“Wait, it’s a Chinese buffet? I thought it was a sit-down restaurant.”
Suddenly, you find yourself gripped with a vaguely familiar anxiety you had hoped was a thing of the past. Maybe it arrives as you walk into a triggering restaurant or visit your family home—with all its associated culinary trials—for the first time since leaving treatment. Where did that feeling come from? Aren’t you supposed to be “over it” by now?
Learning Flexibility in Recovery
Gaining confidence in the routines of daily life is the foundation of a strong recovery, but it does little to prepare you for the unexpected.
In fact, there is little you can do to prepare for the unexpected, because that would make it—wait for it—expected.
When Life Throws You A Curve ball
When life throws you one of its curve balls, first take a moment to honor yourself for rising to the challenge. Tackling adversity can be hard. After safely navigating the obstacle, see if you can reflect on the experience. Can you look at it as an opportunity to expand the boundaries of your own recovery?
It Gets Easier
Once you have conquered the Chinese buffet, the community potluck dinner is less likely to be so anxiety-provoking. Once you have survived one Thanksgiving with your extended family, Christmas break might seem just a little less daunting.
By overcoming one challenge at a time, your recovery will become more and more flexible.
Until your eating disorder stops making (unwelcome) surprise visits, even during acutely stressful situations.
While no one can guarantee that life will be completely stress-free, this flexibility lends a newfound freedom to recovery. An expansiveness lets you roll with life’s punches as it throws them. No one can take it away from you, because no one else gave it to you to begin with.
The next time you feel that anxiety of uncertainty—and navigate to the other side anyway—don’t forget to thank yourself for the freedom you just unlocked in the process.