There Is No Recipe

I’m a very Type A person.  I make to-do lists, I don’t like change, and even though I can’t, I want to control everything and everyone around me.

The subject of this post has come up twice in two days, so I figured it was something I should write about.  I was discussing the recovery process and generally how I had evolved from point A to point B over the years.

As much as I would LOVE for there to be step-by-step directions on how to get to a desired result, there is no recipe.

Growing up, learning about yourself, changing destructive patterns, and so much more all take time. Emotional and mental issues are different for everyone and some people reach certain points at different times. Everyone’s journey is different and what works for one person may have no effect on you whatsoever in yours.

I remember the early days of recovery and struggling with emotions I didn’t even know how to identify. The only feeling I could express was that I was “anxious.” I was a little broken ball of fear and anxiety and unable to identify anything beyond that. I was so uncomfortable in my skin and all I wanted was for those feelings to go away. Years leading up to that point had been easy — for the feelings to go away, I simply ingested whatever I could to accomplish that.

I asked people on numerous occasions “just tell me what to do for ____ to happen.” Over and over again I heard “it just takes time.”

I was (and still am) so frustrated that I couldn’t check things off a bulleted list to achieve a desired result. I just wanted to put all the ingredients in and get some cookies.

So I sat. And waited. And put in the work to recover. Little by little and day by day I started to notice some changes. Some days nothing, but other days I could tell that there was a shift in my thinking.

Here’s what I can say to you if you are struggling with any kind of life change — keep going.

Try things one way and see if they work. If not, change direction. In order to be able to get from point A to point B, you need to pay attention to your own reactions — mentally, physically, and emotionally. See what feels right. Sitting still does not mean being inactive.

Keep a journal. Reflect on things at the end of the day. Learn to listen to yourself and trust your instincts.

It’s tough to keep going when there isn’t a definitive end in sight. Do the best you can each day and one day you’ll wake up and things will just click. You’ll realize you made it to your destination even though you can’t exactly figure out which paths were the ones that led you there.

Thanks to Amanda for letting me think out loud today on this wonderfully abstract post. 🙂



  1. March 30, 2017 / 5:38 am

    There can’t be a recipe for something that is so individual and personal. There can be a framework that can help guide you when you feel lost, but ultimately, you have to pick and choose the spices that work best for you situation.
    Susie @ Suzlyfe recently posted…Ten Things Thursday (and A Freaking Happy Birthday)My Profile

  2. KAN
    March 30, 2017 / 7:00 am

    Like the sayings “If you’re going through hell keep going” and “you have to go through hell to get to heaven” I suppose. But so much easier said than done to add another cliche!

    • erinsinsidejob
      April 1, 2017 / 4:19 pm

      Absolutely. But sometimes they’re actually really spot on! Haha

  3. March 30, 2017 / 7:05 am

    Agreed. I like being told “just do this” if I’m unsure of myself, but only YOU can make the changes you need and truly become who you want to be. No amount of advice can make that happen if you don’t choose your own path.
    Maybe this is why I prefer baking to cooking – I have to follow the recipe to a T. 😉
    Catherine @ A Cup of Catherine recently posted…I Think I Might Be Over Group FitnessMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      April 1, 2017 / 4:19 pm

      Omg me too. Let me bake all day

  4. March 30, 2017 / 7:25 am

    Yes, girl! Being willing to try new things, adapt and keep pushing through is huge. As a Type A that likes to-do lists and making plans and checking things off, for so long I wanted the ‘secret sauce’. It’s hard to not have a recipe, but I think I’ve grown the most by realizing there isn’t a recipe!

    • erinsinsidejob
      April 1, 2017 / 4:20 pm

      It was hard for me to accept bc it was so nebulous but it’s definitely been so important to do so!

  5. March 30, 2017 / 7:59 am

    Holy crap amen to all of this. Could NOT agree more. Literally just wrote a post about all the things I’ve learned getting to a balanced and happy spot and I touched on all of these too. I searched SO long for a perfect recipe to repair my relationship wth food and exercise and in the meantime I was trying many things and making ‘errors’ when in fact all of those mistakes is what led me to where I am today 🙂
    Carrie this fit chick recently posted…4 Lessons I’ve Learned Throughout My Fitness JourneyMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      April 1, 2017 / 4:20 pm

      Oh good I’ll have to check it out!

  6. March 30, 2017 / 9:05 am

    Agree 100%. My mantra has been keep movin’ forward for nearly 6 years now, and it’s gotten me through some very tough times.

  7. March 30, 2017 / 12:33 pm

    I love this and I think it applies to so many aspects of life whether it be health, fitness, mental awareness, etc. The only right recipe is the one you create for yourself.
    Megan @ Skinny Fitalicious recently posted…This Is Life 2My Profile

  8. March 30, 2017 / 4:59 pm

    “just tell me what to do for ____ to happen” FOR REAL. I remember going through my divorce/separation and wishing there was a handbook for it because all I wanted was to feel normal again.
    Ange // Cowgirl Runs recently posted…‘Bye March! My Recap of March GoalsMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      April 1, 2017 / 4:21 pm

      I know man. It’s so tough to just keep going forward but not know exactly what’s going to make you feel normal again.

  9. March 30, 2017 / 6:15 pm

    Sigh… You are so right. Every time I try to be like a robot or mechanical about it, it gets all messed up. I’ve realized it really is such an organic, natural growth that has a lot of squiggly lines, lots of mess, and lots of God’s grace in my life.
    Emily recently posted…How Meditation On Scriptural Truths Has Helped My RecoveryMy Profile

  10. Tammi Lewis
    March 30, 2017 / 9:25 pm

    Well said. I do my best to get my clients to understand this everyday. You can’t rush recovery it’s much slower process than active addiction. Good post.

    • erinsinsidejob
      April 1, 2017 / 4:21 pm

      Thanks tammi!

  11. March 31, 2017 / 10:00 am

    Change is tough for me. I am a type A person too. There isn’t a recipe for change. I always tell myself to just embrace it and go with the flow!

  12. March 31, 2017 / 10:42 am

    Again, absolutely spot on. It takes so, so much patience. I wonder, when you write about only ever being able to title your feelings as “anxiety,” do you know what it was you may have actually been feeling? As i am currently doing everything you write about here, i find myself always feeling things i cannot put a label on.

    • erinsinsidejob
      April 1, 2017 / 4:25 pm

      It may sound silly, but those posters w different faces defining different emotions were actually very helpful. Or if you google “emotion wheel” it’s a great illustration of how there can be so many subtle emotions stemming from a few broad ones. That helped a lot.

  13. March 31, 2017 / 3:03 pm

    I definitly like to control the process: map out steps from A to B and then check off the steps. I have learned that this thing called life just isn’t like that and that we have to be adaptable. So continue on, friend, change up the recipe, add in your own special ingredients!

    • erinsinsidejob
      April 1, 2017 / 4:26 pm

      Ooh I like that!

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