Monday, September 27, 2010

More About My H.O.W. Program

Good evening, friends! My name is Charlie, and I'm a compulsive overeater.

::Hi, Charlie!::

Last week I posted general information about the H.O.W. program. Today I'll post some more specific information, including how *I* work the program on a day to day basis.

It's important to remember that this is just one man's program. I don't want to imply that this is the right way to do it or that I've got my act all together. I am grateful for the structured approach that H.O.W. gives me, because nothing else was working for me. Another point I want to make is that so much depends upon one's sponsor. As I described in this post, I really believe God brought me into this program at this time in my life and matched me with just the right sponsor. It was an amazing experience of "right time, right place," and everything sort of fell into place. My sponsor has stressed to me that one cannot give what one does not have, so she is big on giving me the program the way it was given to her. She's a follower of the H.O.W. structure, and so I am too.

The "guidelines" I agree to in order to work with my sponsor...
  1. See a nutritionist or medical professional to decide upon a food plan. I had a "temporary" food plan that everyone is given until we can see the nutritionist.
  2. Plan food in advance, commit that food to my sponsor every morning - on the phone - at a predetermined time.
  3. Do daily reading in the AA Big Book or 12 & 12. Write based on questions that are given to me. (These are the questions that guide me through the Steps.) Share my writing with my sponsor every morning when I call her to commit my food.
  4. Call in all food changes to a sponsor. For instance, if I need to change something... Maybe I realize I don't have what I thought I had or the salad has gone bad... I can't just switch. I have to get my sponsor or another H.O.W. sponsor on the phone and get that change approved. This keeps me from making decisions on a whim. There needs to be a good reason. I can't be making my own decisions about food.
  5. I agree to weigh and measure all my food. Even in restaurants.
  6. I had to agree not to eat in any restaurants for the first 30 days.
  7. I agree to talk live on the phone with at least three other OA members every day. We call these "hook up calls" or "outreach calls."
  8. I agree to only weigh myself once a month.
  9. I think many H.O.W. members attend more than one meeting per week. My sponsor is OK with my going to only one per week. I attend a Saturday morning face to face meeting. But she encourages me to try O.A.-H.O.W. phone meetings. One of these evenings I plan to.
I was overwhelmed at first. I thought there was no way to do this, but I have found, one day at a time, that it's possible. It's more than possible. It's a new way of life. And it's bringing me life.

I will not give anyone the food plan, because I don't want anyone to make the mistake of trying to use this structure like a diet. All the parts are important, and it's NOT just about weight loss, although that's a great piece of it. We are all about spiritual, emotional and physical recovery. Sponsors are happy to get you started with a food plan.

And now I have to go to sleep so I can be up to read and write at 5:30am! I hope this is helpful to someone. I am not ready to sponsor yet, but I might be able to hook you up with a sponsor... Let me know if I can help. You can call (see the link on the right), email or comment here on the blog.


Anonymous said...

Hey Charlie - How nice to meet you. I am enjoying your tweets and blog. Hope you enjoy mine. on Twitter

BTW since this is a public means of communication, you may want to consider not using your last name as per the traditions. Just a thought.

Charlie O. Edinburgh said...

Thanks! FYI, my blog/Twitter name is a pseudonym. It's actually an acronymn, too... See if you can figure it out: Charlie O. Edinburgh! :)

Glad to know you through your blog and the Twitterverse too!

Will said...

Thanks pretty much got to all the questions that I had been thinking about---actually...I am really glad that you clarified something for me: I thought that HOW required you to use their food plan indefinitely, not go to a nutritionist, but that doesn't appear to be the case. I started looking up HOW meetings online and haven't really been able to find specific meetings anywhere near where I am (Midwest)...the regular OA website has meetings listed, but haven't been able to find any w/ a HOW-focus...I feel really good when I read about the structure and focus that this program sounds like it to put those warm fuzzies into action, for me, is another story...

Charlie O. Edinburgh said...

Hey Will, I'm so glad I was able to help answer some questions. Yeah, I was glad to see that HOW allows its members to create a plan of their own... The key point is that we do not make decisions about our food plan by ourselves. We let a doctor or nutritionist develop a plan for us. We commit it to our sponsor. We eat what we say we will eat and we call someone before changing plans.

As far as HOW meetings, I have never been to a HOW meeting. I go to a face-to-face meeting once a week and check in with sponsors and other members throughout the week in phone calls. Lately my sponsor has been encouraging me to try a phone meeting, because that is where a lot of people share experience, strength and hope.

When I do that (not if), I'll certainly blog about it.

memoirs of this binge eating triathlete said...

Sounds pretty intense. Glad you found something that worked.