Down Under: 12 Step Programs and ED Recovery by Dear Cookie Monster

Down Under: 12 Step Programs and ED Recovery

I am still so amazed that you guys are reading and commenting. Seriously, thank you so much.

I am starting to come out of this a bit.

I went a whole day (1 day ago) without bingeing, then my roommates wanted to make (virgin) eggnog today and that all went out the window.

I just caved and called my AA sponsor (it’s been almost a year).

I told her about my recent drinking urges and feeling like I was an imposter addict – that I had just pretended (back in 2013 when I got sober) to have alcohol problems so I could be included in the AA community. Therefore, I could now start drinking again without any consequences since I was never an alcoholic – according to my twisted logic, anyway.

I was telling so many lies back then (in 2013) to get me a spot at the recovery center, to keep insurance from cutting out again, and to make me feel like I belonged somewhere. Soon, I didn’t know what was the truth or who I was. I didn’t know if I really was hurting or if I was just pretending to hurt so I could meet the (ridiculous) insurance conditions to get treatment.

My sponsor gave me a reality check, which was awesome.

She said she felt like an imposter sometimes, too.

While the AA community is awesome, I feel like there’s a competition for having the worst rock bottom. She said she exaggerated a few things in the beginning, too.

She also said it doesn’t matter if I’m an alcoholic or not. She said either way I have great potential to become an alcoholic and asked if I wanted to risk finding out.

I don’t.

There’s alcoholism on both sides of my family and I’ve had 2 family members die from it. I was bulimic for 6 years and have struggled with binge eating for 14 years (holy cow) – I’ve definitely got “bad genes.”

I also told her about food.

And then she told me about her sponsor, who is in food addicts anonymous (which I didn’t know existed). The treatment centers I went to told me to stay away from 12 step food related programs (like OA – no offense OA) because they often call for rigidity, cutting out entire food groups, and unrealistic antics.

I’m desperate, though. My sponsor put me in contact with her sponsor, and then her sponsor told me that a person from her FA group is now in the SAME COUNTRY that I am, all the way on the other side of the planet.

I don’t (with my rational mind) believe in coincidences, but that is pretty cool.

I’m going to bed with hope that maybe I can end this charade.

I made the connection (while talking to my sponsor) that maybe bingeing without purging is driving me to drink again. I want to show how much pain I have.

“No one takes seriously a fat girl who eats too much ice cream” has been my motto since I was twelve. My problems are only worth listening to if I’m skinny or throwing up, preferably both.

Well, I don’t buy it anymore. Whether I’m reaching for alcohol or drugs or scissors or chocolate, I recognize that the base impulse behind them is the same:

“Get me out of here, this is too much.”

I need to learn how to stay trapped inside this body while it sinks to the bottom of the ocean and screams for air. I can’t float away and leave it down there. I have to swim a bit with the fishes and then come up to the surface.

I don’t even know where I’m going with this. It’s 8am now and I haven’t slept. I don’t want to do daylight anymore.

OK, the end.

I promise I am going to get my (stuff) together and start participating in recovery on here.

Being selfish and wrapped up in my own little world drives this whole thing.

Thank you so much in the meantime for reading and for your support.

Best wishes,

Signature: Unknown (Dear Cookie Monster)

Whoever this is

P.S.

There is always going to be an excuse to not participate in recovery (and this blogging community). You spend all day sleeping and wasting time. Why don’t you spend some of it on here reading stuff? Just a suggestion. (After you get some sleep, of course)

Future Visualization: Choices Over Time

Thank you guys so much for reading, you all seriously are amazing.

I’m sorry I still haven’t responded to anyone or read your posts. I’m pretty energy-drained and self-absorbed.  I’m writing so I don’t stop and never start again, rather than to actively participate in recovery and build a support network. I will be back soon once I get through this rough patch (and stop making excuses).

Onwards:

The bingeing continues. What fun.

I’ve arrived at the conclusion that I need to stop overthinking this (groundbreaking, I know).

I need to keep it simple. Just eat normally, be flexible, don’t try to control everything, and stick up for myself.

Incredibly simple, but excruciatingly difficult.

I can fake it on the outside, but I still need to do some work on the inside. If I’ve got my insides sorted out, then maybe I won’t have to fake it so much because it will be real. I think.

So, I’m bringing back the future visualization I did a while ago.

That was incredibly successful and greatly contributed to my 2 weeks of not bingeing. This time, I’m going to add in tomorrow, 1 week, 1 month, and 1 year to give it a greater effect (hopefully).

Future Visualization for Breaking Habits by Dear Cookie Monster

Where do you want to be…

Tomorrow?

  • Not bingeing
  • Catching up on sleep

In 1 week?

  • Recovered from not bingeing
  • Enjoying my last month in this city
  • Preparing for my move in a responsible way

In 1 month?

  • Not bingeing to cope with the stress of moving, making friends, and starting a new job
  • Exploring the new city and making friends rather than bingeing

In 1 year (age 26)?

  • Done with my work contract & moving on to the next thing
  • Active, social, and comfortable in my own skin

In 5 years (age 30)?

  • Done something with my writing
  • Active, social, comfortable in my own skin
  • Have friends and maybe a romantic relationship with someone who is respectful, adventurous, funny, and kind

In 10 years (age 35)?

  • Basically the same as above
  • Maybe married and thinking about kids

In 20 years (age 45)?

  • The same as above
  • Have a strong group of friends and family
  • Be genuine, confident, generous, and content

Now, here comes the fun part:

If nothing changes, where will you be…

Tomorrow?

  • Stuffed from bingeing, feeling hopeless, feeling trapped inside my body and my room
  • Watching movies all day to distract myself from everything
  • Hiding inside my room not even peeing until I absolutely have to so I don’t run into my roommates and hope they don’t even realize I’m home

In 1 week?

  • Gained more weight from bingeing: going outside and being social is even more impossible
  • Terrified about moving to the new city, not prepared at all

In 1 month?

  • I’ll be too ashamed to go out and meet people with my big body
  • Going to work and standing in front of a bunch of high school students all day will be excruciating – I’ll be picturing what they say about me to their friends (kids at that age are unforgiving)
  • I’ll just work and binge and sleep

In 1 year (age 26)?

  • All these stretch marks will be permanent
  • I will have made no friends or had any experiences

In 5 years (age 30)?

  • I won’t have any friends, let alone a romantic relationship
  • I’ll be working a job I hate living in a place I don’t like

In 10 years (age 35)?

  • I don’t even want to do this anymore: overweight, tired, hating myself, wishing I was dead, etc.

In 20 years (age 45)?

  • An empty shell of a woman who wakes up wishing the day was already over, counting down the days until she doesn’t exist anymore
  • No friends or family. Everyone else has their own lives and her parents are now deceased – the only people who cared about her.
  • She is utterly alone, without purpose, and unfulfilled

OK, I officially feel depressed now.

I’ll see tomorrow if that did anything.

Thank you again so much for reading this.

 

House of Cards by Dear Cookie Monster

House of Cards: The Ease of Relapse

This is turning into a diary, but I can’t help it right now.

Writing about “three things myself at age 10 would take to a desert island” just kind of seems pointless right now (sorry to belittle the writing prompts – they just feel like that right now).

I am just writing for myself at this point. I don’t expect anyone to read this because it is so long and rambling. At least I’m writing.

Thank you to everyone who is reading – you all are saints.

I can’t process everything that’s contributing to me feeling overwhelmed because there is just too much stuff, so here are bullet points:

  • I threw up involuntarily this morning because I got food poisoning

    • This is the first time I’ve thrown up in 2 years after being bulimic for 6 years.
    • I’m not counting this as a relapse, but it’s still rattling. ED recovery isn’t black and white, so I keep feeling like I did purge even though I know I didn’t (I think)
    • It felt incredibly amazing to go from stuffed to empty in 2 seconds – like SO amazing. It felt like I was taking a hit from a joint or something. And I really want to feel that again.
    • I am beating myself up for throwing up because I think I could have kept it down if I really tried. I tried not to puke for 3 hours but I was just really exhausted and there were all these mosquitos in my room and I had a job interview in a few hours and it was really hot and kept tasting the food in my mouth because it was coming up my throat and I just couldn’t take it anymore.
    • I am further beating myself up because the food that made me sick was one of the many foods I ate during a binge. If I hadn’t binged, I think I would have been able to keep it down because there wouldn’t have been so much stuff in there physically forcing itself out. Also, I wouldn’t have been so motivated – I can’t pretend that making a night’s binge disappear wasn’t on my radar.
    • I am further further beating myself up because I think I could have stopped throwing up half-way through. I think I got rid of whatever made me sick in the beginning but continued either out of reflex or because I just really wanted all that food gone. It’s too late for me to remember which it was – maybe it was both.
  • I CANNOT STOP BINGEING

    • I am such a wreck over:
      • The job interview (which I got! 😍😊😬😱😭😵)
      • Leaving this awesome place for a new scary place in the middle of no where (not actually true, but it feels like it)
      • Throwing up
      • Not being able to stop bingeing
      • My life slipping by and me feeling hopeless to change anything
    • My roommates keep inviting me to do stuff with them
      • No matter what, I always say yes because I am so happy there are finally people in my life who like doing stuff with me
      • No matter what, I always eat, even if eating isn’t part of it
      • No matter what, eating always turns into a binge, which I often have to make up an excuse to go do by myself or I sneak food into my room and eat it in the dark with the door closed trying not to make any of the packages crinkle so they don’t know I’m doing it

I keep telling myself to just be normal and knock it off, but I am just freaking out and I cannot stop.

I now have people in my life and I have to somehow coordinate my rigidity with their whateverness and I just go overboard and eat everything and can’t make it stop. I just threw up (talking about the same previous instance) and it felt so good and I want to do it again. Purging would just make my life so simple again (the biggest ED lie EVER – I cannot believe I still fall for this even a tiny bit).

I keep beating myself up (a pattern) for being so hung up on weight, but that’s not it.

This isn’t fundamentally about the weight and how I look. It’s about respecting myself, about controlling what happens to me, about protecting myself from the world.

Respect:

  • Bingeing disrespects my body
  • Restricting disrespects my body
  • Eating normally respects my body

Control:

  • Controlling what I eat controls my body and controls my life
  • Not controlling what I eat makes my body and life uncontrollable
  • Controlling what I eat often gets out of control and then I end up not being able to control my body or my life
  • (Basically, nothing is ever in control and trying to control it just makes everything worse)

Protection:

  • Bingeing keeps my body large and safe from people thinking sexual thoughts about me, but it also makes me big and noticeable
  • Restricting keeps my body small and exposed to people thinking sexual thoughts about me, and yet still makes me noticeable despite a smaller size because of the increased attractiveness (I’m not flattering myself as a gorgeous goddess – the differences are tiny and probably all in my head)
  • (So: my body shape makes me a (largely imaginary – thanks PTSD) target no matter what, the reason just changes depending on what it looks like)

What I need to do to fix things:

Find BALANCE. Don’t restrict or binge: eat normally. Don’t try to control anything and go with the flow. Protect myself with my words and choices rather than with my body.

I feel like I’m starting to become healthier, but it’s just so MADDENING that any sort of progress I make just gets obliterated by bingeing.

Trying to recover sometimes feels like building a house of cards for hours only for a tiny puff of wind to blow it over.

For example, I just went almost 2 entire WEEKS without bingeing and was finally starting to see some real changes. Then, I binged hardcore for a couple days and my weight zooms back up again, putting me back in baggy clothes, hiding under the covers, and avoiding the world.

It just makes trying to recover seem pointless. Why should I try when it’s all just going to fall apart??

That’s why I love purging. I can work hard and just pretend all the binges never happened. I can struggle and not show it on the outside. I hate people getting to see my greatest weakness at first sight.

OK, reality check: What I’m measuring success by is weight.

Even if I was losing weight by purging, that would NOT be progress. Even though I am gaining weight by struggling to eat healthy and bingeing intermittently, that IS progress.

I just don’t want this to be my life. It’s already turning into my life. I don’t want this.

My mom keeps saying that soon I’ll be all settled and everything will be OK then. She’s been saying that for years. I never will have anything settled. I am bipolar and nomadic. At any given moment, I have no idea what’s next. I doubt anything that seems fixed (like this new job).

The point is, I can’t wait for things to stabilize to become healthy.

I need to become more flexible and roll with the punches. I have progressed leaps and bounds, but I need to step it up.

All this bingeing is NOT OK.

I’m not just saying that as in “we’re going to get fat, so you better watch out.”

Newsflash: you are the size of a whale. That’s not changing anytime soon, either. It would take you months to get back to your former size if you stopped bingeing entirely, and since you can’t seem to stop doing that, it will probably take you years (or never).

I need to take losing weight entirely off the table because right now I’m using that as the metric to measure my progress – which is extremely eating disordered.

Now that purging is trying to inch its way back onto the table, I need to squash it like all these god damn MOSQUITOS that are EVERYWHERE (my walls look like a crime scene. And yet still more come. HOW??)

OK, the end. Please just chill.

Love,

Signature: Unknown (Dear Cookie Monster)

Whoever this is

P.S.

Sorry for not reading anyone’s stuff. I’m a bit self-absorbed at the moment, if you couldn’t tell. Thank you again to anyone who reads this, you all are truly amazing.

Why I've Been Gone by Dear Cookie Monster

Why I’ve Been Gone…: Avoiding Reality

I stopped blogging the past few days because I just couldn’t do this anymore:

Being nice to myself, trying to be healthy, trying to think of anyone but myself while reading other people’s things.

Being ashamed of who and where I am hasn’t helped, either.

Over the past few days, I’ve binged twice and restricted an entire day twice.

I just didn’t want to face that by writing about it on here.

I went almost two entire weeks without bingeing, feeling so strong, and convinced maybe this time would be different. Facing the reality of a binge aftermath was just too much.

I’m also a basket case because tomorrow I’m officially signing away my life to the new fancy job offer. Maybe things will be better after that’s all done with.

I’m just so tired being me.

I don’t want to answer writing prompts or sing Kumbaya with all my younger selves. It all just seems pointless when I can just fall apart at any moment and binge.

I’m tired of putting things back together.

I’ve made progress, though.

I can see it when I step back and take a good hard look at things.

I can’t think of any concrete example, just a growing sense of self-worth.

OK, the end.

Please, write at least once a day even if it’s just “hi.”

Baby steps will get you back on track faster than wishing your way there.

Love,

Signature: Unknown (Dear Cookie Monster)

Whoever this is

More: Growth Through Love Not Hate by Dear Cookie Monster

More: Growth Through Love not Hate

Dear All of You,

Writing this is pretty much the last thing I (age 15) feel like doing. I’m tired and feel depressed and just want to give up trying to have a better year – and it’s not even the end of January 1st. I have no idea what’s going on with me. Everything was so great and then today I woke up not wanting to exist. I’m just going to keep breathing and hope this all passes.

Thank goodness for writing prompts:

What would you do if you weren’t afraid? What can you do now to make that a reality?

I’m going to do the same as the rest of you and list my fears, how I handle them, and what I want to do differently i.e. what I would do if I wasn’t afraid.

My fears, in no particular order:

  • Failing my classes
  • Having to move back home
  • Getting fat
  • No one liking me
  • Not getting into a good college
  • Everyone watching me fail and secretly being happy

There are probably a ton more but I can’t remember them.

How I handled those fears:

  • I studied constantly
  • I tried to make myself thin through dieting and exercising
  • I people pleased
  • I worried

The base fear: failure

I had put myself out there and said what I wanted in life, which far excelled people’s expectations. I was terrified of them being right – that I couldn’t do it – so I worked myself to the bone.

If I wasn’t afraid I would…

I have no idea. I just can’t think right now. Maybe study without motivation from fear and self-hatred.

I’m remembering why I feel so bad right now

I (Ana, age 25) added my roommate on Facebook yesterday and was looking through my profile to see what he might think about me. There was everything: my summer with friends that my eating disorder ruined, the dysfunctional relationship I just ended, the school I barely graduated, the friends I don’t talk to anymore, and my drinking days.

I just curled up into a little ball this morning and cried. I just felt so incredibly angry with myself, especially Twenty (age 20). I know we’ve gone through all this, that hindsight is 20/20, that you didn’t know any better, that you were doing the best you could, etc.

But still. Why? Why did you do that? Why did you throw away your school and your friends and your health just to be thin and pretty and cool? WHY???

You had it so good. You were at an amazing school, studying amazing things, with friends that you adored. The world was your oyster. Why did you (bad word) all over it?

My self harm urges are through the roof right now. I can barely breathe.

My only comforting thought is that at least I’m no longer doing any of that nonsense.

I’m not drinking, I’m not purging, I’m not partying.

I am, however, still taking things for granted and not seizing opportunities. I just threw away four months to bingeing and hiding inside because I hate my life.

Hating my life itself is repeating the past.

I wasn’t satisfied with everything that I had – I always wanted more. That’s why I wasn’t OK with being in school and having friends. I wanted to be live a perfect life full of partying and boys as well.

Wanting more is what made everything fall apart.

I’m not saying that I should be complacent with my life and never strive for anything better, just that the striving should be driven by self-love rather than fear or selfloathing.

I’m just so tired now. I don’t want to be me right now. I want to be the me who still had all her friends, was on track for graduate school, and posted stupid bubbly things on Facebook. I miss her so much sometimes.

Well, she’s still here. Hi, Twenty (age 20). I’m sorry I keep getting mad at you for everything. It’s not you (myself) I’m mad at, really, I’m just mad and need someplace to direct it so I don’t explode.

 But still, please just let me be angry for a moment.

It hurts so much trying to be zen about everything. I just can’t.

Signature: Fifteen (Dear Cookie Monster)

Signature: Ana (Dear Cookie Monster)

Fifteen (age 15) and Ana (age 25)