A recovery milestone

Many of my recovery milestones thus far have been directly related to food/weight.  Things like eliminating my list of fear foods, not purging for a year and a half (and counting!), reaching my target weight and staying there.  Not that these aren't huge milestones, but they were also very concrete things.  I can do concrete goals very well, but more nebulous goals (increase flexibility! meet new friends!) are much more difficult.  I can't break them down into little steps.

One of the things I worked on a lot with TNT and have started to do with Dr. H is making friends.  I have been living here for a bit over a year, and I really didn't have any friends.  If I wanted to do something on a Friday night, I asked my parents.  There wasn't someone for me to call.

A few months ago, I joined a book club on meetup.com because I love reading, and it seemed like the perfect fit.  I lucked out, as the people there are really cool, really nice, and really smart.  My kind of people.  I could discuss politics without feeling the need to censor myself.  They were very accepting.  January's meeting was last weekend, and I went and had a very nice time.  I brought some killer scones (Banana Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip). The hostess made decaf coffee for me, since last time I turned the regular coffee down lest I be up all night, which I thought was the sweetest thing ever.

I stayed around a bit after to help clean up and to spend more quality time with their pup.  As I did, the host, hostess, and one other person began talking about their weekly jam sessions.  Apparently, every week, a bunch of them get together with their stringed instruments and just play music. It had come up during the group that I play piano and sing, and so they invited me to come.

As I was driving home, I realized: I finally have friends now.  I haven't had that in ages.  It occurred to me that they might be inviting me out of pity or guilt (they were talking about this music thing and I was right there next to them), an idea I can't totally shake.  But I also know that they genuinely seem to like me, and they aren't the type to throw out a pity invite.

It feels...really good.  I have a friend in real life, and I have online friends, but I honestly don't remember what it's like to have a group of people to actually do things with.  It's all very new to me.


Holly said...

oh, YES! that's so wonderful. connection with people is so wonderful. building new relationships and deepening others has been my challenge for myself this semester (year, maybe?), so I'm kinda there with you.

hm said...

OF COURSE you think it's a pity invite- Remember "I see angry people"? There's the reason you think that. You wouldn't be you if you didn't. But it's not a reasonable thought. Please- they wouldn't want to ruin one of their jam sessions. That's just not logical. They're not a group of mother teresas looking for a sickly cause to invest their lives in with their music- they're looking to have fun. Obviously they see you as part of the fun equation. :)

Wait- am I being offensive? I'm trying to be comforting. Roll your eyes and stick your tongue out at those obsessive thoughts that they might not like you- and connect with the scientist side of you that can follow the obvious logic that they do.

Unknown said...

friends are life's greatest blessing. they save me every single ady

Carrie Arnold said...


I think the "pity invite" fears are more my own insecurities talking. These people love welcoming new people to their book club, and have commented they love having me (I don't think my baked goods hurt, either!), so logically I know it was because they wanted my company.

It's just hard for me to believe that idea sometimes!


Katie said...

Ooh, exciting! I am *just* beginning to get to know some of my acquaintances in my new city a bit better, and like you I haven't had friends in a long time, so I can take a guess at how good this must feel for you. I'm really glad you have found this group of people, they sound great :)

hm said...

I hear you- What you KNOW and what you BELIEVE don't always coincide. Isn't it weird how the logical side and the irrational side of our brains coexist? I guess that's why recovery is so important- to strengthen that logical side so it can talk down the irrational side, and not live life by the irrational side's beliefs and rules.

Carrie, I am sure they loved your baked goods. And I'm sure if you showed up empty handed, they'd still adore YOU too. ;)

Incredible Eating Anorexics said...

i really love reading your blog, i find it so helpful and inspiring. <3 x

Ari J. Brattkus said...

Those people are really lucky to have you as their friend!!! So happy for you!

Anonymous said...

awe, congrats! ED really isolates us from having friendships so good for you :)

Colleen said...

i lost a lot of my friendships when i was in the depths of my ED. Now, I am finally building back old ones and making new ones again! That book group sounds like such a cool idea!!!

Cathy (UK) said...

I am really, really happy for you Carrie :) I know that having friends made a lot of difference to my attitude towards recovery. I had something to live for; things I wanted to get better for.

Like you I made a big move from one area of the country to another (11 years ago) to take up a new job. I had some great friends in my previous job but I saw the new job as a challenge. It took me a long time to make new friends, for all the reasons you have described; and in that time my AN worsened through depression and isolation.

I am still not (and never will be) a very outgoing person. I am an introvert through and through. But I do have some close friends who I care about deeply, and who have been here for me during my recovery. Friends matter. A lot!

HikerRD said...

Carrie, your honesty is always so refreshing. No doubt, that shines in person, leading to anything but a "pity invite"!

Anonymous said...

I love this! This is so great :) I feel the same exact way most of the time and you truly motivate me :)


PK said...

I'm so happy for this nw development for you! I mean seriously, I understand the "no friends in real life" situation as that is me right now, and I would never wish it upon anyone.

Really, I am truly joyful for ya!


jennhogan419 said...

I totoaly relate. It is so hard for me to make friends. I am to quite and shy. I have one friend who lives in my town and she would do anything for me but is married and it is hard to do things with her because on the weekends she is usually busy with her family. I am seperated and on weekends my son spends a lot of time with my husband so it makes for a very lonely weekend and hard to stay on track. I also have one I meet in treatment who lives across country from me even though we are very close. I wish I had someone to do things with on the weekend. It would help with my depression and recovery.
Glad you were able to find some people to hang out with it is such a good feeling.

jennhogan419 said...

It is great to have a connection of friends even if they do not know what you are going through. I have that problem I am to shy and tend to isolate so I am missing that connection and think it would really help with my recovery if I had someone I was able to do things with.

Anonymous said...

This was posted at the perfect time for me. It all reasonates so clearly. I find that I'm trying to hard to have friends and stay social but its so hard because I hate having to hide everything from them. But, when I'm with them I force myself to appear healthy and it's helping me learn that I can and WILL beat this.
I have a question for you or for anyone else regarding the milestones associated with your eating disorder. I have always struggled with restricting and overexercising. I know there is a way for me to count the days that I haven't overexercised but I can't find a way to really see how long I haven't restricted. I have a mp but it gets so hard being a college student and trying to get all the sides I need when my school says I can only get two with an entree. Does anyone know any good/helpful ways to track the freedom from restriction?

Sarah at Journeying With Him said...

This post was great. I'm glad that you are finally finding some connections (though you shouldn't feel bad about nights with your parents-- I wish I could hang out with mine too and I keep trying to convince them to move here, haha! I'm sure it feels lame if you are hanging out with them out of desperation for human contact, but I'm sure you still have fun together.)

And I am sure that these book club people like you! From our online friendship, I think you are a really cool person. I have a lot of friends, but I think you can never have enough friends or know enough cool people, so I'd totally invite you to be part of my jam session and not in a pity way! I bet it's the same way for these people. Enjoy!

Also, do you have the recipe for banana peanut butter chocolate chip scones? That sounds like an explosion of everything I enjoy most in this world...I would like to make them!

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About Me

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I'm a science writer, a jewelry design artist, a bookworm, a complete geek, and mom to a wonderful kitty. I am also recovering from a decade-plus battle with anorexia nervosa. I believe that complete recovery is possible, and that the first step along that path is full nutrition.

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