Recovery is Hard Work!
Guest Blog: Written by Mindy Hoffman
Facebook: Living in the Hot Pink
Bio: Mindy is in recovery from anorexia and bulimia. She is a recovery advocate for eating disorders. During her journey of recovery she recognized how detrimental black and white thinking was to her recovery and was challenged to live in the gray. She changed her gray to the hot pink and tries to live a more balanced life of less extremes. She volunteers at the Eating Disorder Foundation of Denver, guest blogs, and is a guest speaker to groups about eating disorder recovery. She is also passionate about educating loved ones of those struggling with eating disorders. You can find her on top of a mountain skiing in the winter or hiking in the summer.
Recovery is Hard Work!
One of the biggest shockers for me when I left treatment was how much hard work was involved in recovery. I became accustomed to meals being planned and prepared for me, constant support for my emotions, behaviors, and meals, as well as thoroughly going over every “meal off” with my dietitian. I stepped down with less support as the weeks went on. Then came discharge day. I was finished and on my own.
I was confident, hopeful, and knew that I could beat my eating disorder! This energy and positivity began to decline as the weeks passed. No one told me how difficult it would be to meal plan, grocery shop, meal prep, and pack meals while transitioning back into my full-time job. It was difficult and frustrating because recovery was (and is) also a full-time job.
Recently, I’ve felt tired. I’ve been working for so many years to be in recovery. I let my guard down. Within a few days, old behaviors snuck back into my daily routine. The behaviors caused me to feel sad, defeated, and angry. I checked in with my team and said, “I’m tired. I don’t want to always have to work this hard. No one told me I would not get a break. I want to be normal.” My dietitian responded with, “You will always have to be mindful. Sometimes, it will be more intuitive and other times you will have to fall back on your meal plan. You will always have to eat.” My therapist said, “Recovery does not look perfect. If you are trying you are doing it!!!”.
Complaints as well as relief went through my mind and body.
I want my team to tell me something different. I’m so tired of hearing the same thing from them. Is there not another answer that is an easier road to recovery? I’m slowly starting to believe that my team does know best. There is not another answer. The road to recovery is hard work. It will always be hard work for me. When I look back, there are seasons where it was not always difficult. I noticed the seasons of difficulties from the past, are not the same intensity as the present difficulties.
It may be hard and exhausting. It may be something I will always be aware of in my life. I know deep down in my heart and soul, it is worth the falling down and getting back up. The fall and rise don’t negate the struggle or the joy that comes each season in recovery. It is worth it! I will continue to live in the hot pink (my gray) and not the black and white as I navigate these new paths and trails of recovery. Even if it is hard work, it is worth never going back to where I was in my eating disorder. I love that I get to fully and freely be me…Mindy.