recovery? recovered? when do you know?

So this isn’t going to be the happiest post, but something I feel should be addressed. There has been talk of what the definitions of ‘recovery’ and ‘recovered’ are in the eating disorders field and I want to go off of that after an experience this week.

Tuesday night I got a call from one of my friends- we’ll call them A for privacy reasons and the plain fact that it doesn’t truly matter who it is to talk about this subject. A had an eating disorder previously and has since done some advocacy work here and there. That’s how we met.

(side note: it’s amazing how many wonderful people I have met through advocacy events)

Well I had no idea, but A was still struggling. the eating disorder behaviors were gone and they were ‘recovered’ from those, but something either emotionally or mentally hadn’t been broken out or fixed. A was drinking now- just switching one substance (food) for another (alcohol) because something was still eating at them. It hurt so much to hear my friend in such pain, but it sparked a question, when are we ‘recovered’? When can we advocate for this disease and illness in a smart way and not feel like we have to be the perfect person?

I talked to another advocacy friend about this and this is what I came up with after that conversation and my own reflection…

1. ‘In recovery’ is when our behaviors are 25%-99% better. Before 25% would be still sick (with 0% being rock bottom) until 99%, where behaviors are hardly present, but a bad day could throw you for a loop.

2. ‘Recovered’ is when you don’t use behaviors. You’re body, mind and spirit are healthy. When you have a bad day, but can deal with your emotions in a healthy and productive way instead of wanting to indulge in a bad behavior “just one more time.”

3. When should you do advocacy work? When you feel you can, but my friend suggested to wait 1 full year after you’re ‘recovered’ to evaluate if you want to get into this field or not. We all want to recover quickly or be the best, most helpful person, but until we’re fully healthy, it’s irresponsible to advocate. It’s hypocritical, but also not helping yourself. My favorite: selfishness is good if it’s done in a healthy way. That sounds odd, but people who get into this advocacy work aren’t selfish people- they put others first. But when other’s health trumps our own health, thats not good.

So that’s my rant or thoughts about that. Being healthy and taking care of yourself is IMPORTANT before you help anyone else (in anything, not just eating disorders or drinking). But also, have fun! Live your life! Indulge! 🙂

Life’s too short not to ❤

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