The Good, The Bad, The Messy: How to Accept The Imperfect Journey of Recovery

imperfect recovery - water color image of profile of woman with black and blue hair flowing behind herI have found that recovery so often bears a painstaking resemblance to a child’s playroom at its’ wits end, as it cries to be cleaned. Unkempt, and messy with toys strewn across the room, and a parent being ever so careful as they inch their way through the sea of unknown variants realizing should they make one wrong move, they may set off the toy landmine. Yes, a child’s playroom and recovery are both imperfect.

In recovery too, I find myself at times teetering around in this cautious nature. As I shuffle through each day, I attempt to do the right things and make the perfect choices to please those around me. Such as my treatment team as they ask me to gain weight, or log my meals and “follow the plan” without flaw. And I only find myself feeling as though I have failed when I miss one small detail, or forget something, or have a bad day.

Sometimes I feel as though I am the actress sporting her poker face. As I attend appointments with my treatment team, and try to assure I am meeting all their requests. Meanwhile, ED is hard at work back at headquarters, attempting to hot wire the control board I call a brain. And I continue to tip toe the battlefield in pursuit of a perfect recovery. The kind of recovery that does not exist. Nor does it have to.

I think in recovery it is critical to realize it will be imperfect, and this is normal.

It is acceptable, and enough. We are humans, designed for flaws. These imperfections are our perfection. Accepting this sentiment is the beginning of removing clutter from a mind that has been so ill from self-deprecating talk. It is important to remember that your worst day in recovery will be far better than your greatest day sick ever could have been.

A year ago you could have told me this, and I would have laughed in your face. But it is true. This is because we have chosen life. And no matter how down you may feel- with recovery, you will never strike out. 

In recovery, there is hope because death has no place any longer.

Recovery is a progression

It is most likely not going to be linear. This is also okay. We each tell our own unique story within the lines we traverse outside of. And the mountains that we have scaled, ascended, and then moved. Someone may be doing better than they ever have, and then have one bad day, or even a week. A small blip in the grand scheme, but not the entire picture by any means.

Recovery shows the hard work that has gone into your determination to fight, and one slip does not have to be your demise. Congratulations! This is incredible, and you should feel so proud of this. It means that you are winning.

Recovery is a personal and custom journey to each of us.

Owning your story, and being able to realize the beauty, and value in where you are is going to only propel you. Even when recovery feels overwhelming, and taxing, it is empowering because it is a display of how far you have come.

We are not defined by the past, but we look to the future for hope, and live in the present as is because we have learned to accept comfortable chaos. It may feel daunting to heed the tall orders of a treatment team member, but you have come so far, and can do this as well. It does not have to be perfect, and it is still far more than enough.

Never sell yourself short of your successes. Your accomplishments cannot be taken away, or downsized.

They are yours.

Owning our story, and loving ourselves through that process is one of the bravest things we will ever do- Brené Brown

Artwork by ©2016 defectivebarbie


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