Baby Got Back Recovery

Transitioning from Treatment to Everyday Life

May 6, 2019

My experience of stepping down from the 24 hour residential level of care to a less intensive program for the first time was really tough. For three weeks in residential, I had been monitored closely. I had been held accountable for eating and taking responsibility for my recovery. I had never been left alone with food. When those three weeks were over (when my insurance deemed me ready to leave), I went home, where everything felt overwhelming. I was anxious about the lack of structure I would have without the safety net I felt in residential.


When I arrived home, some of the first things I realized were:


-I was not being watched 24/7


-There was no limited access to food, no locked cabinets, and no locked bathrooms  


-Acclimating to the “outside world” was overwhelming

Returning home after residential was anxiety-provoking. I began attending school again. My first few days back to high school were very difficult. I ended up getting permission to attend half-days at school for a few weeks. The guidance counselor sent a note out to my teachers about where I had been (with my permission, of course) and they were very understanding. The majority of them talked to me about how they cared about my well-being and that the make-up work could be done in its own time.


However, being the perfectionist and diligent student that I was, I wanted to get the work done as soon as possible to feel caught up and not having it hang over my head. This was manageable when I was attending half-days of school and had ample time to work on things. When those few weeks of half-days were over, the work became a lot more stressful. In addition to starting school again, I was attending an outpatient program five nights per week, at a treatment center about an hour away from my house. I stayed up late into the night getting things done. Weekends were no longer for relaxing, either.


The academic portion of school wasn’t the only challenge I faced. I got a lot of questions from my peers about why I was out for so long. Not wanting to talk about my eating disorder, my go-to reply was, “I was sick.” Most people accepted that and didn’t ask more questions. Of course, there were some people that were envious that I got so much time off from school. Yes, it was ignorant and made me mad inside, but I was able to brush it off for the most part, because they didn’t have context.


During the course of treatment, I went through various stages of emotion:

  1. Fear of having to eat and facing my eating disorder

  2. Relief that I was getting the help I knew I needed

  3. Questioning my decision to be there

  4. Thinking “I can’t do this,” and “This is too hard.”

  5. Starting to think that, just maybe, I could get better.

It took more than one time in treatment for me to get better. It took a lot of emotional and physical stamina. Treatment was where I became motivated to recover. It is where I met some amazing people. It is where I was exposed to my biggest fears. It was where I was forced to challenge my eating disorder and explore the reasons behind it. It was not easy by any means, but I wouldn’t be where I am today if I hadn’t made the decision to get help.  




About Alison:



Alison is a passionate advocate for mental health awareness and recovery. She graduated from Salem State University in 2015 with a bachelor's in psychology, and returns to the school annually to speak about eating disorders and share her recovery story. Learn more about Alison on our Blog Squad page.

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About Me.

My name is Meg McCabe and I'm and Eating Disorder Recovery Coach. Thank you for stopping by. Please stay in touch!

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I am an Eating Disorder Recovery Coach who help peoples heal their relationship with food, their body and themselves.

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If you're interested in working with me for private coaching, group coaching, speaking engagements or other collaborations, please get in touch! Please check out my services page for more information.

Baby Got Back Recovery

Meg McCabe

Denver, CO