I used to think that recovery was getting to a place in my life where I was no longer engaging in behaviors. I believed it to be the moment when I would love my body no matter what, and I would be happy and bullet proof and a self-help guru.
I believed that recovery was this magical place where I would want “it” all the time and I could see past all the pain and lies and trauma and be in the truth all the time. Believe me when I say this; I so wish at many times in my life that this was true. I wish this is what recovery looked like because at times, life in recovery is so painful.
It is brutally honest and asks you to be brave. It is having to do things that have never been done before. It asks you to be the only one standing on the stage in a spotlight. It asks you to name every fear out loud to a complete stranger.
Recovery asks you to die while you are still alive. How do you do that? How do you bury the dead when they are still alive? It asks you to face your past and your trauma and not numb the pain and the anger. Recovery says there are no guarantees and “I can’t make you any promises. I can’t make you any promises but one!"
On the other side of this journey that is never done is your freedom, your wisdom, you.
On the other side of this pain is your truth! It is your superpower.
Recovery says the worst day of your life is already over…are you willing to stop reliving it?
I lived in what I would call “recovered enough” for over nine years. I ate when hungry, I stopped when full, I called my friends when body image showed up, and I told the truth. I went to therapy for trauma, and I battled shame with every tool that was presented to me. I got sober! I set boundaries. I accepted. I became willing to tell the truth. I told the truth. I felt loneliness and I said well at least this isn’t my eating disorder. I did everything and yet I woke up and I felt empty. I wake up and I feel empty.
I guess this is the part of recovery where I have to live. I have to accept that life is beautiful, and I have been missing out because I was so used to life being scary and ugly. How do you see the beauty in life when all you have known is the pain? I am scared. I am scared but I am not afraid.
You see, I needed every minute of my journey to realize that I get to live life now. And that is the most vulnerable thing I can do. I get to be me now, all of me if I want to. And believe me, I want nothing more. But I can’t pretend anymore. I can’t pretend that I will ever fit in to this culture that hates itself, photoshops reality, and just wants to pretend that we are not a world on fire.
I am done silencing my voice so you can be comfortable. I am done pretending I don’t see the mirror that is asking me to be honest because you don’t want to look in it with me. I am done holding myself back because I am afraid. I can’t do it anymore. I won’t do it anymore. The next time you ask me why I am so bold and so loud, I will tell you it’s because my biggest fear now is that I will have wasted my life being afraid. I am done being afraid of my own power. I am ready to live.
Eric is a Recovery Ambassador Council member at Eating Recovery Center.