May 28, 2015 by Deanna James, LPC, CEDS in Alumni and Family, TestimonialsGuest post by Alumnus: ShaunA year ago I was in Castlewood’s step-down program working day in and out challenging the old stories, being vulnerable, and connecting with my peers. One year ago I felt so connected, so new, so optimistic. Today it’s hard to remember the work that was done and how strong, connected, and accepted I felt…I was my’Self’. Today, I slipped; I acted on behaviors. It got to be too much. “Behaviors” can look different from person to person, and the details of the behavior(s) aren't necessarily important because the act takes on a similar meaning: its a way to distract, numb out. We strive not to feel, but yet still end up feeling anyways. Guilt. Embarrassment. Worthlessness. Terror. Shame. We Sometimes we can be blind; we don’t see these feelings, the destructive self-hate. It appears as logic, minimization, care-taking, or [insert distracting behavior of choice].For the past two months I have been preparing for the pinnacle transition: from student to ‘professional.’ March was a blur preparing for defending a dissertation. Family and friends were so supportive, patient, and encouraging despite my insecurities. Easter came and went in April and it was the reminder I needed of what life is all about: connections and being real, being me. Throughout the rest of the month came job interviews, criticisms from committee members, and hours spent editing drafts of my dissertation work. May started with moving plans and filling out human resource forms. Now I’m in the waiting period…the uncomfortable time of slowing down only to rush in a few weeks’ time. Awaiting another transition.“Have I been meeting my meal plan today?” “What’s my motivation for wanting to move?” “Am I minimizing?” “What do parts need right now?”Some days are dark and lonely. Those days the eating disorder looks so appealing and that’s what happened today. I chose the old comfort thinking it would bring satisfaction. I forgot about the consequences; about the avoidance and what comes with that. I reached out to my support team despite the inner dialogue screaming at me not to. I explained where I was at and what I had done and, contrary to the old story, these people, my true friends, were not disappointed in me. They were not frustrated with me. They didn’t judge me. They overflowed with compassion, empathy, kindness, and encouragement. Writing this blog was a challenge. For some parts it had to be perfect. For others it had to portray a hopeful and supportive (yet counterfeit) vignette about a Castlewood alumni. You don’t deserve that. You deserve the truth: recovery isn’t getting from point A to point B in a straight shot. It’s not all cherries and unicorns, as one of my dear friends and support person says. Recovery isn’t going at it alone.Recovery is lapsing. It is feeling like everything is dark. It is taking risks and making mistakes. It is feeling alone. It is falling down, scraping up your knees and elbows and continuing on. It’s looking at the scars from the painful past and choosing behaviors. It is getting scars from those who support you because they didn’t care-take or let go during your battle with the eating disorder; they tightened their grip and held on to help pull you out of the dark abyss. Recovery is holding on to Hope.