We can put a lot of expectations on our recovery from an eating disorder without even realizing it. Whether it’s what we assume recovery should look like or how long it should take, we can end up feeling pretty frustrated when our expectations aren’t met. Sometimes, we can even get so discouraged, we want to give up.
So I encourage clients to do an exercise where they spend some time thinking about what they’re expecting out of recovery or what they think it “should” look like. Then I ask them to evaluate that, and decide on their own rules for recovery. Sometimes, some of their expectations are healthy and good, and they decide to keep them. Oftentimes, they realize those expectations aren’t realistic, so they work on replacing them with more helpful recovery rules.
These are the rules I made for myself when I was in recovery many years ago. Maybe these will get you started thinking about your own recovery journey.
1) I will not rush recovery. I will give myself whatever time I need to heal properly and wholly. And I will not be angry with myself for how long it takes.
2) I will not expect healing to be a straight path. There are going to be bad days and setbacks and temptations to give up. But I will keep going and will not let recovery be just one more area in my life where I demand perfection from myself.
3) I will not make excuses; I will take responsibility for my thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.
4) I will say my affirmations out loud every day, even if I don’t believe them. Even if it feels stupid or weird.
5) I will not listen to the inner terrorist, and I will challenge her lies with Truth.
What about you? What could be some new, more helpful rules for recovery?
I’m Cherie Miller, MS, LPC-S, founder of Nourished Soul Center for Healing and @foodfreedomtherapist on Instagram. We offer therapy and nutrition counseling for chronic dieting as well eating disorders like Anorexia, Bulimia, Binge Eating Disorder, Orthorexia, ARFID, and other food issues. As anti-diet professionals, we are passionate about intuitive eating and Health at Every Size philosophies. Contact us here to schedule a therapy or nutrition appointment.