CONTENTS THIS ISSUE
From the Editor
From the Administration
From the Executive Committee
From the Loops
From the Meetings
WTS Step Study
Fourth Quarter Newcomers Orientation
Big Book Workshop
An Abstinent Recipe
From OA Lifeline
From the TRG Archives
The Trusted Servants of Recovery
The Serenity Prayer & Invitation to Share
FROM THE EDITOR:
Welcome to the October issue of Serendipity. We hope this month's newsletter will provide useful information on a variety of topics centering around meditation and exercise.
As always, we are interested in hearing your ideas for future issues. If you have a story or an article you would like to share, please feel free to email the staff of Serendipity.
Enjoy your community's newsletter!
Heidi L ~ October Editor
Our Greatest Need
I was reading Bill's Story again in the Big Book recently and kept going back to page eight where he writes: "I was to know happiness, peace, and usefulness, in a way of life that is incredibly more wonderful as time passes."
When I was a young woman I was so busy living that I didn't really stop and think about what my needs were. But as he described what he found as a result of working the program, I found myself thinking about my own life and about each of Bill's words .... those perfect and descriptive words. I close my eyes sometimes and think about them.
Happiness. What is it? How do I achieve it? Do I deserve it?
Peace. Is that the absence of turmoil? Chaos? Unhappiness? Discontent? Conflict? War? What exactly IS peace? Do I have it?
Usefulness. What an unusual desire! What an incredibly unselfish need Bill had!
I was with our newcomers recently and one of the exercises I asked them to do was to go into a room somewhere, close the door, turn off the television and be very quiet. I asked them to close their eyes and think of just one thing .... their greatest need in life. This group is poised at the very beginning of our program and weight brought them to us ... but they are learning so much more about themselves than what made them become compulsive eaters. After this exercise they were to write a share to our group expressing their greatest need. I wish you could have read some of their letters. Several told me that they had never once stopped long enough to even know they had a need, much less a specific one. But in the quietness of their room, they realized they had many needs, but they didn't write about those. What they did write about, however, was poignant and heart wrenching as they poured out their hearts and described their greatest need.
Everyone's most important need in life is not the same. There was a time I imagined it would be because my own personal need in life was and is so intense. It turns out, however, that we each are very different. While Bill W. obviously had a great need to know happiness, peace and usefulness, I wonder if these things were his greatest need. They are each important to me ... but not my greatest need in life.
Some of you may want to close your eyes as the newcomers did and learn what your greatest single need in life is. The results may surprise you. I believe the last paragraph of Bill's story will resonate with those of you who have experienced the promises. He wrote, "Most of us feel we need to look no further for Utopia. We have it with us right here and now." That was true 37 years ago when Bill W. died. And it is true now.
Happy October, Loopies.
Love in recovery,
Monthly Happenings Around TRG
We hope you enjoy reading our news and stories below!
FROM THE ADMINISTRATION
My name is Nancy, and Dodee and I are The Recovery Group administrators. We are here to serve all members of The Recovery Group in many ways.
Several new Trusted Servants volunteered and were trained this month, we answered many questions, and took into consideration the suggestions and comments sent by our TRG family members.
Another new loop was opened on Yahoo this week. It is a Big Book Workshop and will be another addition to the resources available for compulsive eaters.
It has been a busy month and will be even busier this coming month with the graduation of the current OA Newcomers group and the start of another Newcomers Orientation. The 4th Quarter series of the 2008 Working the Steps will also begin Oct. 1.
We want to thank Linda for all of her work with the Newcomers, Lawrie for sharing his Step work with us and all of the Trusted Servants for their help in keeping The Recovery Group rooms and meetings available for all who suffer from the disease of compulsive eating.
FROM THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
Dear Serendipity Readers,
It's a joy for me to share my experience, strength, and hope with you, as well as a little bit about the Discovery Division, as I continue to recover from a serious fall on April 23 of this year. That afternoon, I took our lively beagle border collie mix out in our front yard for a brief walk. She's 50 pounds of solid muscle and energy. I must not have been grounded because when she pulled, suddenly, as she often does, she caught me off guard. I fell, hard, three separate times. We think I may initially have caught my left foot in a hole she'd recently dug and I was unaware of.
I fell first on my left, then on my right, as she continued to pull me, and landed on both knees, still holding her leash. I'd heard at least one snap, and we were to learn at the office of the orthopedic surgeon two days later, that I'd broken three bones – one in my left foot plus a bad sprain, and also two of the three ankle bones in my right foot.
After a trip to the emergency room that day I came home to hike myself slowly down the hall and to sit my way up the stairs using only my arms to drag myself up and to hoist myself onto the bed. Two days later, I left the doctor's office with two plaster casts up to the knee on both legs. I lay in bed for days. My husband took such great care of me without complaint. Friends from my church where I'm very active, and from other parts of my life, visited, called, brought food, sent cards. They really buoyed my spirits.
And the TRG community also gave me so much support, once I could access my email, using my daughter's laptop she carried home each night from work. Our home computer was downstairs and I went downstairs only when I needed to see the doctor, at least for the first several weeks.
Some of my online support came from the Discovery Division's Exercise loop. There, many of us daily report our exercise efforts and goals, plus any challenges we face. We also provide tips and support for each other. Even though I couldn't exercise I gained hope that one day I would, and now I'm sharing about physical therapy as I gradually am improving. It keeps the vision of a healthy body alive for me.
I also visit Discovery Division's Yellow Brick Road, which, though quieter than many other loops, is a lovely place to share anything on one's mind at any hour of the day or night. We're not limited by topic, and can share on recovery if we choose or just chat with each other.
In Abstinent Kitchen I've enjoyed printing out new recipes as I've been able to resume cooking again in the past few weeks. And there have been a lot of interesting facts shared about ingredients, spices, vitamins, artificial sweeteners, and the like. People often post their daily food plan; some of us ask questions about what make good food plans or what others of us use as our food plan.
Cokids and Kids loops are great support groups involving the youngsters in our lives with food issues. Cokids is for parents, friends, relatives, and others with young people in their lives who have food issues or eating disorders. Kids is a safe place for young people up to teen age to share their thoughts and feelings. With the growing numbers of overweight youngsters some even with type 2 diabetes already, these loops can be part of what helps save their lives.
If you're interested in a Discovery loop, go to TheRecoveryGroup.org and click on Discovery. You'll find each loop and also a description of its purpose. And we can always use volunteers. Please contact me at Athena1442@gmail.com if you're interested in knowing what's available.
I'll keep posting there and on other TRG loops as part of how I work my daily program. I've been able to stay abstinent and relatively happy and serene throughout these challenging months, unable to drive and with lots of time on my hands to spend at home. TRG has been and is an essential element of how I stay sane one day at a time.
A few days ago I started driving once again. I'm now using a cane now, and though there's some pain in both legs, it's getting better each day. One ankle bone's not completely healed so I use a bone growth stimulator on it each day. I've also begun physical therapy twice a week, and have exercises that take about an hour a day. The therapy is primarily for my knee. I ended up having extensive arthroscopic knee surgery Aug. 6th, and am wearing a heavy knee brace, but the knee works!
Lastly I will say that this nearly 5 months so far has finally put me in touch with my body, which I'd never truly been in touch with before, except in the sense of dieting, exercising, and how it looked (or didn't). I see now what an amends I owe my body, having spent years dragging it around in service of my ego. I saw my body as an unsatisfactory, imperfect machine to achieve my goals, not as the vital, physical manifestation of my soul, my spirit, and a beautiful creation by my Higher Power. So I am daily making amends to my body and it feels wonderful doing this.
Always, I am grateful to OA, TRG, the tools and the steps. And especially to the slogan One Day at a Time. That's how I'm living, with special emphasis on care of my long-suffering body and with a deep gratitude for all it has enabled me to do.
Love in recovery,
Discovery Division Chair
MONDAY OCTOBER 13 ALL DAY AND NIGHT LONG
#RecoveryTalk on IRC ~ Starchat Network.
Need more information or want to volunteer to host an hour?
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.
We would like to spotlight one of our foreign language loops in this issue. Please give a warm and loving welcome to one of our oldest support groups ~ Italia OA. Lolly is the longtime Coordinator of this loop and we are grateful for her service as well as so many others. If you have friends who speak the Italian language, please pass along this address. To join Italia OA send a blank email to:
Ciao a tutti,
Sono Lolly, mangiatrice compulsiva e coordinatore del loop in lingua italiana ITALIAOA.
Io sono di Madre lingua inglese e molti anni fa, disperata e sconvolta, facendo una ricerca su Internet, ebbi la fortuna di arrivare alla comunita’ online dei 12 passi che is chiama THE RECOVERY GROUP.
A quel tempo non avevo mai sentito parlare di OA ma qui ho imparato che avevo una malattia e che quella malattia is chiama mangiare compulsivo.
Mi sono subito iscritta ad un loop che is chiamava JOURNEY TO RECOVERY (viaggio verso IL recupero) e ho iniziato a conoscere IL programma dei 12 passi. Mi hanno insegnato come acquistare la letteratura OA direttamente dal sito mondiale di OA e l’ho fatto e cosi’ imparavo sempre di piu’ sul programma.
Un giorno ho letto Della convention Nazionale di OA in Italia a Rimini(proprio sul loop) e cosi’ sono arrivata anche a conoscere gli OA italiani. Essendo comunque una isolata, IL loop e’ rimasto per anni un àncora di salvezza per me.
Parlandone ad altri OA italiani ho visto che interessava a molti questo “nuovo” strumento e piano piano, con l’aiuto dei servitori di RECOVERY, is e’ aperto IL nostro loop in lingua italiana.
Sono grata al mio PS che MI ha portata in RECOVERY quel giorno perche’ forse se non fosse stato cosi’ oggi sarei morta.
Oggi abbiamo un loop con circa 160 iscritti, meditazioni giornaliere che vengono inviate ogni giorno, 2 riunioni online (approvate DA OA WSO), una lista di sponsors online a disposizione, servitori tecnici che ci aiutano a risolvere qualsiasi problema e soprattutto un posto dove andare ogni momento del giorno e Della notte. Vi sembra poco?
Certo, IL problema Della lingua ci limita. La comunita’ online Della quale facciamo parte e che is chiama precisamente THE RECOVERY GROUP mette a disposizione decine di loops, molti dei quali ad enfasi speciale, e decine di riunioni online, una per ogni ora del giorno e Della notte.
Inoltre, sul sito di TRG ci sono periodicamente gruppi di studio sui 12 passi e sul Grande libro di AA., una serie di scritti di membri anziani e molte altre cose. Andate a fare un giro se volete, al www.TheRecoveryGroup.org.
Infine c’e’ SERENDIPITY, la Newsletter di TRG che viene pubblicata una Volta al mese.Qui troviamo articoli, notizie su workshops, e tanto altro.
Purtroppo IL limite Della lingua impedisce a molti di attingere a tutto questo tesoro. Io sono fortunata e NE sono consapevole.
Questo mese, Mari, la fondatrice di TRG, MI ha suggerito di scrivere un articolo in italiano e questo mese SERENDIPITY arrivera’ nella casella email dei loopies italiani. Con questo is e’ voluto in qualche modo farvi partecipe del fatto che siamo parte di qualcosa di molto, molto piu’ Grande del nostro piccolo loop.
Felice Ottobre a tutti
LA PREGHIERA DELLA SERENITA’
Dio, concedimi la serenita’ di accettare Le cose che non posso cambiare,
IL coraggio di cambiare quelle che posso,
e la saggezza di conoscere la differenza.
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
WTS STEP STUDY BEGINS
A Preview of 12 Special Weeks
(With permission here is a sample of one day or the 12 Week Study)
My name is Shlomo. I am a food addict and compulsive overeater and leader of this workshop.
A warm welcome to you all.
Thanks are due to TRG for giving me the privilege and opportunity to lead this workshop.
Those who are interested in reading more about me can have a look at: WTS 2006.
First let me give a few informative remarks.
The workshop will last three months. During that time we are going to work all the twelve steps.
Some of the literature we will use as reference can be found online.
Big Book and More
AA 12&12 - a gender free version
I will use the regular version and the difference is not important.
My suggestion is to buy the relevant literature if you don't have it.
The literature which I will use is the following:
The Big Book, which is the textbook and instruction manual of the steps.
The AA and OA Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, which consist of essays and commentaries on the steps and explanations of the traditions.
We will also need a notebook and a few markers of different colors to mark sentences and paragraphs in the books. Please be ready to devote time and effort to the workshop. As the saying goes: "It works if we work it and it doesn't if we don't."
Letters to the WTS loop.
Letters you send to the loop should be addressed to the whole loop and not to a specific member.
In your letters you should share your answers to the questions and assignments given by the workshop leader.
Other letters to the loop are questions posed by you about anything that is not clear to you in my explanations and about the assignments. Maybe you would like me to enlarge on some point or to mention points that I have not dealt with. Anything at all that is connected to my 12 step workshop shares is okay.
Questions should be sent in separate e-mails to the loop. In the subject space write QUESTION TO THE LEADER. This will help me identify the questions quickly and answer them quickly.
Letters and comments on the shares of other members should be sent privately and not to the loop. Please pay attention to this when you click on reply.
I suggest you do the workshop with a sponsor.
Working the steps is almost impossible without one.
Any sponsor online or f2f will do as long as you work with the sponsor on this workshop.
Suggestions on getting a sponsor can be found at:
In addition to that I hope we will have sponsor volunteers, especially for this workshop and you will be able to choose one from the WTS sponsor directory that I will send to the loop.
There are all kinds of shorthand symbols and abbreviations that I may use like f2f, esh, coe, GOMU and so on. If they are unfamiliar, look at:
Now I need my rest so I will give you some things to do while I go to romp on the beach with my dog. I find this very useful for meeting and socializing with people.
The assignments will follow essentially the plan of the Big Book.
We will first try to understand and internalize some basic concepts.
We will do it by reading and writing.
First you read and write and then I read, write and explain .
This way we will get a better and deeper understanding since you will do your part of the work, too, because this is a workshop.
1. Read the following chapter in the Big Book: THE DOCTORS OPINION.
When reading change in your mind the word, "alcohol," to "certain foods or food substances," "drinking" to "eating certain foods or food substances", "alcoholism" to "food addiction", and "getting drunk" to "bingeing on food."
Pay special attention to the following words and concepts and mark with your marker the relevant sentences and paragraphs in which they appear.
Allergy (abnormal sensitivity which is a type of disease),
Cravings (a feeling beyond my mental control),
Mental control (will power) ,
To them their alcoholic life seems the only normal one,
Restless irritable and discontented,
A spree (binge),
Five different types of alcoholics (food addicts) .
Go over the marked places. Reflect how those concepts apply to you personally, and share it with us in writing.
2. Alcoholism is addiction to alcohol- not to other liquids. Some call alcohol a trigger since it triggers cravings for more alcohol. What is your personal experience with certain foods or food substances as triggers .
3. What is your experience with the following: bingeing, overeating, starving, vomiting (purging).
4. Share your understanding of the concepts: food addiction, compulsive eating.
This should keep you busy for a while
The Fourth Quarter Newcomer's Orientation
Our last orientation of the year will begin on October 1st and will run until December 31st, when the newcomers will be moved to OAOnline.
During their 12 week time in the Orientation, they will be presented topics to read and share. Among them are:The Basics, The Twelve Steps, The Twelve Traditions, A Plan of Eating,Sponsorship, The Three-Legged Stool, Literature, The TRG Website, TRG Services and Loops, Meetings (Online and face-to-face), Service, How to Share.
In essence it's everything a newcomer needs to know. In addition, they are introduced to the Newcomer meetings and are give directions on how to access them and when they are.
At the end of their orientation period, they will be ready to begin to work the steps with a sponsor if they aren't already doing so.
It is as much a learning experience for me as it is for them.
So if an any of you are new to OA and need to get into OA101, this is the place to start!!
Love In Recovery and Service,
At the end of this invitation, we'd like you to read the welcome letter Ray plans to send to all who participate in the Big Book Workshop. In his letter, you will learn a lot about who Ray is, what his plans are for the workshop and why he wants to do this. We know you'll enjoy reading it.
Once Bill W. was asked how he described the 12 Step Program in simple terms. Bill replied, "I certainly can. It is a complete mystery shrouded in utter simplicity."
If you would like to explore this complete mystery with us by attending the Big Book Workshop, you will welcomed with open arms. To do so, just send a blank email to:
The Workshop will focus on three things:
You do not need to purchase a copy of the Big Book to attend the workshop. Most of you receiving this invitation probably already have one. The AABB is available for everyone online at: http://www.AA.org/bigbookonline/
The "problem" is "That we were alcoholic and could not manage our own lives. That probably no human power could have relieved our alcoholism." Page 60.
The "solution" is "That God could and would if He were sought." Page 60.
The Big Book is all about finding "a power greater than yourself which will solve your problem." Page 45.
We look forward to seeing you and discussing all this and much more together.
See you there.
Ray J, Facilitator
The Big Book Workshop
As the Moderator for this Workshop, I am looking forward to sharing MY Experience, Strength and Hope with each and everyone of you, to make the Road to a Happy Destiny, a delightful journey.
I will be using only TWO books; the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, and the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous. We will simply, in our
minds, change the words Alcohol to Food, Alcoholic to Compulsive Overeater, Drinking to Overeating, etc. etc. etc. I will be utilizing the THIRD Edition of the AA Big Book. We are going to build a House of Serenity, for each one of us to live in; not for a day, a week, or a month, but from this day forth!
I was taught that the longest journey in the World, begins with a single step; and for us, that of course, is Step One. Currently, there is NO SET TIMELINE as to when this Workshop will "end". The only promise that I can offer to each of you, is the commitment I made 37 years ago, when I first joined O.A. That commitment was made to G-D and my Sponsor, that I would never be too tired, or too busy, within the realm of reason, to share my ESH with another Human Being, or Beings. I have been privileged and honored by O.A. to keep that "Oath" for 37 years.
A little about me, please.....I am ONLY 77 years YOUNG; have been Married to the best woman in the World for ONLY 55 years. I have been ABSTINENT from Compulsive Overeating for 37 years, One Day At A Time, and MAINTAINING a 55 lb. weight LOSS for that period of time. The PROMISES have, and currently are, working each day in my life; and I live Happy, Joyous and Free, One Day At A Time :-)
I will be offering you NO OPINIONS; I WILL ONLY BE SHARING "THE PATH THAT I HAVE WALKED, AND STILL AM WALKING, for as long as I have been in O.A. IF, when I am sharing, you think you hear something that you CANNOT ACCEPT, or CANNOT USE AT THIS MOMENT, I ask only that you take that information and file it away, for future delivery. From the moment we start the actual Big Book Workshop, will be the moment that each of us will notice that our lives ARE changing for the BETTER.
Questions about the Program will always be welcome from each of you; and if I have NOT HAD the ESH to help you, I will make it a point to find out. Never will I try to impress you, with an off-the-wall opinion or poor answer. I am looking forward to being of "SERVICE" to all of you; and FOR ME, I define "SERVICE" as "The Act of One (me, in this case) done on behalf of another (each of you, in this case) for the BENEFIT OF EVERYONE.
So come join us and let's be happy, joyous and free together.
BigBookWorkshopemail@example.com or click the Big Book above.
Blessings to Each of You and Yours,
From G-D and Ray
(and ALWAYS in THAT order!)
QUOTE OF THE MONTH:
"I am responsible for myself; my recovery, my well-being,
all these things are, ultimately, my own responsibility."
ABSTINENT RECIPE OF THE MONTH
GRILLED VEGETABLE SKEWERS
Plenty of fresh herbs make this a healthy and delicious side dish.
1 red or yellow pepper, cored, seeded, de-ribbed, and cut into twelve 1 1/2-inch pieces
6 ounces zucchini, sliced into twelve 1/2-inch rounds
6 ounces red onion, cut into twelve 1 1/2-inch pieces
12 whole crimini or button mushrooms
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon chopped Italian parsley
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon minced shallots
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup canola oil
In a large bowl, combine all prepared vegetables.
To make dressing, place all dressing ingredients in a food processor or blender and process until well mixed. Pour dressing over vegetables. Allow vegetables to marinate in the refrigerator for two to three hours or overnight.
Prepare a hot barbeque grill. Thread vegetables onto four skewers, alternating between the kinds of veggies. Three of each should be on each skewer. When barbeque is hot, place skewers on grill and cook for five to seven minutes per side, turning once.
Once veggies are cooked, remove from grill and keep warm. Serve as a side dish with favorite entrée?or over mixed greens with dressing of choice.
Makes four skewers. (serving size = 1 skewer)
Fat = 65.6 % total calories
HEALTH AND PHYSICAL RECOVERY
I'm delighted to share my thoughts on physical recovery. It is a big part of my program. Without it we might as well be some other 12 step or spiritual program. But I am here because I have a physical addiction and a mental obsession to certain foods and eating behaviors and a desire to have a healthy relationship with food, with my body, with a HP, with myself and with others.
Truth be told, I came to OA because I was fat and I hated the way I looked. I had tried everything to lose weight but I was still fat. I was able to lose weight for a while but the desire to eat always got the better of me. Having grown up with and married alcoholics, I came to realize my problem with food was very similar to the alcoholic's problem with alcohol. Since AA worked for alcoholics, I thought that OA might work for me. At the time I didn't think there was anything wrong with me but being fat. But I was to learn that my excess weight was only a symptom of my disease.
When I first came into OA, I had experience with a couple of other 12 step programs. These programs were pretty strong in my area and there were lots of meetings. I did not find that to be true for OA. There were few meetings and few members. And I did not "see" a lot of recovery among the members..which is to say, not many people had physical recovery, even though they had been in program for years. This did not make a good impression on me. After all, if I went to an AA meeting and everyone was drunk, I would be sure the program didn't work.
Fortunately I had heard that I should try at least 6 meetings before I made up my mind, so I went to all the meetings I could. I finally found group that has a few committed members with long term recovery..and they had physical recovery. I would have preferred a meeting at a different time or day, but I have made this my home group since the people there have what I want..recovery on all 3 levels, spiritual, emotional and physical. None of the members look like movie stars, but most of them are at a healthy body weight. They look healthy and happy. They have a spark in their eyes and a glow about them. For me, that's what recovery is all about.
Physical recovery is an important part of my recovery today. In addition to abstaining from my personal trigger foods, and eating according to a balanced personal food plan, I have made regular physical exercise a part of my daily life. I have found that I cannot find a balance between the amount of healthy food I need to feel satisfied and a normal body weight unless I exercise.
Fortunately, I am now pretty healthy for my age, and at normal body weight. This was not always true. At 200 lbs (I'm 5'4") I had high cholesterol and my Dr. had started me on medication. I was pre-diabetic and have a family history of diabetes. I was in constant pain and could hardly walk from a problem with my feet (Plantar Fasciitis)which the doctors said would be helped if I lost weight. And I have a congenital hearth rhythm problem..which can only be made worse when there is more strain on the heart. Today I take only a few supplements and see my Dr. once a year for a regular checkup.
Physical recovery is not the most important part of my program. I have several parts of my program and they are all important. But I believe that being in harmony with my body and my health is what my HP would have me be. It helps me feel good..and helps me feel good about myself. Those were both things that I lacked before program.
Part of my desire to maintain my physical recovery is that I feel that I might be the only example of recovery that some people will ever see. I would hope that they would see that recovery in all areas of their life is possible. That they can be happy, healthy helpful and whole and free of the compulsion to either drug themselves or abuse themselves with food.
Accepting only part of the promises isn't enough for me. Accepting only partial recovery isn't enough either. I'd be cheating myself if I didn't allow myself the whole thing...spiritual, emotional and physical recovery. It's possible..even probable if I just follow a few simple suggestions and take a few steps.
*Note: The Mayo Clinic and Foundation Is one of the most respected names in education and research today. In the interest of medical education and research, we are pleased to share with you the views of The Mayo medical eduction and research in regard to meditation. We hope this tool will aid our readers as they work their program of recovery from compulsive eating.
"Meditation techniques have been practiced for thousands of years. Originally the goal was to help individuals deepen their understanding of the sacred and mystical forces of life. And for many, meditation continues to be a spiritual and religious practice. Variations of meditative practice are found in all of the world's religions.
But for a growing number of people, meditation is about clearing your mind and focusing on the moment. So how do you meditate and where do you find the inspiration to quiet your mind? Follow these steps to explore different types of meditation.
What is meditation?
Meditation is a complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) practice that falls under the category of mind-body techniques. These types of therapies strengthen communication between your body and your mind. Other types of mind-body techniques include support groups, hypnosis, biofeedback, and creative outlets such as art, music or dance therapy.
While there are different paths to meditation, in general, when you're meditating, you're concentrating. The focus of your concentration can be anything — an object, a sound or even your own breathing. The goal of meditation is to focus on the moment, clearing away your worries.
How does meditation help?
Meditation isn't typically used in place of traditional therapies, such as medications your doctor prescribes. Instead, you might use meditation to supplement your other treatments. Meditation can also be used by people who are perfectly healthy as away to reduce stress.
Medical research into meditation is limited, and the validity of some studies has been questioned. Keeping that in mind, some research shows that meditation may be beneficial for certain conditions when used along with medications or other interventions recommended by your doctor, including:
* High blood pressure
* Heart disease
Because meditation can relieve stress, it might also be helpful if you have a condition that's worsened by stress. Meditation may reduce the stress-related effects of allergies, asthma, chronic pain and arthritis, among others.
What are the different types of meditation?
Several different forms of meditation exist. Meditation can involve movement or complete stillness. Here are some different types of meditation.
Concentration meditation: Calming your mind
Concentration meditation involves focusing your attention on a single object. Objects of meditation can include your breathing, an image you visualize in your mind or a real image you look at, such as a candle flame or sacred icon. One purpose of concentration meditation is to help you focus your attention and concentrate. If you have a lot on your mind and find you're having trouble concentrating in your everyday life, take a break to meditate and return to your project refreshed. Here are some examples.
* Breathe deeply. If you're a beginner, consider starting with this technique. Breathing is a natural function that you won't have to consciously learn. You simply pay attention to your breathing — how it feels when air enters or leaves your nostrils. Don't follow it down to your lungs. When you feel your attention wander, gently return your focus to your breathing.
* Scan your body. When using this technique, you'll focus your attention on sensations, such as pain, tension, warmth or relaxation in different parts of your body. Combine body scanning with breathing exercises and imagine breathing heat or relaxation into and out of different parts of your body.
* Repeat a sacred name or phrase. A mantra is the name of a sacred deity or a sacred phrase that you repeat silently or aloud. You can create your own mantra, if you'd like. Mantras are the building blocks of transcendental meditation. Examples of religious mantras include a Jesus prayer in the Christian tradition, the holy name of God in Judaism, or the om mantra of Tibetan Buddhism.
* Exercise your imagination. A related practice is guided imagery, in which someone's voice, whether taped or live, directs you through a visualization exercise. once you reach a state of deep relaxation, most likely through meditation, you create a visual image of whatever the person directing the exercise suggests. Perhaps it's a peaceful place, such as a garden, where you feel calm and safe.
Meditation in motion: A conscious blend of body and mind
Meditation that includes movement can be spontaneous and free-form or involve highly structured, choreographed, repetitive patterns. This type of meditation may be particularly helpful if you find it hard to sit still. The following are examples:
* Yoga. Yoga involves a series of postures, during which you pay special attention to your breathing — exhaling during certain movements and inhaling with others. You can approach yoga as a way to promote physical flexibility, strength and endurance or as a way to enhance your spirituality.
* Tai chi. Tai chi involves gentle, deliberate circular movements combined with deep breathing. As you concentrate on the motions of your body, you develop a feeling of peace and tranquility.
* Qi gong. This technique arises from ancient China. Similar to yoga and tai chi, it integrates physical postures, breathing techniques and focused attention.
* Walking meditation. Combining a walk with meditation is an efficient and healthy way to relax. You can use this technique anywhere — in a tranquil forest, on a city sidewalk or even inside a building where you work. When you use this method, slow down the pace of walking so that you can focus on each movement of your legs or feet. Don't focus on a particular destination. Concentrate on your legs and feet, repeating action words such as "lifting," "moving" and "placing" as you lift each foot, move your leg forward and place your foot on the ground. You can substitute other words if you like. Some people prefer to signal the beginning and end of a walking meditation with a ritual, such as the ringing of a bell, a ceremonial bow, silent prayer or spoken words of thankfulness.
* Sufi walking or dancing. A form of moving meditation that developed in medieval Islam, you'll walk or dance in a rhythmic fashion while chanting. From the Islamic perspective, the intent of the chant is to focus your mind on a specific quality of God, or Allah. If you're Muslim and want to focus on strength and courage, you could walk or dance with forceful steps, arms swinging, and chant "Allah akbar," meaning "God is great." You can merge this meditation technique with any faith tradition and focus on any sacred object or deity. If you don't consider yourself spiritual or religious, you could focus on an aspect of a phenomenon, such as birth or nature, and chant words or phrases symbolic of that phenomenon.
Soothing your spirit: Reflection on meaning and purpose in your life
Do you find that you feel more hopeful after attending a worship service? Do you enjoy taking time to read a daily meditation? Many people find that taking the time to sing, pray, read and reflect on the meaning and purpose of life with like-minded people helps them face life's challenges. Consider these examples:
* Engage in prayer. The best known and most widely practiced example of meditation is prayer. Spoken and written prayers are found in most faith traditions. You can pray using your own words or read prayers written by others. Check the self-help or 12-step-recovery section of your local bookstore for examples. Talk with your rabbi, priest, pastor or other spiritual leader about resources. You may also consider joining a prayer group.
* Read or listen and take time to reflect. Many people report that they benefit from reading poems or sacred texts silently or aloud, and taking a few moments to quietly reflect on the meaning that the words bring to mind. You can listen to sacred music, spoken words or any music you find relaxing or inspiring. You may want to write your reflections in a journal or discuss them with a friend or spiritual leader.
* Focus your love and gratitude. In this type of meditation, you focus your attention on a sacred object or being, weaving feelings of love and gratitude into your thoughts. You can also close your eyes and use your imagination or gaze at re presentations of the object. The adoration of the Holy Eucharist is an example found in Roman Catholicism.
Meditation can calm your mind, relax your body and soothe your spirit. If you're interested in meditation, consider these suggestions as you get started:
* Select a meditation technique that fits your lifestyle and belief system. Many people build meditation into their daily routine. For example, you can start your day with a prayer or take a 15-minute walking meditation break in the afternoon. At the end of your workday, you may find inner peace by attending a yoga or tai chi class at your community center.
* Set aside some time. Start with 5-minute meditation sessions once or twice a day and work up to 20 minutes each time. Unless you have an excellent innate sense of time, keep a clock nearby and glance at it occasionally, or set an alarm that's not jarring when it goes off.
* Keep trying. Be kind to yourself as you get started. If you're meditating to calm your mind and your attention wanders, slowly return to the object, sensation or movement you're focusing on. You can use an image to bring yourself back to your focus if you'd like. Try this: Picture balloons floating away with your thoughts, or imagine your thoughts as pigeons and mentally clap your hands to get them to fly away. Apply this technique to your worries.
* Make meditation part of your life. Many people prefer to start and end their day with a period of meditation. Others prefer to take meditation breaks during the day. Experiment and you'll likely find out what works best for you.
Meditation is simple and inexpensive. It requires only your time and effort, and the risks are minimal. If you're interested in achieving some relaxation, give meditation a try.
© 1998-2005 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER)
MY PERSONAL TRAFFIC COP
Toxic Thoughts and Healthy Tools
My name is Carrie and I'm a compulsive overeater and anorexic. My recovery has revealed the toxicity of my body-image and I am humbled and relieved to admit that--maybe now I can begin to recover from that.
I grew up a binge eater, food hider and sneaker, and all those things. Looking back in my conscious memory, I cannot remember a time in my past when I did not do those behaviors. That is not what drove me to therapy at the age of 23. Instead, it was the consecutive deaths of several family members. Those tragic occurrences did show me that therapy could help me deal with other issues in my life, including my food and body-image issues. Therapy alone didn't work, but it helped me get the strength to go to OA and in conjunction with meetings and stepwork, I found growth and recovery.
I had one particular therapist who was "just my type". She was willing to work on exercises and tools with me that worked for me--very symbolic and concrete things. I want to share two of these exercises with the recovery community because they were so helpful to me. The first highly effective tool I was shown was--[drumroll please]--a rubber band. One of the toxic practices I engaged in which fueled my body-hatred was comparison and judging. I was always comparing my body to every single other person's. At the time, I was a returning college student on a campus where the ratio was three women to every man! You can imagine the competition--but I was already in a partnership. Of course, the disease doesn't recognize logic like that--it only made me compare myself to others' chest size, height, tan, hair color, fashion sense, and on and on. This practice was killing me! It made it harrowing to walk across campus. My therapist directed me to wear a rubber band on my wrist and snap it every time I compared myself to another person or judged another person's appearance. It worked! The snap of the rubber band did two things: it brought me back to my consciousness in the present moment--back to my own body, and it demonstrated that these thoughts are PAINFUL and undermining.
The other tool that really brought a break-through for me was a conversation with my inner critic, whom I called the "traffic cop". No offense to anyone on the police force, but this identity came from a dream I had and feelings I have about authority. Yes, that voice in my head controlled my every move and paralyzed me with fear. My therapist drew an outline of this figure on a big piece of butcher paper and titled it "traffic cop." Then she said, "now tell him what it's like having him in your life." It only took a moment for me to burst into tears as I told him about the pain and agony of living in his shadow and under the weight of terror and oppression that he brought upon me. The moment that really broke me was saying how many things I had missed doing because of his criticism and the fear he caused. It dawned on me that I had been living a half-life, thanks to this manifestation of the many abusive voices I had encountered in my life and absorbed into my identity.
I'm not saying either exercise is a "cure" forever (what is???), but they certainly helped me "clean up" my thoughts and start living healthfully in mind and spirit.
THOUGHTS FROM ISRAEL
I am Leeanne, a compulsive overeater living in Israel. This poem was written when I was 20 and had been in OA for a few months. I had lost some weight but had also begun to lose some of the shame that I carried with me from the time I was a young child.
The poem was written to and for my first sponsor in the program (in 1978), shortly before I left the United States.
that you can ever know
how fully you helped me
and how much I love you.
as you, the sculptor,
shaped my soul
and helped me to present
my own message.
I had come to you
encased in stone,
boxed into years of self
and you, armed with your kindness and your understanding,
helped me out.
in my freedom,
I must go.
is the knowledge that
my freedom and my going
stand as testimony
to your creative art
and of my love for you.
From OA's Lifeline
By looking at me, you probably would not realize I am a superhero — but I am. Of course, I wear a disguise. I have to. Superheroes work best under cover of anonymity.
I used to have the power of invisibility, which resulted from my weight of 450 pounds (204 kg). The condition of morbid obesity rendered me invisible to the average mortal. I could walk or hobble out in the world with or without my cane, and nary a person noticed my presence. I walked among others, but I walked alone. Most people who have never suffered from obesity believe that fat is impossible to miss. Ironically, the reverse is true.
Today I wear a different superhero costume, which is much smaller. I am 5 feet 11 inches (180 cm) tall and weigh 185 pounds (84 kg). Others look at me and think I am normal. They do not see my secret identity. I am not the mild-mannered receptionist I appear to be.
I am a superhero, but it’s not for the power to remain unseen because others abhor the sight of me. It’s not even because I’ve lost weight; I still have weight to lose. I am a superhero because I save lives by being abstinent. Every day that I refrain from compulsive overeating, bingeing and eating my binge foods, I am saving my life.
I am also providing the greatest service I can to my fellow sufferers. When I am abstinent, I prove that others can be abstinent too. I nearly ate myself to death, suffocating my organs. I destroyed my gallbladder, nearly ruined my liver and almost died from pancreatitis. I had two knee surgeries due to morbid obesity (both before the age of 40) and went bankrupt trying to support my eating habit. I lost jobs because of my obesity and the related medical complications. I tried to kill myself. When I ate compulsively, I was trying to kill myself, but slowly. I’m talking about the not-so-pretty way to die. I had no hope and saw death as my only option.
That is not who I am now. Today I am abstinent. It is my priority, and everything else takes a back seat. Without abstinence, I have no life — only an existence.
I have an online sponsor because recovery is lacking where I live. I write my online sponsor everyday and give her my food. I call her once a week. I attend and give service at every face-to-face OA meeting available in my area. I go to online OA meetings every day, with few exceptions. I read OA literature daily. I stay away from my binge foods because they are poison for me. I would not eat them any more than I would drink battery acid. I make friends with my fellow sufferers, whether they are abstinent or not.
I am a superhero, and I guarantee that you are a superhero to someone. We superheroes have a responsibility. We need to do the next right thing. When we mess up, we don’t have the luxury of wondering and wallowing in the why. We have to pick ourselves up, stop the bleeding and keep moving forward.
Today I saved a life: mine. Please save yours. I need you in this battle. Just for today, be abstinent.
— Amy M., Locust Grove, Virginia USA
FROM TRG'S WRITER'S SERIES
ABSTINENCE AND FAITH
This was my response to a question/statement from my home loop.
"Why is it that the word abstinence irritates me so???
I feel angry just thinking about it." [name withheld]
A quick definition from my gut says it means "doing without", and I don't want to do without. I want whatever I want just exactly when I want it. To think about "doing without" can be irritating. :-)
My mind set had to change and to think about the fact that IF I remove something from my life, something else will take it's place. Law of nature, create a vacuum and something will be sucked into it. If my spiritual channels are open then it will be something good.
Hope, Trust, Faith, three words that have new meaning in my life today.
Hope begins it ... wanting for things to be better, finding someone or something that has overcome the same things I have to overcome and studying how they did it.
Trust is next ... in something greater than me, could be the program, could be the meetings, could be anything that I can consider my Higher Power, used to be food, then program people, then The program, then God, and I believe it will always, eventually, be God (as I misunderstand Him, by whatever name I call Him).
I dabble a bit, I commit to doing something different for a short amount of time... if after that time and effort things are better, then I can begin to believe and "trust" that my life can be changed, IF I am honest in my efforts and evaluations.
Faith comes from having a track record of built up trust, I had to prove to myself with the small, baby steps that change could be made, I can then begin to believe that even more major changes can be made if I allow it, if I make the effort, if I am honest about it... if I am sincere in my desire to change and willing to trust, one more time, that the effort will be worth it.
Detoxing from my addictive substances, sugar and excessive fats, was the most irritating and uncomfortable few weeks of my life, I didn't think I would be able to get through it without those substances, but after a few days, the craving became less, and less, and less....
Food thoughts are rare now and pass quickly, but they are still there, if I am not vigilant about it and begin to think I am cured now, I could be right back into my addiction very quickly ... Knowing that those substances are poison to me keeps them out of my life.
I've learned that I cannot afford to let myself think, especially in the beginning of something new, that it will be 'forever', that's just too much to fathom, I can only be concerned with today, just until I lay down at the end of my day and go to sleep, and I can do anything for just one day!! I truly believe that! Tomorrow is another story, but just for today I can follow this plan the way I laid it out this morning... and that's all I focus on.
Each morning I say my prayers to begin my day and get my thinking on the spiritual path, I plan my day, and each night I say thanks for whatever happened, and try to find the value in the tests, and serenity in the results of my day, but always now trusting that whatever happened it was something I could learn from, something that would benefit me.
This is major for me, as I was one who could find the smallest negative aspect of anything and make it a mountain, I am now learning to do that with the positive side of things, and those things are the miracles of this program.
Stay long enough for the miracles to happen, they will!!
love and hugs,
Reporter ~ Solicit Articles
Rachel ~ themaddenfamily@GMAIL.COM
Tina ~ oarecovery@YAHOO.COM
Carrie ~ firstname.lastname@example.org
Gerri ~ yarmak@AOL.COM
Heidi ~ skipdun@MYCLEARWAVE.NET
Leeanne ~ Leeanne.SHILO@3DS.COM
Reporter ~ Contact Members For Stories
Carrie ~ email@example.com
Gerri ~ yarmak@AOL.COM
Heidi ~ skipdun@MYCLEARWAVE.NET
Leeanne ~ Leeanne.SHILO@3DS.COM
Reporter ~ Find Pre-written Recovery Related Material
Sharon ~ loop92@YAHOO.COM
Gerri ~ yarmak@AOL.COM
Heidi ~ skipdun@MYCLEARWAVE.NET
Leeanne ~ Leeanne.SHILO@3DS.COM
Carrie ~ c.beckerfishman@GMAIL.COM
Sharon ~ loop92@YAHOO.COM
Jennifer ~ firstname.lastname@example.org
Leeanne ~ Leeanne.SHILO@3DS.COM
Heidi ~ email@example.com
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.