hiding and earnestly seeking.
Five years ago a friend of mine went through a horrible tragedy that she continues to process daily. Once, she went to church seeking comfort and guidance. The experience that she had there gave her the opposite of what she was looking for, as this particular sermon was on a God of the Old Testament that was being described as "vengeful, punishing, loveless, and compassionless." Because of this experience she stopped going to church for comfort.
My eating disorder caused me to seek comfort as well. I attended various, often awful, support groups. Some of these adhered to the 12-steps, which were originally proposed by Alcoholics Anonymous but have since been adopted by many others. Some of the 12-steps recognize a "higher power" that can give strength, which in the beginning, I was not sure I could get behind.
However, in the AA Big Book, there is a chapter called "We Agnostics" that has a passage that says:
"Much to our relief, we discovered we did not need to consider another's conception of God... To us, the Realm of Spirit is broad, roomy, all inclusive: never exclusive or forbidding to those who earnestly seek."
What I love about this, and what was imperative to my recovery, is that I sought. When I committed myself to really recovering, I did not stop seeking until I found something that filled me up the way my eating disorder had; for me that thing was yoga. As an eating disorder recovery coach I believe that there is something out there to help you find what it is that you are seeking as well. However, I also believe that it is a rare occasion where this thing just falls into your lap. And even if it does fall into your lap, it probably won't change your life unless you are willing to journey deeper into it.
What or who is it that makes you feel loved and cared for? What are you doing or who are you with when you are NOT thinking eating disordered thoughts? What or who is it that inspires you and gives you hope, and what advice would they have for you about recovery? What or who is it that makes you want to wake up tomorrow and begin again and again and again forever? Who do YOU have to be to fully recover? What or who is it that makes you believe you are worth something? That life can get easier? That you can be happy? What or who is it that makes you want to become your own higher power so that one day you can become that person for somebody else?
Is it God or Jesus? Is it Krishna, Lakshmi or Kali? Is it your teacher or mentor? Your dog or cat? Your mother? Your husband? Your child? Your mother, husband, or child's spirit? Trees? Birds? The sun or moon? Is it the ocean? Your best friend? Waves? The mountains? The wind? Yourself as a fully healed and thriving human being?
There is something out there for you, or IN you for you, but if you don't seek and if you don't open your senses and your heart and your mind, the chances of you finding it are small.
Do not stop seeking until you find what it is that makes real recovery really possible for you. In times of struggle or times of need, go be with whatever or whoever it is, as much as possible - physically, mentally, in meditation, or in prayer. That is your higher power. And that might be the missing link to helping you heal completely.
Do you need help finding your "higher power"? Take the free Eating Disorder Recovery Archetype Quiz to help give you some ideas.