a chapter from Telling Ed No! by Cheryl Kerrigan©)

Around this time, Ed was in my face more than usual, and I found myself listening to him here and there. My behaviors did not go unnoticed: Rachel and my treatment team were tuned in to what was happening and were there to support and offer advice.

At one of our sessions, worried that Ed would steal my attention and take me back, Bob mentioned various ways to continue to step in and regain control. He said, “One strong step would be evening treatment, Cheryl.”

“I don’t need any more treatment,” I shot back. “I am totally fine. How much treatment does a person have to do, anyway? I know what I am doing!” Although he voiced his concerns, I told him I wasn’t interested, but I would think about it.

“I’ll check in with you tomorrow,” he said.

The next day I headed home right after work. Rachel wasn’t home yet, so it was just me and the dogs. I had the quiet time I needed to think. Rachel and my treatment team were telling me that evening treatment would be a good addition to my recovery, but I wasn’t so sure. After all, I was only listening to Ed here and there, which wasn’t so bad, right? Wrong!

When the phone rang I knew it was Bob calling to see if I had decided to include evening treatment in my recovery plan.

“Have you thought about what I said?” he asked.

“Yes, and I have decided that I don’t need to go to evening treatment,” I answered.

“Did you decide that or did Ed?”

“I did. I’m totally fine and you are blowing things way out of proportion. I’ve had enough treatment already. I don’t need it!” I said, my voice rising.

“Cheryl, you’ve been listening to Ed and you need trust evening treatment will help you find ways to continue to interrupt the negative behaviors that have been increasing lately,” Bob countered.

“You are being unreasonable and unfair; you don’t know what you are talking about, and I am fine! ” I yelled. We argued back and forth for a good five minutes and then Bob said something that shook me to my core. “Cheryl, if you are going to continue to listen to Ed and not your support team, then you and I will have to take a break from working together. I am part of your team—not Ed’s.”

His words hit me like a baseball bat to the stomach. I was shocked. With tears in my eyes and a quiver in my voice I asked him, “Are you serious?”

“Yes, I am,” he said, sounding like he meant it.

The thought of not having Bob scared me. He had been there with me from the first day of my recovery. What is going on? What am I doing? Is this really happening? Then Ed chimed right in. “Cheryl, you don’t need Bob anyway, you only need me. Get rid of Thom too, for that matter, and then we can be together—just the two of us.”

But Recovery was waiting in the wings. “Cheryl, listen to Bob. Trust him. He knows how to help you. He is telling you the truth, I promise. Ed is giving you bad advice.”

The two of them went back and forth in my mind for a few minutes, and I cried to Bob the entire time. Thoughts were swirling around in my head, and my emotions were out of control.

Fortunately, though, Recovery’s voice was getting louder and clearer than Ed’s. I knew I had to take the leap, fight for control, and trust Bob and Recovery. So I did. I said to Bob “Okay, I trust you. I’ll do it. I’ll do evening treatment.”

We wrapped up our conversation and I hung up the phone. Sitting on the floor, patting the dogs, I thought, it can’t hurt. I can only gain more knowledge in my fight against Ed, right?

As you travel the path of recovery, do you find yourself listening to Ed here and there? Has he regained your attention? Be honest with yourself and write down three ways that Ed might still be getting you to cooperate with him. Has a support brought it to your attention? Trust your support, not Ed. What steps will you take next to help fight Ed and keep you on the healthy path?