What Recovery Is and Isn’t

I recently joined a new forum/website because I figured it might be able to help and I want to help other people.


I came across a post in it that had this wonderful list:

Recovery IS:
Freedom from shame, guilt, obsessive thoughts and the need to achieve in unhealthy ways
Eating and food is no longer an issue
Normality: sometimes eating too much, sometimes too little without being thrown back into disordered eating
Letting go of your eating disorder ‘identity’ and finding the true you
Being able to enjoy food as a pleasure
Wider perspective
Being able to have a family
Building up self esteem and self acceptance
Able to eat ‘nice’ foods without fear of losing control or feelings of guilt
Restoring perspective
A challenge
Being able to see yourself as you really are
Moving on
Being honest and true to oneself and others
Seeing a brighter future
Letting go of the illness
Freedom from being trapped
Acceptance of yourself
Not being too hard on yourself or punishing yourself
Not being alone
Accepting the things you can not change
The ability to have new thoughts, not staying trapped or stuck in one way of thinking
Not taking things out on yourself when things go wrong
Feeling that you deserve recovery
It is just as important to be clear of what recovery is not so you can be clear about what you want and how you are going to get there.

Recovery is NOT:

Dieting all the time
Escaping the eating disorder only to be trapped by another unhelpful behaviour
Just gaining weight
Papering over the cracks
Constant denial or keeping busy so you don’t feel bad
Never having any problems ever again. It is about dealing with them in a more positive way.
Living in and dwelling on the past
Ignoring your ‘inner self’
Restarting any previous damaging coping methods
Living a lie
Turning anger in on oneself
Depending too much on others
Losing responsibility
Restriction of food
A hamster wheel of activity


I think it’s a really good list and it’s even helpful for me. I may have gained back all the weight I lost but that’s about it. I still struggle with restriction, a “hamster wheel of activity”, constant denial, dishonesty, guilt, anger, and starvation on certain occasions, especially since the Actor has a different class schedule than me and there are some days where we will go the entire day without seeing each other until evening time and I have a rule where I don’t eat after 9, partially because I get physically sick when I do it, partially because it’s not good to eat that late for anybody anyway, and partially because it gets me out of eating.

It’s not all bad. There are parts of the first list that I have in my life now but I know that I’m not completely there yet. I think having this list is a good reminder. I might have to print it out and put it on my wall. I’ll make it all pretty first. 🙂


10 thoughts on “What Recovery Is and Isn’t

  1. Mary says:

    1. Loving the new layout.

    2. Great list, and so true. Realising that recovery is not ‘never having any problems ever again. It is about dealing with them in a more positive way.’ I’m learning that right now. I did go through the whole ‘I’m a healthy weight so why do I feel so rubbish’ phase! I realise now that yeah, I still have my problems, but at least at a healthy weight I’m dealing with them much better than I was when I was a starving nervous wreck!

    Thanks for sharing!


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