Creating a Recovery Contract
Author: Katrina Wilson M.A. RPC
Recovery is full of ups and downs, twists and turns, successes and struggles. Throughout all of this it can be natural for people to struggle with their willingness to continue with recovery, especially when the eating disorder is creating feelings of discouragement and hopelessness. Choosing to continue fighting in the midst of this can be difficult – motivation often wanes, and the drive someone once felt to fight for their recovery can start to weaken. This is a natural part of the recovery process, and one that many people have difficulty navigating.
What can be helpful is recalling and reminding yourself of the reasons you are choosing to engage in recovery, and why it is so important to continue on in the face of these difficult emotions. The eating disorder is great at pulling you down into a spiral, and many people find having external reminders can help pull them out of this. One of the ways to give yourself this reminder is by writing a Recovery Contract.
A Recovery Contract is a great way to outline your goals for recovery, the reasons you are choosing to recover, and what you are willing to do for your recovery. These are all things that the eating disorder wants you to forget, and so having a written reminder that you can turn to when the ED is loud can be incredibly beneficial. It’s a way to offer yourself compassion and guidance for when things get rough, while acknowledging the struggle that you are facing. Here is a sample recovery contract that you can use to build your own:
I am committed to doing whatever it takes to preserve my recovery and my life. I have chosen to live, so I will do everything I can to stay alive. Even if the steps I must take seem uncomfortable or painful, I will follow through with my commitment.
I will guard against people and situations that threaten my ability to carry out my promise to live. Regardless of how I feel in the moment, I choose to do whatever it takes to stick to my plan of recovery. Doing these things may make me feel uncomfortable, embarrassed, vulnerable, or irritated, but I will do them anyway because I am determined to recover.
I know that to be swayed by my fears could cost me my recovery and my life; therefore, I will go to any length to keep my focus on my recovery. I am willing to stay committed to my plan of recovery no matter how long it takes. I give myself the gift of time. I desire a solid foundation of health on which to build the rest of my life.
If I think my commitment to life is weakening, I will do whatever it takes to strengthen my plan of recovery and preserve my life.
In writing your own recovery contract, think about what you are willing to do for your recovery, and what recovery means for you. What do you need to be reminded of when you are struggling? You can use the Recovery Contract as a way to offer yourself support, encouragement, and motivation, all of which are incredibly important for recovery.