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Bulimia Recovery First Step

Admitting You Have a Problem

The first step to bulimia recovery is admitting you have a problem. Seems obvious when you really stop to think about it.  Yet, I know from experience it’s so easy to deceive yourself into believing it’s a necessary part of getting through everyday life.

So what stops us from admitting we have a problem?  The payoffs.  Payoffs are what we get in return for not giving up the compulsive eating.

The Problem May Not Seem Obvious to You

Maybe you’re binging and purging 3,4, 5 times a day, thinking about food constantly, worry about getting fat, and avoiding being with friends because it usually involves food or other triggers. To you, it’s just a temporary problem.

“I can handle it.  Just need to lose a few pounds.”

Or, maybe you’re at the point you’ve done it for so many years you just can’t see how you’d get through the day without ED (eating disorder).

People close to you probably know something is up, even if they don’t know exactly what it is.  You’re not fooling anyone but yourself here.

Bulimia is About Escaping Our Feelings and Pain

One of the hidden fears with admitting your addiction is coming to terms with what you give up if you stop obsessing about food.  Or said differently – what you have to deal with if you give it up.

I’m talking about your feelings.

If you’re compulsively overeating, you focus on food, food, food.  All those other problems in your life (at home, school, work, with your boyfriend, boss or kids) magically seem to disappear. You find temporary relief by overeating and purging.

Ahhhh…. finally something to give you a little peace!

You’ll do anything to keep that relief going.  From experience I know food distracts you from the issues in your life that overwhelm you.  The everyday challenges that you haven’t yet learned how to deal with effectively.  Believe me, bulimia is only a temporary escape.

Food Distracts But the Problems Don’t Go Away

Get honest with yourself.

Although what you are doing with food distracts you from your sadness, guilt, anger or fears, it doesn’t actually help resolve your problems.  Your problems are still there after the binge, right?  The sad part is you’re just hurting yourself but the problem is still the darn problem.  And it’s right smack in the middle of your life. Ugh!

One of my philosophies is that we’re full time students of LIFE.  We’re here to learn lessons as long as we’re alive on this journey called our life.  When the universe tries to send us a message – a lesson – it’s gentle at first.  If we don’t get it, the universe makes it a little louder or more painful the next time.  If we still don’t get it, it can lead to a full-blown meltdown, physical accident or crisis.  I have come to realize that if I can get the lesson the universe has swiftly, it doesn’t have to knock me over the head with it.  My prayer these days is

“God, let me get the lesson quickly”.

Avoiding your problems doesn’t make them go away.  You’re really not solving your issues with food, just temporarily avoiding them.  Turns out…once you face what you’re afraid of it’s actually not as bad as you think it will be.  Feelings come and go, but don’t kill us.  We just fear they will.

Admitting Your Addiction Gives You Access to a New Life

Until you can admit to yourself and others that you have a problem, there is little hope that you will ever recover.  I tried recovery on my own off-and-on for over 15 years. I’d have a good couple of months without a binge and then something stressful would trigger me and I’d fall back into being a 5x/day bulimic.

It wasn’t until I admitted to another person my problem and that I was committed to recovery did it “take”.  When I finally told someone I was a non-bulimic it was one of the scariest things I’d ever done.  I thought to myself “how can I say that?!  I’ve never been able to keep my recovery before…how am I going to do it now?” And now another person knows my painful secret.

I don’t know exactly what was different about that time other than telling another human being allowed my recovery to be alive in their mind and they actually saw me as a non-bulimic.  As I look back now I think because they saw me that way, I started to see myself that way more and more.

I told the first person over six years ago and I’ve never had a binge and purge episode since.  And I can tell you with complete confidence it will never ever happen again.  I’m completely recovered.  My life is completely transformed.  My life changed forever when I admitted I had a problem.

Get Busy Livin’

Today can be the day you admit your addiction.  It really can be that easy.  I know we don’t know each other, but I hope you can trust me when I say that those feelings you’re afraid of feeling really aren’t going to kill you.  Yeah, they’ll hurt here or there, but aren’t the guilt, loneliness and shame of your bulimia hurting you enough?

I love the line in the movie The Shawshank Redemption where the character Andy says to his friend Red:

You either get busy living, or get busy dying.

I believe in possibility. I believe in you.  I believe recovery is possible.  If you’re ready for recovery now, great.  Admit your problem and get started with the next steps.

If you’re not ready yet, that’s ok, too.  Your recovery will start when YOU and only you are ready.

Now you know the first step…and when the time comes, at least you know what to do.