacy with others who share this
unkind disability. We didn't ask to be like this. We don't want
to be like this. We intend not to be like this for the rest of
We look forward to having you join us. Please don't be shy.
Each one of us is here because we isolate. Each one of us wants
to rejoin the world that we live in and become centered and at
one with it. Each one of us, by listening to and sharing with
one another, can resolve these issues that have plagued us for
so very long.
What we could never do alone ...
We can do together.
For subscription information, visit our extraordinary 650-page
web site located at:
~ FEATURE ARTICLE ~
TAKING ACTION IN RECOVERY OR,
"MY FAKE WEEKLY OA DIARY"
Today I found a place where everyone is just like me.
It's called OA, and everyone else has a problem with
eating, just like I do. I have been struggling with
food for as long as I can remember, and it's great to
think there is some hope!
I was a little thrown off when they said it is based
on AA, because I may have a problem, but it's sure not
like THAT....Anyway.... I like listening to the
speakers, and I sure can relate to what they are
saying, so I think I will go back. After all,
that's what they said: "keep coming back". I will!
OK, I went back, and I really do like this program.
Today lots of people were talking about the Tools of
the Program. One of the tools is having a sponsor.
That's a person who's been in the Program for awhile,
who can guide you. And I think it might be OK for
other people, but I sure don't need some other OAer
telling me what to eat. It's not like they are a
doctor or anything. Just another person who
struggles, like I do. So why should I have to ask
them what to do; call them every day, and take the risk that
they will be all up in my business? If I want THAT, I can
call my mother! So, I will just keep listening.
Everyone seems to understand what I am going
through... their life stories could be mine! And they
are making progress. I want to make progress, too!
Another meeting, another tool discussion. What is
this: Home Depot? But seriously, I can see that these
people are sincere, yet what they are suggesting is
really uncomfortable for me. Call up strangers on the
telephone and talk about my food problem? And give out
MY number? I don't know that I am comfortable
discussing this problem with anyone. Listening to
people talk about their stories, and what works for
them is one thing. But I am beginning to wonder if
this Program is really a good idea.
The other thing that bugs me is how they keep calling
it an addiction. Like I said, the first week: I know
I have a problem. But I am NOT some strung-out addict.
After a few weeks here, it seems like maybe more may
be required from me, than just listening. I do want
help. I really WOULD like this to stop. And most
here DO seem to have a good attitude toward their problem
with food, and they seem like really nice people. I
need to think about this. I'll be back... if only
because there is "something here" that speaks to my
So now they're telling us what to READ? Seems pretty
narrow minded! Isn't there more than one way to find
a solution to this problem? And why does everything
seem to be about "God" ... or, at least, about the
"Higher Power"? Doesn't anyone here do ANYTHING for
themselves? Or are they all part of the OA Book Club,
plowing through GodBook #5 on how to use the Tools.
It just seems like there MUST be "an easier, softer
I am skipping the meeting tonight. I just don't think
it's for me. Too many people telling me what to do. I
will be fine on my own.
I was thinking tonight about how it would have been
nice; if the Program worked for me. It would have
been nice; to have my life defined by something more
than my addictions and my character defects. It would
have been nice, if I could have been like those other
people. It would have been nice, if, by taking the
simple actions that the Program suggests, one day at a
time, I could make a difference in my life.
Wait a minute. I just realized. How do I KNOW it
wouldn't work? I never even tried it. All I did was
get scared to take action, when I had no way of
knowing how those actions might turn out for me. I
saw how those same actions turned out for others...
others who were, admittedly, just like me. What would it
really hurt; to try? Some of those suggestions weren't
so hard. Maybe reading a bit of the Big Book might
help me understand why the tools and the steps are so
important. And maybe, if I talked to one of those
people - one of the ones who "spoke MY story" - and
asked them to be my sponsor, and explained how I'm not
so sure about being told what to eat, I might find
someone who could "go easy on me", at least, at first.
And maybe the phone wouldn't be SO bad...I could try
it once or twice, I think.
As for labeling my problem as addiction, I guess I
still have some problems with that. But I don't have
to understand or agree with everything all at once.
For today, I think I'll go back. I think that I'll
start out by praying, and asking God to help me see
the things about this Program which are right, for ME,
to start with. I could see that it made a real
difference, in the lives of the people I met there,
and I will step forward in faith that it can make a
difference in mine.
For today, I can take action. Because this is truly a
case where actions speak WAY louder than all the words
in the world.
Submitted by Donna
TO SUBMIT AN ARTICLE:
To submit an article to Serendipity Newsletter,
simply send an email to:
~ FROM THE TWELVE-STEP LITERATURE ~
~~ FROM THE BIG BOOK ~~
"Working with Others"
"Burn the idea into the consciousness of every man that he can
get well regardless of anyone. The only condition is that he
trust in God and clean house.... He should concentrate on his own
spiritual demonstration. Argument and fault-finding are to be
avoided like the plague."
c. 2001, Alcoholics Anonymous, page 98
This month's subject is ACTION.
That's what it took for me to get rid of years of troubling
memories and guilt feelings that I had stored in my memory bank.
When I first started the 12 Steps, I was determined that I would
dig to the heart of my soul and rid myself of all the bad memories.
As I started the 4th Step, I was feeling really scared for some
reason. I don't know why?? It was just because I'd heard from
others that it was a painful thing to go through. I knew I wasn't
a bad person, so I stepped ahead cautiously. Bottom line was that
it was the best thing I had ever done for myself! When I got thru
the 12 Steps, I felt like a GIANT weight was lifted off my
shoulders. I was literally freed!
This, however, wasn't the end of my program. The 12th Step says
that once we have had a spiritual awakening that we should carry
the word to our other fellow COEs. We will find our joy in living
by helping those who still suffer with the disease and hold their
hands on their journey. That takes ACTION. I felt like the Big
Book was the source of my Serenity and new thinking, so I decided
to give service on the Big Book group. As the Book says, we must
burn the idea of consciousness into the heart of every man/woman
that he/she can get well on the condition that they Trust God/HP
and clean house. This is a service of love. We only want to
give the next person the peace and serenity that we were given.
Doing this also refreshes our memories about where we've come
from and the cycle goes on and on.
Thanks for listening.
Many Blessings on your Path to Recovery,
Myrlene (Big Book and Recovery Group)
~ The Promises ~ Part Five ~
Dear Friends in Recovery,
Dawn continues her Promises series from the Big Book with Promise
"No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we
will see how our experience can benefit others."
This promise is sort of a double entendre'. When I first heard
Promise Five, I was well on my way to losing 100 pounds. So I
thought going far down on the scale meant that those of us who
have been given the gift of the release of a lot of weight would
know that by doing that we could bring our experience to others.
But that's not what Promise Five is all about. I learned that weight
loss is only part of the program that I love so much in Overeaters
Anonymous. And Promise Five is really talking about no matter how
close we come to the bottom in our disease ... no matter how bad our
lives have gotten ... no matter how dismal this long tunnel we have
found ourselves in seems .... we can still bring our experience to
those who suffer.
Our successes can teach .... but our failures can also. And it is
this Fifth Promise that Dawn will tell us about now ... and no
matter how far down we are or have been ... we ALL have something
we can offer another as we carry the message to our fellow
THE PROMISES ~ PART THREE
Thank you, Dawn. You have told us that "we are going to know a
new freedom and a new happiness." You shared that "we will not
regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it." We learned
that "we would comprehend the word serenity." You shared the
promise that "we would know peace" and today's promise "No matter
how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our
experience can benefit others." I can hardly wait to read what
you have to say when you give us Promise Six, which says "That
feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear."
The Fifth Promise is: "No matter how far down the scale we have
gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others." This
is one of the wonders of the OA program - sharing our experience,
strength and hope with each other. I heard someone comment the
other day that her husband said it was like the blind leading the
blind. Who better to help us than those who have tread the same
paths? Our combined ESH is amazingly powerful.
When I went to my first meeting in OA, I cried almost the whole
meeting through. I was amazed that there were others like me.
And even more amazing was the fact that they had found a solution.
I'm not sure exactly what the tears meant, but I think they were
tears of relief - of having found a long lost family. I was not
alone any more. Before that first meeting I thought that I was
the only one who had this problem with food. I felt that no one
in the world would ever want to help me - I was entirely on my own.
I felt worthless. The women there in that meeting understood my
feelings of worthlessness. They understood my tears.
All my life people had been telling me to lose weight. My mother
said that I didn't HAVE to eat all the treats she would leave
around the house. She didn't understand that I just could not
walk past that plate and not take any of the food off of it. I
simply couldn't do it. The doctor who handed me a diet sheet
and a prescription for pills didn't understand either. The only
people who could understand were the ones there in that room and
others like them. They had been there. They had suffered the same
humiliations and the same self-loathing. And they were offering
me a solution! A real solution!! They understood my tears and
didn't just tell me to "stop that silly crying." They offered
their love and acceptance. They loved me until I could love myself.
They shared their experiences with working the steps, practical
information about how to stay abstinent, and their spirituality.
They shared my triumphs as well as my failures. They supported
me then and they still do.
We understand each others' pain. Every time one of us shares, it
helps others. Old timers are reminded by the newcomers about
things we had forgotten. The old-timers have paved the way for
the newcomers and can offer their experience with parts of the
program. My first sponsor was one of the Old-timers. She gave me
so many bits of wisdom over the years!! She understood me better
than any other person had ever understood me.
There are those of us who have suffered terrible pain in the past.
There has been sexual, verbal and physical abuse in many of our
pasts. There have been bad marriages, lost children, lost
pregnancies, promiscuous behavior, and feelings of abandonment.
I have not experienced all of these, but I have experienced some
of them. I have become wiser through working the program and can
identify with those who are struggling with the same things I
suffered. We can each offer our own wisdom that has been gained
through our own personal suffering. That makes it worth having
suffered - helping others.
Love in recovery ~