Sunday, February 6, 2011

Charlie Takes a Trip

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

::Hi, Charlie!::

I’m in a small Midwestern airport typing on my laptop while the rest of the world (or so it seems) is watching the Super Bowl. And you know what? I’m cool with it. I’ve never been much of a sports guy anyway.  I actually had to ask my sister who was playing.

The Super Bowl for me has always been about three things: commercials, friends and food. Not necessarily in that order. So I’m incredibly gift of OA-HOW and the willingness to stay abstinent today. In fact, this whole last week has been a gift. I have a lot to write about, and I have a lot of time to write it. I’ll have a lot more time if they cancel my flight, which was supposed to have taken off one minute ago but which has not even arrived yet. God, grant me the serenity…

So, as my faithful readers will recall, I have been at a conference in Chicago all week. It was actually my eleventh time at this particular conference, and I have many good friends and memories of this one particular hotel/conference center where we all stayed together. It’s a good thing we like each other, because we were literally snowbound. I arrived Monday afternoon, and Tuesday evening ushered in the third largest blizzard in Chicago history. Flights were canceled, planned outings into the city never materialized, workshops and seminars were canceled because their leaders couldn’t get there.

As I was flying out of Tulsa, an epic snowstorm (for Oklahoma) was rolling in. I just made it out in time. Mrs. Charlie and the kids were housebound until Saturday. No school, no work. To be honest, I was a little jealous. It sounded so good be all together with nowhere to go. Although I would have been stir-crazy after a day or two, I’m sure.

Monday was an odd day. I got into my room, got all set up with my refrigerator and delivered groceries (Thank you,!), and then wandered to the lobby. I had forgotten that lonely feeling. Who will I see first? Who will I hang out with? Are others as excited to see me as I am to see them? All my insecurities came out to play, and I hoped and prayed that someone would call or text ME… “Hey, you here yet? Let’s hang…” Eventually I ran into an old friend and we sat in a bar for a couple hours. It was good. That first awkward afternoon was over, and I could get on with what I came to do.

I have to admit that I loved all the attention I got over my weight loss. I have lost at least 55 pounds since most of these people had seen me. It was nice to wear my skinny shirts and look good in them! No more straining buttons, no more saggy pants. I know it’s not about the weight. I really do. And man, do I love being at a normal weight.

I led a workshop on Wednesday. I was given a very large budget from our denomination for this workshop, and there were a lot of expectations. I had to deliver. We had about 40 participants, and I had to keep them engaged for 3-1/2 hours. So, being the people-pleaser that I am, I was already worried about making everyone happy. I couldn’t imagine having enough material to fill the time. And then there was the weather. Five of the eight people who were scheduled to help me present the material ended up unable to be with us due to the weather. One guy had flown in from Denver and was in Chicago but couldn’t make it up to our hotel because it was so bad! I stayed up so late the night before. Only got about 3-1/2 hours of sleep. But I prayed about it, talked to my sponsor in the morning, talked to G. Rabanon and a few other program friends… and then turned it over to God and trusted that it would all work out exactly the way it was supposed to work out.

It did! It did! The workshop far exceeded my wildest dreams. Rather than having too little material, I had too much! People were totally engaged and responding enthusiastically. I was able to find suitable fill-ins for the people who couldn’t be there, and, who knows? They may have even been better than the people I had planned to have there. The reviews were uniformly positive. And I was able to see more clearly than I ever have before that I really am gifted in moderating and facilitating discussion. Thank God for a wonderful day.

And then I could just rest and enjoy the rest of conference! I talked for hours and hours with good friends, I prayed and sang, I watched a movie, I slept a lot. It was good.

And I worked the program. Every day. I made my three hookup calls. I talked to my sponsor. I planned and committed my food every morning. I did my stepwork. And I ate my abstinent meals. Thanks be to God.

A touchdown just occurred on the TV in the bar behind me. I don’t know which team, but good for them.

Friday I took a bus from Chicago to the small town in northern Indiana where my parents live. I relaxed and read the whole way. Have you read Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides? I love this novel. Anyway, I arrived at my parents’ house, and my brother and sister and their families came over, and we all had dinner together. I made my own. I spend yesterday and today with my family, and then dad brought me over to the airport a little bit ago. And here I wait.

I can’t wait to see how this story ends tonight! Does Charlie make it to Chicago? Does Charlie make it to Tulsa or have to spend the night in the airport or get re-routed to Denver? What does Charlie do for food? (Charlie stupidly packed his scale and measuring cups/spoons in his checked luggage.) Will Charlie get in his last hook-up call as he calls people during the Superbowl. Only God knows as this continuing saga unfolds.


But wait! There’s more! So I was sitting in Indiana, writing that post, when G. called. We were chatting happily when I realized there was an eerie silence all around me. My plan was boarding! And I was all spread out all over… computer open, food out… I had to run for it. They were literally yelling at me that they were shutting the door in 40 seconds. OMG.

And now I’m sitting on the ground near a power outlet in Chicago’s O’Hare Airport. It’s looking good. The flight to Tulsa is delayed, but I’m gonna get home tonight. Thank you, God.

Maybe tomorrow I’ll write about body image. I’ve been threatening to for some time now. It all culminated last night when my dad told me I look like a cancer patient. Nice.


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Sabilon said...

Hi Charlie, you sound amazing! I hadn't looked at your blog for ages bec. nothing was happening there after Thanksgiving. I am so inspired. I am struggling with my food, have gained 1 stone over the last year (I just wrote '2 stone', can you believe it? - That's my mind!) I want that serenity that I can see in your airport entry, and I love your honesty. Great also that you can see your talent! Have spoken to my sponsor and we agreed on some recovery measures. Am on step 4 again, feels like a relief. Get it all out there... Greetings to you! S.

Charlie O. Edinburgh said...

So nice to hear from you, Sabilon! Glad to be in this together with you.

Sabilon said...

Yes! Am now looking forward to reading about your celebrations. I have been cleaning up my food, am praying while planning meals, when I prepare them and before, during and after the meal. It's going well. Am also focussing on meals I really like. I tend to set myself up by planning meals that I don't want to eat, and then I can do it MY WAY. Now I have to send an e-mail to my sponsor, state what my plan is and end with the sentence, 'I am really looking forward to this, K....! I tell you, it helps me to be honest. I can't type that sentence when I am NOT looking forward... With warm greetings from across the oceans, in fellowship, Sabilon