Click here to read Part 1. Click here to read Part 2. Click here to read Part 3.
Here’s the next batch of Healing Ideas. They’re specific. There’s a reason I’m grouping them together and introducing them as “specific.” More specific ideas point to more specific actions, which may sound like I’m prescribing advice. The challenge with writing a blog (or anything, for that matter) is that each reader is in her own place in the recovery process. As the writer, I don’t know where that place is for each person. So some of the following ideas may be all wrong for one person, but might be the exact thing another person needs. Depending on where the reader is in her healing process, some of these may be too uptight, too rigid, or too hard to do at this juncture. That’s fine. Just keep them in mind — because after you read them, you may find yourself coming face to face with that very thing. That’s called grace. Pay attention to it. It’s a big part of the healing process.
So, I will simply say that in no particular order, the following ideas worked for me when I was in the beginning stages of healing, and continue to be kind of a foundation. Only now, I don’t really have to think about them, except to say something like, “Oh, yea. I used to do that, didn’t I?” Or “Wow. That really made a difference to me at that time.” And now I just take it for granted that it’s necessary behavior.
Since these are continued from the last post, I’ll keep the numbers in order –
Idea #8: Journaling
I don’t know where I’d be without writing. Even if I weren’t a songwriter, even if I was a venture capitalist, I would have to write. Like I said in Part 2, women with eating disorders tend to be very expressive, creative and emotional. Journaling is a safe place to let it out. I actually recommend that you journal everyday. Even if (especially if) the writing feels like it sucks.
The reason for this is that you can’t keep suppressing your feelings, needs, and heart’s desires if you continue to write about them day after day. These things become un-suppressible after a while.
I recommend getting a plain old boring regular spiral notebook. Hardbound journals with flecks of petals and grass ground into the recycled paper pages can make you feel pressured to write something lovely and poetic. Lovely and poetic is not the goal. Putting pen to paper is.
Idea #9: The Truth About Cats and Dogs
As I write this, my cat Atticus is purring in my lap. When I wrote the title, he licked my hand. (He knows we’ve gotten to the good part.)
I wasn’t allowed to have pets when I was little. (Though I did have a chameleon named “Humphrey” whom I adored, and who lived quite a long time.) When I first moved to Asheville, I found a kitten, who became Camille. I’m convinced now that when I first set my intent to heal my eating disorder, the heavens lined everything up so that Camille would somehow find her way into my life. She was that important to me, even though her life ended only four years later.
Animals teach us to get out of ourselves, and out of our self-absorption. Animals are always in the present moment. Animals teach us being, and being cute. Dogs, especially, are great depression prevention because they require that we take them on walks and they get so excited to go outside that you get excited just because they are excited, and you can find your spirit lifting just a teensy bit. My dog makes me laugh out loud every time we’re in the car. That is a gift. I have grown stronger and happier with each animal I have had in my life. Anyone reading this who has ever had an addiction, and then gotten a dog or cat will vouch for the healing power contained within all that fur.
Idea #10: Girls Crafts Night
After I’d been in Asheville a few years, a group of us twenty-something women got together every Tuesday night and did crafts. Some women worked on knitting sweaters for Christmas presents. Some made greeting cards. Some sewed. We’d spread out across the living room of whoever was hosting, and we’d chat lightly while we worked on our craft. Sometimes the conversation got deep, and someone would cry softly while she crocheted. Sometimes it’d be loud and raucous with non-stop laughter.
Lots of times, I didn’t feel like going. I was grouchy, wanting to isolate, feeling sorry for myself, and not feeling like I was “there” yet. (“There” being a place of deserving anything joyful.) Always, when I went, I felt better. Like pets, people can pull you out of yourself, too. Go to meetings. Start a crafts night. Get a group together for whatever reason. (I recommend something other than supporting emotional issues. Let that be the side benefit. This is about fun and lightness.)
Idea #11: Magazines and Media
As I said in Part one, my healing from bulimia was a convergence of many paths. One of those paths was quitting magazines. When I stopped reading fashion magazines, I stopped being bulimic. Not the next day. But very soon. When I was strong enough to say, “Yea, not so much on Glamour for me this month,” (even just glancing at it in the grocery line) I stopped thinking I was supposed to be different. I was living very simply and cheaply, so I didn’t own a television, which made a huge difference as well.
Now, I don’t read many magazines mostly because I just don’t enjoy them. Occasionally I’ll flip through a fashion magazine. I don’t get as sucked in now, but I do feel that fast-paced-skinny-girl-with-things-you-should-have vibe. It used to hook me. Now, I just choose not to go there. (If you chose only ONE of these ideas to do, this would be it!)
Idea #12: Giving Up Diet Coke
I’ve written about this in my very first posts about bulimia. Go read them. Nutra-sweet is hideous for your brain. You don’t need hideousness in your brain. (Just so you know. I actually lost about 10 pounds after I gave up Diet Coke and started drinking regular Coke.)
Idea #13: Flower Essences
I love flower essences. They fall under the category of “energy healing.” They’re not herbal. They’re more woo-woo than herbal. They’re more woo-woo than anything I’ve mentioned in this blog to date. And they have absolutely worked on my emotional stuff. I would swear to it. (Though, I can’t prove it in a double-blind study. Which is why they’re woo-woo.) If you’re at all curious, my favorite book is Bach Flower Therapy by Mechthild Scheffer. Another great book is Flower Essences: Reordering Our Understanding and Approach to Illness and Health. I learned how to test myself with kinesiology to determine which essences I needed with this book.
If you have any other specific ideas that have helped you in any kind of addiction recovery, please write them in the comments so that othere might benefit from your process.