Monday, August 23, 2010


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

::Hi, Charlie!::

I'm feeling angry today. I am calling people left and right. For a week now I've been making 3+ live outreach calls a day. Sometimes it's awkward. Sometimes I don't know what to say. Sometimes it's easy. Sometimes I can just be there for a friend in need, and sometimes people are there for me. Sometimes it's more like "Hello? Just checking in. How are you doing today? OK. Bye." Check. One down, two to go.

I guess my frustration is toward those people in program who don't call back! I have only received calls from two people out of all the people I've tried to call. I have some long-distance recovery friends. They call (THANK YOU!), but the local ones never do. Am I that scary? Do you not make outreach calls?

I think that's it. The phone is one of the tools which is rarely used. I know from experience how hard it is to call. I'm facing it every day, and honestly I'm probably only making some of these calls because I have to. But come on, people. A little reciprocation would make my day.


Ms. Chunky Chick said...

Well i can't imagine the frustration. Keep at it and make sure u always return calls. Its upsetting that these people are going through the same thing, so know how hard it is. Wishing u the best

The Binge Diary said...

That is frustrating. I know how scary reaching out can be.
Maybe those people are just afraid to call back. Sometimes I am afraid to talk if I feel bad. I just think "why would this stranger want to get/receive a call from a crying, miserable stranger?"

G. Rabanon said...

You know, I often have a lot of trouble calling people back. It's a source of guilt and shame for me, and I'm not really sure why it is. Part of it is just the procrastination thing... I think "I'll do it later" until later never comes. Part of it is sometimes the anxiety of being "on the spot" on the phone with someone, especially someone who needs *me* rather than the other way around- it can be very difficult to internalize the idea that every program call we engage in is equally helpful to both parties on principle. I feel like I need to pull out chaplaincy skills that I haven't begun learning yet (you don't get to do chaplaincy in 1st year at my school) and OMG what if I say the wrong thing?

It is very frustrating when you make the effort to reach out and the person on the other end, for whatever reason, won't reach back... but we're ll sick and suffering in this program, we're all working at our own pace, as best we know how. Some of us struggle more with certain character defects than others. Your frustration is absolutely valid. But I would suggest that you also try to pray for the people toward whom you feel the frustration, that they should have help in overcoming whatever hangups are contributing to their inability or unwillingness to reach out in turn.

And no Charlie, you are not scary :)

Charlie O. Edinburgh said...

Thanks for your kind words, everyone. I got through the day. Actually ended up talking with 4 people! So... it always works out. Also, my sponsor says she is reasonable, and if I somehow don't make all three calls, I won't necessarily lose my abstinence. Most people in HOW have to start their day count and their reading/writing assignments all over, drop their sponsees for 30 days... it's very intense. But my sponsor says if I can honestly - with integrity before my HP - say that I gave it my best effort and could not get my 3 calls in, then we'll just be honest and talk about it. I'm grateful for that reasonable approach.

I talked to another HOW member yesterday who told me a story of calling over 100 numbers one day, ruining a vacation day, because no one would pick up. It was a holiday. What a drag. That is the point at which structure becomes LAW rather than GRACE. In my faith tradition, the gospels record Jesus saying to the Pharisees at one point... "The Sabbath was made for people, not the other way around." (I think they were criticizing him for healing someone on the Sabbath.) In the same way, we are not here to serve HOW's laws. The HOW structure is here to serve us.

At the same time, I only would say something like that after talking it over with my sponsor and other program friends. My own sick mind makes enough justifications. I need a law to follow. I can't just plead "grace" when I don't like the laws. It's a fine line.

Wow. I just got online to say thanks for the support, and look at all that came out! Funny how that happens.

And thank you, G. I'm glad you're not scared of me. :)