I have a dream….that one day all people will rise up from their eating disorder and find freedom in recovery. Just like Martin Luther King, Jr. had a dream fifty years ago for equality of men, we too can hold dreams and watch them come true.
As you can see through our nation’s history, King’s dream has progressively been coming true. Rights have been passed, laws have been changed and people’s minds have been opened. Thankfully, change has been made. But this change did not happen over night. It required a process, effort and patience.
Recovery from an eating disorder, substance abuse or psychological disorder requires a change. Though change may sound overwhelming or scary; breaking down the specifics of change can bring hope and peace to the process. I have been in recovery for 8 years, which has given me time to examine the process. Walking along the road of recovery has enabled me to find freedom from my eating disorder.
Freedom in recovery is possible.
The first step is awareness; being aware of where you are at, whether you’re in a disorder, working through it, or exploring recovery. Stay mindful of where you are, today. Allow this awareness to unveil without judgment. Staying aware of your current state of mind, emotional feeling, physical sense and spiritual space. Simply recognize, without making a change.
If something rises that does not align with a positive perspective of your self and does not seek to fill your shoes in recovery, then work towards changing the thought, behavior or feeling.
“Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom. A man can’t ride you unless your back is bent.” Martin Luther King, Jr.
The truth is, recovery is choice. Though eating disorders seem totally captivating and often times in control of our life; you have the ability to make choices that will help you regain control over our own life.
Choose thoughts, actions and feelings that will serve you in recovery. Surround yourself by those who love and support you. Let go of relationships that are destructive to your healing process. Forgive yourself and others for pain caused in the past.
These steps of awareness, change and letting go will fill your life with something your eating disorder will never give you: love.
“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.” Martin Luther King, Jr.
As I fell deeper and deeper into my disorder, I lost more and more love. I built walls up so that I could no longer receive love, or give love. My heart became totally dry, empty and mal-nourished. This left me with one of the greatest burdens in the world: hate.
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” Martin Luther King, Jr.
Replace hate with love. Is there an area of your life that you can mindfully replace bitterness, unforgiveness, resentment or hate towards yourself or others? Work with a therapist to let go of these burdens, and replace them with positive thoughts and emotions, like love.
“We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love.” Martin Luther King, Jr.
Let go in love. Let go of the control, deception and attachment to your disorder. Grab hold of that which nourishes your mind, body and spirit. Let go of your eating disorder and hang on tight to the recovery process.
Know that it will take effort. Continue to give in to recovery, because that which you give will be given back to you. What you put in to the process, you will get out for your own life. I promise, recovery is worth every step of the process it takes to get there. Once you recognize your self in the process and give yourself over to the recovery process, stay patient with it.
It has been 50 years since Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke the “I have a dream” speech. Since then, much has changed in our nation, but there is definitely still work to be done. As the effort is put in, our patience must remain strong for processes to unfold. Stay patient with yourself on the road to recovery. Trust the process, and know in your hearts that these steps lead to a path of freedom in recovery!