From the book Goodbye Ed, Hello Me by Jenni Schaefer. Questions by Jenni and Jennifer J. Thomas, Ph.D.
Early in the book, Jenni discusses the difference between being “in recovery” and being “fully recovered” from an eating disorder. Do you believe in “full recovery”? How might that differ from being “in recovery?”
Part 1. Happily Divorced – Life Without Ed:
- Do think it could be helpful to treat your eating disorder like a relationship (naming it Ed or something else)? Do you have a name for your eating disorder?
- On page 26, Jenni says, “Don’t blame Ed for anything.” Have you ever blamed any of your own actions on your eating disorder? If so, how might this hindered your recovery?
PART 2. BEING SINGLE – MAKING IT ON YOUR OWN:
- At one time or another, many people struggling with eating disorders wonder, “Who am I without Ed?” How do you imagine your life free from your eating disorder? In an Ed-free life, what are your hobbies? What about school/work? What are your relationships like?
- Is spirituality a part of your life in any form? If so, how could spirituality also be a part of your recovery?
Part 3. The Dating Game – Exploring the World:
- Jenni talks about pulling her guitar out of the closet on page 81. What is your guitar (e.g. unlived dream, uncovered passion, deep desire)?
- How has your eating disorder promised happiness? Were these promises fulfilled, or were they empty promises?
Part 4. Getting Engaged – Relationships and More:
- Relationships and More: Jenni’s therapist, Ann, once asked her (page 103), “How many people on this planet are you going to let have authority over you?” How would you respond to that question? What steps do you need to take toward owning your own life?
- Do you have a mentor in recovery? What about mentors in other areas of life? How might you identify and ask someone to be your mentor? (Visit www.mentorconnect-ed.org for information about free, online recovery mentoring.)
Part 5. The White Dress – A Healthy Body and Positive Body Image:
- Do you relate to the idea of Societal Ed (Society’s Eating Disorder, page 133)? What tools that you have learned in your eating disorder recovery could you also use to cope with Societal Ed?
- Book group discussion questions by Jenni Schaefer, with Jennifer J. Thomas, Ph.D., Authors of Almost Anorexic Bad body image is like a prison. In what ways has negative body image kept you trapped? When you break out of bad body image prison, what activities will you be able to enjoy?
- In a world where Societal Ed tells us to compulsively exercise, does “intuitive exercise” (page 142) even seem possible? How can you make it a reality for you? Make a commitment to speak with your doctor about your ideas.
Part 6. The Perfectly Imperfect Wedding – Overcoming Perfectionism:
- Like Jenni’s experience (page 167), is perfectionism a major motivator in your life? What are the pros and cons of being motivated by perfectionism?
- How does perfectionism infiltrate your life in negative ways? In what ways could you harness your perfectionistic personality trait to be more positive?
- What do you like to do for fun? How often do you do these things? What changes can you make in your life in order to incorporate more fun?
Part 7. Happily Married – Falling in Love with Life:
- Jenni writes on page 206, “Impossible is often just an idea constructed in our minds. As long as we believe something is impossible, it will be.” How has believing that certain things are “impossible” held you back in your recovery? How can you begin to start doing the “impossible”?
- What is the next right thing in your recovery? What is the next right thing in your life? Think big or small.
- While reading the book’s introduction, we discussed whether or not you believed in “full recovery.” After completing the book, has your answer changed? What does full freedom from an eating disorder mean to you?
More about Jenni:
Jenni Schaefer is a singer/songwriter, speaker, and author of Life Without Ed and Goodbye Ed, Hello Me. On her website, you can also find videos, sample book chapters, discussion questions for her other books, as well as more free downloadable resources.
More about Jennifer Dr. Jennifer J. Thomas:
Jennifer J. Thomas, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of psychology in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and co-director of the Eating Disorders Clinical and Research Program at Massachusetts General Hospital. Connect with her on Twitter @DrJennyThomas.