The path is not always straight in food addiction treatment, and sometimes the windy roads of the path can feel frustrating.
If it was up to me, you’d accomplish all of your food addiction treatment goals the minute you signed up for this newsletter! Unfortunately, that’s not the way it goes. So, what in the world do we do when we are experiencing frustration, fear, and impatience about how long this path feels?
My two favorite definitions of recovery are: “a return to a normal state of health, mind, or strength” and “the action or process of regaining possession or control of something stolen or lost.” Pretty brave goals we’ve made ourselves here, Buddies. And they are yours for the taking – though maybe not on your speedy time frame. Patience and trust are the name of the game here – and they are two skills that don’t usually come easily.
And worse than that, when your impatience with food addiction treatment arrives, it does not come with a desire to take the healthy and useful actions that we have learned along the way. One of the most fascinating paradoxes in our struggles with food and weight is that when the impatience kicks in, we act in ways that make the situation worse. Know what I mean? Have you ever gone and tried on a bathing suit, made a decision that you looked awful in it, and then turned to food? Have you ever had a day where you feel like all of this effort you put into recovery isn’t worth it and then find yourself making the situation worse by overeating? Very tricky.
A little something to remember: you get the chicken by hatching the egg, not smashing it. In your impatience, you are accidentally smashing the egg, sometimes right before it hatches! Fear not: impatience is, as we say at Beacon, a problem to be solved.
One of the many times in my recovery when I felt that things were not moving as fast as I thought they should, that I wasn’t getting the results that I wanted, and thought, I deserved, a trusted member of my Power Circle asked me, “How would you behave if you knew that everything was going to work out exactly as it should?” I looked at her cross-eyed and replied, “Well, I don’t and that’s the problem (#duh).”
She explained to me that things are going to happen – life is going to move – and there are very few things that I have control over. If I acted as though things were going to work out exactly as they should – all I would be doing is swimming with the stream, instead of against it, where I was guaranteeing myself a negative outcome.
I had two choices as I saw it: go with the flow, accept that things sometimes take more time than I like (aka all the time), and act in the most loving and awesome way towards myself and my recovery. OR, get really angry and frustrated that things aren’t going at the speed in which I thought they should, causing me to have awful food-related behavioral explosions along the way that thwart my plan.
Acting as if, having faith, trusting in the process are really really hard skills. Especially if you’ve experienced a lot of diet drama and trauma. And yet, these are skills. And they are skills you can PRACTICE.
My favorite poet Rumi said, “Live life as though everything is rigged in your favor.” If you can do that, great. And maybe a good starting place is trying to not behave in ways that are going to compromise this amazing work you’re doing. Shorthand: try not to blow things up. It’s all coming for you, Buddies, we promise – maybe not as fast as you’d like, but it’s coming.