Today has been a roller-coaster of a day. I was happy, sad, stressed, calm, and anxious all in the same day.
I found out that one of the girls in my group also went to Shades of Hope for residential treatment and had the same upsetting results (relapse soon after, aversion to 12 steps, more perfectionistic tendencies, etc...). It was interesting to talk to her because she looks and sounds like she is doing great now, but was not doing so well after she attended treatment three years ago. She said that Shades was ineffective and really just brought her down and taught her that she had to be perfect with her meal plan and with her recovery (obviously not smart thinking for someone with an eating disorder - recovery is about learning to be imperfect). Shades taught me that unless I was perfect, I was not okay. And, that didn't end well with my black or white thinking. My little failures = big relapses. Shades did NOT teach me how to deal with the real world. At treatment, we discussed past life events, but not how those events connected to our lives today. We talked about our feelings but did not try any alternative therapies. At treatment, I did not learn how to eat intuitively (or how to deal with food at all for that matter - we only had ONE nutrition class in the entire 38 days I was there). I also learned many negative messages that really hurt me still: that I am sick, I will always have this disease and am powerless over it, that making mistakes is unacceptable, and that the 12 Steps are the only way to achieve recovery. I left Shades on a "diet." Even though some of the clients called it "Shades of Hell," I did come out of it in a better place... I felt okay for the first day or two when I got home until I quickly realized that I had learned nothing about how my new binge-free life would be or how to deal with my issues. In other words, the aftercare aspect of treatment was nonexistent at Shades.
I know a big part of my relapse is me and my actions, but it was nice to hear that my friend in my group had the same experience and that it wasn't me alone. My old therapist (from home) used to say that it wasn't Shades and that all treatment "wasn't fun." Well, my story was a bit different than just "not being fun."
I have realized a lot of things since I've been back and have had some distance. Did any of you have a similar experience your residential treatment center (or at Shades of Hope specifically?)