January 01, 2018

Eating Disorders: Why We Must Be Willing to Fully Recover – Kelli Evans

kelli evans eating disorder recovery“Do I want to get “better” or do I want to become truly “well”? Kelli, what’s it going to be?”

That’s the question I asked myself on a cold, snowy day several years ago. I was a 42-year-old woman in an eating disorder treatment center.

This wasn’t my first time being hospitalized or my first time in treatment. I was demoralized, broken, and suicidal… again. My eating disorder had been a part of my life for decades. It was the friend that was killing me.

Do I want to get “better” or do I want to become truly well?

I’d done “better” many times in my life. You know, I gained some weight, stopped running so many miles, didn’t weigh myself as often.

I knew how to do “better.” I could dust myself off, shine myself up and complete the checklist to become “better.” The truth was that “better” never left me fulfilled, and always led me right back to the tight grip of the eating disorder, back to my depression and back to a life-threatening place.

“Better” was the easy way, sure, but the soul-satisfying way would be to become fully “well.”

Do I want to get “better” or do I want to become truly well?

I was terrified and overwhelmed by what “well” would entail but my heart cried out for it!

Becoming “well” as opposed to doing “better” was going to be a hard road for me.

Becoming “well” meant opening my heart to let people in, finding my voice to talk about deep, deep hurts in my past, setting boundaries, making choices that were healthy, and becoming an authentic, honest person.

Was I willing to get well?

I realized that the decision to become “well” was a measure of my willingness.

Every day in recovery, even now after several years, I am reminded to check my level of willingness:
  • Am I willing to share my heart, listen to others openly, and hold tightly to the things that keep me healthy?
  • Am I willing to continue to define myself by who I am, not by what I do?
  • Am I willing to ask for help when I need it?
  • Am I willing to take risks, try new things and not let fear have the final say?
  • Am I willing to slow down, listen to my heart and trust myself?
Most of all, am I willing to remember that this life I now live in recovery is not meant to be lived alone?

Was I willing to consider that the eating disorder could be lying to me when it whispered that it had all the answers to help me deal with my fears?

Please don’t think that I was 100 percent willing on day one. I started with a smidgen of willingness. At first, my willingness was to simply consider this:

I deserve to live a whole life in wellness.

Not only do I deserve recovery, I now realize that I truly do need — and deserve — to have others in my life. I have much to give to others, as well!

I am blessed to be surrounded by a wonderful treatment team, friends, my husband and my children — who never gave up on me. They all bolstered my willingness on the days I was sure I couldn’t go on.

Willingness was the foundation at the start of my recovery and willingness is what keeps me living the whole, connected life I now live. I chose to become fully "well" and not settle for simply becoming "better." It's not always easy to make this choice, but I've learned that it's always been about my willingness.

kelli evans recovery ambassadorRead more stories discussing the truth about eating disorder recovery.

Kelli lives in Parker, CO, is married with two children, and loves hiking, backpacking, music, and spending time with friends. She is a member of the Recovery Ambassador Council at ERC, and has a passion to share with others that living a whole, fulfilling life in recovery is possible.
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