I am heading into the woods. Recovery is a journey. A journey is traversed upon a road. This particular road heads into metaphorical woods, and on the other side – is freedom.
In 2009 I traveled to Vietnam with my husband and three kids. (It was awesome – if you’ve never been, I highly recommend you go!) It was an exciting journey. Not a metaphorical journey, but rather a real one.
We spent many months saving, planning and booking, and the final weeks prior to departure packing, preparing and getting really excited. We had a vague idea of what to expect, and we’d done lots of research to a know a few of the do’s and don’ts. But overall, we were heading to a foreign country, with foreign laws and customs, and it was largely all a great big unknown. We were away a month altogether – Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam with three young children. Some of the trip was brilliant! Some of the trip was awful! Some of it was mundane. Some exactly as anticipated, and some of it bore no resemblance to my expectations whatsoever.
A pretty normal family holiday I would suggest!
Perhaps recovery from an eating disorder is a similar journey. I don’t need to know the exact details of the destination. Some of it might actually suck! But that’s okay. Because some of it will be brilliant. I’ll find moments and memories that will last me a lifetime – things I can’t find if I stay where I am.
I can put plans in place now, do lots of preparation, find all the bits and pieces I think I’m going to need to get there, but at the end of the day, until I venture forth it’s all irrelevant and nothing has changed – it’s all just sitting around watching a documentary about Vietnam on television. I need to actually go there instead – to touch it, feel it, smell it, taste it, hear it and understand it. To meet the people, experience the culture and explore the natural landscape.
The picture of recovery may not be entirely clear right now, but that’s okay. The trip there might be hell on earth, and that’s also okay. Who hasn’t spent nine hours in a cramped airline seat, hoping the drooling person next to you will stop snoring?
Sometimes in life we actually need to focus on the destination not the journey – this is one of those times. So hie hoe, I can’t say no, it’s into the woods I go.