Saturday, May 7, 2011

Recovery is not... {{ GUEST POST }}

(photo credit to

If you visit my blog, the first thing you will learn about me is that I’m not a teenager anymore. I’m not even in my twenties. In fact, I’m a lot closer to 40 than 30 these days (pout). And this, let’s call it maturity, unfortunately does not always bring the answers. I might be a lot wiser than I used to be, but only wise enough to realise there is very little I know.
But recently I’ve had two occasions where much younger eating disorder sufferers have asked me for advice.
And I wanted so much to give them the answers they were so sure I must know.
But I can’t tell you what recovery is, what it feels like, what it looks like, how long it takes, or how you get there.
If only I could.
But I can’t.
Basically because I have NO IDEA!!
In fact I know so much about how little I know I can write a whole post on it!
But what I can tell you is what Recovery is NOT.
And when you’re just starting out on this adventure my wisdom tells me that the answers you discover at the start of your journey are just as important as those you’ll find at the end.
  • Recovery is NOT just saying to yourself “there’s nothing wrong anyway, I can stop anytime I want to”.
  • Recovery is NOT thinking “I’ll get better for now, but I’ll hang on to my eating disorder in the back of my head just in case I need it again”.
  • Recovery is NOT sticking your eating plan on the wall above your kettle.
  • Recovery will NOT going to be quick, easy and painless.
  • Recovery is NOT something you will do by xmas, your birthday, easter, or even the start of June.
  • Recovery is NOT something that will magically happen just because you deny you have an eating disorder.
  • Recovery is NOT something that will magically happen just because you admit you have an eating disorder.
  • Recovery is NOT something that will magically happen just because you decide you really want it, now!
  • Recovery is NOT something you do for someone else.
  • Recovery is NOT something you can do alone and in secret.

I think I’ve made my point – I know a lot about nothing about recovery!
However I there are a few things I know that Recovery IS:
  • Recovery IS going to take a lot more action than words.
  • Recovery IS going to take a lot of support.
  • Recovery IS going to be very messy – and there is no right way to do it and there will be relapses.
  • Recovery IS going to take a long time and a lot of work

  • Recovery IS worth all the effort, and
  • Recovery IS going to happen for me – because I have hope

Do you have another answer for what Recovery IS or is NOT?
Please, please share your insights. Even if you only have one answer you can be sure someone out there has the matching question!
and here’s one last NOT for the road…
Recovery is NOT something that happens to someone else :)



  1. Recovery IS letting other things in life replace the space your eating disorder had.

    fantastic post, thank you! x

  2. Great post, PJ! Thanks for bringing me here.
    And @ shmeepfairy-LOVE your comment!

    A few thoughts--

    Re: "Recovery is NOT sticking your eating plan on the wall above your kettle"--I'd like to qualify.

    That is certainly part of recovery, of staying the course, of doing what you know you need to do, even though it seems unnatural, and unnecessary. (Even though your eating disorder can convince you hands down that you don't need to do it.) It is often a very critical part of early recovery, to help nourish your body and clarify your thoughts. True, "normal" eating is more flexible, and allows for you to listen to your body and its signals, and includes al sorts of foods, eaten not according to a schedule, but according a healthy you.
    But if you're not there yet, please accept that you are still in THE PROCESS of recovery and should acknowledge that you are taking the first steps. Even recovery isn't black and white!
    Hope that helps!

  3. @Hiker -- think what she meant was that sticking your meal plan above your kettle does not recovery make. There's more to it than that. You can stick it up there all you want, but that doesn't mean you'll be recovered. You have to act on it. You also have to act on why you need it up there in the first place

  4. Recovery is NOT pretending you never had an eating disorder.

    Recovery is NOT about going back in time to before the shit hit the fan. (since before the shit hit the fan, the shit was about to hit the fan.)

    Recovery is ... creating the present and living in the present and learning in the present, and learning from the past, and rescuing the future... ?

  5. thx for the gr8 comments!
    @Kat, you got it completely :)
    @rashocheal - absolutely!! I have never thought of this one. We need to embrace how much this journey has taught us, and embrace that, and not yearn to return to a time before - going back is not moving forward :)

  6. Oops! Do forgive me for reading it wrong! It was a fabulous post!
    It is interesting what what choose to emphasize,a dn therefore interpret, when we take in information, isn't it?


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