Written by ‘N’
I have decided this evening to answer Marie’s plea that she often voices at the end of a Recovery group session! “If anybody would like to write about what we have learned today. They can do so and email it to me!” So here it is Marie, here are my learnings and summary of what I took from group today…!
The topic of the day was an interesting one! To be honest I find it is always interesting and don’t think I have ever left group and not learned something valuable that I can take forward into my recovery! I learn so much not only from Marie but I find that I learn a massive amount from every single person who shares in the room! I noticed that a long time ago but I am now practicing looking at the idea that therefore my sharing may also help someone in that room too! Which is a new way of looking at it for me…! This definitely makes it easier for me to say what I am thinking and also helps me to be less judgemental towards myself after group! No more worrying about if I sounded stupid, or said something wrong or offended somebody! No more worrying if I have sounded too negative or aggressive or angry! At one point I even started to worry that maybe I sounded too positive!! I would never judge what anybody else has chosen to share! So these days when any of these thoughts invade my calmer headspace, I choose to just see that my opinion is as valid as the opinion of everybody else in that room. I focus on the fact that maybe if I have benefitted so much from other people’s sharing then maybe just maybe someone has actually found something I have said to be of benefit to them! Like a lot of things it’s a work in progress but I am sure I will believe it one day…!
Anyway, where was I? Oh that’s right I was going to tell you about the interesting topic of today’s group. Ok so we explored all about the foundations of recovery. In the beginning my mind and my journal was a bit blank!! But thankfully by the time 12 O’ Clock came the page and my head was filled with so many helpful ideas to take away with me! Ideas I got from hearing others share but also ideas that I had come up with myself! It’s a bit of a mad thing that happens in that room! I sit there for an hour and a half and I just listen and maybe share a few of my own thoughts and hey presto I have a few more tools to help me on this crazy journey! When I leave I feel focused and curious! I feel lighter and freer! I just love it!!! So what did I learn today?
What do I understand by the meaning of the word foundations?
I am aware that all buildings are built on foundations. I am quite sure that when building a house or office block or a skyscraper that anyone in charge of this would ensure that the foundations are deep enough and wide enough to support the building that they are hoping to create. I also realise that if the foundations are not solid then the building will not be secure. A building built on dodgy foundations is likely to collapse or become unstable. It wouldn’t really matter how beautiful or amazing the building was if it was not built on a steady and secure foundation as all of the work you did to make it look pretty would be in vain! It could all be knocked over by an incoming storm or over time it could be weakened by everyday use. It would be very difficult to protect the building from unexpected events if the foundations were weak. But a building with a solid and strong foundation would surely stand the test of time!
How does the idea of foundations relate to Recovery?
Well what I think is that it is actually a really useful way to look at Recovery! Like buildings I suppose if we take the time to put strong foundations in place for our recovery then surely that will help us too! The deeper and wider the foundations, the stronger they will be and the further up we will be able to go! Strong foundations built in recovery will help us to withstand unexpected events that may come at us externally or internally. Events that may try to knock us over or make us fall! I suppose it is only when we build strong foundations in recovery that we will feel steady and solid! And I am sure that it would take a lot more to than a storm or another unexpected life event to shake us!
What makes a strong foundation in Recovery?
Now I am not a qualified builder but I am thinking that when building foundations for a building a lot of cement and other building materials are used to create the solid foundation that is required! Now I am also sure that if I spent the next week pouring cement in me and on me that I may feel solid and unmovable but I am not sure that this would actually help me in my recovery from an ED! I am thinking that now I will make a list of all the elements and materials that are helpful in the foundations of my recovery.
Basic Needs: Basic needs are essential! Enough sleep and rest will make us feel more solid. Nutrition is important. My brain and body require enough energy to function. Without these I am not sure anyone would have the ability to build a strong foundation.
Trust: The deeper the trust you have in yourself will definitely help you feel more solid. In Recovery I am learning that the more I trust my own opinions and knowledge and ideas the more stable I feel. The more I trust in my own abilities the less shaky I feel. I have been told that trusting the body is essential too and I am practicing doing this recently and I am sure it will help when I have mastered this too!
Gentleness: Being gentle on myself is a new skill I have been learning! Over time I became aware that I really lacked compassion for myself. I spent most of my days giving out to myself over all the things I hadn’t managed to do perfectly or correctly. Using kind words and supporting words towards myself didn’t really happen! So now when I hear myself using the harsh tones I change it! I choose to use gentle sentences and kind words! I reassure myself that I will be ok.
Awareness: Awareness is a vital part of a solid Recovery Foundation! I suppose we only really have the power to change something if we are aware of it! I could probably write a whole blog on awareness alone but I’ll summarise it for the purposes of this one!! Awareness of unhelpful thoughts and fears are essential as without this awareness sure we will continue to live by those same thoughts and be shaken by those fears! Learning to see the world around us and learning to be aware of the beauty in our world helps us to get out of our heads and into the present moment. And the more I master this the less time I spend overthinking and analysing! And it is an amazing feeling to notice the beauty in nature! To notice the beauty in the faces around me! To notice this wonderful world I am part of!
Simplicity: I am learning to use simple language! I can speak in key words. I can use short simple sentences! It is a far easier and more pleasant way to think! If I fill my foundations full of simplicity I am sure it will help the rest of me to feel solid and strong! I am beginning to see very clearly how it’s the overthinking and storytelling that has the ability to make me unstable. Simplicity has never made me feel shaky! In fact the more I master it the stronger I feel!
Body Appreciation and love: Marie spoke about this today during group. I listened but am not sure I have really gotten to grasps with this concept! I feel that this is maybe an element that has not found its way into my recovery foundations….YET! I suppose it makes sense that if you love your body and appreciate all it does for you then naturally you will not be so disconnected and therefore you would choose to treat it with respect. So I look forward to exploring this further so watch this space….!!
Letting Go: This definitely deserves a mention here! I believe this is very important skill to learn! Letting go of judgement. Letting go of the past. Letting go of mistakes and unhelpful thinking! Letting go of feeling like a victim! The ability to let go of all these things would be a wise move to make as I suppose if we don’t let go of all these things they may end up slipping into the strong foundations we are working to create! And they could be a bit like the pyrite that ended up in many foundations a few years ago! And look what happened then!
Other very useful words and sharings were said in that room today! The importance of posture and repetition and connection too! Inspiring words about successes and realisations! Words of wisdom that I remember long after they have been said! I am sure more stuff has found its way into my subconscious just to emerge another day to help me out in some other way! Anyway I did say this was meant to be a summary so I really better end this blog before I find another angle or way to go over it all!
As I sit here now and read back over my writing, I notice a smile on my face! And that makes me wonder what has made me smile!! Maybe I am smiling because I began this blog speaking about my empty page at 10.30 this morning, when I sat on a chair ready for Recovery Group and now I notice how, like magic, that empty page has managed to turn into this blog! Maybe it is because I realise that I am very grateful that MTC run the Recovery Groups! A beautiful space full of beautiful people! A place that has helped me to learn so much! A place that has helped me to navigate this Recovery journey! Or maybe it is because, after writing this, now I can see how I have managed to put down quite a strong Recovery foundation already and I am feeling proud of this fact!
I look forward to strengthening these foundations! I look forward to continuing to create a strong and stable me! But most of all I look forward to seeing how deep I can make these foundations go so that I can continue to build myself higher and higher without the fear of ever being knocked over again! And then I smile a bit wider and I think to myself…..
“Won’t that be a wonderful feeling?”