Surfacing After Silence

Life. After.

I want to get better but this treatment place sucks . . .

I’ve noticed a trend on Facebook lately.  Maybe it’s not a new trend, but I’ve only noticed it in the previous few days.

“I want to get better.  I am so sick of this eating disorder.” followed by “Off to the Fat Farm.” or “This treatment place sucks.” or “There’s no way I’m following all these stupid rules.” or “They must think I’m crazy if they want me to eat this.”  or “I hate it here.” or “This is pointless.”

No treatment place is *fun.*  Sure, I met a lot of great people there and I even have some good memories from a couple places.  But here’s the big shocker: Treatment isn’t supposed to be fun.  Excuse my frankness, but you don’t check yourself in for a bunch of shits and giggles.  You check yourself in because you have a serious problem and need help.

I realize not everyone goes to treatment willingly.  I didn’t the first couple of times.  And I expect to hear “This place sucks” out of them.  But if you chose to seek help and packed your bags willingly, I am tired of the whining about how unfair the program is or how “everything sucks” or how “these people (the staff) have no idea what they’re doing.” These comments do wonders for those contemplating recovery and contemplating seeking help (heavy sarcasm in this sentence).

Really?  They have no idea what they’re doing?  I guess all those success stories must be made up myths to attract more customers.  I guess all the people who claim to have gotten help there are paid to lie.

And if the staff doesn’t know what they’re doing, I’m assuming you know what you’re doing.  Because what you’re doing has worked so well for you so far.

Here’s the thing:  there comes a time when you have to stop blaming the facility.  Or facilities.  There comes a time when you actually have to accept the help that they are offering.  There comes a time when, if you really do want to get better, you have to start listening to other people and consider what they’re saying.  There comes a time when you’re going to have to surrender.  You may not “like” it there.  Who honestly does?  But you do have admit that what you’ve done up to this point just hasn’t been working and accept the alternative, which means accepting the help that’s offered.

There are a couple of alternatives:

A) You die.

B) You just move from one treatment place to another one, comparing notes but not really getting any better.

This may sound harsh. It may sound like I have no right to say these things.  But I’ve been there.  And the first four times in treatment I claimed the desire for recovery while stubbornly fighting the program any way I could.  Was it the specific program’s fault?  No.  They were trying to do one thing: keep me alive.  The fault was mine.  I thought I knew better than they did.  I thought I knew what was best.  And yet I kept relapsing.  I kept ending up back at their doors, or at the doors of another facility.

The shift occurred when I realized I had no idea what the hell I was doing and I had no idea how the hell to change and that it was finally time to listen to those dreaded experts and actually give what they were saying a shot in hell.

If you truly want to be free from the eating disorder, then you are going to have to let go and trust the people who are so desperately trying to help you.


July 13, 2011 - Posted by | Eating Disorders, recovery, therapy | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. Great commentary!! It wasn’t until I stopped blaming everyone else involved in my treatment for my failures and finally accepted that I had to do the hard work of recovery that I finally moved into true lasting recovery. It’s easy to point fingers and play the blaming game but when it comes down to it recovery is HARD work and there is no easy way out. Especially if one has been entrenched in the disorder for a long time as I had been.

    Thanks again so much for all your honest words and insight! There are those out here like me that actually AGREE with you about all this and applaud you for speaking up!!

    Comment by Cathy H | July 13, 2011 | Reply

  2. I’m glad that you wrote this, as it needed to be said. It’s hard to go to treatment, I know that quite well, but treatment is MEANT to be hard. It challenges every part of the ED, and many times that means challenging our core beliefs, and our very identity. If it was an easy process, treatment centers would not exist.

    I also become frustrated when EVERY treatment center attended by one of these patients “sucks”. Granted, there are pros and cons to every center out there, and the programs themselves and therapeutic models used are not necessarily everyone’s cup of tea, but the results you see from a stay in a treatment center or program is directly related to how much work you are willing to do. If you want a place to “cure” you with little hard work or involvement on your part, yep, you’re not going to come out any healthier than when you go in.

    There are many out there that would kill for just ONE STAY in a treatment center. It’s time to be realistic, grown-up, and open to the help that is offered. If not, keep your mouths shut.

    Thanks for the great blog entry, Alexis!

    Comment by Larysa F | July 13, 2011 | Reply

  3. Whilst I agree with what you’re saying, I don’t think it will make a difference. You said it yourself, even *you* had to make that transition on your own. Most people will have to find their own way. Everyone fights the institution until desperation sets in. Because only desperation can get you to that place where you have no choice than to listen.

    Comment by emmahaynes | July 13, 2011 | Reply

  4. the shift happened for me because someone was willing to be honest and call me on my shit

    Comment by surfacingaftersilence | July 13, 2011 | Reply

  5. I find myself in the midst of a relapse. I have thought about treatment and I know that as much as treatment is beneficial, it is what you make it. I know that right now I am not at the point where I am ready to give it up. It’s hell and I hate the way that I’m feeling but I’m just not in the frame of mind where it will help. I have had conversation about this recently and where treatment (specifically inpatient) has saved my life, unless I am ready to go in and fight and express my hurt, it isn’t worth it. Typically, I have gone in and done the refeeding and kept quiet. I’ve plyed the game and have gotten out. It doesn’t help. It just makes the next relapse that much harder, at least for me.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is that I agree and that yes, treatment is meant to be hard.

    Comment by After Glow | July 15, 2011 | Reply

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