I’m a sucker for lists… especially top-10 lists. So, when I saw a post on the Top 10 Cracks That Addicts Fall Through on Their Way to Recovery, it had my name all over it.
I think that a lot of the same principles that Mark Goulston points out can apply to mental illness in general. A few of them really stood out to me:
Failure to develop new and healthy relationships
I see this two ways:
- Old relationships – maintaining unhealthy relationships (people who drag you down in any way, bad influences, people who don’t respect your boundaries, triggering people, etc) is just going to keep you sick. Good things just aren’t going to come from perpetuating bad relationships.
- New relationships – In treatment, I think you have to be careful about the friends that you choose. With eating disorders, people are competitive and hanging out with others can be triggering. With that said, it’s also really validating to find individuals who can really relate and understand what you’re going through. So… just be careful that your new friends are good influences.
I see this all the time! Changing from bulimia to anorexia is not recovery! And how many people pick up smoking while trying to kick another addiction? Tobacco companies should stop marketing to teens and target the addiction crowd (really, it’s that prevalent).
I think this is even a bigger problem in EDs than in substance addictions. There is no abstinence from food, so it’s easy to think you are “healthy enough.” It’s a really foggy, zig-zag line between disordered and healthy. Skipping one meal is not the end of the world… nor is over-eating on occasion. It’s easy to tell yourself that, too.
Failure to develop meaningful life goals
This is not exclusive to addictions, eating disorders, or other mental illness. I think that feeling like your life has a purpose is key to living a satisfying life. Personally, not feeling like I am doing anything significant or fulfilling is a significant part of what keeps me stuck in my ED.
Anyway, I highly recommend that you read the original article with all 10 “cracks” in the recovery process.. Dr. Goulston does a great job of highlighting the red flags.