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"Full recovery" is a tricky one ...

Posted Jun 30 2009 4:05pm

"Full recovery" is a tricky one to define, since recovery means a variety of things to people. In general, what we'd hope for as work on one's self evolves is for there to be an increase in flexibility, a decrease in resistance to trying new things (experimenting), and the accumulation of sufficient data about ourselves that we have learned to trust that our bodies and psyches know what to do and how to manage life.

In terms of the cycle of "things not working, considering change, forging ahead with change, getting scared and backing off, things not working, considering change, forging ahead..." what we'd hope to see is less fear when we get to the "forging ahead" part of the cycle. This doesn't mean that there won't be any fear- fear is simply a part of life for animals and we have to deal with that fact- but that we have gained confidence that we can take on something and it will mostly work out ok, if not better than ok.

We'd also hope that we'd catch ourselves earlier in the "things not working" part of the cycle- so we don't suffer as long with things not working well. And that we can more easily come up with ideas for changes we might want to/be able to make, in the "considering change" part of the cycle.

This "change" cycle is such a part of life- for everyone. It's not at all exclusive to eating disorders. Animals in general, and humans in particular tend to be change averse- and some of us more so than others. Some humans are more adventurous than others, some even like certain kinds of change, but in general, change is anxiety provoking, even when it's change we're interested in pursuing.

Because of this, we have to give ourselves a break about the entire cycle. We can't afford to be harsh and perfectionistic and judgmental about "slips" and "stops and starts" and all those "deviations" from how we think we are "supposed to be doing change."

Those deviations are simply part of the process- and it's true that they actually have value, as Laura points out. Part of their value is to reinforce why we want to change, to remind us how things were so we can remember and then forge ahead. Part of their value is to allow us to assess how far we've come and to give ourselves credit for our work. And part of their value is to give us practice, and opportunity to approach the situation in the "new" way. If we never "slipped backwards" we'd never get the chance to solidify our work- and consequently, the work wouldn't be truly "set" inside of us. In general, I believe work we've done on ourselves isn't truly ours until we've had to test it out.  

In this context, a good Bumper Sticker is: Deviations Rock

I'd also accept: "Slips Rule" and "Honk for Temporary Backslides"

Wow, am I ever a nerd...

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