Four Rules of Recovery

Today I just wanted to touch on something that has been on my mind recently: recovery. Now obviously recovery can mean a ton of different things. Usually it’s pertaining to an addiction of some kind. Food, drugs, sex, love, etc. After being in and out of recovery for several years myself from eating disorders to self-harm, I’ve learned a few things. And I’ve come up with my top 4 most important things to remember when in recovery, whatever your addiction or illness.

1. You’ve gotta WANT it. 

I don’t care if you have the best doctors at the best inpatient treatment center in the state, country or world. If you don’t want recovery, you’ll never get it to stick. Between the ages of 17 and 21 I was in and out of “recovery” more times than I can count on my hands. I’ve had four different therapists, and tried every method I could realistically attempt. Nothing stuck as long as it has this most recent time around. And you know why? I finally told somebody “I WANT HELP.” Personally, my issues with food and self-harm revolved around my crippling depression so once that got under some control I was able to focus enough on the other issues. But it never happened until I finally decided I wanted to get better and be free from my addictions.

2. Relapse is a Part of Recovery

Don’t feel guilty. During your recovery you will most likely slip up. Whether it’s in your thoughts or your actions, you could very easily fall back into negative patterns. You may start to feel guilty and worthless and then it becomes a vicious cycle. So I’m telling you now, relapses happen and it’s OK. Don’t get down on yourself too much if you find yourself eating that extra piece of pie and wanting to throw it up. Don’t throw away your recovery because you had a shitty day and made one cut. Just go to sleep, pray for a better day and try again when you wake up. Sounds to good to be true, right? It wont be easy, I’m not saying it will be. But if it was easy, would it be worth it? Recovery SUCKS. It is the hardest thing you will ever do in your life. However, it is so unbelievably rewarding that you’ll wonder how you survived so long without it. You’ll wonder how you spent so long not seeing the true beauty and love of the world.

3. Put It Out In The World

Live your recovery. Write it down. Blog about it, journal about it. Write an anonymous article about it for your school paper. Go to an AA meeting, tell a close friend. Pray about it, meditate on it. By putting your recovery in the world you bring it to life. It’s so much harder to go back on your decision to stay in recovery if there are people relying on you. If you have meetings to attend and family members you want to see at ease. And by putting it into the universe, the universe recognizes that you’re serious about it and are ready, and she’s gonna back you up!

4. Adjust Your Environment Accordingly

It’s not going to do you any good if you’re a recovering drug addict still hitting the same clubs with your junkie friends. That’s just logic. I’m not saying that you have to cut ties with them. But (and this brings step 3 into play as well!) if they can understand that you’re trying to better your life, then they can live without you for a few months or years. If they can’t accept that, clearly you need to change your friends. It sounds harsh but if someone doesn’t have your health and happiness in mind, they don’t care about you and you shouldn’t make them a priority. During recovery it’s OKAY to be selfish and change your surroundings to fit your needs. Clear out negativity by getting rid of old clothes, books, and items you don’t need. Find peaceful ways to reorganize your life. Little changes around you will help your mindset to be clear and focused on your recovery, not on the person you used to be.

I know this doesn’t even begin to cover all aspects of recovery in all of it’s forms. But these are things that helped me and that I truly believe are most important in any recovery. A spiritual practice is wonderful too (and also helped me tremendously) but that is obviously up to you. I prayed and meditated a LOT when I was first trying to recover. And that was the one constant throughout my journey of relapses until what I truly believe has been my final recovery.

Do I still have urges? Of course. Around my period when I have to increase my anti-depressants, sometimes I have such a horrible day I very nearly turn to self harm. I still keep “supplies” nearby. Probably going against rule #4 but, I’m still recovering and working on surviving without an unhealthy crutch. Even at my most balanced, I still trip up. But I no longer feel guilty. I accept that what I’m experiencing is legit and I just sit in it for a while. And then I let it go. I forgive myself and say that it’s OK. I didn’t act negatively and I can still change my thoughts.

So take what you can from this, and leave what you can’t. Have a beautiful day. xx.