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  • Jason Wood

Game Day

Football is back!

To say I’m a die-hard fan of football would be an understatement. This is easily my favorite time of year from the early morning ESPN College Gamedays to being surrounded by 70,000 screaming Hawkeye fans at Kinnick Stadium, it doesn’t get much better than this!

To say I’m a die-hard fan of football would be an understatement. While watching NFL preseason action this weekend I realized just how much the sport I love mimics the recovery process I find myself in. Allow me to explain…

The offense takes the field with the goal of driving the ball down the field and scoring, meanwhile, the defense is doing everything they can to stop that from happening. There are plays where the offense makes progress, moving closer to the goal line, and plays where the defense forces the offense to take a step back.

Recovery is also a game of give and take. I’m the quarterback of my recovery, which means I have to accept the fact that I’m going to get sacked for a loss here and there. Sometimes I may even fumble the ball, but there are also a number of plays I get to stop and celebrate along the drive.

My treatment team act as coaches who help me learn from those negative plays where my eating disorder, anxiety, and OCD, come up with the stop. Each session with them is essentially a film study reviewing what has happened and drawing up a game plan for the next snap.

Recovery is also a game of X’s and O’s. It’s a game within a game that requires being strategic, learning about your opponent, and recognizing your strengths.

My journey has been a combination of fumbles and touchdowns. While I may not move forward on every play or score on every drive, the scoreboard is shifting in my favor. That’s because I can learn from every play that doesn’t go my way. That in and of itself is winning in my book!

Success in recovery, like football, requires resilience in the face of adversity. Orthorexia, anxiety, and OCD are tough opponents, but I am tougher. I’ve gone from feeling like an underdog to feeling like an MVP thanks to the support of my coaches, team, and fans. That’s all of you, by the way! :)

I may not win every play, but I know I will win this game!

Hut, Hut, Hike!


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Sounding the siren on men's mental health.

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