CONTENTS THIS ISSUE
From the Editor
From the Administration
From the Executive Committee
From the Loops
From the Meetings
Sponsorship Equals Service
Loops of the Month:
Recovery Division ~ Strong Recovery
Discovery Division ~ HOT J
ODAT Division ~ WLS
An Abstinent Recipe
From OA Lifeline
From the TRG Archives
The Trusted Servants of Recovery
The Serenity Prayer & Invitation to Share
From The Editor:
I have always loved the fall season. Fall is a time where I find myself taking a few extra moments, during a hectic day, to breathe in the crisp autumn air. It is a time where I find myself standing in my yard, silently watching, as the leaves change into their vibrant colors of fall. The crisp autumn wind will blow those leaves in swirls to the ground below, where my children and I make a gigantic leaf pile just for the occasion of running, screaming out loud and diving in. Leaf diving is something I never did while I was submersed in the worst parts of my illness. OA gave me my life back, and with my life, came an appreciation for the inner child that can't resist a good leaf pile to dive into.
So, without further ado, I give you this month's edition to "dive" into.
Heidi L. ~November Editor
Dear Serendipity Readers,
When I started writing my column this month, a lot of things were happening in my world and for a couple of weeks I found it difficult to write anything other than business letters. This is unusual for me. Yesterday whatever was blocking me became unblocked and the words began to pour out and couldn't seem to stop. My article began to focus on the subject of honesty and its title is 'TRUTH, HONESTY and COURAGE = FREEDOM. Because there are so many wonderful things to read in Serendipity, I asked Heidi to put mine this month further down so that you can read it if/when you get the time. Thank you all for being here. And for those who give so much of yourselves in service, thank you even more.
Love in recovery,
Monthly Happenings Around TRG
From The Administration:
Hello to all of you from TRG Administration. Nancy Lee and I have been busy as usual. A new WTS step study has started, another "batch" of newcomers are doing the newcomer orientation, which has expanded. A new loop is doing a Big Book study.
Nancy Lee and I get about 1000 emails a month in our "office", which is TRGAdm@lists.therecoverygroup.org. We are also moderators on the two moderated loops: WTS and OANewcomers (along with other moderators). We monitor most of the loops. We are members of the Executive Committee. We try to educate TRG members on using the loops.
We love it when loop members take the time to learn to manage their own subscriptions. Members can join or unsubscribe from loops and change all of their email options. Every time one of you does one of those things for yourselves, it saves us at least two more emails. Thank you.
Have you taken the time to check the archives for the loop to which you belong? Once you have created your password, you can get many answers by reading the archives and it's just a hop to managing your subscriptions from there.
Yours in Recovery,
Dodee & Nancy Lee
FROM THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE:
The Executive Committee consists of ten members. Every service offered by The Recovery Group is represented by these members. They are TRG volunteers who are meeting leaders, sponsors, loop coordinators, the founder of The Recovery Group, members that lead TRG studies, and those who present special programs for newcomers. They are all volunteers who care about other compulsive eaters. The Executive Committee discusses and makes decisions about the many everyday issues that keep our recovery home a safe and helpful community for compulsive eaters from all parts of the world. Along with other business during the month of October, the committee discussed suggestions from members for additional loops and meetings. Ideas for improving already existing programs were put forth. Recommendations were made and approved for persons to serve as loop coordinators and additions to TRG websites were presented.
The Recovery Group Guidelines and TRG members are always foremost in any decisions made.
Nancy ~ TRG Administrator
FROM THE LOOPS:
Many times we are asked by newcomers to The Recovery Group ... "what is a loop?" Loops are support groups and those who join them are called "loopies." We have many loops of just about every kind imaginable. If one can only join one loop, it should be a 12 Step General Sharing loop. Many prefer to be active in two loops, a general sharing one and another with a special focus in addition to their eating disorder. A third loop isn't really a "loop loop" because it's not specifically for sharing ... it's a study, a workshop, an orientation. You can find all our loops and their missions here. By clicking RECOVERY and ODAT, you can find our general sharing loops and our special focus ones.
The Recovery Loops are world wide and serve compulsive eaters who speak many languages. A special thanks to translators who make it possible for many resources of TRG to be available to all. After all, recovery is a special language ... a language of the heart.
FROM THE MEETINGS:
Recovery Meetings are held every three hours around the clock beginning at midnight Eastern time. Dedicated meeting leaders volunteer to lead the meetings and many special focus and foreign language meetings are held. All regularly scheduled meetings are registered by Overeaters Anonymous and reflected on the OA website at www.oa.org. If you would like more information about meetings or to volunteer to lead a one hour meeting each week, please contact Terri and/or Tracy, the Recovery Meeting Coordinators at MtgAdm@TheRecoveryGroup.org. If you would like to attend a meeting, here's the doorway.
TRG MEETINGS ~ CLICK DOORWAY
Midnight, 3, 6, 9 AM Eastern Time
Noon, 3, 6, 9 Eastern Time
Please arrive and leave on time.
OA Protocol Observed during the meeting.
Type * to share
Type "done" when finished
SPONSORSHIP EQUALS SERVICE
The TRG Sponsor list is growing in need of more of our members to share their recovery with new members through sponsoring. We receive numerous requests for sponsors, and our available sponsors are filling up very quickly.
Would you please take a moment today to write a personal letter to your loop asking them to consider serving as a TRG sponsor, and also to encourage their own sponsees to do the same.
Each of us who has experienced sharing the steps of recovery with a sponsor knows how important this is to the building of a solid foundation in this program. In addition, each of us who has experienced the gift of being a sponsor knows what a gift this is to our own recovery! Sometimes we simply need a loving reminder or little nudge in this direction.
That is our request of you today. We ask that you share your own personal experience and remind your members by giving them a little nudge in our direction.
If you have your own sponsor directory for your loop, please invite them to join you there. If not, please ask them to write to us so we can add them as a TRG Sponsor. Please ask them to write to:
Thank you so much!
Patt & Cate
TRG Sponsor Coordinators
SPOTLIGHT LOOPS OF THE MONTH
TRG Loops fall into one of three divisions. We are pleased to spotlight one group in each of these three Divisions.
SPOTLIGHT OF THE MONTH
Strong Recovery is a loop for OAers who have what they would call "strong recovery." While we strive for progress and not perfection in OA, this loop is especially for members who have firm abstinence to
support each other and share their experience, strength, and hope. Because these members are often long-timers and have a lot of experience in the program, there is no coordinator, but rather an administrator. The administrator, Mari, hopes to see this group expand and for members to take service positions within WTS, speaker meetings, and BB studies in order to better share and strengthen their own
This loop posts a weekly topic gleaned from OA literature for members to reflect and share on. The traffic on this loop is currently light, so if you consider your abstinence strong, please join Strong Recovery to share your ESH with the OA community.
To Join Strong Recovery:
Strong Recovery's ~ Topic For The Week
"If we were to live, we had to be free of anger. The grouch and the brainstorm were not for us. They may be the dubious luxury of normal men, but for compulsive eaters these things are poison"
The Big Book ~ Pg 66
How can the emotion of anger affect or not affect you when your recovery is strong? Tell us how you dealt with anger in your life before recovery and how do you deal with it now? Can you remember your most angry moment when you were not abstinent, and did it cause damage to your program? Can you remember your most angry moment when you were abstinent and what happened?
SPOTLIGHT OF THE MONTH
One of the Recovery Group's most important support groups is HOTJ ~ Heavyweights on the Journey. The mission of HOTJ is to provide a safe, enjoyable, anonymous and convenient place for those who are or who have been debilitated by super obesity. While the Twelve Step Program works for everyone whether they are underweight, super obese or somewhere in between, HotJ members deal with issues above and beyond those of their slimmer counterparts.
It is not uncommon for a HOTJ member to be 400, 500 or more pounds overweight. Those who share on the HotJ loop discuss things like how to deal with the humiliation caused when they visit someone and break their favorite chair, what to do about the apron of abdomen fat and how to keep infections from forming, where to find clothes to fit and, most of all, how to release hundreds of pounds safely.
The Recovery Group has an ongoing survey to determine the number of men and women who join us at various weights and it doesn't surprise us to learn that many of those who participated in the survey were categorized as super obese. Doctors now recognize obesity as an epidemic getting worse instead of better.
What Is Obesity? Being obese means having so much body fat that your health is in danger. Having too much body fat can lead to type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, arthritis, sleep apnea and stroke. Because of these risks, HotJ members tell us that it is important to lose weight even if you do not feel bad now. And as bad as taking huge risks to one's health is, the psychological impact is devastating. In HOTJ, those who have come out of isolation and worked the program and are losing weight gradually sponsor those who need them and, although it is hard to change eating habits and exercise habits, our members prove to one another that it can be done.
One of the things we love to see in HOTJ is how the loop members respond to one member's journal called "Slice of Life." Those 72 members don't all share but what a joy to read those who do. One writes:
About Painted Nails and Toenails:
I am really getting into all these creams and potions women have for a long time used in their beauty routines. I never had a routine because never before did I think I was worth it. Today as my painted nails flit across the keyboard and as my decorated toenails tap to the music I understand perhaps for the first time what it is to really enjoy who I have become.
Positive Thinking About Lumps and Bumps:
Oh the lumps and bumps are very much larger than I’d like them to be but I can say that I am beginning to love them ... all! Not that I’d advocate running down the street naked, but I no longer seek to harm them either ... except to reduce them.
Recovery From Obesity on the HOTJ Loop:
What I know is that I no longer become breathless climbing the stairs in school.
I can climb up to reach the top of the cupboard now.
I am able to workout for well over the hour now at the gym without collapsing.
I am certainly more confident about myself (booking massages for instance).
I am taking more steps to look after myself than I would have bothered to before.
I am beginning to think in a more healthy manner, incorporating more opportunities for instance to exercise.
So a number on scales is not the most important form of measurement for me right now.
I am amazed at what is happening in my life. I just got back from the doctor and no longer need cholesterol or diabetes medication. My A1C was 5.8. This happened as a result of weight loss and healthy eating. I am so blessed by HP and this program.
I Love This Loop:
I love this loop because at my face-to-face meetings I'm always either the largest or the second largest person in the room. At my 100 Pounders meeting I occasionally meet people who have walked through being over 200 pounds overweight though on a feeling level I can relate to most COE stories. We all meet at the heart level.
HOTJ-Heavyweights on the Journey is a Discovery Division Loop and, although the members are working a 12 Step Program, it is less structured and interactive sharing is welcomed.
What a magical, wonderful special group HOTJ is. If you'd like to join, just send a blank email to:
The HOTJ Home Page on the web is here:
SPOTLIGHT OF THE MONTH
WEIGHT LOSS SURGERY
ODAT's WLS (Weight Loss Surgery) group, is a special focus loop with a mission to provide a safe and peaceful place for you to share your experience, strength and hope with one another. It is a place where one can work their own program of recovery while carrying the message to others. WLS is a place where members work together to build each other up. . . to accept each other as they are. . . to support each other on life's path. . . and to not judge one another.
WLS has a second mission. Many COEs have had surgery to obtain the physical recovery we seek; and the spiritual and emotional recovery, we feel, is only obtained by working the Twelve Steps. Some of our members have already had the WLS, some are scheduled to have it and some simply want to learn more about it. The surgery itself is neither recommended nor is not recommended on this loop. That decision is strictly between the COE and his/her doctor.
It is important to remember that WLS is a tool. A tool that in many cases will bring about the desired result of physical recovery. However, it is equally important to remember that the disease we suffer from is cunning, baffling and powerful. Without help, the disease of compulsive overeating is too much for us to handle by ourselves.
Let us never forget that compulsive overeating is a three-fold illness; it is a disease that affects us not only physically, but mentally and spiritually as well, and because of that, it takes a three-fold recovery to break the cycle. OA offers the support we need to bring about a more peaceful, well - rounded, recovery from the disease of compulsive overeating. I once heard at a meeting, "There is a difference between white knuckle recovery and recovery. Which do you have? How is your three-legged stool sitting for you today?"
A member of WLS has gratefully allowed us to share her story with you.
My brother had weight loss surgery, WLS, 6 years before I decided to. He had tried to sell me on the idea of WLS countless times throughout those six years. I always knew that I was a compulsive overeater and that having a smaller stomach would not cure my illness. I also knew that WLS was 'the easy way out' . . . or so I believed. I finally got to the point where the physical pain and medical problems were severe enough that I began to look for a new tool.
When my youngest child left home for college, I was left alone and aware for the first time that I had no husband, no children, no purpose in my life. I realized I wasn't really a person in my own right; I was a mother, wife, daughter, cook, fixer, adjunct to other people. The only thing I had left was food, and it was a love-hate relationship. I came to OA for the magic fix-you diet. 'If I just wasn't fat....everything would be wonderful.'
At first, I thought the people in the meetings were nut-cases. Seriously! But it didn't take me long to realize that I was one of them. And before I was aware of the shift, the emotional and spiritual recoveries were the most important part of my program. I was very lucky to get a sponsor that was gentle enough to coddle me when I wavered, and tough enough to snap me out of my craziness. The best gifts she gave me were unconditional acceptance, and the habit of writing daily.
Abstinence was very hard for me. I greatly envy people that seem to become abstinent immediately and seem to lose the desire to overeat. Those never happened to me. No matter how bad the food treats me, I'm always waiting for it to take my hand. 40-something years of living for food are not to be dismissed lightly. I struggle to this day with grazing.
WLS was the last house on the block for me, as far as food plans. It was a hard decision. It took two years to do the research on WLS. I prayed, wrote about the surgery, worked with my sponsor and my doctor. . . I suddenly found peace in this decision. I almost threw in the towel many times during those two years simply because the actual road through medical insurance hell was extremely rough and rocky. However, each time I was ready to give up, the path would open up before me. I finally had the surgery in August of 2007. I have lost 150 lbs since that time.
Since the WLS, I find that I have more quality time to follow my recovery program, because so much less energy is expended on how I can tweak my food today. It seems kind of dishonest to have a physical restriction to help with abstinence, but I'm trying to let go of the self-judgement. I made this choice, it's working for me, and I just need to move on.
Am I glad I had the surgery? Yes. I still wish I'd been able to lose weight with only the OA tools (the 'right' way, my mind whispers). But that didn't happen, and I need to let it go. I don't like to admit it but when working my program I 'forget' some things. For instance; I forget to abstain, I forget to exercise, I forget how important commitment is, etc . . . and I NEEDED the immediate pain I'm awarded when I overeat.
The most important thing for me to reiterate to myself, however, is that WLS is ONLY A TOOL. It does not fix me in any way, shape, or form. I need OA in my life today; to stay abstinent, to stay sane, to stay whole, to stay healthy, and to stay connected. I don't think I'd be able to function with the physical changes, with the attention, or with the re-emerging feelings without program.
WLS has been a wonderful tool for me. . . as long as I remember, that's what it is: a tool. If I had to choose between WLS and OA? No contest. Without OA there is no life for me.
~ Susan C
ABSTINENT RECIPE OF THE MONTH
Basque Grilled Vegetable Kabobs
With Key Lime Chimichurri
One of Cora's simple tricks to add taste without calories is to use vinegars and citrus juices, as in these vegetable kabobs. "When you put a squeeze of citrus--lemon or lime--on anything, it just makes it pop," she says.
3 bell peppers, all colors, cut into two-inch pieces
2 portabello mushrooms, cut into quarters
2 zucchini, cut into two-inch rounds
1 red onion, cut in two-inch pieces
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon dried orange rind
BASQUE-STYLE GREEN SAUCE
6 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
3 dried bay leaves
3 key limes (or 6 teaspoons bottled key-lime juice)
1 fresh poblano pepper, coarsely chopped with the seeds left in (optional)
1 fresh serrano chili, coarsely chopped with the seeds left in (optional)
1/2 tablespoon sea salt
1/3 cup finely chopped fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh oregano
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh basil
1/3 cup olive oil
Cover the veggies with the rub and let them rest in a baking dish or large bowl. Preheat the grill. Make the green sauce by combining the garlic, bay leaves, peppers, and sea salt in a mortar and mash with a pestle until a smooth paste is formed. (If you don't have a mortar and pestle, put all the ingredients in a blender along with just a teaspoon or so of vinegar.) Transfer to a mixing bowl and add the parsley, oregano, and basil. Juice the key limes into the bowl. Whisk in the olive oil until well combined. Set aside. Skewer veggies and grill on all sides. Serve over a bed of steamed brown rice and drizzle sauce over the veggies.
Fat: 11 g
Carbs: 29 g
TRUTH, HONESTY & COURAGE = FREEDOM
Life's challenges seem to send me to the Big Book and the Steps. I find answers there that speak to me more than in any other place. A lot of these challenges have had to do with honesty and truth and I wanted to refresh my mind about dealing with issues surrounding these two important aspects of our character. Never has it been more important in today's world than character .. and without truth and honesty,our character flaws multiply.
“The greatest way to live with honor in this world is
to be what we pretend to be.”
"Man is least himself when he talks in his own person.
Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth."
“If it is not right, do not do it;
if it is not true, do not say it.”
Truth is generally defined as a proven fact, actuality or standard. We speak of someone telling the truth as being an "honest" person. Most of us think of ourselves as being "honest." But are we really? When I began to do my inventory in Step Four, my lily white opinion of my character jumped right off the page. It took me a full three months to complete Step Four the first time and it got so bad that my sponsor insisted that I spend some time each day to think of the good things I had done and for every bad thing I wrote about myself to write a good one.
This same sponsor used to say "The truth will set you free ... but first it will make you angry." I believe the writers of the Big Book agreed with that because the Twelve Steps encompass the meanings of these quotes about truth and honesty.
As I browsed the BB, what I learned about the truth was that only when it was revealed, could understanding and enlightenment occur. It's very normal to resist it but once I began to embrace the truth rather than try to make half-truths and un-truths a way of life for me, I began to feel really and truly free. I have pretty high mileage when it comes to living and what I've learned is that most people really don't want to know the truth. What they want is validation for their positions. They want approval for their beliefs. I believe there are four main reasons for our stubbornness about truth and our wanting to be thought of as an "honest person."
Ego: Those with fragile egos seem to always feel they're right. I call them Egomaniacs. The world revolves around them and truth becomes subjective. They will do whatever it takes to live in their fantasy world ... and for compulsive eaters we should be able to identify with this. Until, that is, one day we reach our bottom and our whole life begins to fall apart.
Denial: Those in Overeaters Anonymous have a slogan about "Denial is just a river in Egypt." We who live with the disease of COE knew beyond a shadow of a doubt what the truth was about ourselves ... but we just were too fearful to admit it. First we began to avoid situations in order to feed our compulsions but at the end of the day denial prevailed because we refused to loosen our frightened grips.
Ignorance: There are those who deny the truth by proclaiming ignorance of it. And then there are those who truly are ignorant of it. The dictionary has several meanings of ignorance: 1. Being uneducated on specific subjects; 2. The state that anyone who looks down on another country, race, sex or human being lives in; 3. Lack of knowledge, education or awareness.
Ignorance to me in this case doesn't mean not being educated. Some of the smartest people I know are not "educated" by conventional standards. They are what I call "street smart." Street smart people do enormous good in our world ... they are movers and shakers and contributors and give service to many. Street smart people also do a lot of bad in our world. It's not that they don't want to know the truth ~ they just don't care what it is. Integrity is not important because depravity is rewarded in their lives.
Insecurity: I've often wondered why there are some people who don't want to hear the truth and I've come to the conclusion that the reason is that they are insecure. Their self-image and self-confidence are so vulnerable that anything that feels like a criticism sends them into depression. No matter how factual a comment might be, the insecure among us fail to realize that facts are neutral. Facts are not "out to get" anyone. It is hard to be factual around an insecure person because often they will view it as an attack on their beliefs or character. It's very hard to be around people who don't want to hear things that disrupt their fragile state of mind.
It takes courage to accept the truth or facts that do not support our current beliefs or opinions. As the saying goes, though, "The truth will set you free." Free to live a life that is based in the realities of the universe; free to know that the relationships you have with others are genuine; and, free to feel good about yourself for choosing integrity over ignorance.
So my first sponsor was right ... when first revealed, the truth may make us very angry ... but once we get over it, the joy of freedom will fill our soul.
FREEDOM OF CHOICE
Sometimes all it takes is a talk with HP. I have been working Step Seven (humbly asked HP to remove my shortcomings) for some time now. It is surely turning into my second Fourth/Fifth Step. As happened back then during my Fourth-Step inventory, I have found that the examination and continuing release of these defects has been a tremendous challenge and shaken my program and my faith to the core.
One of the greatest teachings I have learned in this program is willingness, and I committed to working all of the steps before giving up--I do have faith that it will work if I work it.
Strains in life and coming down off the high of being liberated by my Fifth Step (shared my inventory with HP, myself, and another person) affected my everyday point of view. I started to become more negative, and my husband started to fear my mood swings and attitude. I couldn't believe I was creating that kind of environment! I am surrounded by my HP, yet I felt distanced from it, too. I knew I had to shift my mind, but I didn't know how.
One Saturday, I had the wonderful chance to go out on a solo hike. I casually invited my husband, but I was glad when he declined. It is a beautiful trail that we have walked and run many times, and my husband proposed to me at the spot where the trail overlooks the ocean--this is also the ocean where many of my family's ashes swirl and drift. This is a powerful place for me to commune with HP. Left to my thoughts as I walked amongst the trees and the rustlings of animals, I was free to meditate--to observe my thoughts and consciously let them go to the trees and the sky and the sun. I breathed in the forest air and exhaled the black negativity that had taken hold in my mind and heart. I could literally feel the weight lifting from me.
When I reached the summit of the gently sloping trail--a sun-drenched pygmy forest (the soil is too poor to support large growth so everything is low-lying) at the top of a sea of redwoods--I sat down to have a piece of fruit and write in my journal, reflecting on the little spiritual journey that I had undertaken. I realized that so much of my attitude and recovery is about the choice I make to entertain certain thoughts, to perceive things a certain way, and to feel good or bad. I can interpret any given situation as negative or positive by playing up those aspects of it. Sure, we all know this in our heads, but sometimes it serves me to more deeply contemplate more deeply the effects of optimism and pessimism. At that moment, I vowed (as I periodically do) to CHOOSE to look for the light and good in every situation.
As I move into the dark of the year, it is important for me to embrace all the wonderful and positive things that each situation offers. Even that which challenges me makes me stronger in my recovery.
I wish everyone recovery in the coming month and wish that we all choose to see the good in every moment.
A BRISK MORNING WALK
by B.J. Alvera
A brisk morning walk, allows you to be, all that you can be.
It causes you to look at things in a way so differently.
You observe much closer the smaller things that many times go unnoticed;
the things that we would appreciate most, if only we took the motions.
A brisk morning walk gets your heart and your soul up pumping.
Your mind begins to clear of all the noise and mumbling.
You get time to spend alone with yourself and your God that comes so scarcely.
These are the times that you will cherish most, both in near and distant reverie.
A brisk morning walk begins the day with a brighter can-do attitude.
Even though you may be tired and grouchy, it can turn into an excellent mood.
It's hard to not stop and pat the head of a puppy, or say good morning to a stranger.
Somehow it brings the "humanity" back and takes away some of the danger.
A brisk morning walk has affected and changed many a life I'm sure.
It has kept many walking and strengthened others wounded and maybe even been a cure.
Your lungs can't help but to breathe in deeply, the wondrous breath of life.
Your heart will pump strong and steady while oxygenating your body with less strife.
A brisk morning walk can renew a body, old and tired and worn.
The walk can do so much good, and change an attitude of scorn.
If people would park and walk instead of driving, no matter how hard it seems to be,
we wouldn't have an epidemic of overeaters and the diseases it causes to many.
A brisk morning walk can start your day off in a positive way.
It's good to take a little more time to get to where you're going.
We miss so much for so little time captured that passes on fleetingly.
Sometimes we may even get there sooner as we plod along consistently.
A brisk morning walk can bring a pleasant surprise if you stop for a cup of coffee.
You might see old friends stopping there too, and you can talk together softly.
But then it's off again to finish up the walk you'll come to treasure.
As time goes on more good will come as the inches grow less you'll have to measure.
A brisk morning walk is a wonderful gift from God that many persons miss.
Be sure to take your opportunity to open up your present that so freely gives.
A gift of life, breath, and appreciation for nature and others is what you will receive.
You've got to take personally the first step in receiving; on faith first, later believing.
REBIRTH OF A SOUL
by Joseph Trimachi
Nothing but pain, misery and strife,
Don't know what to do with my life.
I tried to fix this by myself,
It's time to put "my way" on the shelf.
Yearning to take a serene breath,
Don't want jail, institutions or death.
I can't stay wrapped up in my vanity,
Can't take any more insanity.
I need help to remove this mask,
How do I do this, who do I ask?
I'm tired of my heart always breaking,
I long to have my spirit awakened.
What is this, what do I see?
My hand is reached out; someone's reaching back to me.
Sponsorship, a network, and meetings,
I'm filled with joy from the warm heartfelt greetings.
Never again, do I have to be alone,
If no one is with me, there's always the phone.
And even then, when no one is there,
I can talk to my Higher Power through prayer.
All I had to do was open the door, to God and others, and I'm lonely no more.
All these years, I thought no one was there.
How was I to know that you were waiting to care?
FROM OA'S LIFELINE:
HALT was one of the first directions I received in OA. At a meeting the speaker said, "Remember HALT... don't get too hungry, angry, lonely or tired." I thought this was a wonderful guide to use throughout a day. I've been abstinent for many years, and HALT continues to support my abstinence. This is how I try to use it:
Hungry helps me stick with my committed food plan. It's also best if I eat at approximately the same times each day. An OA friend shared this guideline with me: breakfast between 7 and 9 a.m., lunch between 12 and 2 p.m. and dinner between 5 and 7 p.m.
Angry is where the tool of writing comes in. In the morning, I use pen and paper to review the day before. Things pop up as I write. I might feel agitated or angry with so-and-so. What was it that made me feel angry? How do I feel about it today? Do I need to discuss this anger with someone?
My sponsor and I once discussed the destructive effects my anger had on my relationships. He recommended that in the future I wait 72 hours before telling the person involved about my anger. At first I thought, why even bother? But something interesting happens when I use that suggestion. After three days, my anger often transforms into an expression and understanding of my true feelings. For example, I've often discovered that I actually feel sadness. The initial anger surge was reflex and camouflage.
For lonely I use the telephone, write a letter or visit a friend. Even taking a walk can get me out of myself. Solitude is good and necessary, but loneliness causes isolation, which is a close kin of overeating.
Being too tired requires that I take a nap, stare out the window or read a good book. So many of us in recovery have a hard time letting go and resting. When I'm tired, binge foods look awfully good.
When I was bingeing and adding several dress sizes, I had no clue about how to take care of myself. By using HALT, which is like a gateway to recovery through the Twelve Steps, I began to discover how to slow down; eat one bite, one meal at a time; sleep; take a walk; rest; and talk to someone - all the things that make me human.
Several years ago I relocated from California to the East Coast. With that move, I added another letter to HALT: the letter C for cold. My new motto became: don't get too cold, hungry, angry, lonely or tired (CHALT).
Helen O., Boston, Massachusetts USA ~ November 2007
FROM THE TRG ARCHIVES:
LIVING IN THE NOW
Hi guys, Auds here ... sober and abstinent one day at a time by the grace of God, this fellowship, and my own effort.
It is dark still, it is dark and still. The dogs are outside, I am inside, my cold is worse and I am unable to find the energy to walk this morning. Hmmmm. Is this forever? Everytime I get sick I run old tapes of being sick and tired. When into my addictions, bed was an eighteen hour thing, covers pulled up over my head, doors locked, phone off the hook!
What is different now? I am up and writing, the dogs are happily rooting around the yard. My doors are all unlocked. I have organized the phone alert thing on 8.0 which tells me who is calling and lets me send back a message without going off line. My rooms are tidy, even if I am not. I am into comtrex not addictions.
If this sounds grateful you got it.
I received a letter this morning from one of the people who are so important to my well being. We had lunch together on Monday in New Jersey. I am still feeling the love and empathy that table of recovering addicts had for each other. The laughter at shared character defects and the sharing of what is real is only possible in an atmosphere of unconditional love where we feel safe and validated.
I received a quote from Johann Paul Friedrich Richter yesterday and I repeat it here because I am so apt to say, "if only" or "when." When I get better, If only I weren't feeling so lousy, oh my, I hate being under the weather--- but now for the quote.
"Look upon every day as the whole of life, not merely as a section;
and enjoy and improve the present without wishing,
through haste to rush on to another."
How often have I told my young friends and family not to wish away the present; it is what we have. The 'I can't wait syndrome' brings outcome and finality. I love the journey, with all its bumps and levels.
I hate the day after Christmas feeling. I have enjoyed the preparations and secrets and love and laughter. I have certainly enjoyed the company of my family. So the let-down of January doldrums hits hard. No outdoor projects, no indoor decorations. Oh no! Here comes Abraham Lincoln saying I can be as happy as I have a mind to be. So a new writing project started makes me look forward to getting out of bed. The standard time makes pre-dawn earlier. Or later. Anyway it is lighter sooner. The winter projects of painting and closet clearing, the walks taken later in the day, the meetings made because I am not working long hours outdoors, all these things have their season. So right now I am enjoying the quiet of my writing room and the steaming cup of tea I just steeped. Right now I am grateful that my breathing seems easier. Right now is a perfect place for me to be and I am enjoying it. Learning to live in the now is a gift, that appeals to me more and more. I believe that my higher power gave me the gift of recovery to have a life, and, if I let him handle the tiller, I handle the oars each day.
As usual take what you need and leave the rest. This brings hugs and love from me.
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COORDINATORS AND MEETING LEADERS
All Coordinators and/or Meeting Leaders of The Recovery Group shall:
Be working and living a 12 Step program.
Have been a member of TRG for a period of no less than 3 months.
Read and commit to TRG's Guidelines and Traditions.
Read and understand the Trusted Servants' Training and Sharing pages.
Coordinators shall read their loops' mission statement and the Coordinators' Website.
Mentor with an experienced Meeting Leader and/or Coordinator.
Commit to serving until the end of the term, which currently is December 31 of each year.
Leave their Trusted Servant position mid-term only in the event of an emergency.
Have access to a personal computer.
Be personally responsible for all services needed by their support group or delegate others. Commit to recruiting, training and supervising them. (Please ask Mtg. Adm. or TRGAdm. for a list of specific duties expected of our Meeting Leaders and Coordinators.)
Please communicate with MTGAdm (Meeting Leaders) or TRGAdm (Coordinators) immediately when a member requires moderating. TRG Coordinators and Meeting Leaders shall be patient and correct people regarding inappropriate sharing privately and in kind, gentle and loving ways. In the event of blatant spam, porn or misconduct, Coordinators and Meeting Leaders should take immediate action. Meeting leaders shall remove such members from the meeting, while coordinators are to contact TRGAdm and report that a member needs moderated. Both Coordinators and Meeting Leaders shall send a detailed report to their respective administrators once the emergency has been attended to.
Be an example for others by sharing personally in a 12 Step Way, not using inappropriate signatures on TRG communications, and, if at all possible, writing your members individually and privately as your time permits when you think a note would be appreciated.
If interested in giving service ~ please send an email to:
The 2008 Coordinators & Meeting Leaders
TRG has six divisions and our support groups each fall in one of these divisions: Recovery, ODAT, Discovery, Special, Meetings and Business. Click on the link below for the directory of all of TRG's Coordinators and Administrators:
TRG'S COORDINATORS & ADMINISTRATORS
God, 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.
"In the deepest part of a compulsive eater's soul
is the realization that recovery begins when we find one another."
Your Support Group Would Like to Hear From YOU!
Serendipity wants to you to use our writing resources to inspire you to share your own personal experience, strength and hope with your home support loop. Sharing with your fellow coes is an act of service and often without your ever realizing it, your words may touch someone deeply and be responsible for a significant change in their life.
Opinions expressed in this newsletter are not necessarily those of Serendipity Newsletter, or of The Recovery Group.