10 Things I’ve Learned in 10 Months of Recovery

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1. Recovery is worth more.

This was a mantra that someone came up with during my first weeks at Carolina House. We all held onto this quote like it was our lifeline. I wrote it in my journals, on my coping logs, on all the whiteboards in the house. This. Quote. Saved. Me. No matter all the emotions I was feeling or all the lies that Ed was telling me, I knew that the freedom found in recovery was worth more.

2. We were made to do hard things.

I realized this the first time that I completed my first major fear food meal and actually enjoyed it. Just a month prior, I didn’t think that it would ever be possible. But it was. I could do hard things and I could even enjoy them. Things weren’t as black and white as my eating disorder led me to believe.

3. Looking healthy does not mean you look fat. Looking healthy is a good thing.

I had to learn this one really quickly once I came home from treatment. Everyone told me that I looked healthy (PSA don’t say that to someone recovering from an eating disorder!) and I had no idea how to handle it. In my mind, healthy = fat. In reality, healthy = strong, life, happiness, freedom. I was becoming my best self because I was healthy.

4. Flexibility is key.

Starting college made me realize how flexible the real world requires you to be. I couldn’t always have designated snack times, so sometimes (a lot of times) I had to eat my snack in class or at work. Sometimes I had to go to the caf alone. I had to learn that I had to be flexible in order to thrive in recovery at college. My rigid, all-or-nothing thinking when it came to meal/snack times was not going to cut it.

5. BREAK THE RULES THAT ALMOST BROKE YOU.

Love Me More by Maggie Rose. Opposite action is literally your best friend in recovery. When Ed says no to ice cream, you get ice cream. When Ed says that pizza is too unhealthy for lunch, you get pizza. You have to do the opposite of what your eating disorder is telling you (even when it hurts!) because that’s how you find freedom.

6. Don’t let other people hold you back. You’re growing like a wildflower and you don’t have time for weeds.

Sometimes you have to make decisions for yourself that other people don’t agree with. That’s okay. Make the decision anyway. You are only responsible for yourself, not the opinion of others. If something is hindering your recovery, let it go. And if that makes people upset, that isn’t your problem. You have to put yourself and your recovery first. You have to grow.

7. Recovery isn’t comfortable. You gotta do it anyway.

You can’t only recover when you want it 100%. You have to choose it everyday, even when you don’t want to. Recovery cannot be based off of your emotions! You’re never going to be fully ready, but you have to choose it anyway. Sometimes it’s uncomfortable and it hurts a heck of a lot, but you have to keep choosing it.

8. Self-care self-care self-care.

Self-care is so dang necessary. Take bubble baths, journal, go on a walk, clean your room, watch Netflix, buy yourself a new shirt just because, make art, pet a dog. Whatever makes you feel whole and rested, make time for it. Sometimes you need more self-care than others. That’s okay. Whenever you need it, make time for it, even if it’s only for five minutes. Your mind and body will thank you.

9. You are not a reflection of those who cannot love you.

Your worth does not change. Your worth is not determined by those who love (or don’t love) you, but by Christ. Your worth is unwavering and unchanging because it is rooted in something much deeper than human emotions.

10. Sometimes surviving is all you can do, and that’s okay.

Sometimes you feel heck of a lot more like a work-in-progress than a masterpiece, and that is okay and so normal. Believe it or not, recovery is not linear. Sometimes you’re going to simply survive instead of thrive. That doesn’t mean that everything is downhill from here on out. Things will go back up eventually. You are not failing at recovery just because you’re having a hard time mentally.