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Posted Jul 13 2011 5:55pm

We recently started renovations on our house. It was supposed to be a small project. I had a screen porch that I loved to sit on. Then my two dogs thought it was great fun to push through the screens and chase each other around. We finally decided the best answer was to turn it into a sunroom.

Sounds simple, right?  

It’s almost as simple as the way some people describe recovery from an eating disorder—“just eat”. But, in our case, the new room needed to be integrated into the heating system and really we should convert to geothermal both to help the environment and because of the current tax credit and then windows on the front of the house needed to be replaced and so on and so on. The upshot is that one small project spiraled into renovations taking place in almost every room.

Nothing is simple. Certainly not recovery from eating disorders.

Within this process when I have gotten discouraged, my husband reminded me (and I have worked to remind myself), that I need to approach things step-by-step.  Not everything is going to be done in a day. And when we decided to add a new study, well, not all the books will get shelved in one day. Not all papers will be organized in one day. Not everything will be done in one day. But if I can just take a deep breath and take the projects step-by-step, they will all get done.

This is the same for recovery. It is a process. It can’t be done in one day or one month. But each day, a small step can be taken. Each step adds together until, in our case, a room is finally done. Piles of papers are finally put away. Clean laundry is off the dining room table.

How does this relate to Writing Towards Health? It applies in a few ways.

What do you need to do?—

  • Journal the steps that you need to accomplish. Look at your recovery, where you are now and where you want to be. Don’t get discouraged—start mapping out steps. When I sit down to write, I can get overwhelmed by the size of a project. But if I approach things page by page, word by word, it becomes manageable. So start with some small goals. And then add to them. Start mapping out the direction where you want to head. It will help keep you on track.
  • Eating disorders are a way to deal with negative feelings. Journal to discover what you’re trying to push away but that is still inside bothering you. Need some prompts?
  • Journal to remind yourself about the process. You may need some inspirational quotes to keep you going. I always remind myself that if I fall down seven times, I need to get up eight. I might need to rest a moment before I haul myself up, but I can get up and try again. That is the only way forward. (Although, I might find some new tools or a new way to go if all of my past attempts haven’t worked.)

Go on now, Go,  Write On!

Martha Peaslee Levine, MD


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