Topic Tuesday: Relationships in Recovery
Developing communication skills and expressing feelings/needs is one of the simplest yet most difficult steps in healing. Trading “bad” habits like suppressing your feelings by abusing your body in exchange for “good” habits like using your voice to admit that you are hurting and work through things sounds simple but feels impossible at times. It’s not a matter of perfecting the art of communication, it’s about having the courage to make the effort to change for the better. That’s all it boils down to, effort. When you slip, don’t lose focus. To be able to identify a thought or feeling as a trigger requires the same devotion that hiding the disorder took, if not more.
It’s uncomfortable, it’s unfamiliar, and it’s hard work without quick rewards. At one point in time the relationship with your disorder was your safety net, no matter what happened in life – “it” was always there, “It” understood you, “it” experienced everything with you, “it” was all you had. That’s why grieving is part of recovery. You are walking away from the most addictive, upside-down, love/hate relationship your mind could ever comprehend. Even though “it” was killing you, there was comfort in the familiarity. The thing is, walking away is absolutely worth fighting for.
The more you immerse yourself into getting to know yourself and getting to know other people, the more you learn how valuable you are to the world. Things like that get lost in the self-serving darkness of the addiction of a disorder. What you feel matters, what you have to say makes a difference, how you learn to respect and love yourself is no one’s battle but your own. Your disorder told you no one would ever understand you when the truth is, your journey doesn’t NEED to be understood. You just need to keep going, keep growing and keep making the effort. Make the effort to trust people, you’ll run into experiences that will make that difficult but don’t lose focus. Make the effort to respectfully assert yourself, there will be times when people push back but have the courage to show you are worth fighting for. Keep making the effort to take changes for the better as they come. Nothing will ever be easy, the abusive relationship with your body wasn’t easy but you did it. Building healthy relationships isn’t easy either but it’s far more fulfilling than the unhealthy relationship you’re walking away from now.