Eight months into recovery and you find yourself, in so many ways, so much farther ahead than ever before. Yet, at the same time, you find yourself fighting the same demons that have haunted you while you were chin-deep in your illness. A few months back, these issues came to head that mirrored old feelings, past behaviors and thought processes of that unrelenting disorder. But somehow, you keep reminding yourself that you will overcome the obstacle once again.
What could it be? It isn’t that you don’t like yourself; it isn’t that you don’t like your body or food; it’s something else, something much deeper. But why is it so hard to dig and search for that issue or trigger you've told yourself was merely your physicality and self-worth your entire existence? After all, you hate the way you look, you hate the thoughts and obsessions you carry in your daily life and you hate the mirror’s reflection and your build. How can all of that internal sabotage be connected with feelings? Isn't it just some guy wanting to improve himself? It’s unmistakably true; you wish that were the actual case.
You struggle with being 'perfect,' you struggle with 'people pleasing,' and, of course, you're always looking for that next big achievement. For nearly six months after returning home, those thoughts were non-existent in every shape and form. You felt freer than you had your entire life. During presentations, telephone calls, emails and face-to-face conversations, you emphasize to your peers these struggles would be tough and ever-present; yet you hadn't really dealt with it at home yourself. Now, being 'perfect' in recovery and invincible to past stumbles is revealing itself as completely unrealistic for you. The negative thoughts, once again, are circling your mind. ‘Why can’t I do this on my own’, you wonder? It's easily explained as a never ending rollercoaster of emotional highs and lows.
You've heard the phrase, "I guess it's gonna have to hurt," a time or two, I’m sure, throughout your life. Until now, you cannot fathom how close to home that phrase will truly land. If you are going to overcome this illness, yes, you ARE going to hurt, you ARE going to cry and you will HAVE to let go of all ‘those’ things to get to the other side. That other side you’re aiming for is being recovered.
Yes, I have been home and in recovery for eight months now. There are times when I feel that I am on top of the world. Life hasn’t always felt like this, and I know it’s unrealistic to think it will always stay that way. But I have to grasp onto the fact that the journey back to freedom and life doesn't begin and end in one giant leap. It’s a tedious path of small steps, sometimes BIG setbacks and emotional hurdles along the way. Throughout this journey, we have to remember that one thing is true, 'we are worth it.' 'When we feel like giving up on recovery, we must remember why we've held on for so long.'
For more on the ‘journey back,’ stay tuned.