This time of the year is particularly challenging for me. I frequently find myself prioritizing activities over my innate human needs. While that’s not necessarily a bad thing, it does make recovery more challenging.
My activity levels have vastly increased, as I’m sure anyone in college will tell you when the semester is in full-swing. Between school, working two-three jobs at a time, social activities, and taking care of my dog, time for myself and time to take care of myself feels limited.
However, taking care of my person is necessary in order to maintain my recovery, and it’s necessary in order to continue living the life that I have designed and love.
As such, accountability has become much more important in my life recently. I’m not the best at holding myself accountable, but I’m great at using resources to achieve a sense of accountability in my recovery. Here’s just a few of those resources that you may also find helpful!
I have two roommates so I try to eat dinner with them at the time that they’re eating. If I can’t make that work, I have friends that I can invite over for meal times. If nobody’s available, I Snapchat my food to a friend who knows to expect those kinds of pictures, so at least I have a virtual meal buddy. Making eating a social experience is always helpful when I need to be more accountable to my food intake.
Believe me, I hate this too. I really dislike tracking what I feel and why I’m feeling it, but it does help when I see my providers once a month. I have a small notebook that just comes with me everywhere, and it enables me to write down how I’m feeling and what I’m thinking at any given time. This also prevents me from forgetting about things I need to discuss in therapy. It’s all bullet point notes and numbers, but I developed a diary system that works for me.
Because I have a lot going on in my life, I try to stick to a significantly planned schedule. In that schedule I note what and where I will be eating, what activities I need to go to, what time I’ll take care of hygiene needs, etc. Taking care of myself is easier for me when I know what to expect and at what time to expect it. This has also helped me a lot with productivity, which has in-turn allowed me to have more time for taking care of myself. An all-around win of a situation!
Support system/support bag
When I first started my recovery journey, I maintained a small bag with a variety of objects inside of it that would support my recovery. It included things like a small journal and pen, meal replacement drinks, a small, soft object, and the numbers for the people in my support system. There’s no shame in needing to return to a coping mechanism after you’ve “grown out” of it. I have a small self-soothing bag in my backpack in case I need food, to make notes about my feelings, comfort, or connection.
For me, holding myself accountable also means writing about it in a publicly-accessible forum. It’s easy to say you’ll work harder to yourself, but it’s much harder to slip if your support system is aware of what’s going on.
I’m still figuring it out, and I will be for a long time; but we can all work to figure out accountability together and support each other, too.