Recovery and Faith in Eating Disorders

Recovery is something you may find yourself thinking about a lot when you are struggling with an eating disorder or if you are caring for someone with one. Maybe it’s something you fear – or something you long for. For sufferers it can be both of these at different times. It may be something that other people talk about or perhaps it is something you are supposed to be working towards in your appointments with doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists, nutritionists, and counsellors or even when talking to friends. But how much do you know about what recovery is – or will be for you or your loved one?

A dictionary definition of recovery explains it as the act, process, duration or an instance of recovering and a return to a normal condition. Something gained or restored in recovery. Therefore it involves a change from bad to better, involving a return to normal eating but above all involving gain not pain!

So for many sufferers and clinicians the aim for recovery from eating disorders focuses on a good physical and psychological restoration with eating and issues of weight and health being well under control. Recovery also involves tasks concerned with lifestyle - getting your life on the move again. Eating disorders are attempts to solve problems so recovery will mean finding alternative ways of solving those problems. In this case, recovery may mean finding other things to be good at and other ways of feeling in control. It may also mean learning not to need to achieve or to feel in control to such a great extent.

So much more

One recovering sufferer explained, “ I thought that I’d have to live with a managed eating disorder, that my eating and weight were under control and life seemed OK despite the lurking feelings of worthlessness, self-dislike and anxiety. Being a Christian I found God wants so much more for me and is able to provide it! There’s a spiritual dimension to recovery and I’m now learning a new, much better way of life - one where God’s love for me (despite my past with all its hurts, my present weaknesses and faults), and my value in His eyes is something I now acknowledge and accept.”

We know that full recovery is possible, but usually it’s a process with forward and backward steps and developing a relationship with God is a life-long process. Connecting with God can have a huge impact for sufferers and many of our members have wonderful testimonies of how God has brought them through their journey to recovery and good caring relationships in church that have supported them through tough times.

For us true recovery involves

* Trusting in God despite circumstances and feelings
* Letting go of the control and learning to give God the control over your life
* Caring about what God thinks of you, not what others think of you
* Knowing you are loved by God for who you are and not what you do
* Knowing your worth in God’s eyes. Scripture tells us!
* Knowing you will never be perfect but made in God’s image, not the media’s image or anyone else’s.
* Turning to God in moments of despair, emptiness and isolation - instead of raiding the fridge or blaming your friends/spouse for not meeting all your needs
* Accepting that whatever the problem, God is the perfect solution
* Making your relationship with God the priority
ABC, 05/02/2009