I’m sitting my hotel room, eating a Mounds bar and laughing at the fact that the calories have been marked out with a sharpie. (This candy bar is one I snagged at a recent alumni workshop at my treatment center.) This always frustrated me in treatment, the fact that they marked out the calories on all the “junk” foods they were serving us at snacks and most times I very carefully and secretly scratched off the sharpie to discover just how many calories I was eating.
Today, I just eat the candy bar, because hey – it’s snack time – and who really cares how many calories are in it if it tastes good?
It’s been interesting being back in the town that I was a “prisoner” in for 4 months, interesting to just walk out of the building at the end of the day and go grab dinner wherever I feel like it. Interesting to go to the arcade with a friend without having to check in with a care tech every 15 minutes to ensure we hadn’t gone AWOL. Interesting to see the techs and therapists that literally saved my life.
I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t, at points, just wanted to go back to being at the Center and being a patient. What a convenient way to avoid life. And to feel “successful” at something. But this time, not “successful” at the eating disorder, but recovery. The therapists who knew me while I there were impressed with the real me, with the hard work that I continue to do. At the end of the workshop, the clinical director, who I had earlier been talking with about my grad school plans, told me that I already had the skills to be a great therapist and had proved that with the way I handled some tough situations during the course of the workshop.
Overall, it was a wonderful experience. One that made me glad that I haven’t given up on recovery yet, no matter how desperately I wanted to look like those teeny tiny girls, who were clearly having difficulties in their own recoveries. I won’t lie and say it was easy. At times, it was very, very hard. At times I wanted to just say “screw it” and skip a meal or a snack and run for a few miles.
But I didn’t. I kept replaying the words my dietitian had e-mailed to me when I was on my way to the workshop: “Behave – remember, be a good example and make them jealous where you are at in recovery!”
Did I make anybody jealous by eating all my meals and snacks? Maybe not. Was I always excited to do it? Certainly not.
But holy crap, I’m proud of myself.
I did it – even when I didn’t want to, even when the easier thing would have been to give in to behaviours, even when I was triggered like hell.
Being proud of myself for eating?
That never would have happened three months ago and certainly not six months ago.
There’s still a long way to go, but damn if I haven’t come a long way already.
Now, if you’ll pardon me, I’m going to finish that candy bar.