I’ve Become a True Recovery Warrior. Here’s How

Warrior: (noun) a brave or experienced soldier or fighter

Today I feel good. I hesitate to even say… happy. Happy is a word I feared in case it was jinxed. Yet today – today I am brave enough to say, I am happy.

Why is this so?

This is so because I have the heart of a warrior. I am a brave and experienced soldier, fighting a war with myself.

To those on the outside looking in, perhaps this war seems absurd. Perhaps it seems self-absorbed, weak and foolish. Believe me, I wonder the same.

At 51 years old, I remain remain obsessed with body image, fraught with anxiety, and crippled with eating disorders behaviors. I oscillate wildly between restriction, bingeing and purging. I’ve dabbled in the self-harm waters.

It would be immeasurably wiser to use my time, energy and financial resources in another way.

Yet day in, day out, it’s same.

 

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Only it’s not.

Do you know why? Because I AM a warrior. I am fighting this eating disorder. I didn’t choose to become obsessed with every morsel of food that passed my lips as a toddler. And I didn’t want to develop mortifying shame around every ounce of my physical being.

These things happened.

Without casting blame, nature and nurture landed me where I am now. But neither nature nor nurture will pull me out if I don’t stand and fight. So here I stand – my trusty sword in one hand and shield in the other.

A shield crafted from the gentle words of my ever-patient psychologist, the undying loyalty and belief of my beautiful friends, and the relentless patience of my fearlessly loving husband.

A sword molded from courses, clinics, reading and writing.

I have the tools, I fight the battle.

The long road

This battle is a long road. Quicker for some, slower for others. But it has never been a race.

I am not competing with anyone. So, I cheer those I meet along the road – whether they pass me, I pass them, or we travel together for a while. We are not fighting each other.

Want to know the most surprising thing about this recovery road? It’s doesn’t have a single destination. I am not going to, The Place of Recovery – no such place exists.

Rather, I’m simply traveling the road of life. I have been blessed with many amazing graces upon this road, but I also have some burdens to shed and lightness to gather. And do you know what? While I feel my burdens are wearisome and relentless, I also notice many are now shed. Because of that, much lightness has gathered.

I still have awful stuff thrown at me in life. Who doesn’t? Where once I would cower in shame and silence, now I speak out. I no longer allow myself to stay silent. Instead, I share my woes with willing ears. Lo and behold, my burden is instantly lessened.

Silence = Shame. I cannot repeat this sentence enough. Silence = Shame

Fighting the enemy

Shame is the enemy of recovery. I cannot find recovery while feeling shame and staying silent. I must speak my truths to those I trust and muddle through solutions.  As a result, I am truly lighter and brighter.

In this war I fight, there are many battles – some I have won:

  • I am no longer silent with my troubles
  • Now I trust the wisdom of my nearest and dearest
  • I eat food – every day
  • I have demonstrated (to myself) an ability to calm my anxiety in healthy ways
  • Finally, I have thrown away the scales of justice

And many are yet to be faced:

  • Sometimes I still fear food
  • I remain concerned with my physical appearance
  • Effectively manage difficult emotions is still hard
  • I continue to struggle with purpose in my existence
  • I vacillate between hope and despair

But do you know what I also see in this list of battles? They are half won. I am halfway through.

I have relentlessly, stubbornly, uncompromisingly, persistently and single-mindedly, pursued recovery for years – and I will never, ever, ever give up.

Yet I will fall over again – of that I have absolutely no doubt.

But every time I fall, I get up. I have proven that time and time again. And each time, I rise a little quicker than the last. Success breeds success. I am finding hope and belief. I am achieving happiness.

Today I feel happy, because I have the heart of a warrior.

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1 Comment

  • Love your inspiring and honest article Simone! Thank you for sharing the insights you’ve gained through your journey so far. I wish you so much well and hope you manage to move in the direction you desire in future.x

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