Eating Disorder Support Groups vs. Eating Disorder Recovery Coaching Groups
One thing that I can say about myself is that I’ve always been a fighter; I’ve always had a deep seeded desire to thrive – even when I was really depressed and suicidal. I know that sounds super contradictory, but I was constantly searching for support from something, someone, or somewhere to help me feel better. When I kept hitting dead ends and roadblocks in treatment, that was when the hopelessness and desire to disappear would set in.
One avenue I tried to find help in was eating disorder support groups. Let me tell you, options for these were few and far between. Having friends and family that were in recovery from drugs and alcohol, I was envious of their ability to find a meeting when they needed support any time of day and any day of the week. Ten years ago, when I was searching for eating disorder support groups, I was lucky to find one meeting per week, at least 30 minutes from my home and I am pretty certain that the organization that held these meetings no longer exists.
I went to these groups weekly; usually there was one meeting per weekend. People who were struggling and their families were welcome and the intention was to have a separate meeting for each of the two groups of people. Unfortunately, these groups were awful. Each weekend, only about 1 to 3 people showed up. Most of what I heard from the other people struggling were tips on how to be symptomatic. Sometimes the only people that showed up were me and someone else’s parents. On these days it became a Q&A with me as the answerer, offering support to parents of other struggling women, while I was barely holding on myself. These groups felt very depressing, very negative, and very heavy.
After I left rehab the first time I was sent to day treatment and intensive outpatient programs (IOP). These were not eating disorder support groups, but eating disorder therapy groups, and while slightly more helpful, they were also not that great. It was a mix of women of all ages at all different levels of treatment. About half of us were on our way out of rehab, while the other half had one foot in the door of an inpatient treatment facility. Half of us were trying to ride the momentum and motivation of being inpatient for months, while the other half were still taking their jewelry off before weigh-ins. Half of us were trying to remain positive during group meals, while the other half was crying, hiding food, and opting to drink a supplemental shake rather than eat. For those of us trying to truly recover, this was really triggering and made recovery so much harder.
All of these experiences with eating disorder support groups and eating disorder therapy groups are the drivers behind The Recovered Life, the eating disorder recovery coaching group that I am launching in November. I believe the difference lies in the words support vs. recovery.
In the support groups I felt like I was surrounded by a lot of women that were very symptomatic. In my recovery group there is an application process and it is required that you are 95-100% symptom free.
In the support groups I was surrounded by sad, angry, hopeless women. In my recovery group I am selecting women that are motivated, hopeful, inspiring, and ready to work hard and create their life.
In the support groups I was surrounded by women who either did not want to get better, or did not believe that recovery was possible. In my recovery group one of the core beliefs is that full recovery IS possible.
In the support groups we were anorexics, bulimics, binge eaters, and orthorexics. In my recovery group we are human beings. We are women who at one time struggled with an eating disorder, with anorexia, bulimia, binge eating, orthorexia, EDNOS, but we do not identify as our eating disorders.
The Recovered Life has been a dream of mine for years – a group for women hopeful about recovery, led by someone who is fully recovered, and with input and special guests who are also fully recovered. Do you believe that recovery is possible and that your life is worth it? Are you looking for a community of other women who feel the same way? Are you ready to thrive? Click here to find out more and to apply.
**This is the trial-run for The Recovered Life. It will not be offered at this rate again and is only open to 6 people. Claim your spot now**