aka So was that it? After your blue suede shoes and Italian lessons, you were better? No more bulimia?
I’ll cut to the chase:
Sometimes relapse happens.
And that can be a good thing.
I liken it to playing soccer. Sometimes the way to get the ball down the field is to pass it backwards. Counterintuitive, but it works.
For a good 18 months I was being more of me. The shoes, the new wardrobe, the Italian lessons.
It was during this time I went to Positano for the weekend and bought, and wore, a string bikini for the first time, and had the experience of what it was like to eat what I wanted, when I wanted, without worrying about calories, exercising, or what my body looked like.
Especially after that experience, I thought I was pretty good to go. All I had to do was recreate that freedom back in reality.
Then one night, I had a rude awakening.
It was the last night that I spent in my Upper East Side apartment, where I had spent many nights in the bathroom over the past 3 years. I was moving the next day into Stuy Town with a couple of girls who were friends of a friend. My apartment was all packed up, my mom was sleeping on the sofa, and I found myself binging on whatever scraps of food remained in the apartment and then with my head over the toilet bowl.
I didn’t really have time to process because the next day was a full day of moving (fyi driving a UHaul through the streets of Manhattan in an interesting experience) and the day after that I was on a plane to Asia for a 2 week business trip.
Within those 48 hours though, the disciplinarian in me was berating myself for what I had done; ‘Get a grip and sort yourself out!’
And the gentler side of me was also asking: Are you OK? What’s going on?
I ended up taking the episode as a sign that, hey, this isn’t all behind you, there is more to walk through, so what else needs to happen here?
This is when I started praying again. Surrendering to the idea that perhaps I couldn’t do this on my own. The inner strength, determination, and fortitude could only get me so far.
This is when it really did become a spiritual thing.
I started looking for God again.
This, coincidentally or not, corresponded with a really exciting time in my life because within a couple of months, the opportunity to move to the UK came into the picture. For three months, I didn’t know if it would be a sure shot. Once I got the green light, it was another 3 months before I moved.
During those 6 months I got involved in a Celebrate Recovery program as a volunteer. I thought I could help others who were struggling since I felt I had come a long way. Little did I know that through serving others, I would receive healing.
It was here I was introduced to the term ‘co-dependency’ and ‘sex addict’.
What? I knew I had bulimia, but was I also co-dependent? And was I using sex to facilitate the co-dependency?
This was a humbling moment. To open my eyes to some hidden currents that were woven into the bulimia, things that I wasn’t even conscious of. They were just patterns that I had fallen into unknowingly. I hadn’t read about them in psych class and then used them as a solution like I had done with bulimia. No, these threads ran much deeper.
And this is when I would say the real healing actually began.
The irony, I didn’t even know I needed it.
And I may not have ever known, had I not had that final random purge.
But, I truly believe that our eyes are only opened to things when our Higher Power knows we can handle it, and are ready to listen.
If I knew at the beginning that I’d be facing bulimia, codependency, screwed up sex issues, people-pleasing, and a more recent realization, letting myself be ‘little A’ abused, I’d probably just go vomit, it would’ve felt so overwhelming.
My point in sharing is this: wherever you’re at in life, if you are being given glimmers of opportunities to grow, heal, change, and become more of your True You. Listen to them, in whatever shape or size they come in.
A random and unforeseen purge, a car accident, a relationship break-up, a career or business that feels like it is falling apart, or reading or hearing something that speaks to your core but feels uncomfortable and weird to accept.
You are experiencing this for a reason. It’s an invitation.
An invitation to go down a path that will lead you to love.
Something to think about: Have you noticed any really weird invitations in your life recently? Have you been able to accept them? Where do you think they will lead you?
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