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Friday, August 22, 2008

Recovery Milestones

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This has been a week of restriction and obsessive thoughts about weight and controlling my food intake. My therapist and nutritionist are asking me to gauge where I am, and how I'm doing with food, and although I'm not doing great, I haven't crossed the line into severe restriction. I'm still eating, but I'm sticking with the foods that I feel are "safe" foods, such as salad and fat free yogurt. The other day, my husband offered me a banana, and I said, "Are you kidding me? That is one of the most fattening fruits there is!" At the moment, bananas don't feel safe. Not that long ago, they were perfectly fine, but I'm not in that place anymore. It doesn't mean that I won't eventually be back to more normal eating. This is just where I am right now.

I have been thinking lately about what recovering from my eating disorder would actually look like to me. What exactly are my milestones, and how can I measure my success?
This is what I have come up with.

Recovery Milestones

In recovery we face our pain and fear without obsessing on food, weight and body image. This does not mean we never have food, weight or body image issues. It merely means we take it in stride when we do. Recovery means developing healthy perspectives, knowing we will do better some days than others, knowing we will never be perfect at anything including recovery, and knowing recovery is not freedom from trouble and pain but freedom from getting stuck in feelings of uselessness and self-pity.
We have binged, starved, purged, and obsessed in an effort to manage unwelcome emotions. The solution to an eating disorder has to do with accepting our thoughts and feelings, and finding safe and responsible ways to express them. There is no magic about recovery. Recovery means rebuilding trust with ourselves and others, taking careful risks to learn what is safe and good for us. When we can take responsibility for understanding our needs, and getting them met, then we will walk free.


I long to walk free.

7 Comments:

Waterrose said...

Since I've never been in the place that you are all I can tell you is that I'm reading what you say and am sending you hugs. Please consider your nutritional needs and remember that keeping all of that in balance is important to your mental health and how you feel about yourself and your world. Bananas have the potassium that you need...even if you can only eat a bite, it's good for you. Take care.

Lisa said...

That was beautifully written. My doc has always told me that recovery is a process, and you hit the nail on the head.

I've come a long way in overcoming my "fear foods," but I can't remember the last time I had a banana.

Barbara said...

Beautyfull, beautyfull Blog!!!!!!!

Angel said...

Thank you Barbara. I just stopped by rours, and it is beautiful as well. I love angels!

Take care:)

Greta Gleissner said...

Hi Angela,

Your entry left me with several thoughts. You mentioned that some of your formerly safe foods have become unsafe, which makes my curiosity want to speculate what has changed (rhetorical for your own reflection, not for me)? Also, challenging obsessive thoughts in a way that enables self-honesty has been instrumental in my recovery. For instance...if I say a banana is unsafe for me, and after asking myself why, I say that it will make me fat (which is clearly impossible), then I have to challenge myself to figure out the motive for my choice to believe in an irrational belief. What purpose is it serving???
Recovery is about the process of getting honest--not so much about food, but about our thought, attitudes, and beliefs--and the way to get honest is being willing to examine beliefs we have chosen to buy into.

TrishaRitchieNC said...

Angela,
I am recovering for over 30 years now. It's not about the substance abuse, it is about our lives. When I look back at the uncertain, scary days and know they are behind me - I thank my God. Yet, I still have uncertain, scary moments. I ask myself "did God tell me to worry about that?". I've been unable to find any time She told me to worry. Let go, let go, let go. Laugh more! Run and play and be happy! This is a short, short life. Enjoy it as you are entitled to do.

Dolly's Diary said...

Hi Angela,
I love your blog. I feel we are on similar paths in life. I grew up with mental abuse, because in my early years my mom suffered from a mental illness, she did get better as we got older. I am also trying to stay in the now and let go of all the hurt from the past. I work with the disabled and my favorite is Nathaniel, he is autistic. I don't earn much, but I love what I do. I am thankful for your comment on my blog today. Your really helped. I was glad to see someone agreed with me. I decided to delete the post for now. When you visit my blog you'll understand. Thanks again,
Janet