(Triggers abound.)

I thought I’d really made it this time. I honestly thought to myself, “Ha! Well, it really wasn’t so hard, was it? All I had to do was quit. And now, I’m recovered!” I mean, it took awhile to get to that point, but after three, six, nine months, I really felt like I was recovered. I wasn’t thinking of food all the time. I wasn’t restricting. I was “normal” — finally.

BUT: today I threw up. I stuck my fingers down my throat and made myself vomit after eating “too much.” I relapsed after 298 days of recovery. I restarted my day counter–the day counter that has stood between me and purges several times. It’s back to a big, fat, empty 0.

I could feel it coming. To be honest, I knew it was going to happen about a month ago. I’d had a few slippery-slope moments. I got sick with a stomach bug and allowed myself to vomit more than necessary. After that, I remembered how easily I can be sick–just bend over the bowl and force salivation, and up it comes. There were two other times in the weeks that followed that I convinced myself I didn’t feel well, times when I lied to myself and made myself think I had actually been sick, when in reality, I didn’t physically need to vomit. I didn’t necessarily binge beforehand, but the purge felt “good” nonetheless. Plus, since my fingers weren’t down my throat, it wasn’t really an “episode,” right?? No need to reset that counter. On it ticked.

Until today. I’ve been stressed out a bit with work. My therapist reminded me that even though I don’t feel maxed out in terms of stress, this is a different kind of stress for me. This stuff reflects on me professionally–this is my skin on the line. And, since I equate my job with my actual essence, this is my whole being at stake. (It’s not, I know. It’s just how it feels.)

And, I haven’t been feeling great physically. I have been practicing intuitive eating, and I’ve gained a pound or two here and there. I’m not talking all that much weight, but to my eyes, it’s a lot. An instance of a zipper feeling tighter than usual, or a top clinging in a unwelcome way. I feel that instant anxiety that I need to “rein it in,” that I need to start some heavy restricting or exercising to get things back to “acceptable.” While it wasn’t a healthy one, I used to at least have a PLAN for this–now, I feel a little aimless. I don’t want to diet, or restrict, or purge… but I’m also not feeling great in my skin. So, now what? No quick fix.

And–the biggest thing, I think–I’ve forgotten how damn hard this is. Recovery is fucking hard. It’s work. Actual work. And, I’ve started taking it for granted. Nearly 300 days in, I’ve stopped working so hard for it. I’ve taken some days (read: whole months) off of meditating. I’ve stopped being mindful about my eating. I’ve stopped REALLY putting in the work of recovery and started just going through the actions mindlessly. Turns out, that doesn’t work–at least not at this stage in my recovery.

So. I wish this hadn’t happened. Obviously. I actually thought about stopping in the middle of this mini binge, but to be brutally honest, part of me wanted to keep going. I wanted just to reset the damn day counter and be done with it. I wanted a clean restarting after the past month of cheating, of slipping down slopes. I guess I got it.

Here we go again. Day 0.

Published by Quitter

I’m a college professor, wife, and mother of 2 small kids. I’m on a recovery journey 20 years in the making.

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