All In Your Control

I have hesitated to write this, delaying this post for a while. It may not be perceived well, but it is my truth, and I stand firm in it. I may get some kickback for what is about to be said. I know it will not be well received by those afraid to admit their unwillingness to embrace recovery. I know it will be rebuked my those who are scared to let go and take ownership of the journey. It is easy to hide behind the pain and the wrong done to you. It is safe to be covered by the controlling nature of addiction. I know it may feel like I am brushing off the power of the disorder and ignoring the strength our past has in our present. But I am not some random person speaking this truth. I am a survivor of a sixteen year long battle with anorexia. Trust me when I tell you I know what I am saying. I have lived it. I have tested it. I have overcome it.

So here it is.

This disorder is in your control. I know it may feel like it is not as you battle every day to even take one bite of food, as you stand and sob in the shower as you look at your body, as you wake up running to the scale because it has become the measure of your worth, as you stare at yourself in the mirror grabbing at whatever you see but nobody else can to rip it off. I know you spend every day feeling like something has taken over your brain and body. You feel lost and confused and so unsure of the person you have become. I know as you cry yourself to sleep every night wishing tomorrow would never come you feel powerless.

But you are not.

I know because I was there. For so long, I deflected the blame.It was the fault of the disorder. It was the result of how I was raised. It was how my family was treating me. It was the messages society was putting in my mind. It was the unkind words spoken to me growing up. I was not willing to take ownership over my own struggles. As a result of that, my recovery suffered. I stayed in a place of complacency or relapse because all of the things I was putting the blame on, I could not control. I could not change the past. I could not change the behaviors of others. I could not change all of society. I was putting the fate of my recovery in the hands of people and words that were out of MY own hands. Here I am handing my life over, living in misery, and complaining about my state of unhappiness because I made myself belief that I could not do anything about it. I had to wait on everyone else to change. I had to wait for others to make the first step. I had to wait for the apologies to move forward. That mentality had me trapped in a never ending cycle, a prison of lies and anger.

But the beauty is I did not have to stay there.

It took me some time and a great tragedy to see my recovery and my fate is purely in MY hands. The direction I walk and the steps I take are all in my control. And they are in yours too.

That powerlessness seeping into you is the result of the lies you have fed yourself, the product of a nonexistent self worth. That lack of control you feel stems from you stripping your strength away from yourself with words of defeat and failure and inadequacy. You hold within you the power to rise above and go against the disorder.

Initially, I recognize when your brain has been deprived of nutrients for an extended amount of time, you truly are taken over by the thoughts and the fears and obsessions. I will not discount that period before you begin to refeed and stabilize. But as you overcome that phase, you are going to enter into a new one in which what lies before you and the choices you make are in your control again. It is in your power to get up, show up, and work for recovery. It is in your hands to decide to eat, to not weigh yourself, to not throw up, to not binge, to not measure your body, to not use rituals. You are the only thing standing in your way.

Recovery is yours.

Tragedy can strike your life. People can come and go. Hearts can break. Loss can be experienced. Life is not going to stop for us to completely heal. It is going to keep going and test our strength. It is going to keep throwing obstacles on a path you have just spent a great deal of energy attempting to smooth out.

But the one constant will always be whatever happens to your recovery is your responsibility. You decide how you handle the situations. There is no clause in the contract of life saying you must return to what destroys you to cope with pain. You did not sign anything binding you to the disorder in times of crisis. You are not trapped in the disorder. No matter how tight a grip it feels like it has on you, you have something it does not; breath in your lungs.

You are human. No matter how you choose to treat the disorder, it is NOT nor ever will be a person. You gointo recovery already with a leg up. As a living being you are given beautiful things to help you survive regardless of what is before you. You are blessed with choices, hope, faith, and light. An illness can never possess what it takes to win unless you sacrifice your gifts.

Decide to keep them.

You have a faith and hope that gives you the opportunity to dream of what is beyond the pain, to see what is possible in health, to decide to listen to your heart. You have been given the gift of an infinite strength whether you acknowledge it or not to overcome. You have within you an unextinguishable light to defeat any darkness. You have the chance every second to make a decision for you, and if you make a poor one, you get a second opportunity to try again. You take those things into recovery, and you use them to be victorious.

There is no excuse to return to the disorder.

You are going to reach a point in your recovery where there are no more excuses to hide behind. Your mind will have more nourishment. Your body will be more fed.  There is only you and your own unwillingness to be more; more alive, more in body, more in soul, more you. There is only your fear to step into an unknown future. There is only you self sabotaging your life. There is only you scared to step into a life beyond just existing.  It doesn’t matter how many jobs you have, how many hours of school you must attend, how tired you are, who hurt you, what someone said to you. I have said and heard them all in my own journey. If you truly want it bad enough, you will find a way to give it to yourself. You will navigate through the chaos and find a way out. You will organize and prioritize to keep your recovery number one.

Take a minute right now with an open, silenced mind to ask yourself in whose hands is your recovery? Are you placing it in those of the world, putting your fate in things you cannot change? Or perhaps it is in your hands but with quenched fists not willing to let go, living in excuses and blame. Whatever the scenario, I say today is a perfect day to take it back. I promise you magic will happen.

Love, light, and bravery,

J.L.