While traveling a journey of spiritual recovery, from an addiction or in general, we are told to continue using the tools we are taught along the way. In the early stages of this journey we are taught about the power of prayer and meditation, we are taught about the power of the group and the value of walking the path with others on the same journey. We are taught about the value of exercise and using our bodies. We are taught about the power of knowledge.
These are all truly wonderful tools to become equipped with as we forge a path to a future free from food addictions. They become easier and easier to implement as we get into the swing of things in early recovery, surrounded by people practicing the same principles. But what happens when we have been clean for a while? When the people once one the same journey are no longer beside us? After we thought we had gotten the knack for “this” and we no longer needed to practice the principles with such vigilance, and we had become complacent? While early recovery is said to be the most difficult – and yes, it does get easier – there will still be times when the road get really rocky and we have to turn to the tools once again to keep us on the path of being our best selves.
I speak from experience. I have been practicing the principles of these recovery programs for over 7 years and I had become complacent. In my mind, I had been “getting it right” for so long that I believed I could let certain practices fall by the wayside. And for the most part, I could. The problem arises when something in life goes wrong, something upsets my serenity, and instead of turning to the tools for safety I turned to old, destructive behaviours.
Because of this program, not all hope was lost. It was a minor blip on the radar. And because I still work professionally everyday with the principles that I had forgotten to use myself, I was able to pick up the tools I had long put down and put them to work. I took a moment to recognize what I had stopped doing, what I needed in that moment (not what I wanted, because that would have been food), and I was able to ask for help because after 7 years on this journey, there are a lot of people around me available to offer support.
This is the power of the practices we are learning today by traveling this path. There will never again be a good enough reason to sink into despair, alone and hopeless. From this day on, there will always be people to help you along the way, always be actions you once took that you can take again, and a spiritual strength within you that was never there before.
Try picking up the following tools next time you are feeling “stuck”:
- Get outdoors. Be in nature.
- Exercise. Use your body and get your blood flowing.
- Talk. Call someone who knows about the journey you’re on and let them stand beside you.
- Listen. Listen to the experience, strength and hope of someone on the same journey.
- Read. Read recommended material by those who have walked this path before you.
- Write. Journaling is the best way to get the thoughts that are taking up space out of the way. Get it all out on paper.
… And breath. Don’t be so hard on yourself. No one gets it 100% right 100% of the time. You are only human and as long as you take small actions now, you will never be powerless and hopeless again.