When I’m not going forward in recovery, I’m perfectly happy to accept sideways. Because moving sideways is not going backwards.
I have recently spent the most glorious three days in a lovely little holiday house – big hikes through the bush, lots of champagne and chocolate, late nights lying in front of a roaring fire talking about everything from the silly to the serious with a gorgeous friend. Mentally liberating and spiritually cathartic. Not particularly restful though – I could still do with a little more sleep!
Eating wise however, I haven’t made much progress. I’m managing to not go backwards by reminding myself continuously I will recover and I must never give up.
At the start of this year I couldn’t get through a day without weighing myself. I have now given my scales away and don’t weigh myself at all.
Three months ago I still had a lethal dose of medications ready to take as soon as I felt the need. I have now thinned that stash out and no longer have a lethal dose.
A month ago I couldn’t be more than a meter or two from my self harm equipment. I have now put it all away and never carry it with me.
All of this is progress. Good and significant progress I’ve been reliably informed.
There is one more stumbling block I have not been able to consider – but something I know needs to be done in order to embrace recovery. My lap band needs to be loosened so I can eat without vomiting.
I hear again and again in recovery there is no point waiting to be “ready” because that day never comes. I can’t wait until I “want” to have the lap band loosened – I have to have it loosened because I want to recover. It must seem so obvious – just go get a bit of saline out of the band and the food will stay down. Simple huh?! Of course it is – physically. But emotionally it’s a huge hurdle.
The lap band has been a huge part of me controlling my weight, and the tighter it is, the easier it is to control. And I am incredibly fearful loosening the band will make me gain weight. I’ll lose all control over food and just binge endlessly with no means of controlling myself whatsoever. The hunger will increase, my ability to take more food in will increase, and the ease with which I can purge will decrease – significantly.
I did however – under the influence of champagne and a very late night – make a commitment to contact my surgeon before the end of this week to arrange an appointment for loosening the lap band. And once I’ve made a commitment I will stick to it no matter what.
My recent attempts to eat five meals on a regular basis is becoming more normalised, and I’m hoping that means my mental obsession with food will not be too overwhelming if my hunger increases. And the ease of eating food will not translate into me choosing lemon slice and salted caramel macaroon, over lentil soup and steamed vegetables. But I guarantee, purging will be more difficult as once food passes through the band, it is impossible to get back up.
Naturally, anticipation of loosening my band is increasing anxiety and feels really triggering. I’m aware of the trigger and trying not to let it explode out of control too badly. I’m aware of the anxiety and trying to manage it the best I can. This too shall pass – everything always does.
So progress lately – not really a happening thing. Despite the triggers and the slips however, I don’t feel like I’m going backwards. I’m not mentally deteriorating or buying into the slips – which is progress. So I do feel like I’m sidling along for now, doing the best I can. And this time next week? Well, I should at the very least have an appointment time with my surgeon and will know how many days left I will have for the lap band to remain tight enough to keep me continuously purging.
I’m ready for the next step in my recovery – sort of!