The Secret to Actually WANTING Recovery for Yourself

recovery - image of profile of person from waste up in denim jacket facing the side, holding their hair out in front of their forehead and smiling with eyes closed

Six months into treatment, I found myself in a peculiar place. I had weight restored only some of the way and my symptom use had decreased. I was just tired of treatment, but I still didn’t necessarily want recovery for myself.

Yet, I still had eating disorder thoughts. My mind ruminated over what I ate, how much I exercised, and wrestled with the day-to-day decisions of eating my meal plan.

“I’m just watching what I eat and monitoring my exercise habits in a “healthy way,” I told myself.

See, I hadn’t bought into this whole “recovery” idea yet. I had read books and listened to podcasts, met with people who were recovered, but none of it resonated with me.

“Good for them, not for me,” I told myself. “Living 50/50,” is what I like to call where I was.

Physically, I wasn’t medically compromised. Mentally, I was still BFF’s with my eating disorder. “ED isn’t all that bad,” I told myself. “I can live like this,” I said.

Tired of it all

But more than anything, I was tired. I had struggled with eating and exercise disorders all of my life. I just couldn’t see how it was possible to never think the way I had for years.

Only once I sat down and wrote what I wanted from recovery was I able to get past this.

Making tangible goals for myself was what I needed in order to see that I could recover. It was no longer someone else’s story. I was making it mine.

If you find yourself in a similar place, I encourage you to sit down, and ask what you would want your life to look like if you were recovered from your eating disorder.

Here’s the list I wrote that made me actually want full recovery:

Recovery for me is…

Being able to go into the grocery store and not have an anxiety attack.

Not yelling at my brother for eating yogurt (or any food) that I was planning on eating.

Being able to eat with my partner’s family.

Allowing myself to sleep in if I want to, and skip the exercise class.

Not skipping class in order to exercise.

No skipping hanging out with friends/family in order to exercise.

Being able to go out to eat without looking at the menu first.

Able to conceive children.

If and when having children, not passing my eating disorder onto them – raising them in a food and exercise neutral home.

Why will you recover?

Now, it’s your turn. Hopefully my ideas can get you started.

Think of these questions as you form your list: Why do you want to recover? How can making peace with food and your body change your life for the better? What would life look like if you didn’t struggle with food?

Brainstorm and dream up ideas of what a recovered like could look like for you. Then write down specific outcomes and goals you want to work towards in recovery. Make it your own. This is for YOU!

And know this: recovery is possible for each and every one of you.

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