Slips In Recovery

As someone who lives with mental illness’ not everyday is a great day. I do my best to cope day to day and use my strategies to battle my thoughts but it doesn’t always work out that way.

Some days admittedly my mental illness’ get the best of me, and that’s okay. Recovering from something like an eating disorder is not black and white, there are many grey areas. Recovery is not linear, there are so many ups and downs but that doesn’t mean you should give up when things get rough. Coming out on top after a bad day or bad moment just shows how strong and committed you are to working at getting better.

Slips in recovery will happen, so don’t feel like just because you had a bump in the road it’s all over and that you might as well throw in the towel. There’s no denying having a slip in recovery sucks, and is extremely disheartening but it’s knowing how to come back from a slip that will set you apart.

It’s important in recovery to ditch the “all or nothing” mentality, because that will only hurt your progress. Diving head first into recovery expecting all your symptoms and struggles to just disappear right then and there is just setting yourself up for failure. I’m not saying you should expect to have a slip up but just prepare yourself with the skills and the strategies to deal with one. So god forbid it does happen you don’t get into the mind set that all your recovery progress is now ruined.

Now to back pedal a bit for those not familiar with eating disorders a “slip” in recovery would be when you engage in a symptom of your eating disorder for example restricting, binging, purging, ect.

One of the saddest things I ever experienced in my journey with recovery from my eating disorder happened when I was in treatment. A person had newly joined the program (since intake happened weekly) and things were going okay for them. Until one day they had a slip and I never saw them again. This made my heart so sad, because slips happen to all of us. But it’s coming back after a moment of weakness that true progress is made. To this day I wish they would have come back the next day and let us support them and receive the help they needed and deserved. I don’t know where they are today but I hope they’re doing well.

Forgiveness and acceptance are two crucial things to practice while in recovery, especially when dealing with slips. Learning to accept, forgive, and move on after you engage in a symptom is so important. Using it as an experience to learn from to help prevent future slips is a beneficial tool. But once you’ve analysed your slip and determined why it happened and how to prevent it next time, you need to forgive yourself and let it go.

Dwelling and letting yourself ruminate over the incident will only hinder your progress moving forward. You need to be able to accept your mistakes and learn from them, not let your illness use them as fuel for reasons you should give up or continue with bad patterns. If you are in/or have been in recovery then you know these voices all too well. The ones in your head that tell you things like, “well you’ve already restricted at breakfast and ruined a good day so you might as well keep going…” When in reality you need to combat these thoughts with things such as, “yes I restricted at breakfast, but it’s lunch now, it’s a new meal, and I can’t change the past but the day isn’t over, I can do my best right now to get all my food in.” Accepting the slip, and moving on from it positively.

This post was a little of me rambling but it’s a topic I felt like discussing because it’s something that’s true to my own situation. Im guilty of having a very negative mentality after slipping up and have had to work very hard at staying on track after a slip. At the end of the day I have been successful thus far at continuing to always chose recovery but it is not always easy. Especially when old habits start to surface, learning to get back on track before a slip becomes a slide is imperative.

In conclusion, I think working with a slip rather than against it will help you bounce back from it. It’s important to forgive yourself, accept your temporary lapse in recovery, and actively chose to get back up and keep fighting. Don’t hide your slips or feel ashamed, they happen to all of us at some point in time, and reaching out for support will only benefit you.

Something I heard once that I’ve always held dear to me in recovery that I like to tell my self is, “Bad days build better days.” And boy is that ever true.

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