Today I found a reflection that I had written years ago about how I have grown through my recovery. Today as a recovered person, I am proud of both the young girl version of myself who struggles and chose to get help and the version who was able to hold the space for both grief and gratitude for the process years later. Today as a recovered individual I would like to share with you this snip-it of my personal journey.
“Every day builds upon the one before, every day you carve your path, you learn, you experience and unavoidably you change. Change can be scary, usually it is scary. The crazy thing is that one day you’ll wake up and realize that you are the person you never thought you could be.
This week marks 4 years since I walked through the doors of Monte Nido. I returned today for an alumni group, I wandered through the house reflecting on my time there. Inevitably I ended up on the swing in the backyard that overlooks the mountains. For the three months that I lived in that home the swing was my safe space. I would sit on the swing for hours, looking at the rays of sun that broke through between the leaves, I’d listen to the birds, feel the wind, and sit in my own company.
So many important moments happened on that swing; so many life changing conversations, and revelations. Today, as I sat in the warmth of california sunshine, I realized how much has truly changed. There has been exponential amounts of change in my world since I chose recovery. My family system does not exist the way it used to and I live across the country from some very important people in my life. I have an incredible girlfriend and friends that fill my life with love and joy. I have lost many relationships, and have gained many more.
My life looks different. My life has not gone the way I had pictured it when I was a kid laying in bed at night.
More so than that, I have changed from within.
Sitting in the very place that I experienced my worst fears, confronted my most challenging beliefs, felt my most helpless and fragile, allowed me to recognize that I am not who I once was. I feel so much stronger than I ever have. I have taken my power back from all the people I used to allow to control me. I set boundaries and I don’t hold disdain for myself as a result of them. I am so much more capable, hold so much more wisdom, and simply embrace so much more.
I am not my eating disorder anymore.
I am no longer the person who has a panic attack looking at ice cream. I am no longer the person who counts each and every calorie. I am no longer the person who compares my body to everyone I see. I am no longer a person who believes all problems, or hurt feelings are a direct result of my existence.
My eating disorder used to be my identity. Without it I’ve learned that I am capable of spreading love, empathy, understanding, wisdom and empowerment. I’ve learned that I am strong. I have learned that I have my tribe. I have learned that being authentic in the world has brought me so much closer to the type of people that have the capacity to match my energy and growth. I have learned that being truthful and honest even when it’s hard will foster the right types of relationships in my life. I have learned that the more I listen to my soul self the more aligned I feel with the choices I make.
Most importantly, I have learned that there is so much more to learn.
Life is fucking hard sometimes. It can be painful and gruesome, and it can be joyful and peaceful. There are so many lessons to learn in all of it. Growth never stops. Whether you want to actively engage in change, or not, life is going to keep moving. Your life will change, but if you continue to stay the same, you’ll always end up with the same result.
The steps I took in the change from actively being in my disorder, to recovery were choices that I am so grateful for now. I won’t lie, it’s intense to sit in a space and recognize that you are not the person you once were. It’s a scary moment when you let go. I have felt almost a loss and grieving for that version of myself. Shedding the past and embracing the present brings great amounts of fulfillment yet also sadness.
I feel sad, letting go of that little girl that sat on a swing crying, journaling and talking about all those pains she felt. I feel sad for that little girl, and I feel proud of her for closing a chapter and stepping into change. That little girl feels like an entirely separate person from who I am today. Don’t get me wrong, I still grapple with a lot of the same feelings. But learned to grapple with them in ways that strengthen me and my relationships rather than shrink me into a fragile shell.
Change is inevitable. Change is the only thing that will never change. Resisting it will only breed negative changes, embracing it allows growth into the person you are meant to be, the life you were meant to live, and attracts the people you are meant to know. Whether it is your eating disorder, your toxic relationship, your negative beliefs about self, your job, if it’s not serving you anymore then surrender to the shifts life is trying to push you to make. The universe will only get louder until you choose to listen.
Even in periods of positive change, there is always uncomfortability, and there is always room for grief for what you’re letting go. Letting go of who I had been in my disorder happened over time, happened by each choice to eat my snack even when my disorder pulled out all its manipulative tricks, each choice to stand up for myself, each choice to do the next right thing. I am grateful for my journey, and I, just like you, have moments of grief. Grief for all the things that I chose to leave behind, and gratitude for the abundance of love, health, connection, and authenticity that I have welcomed into the present.
Today I am the newest version of myself. And in the coming year, this version of me will be gone and replaced by the string of choices I make day by day. That is growth and it is the only way to move towards self actualization.”
Now I want to ask you, what do you need to let go of? What is not serving you?
Be brave, and step into change. What do you have to lose?