12 Steps to Full Recovery
Cultivating the Healing State
by Tom Oates Jr. reprinted from
The CFIDS Chronicle, Summer 1995
Here Are 12 Concrete Things that I did every day that allowed me to reach a state that removed the roadblocks from my healing path.
1| Keeping A Journal
I kept a daily journal of what I did and how I felt physically, emotionally and mentally. I recorded my dreams consistently and reviewed them every few months to look for recurring themes, ideas, advice. A journal also helped identify what I had done earlier that caused a relapse. It was always a delayed reaction for me: I would feel better, go out and do something that I thought would help build my strength, and end up deep in the pillow for days after, wondering what happened. The journal sped up the learning curve and helped me to identify energy drains.
2| Categorize Everything In Your Life As Either Stressful Or Helpful
I categorized everything as either a stressor or a helper. I eliminated all toxins from my diet: tobacco, alcohol, caffeine, etc. I also found that it took all of my energy to digest a steak, so I dropped red meat. Dairy products seemed to bring me down so I eliminated them. However, pasta seemed to help, as did fresh juices. Even the air I breathed had to be free of dust and pollen.
3| Eliminate All Negativity
I eliminated all negativity. This one is tricky. By now you probably realize that your energy is the most precious commodity on Earth. Don't allow it to be drained by negative influences. I try not to engage negative people, places, attitudes, ideas or anything fear-based. I eliminated all mass media; it's all the same information. If something is negative (or only trying to sell you soap and cars), it will absolutely not help you to heal your life. I can't emphasize enough how important this is. I spent enough time out of the popular culture that I began to develop an internal dialogue that kept me on my healing path.
4| Read Uplifting Enlightening And Educational Books
I read uplifting books about mind-body health, listened to inspiring tapes and used a dream book that helped me decipher my dreams. The point is to focus on inspirational, positive and hopeful ideas.
5| Surrender To The Moment Through Joyful Creative Activity
When I had 15 minutes of feeling good, I used it to pursue something that I wanted to do, something that seemed to energize me without stressing or taxing my body. At first, I simply walked around the back yard taking photographs of the light on the trees and clouds. Then I began drawing and painting from these images. Then I was able to take one class at the local art college. Then two classes, etc.
6| Engage In Non-Aerobic Stretching Meditation Exercise
I exercised in a non-aerobic way that put me in touch with my body and made me concentrate. I learned a meditation exercise called Tai Kuk, a combination of Tai Chi and Yoga, and went to class when my energy level allowed.
7| Spend Time In Silence And Quiet
I spent time in silence and contemplation. I learned to be alone in silence for long periods of time. I was in a chronic state of ill health for a reason. It was my job to figure out what questions to ask.
8| Ask The Right Questions
I learned to ask the right questions. I spent two years asking self-pitying questions that wasted my energy such as: Why me? What can I take to get well? Will I ever be "normal" again? Finally, I began to ask health-inducing questions like: What are my talents? What do I enjoy doing the most? When these questions were answered, I began to ask: How can I develop my talents? How can I use the energy I have in a constructive and joyful way? After I had these answers, I pursued them the best that I could. It's the "do what you love and the health will follow" approach.
9| Suspend All Judgment Of Self And Others
I tried not to judge anything. Because I had been judged and incorrectly labeled by those who didn't understand this illness, I realized that you never know what people have been through.
10| Forgive Everybody Everything
I learned that you must forgive all, especially yourself. The Earth does not judge us as we tear it up, so don't judge yourself for being ill.
Love all, especially yourself
12| Be Patient And Have Faith