I celebrated 4 years sober from bulimia Friday. That’s 4 years of not binging, or purging. That’s 4 years of not changing my food based on how I feel or think about my body. That’s 4 years of not engaging in exercise or training that is consciously harmful, or changing my exercise based on how I feel or think about my body. That’s 4 years of not intentionally starving or restricting. That’s 4 years of showing up every day, having to eat food regardless of my opinion about having to eat food, and 4 years of getting really fucking honest with myself.
That’s 4 years of super unlinear recovery. That’s 4 years of learning what works for me with regard to certain food groups, and what doesn’t. That’s 4 years of learning that my brain will always hate that I take care of myself, and hold the most superior expectations that because I do take phenomenal care of myself, that that should yield immunity.
Immunity from pain. Immunity from anxiety. Immunity from resentment. Immunity from not just fear, but terror. Immunity from bad body image moments, hours, days that don’t seem to end. Immunity from self-sabotaging thoughts and feelings and stories. Immunity from feeling like an exposed nerve cut at the root.
Immunity from myself. For several days now, I have not been able to shake angst that I am eating too much, that I am fat, and that my body as she is right now isn’t good enough. For several days, I have not been able to shake a preoccupation with my belly. For several days, I have not been able to shake preoccupation with my fucking self.
And yes, I have prayed. Down on my knees, in between thoughts, in between conversations (real and imagined), in between working and socializing and meetings and all of it. Yes, I have verbalized my thoughts (and subsequent feelings) to others. I have verbalized my thoughts (and subsequent stories) to God. I have taken the next right action: found naps because I have been so tired, gone to bed earlier because I know Alison tired sucks, eaten my exact food plan and adhered to FODMAP which is weeks from being “over”. I have not changed my recent 68 calorie a day bump despite my disease’s desperate pleading to cut calories. I have not changed my training to compensate for my disease’s pleading to change my activity in order to change how I feel.
Because I know this is my disease. I was flying smoothly high and feeling powerful in this exact body a few days ago, on the same calories per day, doing the same (intense and challenging and amazing) training, with the same people in my life and around me, wearing the same clothes, executing the same daily tasks. So, to align with this incessant negative banter and chatter would be insane. It would be allowing my disease to win. It would be succumbing to the voice; the voice that speaks in my own tone and wants me to fucking lose.
My disease doesn’t want me to be fed, safe, and powerful. My disease doesn’t want me to celebrate 4 years of touching my substance of choice every single day and not lose. My disease doesn’t want me to be succeeding at work, helping others, and still fitting into my small clothes I wore last year. My disease doesn’t want me to have a lover who sees me for more than a doll with skin. My disease doesn’t want me to have the love and support of family and friends. My disease doesn’t want me to have self-respect, self-love, self-adoration or to be self-soothing, self-promoting, self-empowering.
No, my disease doesn’t want any of that. My disease wants me starving – physically for food, mentally for validation, and spiritually for love. My disease wants me deprived – physically of food, mentally of recognition, and spiritually of connection. My disease wants me desperate – physically for balance, mentally for solace, and spiritually for purpose. My disease wants me to lose – everything.
But today? By writing and sharing and gutting it out feeling awful and not giving in? It can’t win. It just can’t.
And I won’t let it. So today, instead of quietly asking what my disease wants and asking if it is true, I am exclaiming loudly by not changing my food to less, not shrinking my badass and strong, powerful and fit body and saying FUCK YOU DISEASE, FUCK YOU.