A Special Note from Our Chaplain: Life Gets Better With Recovery

If you’ve ever cleaned out a closet or reorganized your kitchen cabinets or (worst of all) packed for a move, then you’ve no doubt experienced the truth of this little maxim: It gets worse before it gets better.

It gets worse before it gets better because all of the stuff that used to be contained behind closed doors or in drawers or stashed away in the attic is now out in full view. Stuff you use every day. Stuff you hadn’t looked at or thought about in years. Stuff you kind of knew was there but didn’t really want to deal with. And now, because it’s been brought out into the open, you’ve got to figure out what to do with it. Keep it? Throw it away? Give it to someone else? Find some new use for it? Making all of those decisions can be exhausting. And inevitably there are piles and messes as you sort through everything. Eventually you’ll get through it all, get everything where it needs to go, and end up with a pristinely organized closet or kitchen or house. But until then, it’s a mess. It gets worse before it gets better.

Recovering from an eating disorder can feel similar. As we journey into recovery, lots of thoughts and feelings, questions and memories start to emerge—the emotional “stuff” that we had stashed away or covered up with food and disordered eating behaviors. And sorting through all of that stuff is hard. Really hard. We have to decide what to do with it all: what of those things we’ve always thought or felt is actually true, and what isn’t? What patterns of behavior are worth keeping—and what do we want to get rid of for good? Which people in our lives are supportive of our recovery and freedom, and which relationships do we need change or end? Working through all of these questions (and others) is difficult and exhausting. Sometimes it even feels more difficult and exhausting than the eating disorder did. In the journey through recovery, sometimes it feels like it gets worse before it gets better.

There’s good news, though—and that good news is why Rock Recovery exists. The good news is that it actually does get better. We really can sort out all of that emotional stuff, hang on to what is good, and get rid of what we don’t need. We really can enjoy the lasting freedom of recovery. It can be hard for a long time—but it gets better.

And there’s more. The good news is also that it’s in community that it gets better. Whether that’s experienced in the support a fellow client offers in treatment group, the patient understanding a friend offers someone who’s struggling, or the prayer and financial support that you offer Rock Recovery—it’s in honest and caring community that it gets better.

And finally, the good news is that God helps it get better. God doesn’t leave us on our own in the recovery journey; he doesn’t come in, look at the mess of our emotional “stuff,” and tell us to call when we’ve gotten it all put away. God promises to walk with us through all of it, and God is far more committed to its getting better—to our getting better—than we ever could be.

For those struggling with disordered eating, sometimes recovery feels like everything is just getting worse. But it does get better. It gets better in community. And God helps it get better. That’s good news indeed.

Client Spotlight: Pasta & The Power of Recovery

unnamedRecovery is a journey, one that may begin with a single step but requires many more.  There are steps backwards, hours spent standing perfectly still, and days on your knees praying for the strength not to simply give up and lie down.  In the span of that time, for me there are two moments that define my journey.

The first moment occurred on February 14, 2009.  I had begun treatment for anorexia the week before and my then boyfriend, now husband, had come down to visit and celebrate Valentine’s Day.  We arrived at the Italian restaurant where I had made a reservation for a romantic dinner.  What they hadn’t told me when I made the reservation was that they were serving a fixed, four course menu for the holiday.  I still remember sitting at the table, sobbing over my salad as my husband held my hand and reassured me that the two following courses would be okay.  We would get through this together.  He meant the meal, but the same was true of the work in recovery that had to occur over the next few years.

Between that moment, when what should have been a lovely night turned into a catastrophe, and this, where I consider myself fully recovered, are countless hours of therapy, many more tears shed over dozens of plates, months and even years spent “in recovery.”  I had never learned how to enjoy food or how to eat to fuel my body to go through life.  One of the most powerful experiences in my recovery was attending group meals at Rock Recovery.  Eating in community was a new experience; learning the things food could do to make my body strong and healthy was a revelation.

I don’t know the date or time when I crossed from “in recovery” to “recovered” but I do know what it means to be recovered.  It means that instead of crying over a salad, my husband and I sit down one night to gleefully watch a cooking show.  We see a recipe that captivates us and decide to try our own hand at it.  That weekend we spend hours talking about our future and our dreams as we fold small ravioli.  Then we sit and smile at each other as we devour the delicious fruits of our labor, hearts untinged by old fears and full only of joy and gratitude.

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