Defining recovery - please offer your perspective

6 posts / 0 new
Last post
lotus-frog's picture
Defining recovery - please offer your perspective

Hello ...
In my progress to recover from bulimia and for upcoming research I'll be doing on the experience of recovery from bulimia, I realize that there are many definitions of recovery out there and even within my experience. Defining and eventually redefining my definition of recovery has been part of my process to recover as it turns out ...

So I wonder if you can help me learn about how we define recovery as I start to design a study with a student...

How do you define recovery from bulimia? and/or How will you know you are recovered?

thanks in advance for your responses


ChangingSpiritBW's picture
Hi Recovery is not a concept

Recovery is not a concept or a word that I use much. The reason is that during my years as a counselor in substance abuse my expertse was in relapse. What I noticed is that people who started to consider themselves "recovered" had a higher incident of relapse, took more time in re establishing a non using period, and suffered long term negative feelings about thier ability to become "recovered."

During my years in working with cancer pts I started becoming more familiar with the concept and actions of remission and now prefer to use that term. It signifies that a person needs to maintain a certain awareness of the addiction and the behaviors needed to remain in a remission status.

This does not mean that a person cannot achieve and hold onto a "recovery" if they choose to call it that, but in my experience people who do are also treating themselves as though they are in remission and not a permanent place of change or safety from relapse.

Hope this helps.
Best of wishes with the study.

In Loving Kindness

Bryan Wagner

freakyblonde88's picture
For me recovery was a mental

For me recovery was a mental change as much if not more than a physical one. Of course structured eating and breaking the B/P cycle are important. But what recovery meant for me was once I started to notice that there was no anxiety, not off thoughts or feelings towards myself, my body or my food.

When I could enjoy the foods I'd dreaded before without a second thought.
When eating gravey with teh potatoes was an "of course", you would never just eat dry potatoes or no potatoes.
When I could eat till I was full and stop there
when I did not look in the mirror and hink if I looked fat/thin/good enough
When it didn't matter what size the clothes i bought was as long as it fit me. (no need to me an XS or S or whatever)
When I no longer felt the need to step on the scale for validation
When I no longer let what I ate and how I looked define me.
When I could cry and express my feeling rather than B/P my feelings
When I could eat all the goodies I baked not caring that I just put a pound of butter in there.
When it no longer mattered that people commented on my food, cause I'm secure in myself, what I am, say and do.
When I could skip going to the yum and staying home for pizza night with my bf simply because it's cozy, without feeling guilty.
When there was no place in my life for disordered thinking anymore.

To me that is recovery. I change of life , sure...
But mostly a change of heart and mind. And as Brian said, the struggles of life never completely go away. Butu I do believe in recovery, if you are able to change your thought patterns and make something else more important that Bulimia.

Life is too short to not be happy

Jaded Lime
Jaded Lime's picture
I think recovery is the

I think recovery is the noticeable constant changes that progress as we move along our journey. These changes can come in many different forms. Some are behavioral, some are just lessons learned, they can be a new tool or thought process or even a new perspective to look through. Included in this are even the relapses. These have just as big of a part in recovery as the successes do. Each occurrence has its own contribution even if it causes us great pain. Relapses are a teachable moment. They are there to provide us with answers to our burning questions to get closer to our ending goals desired. As long you you are focused on noticing the constant progress of these changes, then you will always be moving forward and that is so important. Focusing on the positive in every situation or occurrence.

Love alone is worth the fight. - Jon Foreman

Angel333's picture
Recovery for me will be

Recovery for me will be learning to not fear foods. To be happy and content in my own skin. To not diet but live a healthy lifestyle with nutritious foods and moderate exercise. To not think about food all day long. To not worry about my weight all day long. To concentrate on life and live in the moment instead of my mind running over 1 million things in my head while going about my day to day life and conversations. To eat what everyone else eats and have a 'normal' attitude around food. To not have urges to binge or purge. To not obsess over numbers, wether that be calories, weight, length/number of workouts. To finally be at peace with myself.

'We are each of us angels with only one wing, so we can only fly by embracing each other'

lotus-frog's picture
thank you each for this

thank you each for this insightful and sensitive replies. It is interesting to consider the range of criteria that we each use and how sensitive to nuances *we* within this group might are with regards to what I see are the 'domains' that bulimia effects. Domains seem to cover but are not limited to body image, binge/purge cycle, exercise, daily routines, attitudes/relationships with foods, fear of weight gain, time spent thinking of food, social eating, social participation, engagement in 'life', perfectionism, perceptions of others, honesty with others, self-compassion, self-esteem, habits, clothing sizes ... and more. Brian's comment on the idea that remission may by an endpoint or phase of recovery is one that is being discussed among leaders of organizations for the treatment/prevention of eating disorders where I live.

I'll be in touch more as this research project unfolds ... conversations with colleagues and leaders are validating the idea that less is known and published about how to best help people who battle bulimia.

all the best to each of you!


Join the Recovery Program & Support Community. Tell me more






The information provided in this website is for information purposes only. The information on this website is NOT a substitute for proper diagnosis, treatment or the provision of advice by an appropriate health professional. Please refer to the full disclaimer and copyright. If you do think you might suffer from an eating disorder, it is important that you talk to your General Practitioner, as there are many physical complications that can arise from being at an unhealthily low weight or from losing weight very quickly, or from purging. We advise you to seek professional help with working on an eating disorder.


Copyright © 2013. All rights reserved.