top of page

Rowing Upstream - A Journey Through Recovery

by Alekhya Bhat


Admittedly one of the worst situations to encounter. You sit and wonder why this is happening to you. You were beginning to do so well.

You don’t want to believe that you got this far only to get this far and stumble back to the beginning.

When you’re recovering, you tend to tell people you are. You begin to preach self-love so that it resonates with you. You tell other people to love their bodies so that maybe, someday, you’ll love yours.

And suddenly there you are, caught between the claws of your disorder. Suddenly you feel more than just anger that you’ve relapsed.

You feel shame.

You title yourself a hypocrite. For how can you expect other people to believe you when you tell them to love their bodies when you can’t seem to believe it yourself? You tell yourself that you’ve been preaching to the choir as you sit out of the session yourself.

But that’s where you’re wrong.

Cambridge University published an analogy on eating disorders as part of their study on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). This analogy stated that recovery was like “rowing upstream against a strong current.”

This means that the current is powerful, and it’s common to fall back into the water even when you’re pushing hard because the stream happens to be unpredictable. Rowing isn’t easy, but with enough strength, persistence, and help, we can all push through the current and get back to the mainland. Sometimes it takes a long time to get there, and you might still be in the water when you think you’ve gotten to the mainland, wallowing by the shore.

But here’s the thing with that.

Every time you get swept back in, you learn a new technique on how to get back to where you want to be. You’re stronger now. You’ve understood what triggers you; you’ve found patterns in the currents. Sometimes the current comes at you with full force, but you stand solid against it.

Don’t look at your relapse as an egregious fault line that shatters through your course of recovery.

Because with every relapse, you learn how to be tougher for next time.

Pick yourself up and keep fighting. Don’t get swept by the current. Take what you’ve learned from every single time you’ve faltered into a relapse and apply it to your recovery to stop yourself from letting the same issue repeat itself.

You are not your disorder. Your disorder does not control you. You can fight it.

And I promise that someday, you’ll stop checking your weight at random hours of the day and stop feeling guilty every time you eat something unhealthy.

But for now, what’s important is that you’re trying. We all are. We’re all trying to get better and live healthier, happier lifestyles.

Here’s to you. Here’s to me. Here’s to all of us.


bottom of page