Like most things in life, there is an ebb and flow about dealing with food and body stuff. It’s something that I have begrudgingly learned to accept (albeit slowly). It doesn’t make it easier that I am aware of this fact, but allows for me to be a little gentler with myself when I “take a step back.”
I don’t really look at it as steps anymore because that often contributes to unhelpful black and white thinking that I have to get better and stay better and if I don’t I have failed. Nope, that’s not really quite how it works.
The leader of the support group that I once attended said in one of the first sessions that recovery and “figuring out” all this stuff isn’t for the faint of heart. She didn’t mean it in a discouraging way, but much like what Sunny mentioned when talking about being really ready to change, recovery takes as long as it takes and putting the work in is what is most important. Moving forward doesn’t always mean the same for everyone and forward motion doesn’t have to be up a ladder of steps, but more like a continual space of energy, thoughts and behaviors gently pushing and pulling. We aren’t static individuals, and life certainly isn’t either.
There were plenty of times where I would be cruising along, feeling good, solid and positive, then all of a sudden…something would come up, something would change, I’d hit a little bump and would feel it in my relationship with food and my body. If I held myself to the rigid standard of telling myself, “I was doing so well with this last week—that must not have been real, because look at this now. Back to square one.” Thing is, that really wasn’t true and ultimately, whatever road block I had come up against, only contributed to deepening my understanding and expand upon the work that I was putting in.
I know it is really difficult to truly accept this, but trusting that where you are is probably where you need to be, can take a little bit of the pressure off. When I got over the idea that my recovery had to be perfect (which doesn’t even exist, so I am glad I gave up on that one) for it to be “real,” things progressed more readily and naturally. When I stopped judging it in a linear motion, my little bumps didn’t set me back as much and as I got more used to the push and pull, I could see how far I had really come, even on a rough day.
So for anyone who is thinking about tackling these difficult issues, or who is in the midst of them, or has recovered and sometimes hits the occasional bump, keep on keepin’ on! It’s the space between that is what really makes the difference, right?
Have you ever felt the push and pull of recovery this way? How have you dealt with it? —Morgan