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: firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a free 10 minute consultation.