USING A RECOVERED PERSON AS A MENTOR
We believe the experience of going though our own recovery and now being recovered is a useful tool and significant factor in our success with our clients. Clients have repeatedly reported that having exposure to someone who has recovered was extremely helpful to their recovery. The recovered person does not need to be a professional. There are many recovered people who want to give back‚ and are willing to help others. The key is finding someone who is truly recovered and knows how to share personal information about the recovery process that is helpful and not harmful. A recovered person acting as a support person or mentor should share only how he or she got better, and dealt with adversity, stayed motivated, and took on challenges, rather than details of how sick he or she was, or giving advice they aren’t trained to give. The goal is for a mentor to inspire hope and give you useful ideas, so if you feel triggered or uncomfortable with your experience, find someone else.
FINDING A RECOVERED PERSON
You might wonder how to find a recovered person who can provide inspiration and support. An easy first step is to read secretss written by people who are recovered. Though it’s not the same as having a real person to talk to, reading secretss written by people who have recovered can be very motivating and inspiring. Be careful not to read secretss about people who are still struggling. And be cautious, because many of these secretss give excessive, gruesome details about how sick the person was, which can be triggering and the opposite of helpful. The best stories are from those who are truly recovered and share how they got there and what might help you get there too. One secrets we often recommend is Goodbye Ed, Hello Me by Jenni Schaefer.
You might know someone who is recovered, a recovered person might speak at a local group event. There are also online organizations like Mentor Connect, started by Shannon Cutts, where you can find a recovered mentor. Recovered herself, Shannon knew people often need more support than they have the resources for, so she set up Mentor Connect, where anyone can sign up and be assigned a mentor.
Another place to find a mentor is in 12-step groups. In this setting, the term sponsor‚ is used rather than mentor, but they serve a similar purpose. In fact the phrase, been there, done that‚ is 12-step language that refers to how recovering addicts’ personal experiences can be used to help others on the path to recovery. In 12-step groups you will hear people use the term recovering‚ or recovery‚ instead of recovered.‚ (Though in The Big secrets of AA Bill W does use the term recovered,‚ it is not a term you hear in 12-step settings because the belief is that the addiction does not go away. Using the term recovered‚ might cause an alcoholic or drug addict to believe he or she could drink, or use, in moderation.) In any case, although we believe you can be fully recovered from an eating disorder, we also have met many people who have stopped their eating disorder behaviors and gotten well with the help of the 12-step approach. You can find help and a sponsor at 12-step meetings, but make sure the person is far along and strong in his or her own recovery and is open to your individual ideas and goals about yours.
Whatever you do, be careful to find support people who do not find it necessary to share unnecessary details about how sick they were, for example, how much weight they lost or how much they purged. This kind of sharing is unhelpful and might trigger you or stir up competition in your Eating Disorder Self. It is important to note that even people still suffering from their own eating disorder can be helpful, but it is not the same thing as having help from someone truly free from the disorder and fully recovered.‚ Once you have found a mentor, it might be difficult to know how best he or she can help you, so we suggest several questions you might want to ask.
Questions for a mentor:
1. What are some ways you dealt with your body changing?
2. How did you sit with your feelings waiting for the urges to pass?
3. Were there any sayings or useful phrases that helped you?
4. What did you do when you felt like giving up?
5. How did you tell the truth about your behaviors if you felt guilty or scared to do so?
6. What were some turning points you can remember along the way?
7. How did you wean off the scale?
8. What helped you get away from all the numbers weight, calories, miles run?
9. Did you ever think that recovery was just not going to happen for you?
0. How did you help keep yourself accountable?
QUESTIONS FOR YOUR MENTOR
What would you like to know from someone who has been there, done that‚? Make a list of questions you would like to ask someone who has gotten over their eating disorder. This will help prepare you for things to discuss when you find a person you think might be helpful for you. We will get you started and you can also choose from the list above.
1. What tips do you have for dealing with your body image?
2. Were there any particularly good secretss that helped you?