Everyone has a unique eating disorder recovery journey, which is something that I had to come to terms with earlier in my own recovery journey. I wanted my recovery—particularly my mental, emotional, and spiritual recovery—to be fast.
But it wasn’t.
My physical recovery was fairly quick, but it has taken (not took, but has taken) years for me to recover mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Because my eating disorder took a much bigger toll on my mind, heart, and soul than on my body, honestly.
The Recovery That I Wanted
As I wrote about in Real Recovery: What Eating Disorder Recovery Actually Looks Like, I just wanted to be fixed—cured, healed, restored. I wanted to not hate myself so much for doing normal things like drinking a milkshake or eating a cheeseburger. I felt like I would never be okay with myself. I truly thought that I was going to hate my body forever and that there was no hope for anything better than body loathing.
But the less I worried about when I would be “really” recovered, the more I began to find real recovery.
God didn’t loosen my grip on my body overnight; it took several years. And He’s honestly still loosening my grip.
And your recovery journey—your journey of letting God loosen your grip on what you think your body needs to be—may take several years too. But the only way that He can loosen your grip is if you give Him your hand.
The Recovery That Matters
Don’t feel discouraged, friend. I know how intimidating recovery can feel, especially when you’re comparing your recovery journey to someone else’s. But you don’t need to feel like your recovery journey should look like anyone else’s (because it won’t). It may feel easier or harder, faster or longer, simpler or more complicated.
But despite the differences in our recovery journeys, one thing makes all recovery journeys the same: they all start with small steps.
Maybe you were recently discharged from an eating disorder treatment center or hospital program. Perhaps you’re starting a new meal plan and exercise plan. Maybe you’re starting to talk with a counselor regularly, you’re signing up for an eating disorder recovery support group, or you’re asking family members and friends for prayer. Perhaps you’re committing to not step on the scale for a month or you’re going to let yourself eat a cupcake today or you’re going to purposely skip a workout once a week.
Wherever you’re at in your recovery journey, I want you to know this: these are the small steps that make your recovery real.
The Recovery That We Don’t Do Alone
“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.” (John 15:1-8 NKJV)
Friends, Jesus said it Himself—“without Me you can do nothing” (v. 5). That’s a pretty clear indication that He is the key to finding real recovery. There are certainly practical things that will help us recover, as I discussed above, but without Him, real recovery is impossible. Our hope must be in Him as we take everyday steps in our recovery journeys.