So I've technically been "in recovery" for over 7 years. That is, I was first officially diagnosed and received medical attention for my Ed over 7 years ago. There have been times in my past (even very recent past) where I have not wanted to accept that I have been "in recovery" for that long. It used to seem as a signal that was me saying, "Yeah, I used to have an eating disorder, but it's not something I really struggle with anymore." After all, during those first several years, I battled with the idea that there should be a "quick fix" to Ed. I even emailed my mentor frantically, more than once, exclaiming, "Why can't there just be a magic pill we could all take that would give us all the nutrients we need for the day and then we wouldn't have to freaking worry about eating?! It would make life a lot easier!!" To which my mentor replied, "Recovery isn't a destination, it's a process. It's not easy, but it's worth it."
I'll admit, that is a lot easier to type out now than it was to read the first time I read it. It's no secret that most patients with eating disorders struggle with perfectionism. My mentor calls herself a type AAA personality (in other words, type A to the extreme), and I have come to understand that is true for myself, as well. As such, I get easily frustrated when I can't just fix something, whether it means editing a paper, settling an argument, or yes, my own recovery. The notion of recovery being a process is something that, for a long time, just didn't sit right with me. Patience?? I don't have time for patience!! I have things to do!!
I will admit now, though, that several years after I started working with my mentor, I am able to understand that it is IMPERATIVE to treat recovery as a process. If we treat recovery as a destination, it's as if we're giving ourselves a deadline. It's like we're saying, "Okay, I've struggled with this for [insert amount of time here], I have until [insert date here] to kick it, once and for all." Perhaps that's why I'm writing this blog now, because lately I have fallen prey to that sort of thinking. I've been subconsciously, and consciously sometimes, telling myself, "Becca, you have been in recovery over 7 years. That's PLENTY enough time for someone to get rid of a bad habit. You graduate from college in less than 4 months, you can't be struggling with Ed when you marry Roger in June."
It's important to realize that these deadlines are not imposed on me by any other human. Not Rog, not my parents, not my therapist, no one. It's also important to realize that these deadlines are not imposed on me by myself, but are instead imposed on me by the one entity who has only my destruction in his mind....Ed. Ed wants to give me these deadlines because he knows, with certainty, that if I accept the deadlines I will fail, and will come running back to him. Ed is conniving enough to make me believe I am the one in charge of imposing the deadlines on myself, therefore having me absolve him of all fault in my mind, which will ensure I welcome him back with open arms.
Hey Ed, I've got news for you, bucko....I am NOT accepting your attempt to manipulate me and make me feel like a failure all over again. I have spent time building my recovery foundation over the past 7 years, and all of my hard work proves that I am committed to this PROCESS. I am not going to pretend that once I graduate I will not ever struggle with any other eating disordered thoughts. I am not going to pretend that once I'm married Ed is going to just give up trying to win me over. Rather, I am going to continue laying the foundation for my recovery down, layer by layer, brick by brick.
What does that mean?? For one, it means that I will be living intently, living in the present moment, living one day at a time, one hour at a time, one meal at a time (heck, one bite at a time if I have to). It also means that every time I choose Recovery over Ed, I am adding a brick to my foundation. I have been working on my foundation on and off again for the past 7 years, and while it has come a long way, it is still not fully formed, so I will be using this opportunity to continue to make my Recovery foundation more solid. Also, or me, I know my Recovery foundation cannot continue to gain strength unless I am continuing to grow in my Christian faith, in my walk with God. God is ultimately the one who gives ME the strength to work on my Recovery foundation, so I will also be using this opportunity to become even closer with God, knowing that if I fall, He will be there to catch me.
God knows my entire life story. He knew before I was born that I would struggle with Ed, and He knows what my future with (or without) Ed is going to be. God can see the big picture. I can only see the present moment, which is why I will continue to lay this foundation, layer by layer, brick by brick, until God chooses to reveal the next step to me.