Remember the days of balancing a checkbook? What's a checkbook you might ask? Or better yet, what's a check? Ha. Back in the day, although some still use one, people used to keep record of checks they issued and deposited in a checkbook. Why? Because there was, and still is, a delay from the point a check is issued to the point it clears the bank. So, if someone was issuing and depositing checks, their total balance may not always be accurately reflected in their account depending on whether or not the checks had "cleared" the bank. To prevent being overdrawn people would keep track of the movement of money in and out of their checking account using a checkbook. Now, so long as we don't write checks, our online banking portals, email/text notifications, and overdraft protection do that for us. Balancing a checkbook relies on a simple credit and debit system; if more funds are deposited than withdrawn, then we'll have a positive balance and vice versa.
Imagine, like a bank account, we have an OCD (or anxiety, depression, mental health, etc.) recovery account. Throughout our day we are making deposits and withdrawals from this account in the forms of moving toward or away from recovery. (When you're not sure if you're moving toward or away, see my article on the Two-tail Spike.) Deposits are growing and strengthening our recovery, such as: reading a book on OCD, doing ERP, seeing an OCD therapist, meditating, and taking actions that uplift and enrich our lives. Withdrawals deplete our recovery account, such as: doing compulsions, using drugs or alcohol to sooth the pain, and avoiding people, places, and things that are good for us. (For more information on toward and away moves I'd recommend this video.)
No matter how negative our recovery balance is, we can always get it back in the positive. And the good news is that it doesn't always work with the same value-equivalence system as financial banks. In other words, one dollar doesn't always equal one dollar. Some people with serious mental health struggles have been able to turn things around in a relatively short period of time when they've taken the proper steps. Perhaps this is the equivalent of having $15,000 in credit card debt and the bank offers to clear your debt if you make one lump payment of $5000. :)
The aim here is still similar to having a positive balance in your actual bank account; try to deposit more than you withdraw. If you do make a withdrawal from your recovery account, be kind to yourself, after all, self-punishment is another recovery withdrawal. I suppose this is sort of like compounding interest. :( Be sure to acknowledge and give yourself credit for the deposits you do make. One way of putting this into action is by simply asking ourselves at the end of the day "What did I do for my recovery/health/life/wellness etc. today?"