Tag Archive | commitment

Faithfully His

As I think back to how I managed the last long, hard stretch of recovery, I know that what did it for me was my faith. It doesn’t matter if you’re in recovery from an eating disorder like I was, or if your addiction is alcohol, drugs, sex, pornography, gambling, or something else. What I learned is that, with my strong-hold, I had to submit myself to a higher power, and realize that I could not do it all myself – I needed to seek strength from God. In doing so, my recovery took a turn, and I had the strength to get through times that felt unbearable. No longer did I need to find my own strength to endure because I had His. Through recovery, I learned that I am Faithfully His.

God has given his Word to learn from and enjoy. To refresh us. To call out the desire for relationship with Him that He’s planted deep within our souls. To speak to our hearts. To show us who He is. To awaken us to our failings, but then to draw us toward the restorative, redemptive blessings.

His Word is not a chore. It’s life. It’s love. It’s the living truth. It’s not just to read. It’s to be absorbed. To bathe in. To breathe in. To live by. To inspire us, to reshape us. To define us. That’s because it’s alive. It’s not a book written with historical data for your information but animated by His Spirit for your edification – to speak intimately and personally to you regarding His purposes for your life.

The Word is there to help us keep our way, and without it we can lose our strength. In a world inundated with ideas to the contrary, it is our constant reminder of who we really are, why we are here, and who we really belong to.

You are His, and His Word helps to keep your sure of that. Just as she stated, here is a lengthy list of affirmation statements created by Priscila Shirer from her book The Resolution for Women, taken directly from the Word of the living God. They’re not direct quotes, but they recast the theme of the referenced verse so you can declare it in first person.

As you audibly speak these biblical statements over your life (or your loved ones) your mind will be renewed, your faith will be strengthened, and your attitude will be transformed. “Faith come from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the message about Christ.”

prayer_3

This lengthy list doesn’t have to be read or spoken all at once, but it’s there if you need something fast and short to speak aloud to get through difficult moments. (I actually wrote scriptures on note cards, put them on a key ring, and kept them in my purse for easy access).

Without further ado: 

  • I love the Lord my God with my whole heart, soul, and mind (Mark 12:30)
  • I walk by faith not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7)
  • The Lord is on my side; I will not fear what man can do to me (Psalm 118:6)
  • I am competent not in my own abilities but he has made me competent by His spirit that gives me life (2 Corinthians 3: 5-6)
  • I abide in Christ, He abides in me and I bear much fruit. Apart from Him, I can do nothing (John 15:5)
  • I have the mind of Christ; therefore I act in a way that is consistent with His actions (1 Corinthians 2:16)
  • You will never leave me nor for sake me (Hebrews 13:5)
  • I do not look with disdain upon my weaknesses. I see them as opportunities for God to display his powerful strength and grace through me (2 Corinthians 12:10)
  • No weapon formed against me can prosper, and every tongue that rises up against me in judgment will be condemned (Isaiah 54:17)
  • I will be hospitable without complaint (1 Peter 4:9)
  • I will not use my tongue to speak cursing, but rather I will speak life-giving blessings to everyone I meet any and every situation I face (James 3:8-10)
  • The Spirit in dwells me; therefore I am the temple of the living God (2 Corinthians 6:16)
  • I am faithful over a few things, and I will be made ruler over many (Matthew 25:23)
  • I humbly submit to God, and actively resist the work of the devil, knowing he must flee from me (James 4:7)
  • I will not give the enemy opportunity or foothold in my life (Ephesians 4:27)
  • The One who is in me is greater than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4)
  • I choose to obey the Lord and receive the prosperous abundance and blessing He will bestow on me (Deuteronomy 30:8-9)
  • My heart keeps the Commandments of God. They will add length of days and peace to my life (Proverbs 3:2)
  • I walk by the Spirit and do not fulfill the desires of my flesh (Galatians 5:16)
  • I am enabled to exhibit the fruit of the spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23)
  • The Lord guards my going out and my coming in, today and forever (Psalm 121:8)
  • I rejoice in the Lord wheter circumstances are good or bad (Phillipians 4:4)
  • I will not be afraid when I lie down and my sleep shall be sweet (Proverbs 3: 24)
  • I obtain the favor of the Lord (Proverbs 12:2)
  • The Lord is in my midst, and He sings over me with joy (Zephaniah 3:17)
  • I am the apple of my Father’s eye (Deuteronomy 32:10)
  • Goodness and mercy will follow me not only today but all the days of my life (Psalm 23:6)
  • I have been made in the image and likeness of God himself. This is my heritage (Genesis 1:27)
  • I have not been given the spirit of this world, rather, I have the Spirit of God that I might know the mind and will of God for me (1 Corinthians 1:12)
  • I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ (Romans 1:16)
  • My steps have been ordained and ordered by the Lord (Psalm 37:23)
  • I only allow my mind to entertain what is honorable, right, pure, lovely, noble, excellent, and worthy of praise (Philippians 4:8)
  • I long for the pure milk of the Word that I may grow to spiritual maturity (1Peter 2:2)
  • I seek peace and pursue it (Psalm 34:14)
  • I am a necessary and useful part of the body of Christ, and I will use my spiritual gifts to edify others (1 Corinthians 12:7)
  • Faith, hope, and love -especially love- abide in me (1 Corinthians 13:13)
  • I am the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:21)
  • I have been given victory in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 15:57)
  • I am meek, and I will inherit the earth (Matthew 5:5)
  • I extend mercy to others, and I will in turn receive mercy (Matthew 5:7)
  • I have a pure heart before God, and I expect to see His manifest presence in my life (Matthew 5:8)
  • I discipline myself for the purpose of godliness since it holds promise for the present life as well as the life to come (1 Timothy 4:8)
  • My ambition is to be pleasing to Him and him alone (2 Corinthians 5:9)
  • I do not judge fellow believers so that I will not bring judgment on myself (Romans 2:1)
  • My priority is to seek first the kingdom of God’s righteousness, and I expect all needed, secondary things to be added onto me (Matthew 6:33)
  • I am a true worshiper I worship in spirit and in truth (John 4:23)
  • I do not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God (Deuteronomy 8:3)
  • Rivers of living water flow out of my inner being (John 7:38)
  • I have been chosen by God to bring forth fruit that shall remain (John 15:16)
  • I am a brand-new person my old sin nature has passed away, and everything has become new (2 Corinthians 5:17)
  • No matter my past, I am forgiven of my sins because of His grace upon me (Ephesians 1:7)
  • I have been given every spiritual blessing in heavenly places (Ephesians 1:3)
  • Because he was wounded, I am healed (Isaiah 53:5)
  • In Christ, I am whole and complete, lacking nothing (James 1:4)
  • Whatever I ask for in prayer according to the fathers will, I believe that I have received it (Mark 11:24)
  • I am part of a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation. I am one of God’s own people (1 Peter 2:9)
  • I will not be afraid because I know the spirit of fear is not from Him. He has given me the spirit of power, love and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7)
  • I am not a stranger to God. I am a citizen of God’s kingdom and a member of his household (Ephesians 2:19)
  • I have been sealed by the Holy Spirit who indwells me. He is a pledge from the Father of my coming inheritance (Ephesians 1:13–14)
  • I am a masterpiece created in Christ Jesus in order to walk in the good works He has prepared for me to do (Ephesians 2:10)
  • For freedom I have been made free. I walk daily in this gift of freedom (Galatians 5:1)
  • I am dead to the power of sin (Romans 6:11)
  • I have been raised with Christ, and I sit with him in heavenly places (Ephesians 2:6)
  • I am the salt of the earth and the light of the world (Matthew 5:13–14)
  • I will not fear because the Lord is my light, my salvation, and the strength of my life (Psalm 27:1)
  • The joy of the Lord is my strength (Nehemiah 8:10)
  • I trust completely in the Lord; therefore I will be like a fruit-bearing tree that continually finds nourishment despite dry, parched weather (Jeremiah 17:7–8)
  • No good thing will the Lord withhold from me as I walk uprightly before Him (Psalm 84:11)
  • Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior, and I will do the worlds that He did (John 14:12)
  • In Christ I have become a child of God, and I receive the blessings God has for me(John 1:2; Romans 16:17)
  • In Christ, God has chosen me as His own and made me strong. He has placed His mark on me. He has placed His Spirit in my heart as a guarantee for all he has promised (2 Corinthians 1:21– 22)
  • I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13)

believe

Today God invites you to live a life marked by faithfulness. By his Spirit and with the guidance and encouragement of His Word, this is an absolutely attainable goal for you. No matter what your past has held, this resolution can mark a new beginning. Read the resolution prayerfully and hold it in your heart when you are ready. You are Faithfully His.

Body Respect

What if you’re not ready to love your body?

I tried to think back, and I don’t know when I stopped glancing at my body in the glass as I passed by windows, but I know it has happened somewhere between when I didn’t like my body, and now, when I accept and like it. As I thought back to how I am now able to not check out my size in the glass as I pass, I think that middle ground that I learned to find was a neutral relationship of respect with my body.

body     keep-calm-and-love-your-body      beautiful

While “Love Your Body” mantras and “Everyone Is Beautiful” Band-Aids are wielded by people with their hearts in the right places, it puts a lot of undue pressure on people when we provide a “what” without the “how.” Sometimes it seems like we expect them to miraculously jump from hatred to unconditional love in a single bound. While I’m all for a world where people of all shapes, sizes flaunt their stuff, while dripping with self-confidence, I also think it’s an unfair expectation to say, “just love your body,” because it isn’t that easy.

As I started the journey of turning away from hating my body, and leaning more toward respecting my body, I found that I constantly asked my psychologist, How am I supposed to love my body? What if I never love my body? ” It really felt like this journey of loving and accepting my body was supposed to happen in some large catapult. This is not the case! Accepting your body comes with intentional work over time, and you just have to take baby steps. I found that as I started respecting it for what it could do, I began to find neutral ground that we (my body and my thoughts) could stand on….. Essentially, I started to actually feel the respect my body, and not just say it. It’s definitely NOT a catapult from one place to the other!

catapult

Body respect might look like waking up in the morning and asking yourself, first thing, simply, “How do I feel in my body?” It’s figuring out what you need to feel good in that moment – whether it’s oatmeal for breakfast, a few more minutes of sleep, or an extra cup of coffee. When you respect your body you are assessing how you feel in it, and doing something to make it more positive. That can be jazzing up your outfit with a fun scarf, or deciding you feel so tired, it’s a flat shoe kind of day. It is also intentionally choosing clothing that fits appropriately as to not make you feel bad throughout the day – sometimes, for me, it just was not a dress kind of day because I didn’t want the distraction of my thighs touching, so I would reach for the pants in the closet, and find a way to spice that up and enjoy what I was wearing with cute shoes and a scarf. As time went on, I wore the dresses a little here and there and now I love them. I worked to not be defeated by wearing pants, it was just where I was at that day. I

Body respect is neither scrutinizing your body, nor necessarily admiring yourself, but finding a way to respect the body you have right now (especially for what it does for you). It’s self-talk that is positive because you know someday you will accept your body. It’s going to the gym because you want to feel healthier and more energized, not because you feel guilty and like you have to work out because you had cake at a work party. It’s eating all the necessary calories because you know your body is a complex system that wants to run efficiently. It’s not thinking twice about that craving you have for a grande Mocha Latte because it is neither a source of shame (“If I get it, I’ll get a non-fat, no-whip tall”) nor pride (“Let me post this on instagram so everyone knows how not worried about food I am!”). It’s simply satisfying a craving.

Body respect is putting it on a blank slate each day. It’s saying, “I respect my body enough for all the functions it does for me each day, and I will keep respecting it.” It’s no longer waging war, yet not necessarily having to say, “I love you and you are my best friend!” It’s also the ability to wait, and allow for that growth of acceptance to happen (and with work and patience, it will). It’s being fair enough to say, “I might not love you right now, but I respect all that you do for me and what you need.”

Body respect really is a form body acceptance. It’s a stop on the train to body love. You can get off there or stay on for the ride toward the final destination. The point is, once you’re there, you’ll never look back and long for the place that you left.

And maybe…. Just maybe…. if we teach people body respect, and how to inch toward body love, rather than implying that the only way there is a catapult — they’ll (more comfortably, daringly, courageously) feel empowered to leave their body hate behind.

Strong(her)

I have been thinking back on the years of therapy, and looking at how far I’ve come, as I patiently wait to completely finish and I thought about how much shame and embarrassment I felt for even having an eating disorder. I wanted to hide this disease from everyone and if people found out I was terrified they would judge me. I can’t say I’m one who broadcasts it to the world, but I can say that I no longer feel shame for saying an eating disorder was a part of my life. I no longer feel shame or embarrassment attached to the idea.

I think we live in a world where eating disorders are seen as something that is vain, and many people don’t understand them, but we also live in a world where the stigma of mental illness is losing the grip it once had. In this information age, people are realizing more and more that illnesses like depression isn’t just something that people can “get over” and smile through, and eating disorders aren’t about beauty and food.

So, what if you looked at the eating disorder through a different lens –  How would you view yourself?

Think about.

What if you saw it as something that wasn’t so shameful, or embarrassing? What if it was just something that you needed for a time period? What if it was something that you turned to for help for a period of time because you didn’t know what else to do? Would you cut yourself a break? What if it was just a coping mechanism, or a survival mechanism, to get you through a terrible life situation, or to help you deal with something that was so traumatic or difficult? You know, like a survival skill you learned.

How would you view yourself now?

Would you view yourself as having a shameful flaw, or would you view yourself as being strong for figuring out how to survive? Given the situation that you were in, you found a way to manage (Don’t get me wrong – it’s not a healthy way to manage, but you found a coping skill when you had none, even if it was an unhealthy coping skill – and you didn’t end your life). When things were so hard to deal with, you found a way to handle what you were going through… you were able to say, “It’s okay, I’m going to do ______ and I’m going to be okay.” You made an attempt to “be okay.” You wanted to be okay. You fought to be okay when you felt like you had nothing else. Doesn’t that make you strong?

Think about it.

What does it say about you going into recovery? It says that you no longer need the eating disorder because it no longer serves a purpose in your life. You are willing to accept help and change. You’re now even stronger than you were before because you are willing to learn new and healthier ways to cope with life. Maybe it did serve a purpose for some time, but now you realize that it no longer does what it used to do for you. You’re stronger because you can see that these disorders kill.

Sure, it was a maladaptive coping skill, but that maladaptive coping skill saved your life for a period of time. It kept you fighting through a difficult situation – whatever it might have been. Now you’re learning new coping skills; healthy ones. You don’t need the eating disorder because you don’t have to do it on your own anymore. You are stronger because you are willing to save your own life now – you don’t need the disorder to do it for you.You don’t have to figure it out on your own anymore because you have support.

Think about it.

You’re eating disorder doesn’t make you weak… It makes you strong because you thought to hold on and find a way to “be okay” in a dysfunctional situation you might have been in. You did what you had to do to get through, but now you don’t need that survival skill anymore. You were strong by yourself for long enough. Now, in order to stay alive, we have to let go of that maladaptive survival skill we learned because it doesn’t fit in our lives anymore. Each day you are even stronger because you are learning to live without it. Recovery is for the strongest ones.

strong her

Beach Bodies

I should be doing school work, or going out for a run in prep for a 10 miler coming up, but instead I felt the need to write about summer beach bodies! 🙂

I’m going on vacation to Aruba this Sunday and I couldn’t care less what I look like in my bathing suit because I’ll be reading some books on the beach in between my sangrias and dips in the ocean. I’ve come to accept my athletic build as part of who I am, but that hasn’t come easy. It came with many sessions of my therapist screaming in my face gently reminding me that body mass index, or BMI, is bogus and that it isn’t a real measure of how healthy a person really is.

She may have talked to me two, three, four, ten, twelve times and it may have looked like this by the end:

screaming

Let’s be honest, people! We don’t hear the crap they say the first time they say it!!! 🙂

Just kidding (but she probably looked like that on the inside). BMI did come up a lot, and I’m sure it was exhausting to repeat before it sank in and I could finally “hear” it. I finally had to do my own research and I talked a lot about BMI and how bogus it is in a previous post here.

After many rounds at the doctors, I realized that I will probably always be tipping the scales close to, or in the overweight category simply because I have a strong athletic build. I’ve had my fair share of doctors tell me that my glutes are strong and well developed and that my hamstrings and quads are as well (hence why they are always tight and I have issues). Oh the life of a field hockey player with strong legs and glutes!!

legs

OK – Back to our beach bodies!

I came across this image about beach bodies and BMI.

beach body

The illustrations were created from scans of six people in New York, who were all 5 feet 9 inches tall and 172 pounds. This means that though their bodies look very different, they all have exactly the same BMI. At 25.4, technically each of them could be considered overweight. (By the most common definition people with a BMI over 25 are overweight and those with a BMI over 30 are considered obese.)

How is it possible, you say? The simple explanation is that muscle and bone are denser than fat and some people carry more or less weight in their torso or legs.

BMI only considers height and weight, so it won’t consider the athletic guy’s muscle mass sitting on the beach next to the guy with the beer belly weighing the same, who is secretly chugging that beer from a soda can.

Alas, research is starting to catch up! A really boring research article that’s tough to read came out! You can read it here if you have all the time in the world to figure out what all the numbers mean! It is basically suggesting that body fat percentage and body composition are more important indicators of health than weight alone. DUH! It also means that burning calories and losing weight for a beach body isn’t the answer, and that building muscle is also part of a healthy body. woo hoo – I’m on track for health! 🙂

So, as I lay on the beach in my healthy body, wearing my SPF 100 (so I don’t burn), I’ll appreciate that I don’t give a crap about BMI, and that I just laugh in my doctor’s face each time they try to tell me that I’m overweight. I’m still eating my ice cream, doc!

And when they finally do away with BMI, I’ll be the one laughing considering I have done away with it long before! 🙂

laughing

And because everyone needs a laugh mid-week…. this will be me on the beach…. for real!

irish girlThe sad part is, I’m not even kidding… that’s why I buy SPF 100! 🙂 But with that SPF 100, I’ll be gettin’ my tan peach on!

The Frogs In Our Lives

I was in Bible study the other week and we were discussing the plagues God brought down on the Pharaoh until he let Moses and the people of Israel free. We specifically talked about the story of the Pharaoh and the frogs. As we discussed this story I couldn’t help but think about how it relates directly with what we do in life and in recovery.

The Scripture:

9 “You set the time!” Moses replied. “Tell me when you want me to pray for you, your officials, and your people. Then you and your houses will be rid of the frogs. They will remain only in the Nile River.” 10 “Do it tomorrow,” Pharaoh said.  – Exodus 8:9-10

Just try to picture it! There were frogs everywhere. They were in the bed, in the kitchen, in the sitting rooms, in the oven, even mixed in the bread dough. God had said to Pharaoh, through Moses, “If you refuse to let my people go, I will smite all your borders with frogs.” Pharaoh refused to let God’s people go, and now there were frogs everywhere! His pride was too much to believe what this God could do.

Imagine frogs jumping in your bed, clothes, on your lap and even on your body at all times. Everywhere you turn and every door you open is filled with frogs and you can’t get away from them. When you get in bed and pull the covers up, frogs come pouring out! When you open a cupboard door for something to eat, frogs come pouring out! When you try to sit on the toilet, frogs come pouring out!

frogs

Pharaoh could no longer stand it so he called Moses and Moses said to Pharaoh, “I will ask God to take the frogs out of the land, you just tell me when shall God remove the frogs?” And, Pharaoh told Moses, “Wait until tomorrow, give me one more night with the frogs!”

frogs 2

There were millions of big disgusting smelly frogs all over the land of Egypt and, for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out the Pharaoh’s response. There were frogs everywhere –  in the bed, in the food, in all the houses and even in the Egyptian’s clothing. God was ready to remove them all and Pharaoh said, “Wait until tomorrow, give me one more night with the frogs!” This man was nuts! This day in age he could be admitted into a psych ward for observation for responding like that! At first, I thought it was just pride – he was too proud to admit that this mighty God could remove them all and save him from these menacing frogs. I was wrong. This is the picture of an unbeliever who is not only rebellious and proud, but also procrastinating.

frog 4 frog3

(So gross!!!! Can you even imagine being surrounded by these nasty things?)

How it relates to life and recovery:

This made me think about who we are as people in life and recovery. We are famous for the word “tomorrow”. We are famous for saying that what we have to do can be started tomorrow, and we forget that it should be started now. We have frogs, you know. I’m talking about the frogs of troubles, doubt, burdens, suffering, sickness, sorrow, disappointments and heartaches. Frogs of difficulty, grief, strife, confusion and stress; they plague us morning, noon and night. They are constant in our life. We get so caught up and used to the “frogs” that are around us that we are okay with spending another night with them. We say, “eeehh… I’ll spend one more night with them, I’ll take the leap tomorrow because I’m so used to them that I don’t have to change right now”. And maybe the change that has to happen is harder than dealing with the frogs that are there. Can you imagine being a pompous Pharaoh having to admit that this God he denied is real and powerful? The thing is, we don’t have to live with the frogs, and we aren’t supposed to live with the frogs! We are supposed to live a happy and healthy life and waiting to start tomorrow prevents us from doing that! The frogs are menacing and the change that comes with the frogs is typically a type of good or positive change! When you go through something tough, rarely do you say “I learned nothing from that! What a waste of my time!” We usually learn a lot which is why we have the old saying “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”

There are times when we are so focused on the situation in front of us that we don’t ask for help from anyone to help us remove the frogs. When we don’t ask for help, we sit with the frogs when we don’t have to. When we keep the frogs in our lives, we also keep unhappiness and everything else that comes with it.

In regards to recovery, the eating disorder frog is not going to go away overnight, but the longer we say we will start tomorrow, the harder it will be to overcome. This is also true with anything in our lives. The longer we let anything fester, the bigger and uglier it can become. If it’s dealt with right away, it has a better change of healing and healing fast. The more we put anything off, the more painful the process becomes.

Do any of these statements sound familiar, or are they close to other statements you’ve made?

“I know I should. I’m planning to do it sometime. Maybe I will do it tomorrow.”

“I’ll get to it.”

“I don’t feel like it right now. It will get done eventually.”

“I’ll start going to church tomorrow.”

“I’ll start recovery tomorrow.”  Or “I’ll get back on my meal plan tomorrow.”    (or any variation of that)

“I’ll start working out to eat healthy tomorrow.”

“I’ll start fixing my relationships with people tomorrow.”

“I’ll clean up tomorrow.”

“I’ll start looking for a new job tomorrow.”

“My legs are sore, I’ll stop running and take some rest days tomorrow.”

“I haven’t seen my family much, I’ll work less starting tomorrow.”

“I’ll call the bank/credit company and work out the problems tomorrow.”

The problem with “tomorrow” is that tomorrow may never come. When we keep putting things off, we only waste time and potentially hurt ourselves and those around us. When we continually live with the frogs around us we sacrifice happiness and living a fulfilled life.

We all have frogs!

I noticed that I had this problem with the frogs for a while. I continually made excuses about why I couldn’t make weekly meal plans and always said I’d get to it next week. I realized that I never really got to it next week. I continually got comfortable in my lack of structure with dinner plans. I finally got to the point where I had to just do it! I had to sit down and force myself to make a weekly dinner plan to take away the cluster and confusion of deciding what to eat each night. This frog would have me frustrated when I couldn’t decide what to eat after a long day and it would leave me irritated. It wasn’t worth the moments of frustration when all I had to do was stop procrastinating.

Procrastination and putting off what has to be done leads to stress and worry (and we all have enough of that in our lives). We give up peace of mind and happiness when we do that. For many years I made excuses and said I wasn’t sick enough to get help and that I would get help if it got worse, but I just never did get help. My “tomorrow” had to be when I was near rock bottom. I could have saved myself a lot of trouble and frustration if I would have just stopped putting it off for tomorrow.

We don’t have to live in these situations, or with these frogs all around us. We can make the choice to fix it today. God wants us to be happy and live a fulfilled life of abundance and it’s very hard to do that when we are stuck in, or focused on, the situation in front of us. Getting too comfortable with where you are, and what you are dealing with, can lead to being okay with the frogs in your life. God wants to get rid of your frogs and to help make you happy! I hope you’re able to strive for more because life without the frogs is so much better! (so is being recovered!)

If you’re putting off calling for help for your eating disorder, food issues, or any other problem, do a quick google search for a therapy office near you and schedule an appointment. Take the first step toward happiness and getting rid of the frogs in your life! You deserve happiness!

happy happy2 happy3

The Things Recovery Strong People Do

I read a great article called 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do. It was eye-opening and made me mindful of many of the attributes that I work for. I was pleased to see that I’m headed in the right direction. It made me think back on recovery and how I got where I am. I sometimes wonder how I came out ahead of the crowd and why I’m not making round-after-round in treatment facilities.

I started reflecting on the things that Recovery Strong people do. I have a few  friends who are very strong in recovery and hope to be recovered some day. Some others from programs I’ve been in are not as strong. As I look back at the attributes of these people, I thought of some short ideas about what it took for me (and some of these other people) to get “recovery strong”. Here are some things I thought about regarding The Things Recovery Strong People Do:

  1. They set goals and hold their self accountable to them. People who are focused on getting better and really getting rid of the disorder set goals and have people hold them accountable. This is not fun at times. There were times when I emailed everything I ate to my dietitian EVERY DAY! It was what I had to do to stay accountable to my meal plan. Sometimes we just can’t do it on our own and that’s okay.
  1. They cut ties from the sick. Some people don’t get better and that is sad. Some people don’t want to get better and they want you to stay sick with them and that is even worse. Recovery is your journey and not for anyone else! The best thing I ever did was cut ties with EVERY SINGLE PERSON who had an eating disorder! I did it for a long period of time and I only focused on me. It was the best part of my recovery. I didn’t have to see everyone’s sob messages on facebook about how hard it is to eat, or their text messages about how they need support. It was all about ME and how I was going to survive on my own. Let’s be honest, some people are downers… and they can bring you down and trigger you. Cutting ties from the sick ones is the best way to ensure that you stay on track. You aren’t letting them down if you focus only on your health. You don’t owe them anything.
  1. They surround their self with only positive. Everything that came into my life was only positive. It started with posting Operation Beautiful post-its anywhere I could. Every book I read was positive and I did things that made me happy. I worked on my faith and relationship with God and I made sure that negativity was out of my life. I got off of social media, and the news, and I focused on reading only things that would boost my thinking in a positive way: Fun literature, bible study, yoga, positive articles etc.
  1. They stick to their meal plan – no matter what!!!! This is the hardest, but not impossible. For me – it started with a 30 day challenge, and once I hit that it just never stopped. One day I realized it was my 1 year anniversary of never messing up my meal plan! My meal plan became my road map when things were tough. No matter what, that was not an option to mess up. It was a rule that I was not allowed to touch it.
  1. They never lie to their treatment team. What’s the purpose of lying to them? If you’re lying then you really don’t want to get better. I pride myself on the fact that I never lied to them. I had no reason. From day one I wanted out of this. Being open and honest will not get you in trouble, it just shows them where you are and how to help you. Honesty is the only way you can get better. Admitting to restricting will not get you sent to the hospital, it only gets you the support you need.
  1. They admit their actions and take full responsibility. Recovery strong people don’t make excuses. I admitted to everything I did and I owned it. If I skipped meals or over exercised, I said I did it. I admitted that it was wrong and I didn’t try to make excuses. Instead, I tried to figure out why I did it and why it came to that. This path is hard and mistakes will happen – admitting them is the only way to learning. I may have made a mistake by throwing food at my therapist – I admit it… I make no excuses for it… but I did it (I don’t condone throwing food at your therapist – based on my experience it seems they don’t particularly care for it).
  1. They want to learn and are willing to work. Whether it’s about their self, the eating disorder or the world – it doesn’t really matter – they just want to learn more. They have an openness. If you don’t have an openness, you can’t retain what is coming at you. These people have a willingness to work for recovery. They are willing to go to therapy and do the things their therapist asks and not waste time.
  1. They hate the eating disorder more than they need it. The people who have been so strong and fighting at the front of the pack have had the eating disorder for so long that they can’t stand it. They have seen the damage and not longer feel the need to keep it. This isn’t a “superficial” hate that sounds good when you say it to people – this is a hate that makes you cry when you talk about it. A hate that stabs you in the pit of your stomach when you think about it. A hate so strong that you know you can no longer survive WITH it.
  1. They admit when they are struggling or need help. They don’t deny when they are in a tough place or that things are hard. They aren’t afraid to say that they need help and that they can’t do it on their own.
  1. They have a little bit of fight in them that never seems to go away. Even when things are tough and they are tired there is still some fight. When they are weary and worn down and saying they can’t go on, they still find it somewhere.

On Addictions In Our Lives

This is actually an old post that is edited, so if’ you’ve been “around this town” for a while, it might look slightly familiar…. yet different 🙂

Addictions came up this Thanksgiving when I went back home to visit my family. I realized a lot about my family (and myself) and it was a bit of a tough time. I have been struggling as I have been reflecting on the things I saw, learned, and realized about myself/family. I went back to read what I previously wrote and it has actually helped me try put things into perspective.

I was listening to a Joyce Meyer podcast on my way to work and what was said really hit me quite hard. The topic was about emotional healing but the focus was on addiction. It was how addiction changes us and affects us as we are trying to live our life.

When referring to addiction, for me, I’m talking more about the addiction of over exercise and weight loss; anorexia. Addictions come in many forms and manifest in different ways – work, alcohol, sex, drugs, food, exercise etc. just to name a few.

A few small comments about addiction really made so much sense, and it got me thinking. I was well aware about my addiction to exercise/weight loss and what it has done to my life. There really isn’t an addiction that is great or that will do something positive for a person (unless it’s an addiction to your faith). Addictions control a person’s being from the core. When you are addicted to something, it lets go of the person we really are and also lets go of our purpose in life.

When I was obsessed with weight loss at the depths of anorexia, nothing else mattered. My day was focused on when I will work out, how much I will run, what food I will eat and what my estimated weight loss of the day could be. My purpose in everything else was lost. The addiction becomes your only purpose and that purpose is empty. It’s an emptiness in us that is filled quickly by immediate gratification and more emptiness. The different between addictions and things we do (habits) is when we can’t function without thinking about it. When your purpose is based around that addiction, it is something that is no longer positive in your life.

old you

Addiction is obsessing over and worshiping what is comfortable. It’s easy to stay in the same place when we are comfortable (and by “comfortable” I mean we are used to it). It’s difficult to change – anything! But that comfort of “I don’t want to have to do _____ and start over” is dangerous when it is severe enough to stop us from making happy and healthy decisions. It is very easy to fall apart and stay in the addiction, what is hard is working to make the change it and keep it together.

Many of us are ashamed to admit our addictions. The secret of our addiction is what keeps us sick in the moment. We are not able to heal until we are open about it. That’s why AA meetings start with “Hi my name is ______ and I’m an alcoholic.” (I could be totally wrong, but I have had enough therapy that I’m pretty sure that’s the case!) When you can take the power from the secret, you are well on your way to understanding that addiction and not allowing it to be your purpose in life. Exercise, weight loss and anorexia was my “purpose” every day until I was able to look at my psychologist and say that I have a problem, and this is out of control, and this is no longer “an eating thing” that I am controlling. Yes, for QUITE SOME TIME I called my anorexia “an eating thing”…. And I worked so hard to convince her that is just what it was…. I was in control! <insert sarcasm> Truthfully, it was controlling my life. It was controlling my every day. My purpose in life was lost. It was more important than my husband, my poodles, friends, who I was as a teacher and woman of God.

[Admittedly…. I’m addicted to standard poodles and spoiling them as well! 🙂 ]

Sophie, Remmington, Bella

Sophie, Remmington, Bella

 

Often we choose an addiction as a means of survival. It feels like it serves a purpose for quite some time. And, truthfully, I think it does. I think it is a coping skill that is there to keep us trying to work with/deal with/avoid something painful. What is that pain? It’s different for all of us. Trauma, family struggles, emotional struggles etc. That addiction is something that we do in efforts to survive in some way, shape or form. It becomes dangerous when it is a part of us – when it is something that we can’t see ourselves without. When I started running everyone thought it was great and gave encouragement, and understood why I couldn’t meet them because I had to get 10 miles in…. but it quickly moved to something I had to do every night, or there was some sort of despair attached for my failure.

One of the hard things I had to try to figure out is that my addiction to losing weight and exercise was not a reflection of who I was as a person. As I previously stated that my purpose in life was lost (because addiction sucks it out of you), it also makes you believe that you are not worthy of anything. Addiction has an amazing way of making you feel a shame (so deep that you almost feel it physically in your core) for being “bound” to the addiction. Being “bound” or “chained” to an addiction is not a reflection of you as a person. It is a maladaptive coping skill because you don’t know how to deal with things when it gets tough – when you’re scared, anxious, stressed, nervous, depressed etc. It has nothing to do with your worth. Your addiction has absolutely nothing to do with your worth or who you are as a person, it only has to do with how you react to situations in your life. Go back and read that sentence again.

So where do you go when addiction has become such a problem in your life? People love miracles. We want so badly for God to deliver us from whatever struggle we have. Sometimes we want to bypass all of the struggle because it’s so tough. Admittedly, I wanted to bypass everything – I still do at times! This is where patience is key (if you haven’t read my post on patience, it might be purposeful). Each time I try to have patience, but want to move through this process quickly, my psychologist is quick to remind me that the healing is in the learning. I can’t tell you how many times I wanted to be delivered from the pain and struggles of the path of recovery. At times, it sucks eating, gaining weight, adding variety and figuring out if I’m over exercising (and by “at times” I really mean ALWAYS). She has taught me that I can’t make recovery stick until I learn and go through the process. Moving through the process is where the learning and change comes. I can’t fast-forward to being recovered because I’ll never understand the core of this issue. I have found this to also be true in faith. The patience, faith, trust and learning comes in the struggle. God doesn’t give you the struggle, but He does give you the learning in the struggle so there is meaning in the end.

I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. Sometimes we want clear answers, but sometimes we won’t get it. As much as we want to be delivered, there are times when maybe our journey is to just go through (as much as that feels terrible). If we want to move out of the “comfortable” spot, we have to allow ourselves to feel uncomfortable. We have to be willing to disturb the “peace” in our life in order to make the real and true peace happen. Real and true peace is impossible with an addiction. It is impossible when we are bound by something. We can’t live our life by our feelings. If we lived by our feelings we would miss out on so much! If we want find happiness, we have to move from trying to survive….. to working to thrive. I truly believe that is the only way to reach true happiness.