Recovery is a long road, and there are often many stumbling blocks along the way. The challenges of day-to-day recovery can feel disheartening. They also can be easy to minimize, ignore, or rationalize. While always offering yourself compassion for how hard recovery can be, it’s critical to also get back on track. Because slips take a toll, and, if unaddressed, may lead to relapse.
Fortunately, eating disorder recovery specialists have identified several keys to sustaining recovery. One of the primary ones is developing and relying upon supportive relationships.
Recovery coaches support you in confronting the obstacles in recovery, in the very moments they arise. Recovery coaches meet you in your daily life at home, work, school, or another frequented environment, and provide the essential companionship that makes challenges feel surmountable.
The following scenarios illustrate common obstacles individuals face in recovery while leading their lives. Consider the ways a recovery coach might help them in their day-to-day recovery.
- Overwhelming options
When it comes time to grab lunch or make a dinner plan, options may feel endless. Which restaurant? Delivery, pick-up, or cooking? What should I order or prepare? The eating disorder voice often gets loud in these moments of deliberation. It seizes the opportunity to chime in with food rules, or perhaps tries bargaining with you. It’s easy to lose sight of your meal plan, or forget what you and your dietitian agreed you would do. When a coach is part of the meal decision-making, they can remind you of your healthy self voice. Together, the two of you discern which option best serves your long-term vision of recovered life. If it’s helpful, they can even choose the restaurant or dish to prepare, and enjoy the food with you.
- Ambivalence at the table
Face to face with food, the eating disorder voice often amplifies. The reality of the food sitting before you may cause motivation to waver. Sticking with recovery in such a moment may feel beyond your reach. Anxiety increases, fear mounts, or numbness overtakes. When you are experiencing ambivalence, a meal support coach can offer the vital reminder that recovery is a choice within reach. A coach can invoke your healthy self through gentle questions, to realign you with your intention. They can help you access your calm center, and normalize the joy and necessity of eating the food before you by partaking in the meal with you. They remind you of your skills and strengths, and work with you to identify small steps forward through the meal.
- Nighttime blues
Many individuals in recovery find nights to be particularly challenging. After a long day, which may have involved a lot of recovery work already, or been exhausting in other ways, you may feel particularly vulnerable to your eating disorder’s voice. We all seek comfort when we feel tired, and it is easy to allow fatigue to throw you off track. Loneliness is also a feeling that can be pronounced at night, which eating disordered behaviors try to soothe. Evenings are thereby a common time for bingeing, purging, and restricting. Thus, night is a prime time for recovery reminders! A coach can call you on the phone for 15 minutes once or several times at night to touch base and re-spark your recovery inspiration if it is wavering. They can also have a snack session with you via video chat, to support you following your meal plan.
Whether you resonate with these scenarios or face other obstacles, inviting a coach into your daily recovery journey may be the essential ingredient to your continued progress towards the life you envision.
If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, and might benefit from the companionship and support of a recovery coach, call 1-866-525-2766 or fill out our contact form. We are here to help!