The New Year has arrived. To a woman in recovery from an eating disorder or substance addiction, this means one thing: you made it through the holidays, which is no small feat. At Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center, we know how challenging the holidays can be due to the alcohol and food-intensive aspect of the season. We also know that a new year can hold certain dangers for those in recovery.
First and foremost is the concept of a New Year’s resolution regarding recovery. Most professionals in the treatment world know that such a promise is a set up to fail. The truth is a New Year’s resolution will no more put an end to an eating disorder or substance addiction than it would to cancer or diabetes. The New Year is not the time for a grand gesture regarding what you will or will not do, or in essence, how you will achieve great change in your life. The truth is, January is just another month – another series of four weeks to take recovery day by day, not dwell on the past or fret about the future. It is just another month to surrender to the help necessary to achieve and maintain recovery: attending meetings, engaging in reasonable eating and exercise, visiting a dietitian, or making it to scheduled appointments with a therapist.
If you want to commemorate 2012 with some sort of declaration, then make a simple promise to yourself. Promise to extend grace, compassion, and understanding to yourself every day. If you slip at any point in the progress forward, remember it is just that – a slip and not a relapse. Make it a slip forward. Acknowledge the slip, dust yourself off, get support, and move forward. Remember to treat yourself with kindness and compassion, not harshness. There are plenty of people out there in the world ready to criticize and find fault, and many others who will shower you with understanding, acceptance, and love. This is why you must be your greatest advocate and supporter to connect with the people who are capable of feeding your soul.
Throughout the weeks ahead, keep this in mind: no matter what the addiction or disorder is that you are recovering from, it took time to get to where you went; therefore, it will take time to get to where you want to be. Take every day as it comes, knowing that you are exactly where you need to be for today, and trusting that someday you too will achieve the goal of complete and lasting recovery.
- Dr. Kim Dennis