Written by Happy Days
‘The way you do anything
Is the way you do everything.’’
Nine months ago, I, very reluctantly, attended my first group session, or as Marie calls it, my first Recovery Tutorial, in Marino, and so began my journey of recovery. The changes between now and then are so huge I sometimes have to pinch myself to make sure it’s all real. But real it is. I am living it every day. I am not fully recovered yet, but Full Recovery and Full Freedom are within touching distance and I can clearly see the finish line.
But realistically, there is no ‘finish line’, there’s just life, and lots of it. A life in which I own myself and my choices, I am confident and self-assured and I know I have to tools to deal with whatever comes my way. For the first time in a very, very long time, I am excited about the future and what it holds and the possibilities and exciting times ahead. I am holding onto patience and trust that things will turn out they way I would like them to and have dreamt about, when, in recovery, I allowed myself to dream. Because condition doesn’t allow or like such dreams.
Here are some reflections and thoughts on my journey so far.
Condition is extremely strong and sneaky. I consider myself to be in a good place right now. But only just last weekend, condition attacked very strongly and tried to drag me down. My head was in a complete spin. I could recognise it as an old pattern, but not one that could be directly linked to condition, or so I thought. No matter how hard I tried to fight it, it seemed to get worse. Out came my journal, albeit reluctantly, and once I started journaling about it, I could very clearly see it for what it was – total condition. Making me feel heavy, overthinking, overanalysing, making me doubt myself and what I knew deep down was reality. Telling me not to listen to my body and my gut and my heart. Once I had established that, I was able to use the many tools I have acquired, and the recent group on simplicity really came into its own.
Ironically, or maybe not that ironically, the very next morning, I had a massive breakthrough moment – my period came – my first natural period in about 14 years. That really showed me how far I’ve come and that I am so much more powerful than condition. It also showed me the power of patience and trust, once I start looking after my Treasure Box properly.
Another thing that jumps to mind about what I’ve learned is the stories that condition tells me. I listened to these nonsense stories for years. But since starting my recovery journey, I have caught condition out several times as a manipulative liar. Telling me that my cousins didn’t really want me to go on holidays with them when they asked me, they were just being nice. Turned out they were more disappointed than I was when it didn’t work out.
When my friend didn’t text me back after a night out, it was because I had done something and she was disgusted with me. The reality was she had a family emergency. It was nothing to do with me. Surprise surprise!
These are just two examples. What I need to do now is remember them and put them in my Book of Evidence for next time condition comes calling and telling me stories.
I remember going to groups and sessions with massive issues that I wanted answers to. The main ones were usually value of thinness and all that goes with it, and germ fears. I remember getting very simple suggestions in reply and being frustrated. Things like trust, patience, look at the palm tree. Surely this couldn’t work? I was already trying to practise those things and it didn’t seem to be making the huge difference that I wanted. Is there not something else? The big light bulb suggestion that I had been hoping for wasn’t forthcoming. Despite my disappointment, I continued to practise the suggested things. Sometimes more successfully than others. I went to group and sessions, I journalled, I wrote notes, I followed the nutritional advice, the movement advice, I challenged my fears and reassured myself, I practised gentleness and kindness to myself instead of my old habit of giving out to myself.
Things were slow for what seemed like a very long time. But now things are just falling into place and everything seems to be coming together. Every day, another piece of the jigsaw seems to be resolved. And it doesn’t require nearly as much effort as it once did. I think it’s because I have practised using the tools several times, that it’s coming more naturally to me now. Many fears that were huge for me to challenge only a short time back, are second nature to me now and don’t cost me a thought. I am using this to tackle the remaining few.
One thing I found invaluable in challenging my fears was Just Do It. Instead of putting them on the long finger, which I was doing, I thought there was no point putting them off any more. So I got brave and just did it. A huge tool for me at these times was visualisation. I spent time beforehand focusing and visualising myself doing whatever it was I had challenged myself with. I kept repeating the affirmations I would use. So when it came to actually doing it and challenging the fear, it was as if I already had it conquered and it was just a case of going through the motions.
Another thing I realised I need to drop is overanalysing and overthinking my journey and when I’ll be fully recovered and fully free. When I start that, I lose focus. Now I am trusting that I’ll get there in the not-too-distant future, and enjoying the moment. The ‘when wills’ have lost importance for me. I might as well enjoy the journey for what it is – a very, very exciting part of my life. A journey that I am so grateful and privileged to be on. I am now able to appreciate and enjoy life like I never was before, thanks to recovery.
Looking back, I remember my practitioners telling me that my body would settle and things would work out and that I would look back and have no regrets about the things in my past I felt shame about, but that I would see them as interesting chapters in my colourful life. And while I didn’t think they were lying to me, there was that bit of me that was doubtful and didn’t fully believe them that it would happen to me. I am so happy to say that it is all coming true. Some small things remain, so for the remainder of my journey and for the bits that remain, I will have patience and trust and enjoy it, in the knowledge that it will happen. Because I have evidence that this works. Full stop.