Surfacing After Silence

Life. After.

Faith, part 2


The_Silence_by_ilsilenzio So I think I’m already jumping in on Faith, part II.  If you are not familiar with the layout here, just click on faith to get to Faith, part 1.  (It’s the previous entry.) (And please feel free to comment here and not just on Facebook!)

When I think of my faith and my spirituality, I think of silence and being alone.  Not in a negative way, as in isolationism and not hearing anything from God.  I mean that depending on who you are and how well you know me and the social context, I’m not going to talk about my personal faith.  I’ll answer questions if you ask.  But it’s a very private thing for me.

I was very active in the Christian Fellowship Group at my undergraduate school.  It was the first time such a significant group people my age gathered together for study and worship because they wanted to be there and not because their parents made them.  That group gave me a lot support and as close to unconditional love as is possible from humans.  They knew about my hospitalizations, wrote me letters while I was away, and always–even the new people who had shown up while I was away–welcomed me back with open arms and no questions asked.

But there’s been this discussion going on on Facebook lately, about faith-based treatment centers.  I am all for treatment centers that incorporate your spirituality into your recovery process.  If you are a spiritual person, then that needs to be addressed. An eating disorder affects every part of a person.  And a person may be able to draw strength from their spirituality during a difficult day or meal.  And treatment may be a place where a person can explore their beliefs and strengthen them.  (I believe this can happen in any treatment center, by the way.)

What I don’t appreciate is someone telling me that I need to go to a faith based program in order to heal.  That going to an inpatient facility or a program with a spiritual component will not allow me to recover.  When I was looking into treatment when I was 24-ish (?), I was told by one treatment center that God was the only to healing my eating disorder.

Really?  Then why didn’t I just go to church more?  Why didn’t I have my congregation do a healing ceremony for me?  The messages I came away (from that particular treatment center) were:

Wasn’t I praying hard enough?  Didn’t I believe enough?  Was my faith not good enough?

If these things were true, God must have it out for young men and women and eating disorders and addictions and self-harm must all be a test of our faiths.  And I don’t, or can’t, believe in a God who would do that to a twelve-year-old girl.

I believe God has a part in healing.  If you have a relationship with God–whatever God is to you, however you define God–then you need to address that relationship during recovery, just as you would any relationship that has been harmed by the eating disorders or self-harm or addictions.  How you go about that will be different for every person.

For me, accepting healing from God did not mean that he was going to “heal me” and take away the eating disorder.  It meant that he was going to stand with me and help me as I did a lot of really difficult and painful work.

And I think now that the main storms have raged, I need to take a seat on the bench and reflect.  Where I came from, where I’m at now, and where I want to be and how my God has been involved and will be involved through all of it.

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September 22, 2009 - Posted by | coping, Eating Disorders, faith, identity, recovery, self harm | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. First I do belive that God can heal anything. But that doesn’t mean that God will heal every thing. I think that God also has total love for us and we can not understand every thing, that is God’s job not ours. Why we go through pain, sickness, suffering? I don’t know.

    That said I’m totaly with you on the treatment side. You need to use those treatments, going to church or just praying a little harder will not just make it all go away. Is it a good idea, I don’t think it can hurt (unless someone tell’s you you are just not praying hard enough). I let my ED destroy my relationship’s with my church (and everyone else). The isolation was of great importance to ED. Starting to go back and remember why I went, fellowship, a sense of belonging, peace, learning and growing, helping others, these are things that I set aside to live with ED. I’d like to get them back now.

    Thanks for your post it has made me think more about myself and my faith.

    Comment by David | September 22, 2009 | Reply


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