A little trick that has helped me to get all the portions in today. Even the exchange I have always restricted. It came from the realization I had a while back that resurfaced recently when almost got sent to hospital by doc: Outpatient is a privilege not a right. Outpatient is a freedom that has to be earned by proving you don't need the constant structure and support of treatment.
I recently let that slip from my mind and took advantage of my freedom granted by outpatient but not in good ways. I started restricting portions, adjusting my meal plan to make me feel more comfortable, sticking with only safe foods, and using the walks I was granted as exercise instead of as bonding like its supposed to be. The whole time I lost the reality that outpatient is supposed to be for continuing success of treatment when there is more freedom, not to utilize the freedom and lack of supervision to dabble in some ED tendencies.
So here is what I have been doing today that has helped. When I get that little voice in me that says..."Should I really be doing this?" and I start to try and justify a behavior I am doing I think...."Would they let me do this in treatment?" Here's why. Because if I keep doing things they wouldn't let me do in treatment I will just end up in treatment doing what I am supposed to do. But if I realize what I am doing is wrong and do the right recovery thing instead then I can stay out of treatment. Either way I will end up doing what I have to do....but if I do it now I can keep my freedom, scholarships, and job.
It has made it a little easier to make the right decisions and follow through because I just tell myself...you are going to have to do this anyway might as well do it now. Plus, I know in my heart I have gotten all I can out of treatment and its time for me to do this on my own. But I need to show this to myself and others by doing the right thing when no one is watching.
It's so strange in my soul to know I am ready for something but then I let fear cause me to stand in my own way. And what am I scared of? Weight gain I guess...and that it will happen too quick. But this has never happened, even in treatment....so why would it be different now? I have the same body outpatient as I did inpatient....so food shouldn't affect me any differently. Yet I'm still scared.
I guess its like when I went to college. I had lived at home for 17 years (I was a young one going to college) and knew in my heart I was ready and equipped to move to college. There was nothing more I could get from being home and I so desperately wanted to start my own life. But a large part of me was scared of not having my family there all the time. Of having to make the right decisions without someone always checking the boundaries. Of the freedom of classes. Still, in August 2010 I loaded up my car and moved to college. I didn't let the fear stand in the way. Even when I suffered from severe home sickness I pushed on and stayed at college. Fast forward to now and I work for the university helping freshmen make the same transition. I love college life and whenever I am home I yearn to be back at school with my independence. This would have never been the case had I let the fear of college hold me back.
So might it be the same with this recovery? I know in my heart I have gotten all I can from inpatient and residential stays and desperately want to recover outpatient and be done with this disorder. But I am scared of that life. I am scared of the weight gain. I am scared of life without the ED that's been there since I was 6. I am scared of failing and even moreso scared of succeeding at recovery. I am scared I won't like life without ED...that I won't have anything to do. I am scared I will lose control of my body and my life. But I know I don't like where my life is when I act in my disorder and want to recover. I just need to pack up my car and take that first step of pulling out of the driveway. I need to drive towards my future and no matter how hard it gets, how much home sickness for my ED I get...I need to stick with the fight. Then...who knows. Maybe I will look back in a few years and be helping others recover and when I slip yearn to get right back on track...or when I am tempted have such a yearning for recovery that I don't slip.
But for right now I just remind myself the option is to do this outpatient like I want, or to let fear keep on ruling me and have to be forced to do the right thing inpatient. I am the same person outpatient and inpatient, so I know I have the strength to push through....I just need to do it. So I will keep asking myself if I would be allowed to do the behaviors in treatment. If my portion completion would get my tray signed off in treatment. If I am pushing myself like they would in treatment. If the answer is no to any of those I will do the right thing to make it a yes, because otherwise I will be back in treatment forced into doing what I know I can do outpatient.
Know that I write this because I have been to treatment several times and have gotten the tools I need to succeed outpatient. I am not saying outpatient is for everyone and in fact I would never attempt outpatient recovery had I not already been inpatient. I know people who have completely recovered outpatient without ever going inpatient, but they hadn't been suffering long. Honestly, I think if inpatient or even better residential is an option you should do it. It was amazing for me and has set me up for the success I know I can have outpatient. And speaking of doing the right thing...it's snack time :) Peace :)