Topic Tuesday: Recovery

“Keeping Perspective” (By: Lindsey Love)

I want to start by asking you to take a mental journey with me: Imagine that you’ve been gifted a weekend getaway in the most beautiful countryside with rolling hills and peaceful streams flowing. You get 3 days and 2 nights in this serene place with one catch—it’s a 5 mile hike to get there. You begin the journey with all your necessities on your back and hiking boots gently hugging your feet. Things are going well until you slip on a rock and fall in the stream. That hurt! You’re wet and a little discouraged, but it’s warm outside so you keep moving along. You did learn from it though—maybe instead of jumping across the stream all at once, you will take smaller steps on the rocks that are sticking up out of the water. Okay, got it. Next, you notice your skin is red and a little sore. Darn! You’re getting a sunburn, so you put on some sunscreen to protect your skin. Still, you keep on moving. You’re not used to carrying all your clothes on your back and hiking such a distance so your feet are beginning to hurt and you slow down a bit. In the midst of the sore feet, the sunburn and falling in the stream you realize you have taken a wrong turn. You pull out the map and find your way back to the correct trail. You get excited because you are getting close to the cabin and you speed up a little but then the exhaustion hits. You sit down in the grass to rest and wrestle with whether to get back up or not. You know a weekend of bliss is ahead, so you slowly stand back up and start walking. This time, your feet are throbbing so badly that you get on your knees and begin to crawl. The cabin is in sight. You have hope. You WILL get there. You keep going and by nightfall you arrive to the most beautiful place and a hot bath has been drawn for you to relax.

Now, I have a few questions for you to ponder: Does it matter that you stumbled along the way to get to your weekend retreat? Did the journey itself teach you anything? Did the fact that it was a struggle to get there change the reality that you, in fact did actually get there? You made it. It was so, so hard but you made it. It was worth it. You are thankful that you kept going through the falling and the pain because now you have this gift of time, space and beauty to soak in for the weekend.

Obviously, this story is metaphorical in nature. I hope that what you hear is that recovery is possible. The journey will be hard and messy. It won’t be a linear process but that’s okay and to be expected. I think it’s important to accept that you won’t do it perfectly and will stumble along the way. For me, recovery has looked like this: one step forward, two steps back, step sideways, leap forward and then back again. Sometimes I do get discouraged, but it helps to remind myself that although I do take steps back and sideways, I am never back where I started. I truly believe that. I think a big hang up for me was judging my recovery solely based on my behaviors with food and exercise. It is absolutely important to stay on top of the behavioral part of recovery but I overlooked the mental and emotional part for a long time. Things I can ask myself to check my progress in other areas are: How am I doing with setting boundaries? Am I doing things to take care of myself? Am I feeding my body appropriately and lovingly moving my body? How is my anxiety/depression? How are my relationships? Do I feel connected to others? Do I feel like I have healthy relationships? I tell you these things to hopefully encourage you that although recovery is not quick or linear, it is measurable. Next time you find yourself in a place of feeling like you want to give up, ask yourself some of these questions. Have any of your circumstances improved? Even the smallest little change can make a big difference and you deserve a pat on the back for that. Celebrate the small wins because one day they will be big ones. Remember, you are moving forward even when you think you aren’t and even though the journey is messy, peace and joy are on the other side waiting for you. You can do this one step, one day at a time.

About the Author

Lindsey is a Jesus loving wife and momma. In her free time, she likes to write, read, listen to music, be outdoors and spend time with friends and family. She has a bachelor’s degree in nursing and was previously an ICU nurse at St. Thomas hospital. She is currently enjoying being a full-time mommy and is waiting to see where the Light guides her next. She hopes her writing will encourage others in their recovery journey.