By Jensy Scarola
In light of the recent news regarding Kei$ha, Justin Beiber, Selena Gomez (she entered rehab in January for unknown issues) and watching various well known people succumbing to addictions, I figured I let you in a little story about what recovery looks like.
I am a former food addict. The medical term for what I had was anorexia nervosa. The spiritual term is soul loss. I lost complete connection to who I was and I wanted to discover about myself. I chose not to get in touch with my feelings, instead I chose them to lock them away.
The world is loud. Blaring, mind-blowingly loud. If you turn on your TV, radio, open up your favorite web browser, you will see an ad, hear a voice tell you are not strong enough, thin enough, rich enough, or good looking enough. You also have well meaning elders telling you things you should do and how to behave.
My impressionable 19 year old ears listened to the noise and believed it all. All of it.
It first began with, “oh I will lose a few pounds, I will look prettier so more guys will like me, then therefore more girls will be my friends, and then I will be happy”.
Then, I see others abusing these pink little pills that are supposed to help you lose weight. That is,if you are referring to spending most of your day on the throne, because that is what laxatives are supposed to do. Not help you lose weight.
And then, you say I will exercise an hour a day.
And then you say I will exercise two hours a day.
Not enough? Try three. Three hours a day. Then, eliminate all foods from your diet. Maybe an apple a day or a few raisins.
All of this to make me happy. As we all know how this story plays out, it never does.
The summer of 1997, I got down to my sixth grade bodyweight, but I was 20 not 12. The more weight I lost, I thought the happier I will be.
My soul was dying. My physical self had become a shell to very lost soul.
I lived with so much fear of facing old wounds that I covered them up by withdrawing from life. I had no idea who I was, and who I was meant to be.
Then two little angels whisked me away from this terrible dream. They are my daughters. Two petite souls giving me the gift of my life back.
After struggling with anorexia for a decade, I decided to take recovery seriously. Let me tell you something, carrying on with an addiction is WAY easier than recovering from one. It’s freaking scary.
Day 1 looks like this: You hate everyone, everything, you cannot bear any pain. You stare at the meal on your plate because you haven’t eaten these sorts of things in years. Why am I doing this? You pick at every part of your body and check the mirror at least 100 times an hour. An hour, not a day. An hour. And 99 times out of that 100, you don’t like what you see. You cry, you scream, you get angry, you lash out the ones you love and your medical staff and you say, I hate my life over and over again.
Day 1 looks like a lot of days in recovery. It take a strong person to recover. It took me a decade to accept that my life could be better, more rich and rewarding, if I just took that leap into the unknown. The unknown abyss of unhealed emotions and childhood traumas that stayed with me for so many years. If I just could face them and heal them and admit that I was already enough.
Well recovery sucks and when you are in your addiction, you don’t care one way or another if you live or die. Its really hard to talk to an addict. They are medically paralyzed because nutrients aren’t making their way to the brain and the organs. Furthermore, the drug of choice is completely altering the mind. Mind, body and soul are starving. Dying a very slow and painful death.
And then one day it clicks. Usually after a period of time where you are taking really good care of yourself. You are doing things that literally feed the mind, body, and soul. You eat whole foods. You move your body in a way that feels natural. You clear your mind of resentments, past traumas, and unhealed wombs. Maybe in the therapists office that happens. Or maybe at an ashram. Or maybe talking to your very best friend or your dog. Maybe your journal listens to all of it.
You discover what you truly love about yourself without the pressure of society. You wear bold lipstick now. You rock your favorite headband. You discover you love to draw. You pick up an old hobby that you loved to do but someone told you weren’t good at or it was too much money or it was dumb. You don’t listen this time around – you pick up that hobby again. And then the dust clears and the soul settles back into its cozy cushion of the heart. The soul and the heart meet again like old friends. They are speaking the same language now and its the language of love.
Tune all the noise out. Even when your soul is dying through your addiction, you can still hear it. It whispers to you like a loving mother whispers to a sleeping baby. It only speaks one language. You’ll know it when you hear it because its loving, compassionate, and gentle.
Love is always with you. Clear the dust and the debris and all that loud noise, and then you will hear it.
Recovery is a journey back to the soul. It will be the most rewarding journey of your life.