Interview with Vic Avon
Vic Avon, 28 who is a male in recovery from an eating disorder is the author of “My Monster Within: My Story.” He reveals the dynamics that played into the development of his eating disorder as well as his struggles at working toward recovery. Through his writing, the reader will gain insight into the mindset that can plague a man with an eating disorder. No matter how low the lows and difficult the road to recovery, Vic inspires his readers with hope in recovery. Recovery is challenging, but well worth the fight.
Vic lives in New Jersey with his wife Lindsey and pets (3 dogs, 1 parrot, and 1 snake). Vic works at a family-owned drywall subcontracting business. Vic is actively involved in eating disorder outreach and education. In his free time, he enjoys watching movies and playing the drum.
The following is an interview with Vic Avon done by Chris Clark, the executive director of N.A.M.E.D.
Chris: Why did you write this book?
Vic: I wrote “My Monster Within: My Story” for a few reasons: First, I wanted to try to put a book out there that people could relate to, that can educate people, and could give people a sense of hope. Second, during my illness I read a horrible book written by a man that was very anti-recovery, anti-treatment and extremely triggering that it sent me so far into my illness when it should have brought me out of it. I wanted to make sure that men have another option to read that inspires hope. Lastly, I knew that if I put this book out there then it would strengthen my own recovery and keep me going down the right path.
Chris: Since your hospitalization, how would you describe your recovery process?
Vic: Not an easy one to say the least. Life has thrown every possible challenge and curve ball my way and given me every reason/opportunity to go running back to my illness, but with the help of my great support team, my peers, and my wife, I have remained on the right path and kept my head pro-recovery focused.
What advice would you give about staying on the course of recovery? It is very tempting to remember the "good things" your disorder brought you, but always keep in mind all the negative things it brings with it. I personally remind myself about the depression, inability to live life, effects of malnutrition, regrets, etc. Always keep in mind that no matter how hard things get you are fully capable of turning your life around. Focus on one step at a time rather than the overall staircase. With each step you gain confidence and you grow stronger with yourself. My nutritionist once told me that "Your worst day in your recovery is better than your best day in your disorder."
Chris: Do you use any techniques that lessen your anxiety with eating?
Vic: I try to take emotions and power away from the food. One trick I use is to look at it as fuel for the machine that is the body.
Chris: What advice would you give for getting help for and supporting a family member with an eating disorder?
Vic: Honestly, I would say to try and find people that have gone through it and could possibly talk to the person. Actually, speaking with somebody and hearing their story brings a whole new human element to it and they will know they are not alone. They could see the good things that come along with recovery. Also, I recommend that family educate themselves about the illness and don't make it a confrontational/adversarial discussion. The family/friends need to be there and support them and be prepared to keep communication open and make changes in their own life as well.
Chris: Do you have any insight into how treatment providers can improve treatment for males with eating disorders?
Vic: Try to make the fact known that men can and do get these illnesses. There is a total lack of public knowledge and resources for men. Treatment providers can have contact information
of men that are further along in their recovery process who act as mentors and can be there to talk, listen, etc. Also, one thing that really helped me was just having a therapist tell me that it is okay to have a bad day.
Chris: What message do you want to leave with the readers of this article?
Vic: I went through a horror story. I gave up hope. I gave up my wanting to live. Despite all that, however, I was able to find some light at the end of the tunnel and continued to walk to that light no matter how much I wanted to turn and go running back. My story is one that shows that you can turn your struggle into strength, and that it is never too late to start your life over.
Chris: Do you have any other comments?
Vic: Upon leaving my hospitalization I received an affirmation from a friend. It impacted me so much that I tattooed it across my stomach/ribs so that I may look at it everyday. It reads "Courage does not roar...it is the quiet voice at the end of the day that whispers...I will begin again tomorrow." Having this there reminds me everyday to begin again.
To order Vic Avon’s book “My Monster Within: My Story,” go to the Bookstore page on this website. To contact Vic e-mail him at email@example.com.
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