Lessons From my Swim Tonight

Most people who know me would agree with me when if I said that I hate to swim. I did not learn how to swim until I was eight years old and I have always believed I would never be good at it. Recently, I have been swimming at the gym. I really do not like running or biking anymore because I find those activities too triggering post my exercise addiction. Mostly I have been doing yoga since I was first cleared to exercise outside of the program. Now that I am out of treatment I am free to do yoga for a longer time. My stitches had prevented me from doing yoga since I was not able to put pressure on my finger. Also, my stay in the hospital meant I had to gain strength back as well as my recent restricting.

I began to swim more frequently as a result after the stitches came out. The pain still lingered after the stitches were taken out so no yoga 😦  However, during tonight’s swim I came to the realization that my recent swimming is a metaphor for my recovery. I always thought that I could never swim. As well, I also have believed for so long that I could never recovery. Swimming is a physical representation of my inner battle within my mind.

I thought of KBE while I was swimming tonight. She is an amazing friend of mine, has mentored me through some of my worst moments, and is also an incredible athlete. As in…she trains for and does triathlons. While my mind drifted into thoughts of her, I had the voice in my mind of “you are the girl who ran Basch.” To explain, Basch is a road next to the campus of the summer camp I went to for seven years. Basch is at least ten miles or so(?). One morning KBE woke us campers up at the crack of dawn and told us we were going to run the road.

All I could think was “f*** you and screw this running idea.” and I was SO over this idea. I struggled through this run mainly in emotional ways, and KBE came up beside me. She asked me a question I will never forget “Lily, are you doing your absolute best?” I began to tear up wanting to hide my emotional response from KBE because at that moment we both knew I could have been pushing harder. At the last mile, I began to run and I was running damn fast. I remember the feeling of rushing down the road and the cheers by my cabin-mates as I ran towards the end of the road.

Well, the question of whether I am doing my absolute best or not came into my mind so strongly. I realized that I have not been doing my absolute best in my recovery. I have been working, but frankly, I have been just skating by…and I know that is the truth even if I hate that it is.

Today in therapy, AAC and I sat in absolute silence as I struggled to answer a question. I finally looked her in the face, and she said “I can’t recover for you. I will always be here for you and be a hand to lift you up during the darkest times. And it is still on you.” I talked to her about my lack of trust that I can handle certain challenges that have come my way recently. At the end of my session, I told her about how I did not trust to start IOP and then to leave the program. I trust her, BM, ES, and BC 100%…especially AAC. I told her that I cannot fully trust, but I can trust in her trust and hope for/in me.

So back to the pool…I thought about KBE and AAC and their messages to me. I decided to focus on strength, beauty, and grace during my swim. Strength…AAC once told me “You are one of the strongest people I know. You’ve survived so much.” I let that fuel my swim knowing my body is strong and that I am stronger in my recovery than I have been giving myself credit for. Beauty…there is beauty in my body pushing through the water and loving my body for what it does for me instead of the pounds that make me hate myself. Beauty in being my authentic self. Grace…grace can be defined as the refinement of movement. Refinement is the improvement of something in small increments. Small increments, is that not what recovery truly is? We move forward each day step by step.

I have horrible eyesight, and I need my goggles to prevent the chlorine from burning my eyes. So, I cannot see that far down the lane. The thought came to my mind that I cannot see ahead of the current moment in recovery and my journey through this struggle. Looking back to the lane behind me just discouraged me and I wanted to move forward to get to the end of the other lane. Well, damn dude that is quite a strong example of how the pool has been teaching me so many truths and lessons. Insight can come in any situations and any moment. We merely have to keep our eyes open to see the truth that lies before us.

Keep your eyes open.


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