Posted by: VoiceinRecovery | October 12, 2009

Why I Started Voice in Recovery

My recovery began with extreme ambivalence. I knew what I was doing, knew it was unhealthy, and knew I should stop, but none of this stopped anything. I began recovery in “spirit” more than in behaviors. I was ambivalent to stop my behaviors. I honestly didnt even understand what this word recovery meant. My journey into recovery was hard because I was doing it all alone, without support and went looking for support I so desperately needed. Looking for support when you are in your ED behaviors is difficult because you are bound to find mixed messages, triggers, and not know what to do. My first jump into recovery ambivalence was starting a myspace page.

When I first started my Recovery Myspace page – let me be clear – I had NO idea what I wanted, what I needed, where I was going, or what I was facing. I basically liked the idea of being anonymous and able to scream, cry, whine, share, talk, to people I thought were going through the same thing I was. I went looking for people that understood. I am not sure if my parents knew at this point – I am unsure because I have years of which were a blur (thats another blog entry) and trying to piece things together is difficult. The problem with looking for people to relate to is exactly that – finding people that are in the same place as you are – and that can be a toxic environment for someone in ambivalence.

I was a lost soul looking for direction on myspace. I did what I thought was the right thing to do in recovery. I added all the organizations, and non profits, and recovery focused professionals. I put them as my top friends and started looking for other recovery minded people. But this didn’t help me in my own recovery. Just because I had organizations, knew the resources, I didn’t know what to do with them. I didn’t know how to take those resources and turn it into a path of recovery. Not to mention I seriously didn’t want to recover by looking merely at my actions. This is why I say a lot that ambivalence (in my opinion) is a very real and important step in the recovery path.

People started to add me – those also in ambivalence that were looking for help. People started asking me for advice. I had “words” of advice – I knew a lot about eating disorders and knew a lot of the right words to say to support people. The problem was I felt like a fraud. Here I was supporting others and giving hope and words of encouragement when I myself was lost in my own behaviors. I felt torn because there was a need for so many people to have support – so many people looking for what to do – and I felt a lot of self imposed pressure to be the one to fill that need. I felt dishonest and torn all the time. I was wrapped with guilt in many ways because I felt so fake – how could I give support and help others if I myself wasn’t willing to stop my behaviors? I have never shared this – and I do have at least one person I know from this time as a friend in the recovery world to this day. I am not sure what she would say – but I felt my online presence was strong one day, weak the next, and all in all a mix of so many emotions I had no idea what to do with them. I was not living authentically, mainly because I didn’t even seem to know myself on any given day. I have large wholes in my recovery due to other issues and I didn’t know what to do with myself.

I had good and bad days on myspace. In 2007 I started being very honest about my struggles and I got a lot of support – I went looking into my emails today and saw so many wonderful, kind supportive offers from Kathleen MacDonald. I didn’t know who she was, not as I do today – but I am grateful for the people that did try to reach out and offer to help. Once I started being honest – it also opened my life to way more people struggling as well. The problem was I had added people who were also in disorder and in ambivalence of recovery as well. I could read their bulletins and automatically feel “heard” and “not alone” but it also gave me more reasons to be sad and sit in my disorder and in ambivalence. This time period was of incredible silence in my real life, I could act together for the most part in my life, my parents didn’t know all the details, and my close friend also was struggling in real life. I had no Voice in Recovery I could turn to to ask questions. I didn’t even know the power of my voice until years later.

I was basically using Myspace as a place to get therapy, support groups, and it wasn’t enough and wasn’t what I needed. I started the path with nothing in mind, and ended up using it as a place to cry, vent, share purge free days, all in all never realizing I wasn’t getting anywhere. I had basically found another place to dissociate from myself. I could be anyone I wanted, present myself as healthy, or sick and all in all I didn’t have to be honest with myself or others.  The only posts that were of extreme honesty and pain were probably when I was intoxicated. I think a lot of the drinking back then was so that I could feel, could feel the sadness I was not allowing myself to feel anywhere else.

I stopped using the recovery page after I really started recovery. I needed to stay away because there were a lot of good, bad, hopeful, negative, parts of the myspace world I had found – but I needed an out. I needed away from triggers. I needed to really focus on my recovery and start therapy. So I stopped giving support out to everyone else. I started to focus on giving myself support.

So why did I start Voice In Recovery? I started it because there were a lot of memoirs out there, there are a lot of pro-ed sites, but the voices I felt I needed and wanted to hear were those in recovery. Recovery is such a dynamic process, very different for each individual. But I didn’t seem to find those voices when I was in desperate need of help. I felt the support being given and given by myself were those struggling in their disorders and that was hard. I wanted to create a place where voices could be heard, stories could be shared, and journeys could be shown to the world. I didnt know what recovery looked like, felt like. I find many people coming to me asking about recovery – feelings the struggles are hard, that recovery includes a lot of the thought processes we had in the disorder. Am I doing enough, am I far enough on this journey, am I doing it right? I have started this journey because I believe recovery is not black and white. I believe it is hard, but hope is possible. I believe there is no right or wrong way. I believe the journey is more important than the end result. I try not to get wrapped up in the thinking that because I struggle or have a bad day – that I am not making large strides in my life. I also feel I am living an authentic life, I no longer feel torn in what I do. I have days where I question my voice – but never its honesty. I wanted to start Voice in Recovery to provide a safe place for people to share their recovery stories. To find hope, and find solace in the journey. I want to provide to others what I did not find when I went looking. If I can help just one person either find their voice, or understand that recovery is possible, and that although there are struggles – there is hope in the process.

I have made it out of a very long tunnel where I should have died more than once. I made it out struggling a lot on my own, alone, and while this is my own path – I hope to create a safer, more open environment for people to not feel alone, and find friends, support, treatments that will work for them. I use my page to focus on integration – of research, treatments, news stories, recovery stories, etc. I think there are a lot of diverse voices out there – and I hope to find a way to dispel myths, break stigmas, and show that eating disorders are diverse by nature, and recovery is as well.

In the end that is what recovery is to me. Its about living. Finding a way to live authentically, with passion, and helping others. That is my goal in life. This is my journey. So welcome.

By the way – This myspace page is still up – still out there – although I rarely go on it – other than for reasons of piecing together my history by going through my blogs, my bulletins, my messages sent to people. This is my own virtual diary I feel is priceless. I have considered taking it down – mainly because I do have a Voice In Recovery myspace page – but for some reason I cannot yet pull the plug on this large piece of my history. For the good and bad that came from it – it was a large part of my story, my journey and for now I leave it in the past – there for me to look back to in order to see how far I’ve come.

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Responses

  1. How awesome that you hve started a blog where you can share in your recovery. I look forward to reading more!
    Take care:)

    • I hope to not only share my voice. As I am only one voice – not the voice. I hope others will volunteer to be guest bloggers to share their stories as well. I already have my first gues post – should be up soon!

  2. I just wanted to thank you for writing this. It was very clear, very concise, easy to understand, eloquently spoken. I think many people feel this way when they first start seeking recovery. I wish you luck in the ongoing process that is recovering.

    • Thank you so much! I have been putting it off for a while now – not sure why. Today I got the writing bug and it just felt natural – not forced 🙂

  3. Way to go! Congratulations on your first blog entry. I feel the same way about twitter as it sounds like you felt about My Space. I appreciate your thoughtful comments and constant support!!

    • I had never even thought about twitter being like that! Its so interesting because my eyes are from a different perspective today! But its so true – it has its ebbs and flows and is sometimes very hard to maneuver when you are trying to get healthy. I definitely struggled but hope this blog can help a little with sharing peoples voices – to keep our recovery voices loud! 🙂

  4. I was so excited to see your first blog! Way to go! Sharing one’s story takes a lot of courage and strength. Many more people will read what you wrote and learn from it. I can’t wait to read more inspiring stories from not only you but others whose voices need to be heard.
    What a great thing you’re doing. Very positive. Very empowering! God bless!

    • Thank you Jenn! I have not shared a lot of my story on this sort of public arena ever. I have shared bits and pieces to individuals but never thought my journey was something to learn from. Its only been in the last year or so since I started down this path how important I realized hope, and sharing is in this process. I hope many people gain hope from my words as well as any volunteer guest posts 🙂

  5. This is such a wonderful thing to share! A lot of people think they have to feel “motivated” before they can think about recovery… A lot of recovery begins with ambivalence – (you want things to be better, but aren’t quite ready to change.) Just becoming aware of feelings and reaching out for support is a HUGE step.

    Thanks for being such an amazing voice in recovery!

  6. Beautiful post, thank you so much for sharing. Your words resonate with me so much as I have been in that place. For me recovery will forever be a part of my life, but I take one day at a time and I am enjoying & exploring this wonderful journey. I look forward to reading you voice! Blessing to you 🙂

    • Thank you so much! I really feel I am doing this now living my true authentic self! Its amazing to be able to look back and be able to share some of my story with others!

  7. Thank you for posting and for sharing. I think its so important to start talking about recovery – so many other options and resources out there are focused on treatment or on prevention of EDs, but not recovery. So great big hugs and great big love to you!

  8. Congratulations – a real, inspiring and raw personal account of your ed journey thus far. It reads so authentically.

    Thank you for sharing. I look forward to many more posts.

  9. I’m so glad to hear your background! 🙂 You are one strong woman! I’m looking forward to reading more on your blog.

  10. WOW! Thank you sooooo much for sharing this. I’ve been following your facebook page for some time now, and have benefitted tramendously from it, but actually reading your story is amazing as well. I feel as though I was reading the feelings I’ve been unable to put into words, in terms of my own place on the path to recovery. Your story and your strength are truely inspiring and I thank you IMENESLY for sharing them w/the world. I hope to one day be in a place similar to where you find yourself now. THANK YOU SOOO SOOO MUCH AGAIN!

    • Thank you for reading this and giving me something to smile about. I hope by sharing my story it helps others. I have worried about what sharing my story really means – but for me – sharing my story is a way to work through my own recovery. I am glad you got something from this post and I hope you continue to gain strength in your own recovery. I look forward to sharing this path with you and everyone else 🙂

  11. My apologies for being late to comment here. As my mother always says, “Sometimes it’s better late than never.”
    Congratulations and a big hooray! to you for not just starting a blog, but pouring out your heart, soul and recovery to everyone else to see. I know how scary it can be. I’m glad that you have such a community to stand on when things get rough or your just need some inspiration. I’ve found that blogging about it can be a curse and a blessing. For me, I feel like people look to me for inspiration and that can be overwhelming. I want to scream out, “No people, I REALLY don’t have it all together!” but I think that if you really know ED, you know that none of us, even the recovered have it all together on a daily basis.
    Hope that all makes sense. I have a hard time articulating about that topic sometimes. But on the flip side, blogging has been enormously therapeutic. I’m sure it will be that way for you as well. Keep it up girl! I love to watch you evolve!!!

  12. I have been following your tweets and really interested in your story and the generosity with which you help other people. This post has explained it. I completely understand that recovery is wholly unique and individual and a real growth process; however, I think you provide an inspirational point of reference, helping people through directing them to knowledge, and offering support and kindness.
    I stayed away from the internet in my illness and the initial part of my recovery; however, you would have been a fantastic source of support and you have been inspirational as I start exploring how to use my own experiences now that I have come so far.
    Thank you!

  13. Your story is moving and touched me tremendously.

    I haven’t been to meetings in years. However, I miss the gratitude and reality checks I get FROM them. I just hated the “status quo” year after year from the same people using the same excuses.

    Recovery means that you RECOVER and MOVE FORWARD and GROW UP! I have been recovering from Bulimia for over 30 years, and I am proud of my accomplishments.

    I am recovering from drugs and alcohol for almost 20 years, however I have 9 years of continuous sobriety for alcohol and 7 years for weed. And I am proud of myself every day, and grateful to be alive and well today.

    I look forward to reading your posts, and getting to know you.


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