One of the things repeated in treatment and I remember is “Do the next right thing.”
For so long, I have forgotten about this and what it means. I have come to realize that it means that you can turn anything around in any given moment. I have finally accepted that recovery isn’t perfect and that there will be mistakes. Instead of looking at having to start fresh each day, we can start fresh at any given moment.
Mistakes are common and okay. When I make them, it doesn’t have to be the end of the day in recovery. I can simply “do the next right thing.” At any point I can keep my recovery moving forward by doing the next right thing. The next right thing could be different on any given day. It can be as simple as, “have the snack that is due on the meal plan.” The next right thing is not going to shoot me to the end of the road, but it will pick me back up after falling.
The next right thing is never easy. Sometimes it’s less painful than others, but it’s never the easy and wanted thing to do. I’ve done the next right thing. I have faltered, and that’s okay – but in faltering I have found that I am not alone in this process. I threw myself off the wagon and sprinted toward the eating disorder (not even kidding… I didn’t just fall off the wagon), but what I realized is when I started to give up on myself (essentially, that’s what I did), I was not alone. I had the support of my treatment team patiently nudging me back on track where I need to be.
I am in the hardest part of recovery, the place I always turn and run. Sadly, I headed for the door, but my run backwards didn’t last long. When I thought I had no trust in this process I found that I really do have trust, and that I think I was afraid to see it all along. As I became afraid of the next steps, I used anything I could think of to keep me off track. Trust is hard to have and when fear pops up, questions or doubt might say that trust is gone when it really isn’t.
Let’s face it, there are times when we are NOT the most rational people! Outside of an eating disorder, arguing with an irrational person has to be the most difficult thing ever! They are going off emotions (and in this situation, fear) and the rational person has to accept the irrational claims as truth in the person. In my fear of moving forward, I rationalized (fell to the ED) and believed it was a good idea to monitor my weight. NOT TRUE! In my slide backwards, I was lucky enough to have professionals who reminded me that I have to be stronger and find a way to take the focus off the number. Granted, the reminders took a little while and there were several, but it still helped me to get back on track. As I realized how bad falling off was… I had a choice to make: I could ease back on the meal plan, or I could just do the next right thing. All or nothing….. the next right thing was a pretty large meal.
I think there are times when we see mistakes as something that is final, but they aren’t. This mistake was less than desirable, but what it did was give me the faith and trust in my treatment team that I’m not alone in this. It also helped me to see that if I throw everything down and give up on myself, they aren’t going to give up on me and they will patiently wait until I come to my own defense. I think what was holding me back for so long was the fear of, “what if they’re not right?” What I have to understand is that they have been doing this for a very long time and it’s obvious that my way has not been working. Do I really have a choice in advice? Believe the eating disorder, or believe them. Or maybe, there are times when we have to be honest with ourselves and say, “following them leads to the removal of the eating disorder and that is frightening as well.”
Sometimes the next right thing is easy, and sometimes it’s hard. Either way, the next right thing is always going to keep you moving toward recovery. Ultimately, I know I will not have this eating disorder for the rest of my life. I will be a person who fully recovers, so the only choice I have is the next right thing. True, it’s going to lead to a life without the eating disorder and that means changes are coming, but I’m also ready for the changes. Are they going to be easy? Hell no. Are they necessary? Hell yea!
So, ask yourself the next time you fall…… What’s the next right thing?