Wednesday, April 4, 2012


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

::Hi, Charlie!::

It's Holy Week. For Christians throughout the world, this is an incredibly important time of the year. It's sacred, set apart, a time to reflect on what, for us, brings our life purpose and meaning.

Jesus lived. Jesus died. Jesus rose again. In Him, I die - my flesh is crucified with Him. And in Him, I rise again - I rise with Him to new life, to new meaning and purpose, to new joy, to new hope, to a fuller living experience. And in some mysterious way, I enter the Kingdom of God now. I participate in the everlasting life to come right now.

I may be overwhelmed with preparations for Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday. I may be pulling out my hair prepping for choir practices, band and orchestra rehearsals, narration, pageantry, lighting and media, and all the human drama that goes into working at a church during a very busy time of the year. Yes, I had a hard time even getting a deep breath yesterday, and I wanted to cry on more than one occasion. 

And yet.

Jesus lived. Jesus died. Jesus rose again. And as I surrender to the new life that He births in me, I can abstain - one day at a time - from compulsive overeating. 

Thanks be to God for DAY TEN. A fresh start, a new beginning. Peace, joy, hope and new life to ALL of you: Christian, atheist, Jew, Muslim, Buddhist, Wiccan, agnostic, Hindu. Happiness. Joy. Freedom.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Let White Flags Fly... I Surrender

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

::Hi, Charlie!::

I've been trying to convince myself that I could do this on my own. That I just needed to exercise some self-discipline, work out a few more times each week, talk things over with my wife or my weight-loss buddy. Those things are good, but they're not Program. And I'm a sick man. Somewhere along the way, I contracted a disease

For about 5 months now, I've been back in the insanity, back in the disease of compulsive overeating. I've been counting calories like a madman. Using my iPhone app to track food and exercise. But then you know what I did? I worked out SO THAT I could eat more. I would be in my pantry late at night going, "I still have 27 calories left for today. What can I eat?" I would eat very little all day so that I could binge on chips and peanuts and beer while I watched TV. And those were the days when I actually stuck to the plan. On many other days, I would have that "oh, screw this" moment when I just decided to "start over tomorrow." My weight has gone up and up and up and my sanity and serenity has been further and further away from my daily life.

I have to be honest. I haven't been miserable. You know those people who say "My worst day in recovery is better than my best day before recovery"? I have not experienced that to be true in my life. I had many, many wonderful days both in and out of recovery. I love my life.

Even through this 5-month... "break," I was in touch with some of my OA friends, and even some of my OA-HOW friends. No one judged me. All I got was love. And I was ashamed that I was so unwilling to call them back, to surrender again. I'm grateful for them.

What happened? I wish I knew. God works in me like that sometimes. It was this past Sunday. I had committed my "plan" to a (non-OA) friend and I was all ready to go. And I slipped again. I threw it all out the window. My family went to a Mexican restaurant and I binged on chips and salsa, queso, enchilados, beans, Margaritas... And then, later that night, ice cream. And I knew, in my soul, that I was destined to kill myself with this sickness. I would never be free until I surrendered.

Monday morning I called my sponsor, whom I had not spoken to in months. He was so cool... He told me that it was a God-thing that I had called. The previous day, Sunday, he had told an OA friend of his that he always kept a spot open for his sponsees who had kind of fallen away, because he wanted to be available if they ever called back. The friend thought he was crazy. And then, the very next morning, I called. Wow.

And all day, God kept revealing truth about recovery to me. And I surrendered again. And again. And that day, as I stood in my kitchen measuring and weighing food... I just had to grin because it felt like I was at home. So comfortable and free. And I wasn't counting calories. I had no idea how many calories I was consuming. I wasn't craving things. I wasn't plotting and planning and scheming. I was free.

And last night, as I went for (what turned out to be my fastest-ever) 5K run, I did it NOT so that I could eat more when I got home, but because I want to run again. Because I ran a 9.3-mile race back in October, dammit, and I am not willing to just throw that away! I am sore and tired today, but in a good way.

My sponsor and I talked again, late on Monday night, and I told him my plan. I'm calling him every day. I'm eating on the plan that was given to me by my OA-HOW sponsor 18 months or so ago. I'm not eating sugar or white flour. I'm free from that. It doesn't bring me joy or peace or health. I'm working the Steps, starting with a 4th Step on the last 5 months outside of Program.

On Sunday, I weighed in at 184.4 pounds, up from my low of 160 last August and still down from my high of 240. I'll weigh once a week. It's not about the weight, but it sure is a red flag for me. If my weight is going up all the time, and I can't get it down, then I'm eating compulsively and I need help. I need intervention.

My gratitude to all who've emailed, Tweeted, commented. Your concern for me is awesome, and I'm blown away by the love. I can't promise forever, but I'm here today, and I'm grateful to be in fellowship with you again.

Monday, January 23, 2012

What Now?

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

::Hi, Charlie!::

Even now, after sitting here in the kitchen and eating and eating and eating. Even now, I am in denial. I don't have a problem. I just need to be more careful. I just need to do better. Maybe I should start a new diet tomorrow. Maybe I could count calories or do Weight Watchers.

God, help me. I'm getting up early tomorrow. I have to start doing the things I did when I was abstinent before. That's how it worked for me, right? Why so stubborn?

Friday, January 13, 2012


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

::Hi, Charlie!::

I am so grateful for meetings. I finally got my ass back to a meeting yesterday. I was warmly greeted by two good OA friends and one newcomer. I forget how desperately I need the tools of this program. Why do I keep forgetting?

I'm a compulsive overeater. I need a program of recovery. I need to use the tools. I need meetings.

I'm heading out to another meeting in a little bit. This one is a Christian recovery program based on the 12 Steps and also incorporating Christian teaching, mostly based around Jesus's Sermon on the Mount. It's called "Celebrate Recovery." I went last Friday night and really enjoyed it. Tonight I'll get into a small group. I'm excited because they have one specifically for pastors. I need that.

One of the interesting things they do is use the entire serenity prayer, as written in the 50s by Reinhold Niebuhr:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference, living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time, accepting hardship as a pathway to peace, taking, as Jesus did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it, trusting that You will make all things right if I surrender to Your will, so that I may be reasonably happy in this life, and supremely happy with You forever in the next. Amen.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

OA Charlie Eats

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

::Hi, Charlie!::

If you're so inclined, come visit my newest blog, OA Charlie Eats. Warning: It's all about food. Specifically, my plan and my daily intake. Please don't visit if it's triggering to you.