So this is what it feels like to be 3 years recovered!

Catherine Liberty's picture

Just 3 years ago, if someone would have asked me how I imagined my life being today, I can’t say I would have given the most optimistic answer.

After all I was just starting out on the road to recovery at that point and you know how it can be at the start. Everything is so intimidating, scary and emotionally overwhelming. Back then I simply had no idea of the extent to which recovering from bulimia could change a person’s life. But make no mistakes; recovery really can change everything (if you let it)

Earlier this month I celebrated my 3 year “recovery anniversary” and I'm delighted to report that I am happier, healthier and more in love with life than ever before!

I remember waking up the morning of my 3 year recovery anniversary and thinking, “Wow. So this is what it feels like to be 3 years recovered!”

So what does it feel like I hear you asking? I want to immediately answer with the words “amazing, liberating, empowering and exciting” but I suppose I should elaborate a little more. 

The 3 most empowering things about being recovered for me are:

1. The feelings I experience when I’m around food

Being around lots of food and knowing I’ll only eat until I am comfortably full (no matter how delicious that food may be, or how many food-pushers I may come up against) continues to be the most empowering feeling I experience. Buffets and big family meals used to terrify me but now I delight in them. I’ve become “one of those people” who can eat whatever they want whenever they want it which is something I NEVER felt would be possible.

2. The feelings I experience when I look in the mirror 

A close second on “the most empowering feelings” scale has to be the sense of joy and calmness I now feel whenever I look in the mirror. Every dreg of self-hatred is gone, now replaced with compassion, understanding and love. 

I was once told I would always have some body-image issues, that it is “normal” to dislike parts of yourself or to have “fat days.” But 3 years in I have discovered that this is just not true.  Recovery lead me to a higher state of well-being - a place where “fat days” and body hatred had no longer exist. So I have to challenge the collective acceptance that self-hatred is a normal part of life. 

3. The feelings I have in regards to being fully recovered

As many of you know I do consider myself to be fully recovered and this is not a term I use lightly, but knowing I will never fall victim to bulimia again makes me feel so empowered. There is no place in my life for bulimia anymore, I am different now, I make different choices and I have different priorities. I take pride in caring for myself, I no longer feel the need to numb painful emotions, I enjoy food, I’m happy at my set point weight and I relish in the freedom of never having to think of dieting or weight loss. (You can read more on views and experiences of full recovery here).

Of course being recovered does not mean that life is “perfect”

It means that I’ve learned how to accept the good with the bad. It means that more than ever I understand that good things can come from seemingly terrible situations. Yes I’m recovered, I no longer have triggers or urges to binge, purge or restrict. I’m no longer desperately anxious or depressed but I am still human. 

I still feel vulnerable, weak and upset at times. Sometimes I worry if I’m making the right decisions, I second guess myself and have major dips in confidence. When facing hard times I can still feel emotionally exhausted and stressed to the max, but my reactions to those feelings are different now. I accept them and embrace them as part of life. 

There is no longer an urgent need to numb feelings and emotions like this, instead there is simply the reminder that I need to take extra care of myself during those times by asking for help or taking some time to relax and unwind. 

Like I said before, recovery really can change everything (if you let it).

A final thought…

No matter what stage of recovery you’re at right now, what I hope you can take from this is hope for the future and an understanding that eventually recovery can bring you to a life that you never even dreamed would be possible. A life where you are truly free from the ties of bulimia. 

We all recover differently and your story may well end up being vastly different to mine but there will be one thing that we will both have in common in the end - We’ll both know without any shadow of a doubt that recovery was worth it. 



Jen1234's picture
Do you have to tell someone

Do you have to tell someone that you are bulimic in order to recover? No one knows about my bulimia, i don't feel prepared to tell anyone, and i feel strong enough to take on recovery on my own (with the help of this website). Is it absolutely necessary?

Catherine Liberty
Catherine Liberty's picture
Hi Jen, I think telling

Hi Jen,

I think telling someone you're bulimic is such a personal decision. Having the support of loved ones is definitely beneficial during recovery, but I don't think it always has to be a prerequisite for recovery.

It's great that you feel strong enough to recover on your own, plus you'll certainly benefit from talking with others here at Bulimia Help too. Maybe in time you will decide that you'd like to talk about it with the people close to you, and maybe you won't, that is completely up to you!

One of the best friends I made here while I was recovering never told anyone about her bulimia and she went on to make a full recovery just as I did. As for me, my husband was the only person who knew I was in recovery for a very long time, but in the earlier months we still didn't really talk about it too much. When I needed to talk I would come here and I would find all of the help I needed.

So I'd say go for recovery even if you don't want to tell anyone right now. Then in time you can see how you feel about it all.

Take care,

YoginiDreamer's picture
Thank you Catherine <3 your

Thank you Catherine <3 your story is so inspiring, beautiful and profound. I love, love, love that you "challenge the collective acceptance that self-hatred is a normal part of life".


Nahla's picture
I don't get urges to binge

I don't get urges to binge but my body image is far from recovered.
It has only been 5 months since joining this site though do I hope that in time I will make an adjustment that lets me think less about my body.

Hope you have a good day in recovery!

PollyM's picture
Hi Catherine, Big thanks to

Hi Catherine,

Big thanks to you, Ali and Richard for helping spread the word about Bulimia Awareness Day. We're creating a ripple that I believe will provide love and support to Bulimia Help's members for years to come. Your words are wise and powerful and speak to me having been down the long road to recovery myself. I'm deeply inspired by the work you do and look forward to continuing to spread light and love together around the world to help women and men recover from this disorder. You know it's possible. I know it's possible. I look forward to working together to help everyone we can touch know that for themselves.

Light and love to you,


Anonymous's picture
Hi Catherine, I am so glad I

Hi Catherine,

I am so glad I came across this article written by you when I tried to log on to my coaching check-in - it was exactly what I needed to read today. Thank you for your inspiring words and for being such an amazing coach to me! I feel blessed to have you as my one on one coach and trust that you can help me achieve full recovery too!

Kare's picture
Thank you for sharing this

Thank you for sharing this with me :) I am excited to have you as my coach and I am so ready to work hard so that I can experience the same freedom you now have. :)


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