Recovery, in a Time of Insanity
At times like this, it’s easy to slide backwards.
I, like many other people, am in recovery right now: the most important recovery I’m working on is that of my eating disorder, but I also quit drinking a couple of years ago after developing an unhealthy relationship with that, not to mention my on-off love affair with fucking cigarettes. One of the most important things in setting the groundwork for that recovery into motion is routine: routines around eating, exercising, sleeping, cooking, lying on the couch with my cat and reading Cosmo.
I know that I’ve been struggling with it lately –I’m locked in my house, my cat has begun hunting me for sport to pass the time, I’m pretty sure a raven perched on top of my doorway to quoth “nevermore”, but I can’t go out and check because it’s not quite as important as toilet paper. All the routines that I had put in place for myself, to survive the mess that was going on inside my own head, are suddenly being cheerfully tossed in the bin in order to deal with the mess that’s going on outside of it.
And I know I’m not the only person in recovery who is, secretly, silently, often looking for reasons to slide back to what I knew before. I have written previously about just how comforting bad habits can be, and, at a time like this one, it’s even more tempting to just toss your hands up and say, fuck it, and to take up those familiar routines that got you through before. There’s a reason you stated them in the first place, right? It’s not just because you love abusing your body for your own fleeting amusement. To some extent, they worked to deal with your negative feelings, and at a time when those feelings are being stirred up for a lot of us, it’s natural that your brain is going to want to tap back into the same coping mechanisms that might have worked in the past.
But you know better than that. Sometimes, it feels like you don’t, but you do. If you are any way into your recovery, there is no harder time to stick to it, no more difficult moment in which to re-commit yourself to getting better. It feels hopeless – when the world is a mess, what’s the point of trying to fix the comparatively minor ones in your own life?
Here’s what I’ve been trying to tell myself: I need to be as well as I can be right now. More than ever, community is important right now, and your health and wellbeing is part of that community. If you can’t do it for yourself, and I know a lot of us struggle with that, then do it for the people who might need you and the people who already do. Do it because life is going to be harder on the other side of this if you have to start over with your recovery. And if you do have a backslide – you don’t have to throw away the progress you’ve made, or flagellate yourself over a slip.
Your recovery is important, even when it feels like it’s not, even when it’s tempting to forget that you even started with this in the first place. It can feel selfish to focus on yourself right now, but take this as the excuse you need to do just that. Take all the time you can and all the time you need. You’re still important.