Tonight I watched a film called ‘When A Man Loves A woman’. It is an old film about a woman who goes into recovery for her alcoholism. Although I was meant to be having a relaxing night in with a film, it felt like therapy in itself as I could relate to a lot of what was going on!
It was a good reminder than an anorexic is an addict in the same way that an alcoholic is an addict. The only difference is the substance. It took me a while to understand and accept that I was a full blown addict.
Watching this woman finding life so hard in recovery also reminded me how at first, being in recovery seems harder than life when you were ‘using’. When I began my path to recovery in January, I knew that life with anorexia was a challenge, but it often felt as though life in recovery was even harder. Recovery was upsetting, painful, challenging and took a lot of hard work. One of the pieces of advice a nurse gave the woman in the film when she was leaving rehab was, ‘There’s no easy way through it, you just gotta do the work’. It reminded me how it has to get worse before it can get better.
However, 8 months on, I am now learning and experiencing for myself that freedom from the addiction is worth every single difficult day. It is worth every bit of hard work. It is worth all of the tears, pain and challenges. Even though it may not seem like it at times, a life of freedom is better than a life with an addiction.
Another thing that stood out for me in the film is someone who said ‘It’s a cunning, baffling disease’…. and it is. The harsh thing is that no one from the outside can understand and no one from the inside can ever explain. That is why it is important to reach out to people who can understand. There is so much support in 12 step programmes where you can speak to people who truly understand exactly what you’re going through. Without OA I don’t think I would be experiencing some of the freedom I am experiencing today.
I don’t want to ruin the end of the film, but it was a happy ending, and goes to show that addiction is a battle worth fighting.