Mentoring for eating disorders recovery is at an interesting – and exciting – time in our growth and development. We are (even as I type this!) in the process of creating our own history and legacy (for more on this click here).
The other day I was telling my mentor, Lynn, that I marvel at my own role as founder of the first global eating disorders mentoring organization. In fact, I told Lynn that if I had been able to find a Twelve Step-based community where I lived that had a strong “recovered” presence, MentorCONNECT probably wouldn’t exist today.
That is the truth.
When I was ill with my eating disorder in the 1980’s and 1990’s, the local Overeaters Anonymous (O.A.) groups I attended (over a period of several months’ time) were largely populated by individuals who were still acting out their disordered eating thoughts into behaviors. All the while as I attended the groups, week after week, I was seeking a way to recover from my eating disorder, but without a strong “recovered” presence in the community, what I took away were ever more ideas for how to stay sick.
One important thing I learned from that experience is that no community, no matter how wonderful and helpful to many, will work for every single person.
In fact, I did not benefit from what the Twelve Step structure had to offer me until I met my now-mentor Lynn, and she privately guided me through the Twelve Steps within the context of mentoring work we were doing for my eating disorder and issues with alcohol and codependency.
Pretty incredible, huh?
So MentorCONNECT’s first steps were taken when I was desperately seeking support in an area where I – at that time at least – did not find it.
The other thing I learned from that early O.A. experience was the importance of having the willingness to ask for help.
This is why, today, when a new mentee member joins MentorCONNECT, part of their application process is to read the chapter in Beating Ana called “The First Step,” to journal out their thoughts, and to write a statement of understanding that recovery will never happen as long as they attempt the trip with only “Ed,” or their eating disorder, for support.
Today’s Takeaway: Today, consider your own level of willingness to take the first step of admitting that you need support to heal. Are you very willing – looking anywhere and everywhere you can to find help? Are you somewhat willing, taking help here or there, from a professional but not a loved one, or a loved one but not yet from a treating professional? Or are you still looking to Ed to “help” you through the recovery process and be your companion along the way?