One would think that being a therapist for recovery in addiction and having been in my own recovery process for about 2+ years… One would think that I would have a solid coping plan. Such is not always the case.
Okay. If I were to be honest, I have developed a solid coping plan that involves self-soothing and being mindful and so on and so forth. While I preach it to my clients, I am remiss in practicing it. I even at one time had a self-soothe kit. I might have torn it apart and misplaced all the pieces thinking that I was totally okay and didn’t need it anymore. Willfulness is my favorite attitude. Or maybe it is my eating disorder’s favorite attitude.
So, dealing with triggers is important. How you cope will define your recovery or relapse. I am worried that I am about to fall headlong into the rabbit hole and be stuck again. I know that I am not following the plan. I am being willful and lazy and I am terrified of the weight gain. It has not helped to spend time with someone who dismisses my treatment and acts as though my needs are unimportant. However, there are 2 rules that make this thinking obsolete.
Rule #1: You are in charge of your recovery. NO ONE ELSE. People don’t make you relapse, you are the one who relapses. You have the skills to cope. If you are struggling, ask for help and make a plan. Then, buck up buttercup and follow the plan.
Rule #2: You are worth recovering. Do not let anyone belittle you just because they don’t understand. Mental illness is a disease. It is not something you choose, but you can choose to deal with it effectively. If you are sliding back down into the rabbit hole, you are not coping effectively. So, put your thinking hat on and identify what you can be doing better.
While I am being tough, I must admit that I know every day is a struggle sometimes. Lately, for me, every day has been a struggle. Life has knocked me about and I feel as though I am barely holding on. However, I know that I am strong enough to cope. My treatment team knows that I am strong enough to cope. I am giving in to self-pity and feigned helplessness by not coping and wanting to act on dysfunctional action urges.
While I may sound harsh toward myself, I know I will not recover if I do not step up and do what needs done. Eating disorders are sneaky and they tell you that if you purge or restrict or exercise or abuse laxatives or engage in any behavior that is harmful, then you will feel better. Ha! I feel better for about five minutes and then the guilt sets in.
My patients report the same thing: wanting a reprieve from emotions, giving in, and the emotions coming back tenfold because not only are the original ones there, but so are the guilt, anger, and frustrations of giving into the disease.
So, how do we combat this?
We cannot change the past. We can only change the future and that happens by making the decisions to live life to the fullest and not give into the reasonings of our disease. It is easier to give in to the disease, but you will die. I want to live and I want to help others make that decision to keep going.