Thursday, January 31, 2013

What Recovery Looks Like.

"Recovery itself is a very un-glamorous daily process of being willing to fall down again, to break again, to cry again, to get up and try yet again until 'success' manifests as ever-greater sustained healing." 
(Shannon Cutts)

You know, I read something a while ago about how in recovery, you will always come back to the same place again and again.  But that each time, you will know more about how to help yourself when you fall down again and eventually, you'll be able to catch yourself before you go as far down the path, until you are able to completely stop yourself before it happens. 

Well. 
I think I'm learning. 

That's the thing about eating disorders--I don't believe that they ever, truly leave us.  I mean, we recover.  Our weight becomes stable.  Our vitals are good.  We leave residential, day treatment, or weekly treatment to go on to other things like camp or college.  And we get there and things are fine for a while.  

But when you're at camp, you have checkpoints.  
You get your vitals checked. You go home. You have a support system right there with you.
But when you go to college, you're really on your own. 

Until second semester. 
When there is every opportunity to relapse. 
And no matter how much you tell yourself that you won't, you slip.  You don't mean to, of course, but you do.  It's something little, too, like the fact that you don't have classes in the mornings so you don't get up and eat breakfast and your entire meal schedule gets thrown off.  

Once that happens, the thoughts start to resurface: 
"You don't need to eat three meals a day to function."
"Losing a few pounds wouldn't hurt."

And you catch it.
You catch that you're slipping. 
So you make some choices--meal plan, accountability, no secrets, therapy.  

Recovery is something that takes time. 
It's a process. 
And it definitely isn't a straight shot. 

I can think back on all of the times when I've fallen down and struggled and failed at this.  But never have I been able to notice early enough to be proactive before my weight and vitals were dangerous.  I'm struggling. I'm fighting with my ED through all of this. 

But you know what? 
This isn't going to defeat me. 
I will beat this. 
I am stronger. 

Meal plan. Accountability. Therapist. 
All self-initiated. 

This is progress. 
This is what recovery looks like.