One of the many clichés in recovery is to make the next right choice. It's served me well over the past three years. When I don't know what my next step is, or which issue to tackle next, when I haven't known what to do about the enormity of the dysfunction that I still live in because of my past - I don't have to have all of the answers, heck I don't have to have ANY of the answers. I need to make the next right choice.
It's not this pressure of perfectionism, oh I have to get it right. It's that I know I could choose to sit down and write, or I could go stare in the fridge and dream about what my next meal will be. My right choice is the one that leads me towards life, towards wholeness. It helps too, when I mess up, when I decide that I'm going to not just plan my next meal, I'm going to eat it right now too, even though I'm not hungry. It helps because I don't have to beat myself up, I can make my next right choice - to own my slip, to own that I chose medicating over feeling, and to release myself from my own judgement. I take my consequence and I make the next right choice.
Those choices add up, over and over until I'm now in this place where I no longer tie my worth to my weight. Where I like and even love who I am becoming - this introverted creative, full of scathingly brilliant ideas, who thrives on routine and is learning to live outside of the rules and the boxes. Where I can look in the mirror and see things that I like about myself, instead of only seeing what I hate. This place is one where I'm finally grateful to be alive, grateful that my best efforts to not live didn't succeed.
The past several months a recurring theme has been showing up - this theme of "I don't belong". It's not new. There were too many other things on my plate. It sucks, walking around feeling like a junior high girl left on the outside of every group. There's a lot of pain that says that it's true. There's pain that says that people would want me, value me if I was skinny. There's pain that says no one cares, you aren't unique, your words don't matter. There's pain that says I need to isolate, run away, withdraw, give up. I could do those things. I could believe all the things that my pain says. Much of what I'm feeling is based in the past. Because when I was a junior high girl, I didn't belong. I didn't fit in. I wasn't valued or cared about by my peer group. I was left out, repeatedly. Just because it was true back then doesn't mean that it's true in the present.
I've spent several days having to make my next right choice in this. Choosing to text a friend, choosing to tell my safe people how I feel, asking those closest to me to tell me one more time that I'm valued, that I matter to them, that I belong. It feels needy. It's also necessary. Some days I can hear my pain and validate what used to be true. Some days I can even list ways that it isn't true now. But some days, all I can do is add fuel to the fire and those are the days that my next right choice tells me to pick up the phone and ask for help.
This isn't going to just go away. My learning to like myself has taken years of hard work and choices. This is going to take time and choices too. It's not that I need to get rid of lies or stop believing them. My pain from then needs to be felt, to be written through, to be held and heard so it can then be released. In the process of doing that, my right choice then becomes reaching out when pain's voice drowns out my own.
Who knows, maybe three years from now I'll look back and see that I have learned to feel secure in my friendships, that I can trust that I am wanted, see that I'm valued, and feel included. Until that day, I'll keep making my next right choice.