A Different Approach
I just finished journaling.
Actually, let me start at the beginning.
Once upon a time, there was me. I was a drunk. I wanted to die. I couldn’t handle the way I was living anymore. So I went into a recovery house. I failed. I went to another one. Three years into sobriety I had a mental breakdown. Things have been fucked ever since. But through it all I’ve also had this eating disorder, see. So it’s not enough to try to get my life back from mental illness. I’ve got an eating disorder too.
See, I’m the type of person who’s proactive. I couldn’t give up even if I wanted to, which is why, when I’m feeling suicidal, I really get scared, because it takes me a lot to get there and I’m afraid I’ll actually do it. I’m too proactive. I’m a survivor. It’s how I’ve gotten through life. I finally got into an eating disorder clinic last August and I’ve been attending groups since then, along with the DBT for the diagnosis I no longer have (that’s another article; I’ll be writing it after this one), along with a million other things for all the other shit I have to deal with.
So. My eating disorder gets worse. It’s scared because I’m throwing recovery at it and it doesn’t like what it sees. I start purging really bad. Binging all the time. Prior to last year I’d been purge-free for two plus years. In February I had an epiphany: I must be willing to go to any lengths to recover. This may sound like a no-brainer, but for whatever reason it hit me in a different way this time and I started making an action plan.
It is now almost three months later. I’ve been doing nothing but action, and for the most part I’ve felt pretty good. But the better things get, the more obsessed I get that I’m going to fail. That if I don’t hold up every single thing I’m doing, and not drop any of it for any reason whatsoever, I’m going to relapse. So on Thursday I got sick. Couldn’t do any of the things I had planned that day for my recovery. Ditto Friday, and Saturday. It sent me into a panic. I thought I was fucked. Yesterday I had a meltdown in my healing session with my worker because I feel overwhelmed. I’m doing too much. But I’m scared. I just want to get better.
Cut to today. Canceled all my plans for the next few days. Planning to stay close to home, recuperate, let the anxiety pass, figure out my next move. Only I’m experiencing a whole lot of resistance. I don’t want to do anything anymore. It’s not that I want to relapse on my eating disorder, or on my alcoholism. I am just tired of working so fucking hard and feeling like I’m getting nowhere. And today I realize, while I’m journaling (one of my recovery tools, heh) that I don’t even know why I’m in recovery any more. I mean, sure. Life in addiction sucks. That’s a given. But this life I have? Not what I signed up for. I entered recovery to get sane, not to get crazier. I have a hard time going to recovery meetings. People share about how much better their lives are. Sure, mine is better in a lot of ways. But it’s hard to see that when I feel like an alien walking around on a foreign planet, nothing seems real, I’m going to have a panic attack, can’t breathe, etc. Tired of being poor. Tired of feeling like I have no direction in life.
I have been wanting to write an article on my eating disorder recovery for weeks now, back when I was still feeling pretty positive about it. In my favor, I will say that this too shall pass, I’m sure. Right now I’m just pissed. I’m pissed that I still do a lot of things in my life based on what other people think of me. I’m still so afraid of making mistakes or being rejected that I’m not going after what I truly want in life. And I’m not even exploring things to help me find out what it is that I may want out of life.
Bottom line: recovery sucks sometimes. That’s not what people want you to know. It’s better to sell it as a wonderful garden in the sky, with rainbows and unicorns and fluffy kittens where nothing bad ever happens and love conquers all, or whatever. Bullshit. Sometimes it seems like there’s no point in continuing. Sometimes it seems like shit is way worse than it ever was loaded. And y’know what? Sometimes that’s the truth, I think. Just my opinion. But I guess that’s just life, because I know I’m not the only person who’s ever felt this way.
Last night, on my way to a meeting, I was so overwhelmed I started feeling suicidal. No point. Why continue? No meaning to anything. I got halfway to the meeting and turned around and came home. I put my foot down and decided that nothing – NOTHING – is worth the pain and anguish of another episode.
As of right now, I’m done. I’m done going through the motions of what I think I ‘should’ be doing. I’m done being anything’s bitch. I’m staying my ass in recovery, for sure. But I’m going to find a different way to do it. One that leaves me enough time and energy to do the shit I care about doing, the shit that actually helps me feel like life is worth living. It’s important to have support and all that, but what good is it if you can’t also have a life? I don’t know what that looks like yet. I don’t know how I’m going to do it. But I know one thing. I’ve had enough experience in recovery that I know what to do now. I just have to trust myself, and beat the crap out of anything that tries to stand in my way.