Family and Friends as Allies

Families and friends can act as allies to support people in getting their lives back from substance misuse and disordered eating practices. They are the "memory keepers", supporters, and helpers in the process. If family members engage with the idea that disordered eating practices and substance misuse are external intruders, they can begin to see their loved one as separate from the A&D and A/B, and use this knowledge to gain some leverage themselves against the problems. Family members can be instrumental in helping young women question the impact that these problems are having in their lives and in beginning to resist the problems.

Megan explains the importance of her mother having held on to her memory when Megan was under the influence of the problems.


C: So how or did anyone help you take that serious look at yourself and recognize this isn't what I want; I don't want to be that girl in the bathroom?

A: My mom. Because she was really close to me my whole life. She saw the changes and I didn't want to see them. She kept pointing them out slowly and making me look at myself even if I didn't want to. She kept making me look at what I was doing and saying this isn't you. I don't know who you're trying to be but it's not you.

C: What did she help you see?

A: She made me feel like—like the daughter who she knew, like the daughter I was—who a few months ago, was always prepared for school, always organized and just like on top of everything, and then looking at who I was then, I didn't have anything organized because I was too busy worrying about how I looked or how other people were seeing me. But not important people like the teachers.