The “P’s” of Recovery

By Rachael Clauson, MAAT, Eating Disorder Specialist at Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center 

The road to eating disorder recovery has many twists and turns. But the important thing to always remember is that it has a destination. This destination does not have an identifiable name like Salem or Miami; instead it is associated with words like joy, happiness, health, abundance and freedom.

Recovery is a process that necessitates intentionality. By remaining committed to certain fundamentals, recovery can be full and complete.

Such fundamentals include:

Presence

The word mindful is bandied about a great deal these days. There is even a mindfulness app–and for good reason. The world is so hectic and everyday lives are so busy that we forget the value of the moment…the importance of the here and now. Essentially, today is all we have; and yet we allow days to slip away without much notice.

In recovery, it is not only useless to dwell on the past, it is counterproductive. Yesterday is genuinely gone.  No one gets a “do over.” What’s more, if you take ten minutes to think about what you should have done or said yesterday, you just sacrificed ten minutes of today. Similarly, fixating on the future is nonsensical. It hasn’t happened yet, so again, you are squandering time in the present, time you will never get back.

Patience

As the old expression goes, Rome wasn’t built in a day—neither was your eating disorder. It took time to become fully invested; therefore, it will take time to fully extricate yourself. Consider this: if you fractured your leg, you would allocate weeks, even months for the bone to repair. An eating disorder is no different. It takes time for true healing to occur.  Be patient and gentle with yourself.

Give your mind, heart and body the time required to heal completely, and remember that healing has no exact timeline and this process looks different for everybody.

Possibility/Potential

We live in a world that is full of possibility, limited only by your imagination, self-doubt, and self-judgment. Which leads us to potential.  Each human being is a huge packet of potential—you are no different.  You may not have what it takes to be a world famous rock star or brain surgeon and that is okay. The beauty of potential is that everyone is different; otherwise the world would be overloaded with singers and surgeons. You may have the potential to grow beautiful roses, write a lovely poem, or simply be a good friend to someone that needs you. The thing about potential is that it is not always immediately evident due to the layers of self-doubt or the internal voice that says “you can’t do that.” But if you look, you will find it.

Passion/Power

Passion does reside within every person. But not unlike potential, it must be sought and cultivated. Think hard about what you genuinely care about. Remember, there is no right or wrong. It may be the environment, cats, the elderly, or racial injustice. Now, find your power and use it. And know that using your power can vary in how it looks and functions.  You can join a group that cleans up parks on the weekend, volunteer at a rest home or humane shelter, join a political group that is dedicated to change.  You can begin by sharing your voice and experience through words, both written and spoken, or through art. Let your power fuel your passion.