"Very slowly and carefully, you let go of the log and practice floating. When you start to sink, you grab back on. Then you let go of the log and practice treading water, and when you get tired, hold on once again. After awhile, you practice swimming around the log once, twice, ten times, twenty times, a hundred times, until you gain the strength and confidence you need to swim to shore. Only then do you completely let go of the log."
-From Eating in the Light of the Moon by Anita Johnson
Recovery is not a perfect process. It's nowhere near perfect. It's messy. It involves screw ups and steps backward and mistakes. With eating disorders, a person is never fully recovered, only more in control than out.
Today, I threw up for the first time in over a year. It had actually been a year and a half since the last time--when I was just entering treatment and refusing to give up my eating disorder, so I would go to Wendy's or McDonald's and buy ice cream and diet coke and then drive to the park and eat, only to throw it all back up again. I was at a place where holding on to my eating disorder was the only thing that mattered.
After being in recovery for a year and a half, I was beginning to not understand how or why I had functioned with an eating disorder attached to me. And even when I was sitting with tears rolling down my cheeks in the bathroom, I had no idea why I had ever desired that path.
Now that I've let a few hours pass between then and now, I realize that what I was longing for was a crutch. I wa longing for something to help me get through this--the judgement, the newness, the isolation, the emotions, everything. And now that that moment has been put behind me, there's a lot of me that desires to keep ahold of this crutch. To get myself through by getting lost in my eating disorder again.
But I am refusing to let it go any further. I am choosing to step out in faith, to let people know that I am struggling, and to come up with a plan to get myself back on the right path.
This included learning to recognize what is leading up to trouble in this setting and how to turn it around. I know myself this well at school and in this place, when it felt safe for me. But it doesn't anymore. It has changed and so I must begin a new journey of discovering how to care for myself and how to recognize when I need to do a better job.
This begins by not ignoring the warning signs. And it includes speaking to someone about it and then making sure I do something that doesn't allow me to dwell on my eating disorder and putting myself with people I feel safe with--like kids.
So I took a step backward--it happens on the way to recovery. There's no such thing as a perfect journey. Steps backwards happen. It's only when you forget to realize this and continue backwards that it becomes worrisome.
This is progress.
"Today I will do my best. If I have a good day, I will be proud of myself. If I have a bad day, I will not dwell on it, I will forgive myself, I will put it behind me and I will continue to move forward in my recovery."