Recovery means you have something that is (mostly, we think), bad. Recovery is very often used as a call to arms: ”fight the good fight and recover!” we are urged. And then we have to suffer and we are pitiful and worthy of sympathy. You can hear I’ve been there done that, can’t you? Yeah, I had an alcohol addiction (oops, I have it) and fought the good fight. And it was hard but actually, not so hard. Socially it’s a pain and sometimes you end up telling people to take their ‘just one teeny glass of wine’ and do something unusual with it.  In the main, however it has been very doable. I might drool when my husband walks past with a whisky but since 1st April 2004 I have been clean. Hugely proud of it, as you will also have noticed.
Now there is this new road to travel: recovery from an Eating Disorder. I don’t need to tell all of you how rocky this road is: it’s like a Tsunami, Earthquake and Landslide all happened at once and shook up our personal world; moved bits of it here and there and up and down and added some rivers and waves to the mix, just in case we thought to get comfortable somewhere. Travelling this road requires movers and shakers and regularly you’re up a creek without a paddle, there are dead ends, whirlpools, endless horizons and sometimes the mountains are just too high and you want to sit and weep. Maybe you do weep. I do, every now and again.
But there is one thing that stands out for me, that makes every hill and detour and retracing of steps more than worthwhile: I know why.
I know why it is hard. I know why I just have to keep on going. I know why I am where I am and what I need to do to get as far as possible. Before, when I didn’t know that I have an Eating Disorder, when I thought it was only me and that it was ALL MY FAULT? That was unbearable. The idea that I should just lay off the cookies, leave everybody’s chocolate letter alone. That it was just my own lack of character and willpower; I had messed up my own life.
Then one day I looked in a mirror and my brain suddenly discovered what heart and body had known for quite a while: I have a mental disorder called an Eating Disorder. There is a reason why all of this is happening and it all happened and it might still happen in the future: I have a condition that I need to recover from.
Now I know all this I can fight it. Because it’s not lack of character or willpower: I have just been fighting the wrong fight: myself. I need to fight the Eating Disorder. And dang, it’s hard. Alcohol was a doddle: you don’t need it to survive (not even Friday at the end of a bad week), it’s not something you have to do a couple of times a day just to be able to breathe. So once you get through the hardest bit you’re flying free. But an Eating Disorder, now that is definitely a different story. Because we all have food around the house. And our society talks about comfort food and pushes chocolate and bakers spray extra butter just to make it smell at you. Telly and internet and buses flash pictures of edibles at us all day every day. So how can you deal with it?
It’s terribly hard. I struggle and fall and climb and fall and run and fall and swim and fall. But, even if I have to struggle for the rest of my life I know why. The knowing gives a reason. Not an excuse, just a reason. Having a reason makes taking that rocky road to recovery the only option. It makes sense.