A DAY IN MY LIFE WHEN I AM RECOVERED
In the 8 Keys to Recovery secrets we have an assignment called, A Day In My Life When I Am Recovered. We ask readers to imagine a day in the future when they no longer have an eating disorder and to write about it in great detail. If you have not done this assignment, now would be a good opportunity to do it, and even if you have done it, doing it again will just reinforce your vision of a recovered life.
A Client’s Reflection:
How Teaching Swimming Lessons Helped with my Own Recovery
I stand on the edge of the pool next to a shivering little child. Stepping forward, we dip our toes into the cool, blue water and the child begins to scream. I soothingly coo, It’s okay. You’re okay, over and over. The child quiets a bit to consider my words. Silence follows. Then I say again, It’s okay, just give it a try. The child’s wide eyes question me, but I point out that our feet are in fact already in the water and nothing bad has happened yet. Were wet, you see?
Were wet and in the water and nothing bad is happening, I gently say. Then I ask the child to sit down and put her legs into the water. More protests. More yelling and crying. I was asking for a change and that was obviously very scary, but still whimpering and holding my hand tightly, the childfollows my lead, lowering herself onto the ledge. You’re okay. Just try.
For the whole day and the entirety of the next, we sat on that edge and practiced and learned how to kick. Then for another couple of days we learned and practiced how to use our arms. At first the child moaned, I can’t . Okay, okay, I hear you. I understand. Just keep trying. But I’m trying, the child whined. Tears well up in her eyes as frustration and hopelessness overtake her. I sense the child’s despair; she is thinking it feels wrong, bad, but the truth is she was trying something new, something totally novel, and that’s why she was making mistakes and why it felt so odd. My words were met immediately with a teary-eyedfit of fear and resistance. No, no, noooooo! I can’t swim. I do not know how.
Each day I would present my offer, and each day the child would become too gripped with catastrophizing fear and refuse, until one day I sat the little girl down and instead of negotiating I gave a command. Ifinally realized you cannot bargain with a psyche ruled totally by fear. I know you are afraid and you think that you can’t, but you have to just give it a try. Remember how you didn’t want to get into the water at first, but you trusted me and we gave it a try and it wasn’t bad at all? Grasping my hands tightly, the child allows me to lower her into the water It’s okay, look youre okay, I tell her. Nothing bad has happened, I whisper. After a few moments the child calms down enough to open her eyes and see that I was in fact right, and she begins to trust that maybe I was telling the truth.
This whole story relates to my recovery and the recovery process in general, because learning to swim andjourneying toward recovery are actually quite similar. They both require a huge leap of faith and one giant and important decision: to try. Then you must spend time practicing the skills, and doing the work: talking, feeling, eating, and so on. You continue to push off from the wall and give it a try.
So give it a try and see what happens, because you cannot have a life worth living if you do not start by giving recovery a try!
Nobody can make you get better, but we hope this worksecrets will help you see that getting better is something you want to do, and can do. Even if you are not completely ready to give up your eating disorder, some part of you wants to get better, and is interested, or at least willing to explore the possibility of having a better life. This part of you we are talking about is the part of you that picked up this worksecrets and the part we refer to as your Healthy Self. Key 2 will give you information and assignments that will help to strengthen your Healthy Self so it can get back in control.
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