Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Place Between

I've reached a place in recovery that puts me beyond crisis and still short of fully functioning adult.  I am identifying my feelings with much more clarity and awareness of what those feelings might be triggering. My thoughts are less scattered, and I am making it a pattern to track thoughts that reveal fears that I would have otherwise let go unchecked.  It is an empowering act rather than a debilitating effect.  Most significant is that I am getting comfortable with myself, being far less troubled over my past choices and the circumstances I found myself facing.

I find it a bit more than a coincidence that I am in a similar place with my weight loss. In January 2012, I confronted the reality of needing to lose 150 pounds. That is not a pleasant place to be, and the feat represented such a vast mountain that I couldn't see the top; it was pure daunting.  I recognized that I only needed to begin and that it is a step at a time. So I started, and surprisingly to me, I lost 70 of those pounds in 8 months; and 8 months after that, I still want to lose the next 80 pounds. I’m not complaining.  A weight-loss journey isn't different than any other discovery journey. There is much buried in the weight and what the weight represents. After all, I have a bit to deal with these past 8 months. The fact that I didn't return to old eating patterns is amazing.

When I’m losing weight, there is a built-in reward of seeing the weight come off. There is joy in hearing comments about my noticeable weight change. When I’m maintaining, the reward needs to be something different. Often the work is every bit as hard, but without the recognition from the scale, or from hearing the compliments.  I am learning to affirm myself for my efforts; that is a new life pattern. I am moving beyond what the scale says and the negative beliefs I have held about my body image.

I’m seeing a parallel with recovery.  I have approached my emotional healing with intention and passion, wanting to shed the emotional weight quickly. There have been a lot of results, and I have gotten plenty of affirmations.  I see the results; I feel the changes within me. Likewise, I am learning the value in affirming myself and how to esteem myself rather than needing others to do it for me. This includes seeking comments and responses to my co-dependent “do good” behavior. Of course, compliments and responses to healthy behavior are welcomed. If my esteem is based on what others think of me or what they can give me, that is not self-esteem that is other-esteem (thanks, Pia Mellody, for this insight).

Today as I reflect on my life, particularly as I look at my recovery journey and the paralleling or encompassing weight loss journey, I see the value in acceptance for where I am, in fortitude for where I want to go, in thankfulness for what I have accomplished and what has been given to me. 

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