~ FROM OUR ADMINISTRATORS ~
Dear Recovery Group Members~
The month of September was one of national crisis, and the Recovery Group
did not escape unscathed. At least some of our people were directly
involved in the terror, although we believe no one died. Our hearts go
out to those who lost their lives and their loved ones in this time of
Nor were we unaffected. The St. John's loops -- Maelstrom -- are some of
our largest and oldest loops, and for some time were totally inaccessible
to us. Maelstrom's ISP was located in the World Trade Center, and was
destroyed on September 11. Eventually they were able to find another which
could serve them, but it was over a week later. During that time we could
contact only those members of HOTJ, Big Book, WTS, Recovery Loop,
Anorexia and Bulimia, and OA Friends who were members of other loops.
Mari quickly set up alternative sites along with our other Yahoo Groups,
but of course the numbers were much smaller. After Maelstrom was back in
operation, we closed the Yahoo parallel groups.
But many of our people must have felt abandoned, at least until they came
to realize where St. John's is located, and figured out the reason.
Abandonment is not a good feeling for a CO type person to have to suffer.
I am just thankful we all came through, and are back together again. We
keep no master list of peoples' addresses, in order to ensure anonymity.
The Recovery Group, despite our many teapot tempests and occasional acts
of random lunacy, continues in an overall sense to flourish. Right now,
our biggest concerns are for service, which from the end of the stick the
Administrators hold seems an unending struggle. This is the case in most
face to face meetings I know of as well. Whether it is true of other
anonymous groups I don't know, but it is certainly a CO feature. One
friend of mine who has quite a few years of abstinence is given to the
slogan, "Don't let the little you can do keep you from doing the little
you can do." Service is one way of doing the Twelfth Step. People who
refuse service are not so much into the Twelfth Step, I would guess. And
this is not good, not for the loops nor for the individual. Too many of
us want to wait until we have a perfect program before giving service.
Guess what isn't going to happen!
One change we've made will not affect many people directly, but we believe
and hope will make for a better future for TRG. We have had two active
Trusted Servant loop for all those who do any kind of service, one
related to loops, the other to meetings. But we had done little with
Intergroup, although it technically existed. During this month we have
tried to get everyone in a Coordinator position to join intergroup. This
is still a large group, but much smaller that TS. Furthermore, the
Coordinators are loop or meeting loop leaders, so they are well acquainted
with the troops in the trenches. As Intergroup activates, it will take
more and more responsibility in the decision making process, which will
definitely help the Administrators, as well as the way we run our loops.
WTS starts another quarter of its Step Workshop, and desperately needs
sponsors, as you know from letters Mari has written recently. Let me just
underscore that. There are 300 people looking for a sponsor, and when
we first got the word, we had only 10 sponsors. I am sure there are some
more now, but the need is still great. Please help out if you can.
Have a great and abstinent today.
Love in recovery,
for the Recovery Group Administrators
~ WORKING THE STEPS ~
~ 12 STEPS IN 12 WEEKS ~
The WTS loop (Working the Steps) invites you to work "12 Steps in 12 Weeks".
Hi, to Serendipity Readers from JO and from Tinman, WTS Co-Coordinators.
We'd like to invite you all to study the Twelve Steps with WTS (Working
the Steps) during October, November and December of 2001 - 12 Steps in
12 Weeks. Our WTS Step Leader this 3rd quarter of 2001 is Sue G.
Sue G. came to OA three years ago after being diagnosed with depression.
She was introduced to OA by a coworker who gave her a phone number. Sue
made the call and her life began a change that is continuing to this day.
She is now enrolled in a four year college course in Education.
"None of this would have been possible if I had not walked through the
doors of OA. I not only found the tools of recovery but also found a
relationship with God from whom my strength, wisdom and courage comes,"
Sue said. "In short, OA has not only changed my life, but by the grace
of God it has given me life."
We are privileged to have Sue as our leader for the twelve weeks we work
the 12 steps.
This Step Study starts on the WTS loop on Monday, 10/01/01, and you are
all invited to join WTS to participate in it, or to participate by
reading Sue G.'s Step Essays and Shares on our WTS website. They will be
posted on the WTS web site within days of Sue G. posting them on the WTS
The WTS web site is at:
WTS (Working The Steps) is one of our Recovery Group email loops. It is
an in-depth quarterly study of the Twelve Steps for compulsive eaters.
As a WTS member, you receive an Essay and Step Leader's Share every
week, one step per week for 12 weeks, starting with Step One on
10/01/01, and ending with Step Twelve near the end of December. Then
we start over again each quarter, working Step One the first week in
January, April, July and October. A Step Leader - a different one for
each quarter, writes these Essays and Shares.
WTS members are invited by the Step Leader to share on the step being
studied that week, or are welcome to share on the step they are
currently working on, whatever one it is, all year long. They are also
welcome to post reply shares to what other WTS members have posted,
supporting and encouraging WTS members and furthering the study of the
step they shared about. These past two quarters of 2001, the shares
on WTS and the reply shares have been very beautiful and open and
honest, very inspiring and thought-provoking, very caring and
encouraging - and we expect the same this 4th quarter of WTS that starts
The WTS Step Leader's Essays and Shares are also put on our WTS website
several days after they are shared on the WTS loop. The entire
twelve-week Step Study from the 1st, 2nd and 3rd quarters of 2001 are now
up on the WTS website for you to read and use, as are the yearly Step
Studies for 1996 through 2000.
To join our WTS loop and study the 12 Steps in 12 Weeks:
1. Sign up for WTS by sending an email addressed to:
You don't need to put anything in the Subject line. In the body of your
email message, type:
"subscribe WTS firstname lastinitial"
Example: subscribe WTS Lynne T.
2. Get a sponsor, if you don't have one already. Your Step Sponsor
does NOT have to join WTS, although they are welcome. If you do not
already have a sponsor, the best way to get a sponsor is to ask someone on
your home loop to sponsor you, whose sharing reflects what you want to
have in your own recovery. Or, if you would like a temporary Step sponsor
for your 12-week Step study at WTS, you can email our WTS Sponsor List
Coordinator, Mickie, at and ask her to email you
our WTS Sponsor List (it has the names, email addresses and brief bios of
all our WTS sponsors, so you can read about us and choose a WTS sponsor).
Please email me if you have any questions about WTS, or about our 12
Steps in 12 Weeks.
Yours in ESH,
~ TOOLS OF RECOVERY ~
Before I joined Overeaters Anonymous in 1989, I had my favorite foods
and flavors. I always went to my favorite flavors first, but when they
weren't available, I found a second, third or fourth choice. Regardless
of taste, I went to any length to get my food.
The same is true for me now, but the difference is that instead of
choosing food, I turn to my tools, Steps and Traditions.
As with my favorite food flavors, I have favorite OA tools. Some are
easier, safer or more satisfying for me to perform, but all eight tools
are always there, waiting for me to choose recovery rather than
Even within the tools I have my favorite flavors. There are some meetings
that I prefer to attend, some OA literature that has special meaning for
me, some people I call first. When my favorite flavor isn't available, I
have a second, third or fourth choice.
I may not be able to attend my favorite meeting if I'm busy, but another
meeting is usually available to me. I may not be able to attend a meeting
if I'm away, yet I can always pack my OA literature. If I can't find a
phone, I can always write. So it goes with each tool-while I have my
favorites, there is always another choice. Today, the many flavors of OA
(tools, Steps and Traditions) are always there for me, regardless of time
or place. If I continue to go to any length, not only will I choose
recovery, I will also see my program flourish. That is better than any
flavor before OA!
- T.C., Woburn, Massachusetts USA, reprinted from Lifeline, May 2001,
Volume 29, No. 5.
~ FROM THE RECOVERY GROUP MEMBERS ~
To Those I Never Knew
I may not have known your choices
Or what brought a smile to your face
I may not have known your joys and trials
Or what took you to that place
I may not have known what spurred you on
Or what brought a tear to your eye
I may not have known your family life
Or ever know the reason why
I may not have known your name
Or what you liked to do
I may not have known what brought you there
But I will remember you
Tuesday, 11 September 2001
I used to pride myself on being able to think my way through many a thing,
a character trait that has done me more harm than good! In my pre-OA
days, there were many emotions that I just found impossible to process.
One of them was grief. In my childhood years, I grew up in an environment
where many of those close to me died, and rather than express the sadness,
I was taught to maintain the stiff upper lip and show the world that all
is ok. I built the strongest mask and a big layer of fat to shield me
from the grief. I used sugar to suppress those rising sobs and I used my
bulimia to express the sharp pain and hurt that was deep in my heart.
In the early days of my recovery, at the first sign of any pain and
suffering, I would run for cover, under a layer of calories. I could
maintain my abstinence for a while, but I just could not make it through
the hard times. At the first sign of raw, harsh emotions, I would start
to white knuckle it. But it wasn't the food I was white knuckling it
with, I was white knuckling it with the Program. I became totally self
absorbed, I became a victim, I stopped doing all the things I needed to do
to keep living and to stay abstinent - committing my food, writing to my
sponsor and most importantly, maintaining my conscious contact with the
God of my understanding.
This evening I sit and contemplate the last few months. They have been
months of both sadness and joy. I have had personal tragedies as two very
dear people in my life have died and my mother has been diagnosed with a
progressive degenerative illness. And then this week, we have had a world
tragedy, one that had touched so many lives, with the enormity of the
tragedy, the pain, the suffering and the loss. I have sat transfixed to
the TV watching over and over again the tragic events and feel totally
powerless in such a situation. I feel the pain of the families, the anger
towards the terrorists, the fear of the world and the quest for peace. I
look at the faces around me and I see the shock that such a thing can
happen in a peaceful country. And I sit amazed at what this Program gives
me. It has taught me how to feel, has given me the freedom to let down
that mask and express what is inside me, rather than burying it alive. It
has shown me that I can work through these feelings and that they won't
paralyse me. And it has shown me, that all I need to do at times like
this, is to keep holding on to my safety net - and that safety net is no
longer the food, but my Higher Power. I used to control so much, but I
know that I need a power greater than me to control these things in life -
death, tragedies, illness - they are all out of my control and when I stop
hanging on, I can move through and let my Higher Power show me the way -
cause I have no idea!!!
Hi ... Robin here ... and I am a compulsive overeater ... I am grateful
that I have life today ... that I woke up and have another chance to live
my life here in this body. I think of all of those people who had no idea
that their lives would end that tragic day when the planes hit the World
Trade Center, Pentagon, and in Pittsburgh ... that it would happen so
quickly and painfully ... and how they probably would have done some
things differently had they known. I heard in a meeting about how life is
so precious. None of us are guaranteed tomorrow or even 5 minutes from now
... So, today, I am thankful for NOW.
In the clutches of my disease, I get caught up in perfectionism ... that
all or nothing thinking that always seems to get me into trouble. Because
of this perfectionism, I began purging again this week ... rationalizing
(but certainly knowing better) that it would somehow make what I ate that
was not on my plan of eating "ok" ... This is the insane thinking that
comes with my disease. I don't have to be perfect ... all I have to do is
progress. I cannot reverse anything that I did in the past, and I do mean
the past as in minutes, hours, weeks, months, OR years ago. All I have is
NOW ... if I can be abstinent right NOW ... that is all that matters ...
because that is all that I have. The future is uncertain and the past is
over. Today, I admit that I am powerless over my food addiction and that
my life has become unmanageable. I believe that my HP can and will
restore me to sanity. I make a decision RIGHT NOW to turn my will and my
life over to the care of God of my understanding. I commit to being
Spirit-led as much as possible today. I commit to getting on my knees at
least once ... even if it is just to say ... thank you GOMU for allowing
me to be here one more minute so that I can be an instrument of faith,
love, and service to my fellows.
A True Test of My Spiritual Fitness
Our world has seen trouble beyond anything I'd expected to see in my
lifetime, and the trauma of these recent horrendous events has left me
temporary bereft of the serenity and peace of mind I had gained since
coming to this program. These gains had come about as a result of working
the 12 steps to the best of my ability and from maintaining abstinence
from compulsive overeating. Where love once dwelled, hatred now fights
for residency. Instead of joy, I feel anger. My willingness to live and
let live has been replaced with an appetite for vengeance, destruction,
and death. Contentment has turned to resentment. And, not surprisingly,
the food is once again calling out to me.
But do I deserve having the food calling to me? Is not my anger
justified? Don't I have righteousness on my side? Weren't we,
collectively, innocent victims of an evil madman? Haven't we been wronged
so deeply that nothing short of eye for an eye justice can make it right
again? Does not the fact that my single voice joins a unanimous and
inarguable chorus of objection provide invulnerability to my disease?
Our literature tells us that resentments have the power to kill and it
makes no distinction between resentments that are well deserved and those
based on an illusion. When we harbor resentments, no matter what the
cause, we close ourselves off from the spirit and the insanity returns,
and with the insanity comes compulsive overeating. But these acts
committed against us were so terrible; why would I want to let go of my
resentment? Aren't some offenses unforgivable? In view of what has
happened, how could I ever be expected to find forgiveness for these
Why do I fear forgiveness? Am I afraid that offering forgiveness softens
my claim to having been wronged, that it lets the offenders off the
hook? Did I not buy a t-shirt today featuring our flag and emblazoned
with the words, "We Are Not Afraid?"
An emotional dilemma of epic proportion confronts me upon reading the
words of wisdom on page 552 of our beloved Big Book. It suggests that if
I have a resentment against someone, and that if I want to be free and
live again, that I should subject myself in prayer and ask that the object
of my resentment be given all the happiness and good fortune that I'd
gladly bestow on myself or a loved one. It asks that I do it daily for
two weeks if need be. It tells me that I don't even have to mean it, that
my words can be hollow and void of sincerity, but that I am to do it
So this is the true test of my spiritual fitness. All it requires is an
action, not an attitude. Can I do it? Am I willing to do it? Can I say
September 15th, 2001
The weather in England has turned damp and subsequently the pathway to the
door of our home is strewn with slugs and snails. I have watched these
creatures meandering their way across the path, their progress is
tediously slow, and from where I am standing their world seems small and yet their
To these slugs and snails, however, every slow and contemplated moment
must seem as significant as the next, their world being only what lies in front
of them at any given moment.
They know nothing else but how to be themselves, in spite of what mayhem
is occurring around them!
This is where I am at today and have been ever since the atrocities of
Tuesday 11th September, a day that neither I nor the rest of the world
will forget. I do what is required of me in my every day life. I go to work,
although yesterday was my last day; I stock our cupboards and freezer
shelves, I run my Beaver Scout colony and attend my church meetings. I
live my program the best way I know how and seek God's guidance every step of
the way. To all intents and purposes I am who I am meant to be at any
given moment. Yet inside I am screaming for it all to stop so that I can pay my
respects to those who so savagely died at the hands of some pretty sick
and inhumane people.
I feel guilty that my life continues, that I am required to be who and
what I am. I feel shame in sharing my life with you all because it is so
insignificant compared to the shattered lives of people from all over the
globe, yet I share because despite what I am feeling, I am who I am and
know no other way to be.
The world is forever changed, the lives of thousands are forever distorted
and my life is forever altered. The only thing I can do is continue with
this new strength and resolve to make the world a better place, in the
best way I know how.
Today I feel sad, angry, and yet resolved to seek a better world if for
nothing else but in the memory of those who perished. I owe it to God, I
owe it to them, I owe it to you and I owe it to me to be the best me I can
be and to prove that but for a handful -- and in comparison to the
population of the globe it is a handful -- but for a handful of twisted
and distorted people this world is my world, your world and our world and
I will not be chained, I will not imprisoned and I will not be forced to
think, worship or live a life any other than the one I have now which is
free and will ALWAYS be free, so help me God.
God Bless America
God Bless the World and its people
God Bless me!