This may seem like a strange topic, especially if you’re still in the early stages of recovery where you’re putting everything you have into making sure you remain mindful, cautious and “switched on” 24/7.
If someone would have told me at the start of my own bulimia recovery that I should be on guard for becoming overly confident or too relaxed I would have presumed they didn’t have a clue about recovery.
But now, being blessed with a lot of experience and so many recovery insights I can say without a doubt that complacency is something that can become very relevant in the later stages of recovery.
It’s natural to want to let your guard down when recovery “get’s good.”
I remember when I was a few months into recovery, thanks to the support I'd received at Bulimia Help structured eating had actually become enjoyable, I was no longer experiencing powerful urges to binge or purge and although I occasionally thought about restricting, they were just thoughts that I knew I didn’t have to act on.
My weight was stable; I was able to appreciate myself for the first time; food was just food and nothing more and because of all of these wonderful changes I really started to feel free for the first time.
Slowly I started to become less mindful about my actions, I let my structured eating plan slip a little and I started to put less effort into maintaining my state of recovery because I thought I didn’t have to.
I’ve met countless people in recovery from bulimia, who just like me became overly confident around this time too.
I wish someone could have helped me to realize that 6 months into recovery was still far too early to be considering myself recovered.
Recovery can be a great a that time. You don’t have to plan as much, you can get through a lot of situations without having to strategize, I mean who wouldn’t want to rejoice in that new found freedom?
I remember telling myself “I’ve made it six full months, I must be recovered now” and I’ve seen that kind of thinking over and over again at Bulimia Help over the years.
I really do believe that when we convince ourselves we have recovered so early on it adds fuel to the “recovery is a life-long battle” debate
Feeling free for the first time is a wonderful experience and is a time that should be celebrated. When recovery starts to feel more natural and less like an ordeal it does mean that you no longer have to put as much thought or effort in, but at the same time it is vital that you don’t allow yourself to become too confident too soon.
It’s important to celebrate the successes and embrace the fact that recovery gets easier along the way but it is also vital that you don’t become too comfortable too soon.
Remember as a rough guide it takes you at least 6-12 months to really get the hang of recovery and sometimes a little longer than that before you feel fully recovered.
Personally it took me 15 months to fully recover to the point where I no longer had any urges, desires or thoughts EVER, but again it is different for everyone.
Eventually you no longer have to work at being recovered and I know that full recovery like this exists because I am living it as are so many other people!
Remember full recovery is a time where you no longer feel any bulimic urges – EVER. This is a time when you are totally free and when you are able to live without thinking about recovery, without fighting to maintain your bulimia-free life.
This week I want you to remember to celebrate all of your successes and really embrace the wonderful moments when you see recovery getting easier and eating becoming more natural.
Equally I want you to understand that it can be risky to "let your guard down" too soon. Remember recovery is a gradual process from start to end.
By learning how to gradually let down our guards we’re able to see if we’re ready to move even further towards being fully recovered without leaving ourselves completely vulnerable to relapse.
In a couple of weeks I’ll share some of my favourite strategies that helped me to eventually make that final transition between “recovering” and “being recovered.”
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