Eating Disorders Anonymous – First Meetings

I’ve been frustrated that so much of the information about ED recovery out there seems to be targeted to teenaged girls. There are a billion misconceptions about ED that someday I’d like to correct, but that day isn’t today. Part of ED is the shame, guilt, and secrecy. We know what we do isn’t right or healthy, but we’re afraid of admitting we have a problem because we don’t want to be judged. We don’t want anyone to see we are less than perfect, and most of all, we don’t want anyone to know how much we hate ourselves.

I wanted to go to a support group, but there aren’t any near me (not even close to me – try at least 90 minutes away and in the opposite direction of the 75 minute commute I have to and from work. I thought about going to Overeater’s Anonymous, but I don’t think it would be good for me at the place where I am today. There’s a depression support group, but I don’t really need help with my depression. It’s ED who absorbs so much of my time and energy.

I came across Eating Disorders Anonymous (EDA) and have read some of their stuff, looked for meetings (none near me again). But they have web meetings, and phone meetings. And last night I called. I called late, the meeting had already started, and I didn’t know the protocol so I accidentally interrupted someone’s share when I “dropped” in. But no one judged me. And what I found was that the people on the call were a lot like me. A lot of the things that they shared resonated with me. I’m so tired I can’t think of exactly what was said but when the call finished, I felt hopeful. I wasn’t alone. I wasn’t unique in this shitty battle (I still can’t really call it a disease). And there is a deep part of me that wants this.

I’m terrified of getting fat, of gaining weight, of having to get new clothes, of not being thin. And right now that fear is greater than my fear of the side-effects of ED. But carrying ED around with me is exhausting and I struggle to go on each day. So last night I went to a meeting and felt uncomfortable and awkward – for about 10 minutes. Today I went to a meeting and I asked for guidance. And I didn’t share. I just listened as I puttered around the house. I still need to keep busy to avoid feeling the things I’m avoiding feeling. But now I know.

I know at some level I am fabulous. That I deserve happiness and recovery. That what I’ve been doing hasn’t been working. That for me, weekly therapy and a nutritionist isn’t enough. I need to connect to people like me, to understand not so much the “why” behind ED, but the acceptance of ED and the desire to move forward. I cannot do this alone. And now I don’t have to. I cannot tell you what an incredible relief that is.

If you haven’t been to an EDA meeting, go. Or call. Or log in. It’s really easy. You don’t even have to say anything (*6 mutes your line – but I found I liked my iPhone mute better and used my earbuds at one of the members’ suggestion). Just listen. Even just listening to other people talk and not chiming in, not needing to give my 2 cents, not analyzing what they were saying – just being for an hour – was a gift. These people are a gift, and I’m grateful I stumbled upon them.

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