Sunday, 31 May 2015

Thoughts on recovery

I guess it is safe to say that I am in recovery
Or am I?
I think I am
I mean
I want to be
I try to be
I hope to be 
There is no doubt
That I am a million miles away from where I was 18 months ago
I was in such a dark place
My days were either spent in a frenzy of binging and purging
Or silently starving
The binging and purging was relentless 
I shit you not
In the morning 
I'd wake up
Have chocolate for breakfast 
Go shopping for binge food
Which I may or may not have paid for
Walk my dogs 
No matter how bad things got
I always walked my dogs 
Even if it was a short one when I was very ill
I'd come home
And the binging would commence
Chicken curry
It just went on and in
I literally couldn't stop
It was terrifying how out of control I was
I can remember my Dad saying to me  in the midst of the madness




My family would beg and plead with me
They'd get angry
They were at the end of their tether 
And so was I
It was a nightmare

I remember at night when everyone went to bed
I would tear the kitchen apart
Making food 
Eating everything in sight
There were often times when I ate all the bread in the house
Leaving nine for anyone else 
If anyone bought biscuits or chocolate
They didn't last five minutes if I was around
I just couldn't help myself 
Couldn't control myself
Not even if I wanted to
I woke up every morning 
Dreading the day ahead
The relentless march from the kitchen to the bathroom
Over and over again
Literally going in circles 

I know that bulimia is often treated like anorexias less deadly sister
But let me tell you
From someone who has lived through both
They are equally as serious 
And anyone who wants to argue that point?
Come walk a day in my vomit stained shoes

Even when I went on to treatment last year
I still continued to binge and purge
I purged every meal
Used to raid the biscuit press
And keep a stash of biscuits in my locker
I bought shed loads of chocolate from the canteen
They must have thought I was nuts
And I'm surprised I got away with it at all
I was so sneaky 
Purging any chance I got
I was constantly ducking and diving
Trying to get around staff
Purging was my drug 
And I just couldn't stop
I can remember in all my time intreatnent
I managed only one day purge free
One day
Even with all the support I had
I left treatment weighing less than when I went in

As you know 
In the year since leaving treatment 
Things began to look up 
The incessant binging and purging stopped
And I began to gain some control over my eating
As of now
My weight is stable 
My health has drastically improved
As has my mental health
Don't get me wrong
I still haven't had a purge free day
I purge at least a couple of times a day
But things are the best they've been in a long time
Amen to that

Maybe by medical standards 
I am still unwell
And still very much bulimic
Still eating disordered 
But for me
This is as good as things get
For now

From an addiction point of view
Things are in a similar place
I'm not using heroin
Or any illegal drugs
But I still struggle to take my meds properly
And have days when I am not even on the planet earth by any stretch of the imagination
But again
Things are as good as they can be
And for now
That is enough

I guess recovery is not destination
It's not an end point
It's a process
It's ongoing
It never ends
There is a saying in AA
That they claim spiritual progress rather than spiritual perfection
I love that
It's about constantly growing
Fighting for a better life

Recovery takes time 
Another saying in AA is to give time time
So true
Physical recovery takes months
Psychological recovery can take years
And complete recovery can take a life time
That's the thing with eating disorders
You have the double whammy of physical and mental complications
And it really takes a toll

I don't think I have mentioned weight yet
That's the funny things about EDs
Wright does matter 
But it also doesn't matter 
I guess it doesn't matter if you're weight is considered healthy
And it does matter if you are under weight or obese
And it is having a detrimental effect on your health
I think the whole weight debate is a bit of a mine field
We are told that weight doesn't matter
Yet in treatment it becomes such a big deal
I know that I never took any notice of my weight until doctors and such began weighing me
The number seemed important to them
So it became important to me

Over the years 
I have been every weight between emaciated and healthy
But I was just as sick at my lowest weight as I was at my highest weight
That is no lie

I know that I have a lot of work to do
My recovery is a work in progress
I am no poster girl from recovery 
But am always honest about where I am
I don't see any point in sugar coating things
That helps no one
I will continue to fight for a better life
For a better future
For me and my family 
I've had a glimpse of what my life could be life
I've seen how rich and wonderful a healthy life can be
And I want more
I want to live the best life I can 

With all that said
I was wondering about you
Do you consider yourself to be in recovery?
What do you think constitutes recovery?
Which do you think is harder
Living with an ED
Or recovering from one?
What does recovery mean to you?
I'd love to know.....


  1. Dear Ruby,
    Recovery is tricky, sometimes I feel I'm doing great, and other times like I'm nowhere near.

    It IS a journey, a long and exhausting one and it's really difficult, trying to combat and objectively acknowledge and decide to act differently before something in your own head.
    It's a constant struggle, and the most I can hope for is that it becomes easer to disregard the urges and the things in my head trying to convince me that i don't *need* to eat, or that if I eat this or that, it would be the most terrible thing I could do to myself and I have to get it out.
    I *know* it's not true, I *know* exactly what I need to do and what's best for my body and I *know* that smaller is not better.
    And even though my brain screams at me for it, the fact that I really do know these things to be true, proves to me that I am in recovery.

    I have learned to balance my values and so I can firmly say that living with an ED (for me ) was harder than recovering, for the mere fact that with recovery, my brain makes me feel like I'm hurting myself, but I am not hurting anyone around me, where as when I lived with an ED I KNEW I was hurting myself AND every single person that cares for me. And that's the only way I wish to see that.

    Recovery to me means being able to get a long with my life. It means the belittlement of fear towards things that my body needs. It means the people I love not living in fear for me. It means seeing the good in me. It means loving myself despite how hard it feels sometimes. It means acceptance and finding the beauty in the imperfect. It means polishing up my personality to be the person I want to be. It means shifting priorities and subtracting the importance off the things my ed wants in the light and adding importance to the things in the shadows; my career, my studies, my family my friends. It's finding little things to live for every day.

    It's so much more.

    I love you to bits ruby you are so special and <3 you are awesome really ^-^
    Take care of yourself
    *big big hugs*

    Mandy xx

    1. Mandy I love the way you put this
      Your recovery is so evident
      It shines out of you
      I can always spot people who are in recovery and doing well
      It's in the way they talk
      In their actions
      It literally radiates from the inside out

      It's been a joy and a pleasure to get to know you Mandy
      And to follow your story
      You are an amazing person
      And I love you and your recovery.

      It's a long road
      But every day we are getting stronger
      And more able to deal with life and it's challenges

      Take care sweet one x

  2. I like a lot of what Mandy said. It's something that's hard to put into words sometimes, and it's very much a journey rather than a specific endpoint. For me it is something I know will be with me my whole life, but I guess the degree to which it impacts my daily life and the lives of my family is a strong indicator for me of how far I have come. I am free of so many of the behaviors and rituals that used to paralyze me. I can eat foods that are outside of my list of like three safe things, but there are still behaviors I would like to be free from, and also I know, even though I can't really see it for myself, that I still look unhealthy.
    So, I plod on, and again Ruby let me tell you, your blog helps me every day.

    1. Hey Sarah,

      Oh I am do glad to read that my blog helps you
      That makes my day
      And my whole week
      To know that my struggles and victories help you
      Means more than you will ever know

      We will keep fighting together
      Because none of us have to do this outl0\strokewidth0 \strokec2 }}}
      We can help each other
      Be there for each other
      That is the amazing thing about our little community

  3. i dont know, its difficult because i function like this, no one intervenes, never told anyone,but its with me all the time,for years, its tiring. my bmi hovers around 16-17 so nobody jumps up and down.i work, look after kids and house etc, sometimes i wish it would get worse so i could get help. have had so much opportunity to tell someone last couple years as had lots help for other problems, one therapist even asked me outright and i denied it so deserve nothing. no i think i am stuck here now.sorry haven't really answered your question but just to say i may not be in recovery but your blog means so much to me anyhow xx jo

  4. Dear Jo
    I know just where you are
    Not sick enough to worry others ot make them panic
    But not well enough to be in recovery
    It's limbo
    A horrible place to be
    I hope you can find the courage to ask for help Jo
    You are an amazingly kind and caring person
    So much to give
    I wish you could give yourself the greatest gift
    The gift of health and peace of mind
    Because if you stay here
    You will never find peace
    I hope this doesn't come across as harsh
    I don't mean to be
    I just worry for you
    And want you to be well
    As well as you can be

    Take care dear friend x

  5. thankyou. you too xx

  6. I think recovery is an ongoing process, as you said. I'm just now starting my journey to eating disorder recovery, but I'm almost ten months sober from my opiate addiction. And I know that even with that sober time, I am still not completely recovered. In fact, I don't think anyone is ever finished recovering. I'm very confident that both disorders will be with me for the rest of my life. It's a daunting thought but I know that over time, it will be easier and easier to life with them. To silent them. To lock them away in the dungeon of my mind. They may always be there, but as I walk on my journey to recovery, they will lose more and more control over me. And eventually, I will be the one in control again. I'll be able to disregard the comments and demands they make and be my own person again.

    In my eating disorder group, we learned about the 'Recovery Mountain.' I'm not sure if it's something you are familiar with, but there are 6 stages on the mountain.
    1. Pre-contemplation-where you don't think you have a problem (i.e. denial)
    2. Conemplation-You know you may have a problem but aren't sure if you will deal wit it yet or at all.
    3.Preparation-You know you have a problem and are planning to take action to deal with it withing 1-6 months.
    4.Action-This is the hardest stage. It's when you are actively trying to change the disorder/behavior.
    5-Maintenance-You''ve made changes and are now working to maintain them for the long-term.
    6-Recovery-Also known as remission. You've made and maintained the desired changes.

    You can go up and down on the mountain or need to go up several times before you reach the recovery stage. If it was applied to you, I'd say you're in stage 4, making huge changes to your behavior and taking action to overcome your disorders. I don't think any recovery is the same, and no recovery is perfect. Even the small successes are positive and should be celebrated. It sounds like you've come a long way, so you should be proud. Keep it up!

    As for me, I'm in the 3/4 stages for my bulimia. Hopefully that will progress as I go through my outpatient treatment. My addiction is in the maintenance stage for the most part. There are still many thoughts, behaviours and things that I need to change. But for now, I'm proud and happy about how far I have come. So I'm taking it one day at a time. I'm giving time, time to allow me to heal my wounds and to find the strength to conquer it all. And for now, I need to work on my eating disorder. Because I may have come a long way with my addiction, but my bulimia is out of control again and I can't live like this anymore. I can't tell you if ED recovery is worse than having active bulimia yet because I'm too early in the process. But I can say that addiction recovery is MUCH better than the addiction itself. I'd rather die than go back to where I was last year. In fact, I would die if I went back to where I was. And I'm hoping it will be the same with my bulimia. I have no doubt that it will be very hard, but I'm hopeful that it will be worth every bit of struggle and pain to get there.
    Recovery means freedom. It means being able to eat without fear. It means looking in the mirror and liking what I see. It means being free from guilt and shame about my body. It means happiness. It means hard work, but it also means life.

    Sorry this is such a long rant! It really got me thinking. I think I'll share some of this at my group tomorrow. Thank- you for being such a special, strong, honest person. I think you give so many people hope with your story. xxx

    1. Yes I have heard of the recovery mountain
      I learned about it in treatment
      And yes
      I would agree that I am in stage four
      It's great to see where we are
      How far we have come
      And the journey ahead

      I think it's great that you are addressing your issues
      It's not easy having both food and drug issues
      So if there is anything I can do to help
      Do let me know x

    2. Thanks a bunch. I'll probably take you up on that. xxx

  7. I was at my most miserable at my lowest weight.

    I cannot imagine how anyone can think of bulimia as being less dangerous than anorexia. I know a girl who had a full blown heart attack at 22 as a direct result of purging. That's just as deadly as the complications that come with anorexia to my mind.

    I still think of myself as in recovery. I think maybe I always will. Though I've managed to overcome the worst of the restricting and over-exercising, I still tend to avoid carbs. Bread, pasta, rice, sugary anything--I just won't eat it. But I'm not starving myself. Every step is progress.

    You took a huge step in going from the out of control B/Ping to where you are now. And if you can do that, you can eventually take the steps that will bring you to no purging at all. Just do it at your own pace. <3

  8. One day at a time, my girl.

    When I first started at uni I was severely bulimic... binging/purging all day, every day. Bulimia began flirting with me when I was on the track team in my early teen years... by the time I was in college, I already had a hospital stint and several trials with medications and all kinds of therapy under my belt... but being away from home and my doctors, away in the dorms, where I really had no one stepping in, I was really lost in it as well as drugs/alcohol. I didn't want to help myself. I lied to everyone by telling them I saw a therapist regularly when in actuality I had told the uni therapist to go f*ck herself. lol...
    Bulimia consumed my head from the moment I woke up to the moment I fell asleep. I would drink a bottle of wine after b/p all day to try and forget about it. That obviously made things worse, and led me back to the toilet. My breath reeked of vomit. Nothing compared to the high of throwing up to the point of emptiness. I had the power of reversal. It made me feel uncomparable to other girls... it made me feel more powerful then them all. I was a mystery to everyone because of this sick secret of mine...
    Then after I almost failed out after a bad semester, it just hit me that I really had nothing together in my life. So day by day, I binged/purged less and put all of my focus into studies and working retail. It took me 10 months to get to a point where binging/purging really seemed like a thing of the past!!!
    That didn't mean my depression went away, however...
    I will purge every so often now. I purge when I feel out-of-control, when I feel so full that I feel ugly and disgusting. Just when I think bulimia went away forever, it doesn't. I recently got to the curviest point I've ever been in my life. Healthy, curvy, womanly... and for a few months, I thought I really liked this body of mine. However, my admiration of this kind of body has burned away with my life of solitude (I live at home with my parents. my only social interactions the last 7 months have been work-related), and I find myself slipping back into the control of ED.

    When I did recover from bulimia, I think the main thing was taking it one day at a time. Because one day led to a week which led to months and then... I got to a point where I felt free from its grasp... like it all had been a thing of a past or a very weird dream I was living in.
    I don't think it ever goes away. But the tightness of its grasp loosens to grip tighter and then loose again.



Thank you for leaving some love x