"Unreal to Real: Snapshots of My Story" Chapter 1 Excerpt
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"Self-observation is an instrument of self-change, a means of awakening."
-- George Gurdjieff
I started making myself throw up when I was thirteen years old and dint stop for thirty years. I hope that the snapshots of my story and other women's stories in this book, coupled with my own healing and recovery work with women for over twenty-five years, can help you find your personal path to recovery.
Within the pages of these shared experiences, please look for what touches your heart, your memories, and your fears. If one story or one exercise delivers sudden understanding or amazement (because you didn't know anyone else behaved like that), you have found your entry into your recovery path.
I hope this book supports and sustains you on that path to freedom. It can be done. I was bulimic for over twenty-nine years. I've been in recovery for twenty-six years. I've seen and been part of the recovery of many women along the way.
My bulimia story began one summer in New York when I was thirteen years old. I was vacationing at a Catskill Mountains resort with my parents. Guest could order any amount of any food from the dining room menu. I remember men smiling at me and an older woman saying "Isn't it wonderful how you can eat all those desserts and remain so slim?"
I ordered and ate a sample of all the desserts at every meal. I knew I couldn_t get fat because my mother wanted me to win the hotel beauty contest. I didn't want to lose the attention I was getting for my miraculous ability to eat so much, and I knew I had to please my mother by making a good show in the contest.
One night I discovered a secret trick. I could eat heaps of chocolate rugula and tiny creamy pecan pies, and then make myself throw up. Presto! I kept the attention and got rid of the calories. I was elated. I had found the solution to my problem.
The day of the beauty contest arrived, and I felt like a robot going through themotions. When I was on the platform in front of the hotel guests, wearing my white bathing suit, fishnet stocking, and black high heels, I was terrified and felt fat and ugly. Yet against adult women, I won.
Excerpt from Healing Your Hungry Heart: recovering from your eating disorder, by Joanna Poppink, MFT, Conari Press, 2011. Copyright protected August, 2011. Joanna is a Los Angeles psychotherapist specializing in eating disorder recovery for adults and counseling for their loved ones. For an appointment call: (310) 474-4165.