Why the second thought?

So why second-thought.com? Well, recovery lives in the second thought, or so I’m told. The clinical director of the treatment center I’m currently in says that your first thought or instinct is generally an eating disordered one. For example, “I feel really ashamed; I need to purge.” The second thought, however, is what matters. “I feel really ashamed; I need to purge but instead I’m going to be gentle with myself.

My permanent reminder.

Makes sense, right?

And obviously it’s a LOT harder to go with the second thought when you struggle with impulse control & instant gratification. Unfortunately, nothing will ever feel as gratifying as going with that first urge, whether it’s to purge, restrict, cut, drink, use, have sex, drop obscene amounts of money at Sephora, etc. It’s a shitty reality, but the less dangerous things to do are better for you. As I joked with another girl in treatment— why is everything that feels good bad for you?? Because life isn’t fair, that’s why.

I wish I could sit here and say that I’ve become a pro at abiding by the second thought, but, alas, I have not. And that’s okay. Or at least I’m trying to tell myself that repeatedly in hopes that I’ll at some point believe it. Honestly, though it’s gotten better, I feel a lot of shame that I haven’t gotten it together yet at this point in my life. I see my friends in recovery or even recovered, and I wonder why that’s not me too. (TBH, I’ve felt really hopeless at times during this stint in treatment and have cried about it on more occasions than I’d care to admit.)

But deep down I know why it hasn’t been me too. I’ve loved my eating disorder too much, as fucked up as it sounds. I’ve been very honest this treatment goround and have discussed at length my generally high levels of ambivalence. It feels like I’m damned if I do & damned if I don’t— I’m terrified of this time in treatment not sticking while also terrified of it sticking. I’m scared what my life will look like if I don’t get my shit together & also scared of what it will look like if I do. My therapist here told me a few weeks ago that I have a glow about me when I talk about my eating disorder. That lit a fire beneath me. I want to glow about other things, fun things, not deadly things. Luckily, since then there’s been a shift & when I fuck up and purge, she says she’s noticed I seem bummed about it, for lack of a better word. So I guess that’s progress. I’ll take it.

Here’s to listening to that second thought, however quiet it may be.

3 thoughts on “Why the second thought?

  1. Hilary, it has taken me over 30 years of an eating disorder with so many treatment centers that I’ve lost count to get my first year of recovery. It’s not perfect but when that first thought is to destroy myself I do my best to practice opposite action. In AA they usually say “first thought…wrong, second thought…wrong, third thought…wrong.” That is why people have sponsors to bounce things off of. When you want to destroy yourself reach out, call someone and tell them I want to use (fill in the blank) behavior. Sometimes having someone else to bare witness to your pain is enough to get through. I crave my eating disorder everyday but I also crave friendship, laughter, work, independence nd freedom. And just for today that overrides my eating disorder. Keep being honest. Love you girl

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m so glad you’re blogging again!! You’re a beautiful writer, a warrior, and one of my very favorite people.

    I feel you, though. The other day someone said something about more stupid layers to the onion, and all I could think was, “can’t we just dice this shit already??” 🙂

    Keep up the good work, my friend!


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