Since September is National Recovery month, I thought that it would be a good idea to write about recovery and five tips that can help anyone with their recovery! When you think about recovery, what is it that comes to mind? Is recovery possible? What does it even mean? What does it look like? If you ever looked up the definition of recovery, you will discover that there isn't one way to define it, and this is because recovery is a personalized term that is unique for each individual that goes through it. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Commission (SAMHSA), recovery is “a process of change through which people improve their health and wellness, live self-directed lives, and strive to reach their full potential.”
If you are working on overcoming a challenge and recovering from addiction, toxic relationships, trauma, or anything else that you wish to overcome, then the following tips can give you a great boost on your journey through recovery.
Believe that you CAN!
This might sound simple or maybe impossible to some, but if you believe that you can overcome your challenge and achieve recovery then you will do whatever it takes to make that happen- no matter what anyone says or what you read on the internet. With eating disorders specifically, there is so much negativity online and there are even professionals in the field who believe strongly that recovery is not possible and once you have an eating disorder you always will be sick. This is absolutely bullshit -excuse my language- and I can say that with certainty because I have worked with people struggling with eating disorders for over 20 years and as someone who struggled with both anorexia and bulimia, I can tell you with 100% certainty that recovery is possible. What I believe is true is that the eating disorder will always be a part of those struggling, but over the years it will become a much smaller part and the other parts of you will become stronger. If you believe that you can recover then you will not allow your eating disorder to define you. There are so many incredible resources to create a better version of yourself.
Surround Yourself with Positive People
This one is extremely important because many people who have struggled with various challenges, specifically addiction, have the tendency to surround themselves with people who are similar and most likely share similar negative thoughts and feelings. If you can surround yourself with people who are supportive of your recovery and who believe in you and your abilities, then you will develop a more positive attitude about your recovery and your chances of overcoming your challenges are much higher. Having a positive mindset can not only improve your recovery, but your physical health as well. It can lower your risk of cardiovascular disease, lower your blood pressure, and helps you get a better night's sleep according to multiple studies.
Prepare for Relapse
While recovery is not easy, if you anticipate relapse and accept it as a part of the process, then you will most likely be less disappointed and have less negative feelings associated with it. Relapse is a part of the process of recovery, just like if you were learning to ride a bike you can expect to fall and get hurt but ultimately you will be able to ride very smoothly with some persistence and belief that you can actually do it. Knowing what triggers you can help you prepare for relapses as well. If you know you are triggered around the holiday season, and it is December, prepare yourself for a stressful time by using coping strategies, reaching out to loved ones or friends, anything that can help you know you are not alone.
Read, Listen, and Write
There are so many incredible resources from people who recovered, various experts, and lots of research that can help you in your recovery process. Finding resources that are positive and people who have overcome different challenges will help you feel more empowered and will allow you to overcome your challenges in a more effective way. The one book that I highly recommend to all my clients and people I love is a book by Don Miguel Ruiz called The Four Agreements. Other inspiring books are the Love Warrior, Unbearable Lightness, and all the books written by Brene Brown. There are also many podcasts about recovery as well as various social media accounts that are extremely supportive and inspirational. Knowing that there are a lot of resources that are helpful is extremely important, and more importantly is taking small steps to obtain some information even if it means reading a very short article about recovery.
Find The Right Professional!
Finding the right professional can be challenging but if you know what you are looking for and what questions to ask, you will be able to listen to your intuition and find the right person. The most important thing to know besides making sure that the professional that is assisting you has the right credentials and experience is to make sure that they have a positive attitude about recovery and that the sessions will also be focused on building other parts of you that are related to your addiction or challenge. For example, if you are struggling with an eating disorder and one of your goals is to become a teacher, then you can gain skills such as motivational interviewing, cognitive behavioral techniques, and can set various goals that will allow you to focus on both the present and future. When it comes to finding the right professional, I usually recommend contacting three therapists and ask different questions that can give you clues as to who the right person is.
I hope that reading this helped you develop a more optimistic attitude towards recovery and overcoming challenges, and if you have any questions feel free to contact us.