Proud2Bme | Taking Pride in My Recovery Journey

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Taking Pride in My Recovery Journey

By Kelsi Cronkright--Eight short months ago, I found myself terrified to move. I was afraid of what it meant to remain stuck, but also what it meant to move forward. My life had become an endless chase for something, anything, to temporarily fill the ever-growing void within myself.

Trigger warning: Descriptions of eating disordered behavior.

Rewind about three years: I was in a solid place in my recovery and I even wrote for Proud2Bme about taking pride in my recovery and what that meant to me. A few years later, after a major relapse and the onset of another life-threatening disorder, my mind has changed on what it means to fully embrace and take pride in my recovery.

First and foremost, until I was able to step out of my self-built bubble of denial and justifications, I was not able to see the extent of my problems. Not only have I dealt with a 15-year battle with anorexia and extreme perfectionism, but I am also an alcoholic. Until I was able to face my truth and fully embrace what it means to be an addict, I could never find that pride.

Second, taking pride in my recovery means letting go of stereotypical beliefs about what it means to be an addict. The first time I entered treatment for my eating disorder four years ago, I did not even bring up or begin to process my addiction to alcohol. The truth is, there are plenty of people out there who struggle with addiction, an eating disorder and a distorted body image.  

Thanks to the social stigma about what it means to be an alcoholic or a drug addict, I began believing I was somehow less of a person because I am an alcoholic. At a recent Alcoholics Anonymous meeting I heard someone say, "We are not bad people. We are simply people learning a new way of life," and that is true.

     Related: My Eating Disorder Wasn’t the Only Mental Illness I Conquered

Finally, in order for me to take pride in my recovery, it has been crucial for me to let go of the idea that material things will fix me. Over the past few years, I have become an expert at painting a perfectly-put-together picture of myself for everyone to see, even though deep down I am actually begging for genuine connection. My sense of pride and self-worth became dependent on external things and what others thought of me. Stripping away that people-pleasing, emotionally numb young woman has been an exhausting and tedious process. Slowly, however, I am beginning to see the importance of looking within, past the eating disorder and alcoholism, to fulfill that seemingly-endless void.

Taking pride in my recovery means not beating myself up for not having all the answers or making mistakes along the way. Taking pride in my recovery means working through my endless bag of shame and learning to forgive myself. Taking pride in my recovery means always taking the next right step and letting go of self-sabotaging behaviors. Most importantly, taking pride in my recovery means not allowing alcoholism or an eating disorder define me or my future.

Today, I am no longer afraid to move. In fact, I fear standing still for too long. Without growth and discomfort, I would not have learned what it truly means to take pride in my recovery.

For recovery resources and treatment options, call the National Eating Disorders Association Helpline at 800-931-2237.

About the blogger: Kelsi is one year away from her social work degree, has her own personal blog (Progression Obsession), is a writer for Libero Network and hopes to break the social stigma involved in what it means to be an addict. 

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Proud2Bme is an online community created by and for teens. We cover everything from fashion and beauty to news, culture, and entertainment—all with the goal of promoting positive body image and encouraging healthy attitudes about food and weight.

This site was developed in partnership with Riverduinen and made possible by generous contributions from JPMorgan Chase, Globant, the University of Delaware, and The Hilda & Preston Davis Foundation.

Proud2Bme was first launched in the Netherlands by Riverduinen, a mental health organization that has licensed the concept to the National Eating Disorders Association. Unless otherwise noted, all original content on this site is copyright The National Eating Disorders Association. The Proud2Bme brand, logos, and trademarks are property of Rivierduinen.