Eating Disorders

Beginning Recovery: What are You Waiting For?Premium Content

BEGIN

It’s that simple. After all the planning and anticipation, you have to turn the crank the first time.

Without knowing what will happen or where it all will lead, you begin.

I used to think these beginnings should be a big deal, with some sort of grand official sendoff. Simply starting seemed anti-climatic.

Now, though, I sort of like it. I like the notion that you start by starting. It doesn’t require a ceremony or a permit or a “ready-set-go.”

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Honey Bear: Identifying the Idols in Our LivesPremium Content

Most of us wouldn't think twice about a honey bear.

And, likewise, most of us are familiar with the Biblical account of the golden calf the Israelites worshiped, just before Moses arrived with the Ten Commandments (Exodus 32:1-35). Impatient as they were, waiting for the blessings to hit their lives, they concluded if they created their own visible god, they'd be happier and finally have their dreams.

Eh… not so fast…

And that brings me to the innocuous honey bear. At first glance, I'd never view it as an idol. As a child, I remember it was there with the maple syrup and the strawberry jam, sitting on my family's kitchen table. That's all.

But, as I spiraled into my eating disorders, as I reached the paralyzing lows of anorexia and frantic desperation of bulimia, I turned to an off the wall strategy: the honey bear, or more specifically, arts and crafts with the honey bear.

Please bear (pun intended) with me.

As I was struggling with my eating disorders, painful issues and stressors on full blast, I had the idea to distract myself. Yes, that was my answer. If I could just keep myself occupied enough, I'd be okay.

So, after my college classes, I turned to a honey bear I emptied on one of my recent binges. I thought I'd do something creative with it and keep myself busy. I decided to spray paint the bear gold. That's right, gold.

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Managing Change WiselyPremium Content

I recall hearing from a wise mentor once that, the definition of insanity was... "repeatedly doing the same thing the same way, whilst also expecting a different outcome." Duh! For me, that was also a good definition of stuborness or willfulness. ROTF

C.onscious approach to daily living
H.opeful that the future is bright
A.cceptance of transitory nature of life
N.on-attachment and non-addiction leads to serenity
G.iving control over to a higher power.
E.xpecting only the best.

1. One of the most useful personal management skills today is that of managing personal change. In times of turbulence, many people are feeling scared and frustrated about their lives for a number of reasons.

2. We live in turbulent times no doubt, which makes managing change an important skill in today's age. It takes knowledge and Work to be able to adapt to changes in life so you can stop worrying and start living more of your life.

3. Virginia Satir, a pioneer of family therapy, developed a Model of how individuals experience Change. The Satir Change Model says that as we cope with unexpected or significant Change, we predictably move through four stages: Late Status Quo, Chaos, Practice and Integration, and New Status Quo.

4. A lot of people don't have goals other than working, errands, household chores and relaxing with family and friends. Of course there is nothing wrong with doing these things. If you are perfectly content with the structure and current direction of your Life, then don't Change a thing.

5. It's not enough that we have to deal with the normal Personal changes that we all go through in life, but these days we also have broader issues to contend with such as the global economy, the domestic economy (job loss, company closures), the environment, technology, and changing cultural values.

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Addiction and LazinessPremium Content

Those who have done the most for their recovery have been early, on a daily basis, to pour headway on their desires to remain clean.

He who fritters away the early morning, its opportunities and freshness, in other pursuits than seeking recovery will make poor headway seeking it the rest of the day – especially newcomers whose addiction had been escalating in an alarming manner. If recovery is not first in our thoughts and efforts, we may become sidetracked, by temptation, toward certain failure. Morning listlessness demands listless recovery.

It is not simply the getting up that puts recovery to the front, but it is the ardent desire which stirs and breaks all self-indulgent behaviors. Early morning promotion may also increase your strength to the desire rather than the quenching of it. This strength in the face of laziness and self-indulgence gives rise to our faith, fullness, and gladness during the labor of the day.

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What is Addiction?Premium Content

The term "addiction" is used in many contexts to describe an obsession, compulsion, or excessive physical dependence or psychological dependence, such as: drug addiction, video games, crime, alcoholism, compulsive overeating, problem gambling, computer addiction, pornography, compulsive shopping, workaholism, over exercising, etc.

Addiction severely impacts not only the addicted or dysfunctional person but also everyone who comes in contact with them (loved ones, friends, family, children, co-workers, neighbors, associates, etc.).

Addiction may involve having a dependence on a substance (i.e., alcohol, marijuana, food, prescription or nonprescription drugs) or an activity (i.e., shopping, gambling, hoarding, self-injury, etc.). It can be either a physical (as in the case of most drugs) or psychological (as in the case of most activities) compulsion to use the substance of activity as a way to cope with everyday life, problems and/or circumstances. The dysfunctional person will often have deep seated feelings of guilt and shame which they try to cover up.

Addiction is a habitual behavior that is extremely difficult to control and leads to activities that are designed solely to continue or cover up the addiction itself (e.g., an alcoholic hiding bottles around their home, the drug addict embezzling to support their habit, lashing out in anger blaming others for their own behaviors or consequences of those behaviors).

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Our Incredible Temples (The Challenge of Taking Care of Our Bodies)Premium Content

Scripture tells us we are the Temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 3:16).

With that said, therefore, taking care of our Temple, known as our physical bodies, seems to be one of the greatest challenges. I know it has been for me.

In my book, "Thin Enough: My Spiritual Journey Through the Living Death of an Eating Disorder," I chronicle my struggles through all kinds of dysfunction, disordered eating and harmful mindsets. Eventually I descended into anorexia, bulimia and binge eating, often displaying extreme food restriction and over-exercise behaviors. I saw food and exercise through unhealthy, punishing and dangerous filters and extremes. I either ate nothing or everything; I either did no exercise whatsoever or I punished myself with six grueling hours of it every day. There was no moderation, no healthy approach, just torment, fear, guilt, desperation and hopelessness.

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God: Better Than a Hershey's Bar Premium Content

I love the series "Mad Men." Most of the time, I confound my husband by binge watching episodes of it on Netflix. And I've been especially giddy as I've barreled through season six. I won't spoil plotlines for you, but there was a particular scene in which the Madison Avenue advertising protagonist, Don Draper was pitching to Hershey's. Yes, the Hershey's, the famous chocolate candy bar.

Anyway, in this pitch meeting, Don calls the candy bar "the childhood symbol of love" and the "currency of affection."

Yikes.

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What is Powerlessness?Premium Content

I have been reminded recently that the Christian faith is as offensive and outrageous as it has always been. It is still, as the Apostle Paul put it, a kind of foolishness. That the weakness of the infant Jesus could contain the power at the heart of all of creation is sheer foolishness. That the weakness of the cross could possibly constitute the decisive victory over the forces which oppose God's rule seems preposterous. Indeed, it is rare today to find anyone, either within the Christian community or elsewhere, who speaks in praise of weakness. Our understanding of power has become decidedly unparadoxical. We want our power untainted with anything as undesirable as weakness. We prefer peace through strength and salvation through self-reliance.

A growing critique of the recovery movement makes precisely this point. Stan Katz and Aimee Liu put it this way in their book The Codependency Conspiracy: "relationships that are based on mutual weakness cannot serve as sources of strength or enrichment". This is a remarkable conviction - and one that is quite contrary to my personal experience. But it is a very popular conviction. Recovery through strength is much more appealing than recovery which begins with the appalling weakness of 'admitting powerlessness'.

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Finding a Church to Support Your Recovery Premium Content

Because recovery is a spiritual journey, it will result in spiritual changes as well as emotional and physical ones. That is one reason, among many, why having a supportive faith community during recovery can be crucially important. In addition to the resources of a therapist and/or a support group, having a safe community of people with whom to worship and learn can be a big help.

Finding such a community may not, unfortunately, be easy. It is not difficult to find congregations with a performance orientation and a spirituality rooted in shame. That is not always the case, however, and it's well worth the effort to find a congregation that is at least sympathetic to recovery. There are, of course, no perfect churches out there - just as there are no perfect support groups, perfect therapists or perfect programs. So, give careful thought to what you really need from a church during this time in your life. If you have a supportive group and a therapist, you may not need a congregation to have recovery programming. It may be more important to have a place where you can experience grace-based worship and teaching.

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The Dress We Obsess About (Eating Disorders)Premium Content

Two words can strike fear and unrealistic expectations for many of us ladies out there.

The dress.

It's probably a safe bet to say there has been at least one which has plagued us. It may be that prom dress, eradicating high school awkwardness. It may be the fairytale torture known as the perfect wedding dress, transforming us into the bride to end all brides. It may also be any variety of special occasion dresses: the high school reunion show stopper, the special event evening gown, created to dazzle or the pageant dress, guaranteeing us a tiara.

The dress. The notorious, nail biting, nerve-wrecking, insanity creating dress. Been there? If not, be patient, you probably will be.

There have been a lot of desperate diets and exercise regimes plotted, all in the name of the big dress. We push, pull, cinch, torture, starve and manipulate ourselves into all kinds of predicaments. Like when I was a bridesmaid at my cousin's wedding.

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