That was my response when my treatment team told me recovery was possible. After being engulfed in an eating disorder for 16 years, I was skeptical.
I want proof.
Fast forward two years…
Recently, a fellow suffered asked me online, “Is a lifetime of freedom really possible?”
My response flew through my fingertips without even thinking about it. Then, I sat back and looked at my response with shock and contentment. My response was,
Yes – just like love, it takes hard work, sacrifice, and choosing what needs to be done day after day… but it is indeed possible.
After two years, I had found the concrete answer that I wish I had the day I was told me that recovery is possible. I’m proof.
Allow me to elaborate…
As married woman who comes from a home of divorced parents, I don’t have a great example of what love looks like from my family of origin. When I got married, I was skeptical that “forever love” could even be possible.
One day I asked a mentor couple who had made it through the rough times, “How do you stay in love?” their answer was clear:
Love is a choice.
It is not always easy, and it takes hard work and sacrifice. However, if you choose to love your partner day after day, you can make it through anything while enjoying the fruits of your labor in between the tough times.
After 9 years of marriage, two kids, an eating disorder, other bumps and bruises along the way, I can tell you this advice is true: love is a choice.
It ain’t easy to be loyal, faithful, nice, caring, and vulnerable to one person, day in and day out.
Especially in a world with so much temptation. Yet, as so many fantastic marriages have proven, it’s possible to make a marriage work. Even in today’s society. Otherwise, why would we even get married?
How does this relate to recovery?
But wait! This isn’t really about marriage or love. Weren’t we supposed to be talking about proof for eating disorder recovery? Well, let’s put it all together…
Love is possible, and so is recovery.
Recovery is not a tangible, fixed set-point. It’s a life-long commitment that takes daily choices, cultivation, revamping, nurturing, and persistence.
There will be times when choosing recovery is easy and no big deal. But there will also be times that you will want to take the easy way out and use behaviors to ease the angst that life brings.
There will be temptations placed in front of you. You may stumble a time or two.
However, recovery doesn’t count how many times you fall, only how many times you get up.
Sacrifices will have to be made. Those who suffer from an eating disorder know that this world isn’t an easy place to recover in. But those sacrifices build character, grit, and integrity.
This may seem far-fetched or idealistic to compare recovery to love, but it makes sense to me. And maybe it will to you.
Although we hear arguments that love is not possible, we still keep striving to attain the glorious joy that love can bring… why not do the same for recovery from an eating disorder?