Chase Oaker and Dance Instructor Charlie Descisciolo (aka “Charlie Dee”) knows about transformation. Having just celebrated his 10-year clean and sober anniversary free from drug and alcohol addiction, he desires to share his story, in hopes that it will inspire others who may be struggling with similar issues to not give up, to get help and to begin a new life in Christ!
Charlie describes his childhood as one that was fairly normal and healthy. He was the oldest of six children, and despite his parents’ eventual divorce, he still maintained good relationships with both parents and all of his siblings. As a teenager growing up in New York, Charlie became interested in dance and started working for the Arthur Murray Dance Studio. His skills in the industry grew quickly and he was soon one of the top dance instructors for the organization. As part of his job, he was introduced to many famous people, and got to attend exciting shows and parties. Life couldn’t be better!
Then, after a move to Florida, where his mother was living at the time, life began to throw Charlie some curve balls. A close friend tragically died from cancer, Charlie’s custom built home was flooded, and if that wasn’t enough, Charlie made the tough decision to quit his dance studio job there due to conflicts with the owners. These hardships became the catalysts that triggered Charlie’s turn to alcohol and drugs to deal with the pain and stress. Forced to live off of his savings, and doing some part-time teaching on the side, Charlie’s world was spiraling rapidly downward. He became what he calls a “functional addict;” but when a so-called friend introduced him to crack-cocaine, his drug use became out of control, and he hit rock bottom at age 44.
One night while driving, he was pulled over for a broken headlight. But the officers decided to search his car and found drugs. He was arrested and put in jail. Amazingly, despite the arrest, Charlie was still in denial that he had an addiction problem. He shares, “I was sitting in the jail cell, and still thinking to myself, ‘I don’t belong here.’”
By the grace of God, Charlie was released on a technicality. But the first place he went after getting out was to go purchase drugs. Unfortunately, or divinely, he experienced a severe physical reaction from those drugs, and became violently ill. After that horrific experience, Charlie told himself, “Never again will I do drugs.” That day was April 28, 2006.
Charlie wanted to get help for his addiction and eventually checked himself into a volunteer drug rehab program, where they do random drug testing. Unfortunately, after one drug test, there was a mix-up with the samples, and he seemingly tested positive, which ended up sending him back to jail. He spent three long days and nights in jail, experiencing horrid things from the other inmates, he said. He prayed for God to rescue him, and God did intervene. He was soon released, but Charlie knows that experience was a God-send.
“God was working through that awful experience in jail to scare me straight, so that I would never go back to doing drugs again.”
Charlie continued in his abstinence program, and eventually moved to Dallas when a job opportunity presented itself at the Arthur Murray Studios in Plano. He started out as just an instructor, but after a few short years, he has worked his way up to being the Executive Manager for the Plano studio. After making some new friends in the area, one of them invited him to Chase Oaks.
“When I first heard Jeff speak, I was impressed by his sincerity, and that he seemed ‘real’ and wasn’t ‘acting’ on stage,’” shares Charlie.
It was actually Jeff who inspired Charlie to share his story. After one of the weekend messages, Charlie stayed after to chat with Jeff and shared a bit of his journey, and Jeff asked him to share it with others.
Since then Charlie has gotten plugged in and loves everything about Chase Oaks, including serving on the Usher Team at the Legacy Campus twice a month. “I love meeting new people,” says Charlie, “so the Usher Team is a perfect fit for me!”
After recently celebrating his 10-year clean and sober anniversary, Charlie is grateful and knows that God’s been working in his life.
“I have always told people that God has had His hand on me, and I’m one of His special children. After all I’ve been through, I have so much love to give, and I know He wants me to share the importance of recovery, the spirituality involved in recovery, and the blessing of recovery.”