So I have toolbox…But what is inside???
So earlier I wrote about how everyone in recovery is like a construction worker with their toolbox however, I did not mention what exactly is in my toolbox. So for those who are interested here is the start of my toolbox and some things I may not yet have, but I believe to be essential to any recovery toolbox.
1: A kick-ass treatment team - This could include anyone from your doctor, therapist, nutritionist, etc.
For me this now includes an awesome locally owned integrative therapy center that incorporates yoga and body work into the process! There I’m lucky enough to have a psychiatric NP, cranial sacral specialist, therapist (starting next week!), yoga instructors, eventually a nutritionist (no where near ready to have one of those again), and an incredible mamma bird who runs the place and affirms her love for each client.
2: Friend and family support - The people with whom you spend your life with are some of the most essential people in the recovery process. They will have seen you at your worst and will always desire to help you reach the best days of your life. They cheer you on when you feel alone and love you when you least deserve it.
I haven’t always felt the support of my family and friends, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t there. I have incredible people in my life including my family, friends, and the most incredible group of sorority sisters around. While each person may not actively come out and say I support you, I know I have their love, support, and well wishes in my recovery and if I ever needed a shoulder to cry on, a friend to go grocery shopping with, or anything at all I could count on any one of these people to be there for me in whatever way they can.
3: Hope - Hope is one of the most essential parts of recovery. Hope is what motivates and propels you to move forward in recovery and to believe that better things are coming even if things are hard right now. Even if you can’t have your own hope in the present moment, borrow the hope of the people in your life (number two is super important!) and use their hope until you are able to find your own and believe in it.
4: Confidence - Okay, I know it’s funny to list confidence as an essential since most of us in recovery lack it but I’m not talking about physical confidence (that comes with time and recovery) but rather confidence in yourself that you can achieve great things in recovery. Similarly, you need to have confidence in your treatment team and in the process you are going through. If you have confidence you have a mighty key that will unlock many many great doors.
5: Trust - It really is true what they say in alcoholics anonymous “It works if you work it” and “Trust the process” . These two quotes might seem cliche but they are two of the most vital tools to have in your toolbox. If you work the process of recovery then recovery is going to work and be successful for you. Similarly, if you are able to trust the process, your body, your team, and most importantly yourself then you will be unstoppable. Sure things may seem out of control, but that’s why trust is so incredible vital in this process. Embrace the change and trust that it will work out for the best.
6: Reality Checks - Now I get that this is something that is hard to keep in your toolbox at all times, but, a good reality check every now and then is a great tool to have. Without people who are willing to be blunt, honest, and vulnerable with you about how you are doing and people who ask the hard, tough questions that force you to check yourself and face the truth head on, you will make it no where in this journey. How can you move forward successfully and honestly when you can’t even be honest and have a good look at the truth of your situation.
7: Honesty - This goes with number six but ties into all of the other tools. You need to be honest. Honest about your disease, honest about your behaviors, how you feel, how your body is, etc. Honesty is the most important tool. If you can’t be honest then no real progress will ever come out of the process.
I struggled during my first round in outpatient treatment to be honest. I couldn’t face the honest truth about some of the ugliest parts of my disorder and my behaviors. I was ashamed of the truth when there was truly no need to be ashamed of my struggles. I hid things and never allowed myself to be vulnerable and honest about what I needed and what I was doing. I held myself back from a great shot at recovery because I was too scared to tell 100% of the truth. This time around I’m not doing that, I’m being 100% honest and open no matter how hard it may be or how much it may hurt to work through.
8: Relaxation Techniques - Recovery is one hell of a stressful process, therefore, it is important to have techniques that work to relax you and your body. This could be any hobby or activity you find to calm and soothe you.
For me I love yoga, listening to music, watching some netflix, meditation, writing, my faith and so many many forms of exercise that are healthy and relaxing. Each one assists me in a certain way that none of the others do and each is so crucial in the process. If you don’t have any techniques that relax you, google some and start trying things out. That’s what I had to do at times and trust me it pays off when you feel calm and cool about life.
9: Books - Recovery books are so incredibly inspiring and motivating, I cannot say enough about how much I love any sort of literature about eating disorders, recovery, affirmations, devotionals, etc. They are such a great tool to have because they encounter you in a way nothing else can, they speak to parts of your soul and inner self that no therapist, nutritionist, friend or family member ever could. They help you gain insight into your struggle through the struggles of others… I could go on on and will eventually get around to a separate section of this blog with my previously read and need to read books on eating disorders and recovery, but for now all I can say is get out and get some good books and read them!
10: Faith - I’m not just talking about God or gods here, I’m talking about anything greater than yourself, the world, humanity, etc. It is different for everyone and so important to have. Once we are able to realize there is more to life than just ourselves, and our problems and we are able to put our faith into something bigger it takes a big weight off of our shoulders and allows us to be gentle with ourselves. When we allow ourselves to trust that there is something greater controlling our futures, fates, destinies, etc. then we are able to trust the process and trust that it will work if we work it. It doesn’t matter what each individual has faith in, it is irrelevant honestly, all that matters is that it gets your through the day and gives you hope for a brighter and better tomorrow!
For me my faith is placed directly into my personal faith. Trusting that God has bigger things planned for me than I have planned for myself gives me so hope for this process and for the future. I’m able to find so much in my faith that has helped me over the past few years and will continue to help me as I start fresh. A few of the most important things that have helped me are:
“No in all things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us”
“You are altogether beautiful my darling, within you there is no flaw”
and “For I know the plans I have for you declared the LORD, plans to prosper you not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future”
I could go on and on about these three verses from the Bible, especially the last one, but I won’t get into that. Anyways, what I’m trying to say is that faith in something better and promises of a better tomorrow are so important and no matter what you trust in, trust that it will be giving you a bigger, and better tomorrow!
There are so many other things that could be found in the toolbox and I’m sure that with time I will add more and provide a section in this blog that is just my toolbox, but for now it is small and for now it is good. One day I won’t need each of these tools, but right now I do need them and they will only make me stronger and help me as I continue this journey called recovery.