How to recover from a relapse

relapse

If you relapse it is important to pick yourself back up again and get on with your recovery. Bulimia relapses will happen, the better you are at dealing with them the better you will feel when it happens and after. 

It is very important that you begin to accept that sometimes relapse will be unavoidable.

More than that, it is important that you start to understand just how valuable episodes of relapse can be.

Your should never underestimate how positive an episode of relapse can be.

I know many of you probably think I’m a little insane for writing the words “relapse” and “positive” in the same sentence, but it is the honest truth.

A relapse lets us know that something isn’t quite working in our recovery plan. It can let us know that we’re not eating enough, not getting enough rest, or not developing our strategies enough to cope with emotional triggers.

Experiencing relapse can help us to develop new plans and strategies and to be stronger next time we face the same triggering situation.

Instructions

Step 1

Stop focusing on the fact that you slipped
Instead investigate WHY you slipped. OK so you slipped, you binged and purged and now you feel bad. However by focusing in on it and being judgmental and critical about yourself, you will get you nowhere.

When a baby takes its first few steps and falls down it does not cry and cry, it will pick itself back up and try again. You need to do the same, accept that you slipped, document it in your food journal and learn from it.

Be your own private detective and find out why you relapsed. If you record your binges in your online food journal (if you're a member of Bulimia Help), after some time you will be able to see patterns forming. You will see exactly what is driving you to binge eat. Were you hungry? Angry? Bored? Who was around you prior to the binge? What happened prior to the binge? All these things make up the pieces in the puzzle.

Step 2

Don't punish yourself
It is important not to punish yourself if you relapse, remember that relapses are expected. If you experience urges to starve or do vigorous exercise to compensate then remind yourself that this will only fuel your next binge.

Instead treat yourself with respect and devise a plan that will help prevent binges from happening, this means making sure hunger is not going to get in the way as a binge trigger. Eat every three hours and eat at least three meals and two snacks a day.

Step 3

Banish your negative thoughts
Sit down in a quiet room and try some of the relaxation tools that are available, these tools will help you stop thinking about the negative thoughts that are swimming through your mind.

Remember you have not failed; you have not ruined everything, you can pick yourself up again and get on with your recovery. You are NOT back to "square one."

You have been binging and purging for years so be patient with yourself, it takes time to change.

Step  4

Focus on your accomplishments
Instead of putting all your focus on failures and self-judgment, change the focus to what you have managed to accomplish so far in recovery.

  • Have you managed to eat every three hours?
  • Have you managed to eat three meals a day?
  • Have you been practicing eating with awareness?
  • Have you done any Guided Eating Sessions™? (for full members of Bulimia Help)
  • Have you tried to banish your diet mentality?
  • Have you been nice to yourself lately?


You are reading this tool on how to recover from a relapse – therefore that is an achievement in itself!

Step 5

Devise a plan to deal with future binge triggers
Once you manage to identify binge triggers start to devise a plan on how you are going to deal with them next time they come around without binging and purging.

Step 6

Visualize your binge deterrent
Visualization helps. Go through your binge deterrent plan and visualize yourself acting out each step. With visualization practice you will find the actual binge deterrent plan easier to master.

Tips & Advice

Today I want you to think about your own attitude to relapse:

What can you learn from relapse experiences and how can you ensure that you do learn from them?

How does or has relapse made you feel about recovery?

How can you use those experiences to keep moving forwards with your own recovery?

Have your attitudes towards relapse changed over time?

It can be a great idea to create your own relapse plan so you are prepared and know what to do when you experience an episode of relapse.

Sometimes recovery can be trial and error and it will never be smooth running but that’s okay because we have to let go of these make-believe ideas of perfection and control, they simply do not exist in the real world and that’s where we’re trying to get ourselves right?

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Pat Mary
Pat Mary's picture
Offline
Joined: 30 Dec 2011
relapse / recovery

I relapsed on Saturday and this article has helped me find the cause. My husband was trying to control and disempower me.I ran away from him. Next time I will use breathing
techniques to relax and maintain my own sense of control over my own life and feelings.

Pat~

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