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  • Jason Wood

Embracing The Process

I recently had a student ask me an interesting question during a presentation. They wanted to know how long it took me to go from diagnosis to being free of the eating disorder. I responded that I didn’t know the answer because I’m still not free. While rambling through the explanation, I realized how some days I am free of the eating disorder while others not so much.

I think that’s what can make recovery so frustrating at times. You’ll wake up one morning and feel like you’re “cured” only to have horrible anxiety again the next day. There’s often no rhyme or reason to it. Why can I eat a cookie today and feel zero anxiety or guilt only to be consumed by fear and worry at the thought of a sandwich tomorrow? That’s life in recovery. It’s difficult to understand, especially for those of us going through it.

I’m working through a tough stage right now and recently told my therapist that I didn’t necessarily feel tested yet because I recovered in the vacuum of the pandemic. He looked me squarely in the eyes and told me I had been tested, that every single day in recovery is a test. I’ve passed many, failed several, but survived every test to get to where I’m at today.

I may not be where I want to be yet, but I'm damn happy I’m no longer where I was either. That’s what gives me fuel to keep pushing forward even on the frustrating days of feeling like I’ll never be fully free from orthorexia’s grip.

I return back to an analogy I’ve used several times comparing my journey of recovery to that of a mountain climber. The summit is only part of the process. It is what the climber strives for, but if that is their sole focus then they are missing out on the experience. They would fail to appreciate the little successes that made summitting possible. The obstacles, the lessons, the wins.

The same holds true in recovery. If I focus solely on being “cured” or free of the eating disorder then I am setting myself up to feel nothing but disappointment on the tough days. That’s why I make it a point now to celebrate where I’m at even there is still more climbing ahead. I will not stop until I am fully free of orthorexia. I believe that day will come; however, that’s going to mean falling down a time or two along the way.

The sooner I accept that the sooner I can embrace where I’m at in the process.

On the tough days, I will be mindful of how far I’ve come and practice self-compassion for all I’ve achieved. And I will repeat my mantra of trusting, embracing, and enjoying the process as frustrating as it can be at times!


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