Hi loves, I know it’s Friday and most of you are probably having a good time somewhere far from your computers. Good for you! I’m all trapped at work this week, and tomorrow is another work day for me too, however I want to share some of the thoughts that have been bothering me since this afternoon when I received an email from lovely girl asking me whether I ever relapsed or binged/purged after I started recovery.
She had a binge episode lately after having months of recovery and was feeling super strong, super committed to her recovery until that point. I could tell by her email that she was bummed, ashamed, let down and a little disempowered about what had happened. Perfectly natural behavior.
What I told her and I want you to know, too, is that relapse and recovery kind of go hand-in-hand. I don’t know if there’s a single human being who’s ever done recovery 100% perfectly. If there is, they didn’t have it so bad or were able to get off planet Earth and check out of their life long enough to not be effected by the everyday living of our lives.
The reason I say I had bulimia for 15 years is because it took me that freaking long to finally get a handle on this thing called recovery. Until about two years ago I had tried many, many times to stop the urges. To stop the negative self-talk that corroded my spirit away. I’d promised myself hundreds and hundreds of times that “tomorrow I’ll turn over a new leaf and won’t binge again.” Come 3pm that afternoon when the cravings and mind-flick would overtake any sense of will power I tried to muster, I’d give in and binge the hell out of some carb-heavy foods until I couldn’t take another bite. I’d march my merry little ass into the bathroom for a round of purging and come out promising that tomorrow is the day!
Tomorrow would come and go. Then the next day and the next. Then 15 years later and you want to talk about some low-down dirty name calling I’d have accumulated. Whew! I think I’d be arrested if I said out loud any of the cruel and unusual mental punishment I’d lay on myself after each binge and purge session.
What I told my friend by email who’d asked if I’ve binged and purged since I went cold turkey – is that I have my own personal definition of what recovery is for me and according to my definition, I’m clean. In my world, if I don’t go out and buy large quantities of food for a binge, I don’t sit around and binge until I hurt and I never purge, then I’m sustaining my recovery.
Does that mean I don’t ever eat too many cookies or chocolate?
Nope. I do overeat chocolate here and there.
I do overeat salads and fruit and all kinds of things. I’m not perfect. That’s ok. I sometimes don’t pay close enough attention to my body’s full feeling and so here and there I do eat more than I should have. I don’t binge out of emotional upset. I don’t lock myself away from my friends or family to eat.
And I don’t beat myself up for eating too much. A little maybe, but it sounds more like “I wasn’t paying attention and ate too fast just then. No wonder I’m so damn full. Need to slow down when I get home from work or eat a snack before I leave so I’m not so famished when I get home and dive into the fridge.”
That’s how a normal person sounds when they talk to themselves. They’re not manic. They’re not screaming the self-hatred lies and smears across their brain and ranting and raving about what a complete loser they are.
You’re not a loser. I’m not a loser. I’m still lovable and so are you.
Recovery isn’t some major overhaul that happens when the sky falls and you suddenly change into some completely different person than you were before. It’s your every moment, every day decisions and small steps along the way that make you who you are. Your choices set the course for your life.
These small choices will make up your character and allow you to become the person you’re so wanting to be.
You can do this! Ok?
Love you all.