It's been exactly a year since I discharged from Eating Recovery Center.
After spending my entire summer in inpatient, residential, and in PHP, I was really looking forward to going home to my husband and two daughters. But, naturally, I was also really scared.
I'd lived in my eating disorder for 16 years, and this was my second stay at ERC. I knew how sneaky bulimia could be
, and how easy it could be to fall right back into my disorder if I didn't follow through with outpatient care and my meal plan.
I remember sitting in my goodbye group, listening to these amazing men and women tell me how I was going to be so successful and happy and there was this panicked voice in the back of my head saying, “You're WRONG! I can’t!”
After a full year, I am so elated to say that the panicked voice was the one who was wrong! I am still wonderfully, incredibly, fantastically, in recovery. My eating disorder didn’t get to win. Not this time! I have spent the last year learning a lot more about myself, my body, my value as a woman, mother, wife, and member of society.
I have learned to accept each day as it comes, not looking too far forward or backwards. I have learned more about self-forgiveness and grace than I ever thought possible. I have learned that it’s okay to have two pieces of cake. I can eat a sandwich with my hands and it’s NO BIG DEAL. I can eat pizza twice a week if I want. I have learned that exercise isn’t a punishment
and to be frank, I don’t even really like it! And that’s okay!
More importantly, I have learned that each moment spent at war with my body is a moment I spend at war with the world. Hating myself only led me down a path of depression, anxiety, skin picking, and worse. Recovery has taught me that despite everything that I might find “wrong” with me, there are so many people that love me. Recovery has helped me learn to accept that love.
I’ve even learned that recovery is kind of boring. That, after awhile, you eat food without giving it a second thought. Recovery has allowed me to go to an all-you-can-eat pizza buffet with my kids WITHOUT fear or panic! And yeah, I did eat the macaroni-and-cheese pizza!
Every once in awhile, I pull out the cards I was given on my last day at ERC. My therapist wrote that she KNEW I would be successful in my recovery
. At the time, I felt like that was such a bad omen, that if I ever relapsed I would be a huge let down. But I’ve learned that relapse and set backs are a part of life! I haven’t had a perfect year, but I can look back at this year and say that it’s been a journey in self-love and acceptance. Even if that means accepting the things you really don’t want to accept.
Recovery is awesome. Thank you ERC (& Hannah!) for giving me the confidence to take back my life from the grip of my eating disorder. I am a better mother, wife, friend, sister, and person because of my time with you.