To all who struggle with an eating disorder: an open letter about recovery.

5 months, 7 days ago

Recovery is not just about the food.

OK, it is a little bit.

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Its about the late-night pizza runs with your partner, the bonding over pancakes and omelets, and recounting the night before with your friends.

Its about sharing a spoon and a pint of Ben& Jerrys over a movie, or buying chocolate at the gas station only because you feel like it. Its about trying something new when youre out to dinner because you feel adventurous and you arent worried about the fat or calories.

Recovery is about donuts and chips and all the things you used to cringe about in your disorder.

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Its about noticing that your body is hungry, and even though youre feeling tired, busy, or emotional, you grab something quick and easy so you dont feel hunger aches like you used to. Its nourishing your body not because you need to, but because you want to. Its about loving food again.

But truly, its also not just about the food.

Recovery is about being free from the bondage of rules and numbers and rituals. Its letting go of things that arent just right. Its taking a nap on the sofa when the dishes arent done and the house isnt clean and you havent gone to the gym yet because a nap is what you need . Its actually resting when you are sick. Its shedding your old beliefs about yourself and creating a new future.

Its standing up for yourself.

Recovery is safety and control. Not the safety of dormancy and controlling of numbers like you used to.

Its security in knowing that no matter what happens in life, you will be OK. Its safety in knowing who you are and being proud of it.

Its not the illusion of control that you had when you were counting calories or losing weight. Its knowing that without those behaviors, you are the one in the drivers seat. The disorder doesnt control you anymore.

Its constructing selections that are healthy for you because for once, you are actually in control.

Recovery is taking dangers and attaining mistakes. Its vulnerability. Its giggling too loud at a gag that wasnt that funny embarking upon. Its honesty. Its crying in front of your partner and getting a hug instead of running to the other room and interring your face in a pillow.

Recovery is experiencing life.

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Its going to more places than only work or home. Its inducing coffee plans with person “youve never” genuinely knew before. Its taking your dog on a different route for her stroll because sometimes routine is boring . Its traveling, even though youre usually a homebody. Its riding a rollercoaster so fast that you lose your breath. Its determining a new pastime because now you have the time to.

Its finally leaving the nest.

Recovery is standing on your own and being OK with it.

Its looking back at your time in treatment and being grateful for all the people you met and things you learned. Its knowing that for now, that part of your life is over. Its learning how to be there for yourself. Its the fear and anxiety that comes when you become more independent and stray away from your outpatient squad, but the pride that comes with feeling like you dont need to see them as much as you used to.

Recovery is welcoming all feelings and committing to growth. Its honoring the human experience and vowing to live in the present moment. Its experiencing all of your emotions, even if they are uncomfortable. Its being rational.

Recovery is a process, and its messy.

Its waking up every day with a commitment to do the best you can, and letting go of expectations. Its being patient and trusting that wherever you are in this moment is exactly where you are meant to be. Its ensure recovery as a journey and not a nuisance. Its not wishing you were further along or somewhere else its meeting yourself where you are .

Its looking back at the past and being able to say, Wow, I may not be where I want to be yet, but I sure have grown.

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Sometimes, its also relapse and slips and intermittent hospital remains for tune-ups. It is not contingent on wherever you financially or physically. Its not one event, but instead a series of occurs over time. Its admitting that you are one human being one of many human beings who are just living “peoples lives” the best they can.

Recovery can be book bargains and song-writing and motivational speaking to massive crowds, or it can be a quiet confidence that you carry with you every day . You can tell people you are in recovery and be proud of it, or you can move on as if the ailment never existed.

Thats the amazing thing about recovery: There are no rules.

Recovery is choosing to no longer be a victim, saying enough is enough, and doing the work, over and over and over, until it feels natural. Recovery is not unattainable, but dont be confused: Recovery is not something given to us . Its not passive in the least. It is brave. It is hard. It is worth it.

To all who struggle with an eating disorder, there is a whole other world out there waiting for you. Please, come visit.

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