Friday, March 6, 2009

Families who love someone in recovery

My new tentative book title is: Just tell her to stop; Real Stories, hope and help while loving someone in eating disorder recovery

As I am interviewing people for my book, both family members and those who are themselves in recovery I am hearing from those in recovery how important the support and ongoing love from their family and friends has been. Those who are still in the thick of it and those who are years out and living lives free of ED's grasp (many refer to their eating disorder as ED) all tell me that knowing how much someone or somepeople loved them and cared about them helped them keep fighting.

So many family members tell me how frustrated they are that there is seemingly nothing that they can do to help their loved one in recovery to "get better". I hope it helps to know that by simply telling your loved one how much you care and that you believe in them that it makes a difference. I know it may seem like a small thing but when I hear people say that they didn't take their own life (which they were seriously contemplating due to the pain) because they knew it would be so painful for someone who loved them, then it is clear that simply loving someone and letting them know how important they are in your life makes a difference.

In the meanwhile, when you aren't busy telling your loved one in eating disorders recovery how much you care about them...there are other things you can do to take care of yourself. I feel like a broken record sometimes but it is so essential when you care about someone with an addiction that you "put on your oxygen mask first." Whether you care about a person with an eating disorder, alcoholism, drug addiction or another addiction it is imperative to take care of yourself. So, my big tip for the day is: go check out some al-anon meetings. I know it might sound a bit crazy to go to one of those and listen to people talk about their loved one who drinks when you have a child/husband/friend/etc. with an eating disorder. But what do you have to lose but some sleepless nights and a whole lot of worrying. I'm planting this seed now and it may take a while to germinate in you but when you are feeling frustrated and hopeless, pull this crazy idea out of the back of your head and get yourself to an al-anon meeting and see what shows up. It might just give you incredible freedom or peace or joy or the permission to think about something fun instead of: "Will so and so ever get better?" I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Feel free to comment.

Hearing Joe Kelly - Dads and Daughters speak during National Eating Disorders Awareness week was a highlight. Check out his website and blogs:

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