Recovery: What Are You Afraid Of?

Does the thought of recovery fill you with fear?
If so, you are not alone. It's really quite common to feel this way.

Why, when we know something is good for us, do we feel afraid of it? 

The reasons vary. Individual experiences come into play. Reasons can range from simple to complicated, making it difficult to narrow it down to one, simple answer. When an eating disorder is also part of the equation, the whys can become even more complicated. Change and control, though, are major factors for almost everyone.

Change is scary. You're taking a risk. You're leaving behind familiar territory for the unknown. There's comfort in the familiar, even when the familiar is a horrible place to be, because you know it well. The ins, the outs, the lows, the highs ... there's not much that can surprise you, not much to catch you off guard and throw you off kilter.

Fear of losing what little control you have can be scary, too. How can you control the unknown? You may have mastered controlling and navigating your current situation so well that the thought of relinquishing that control may feel too scary to even contemplate. But...

You must surrender your fears.

It's not easy to let go, even when what we're holding on to is what we most need to let go of. But, letting go is necessary to achieve change and change is necessary to achieve recovery. We have to be willing to venture out of our comfort zone and let go of what currently is, in order to begin creating what can be.
"The only way out is through."
So how do you let go despite the fear? 

With practice and patience. Acknowledge your fear. Recognize it for what it truly is, and then move forward regardless. Each time you deny your fear the chance to be in charge you gain confidence and courage, making the next time a little bit easier. Soon, what you once thought impossible, becomes reality.

You must do the thing you think you cannot do.   
Eleanor Roosevelt

Here are some suggestions and links to help with the process:
  • Keep your thoughts and words positive. Use positive, encouraging self-talk.
  • Visualize the change you desire in a positive light.
  • Believe in your ability to overcome your fears, to change, and to recover.
  • Have faith. 
  • Make a 2 column list. On one side list what you're afraid of, the other side list why that fear is invalid (or how to let it go).
  • Seek reinforcements (counseling, mentoring, organizations, people in recovery, supportive family and friends, recovery sites and forums)
  • Stay honest with yourself and others. 
  • Be kind and patient with yourself. Change takes time. Recovery takes time.
  • Get involved in something creative (writing, sketching, dance, doodling, painting, crafts,...). It gives you something positive to put your energy into and is a great outlet for stress and anxiety. 
  • Remember the recovery sayings; "Fake it 'til you make it," and "Act as if". Doing this gives you a taste of what it feels like to achieve the change you're seeking. It sets your mind on track. (It doesn't mean to lie to yourself, or others, in an attempt to deceive)
  • Journal.
  • Use affirmations throughout the day and at bedtime.
  • Choose a mantra to say to yourself whenever you're feeling less than brave (example: I am not my fear. I am capable of moving past these feelings. I can accomplish anything I set my mind to. I believe in myself). Repeat, repeat, repeat.
  • Surround yourself with positive influences. 
  • Create a recovery sound track of music that makes you feel good. 
  • Create a recovery feel good image file. Fill it with things that make you feel good, strong, serene. (Do not use anything that relates to the body, weight, or appearance in any way). 
  • Take care of yourself every day.
  • Create a Relapse Prevention Plan
  •  Give yourself credit when you make even the smallest progress. Each positive step is a victory. Celebrate it!
  • When you feel overwhelmed, turn it over to your higher power. 
     Recovery Is Possible! You are capable, worthy, and deserving of it!



    krystal lynn said...

    I had an eating disorder when I was 15. I recovered but have OCD now and as I was reading this post it occurred to me the same principles for recovery could be applied to OCD. Lovely blog.

    MrsMenopausal said...

    Hi, Krystal,
    I'm so happy to hear that you have recovered from your ED!
    Dealing with OCD must be very difficult. If you decide to try these suggestions, I'd love to hear if they helped.
    Thank you for your kind words. I really appreciate it and also so for taking the time to comment.
    All the best to you!