Thursday, February 18, 2010

"Wounds from a Friend"

My name is Charlie, and I'm a compulsive overeater.

::Hi, Charlie!::

Well. It's been a while, huh? If you've read this blog at all or followed me on Twitter, you know that I've had my ups and downs (literally), and that I've been in relapse now for several weeks. My weight has soared again, and I have just basically given up. I hate myself and my body and at the same time I just stuff and stuff. I "get on plan" for half a day here or there, but I don't go to meetings, I don't have a sponsor, I don't blog every day, I don't work the 12 Steps.

I got a comment yesterday I'd like to share. Since it's in the comments already, I assume it's OK to share "publicly." Here it is, in its entirety:
Okay, I'm gonna be brutal here, since your sponsor isn't doing it.

Your current food plan isn't working. Only you know if it's too restrictive or too loose, but it has to change to something that's a sturdy handrail to abstinence, not a prison and not a flimsy rope.

Weighing yourself daily isn't working. Even the OA literature admits once a month is probably best. And, as a compulsive weigher, myself, my day can be amazing or ruined depending on what my scale tells me. Just like I have to put my scale away, you need to, also.

Skipping meetings isn't working. We're addicts, just like alcoholics and just like drug addicts. We use food to numb and soothe ourselves, to medicate ourselves. People who I've met who step multiple groups say that OA is the hardest because they don't have a "drug plan" or "alcohol plan" to contend with. We need the input of others to help us figure out what works for us. And, food addiction has a horrible side effect--isolation. Isolation is death, because when we isolate, we aren't accountable to anyone. Plus, the people in that room empathize. They know what it's like to feel the siren song from the refrigerator or the bakery or the fast food joint.

Charlie, you're worth it. You're worth the footwork to heal the whole kit and caboodle. Diets don't work, but recovery does. I mean, if it didn't, why would every diet plan out there be offering support to "change the way you eat".

You're the first OA blogger I ever found. You inspired me to know I could do this. Because of you, I'm getting an OA 4 month coin tonight (okay, it's an AA coin with the serenity prayer on the back, but it's still a milestone). You gave me hope that I could find not only a body I could like but recovery of my spirit, heart, mind, and soul. You can do this, Charlie. I have as much faith in that fact as I do in the program. I promise you that you are worth it.
Jess, I almost cried when I read that. Thank you for continuing to check in. Thank you for caring enough to write and challenge me. Thank you for being "brutal." I need it. Proverbs 27:6 says that "wounds from a friend can be trusted."

I commit to going to the OA meeting Saturday morning. I commit to asking someone to sponsor me, if not forever, at least temporarily. I commit to working the steps. I commit to posting here and checking in more regularly. I commit to (gulp) putting away the scale and only weighing once a month.

Honestly, this feels pretty miserable, but I suspect that these commitments will be my salvation.


Down in Sunny San Diego said...

Thank you for being honest about your feelings and checking in. I did notice you hadn't posted in a while (I do read your blog) and wondered if you were struggling. As you know, we are as sick as our secrets. I tell you, the most humbling thing that I did when I was in relapse but was a major breakthrough for me was to talk about what was going on at the group level. I remember sharing at a meeting that I was lying to everyone, that I had broken my abstinence and couldn't admit it, that I had gained weight and was pretending it wasn't happening and that I desperately needed help. Being vulnerable is really hard, but it brings you to your knees in a way that just allows you to breathe again. Sometimes we have to do things that feel completely uncomfortable and against our nature. I have to always ask myself how willing I am to go to any lengths. I certainly did that with food! One day at a time, my friend ;-)

Charlie O. Edinburgh said...

Thanks! I'm grateful for your support.

Jess said...

Hey Charlie,

I have felt like a heel since I wrote that, especially since I, personally, have been struggling with my spiritual recovery and have been putting off finishing my Fourth Step.

However, I also know some day my comment will apply to me, and I hope that you'll be ready to remind me that it's my life I'm saving--inside and out--when I work the program to the best of my ability.

Yours was the blog that brought me knowledge I needed about abstinence and recovery and your blog revealed that it is a fleeting victory if we're not in the fight each and every day. It hurt to see you in pain, and I put my personality before my principles and hurt you more. I could have been more tactful, more polite, more an ambassador than an arbiter of OA. I'm glad it helped in its way, but I'm sad that I was so rough and I was wrong.

I guess the fear of relapse is something I need to work through in my recovery. And I am so happy that you're going back to meetings. I know that without my meetings (and the service I've committed to so I can lock myself into regular attendance in both), I would be walking a slow road to the grave.

And yes, I admire you very much, still, because you're not giving up. You're showing me that if I slip this morning, this afternoon can be lived Just for Today. Pretty inspiring, and I am looking forward to reading you regularly again--even if you're just checking in to write how your day went.

Charlie O. Edinburgh said...

Thank you, Jess. I appreciate your support and help. I am grateful even for the "hurtful" comments. When I said "I almost cried," I meant because I was touched... just to be clear. I appreciated your words. And I am glad you were bold enough to type them.