"How Do I Begin Recovery?" Chapter 4 Excerpt

“What will open the door is daily awareness and attention.”

……Was this my starting point? I certainly thought so.  But I had already chosen these people to be in my life.  I created the opportunity for those events to happen long before I knew how they would turn out.  In the film, Field of Dreams, a voice says, “Build it and they will come.” Buddhism says “Create the right conditions.”  Psychotherapy teaches, “Create a sturdy holding environment because we never know what will emerge during the course of treatment.”

Bringing this book into your life is part of creating the right conditions for your recovery.  What else do you need? Rather than decide intellectually at this point, take a look at where you are now and what you want. This creates “the right conditions” for your imagination, emotions, and thoughts to come together to make choices that serve you well in the here and now.  Then, you can bring your energy to whatever task you decide to undertake.

This sounds vague because I am not telling you what to choose.  You choose.  You are the only person who has accurate knowledge about your daily experiences and access to your own authentic visions for yourself.  You can check in with your emotions, energy and courage to start at your true beginning place.  You are reading this book because somewhere inside of you, despite the grip of your eating disorder you want to be free.  Your challenge now is to honor and nurture that hopeful and healing spark of life calling from beneath the years and layers of your eating disorder.

Ask yourself: What is your eating disorder doing for you? Why is it necessary for that healing spark to work so hard to call out to you and be heard?

You may be using your eating disorder to keep yourself from knowing just how hard you believe life can get. You may be afraid to let people in our life know what you are going through and what you really want.  So part of our eating disorder exists to keep the peace.

It dulls you down so you are in a state of acceptance of the unacceptable.  People close to you believe you accept your way of life.  In fact, you are (or were) resigned to live with an eating disorder that prevents you from becoming aware of more possibilities.  You have been blocking what you fear to know in order to maintain peace in your life.

Excerpt from Healing Your Hungry Heart: recovering from your eating disorder, by Joanna Poppink, MFT, Conari Press, 2011. Copyright protected August, 2011. Joanna is a Los Angeles psychotherapist specializing in eating disorder recovery for adults and counseling for their loved ones. For an appointment call:  (310) 474-4165.
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Comments (2)
These two sentences speak so strongly to
1Friday, 25 November 2011 20:23
Anonymous Commenter
These two sentences speak so strongly to me: In fact, you are (or were) resigned to live with an eating disorder that prevents you from becoming aware of more possibilities. You have been blocking what you fear to know in order to maintain peace in your life. As I work on my recovery I am starting to glimpse little bits of possibilities. It is hard to hold on to those bits as I am so used to letting fear tell me that I can never have those things or that trying to have those things will only bring unhappiness or even danger. I would like to get strong enough to tell fear to step aside so I can see for myself whether a life with more fun and freedom and flexibility is possible.
Of course, it's hard to hold those bits,
2Friday, 25 November 2011 20:50
Joanna Poppink
Of course, it's hard to hold those bits, Laura. What so many people don't understand and perhaps cannot before recovery is that something developmental is missing. That something actually develops during recovery and as it develops you have a greater ability to hold on to those bits and more. The frustrating aspect of eating disorders is that you push to go for what you want and feel badly about yourself when you can't. The issues become one of power, control, success or failure. But that kind of thinking leads you away from recovery. The real issues are about growing and developing so you can see, feel, be present, hold your experience and perceptions and make wise moves. Healing Your Hungry Heart is about helping you to grow and develop so you can. Increased strength is important but only part of this process. Thank you for commenting. Please let us know how you are doing.

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