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If you suffer from an eating disorder now or have in the past, please email Joanna for a free telephone consultation.



Eating Disorder Recovery
Joanna Poppink, MFT
Eating Disorder Recovery Psychotherapist
serving Arizona, California, Florida, Oregon and Utah.
All appointments are virtual.



Powerful and eloquent post in Voice of Recovery tonight. She hit a disappointment in her personal life that sent her into the closet to hide.  She wanted safety. She wanted a drink. She was in agony and struggled against her cravings.

With courage and strength she pulled herself out of her darkness, asked for support and got it. She's finding her way and helping others as she goes.

The point I want to raise relates to one sentence she throws out with determination and passion. After describing the intensity of her feelings and cravings she writes:

"I will not let the inner bitch run amok."

She softens her tone quickly.  I can almost hear her breathing become more even as she writes:

"It is within hiding and silence that our struggles thrive, it is within honesty, accountability and sharing that our recovery can thrive."

Every post I write, every sentence I say carries beneath it an assertion that is difficult and sometimes impossible for you to accept when you are suffering from an eating disorder. 

There is no inner bitch.

When you are in crisis, for a moment or months, you feel agonizing terror and despair. You are in a psychological and emotional situation that you cannot deal with.  You cannot protect yourself. You cannot think of how to care for yourself.  You want to hide. You want to be rescued.  But the hiding makes your situation worse.  And you may be in a place where all people seem, and maybe are, untrustworthy or dangerous.  You have no place to be, and so you go into a terrifying free fall where you want to grasp and hang on to the only option that seems might help you - a binge on something.....food, alcohol, drugs, sex, shoplifting, shopping, raging or any combination.

This is no inner bitch pushing you toward destruction.  This is desperation as you struggle to save yourself.  But your options are limited and not effective.  These options make your life worse.

That needy, desperate, immature, frightened part of yourself needs caring attention and lessons in how to mature and become responsible. This is the heart of healing and recovery work.  It breaks my heart when I hear from so many of you the harsh criticism against the very parts of you that need kindness.

When I say kindness I do not mean indulgence.  I mean holding, containment, safety, appreciation and empathy so that part of you can begin to learn that it's okay to exist and be known.  And from that place, it's okay to begin the necessary development required so that the lost inner places of your heart, mind and soul can be mature and sturdy along with the rest of you. To become a complete and healthy person, to integrate newly healing parts of yourself, you begin with a tender embrace.

Thank you, Voice in Recovery. Your voice inspires. Yes, sharing, being honest and asking for - and accepting - support is vital. I hope you are ready for the next step which is to bring kindness to the part of you that runs to the closet.  Can you set your goal to hold that part with an embrace?


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