October 24, 2016 by Castlewood Treatment Center in Clinical Articles, Eating Disorder Relapse, Eating Disorder Treatment Recovery isn’t something you “attain.” It’s an ongoing process, something you work toward every single day. As such, it’s not just something you engage in while in treatment, but also after treatment, once you return to your “normal” life. This is sometimes called the post-recovery phase, and in many ways can be one of the most difficult parts of the recovery journey. Maintaining healthy habits while also dealing with the stresses of everyday life can put a strain on you, which is why it is important to have a post-recovery plan in place.
That’s a big part of what the Castlewood treatment program is all about. Our therapists and clinicians work to equip clients with the tools they need to cope with the pressures of their jobs, their relationships, and other daily responsibilities, all while keeping their eating disorder symptoms in check and their recovery on the right track. While in treatment, our clients work with their therapist and their dietitian to put a post-recovery plan in place, providing them with structure and guidance even once they leave Castlewood and are back out on their own.
It’s important to have a plan like that as you prepare to navigate the choppy post-recovery waters. The question is, what can you do, exactly, to preserve your health in the post-recovery period?
What to Do Once You Leave Treatment
Consider a few guidelines:
Stay connected. You may be “back on your own,” but you’re never truly fending for yourself—or at least, you don’t have to be. There are always people you can lean on for support. This includes your therapist and dietitian at Castlewood, as well as members of your support group. Don’t disconnect yourself from these relationships just because you’re out of treatment, and don’t skip your support group meetings or therapy sessions just because you don’t happen to feel bad on a particular day. Keep getting that support. Keep fighting off the shame and isolation that eating disorders breed.
Know your triggers. Remember that eating disorders are never really about food. Actually, they’re more about stress, trauma, and emotion. Once you leave treatment, you will need to deal with those things on a daily basis, sometimes without having your therapist right there beside you. As such, it’s critical to know what your triggers are—to identify the things that are most likely to weaken your defenses—and to either avoid them or else have a plan in place for coping with them. Speak with your therapist about developing some coping strategies.
Stick to a routine. Generally speaking, those who are in eating disorder recovery do well to have a structure in place. That doesn’t mean you need to have every single second of your day mapped out, but it definitely helps to have familiar rhythms to your day. Incidentally, the same holds true for eating: Having a clear meal plan mapped out will help eliminate the guesswork from your shopping, food preparation, and eating. Make a meal plan with your dietitian, and stick with it—again, even if you don’t necessarily feel like you “need” it on a given day.
Invest in ongoing treatment. You may have finished your residential treatment at Castlewood, but note that there are still ways you can work to put your health and wellness first—aftercare treatment, relapse prevention, and more.
You’re never truly done with recovery. There will always be challenging days, but also ways to cope with those challenging days. That’s what your post-recovery plan should be all about. To learn more, contact the team at Castlewood at your next convenience.
Contact us today to learn about after-care and relapse prevention programs.