I get it. All of it. Everything your heart just poured out onto the page—the exhaustion, the pressure, the guilt, the pain, the loneliness, the isolation, the sheer desperation. My heart has poured all that out too. It still does sometimes.
Wouldn’t it be sweet if there was a recovery button? If it was that simple? If there was a switch somewhere, and we just had to know where to look and then reach far enough? God, we all long for the pain to just stop, when our path seems endless, and the brutality of it all seems like it will end us. That means we’re human.
The truth is, we have a gnarly battle, and it is too great and too complex to be switched off. There are too many doors with too many locks than any master key could unlock.
I have found that recovery is not a detour from my life. It is not a side path, or a road block. It is the path. It is my path. I have only one path, and guess what. It goes through this labyrinth of bullshit. And just when I think I’ve got the hang of it, boom. I hit a wall, and I’m floored—again.
But our struggle with food, the labyrinth that we find ourselves in, the utterly bewildering landscape of our thoughts and compulsions, isn’t our curse. It’s our way to freedom. Struggle is nature’s way of strengthening. We are being prepared for what we were meant to do, the people we were meant to be, and the lives we were meant to live: lives free of guilt, shame, isolation, and desperation; of apologies for our very existence and the fear that if we trust ourselves we will die.
We cannot escape recovery; recovery is our escape – from a half-full life where we float as ghosts, as shadows of who we know we are inside. But we have to go through it. We have to pick ourselves up and keep going, into the darkness that seems endless and into the pain that feels like it will swallow us whole. We have to realize that when we are thinking that we cannot handle it, that we will break, there we are. Handling it. And unbroken. When you think you can’t handle it again, you can. We have been chosen to fight this battle because we are strong enough. We have the balls to face it head on and come out the other side. Not everyone does.
And the truth is, I don’t want to return to that girl I was before all this shit hit the fan, before I found myself drowning, stuck in quicksand, doomed to wither away in a pitch black tunnel with no end in sight. Because before all this happened, I felt doomed anyway. And as long as I keep searching for a master key to make it all go away, I will always feel doomed, because it doesn’t exist, and it’s not that easy. I didn’t know how to live before recovery. So when recovery feels like dying, I know that the only thing that is dying is the identity of “me” that cannot exist as a “me” that is recovered—healthy, secure (god, can you imagine?!), that is willing and able to act on her own behalf, that has un-learned the belief that meeting her own needs will destroy her.
Screw the master key. Screw the switch. Fuck the button that makes it all go away and will return me to an idea of normal in which I am half-whole and fully miserable. You can do it. You can make it. Or you wouldn’t have been chosen for this path in the first place. Fuck the voices that tell you that you can’t. Go into the pain. The things that you want to run from in order to save your life – run towards them. Through them is where you will find freedom. That is the only way to save your own life; the one that you were meant to live. Come out the other side victorious—stronger than you ever imagined. Take it. Own it. It’s yours.