Recovery is a process and a journey. Treatment is where it all begins for many people. Leaving treatment might feel like stepping out of a perfect bubble, back into an imperfect world. Adjusting to life outside of treatment walls can be intimidating. You’ve worked so hard while in treatment discovering yourself and learning the skills you need to carry on your journey of recovery. Being in “life” last time you were there was challenging, to say the least. Here’s a special reminder: your treatment experience doesn’t disappear when you leave! Collaborating with your treatment providers and support network to create a detailed post-treatment plan will be a foundational first step. These are five important things to focus on while developing your discharge plan.
How to Stay Supported
One of the things you might fear most about leaving is the vulnerability of not having twenty four hour support from peers and staff. Treatment provides a valuable lesson in the importance of support. You’ve learned not to feel alone with your eating disorder as you made friends with people having similar struggles. Eating disorders effect millions of people just like you. Support groups for eating disorders meet regularly all over the world. There, you can make more friends and create another system of support.
Another way to stay supported is through family and friends. Choose people who understand and encourage your recovery as your go-to people for support. It’s perfectly acceptable to let these people know that they are your points of contact during tough times.
How to Manage Triggers
Triggers are going to happen. Unfortunately, the world is full of them. Today, you’re strong enough to cope with a triggering situation and walk away standing tall. You may not handle it with absolute grace, but you do not have to relapse. All the things you learned in treatment weren’t to make you feel better, they were to help you live again as part of the world! Utilize the tools you’ve been given like journaling, meditations, and calling on your (newly forming) support system when you face a challenge.
Following the plans you have been given from your treatment team is a useful way to manage triggers. Eating plans, therapeutic schedules, and even times to have fun should be followed. These routines are in place to help you maintain manageability in your life. When you feel centered in this way, it is less easy to get interrupted by a trigger.