Friday, October 7, 2011

Like the Wind

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

::Hi, Charlie!::

I felt so much yesterday.

I stopped at a Ticketmaster outlet on my way in to work. I was (finally) going to buy tickets to a concert I've been excited about for months. I had saved my pennies, and I was going to take Mrs. Charlie and our two teenaged sons. AND they were sold out.

I checked my email at work, and there was a sweet, concerned email from my mom. Complete with photos. She was worried about me. I'm "too thin" and I "look sick." Now she had thought this before, but this particular email was prompted by "so many people" who were talking to her about me, expressing their concern. I hate that.

My pastor called me in to his office a little later. We are going through a massive change in the way we worship on Sunday mornings. It's been in the works for a long, long time, but we just announced it on Sunday. Now we're dealing with the reactions of those who are happy, mad and every emotion in between. And I think my pastor is finally realizing that there's a lot of actual work to be done! He wants plans, he wants timelines, he wants assurances. He wants it on his desk Tuesday. And I'm overwhelmed.

I had a headache and felt a little barfy all morning.

I got a call from an OA-HOW friend that I used to talk to quite a bit. She was checking in, because she knew I had been considering leaving the structured way we work the program in HOW. So I told her how I was and how it was going, and she was friendly and supportive, but it was obvious to me that she disapproves. I honestly appreciate HOW people (I was one for a year!), and I want to stay in touch with them. I admire their recovery in so many ways, and I am committed to using the tools... of which one is the telephone! But sometimes I sense an unspoken accusation that I am somehow willfully taking an "easier, softer way," and that I'll be back in HOW eventually or else I'll descend into "pitiful and incomprehensible demoralization."  That may be true. I'm a compulsive overeater, and I always will be. And I know that what people think (or what I think they think) is none of my business. So, yeah...

When I talked to my temporary sponsor later in the afternoon, I realized that all of these experiences and feelings are a lot for one day. It's OK for me to feel overwhelmed. And then I was reminded that all of this was happening on the first day without my sponsor. Wow. No wonder I was feeling especially vulnerable. In addition to all the things I was dealing with, I was grieving too. I was feeling, at least on a subconscious level, the loss of my daily check-in with my sponsor. That structure, that order and that accountability is no longer a regular part of my life, and it's a big change. For nearly 14 months, I have talked with her almost every day for 10-15 minutes. That's approximately 4,200 minutes. That's 70 solid hours on the phone with this woman. That's a significant relationship, and I'll miss it in many ways.

And then there are the good feelings I experienced. I got through my first day without my sponsor... I lived through the feelings, and I didn't overeat. I didn't binge. I didn't stray from my food plan, not even a bit. I found that I didn't have to commit each individual piece of my meals. I chose what to eat from meal to meal, and I chose wisely. God gave me the strength and the willingness to stay abstinent for one more day.

I called my parents and had a good discussion with them, encouraging them and assuring them of my health and wellness - while at the same time expressing my feelings about their inappropriate talking behind my back and lack of trust in me... and setting some boundaries for the future. I think we left it in a good place. They're going to let go of their fears and trust that I am being careful, deliberate, medically supervised and healthy. And when people ask them about me and express concern, they are going to defend me instead of getting all worked up and fretting about it.

And last night as I set out on my latest 5-mile run, I felt so strong and confident. I ran faster than I should at first, just because I could. I had this big stupid smile on my face, and I thanked God for my body, my new life, the amazing music playing on my iPod, the community of friends I've found in OA, the amazing cool weather, my beautiful wife and kids, my temporary sponsor, a program that is bigger than any one person or sponsor...

And the ability to run like the wind.

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