making friends in recovery

the night i was admitted to inpatient treatment, i had one plan and one plan only: do whatever i had to do to get out. that plan definitely did not involve becoming bffs with the other girls in the unit. in fact, i was convinced i was nowhere near their level of illness. i thought i couldn’t relate to them, that it was a mistake that i was even inpatient to begin with.

so i closed off, sat quietly at meals, read my book alone in the common room between therapy sessions. i thought i was protecting myself and focusing solely on my own recovery, not letting silly temporary friendships interrupt my treatment.

until one of our first therapy activities where we each shared some of our fears about recovery. it was in that session that i realized these people understood EXACTLY what i was going through, more so than my parents or sisters or friends. these people felt the same emotions, experienced the same fears, faced the same struggles every day. i have since realized nothing bonds people more than being in inpatient treatment together. it is such a delicate situation and such a whirlwind of emotions and physical changes that having someone go through it with you results in an instant friendship.

i can hardly express in words how much each of the girls i met in treatment has meant to me. how much they have been there for me, even after a year. no matter what i’m going through or how badly i’m struggling, i know i can always reach out to one of them and they’ll pick me back up. each girl has touched my life in their own special way and i am so blessed to have that kind of support group. they will forever be role models, inspirations and dear friends. i may not see them often (or even at all anymore) but they are always in my heart as some of the most courageous and strong women i’ve ever met.

that being said, if you are in recovery from an eating disorder and are doing it “on your own” aka not in a professional treatment setting, i highly highly HIGHLY recommend finding a recovery group to attend or getting a NEDA mentor. i really can’t say it enough…. having friends and family talk to is always wonderful but nothing is more helpful than having friends who are at the exact same point as you or who have been there recently.

it’s completely possible to recover on your own. and for some people, that may be the best option. but for me, i know i would never have made it this far out without the guidance, kind words and motivation from my treatment girls. they have been god’s gift to me in this often dark and hard journey and i am so so thankful everyday for their beauty and grace.

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side note: it snowed yesterday!


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