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This month on the site we are discussing motivation. Our team of contributors have thought long and hard about the various things that motivate them in recovery–people, activities, thoughts–and will be sharing them with you in the weeks to come.
Today, as I drove to an appointment (I’ve been having some health issues, which I talk about in a recent blog) I was feeling just a little bit tired by all the decisions I’ve been forced to make, all the appointments I have to keep, and the time, money, and energy that is going into “making me better.”
I started to wonder if it was all worth it. I started to lose my motivation.
As I reflected on my current situation, I couldn’t help but also reflect back to my days in recovery. Early on, I felt these exact same feelings: overwhelmed, discouraged, exhausted. Recovery isn’t easy, we all know that, and sometimes the hardest part is to simply keep putting in the time.
I realized there isn’t much difference between where I’m at currently–working towards physical recovery–and where I was at five years ago–working towards mental recovery. And so I reflected back and asked myself: what was it that kept me going back then? What gave me that push to keep moving forward? What was it that motivated me to stick it out through recovery, even when I felt I was fighting a losing battle?
And then the answer came to me: I realized I was worth it.
I was worth recovery then, and I am worth recovery now.
Worthiness is something we don’t talk about nearly enough. Developing a sense of self-worth is paramount to recovery. For so many years I felt I wasn’t worthy of anything: happiness, love, food. I allowed an eating disorder to take control of me not because I didn’t know recovery was possible, but because I didn’t think it was something I deserved.
When I was going through my darkest time, I turned inward against myself. I attacked myself, I blamed myself, I labelled myself. I called myself things I wouldn’t dream of calling others and I treated myself in a way that you would hardly wish on your worst enemy.
I didn’t think I was worthy of anything better and so I continued on an unhealthy path for years.
And then one day I knew things had gone too far, and I began to want something better.
I realized I was killing myself, and I didn’t want to carry on down that path; but the road to recovery seemed daunting. I began taking the first steps, but they were hard, and painful, and I didn’t see the point.
Without a sense of worth, I was stuck. That’s when I knew something had to change.
Do we fight for things we don’t care about? No. Then why do we think we can fight for our lives in recovery if we don’t work on our own sense of personal value?
The truth is, you can enter recovery without developing a sense of self-worth, but when times start getting hard, the motivation is going to start dissolving. And when you think about picking yourself up and carrying on, you need to have a reason–and that reason has to be you.
Because you’re worth it. And you’re the only thing that won’t go away.
It’s great to want to recover for your family, your significant other, your spouse, even your dog; but you need to realize that ultimately these things alone will not sustain you through the tough times. You need to have a bigger reason than that. And that reason is you. You. You. YOU.
And so if I can encourage you to work on anything this month, I encourage you to dig into the amount of worth you see in yourself.
Are you aware of just how much value you have? Yes you. Each and every one of you. The very fact you are here, breathing, reading these words, means that you matter, and more than that, that you are worthy. Worthy of recovery. Worthy of life.
In order to recover I had to remind myself continuously that I was worth it.
So remind yourself every day of this. Write it down, hang it on your wall, put it on your phone:
I am worth recovery.
Say it to yourself when you wake up in the morning, and before you fall asleep at night: I am worth recovery. Say it when you sit down to a meal, or before you start going down that path you know only leads to destruction: I am worth recovery. And, most importantly, say it to yourself when things start getting difficult, and the motivation dwindles, and you ask yourself what the point of carrying on is: Because I am worth recovery!
We always say that “recovery is worth it”–and this is so true–but we must also not forget to follow it up with: and so are we.
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