Recovery may only be eight letters, but we all know that some of the shortest words can be the scariest, especially when they imply a lifetime as someone else. And that’s what recovery is—you’re giving up a large part of who you are, because you know that it no longer serves you. You’ll see countless motivational speakers trying to tell you that you’re not giving up anything, that the disorder isn’t a part of you.
We know they’re wrong. Bulimia, anorexia, binge eating disorder…they all become a part of us in some way. They become so engrained in our personalities that our disorder is a part of us, and because of that, recovery can sound terrifying. Recovery says that we’re going to be someone different, for the rest of our lives, forever. Recovery implies that we will never turn around, never look back.
That makes your disorder angry, doesn’t it? It makes it feel trapped, it makes it cling to you. A few days without a binge, sure, even your disorder knows that you can take a break for a few days and still come back. But going into recovery? Getting rid of the problem for good? That sends panic signals to your brain. Your disorder starts reminding you of all that you’re losing, like late night binges in your car that lead to hidden wrappers and a bloated stomach. A proud growling in your stomach until you give in for your first meal around 5pm.
Faced with being taken out with the trash, your disorder will fight tooth and nail to be able to keep its grip on you. It will always make it seem like you aren’t ready for such a big commitment. It will say, with the holidays coming, now is not the time. You’ve got too much going on in your life to give me up right now, but I promise we’ll go back to this next month. It will hold on to you until you’re 100% ready—and you will never be 100% ready.
Stop thinking of recovery as a lifetime process. Stop looking at this eight letter word like it’s going to change everything, and start looking at it like it really is: one day of change at a time. The thought of waking up one day and choosing to never be the same as you were every day before that is daunting, and it makes recovery seem nearly impossible. This thinking process also makes it seem like any step backwards means you have to restart your journey. When you plan to never ever binge/purge again in the history of forever, a slip up makes you feel like you failed majorly and have to completely begin anew.
Day by day. Every day, start new. Every day, focus on beating your disorder that day and only that day. Do not worry about tomorrow. Do not worry about being able to hold back from a binge on Christmas or next weekend or anytime but today.
When you only have today to worry about, recovery seems a little less terrifying.