TRUST the process, then EMBRACE the process, and eventually ENJOY the process. Those words are written on the inside cover of my bright yellow recovery journal. It has become my recovery mantra that I read multiple times throughout the day.
To be honest, this statement experienced its own process. At the beginning of my recovery, it was simply “trust the process” because that was all I could do. I had to focus on one day, one hour, one minute at a time. There was no thinking about tomorrow or next month, that was too scary. As my recovery progressed, I added on the embrace and enjoy aspects of the quote. The other day, my husband and my therapist separately asked me why I used the word process.
While watching the Super Bowl it struck me. I’m a huge sports fan. Huge might even be an understatement! It was then that I realized sports are the perfect analogy to my recovery PROCESS. We don’t watch a game just for the outcome. We watch for the game itself. The big plays, the turnovers, and the nail-biting close calls. We don’t follow a team just for the championship. Take my Jacksonville Jaguars, for example. I’m used to losing games but I still watch them religiously because I enjoy the season. The process. Sure, we have deep interest in who wins the game or takes home the Lombardi Trophy, but millions of sports fans can’t deny they also love the adrenaline of the game, win or lose.
We don’t turn on a game, or call ourselves a fan, just for the final score. We sit down in front of a screen, or in the bleachers, for hours of entertainment. We gather with friends to tailgate before the game or meet at the local watering hole for a watch party. What are we doing?
We’re enjoying the process! The experience of reaching the final outcome. Therapy has taught me to live in the moment. A valuable lesson for the success of my recovery. If I spent all of my time focused on just being recovered, I would miss the amazing things that are happening all around me. The new found strength I have to go on a hike in the Colorado mountains or the compassion and support I can now give my husband. Oh, I can’t forget the new fun recipes I’m discovering. I’m not recovered yet, I don’t know what that looks like, but I am in recovery. It’s a tough process, but I first have to trust my support team and embrace their advice. Recovery offers a beautiful gift, an opportunity to get to know the true Jason.
In sports, we celebrate the highlights on SportsCenter. We tally up records that last a lifetime. We admire the raw talent of athletes even when the final score is not in their favor. I’m a giant horse racing fan. My dad owned horses when I was growing up so my passion runs deep. I noticed one day at the track that my love of horse racing differs from others. A lot of people only care about whether they win or lose. Sometimes they don’t even watch the race, they just walk up and insert their tickets in the machine to see the final result. These people are missing out on the process. The Kentucky Derby is not billed as the most exciting result in the world, it is known as the most exciting two minutes in the world. Two minutes. That is the process! The launch from the starting gate to the closers sneaking up down the stretch. That is what makes the race legendary, not just a bunch of horses crossing a finish line.
I am running my own race right now. Sure, I stumbled out of the starting gate but my race isn’t lost yet. The process is occurring in front of my eyes. Some days I’ll get dirt kicked in my face or throw an interception, but I always get the chance at redemption. So take the time to ENJOY the process. Enjoy rediscovering yourself, enjoy the opportunity you have to fix yourself, and don’t feel like you have to rush to get somewhere. Recovery is different from competition in the fact that we don’t have a game clock or fast-approaching finish line. So take a timeout if you need to, but just remember to trust, embrace, and enjoy the process along the way.
Jason Wood is currently in recovery from Orthorexia Nervosa. He is now determined to turn this battle into a movement aimed at raising awareness of Orthorexia Nervosa, as well as eating disorders in males. You can read more about his journey and movement at www.orthorexiabites.com.