Written by ViR
I realize I haven’t written about my own personal recovery in a while, and since this is a recovery blog as well as bringing light to body image struggles, I thought it was time to have a check in. I have been struggling a lot lately, in life that is. Life is a pile of things all at once. I have an upcoming move back across the country to move back to California, my guy is going through the medical application process, and I am overwhelmed at work, a combination together that could be potentially harmful for me in recovery. I would like to say I am constantly vigilant in recovery, but I am not, I choose to live, and live honestly, and sometimes I forget my past and it is as if I am who I am now, and not the sum of my parts and past.
This past weekend a compilation of stressors resulted in a blow up in my personal relationship with my partner. This was an argument of devastating proportions; that in the moment appeared as if it was a fight that could end the relationship. As you will remember about me, noted in previous posts, I immediately catastrophize a situation, and often in my head and body it feels literally as if the walls around me are crumbling to pieces. This is my personality, I react, I yell, often in anger with very little emotional regulation or impulse control. This is what led to my drinking and eating disordered past. I was unable in the past to respond to a situation, because in my head it was as if a force took me over, and once on a roll, the damage was life altering. I only knew how to react.
In my relationship, I have struggled in fights. I know all couples in fights are often not hearing, but just waiting to respond, and reacting in anger, hurt, pain, etc. I struggle in the aftermath as well, emotionally and physically. It literally feels as if my world has forever been altered. Maybe reading this you will think – oh she’s a drama queen, insensitive, reactive, explosive, etc. And I can’t honestly say you are wrong. I am often hot tempered and what people need to understand me is I was 3 months into this relationship when I finally started to get serious about recovery and sober. So he is the first person I have had a sober relationship with, in recovery, and I am very much a newbie in how to 1) understand what a relationship is and 2) how to communicate, build, and work on relationship struggles.
What I really wanted to share was a moment of clarity of recovery clicking without it even being forced! After this fight, and after we left eachothers presence, I immediately cried, broke down and began to let go of all the frustration, hurt, that had been said. I was allowing myself to feel, to process and to think about what had happened, what I had said, and what the consequences could be, and how to approach a potential solution to this problem. In the middle of crying and full of puffy eyes, I had this moment of clarity and immediately when to Twitter to share:
“When I’m really struggling w/life, change & endings I’m still amazed at how my 1st instinct is no longer to drink. #sobriety”
“And how I’m cooking edamame instead of looking to numb myself on food. It’s pretty amazing how a few yrs in recovery changes life”
“I’m trying to focus on those things as a positive versus only seeing the sad situation at hand. Balance out & see the big picture”
I read these tweets even now and go WHEN DID THIS HAPPEN? When did it not even become a forced recovery behavior? I immediately was so proud of myself, even in the midst of crying, and so sad. It was a moment of clarity where I realized recovery had “clicked”. My instinct in a hard struggle where I used to drink, or numb with food, was no longer there. I was actually instinctually going to healthy coping skills! I often say to others I mentor and support in recovery, that things will click, and it will get easier,. That with practice, healthy coping skills will naturally occur, versus the feeling of being forced in early recovery. I understand neuroscience and how new pathways can be built with new behaviors. I just honestly hadn’t taken a moment to recognize this click in myself. All the support and words of encouragement I had been giving, actually became true in that moment. It was not mere hogwash people farther along in recovery say. It is true, with time, it is possible to change instinctual behaviors. That realization is powerful, and gives me even more hope in my own recovery process and others as well.
I am NOT saying this clicking always happens; I do have hard days, moments where I recognize emotional eating and will say out loud “I know I am emotionally eating but I will have this one piece of chocolate anyways”. And as I type that I realize how healthy that is as well, to recognize the behavior and be able to modify that away from a mindless binge where I can’t taste the food. I enjoy the piece of chocolate and savor it.
Have you experienced moments where recovery just “clicked”?