My husband has now had six and a half years of recovery while I have four and a half years. He actually co-owns and runs a sober living community for men. I can tell his story in a nutshell. He began using drugs and alcohol at the age of 14. It was a rough road. He got sent to jail a few times. One of the last times was for possession of cocaine. He got into a program called Drug Court. This program was long and very strict. This is where he began his road to recovery. He had one month of recovery under his belt when I re-met him.I knew Cole from a class we had together in college. He began working with me a restaurant. I thought his one month of recovery was uh-mazing! Seeing as to how I was still dealing with bulimia at the time. Well, God is good and Cole threw himself into recovery and did all that was necessary to get himself back to good. It's been 6.5years and he's still going strong.
I became bulimic at the age of 21. This is much later than most girls or boys develop it. In order to understand why, it will take going back even further into my past. At the age of 6 I was molested by a young neighbor friend. This of course led to all sorts of complexes, irrational body image issues, etc. I was an overweight child and young adult. I topped the scales at 220lbs. I began working out and eating better as a senior in high school. By the time I was 20yrs old I was 160lbs. Things were going great, health wise anyway.
I never felt like I was losing control of the weight loss process. It wasn't until I began dating that, mentally, something changed for me. The only way I can explain this change of how I viewed and felt about my body is the fact that when I began dating I realized that people were taking notice of the way I looked. My parents did not allow me to date when I was in high school. I was 20 years old when I had my first boyfriend. And although the most we ever did was makeout I think that the realization that people(guys) were taking notice of my body sent me into weight loss overdrive. It was such a double edge sword. On the one hand(like most women) I wanted to be found attractive. On the other hand I hated attention towards my body. This is where alot of the mental struggle existed. I was tormented by wanting to be thin and when I'd obtain my goal I was not happy with my body for various reasons. When I felt that I was receiving unwanted attention I noticed that I would put on weight. I think subconsciously it was a way to protect myself. If I was overweight then such and such person won't find me attractive and thus won't approach me. Crazy, right?
At first the purging would only happen if I had overeaten a bit. Then as I realized the relief and outlet that it was I began to purposefully overeat(aka binge) in order to purge. The binging and the purging were both enjoyable to me. On top of all of that I began to become obsessed with working out. I was into heavy weight lifting and running. This, too, soon became part of the bulimia. I would workout up to three times a day for hours at a time. I began losing more weight. I got down to 138lb of pure muscle. People would compliment me on my physique and although I always felt like people were lying if they said I looked good, or thinner, or pretty their comments would spur me to further adhere to the bulimia.
My family found out about the bulimia about a year and a half into the addiction. I lived at home but I was extremely good at hiding my binging and purging. As many bulimics do, I was good at seeming perfect and together on the outside while crumbling and dying from within. My family tried to help me. They would beg me to stop. But anyone who has ever dealt with an addict or someone dealing with an eating disorder knows it is not quite that easy.
Fastfoward a few months later to when I met Cole. His recovery absolutely astounded me. I had never known anyone else with an addiction who was in recovery. We began dating and he slowly but surely by his actions began to show me that freedom from an addiction is possible. A good friend of mine also directed me to the therapist that I still see to this day. She specialized in eating disorders. She began to help me realize the core issues behind the bulimia.
A couple of years later, a bout with doctor prescribed weight loss amphetamines caused me to start having some crazy side effects. I went to see a general doc about it. I was always very very honest about the bulimia and such with any physicians I would see. Otherwise, how could they correctly diagnose me? Seeing that particular doctor was a God orchestrated event. He happened to have had a good deal of experience working in an eating disorder clinic. He said that continuing down the path I was taking could leave me dead by 36yrs old! I was 26 at the time. This hit me hard. So did all of the other horrible side effects that he mentioned. I had done plenty of research on my own about all the monstrosities that can occur from bulimia. But somehow that day it just clicked. I walked out of that clinic vowing to get into recovery that day!
I remember the first few days of my recovery. It was a nightmare. I cried all day everyday. It was as if my bestfriend had died. Bulimia had been my go-to-pal! It was there for me whenever the chips were down. I needed bulimia like the air I breathed. Those first few days of recovery I binged and binged. Basically I was subconsciously daring myself to purge. But I didn't. I remember calling Cole and telling him in broken sobs, "I can't do this! I can't be in recovery forever!" And I will never ever ever forget what he told me. He said, "You don't have to." This jolted me. What did he mean I don't have to be in recovery forever? Wasn't that the point of getting into recovery in the first place? He went on, "You don't have to be in recovery forever. Just for today." This was such a relieving and freeing comment. I couldn't do recovery fooorrreeevvverrrr. But I could do it today. And if I couldn't do it all day today I could do it for the next for hours, and if not that then the next few minutes. I could do that! Each day would bring more strength to withstand the desire to return to bulimia. A year later I told my mother that when I look back at my struggle with bulimia it is like I am reading from a book; a book about someone else's life. It is a rare occasion where the strong urge to return to my bulimic days enters my mind. But it is a fleeting thought like taking the next flight to Hawaii would be nice. They are both options but not ones that I would take seriously.
It was a difficult journey and one that never truly ends. I learned a lot about myself and through therapy I began to deal with old issues that played a part spurring the bulimia. In the very grips of my addiction, when I would pray that the Lord would allow me close my eyes at night and just wake up in Heaven, I never thought I would live to see myself living apart from it. I am living proof that recovery is possible! Well, it's been 1623days of living out my recovery one day at a time. I feel extremely blessed to be on this side of addiction. I feel like this is a second chance at living a great life and I am taking full advantage of it!
I would again like to thank Veronica for sharing her story with us!!! No go on and show her some blog love!