Why the journey to recovery is just as important as the outcome

Posted 28/12/2016

This week has been tough. We all lose our way now and again; we lapse and other old behaviours and habits come back to haunt you. Recently a good friend reminded me that one thing to remember is that this is all part of the journey.

The Journey

It’s often turbulent, sometimes smooth, but more likely it’s going to be and has been a rollercoaster every day. Everyone’s journey is different. Your journey will see highs, lows, progressions and setbacks. However, this is your journey, and as long as you are still learning throughout this, that’s okay.

Your journey can be just starting or could have been going on for years. Mine started five years ago and I am still learning every day. My journey has had immense highs and lows. I’ve had some great laughs, and yet there have been times where I just want to give up and let this thing consume me. But I didn’t and I don’t. I won’t. I remind myself that this is just what progression looks like. It isn’t always positive or represented by a great before and after picture. Instead progression is about the things you learn, how you develop as a person and how your journey gets you to the best version of you. 

We don’t have all the answers

Many think that if you look a certain way, “they must have it down to a tee; they know what they are doing”. Truth is, we don’t. Ask anyone suffering from an eating disorder and I’m sure the majority can’t even tell you what they want their outcome to be anymore. You may have lost sight of your end goal, you don’t have it “nailed down”, half the time you are testing and trialling new coping methods. We don’t have all the answers, but one thing we do know is that we are always learning.

It is important that we recognise all these aspects, as they are all part of our journey. If we get something wrong, try and learn from it. If we get something right, quick, make a note! This is okay too. If you knew everything now, how would you know how strong you could become? The feeling of progression? There wouldn’t be any – you would have no journey. It’s okay that we don’t know everything now and that we may feel like we are totally out of control, but that is part of the journey and you can shape your journey. 

The Outcome

It is easy to get so caught up in the final outcome, your goals and aspirations, that you can lose sight of your journey. You have forgotten how far you have actually come. Think back to the start. Even if you are not where you want to be, do you have a clearer idea about what it is you need to do to get there? I bet you do because that is the journey – we are learning all the time. You may have figured out along the way some of the obstacles that may be making it difficult for you to obtain your goals, or figured out some new methods and new ways to achieve your goals and progress. Either way, whether you have reached your final outcome or you are still heading towards it, remember even a step backwards is still a learning curve and part of your journey.

Recovery is a journey that will take effort, but it won’t come overnight and that’s okay. If it did it would be called a short trip, a gateway, not a journey. Embrace it, love it and more importantly go with it. Take the time to appreciate your hard work and take the time to reward yourself and enjoy that too. Next time you feel like you’re ‘failing’ or like you are still not where you want to be, or, like me sometimes, that you haven’t got a clue, remember, it’s your journey.

Contributed by Shaunie