Female hand cutting paper with words. Concept.(a chapter from Telling Ed No! by Cheryl Kerrigan©)

During recovery, there are many moments when an extra lift of encouragement or positive thought is needed. Reaching out to supports is great, but sometimes they are unavailable. In order to keep myself on track and in the right frame of mind, I decided to carry with me words of encouragement so I could pull them out anytime I needed.

I went to some of my favorite websites and printed out some of their affirmations in fun colors. Then I got my index cards, stickers, markers, and tape and went to town by decorating the cards and taping my affirmations to them. Not only was it healing to “absorb” the affirmations while I was working, but the project itself was also relaxing and focused my mind on something positive. Arts and crafts do that for me.

To make sure I had my affirmations around when I needed them, I kept some in my purse, briefcase, car, and at home. Also, since my vehicle takes me everywhere I go,  I decided to outfit it with an affirmation, too—a vanity plate! After much thought about what I wanted to communicate to my psyche and the world, I came up with “BY BY ED.” Then, each time I got in and out of my vehicle, I saw that message—a confirmation of my continued commitment to recovery. I read it with pride in my heart and dedication in my soul.

I also repeated my affirmations out loud every day so I would actually hear my voice speak in a kind and positive way. Before I started this practice, someone suggested that I stand in front of a mirror and say the affirmation while looking at myself. But my struggle with a bad body image posed a challenge. Since I did not want this potentially positive tool to turn into a negative one, I thought long and hard about how I could do this without triggering myself at the same time.

Then it came to me: looking into my eyes was more important than looking at my whole body, because the eyes are the windows to my soul. And a loving connection to my soul was what I was after. I pulled out a small hand mirror and took a peek. Low and behold, I could look deep into my eyes and utter one positive word after another—and it felt good! Like a gift I was giving myself. From that day on, I kept my mirror handy, too.

Here are some of the affirmations I use:

  1. I have faith in my process of recovery.
  2. I am strong. I have the power. I can decide.
  3. One step at a time. That is how I will get where I’m going.
  1. I deserve to recover. I am worth it. I can do it.
  2. Beat Ed!
  3. Food is my friend, not my foe.
  4. Do what it takes.
  5. I am in the right place at the right time doing the right thing.
  1. Believe.
  2. The process is worth the reward.
  3. Live for the moment.
  4. Life is good.
  5. Live life, don’t just merely exist.

Reflections
Surrounding yourself with positive thoughts helps when the negative thoughts arise. What are some of your favorite affirmations? Where can you put them so they are accessible to you when you need them? Try beginning each day with an affirmation in the mirror. A positive thought is a powerful tool in your fight for freedom.

With health, hope and strength,
Cheryl