National Eating Disorders Association

The Dangers of Being Over-Confident in Recovery

Katrin Alyss

I understand the dangers of being over-confident in recovery. During late 2003, I became over-confident to the point of thinking I was over my eating disorder.

I was eating what I was supposed to and “had no guilt.” I thought that is what I was supposed to achieve in recovery. What I overlooked were the thoughts and feelings that brought me to the eating disorder in the first place. I was only thinking about the food component because I thought that was the only thing to conquer, but I was wrong! Eating and not feeling guilty were only a part of recovery; there were other aspects of recovery that I wasn’t addressing, but I blindly pushed through recovery very quickly and I didn’t see the other parts until years later.

During this time, I became complacent in my recovery, and I let my guard down. I know there were thoughts and feelings that kept coming up; I think I tried to bury them in the background and not deal with the feelings head-on. I also hid my feelings from my therapist and pretended that things were fine when they weren’t.

I even had a nasty car accident that landed me in the hospital. I put my energies into healing from the accident and put my eating disorder recovery on the back burner. When I went back to my therapist in 2005, I wanted to face those feelings that had brought me to the eating disorder. Even then, I was still hesitant to face some of the feelings due to my fear of demonstrating emotion in front of my therapist. I hate to admit this, but my pride may have kept me from showing vulnerability to my therapist.

It is scary for me to say that maintaining my recovery wasn’t huge on my list. I thought I had already recovered and I didn’t think that I had to continuously maintain recovery. I believe this over-confidence caused me to relapse and fall harder into the eating disorder, because I didn’t watch for the hidden dangers that led me to the eating disorder in the first place. It is like going traveling to a new city and not taking a map or asking for directions—you’ll get lost in a place that you don’t want to be. 

Right before my eating disorder resurfaced, I made a huge mistake. I thought I could diet and things would be okay. I found out, again, that the diet had turned into an eating disorder. However, this time, instead of sticking my head in the sand, I told my therapist so I could work on facing my demons once and for all.

Looking back, I made a lot of mistakes in recovery due to being over-confident and not facing my fears and feelings with her. I am beginning to understand that recovery isn’t a one-time deal; it may be a lifetime of learning new things about myself.

I know I can’t undo these mistakes and go back, because what’s done is done. All I can do is move forward and grow from my mistakes. I know that right now, I can’t say that I am fully recovered, because I still have many things to work on. But I can say that I am recovering and will continue to get stronger. 

Katrin lives in Roseville, MI, with her best friend and life partner. Katrin loves to help others fight this battle called the eating disorder and hopes to inspire others through her writing and truthfulness.