Imagine this scenario, a couple is married and they turn and announce themselves to the audience as husband and wife. They are a union, together as one. The woman standing at the altar, holds up her hand to stop the clapping, and she says, “Oh well I am committing to this. Yes I am committing, but just so you know, I have another option for just in case. A second option, another guy who if you can’t fulfill my needs. He will.”
As a guest at the wedding, you would be dumbfounded and shocked by her proclamation.
Everyone knows when you enter into a marriage, it is a covenant; a commitment. You are vowing to be with this one person, not with two people. You don’t keep an old boyfriend in your back pocket for just in case.
Then why, when entering recovery do so many keep the eating disorder or addiction in their back pocket for just in case?
Because then you don’t have to commit 100%. You don’t have to really give of your whole self.
You have a backup plan.
Something to rescue you, an exit door.
I did this many times with my eating disorder. Of course, I wouldn’t admit it. I wouldn’t tell my family, friends or those who believed in the work I was doing, that I had an out; someone waiting in the wings.
And it destroyed my ability to fully commit to doing what I needed to do. Sure I could eat the food, I could share my feelings, and I could try to do what was expected of me. But in my mind I romanced around with ED…I will eat this, but not this. I will share this, but not this. I will sometimes take my meds, but not forever.
Before life even had a chance to show me that recovery was possible, I was already flirting with the other man. Ed. He was my exit plan, my annulment.
I can promise you, if you keep an eating disorder in your back pocket, for just in case. You can’t full commit to recovery.
You have to break up with ED.
End the relationship. Cease all communication with him.
When the thoughts come back in your head, you tell him to go away. To leave you alone. Of course you don’t know what it will look like without him, just like you don’t know what life will actually be like when you marry someone. But you commit to it. You trust the adventure. The same is true with recovery. Trust those that have gone before you and proclaim, life without Ed is worth it!
What worked for me, as tempting and romanticizing the eating disorder tried to make coming back look, I put a stake in the ground and said, “NO. Not an option.”
I had to choose another option. When you make Ed, NOT AN OPTION, you are forced to use your coping skills, your community, and your support system. And you are kicking him out of your back pocket. Don’t keep him there. He doesn’t belong.