Contributor: Marty Lerner, PhD, Co-Founder and Executive Director at Milestones in Recovery.
Although holidays conjure up mostly pleasant memories of family, friends, gift giving, and get-togethers around the dinner table, for some of us the holiday season is anything but that. For those struggling with the tyranny of an eating disorder these times are, to say the least, challenging.
Even more so than other times of the year, the period between Halloween and New Year is almost always associated with a “sanctioned” overindulgence of food and drink.
Exposed to a constant bombardment of commercials and advertisements encouraging us to “eat, drink, and be merry,” it’s difficult enough for someone without an eating disorder [or alcohol problem], let alone someone with one, to resist being seduced back into their disease.
The obvious question then becomes “what is one to do” beside hide in a cave and come out when it’s all over or simply lapse back into the abyss of our old behavior?
Focusing on Finding Support
One option is to adapt and focus on what we can do to find support. Much like those who have found a reprieve from their dependency on alcohol, drugs, or compulsive behaviors, many of us who have a history of an “ED”, have come to rely on the support of others in the same boat.
And although a support group is not intended to serve the same function as professional treatment. A support group does indeed provide a safe forum to discover we’re not alone in this struggle.
Establishing Mutual Support
Independent of this type of support group [e.g. 12-step oriented, professionally facilitated, organizationally sponsored, etc.] each can offer the “collective experiences” of those who have successfully navigated through past holidays without sacrificing their recovery.
Still others may find ways of establishing mutual support by offering the exchange of phone numbers and opportunities to “connect” during times of feeling stressed, “triggered” or just overwhelmed.
Although support groups are available throughout the year in most communities, during the holidays they are generally filled with those who find the holidays the most difficult times to stay “sane” and not lose their balance.
Online Support Groups
For those who live in areas where the availability of support groups for eating disorders are few and far between, there are several resources for “on-line” support group meetings.
Some of these can be found via this EDH site, others at organizational sites such as [Overeaters Anonymous] www.OA.Org, or [Anorexics and Bulimics Anonymous] http://www.aba12steps.org/, or Smart Recovery [http://www.smartrecovery.org]
Local Support Groups
As for those who live near any of the several eating disorder programs that sponsor the EDH site, you will likely find these programs also host “open to the public” support groups.
At our program we offer open support groups in the South Florida area twice monthly as well as regular meetings that are open to the public in the New York City area, Philadelphia Area, and Washington DC/VA area.
For a list of these meetings, you’re welcome to visit our website at www.MilestonesProgram.Org and look at the schedule for a meeting in your region.
Community Discussion – Share your thoughts here!
How has a support group enhanced your eating disorder recovery?
The opinions and views of our guest bloggers are shared to provide a broad perspective of eating disorders. These are not necessarily the views of Eating Disorder Hope, but an effort to offer discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals
Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on November 20th, 2014
Published on EatingDisorderHope.com