Taking the First Steps Toward Eating Disorder Recovery
I waited tirelessly for something to happen that would make me finally be ready for recovery from an eating disorder. Sure, when I lost a relationship, a job, or money, I'd swear I'd make a go at recovery. The truth is that nothing was too big I couldn't minimalize, given time. The last time I binged, purged, or starved—behaviors that are my "bottom lines" that sum up my recovery—I remember understanding that there would never be the "right" time for me to start recovery or, more to the point, stop starting recovery. I had lost all dignity that day—something I had lost over and over before—but this time, it was accompanied by a deep, palpable despair that left me lonely and dark. I knew the jig was up. If I wanted to live, I would need to try something very different that was not made up by my—at the time—very ill brain. My recovery was found in the actions towards it. It was hidden in all the doing of things that I didn't want to do: the food plan I didn't want to commit to, the suggestions by the professionals, and the ceasing of the behaviors. It was in the trying of something different, something scary, and something new. Recovery was in the trying. Taking action wasn't easy, and it wasn't neat. It felt hard and, at times, painful, and mostly foreign. Early recovery is like stepping stones—hopping from one to the next. Often, we do not know where the next step will take us, but we know it will lead somewhere that the eating disorder cannot take us. I learned about myself on my road to recovery. I grew up during the taking of each step. I learned that my fears would not kill me and that even when I thought I knew what was around the corner in my recovery, I was often surprised by what really occurred. In fact, this is one of the biggest joys in my recovery now. One day, I began to trust the action more instead of the eating disorder. I'm not sure when it happened, but it did. The actions in recovery became a blueprint for a better life that I began to want more than the eating disorder behavior. Hope was found in the unknown—all I had to do was take the next best action toward myself and away from the eating disorder. That was in my power—I learned in recovery that I have that power. The thing about recovery is that you have to jump into it with blind faith—faith that life offers so much more without something we have been clinging on to for control. It's a hard pill to swallow for those of us seeking guarantees. Recovery is in the action; all you need to do is take a deep breath and take a step—then another and then another.