I arrived at Blossom Place Recovery House on April 12, 2021 with very little idea of what I was stepping into or how much my life was about to change. I came in with a lot of ideas, a lot of resistance and defensiveness, and a very strong attachment to my eating disorder, but I was also desperate for change and I quickly had to let go of my beliefs in order to make room for new ones.
When I first walked in, I didn’t think I was sick enough to be here and I didn’t think that my eating disorder was that bad, but that was quickly debunked when I tried hiding my half-eaten muffin on the second day and couldn’t sit still for more than five minutes. Everyone told me how sick I was, but I truly didn’t believe them. It took a solid week for it to finally sink in. During my first month, I spent many meals crying at the dinner table, taking the smallest possible bites and being urged to keep going. I felt horrific and bloated most days, teetering between extreme hunger and fullness as my body re-learned how to digest the food it lacked for so long. Needless to say, I was fucked.
Let me tell you, there is never a dull moment when you’re living in a recovery house. All of us have some form of an eating disorder, cross addiction, and/or co-existing mental illness. On top of that, we’re together all day every day with no time or space to be on our own. It’s an unusual day if there isn’t at least one breakdown, and we have our fair share of house meetings to tackle whatever issues arise. It’s full on. That said, it’s a truly magical experience to be living with several others who can relate to exactly what you’re going through and can offer support at any time of day or night. As much as we have intensely difficult days, we have equal fits of laughter and gratitude. Recovering from an addiction is hardcore – but we get to do it together.
A lot of people ask me what my life is like at Blossom. What’s on the schedule? What do you learn? What does a typical day look like? Every day looks different, but the general layout looks something like this: We’re free to wake up whenever, as long as we eat breakfast by 8:30pm and we’re ready for programming at 9am (and by “ready” I mean we need to be physically present, often still in our pyjamas with a cup of coffee in hand). A few of us also have a morning routine that incorporates recovery homework. Personally, I start my day by reading a short daily reflection from “Inner Harvest: Daily Meditations for Recovery from Eating Disorders”, doing some body image homework, and journaling. It might sound like a lot, but it doesn’t take long and I love starting my day like this.
Around 10:30am we have a snack, followed by free time until noon. When we’re not reading or on our phones, free time is generally used to do homework and daily tasks. We all have chores and we’re all responsible for keeping the house clean and tidy. Sometimes, we also use this time to play games or go for a dip in the ocean.
Lunch is from 12 – 1pm, and the rest of the afternoon is filled with a variety of programming, group movement (I.e. walk, yoga, workout), another snack, more free time, and dinner around 6pm. We also follow the 12 steps of Eating Disorders Anonymous (EDA), so we aim to attend one meeting every day which is usually in the evenings.
Scheduled programming changes every day, but it includes topics like body image, intuitive eating, coping skills, life skills, book study, trauma group, nutrition, art therapy, and meditation. For a few months we also did kickboxing which I always looked forward to. Personally, one of my favourite parts of the week is when we have meal planning and prep with our fave nutritionist, Tahnee, who is a genuine bundle of joy at all times. During meal prep, our kitchen turns into a flurry of organized chaos as we blast the tunes, dancing and singing at the top of our lungs while baking and cooking for the upcoming week.
At the very end of the day, we all gather in the living room, cozy up on the couches, and do an evening check-in. One at a time, we go around the circle and share five successes, five struggles, and five gratitudes from the day. If we’re struggling, this is also a time to get feedback and support from the group. Now four months later, these beautiful humans have become like family and I feel so blessed for everything that this journey has taught me.