Month: August 2018

Alison Rothman

The Embodiment of an Eating Disorder ~ A piece of my personal story

20 years ago, at the ripe age of 23, I hit rock bottom and checked myself

 into a holistic, residential treatment center for eating disorders.

 

While many of my peers were enjoying their 20s, playing, traveling the world, getting married and having babies — I was slowly killing myself and needed to do something drastic.

 

Through this conscious choice I was introduced to a path of living and healing that involved the whole of me.  I was given the opportunity to dive into every aspect of who I am through various modalities that I have carried with me over the decades both personally and professionally. Although I had entered this center compulsively distraught about my dysfunctional ways of using food and exercise, a pattern that had begun as a  7 year old little girl when I was first made aware of my weight and changing body, what quickly unfolded was the high level of addiction that I had in my system to many things. Human life had become too scary, painful, and uncomfortable to actually feel and my addictions were running rampant. 

 

Food was the symptom…

the informant, the messenger…

and it was time for me to listen. 

 

I had no idea on that fateful day in my young adult life the incredible journey that this time would set into motion.  I had no awareness or perspective of the trajectory my life would take from that incredibly courageous and bold step that I took on that day.

 

The level of awareness that I have of my body, of myself, of my emotions, and of my ways of coping is strong and in a constant state of evolution due to these 2 decades of work.

 

And, it has been work – devoted and consistent work. 

 

For me, I have chosen to not skirt around my dysfunction, my coping mechanisms, my habitual patterns of relating. 

 

I have made the choice every single day to dig in and heal, dig in and heal, dig in and heal.

 

This is just who I am and all of the hard work has been absolutely worth it. 

 

The moments of angst, of flailing, of awakening, of clarity….the entire cycle on repeat to one degree or another….

It is a process. 

 

Recovery takes consistent and compassionate work on the Self. 

Healing happens in layers.

 

Each layer surfacing exactly in the right time that it  is ready to be worked and healed. 

 

20 years into this process, I am highly aware as to the extent of the issue which has arisen for healing by how close I get to those old patterns around food.  I can see clearly when I am being pulled to the chocolate chip cookies as to how deep this particular issue is — how scary it feels for me to actually feel it.  And, I have cultivated the skills and capacity over the years to be with myself around these pulls that at times feel unstoppable.  I can also tune into what it is that has brought me into this space of longing…what am I really craving….and, with that depth of awareness, I have choice. At this juncture in my recovery, I am well aware that I have the choice to do or not do.  And, sometimes I still choose to do. I eat the cookie because it is feeding my soul or healing my heart to some degree.  I make myself the ultimate comfort food that my spirit is craving and I enjoy every bite of it and even though it may not be the best food for my waistline, it is in that moment, the most nourishing food for my soul. 

 

This is my recovery process. 

 

This is how I have chosen to relate to myself, my heart, my soul, my spirit, and my consumption. 

 

I have embraced my imperfectly perfect humanness and understand that life unfolds as it does. 

 

I have been gifted with this incredible awareness due to my struggles with myself, with my body, and with living in a state of vulnerability.

 

My eating disorder will always be a part of me – it is my gauge as to if I am acting, speaking, and living in alignment or not.  It speaks to me loudly when I am neglecting my own needs and cries out when I am not honoring my body.

 

When we live our lives in a state of fear, shame, of cowering to the world around us, we shrink and diminish ourselves.  The recovery process provides the platform for us to authentically take steps out into the world on behalf of who we really are and speaking our truth with clarity.  Naturally, there will be backlash from our egos and from others. The importance of continuing to do so, no matter what, is so critical to our growth as evolving humans. 

 

It takes an incredible amount of courage and conviction to stay the course…no matter what. 

 

This process has a way of bringing you to your knees while also pulling you up and out. 

 

It is a humbling process, disorienting, and humanizing.

 

At this juncture in my life, I feel that my eating disorder and other addictive patterns are a gift.  They have brought me to a place of wholeness, of deep inquiry, and of true self-love.  They have expanded my capacity for living in an embodied and authentic way, my capabilities in relating to others as humans in this dance of life in a connected and empathic way, they have invited me consistently to unwind and repair within my own system as well as with others. I have uncovered a trustworthy inner compass through my recovery process and know when I am off and have the opportunity to adjust as needed. 

 

I have been given perspective and an opportunity every single day to make choices that enhance my state of being. 

 

Some days are easier than others, still, after 20 years. 

 

Yet, I am consistently reminded when I do make the choice to breathe into myself, embrace my life, take care of my own needs, and open my heart even when it feels scary, that my connection to the whole is enhanced and life truly becomes richer and so much sweeter.

 

 

 

  Are you suffering from compulsive food addictions and obsessive exercise patterns?  

Do you struggle with body image issues?

Are you longing to feel peace, ease and acceptance in your body and in yourself?

I get it and I can help.

I offer a holistic and sustainable approach to working with disordered eating patterns and body image challenges. 

I work with clients  in person as well as via Skype.

Please contact me directly at:  alison@embodymylife.com to set up a free 10 minute consultation. 

 

 

 

 

The Aloneness of Single Motherhood

Every time I travel with my 9 year old my aloneness is magnified.

The reality that I have never had that experience of what it feels like to be a family in the more traditional sense is heightened. 

It has always just been he and I. 

 

Before that, during his first year of life, I was ridden with severe Post Partum Depression and in an incredibly abusive marriage.  My choice to liberate us from that situation was the hardest decision I have had to make, yet by far the best one.

 

So, here I am 8 years later, raising a young man alone….

 

I did not think that I would be single for this long; I did not imagine that I would not yet have the experience of partnership, of love….that person, my person, who effortlessly adores me and my child.  That solid and cohesive family unit.

 

I have been determined to give my son experiences such as what his friends are experiencing – even if I am doing it alone. 

 

As each year has passed, I have become braver in our adventures. Traveling alone with a child is no joke. When you are the only adult and all is reliant on you, your resources, your intuition, your decisions, your skills….there are moments of being brought to your knees.  For me, those moments usually bring me to tears and take me to a space of overwhelm in my aloneness.  They can come from exhaustion but also elation — that true desire to be sharing these experiences with another.  Not just for the extra hands but also very much for the shared joy and celebration of living, exploring, experiencing, and raising small people in a fun and conscious way. 

 

This past adventure was a week road trip including 4 nights camping off the grid.  No cell service, no other human, no toilets, no running water and refrigeration – no one except he and I.  As I hunkered down and took on the task of doing everything, I felt my strength rise – I felt a newfound capability and power in who I am and where I have come from as a woman and as a mother. 

 

I had many moments of feeling invincible – those mamabear moments where I was in a deep bow to myself and the role I have played in my son’s life. 

 

It is those moments when I was overwhelmed with gratitude and emotion for this journey that he and I have been on together. 

The precious, irreplaceable years of aloneness with this being. 

Those moments of recognition of the team that he and I are and although I don’t have that person, my person, to share the highs and lows with, I most certainly am not alone. 

I have this being that grew in me – this being that heard my heart beating from inside me – this being whom I have the privilege of loving and sharing life with. 

And, in those moments I feel full, happy, and grateful – those moments when the joy trumps the challenge and I surrender deeper into who I am as a woman and a mother. 

 

A deeper surrender to the unfolding of life and a faith in the right timing of everything and the gift of this journey that is single motherhood. Those moments when the joy outweighs the challenge and I am reminded that it is all truly worth it.