‘Better’

fixedI’m a healthy weight.  Have been for a while.  I know a real freedom in many areas I thought I’d never feel.   But there’s more to getting better than what I eat.

Which is why I struggle with ‘recovery’. The term, as well as the fact.

Does it have stages, like an exam: practical and theory? A trial period when you’re on ‘L-plates’ before you’re let loose on the motorway?

What does it actually mean?

A change in behaviour? A change in thinking? A change of heart?

There’s a category doctors use for those who maintain their behaviours at a ‘manageable’ level: ‘Professional’ addicts. Partial recovery: not as bad as it could be.  But not living either.

Is that the end point? Or is there more?

Is it a process – or a destination? Can I get there and then go back?

Maybe it’s a question of tense. Recovering, as opposed to recovered.

–          My name’s Bob and I’m an alcoholic. Dry for ten years, but still – alcoholic.

Or perhaps it’s about definition.

–        anorexic?

–        ex-anorexic?  (that’s a spiky meatball)

–        recovering anorexic?

–         None of the above?

 

I’m reluctant to define myself according to a disorder: it’s a part of me, but not the whole. And yet. There’s a power in naming something that insists it isn’t there.

But what is the something: Sickness? Choice? Both?

And where does faith fit?

I have friends: Christians, who have known almost instant deliverance: a freeing from the addictions that have enslaved them for years.

I also have friends: Christians, for whom every day is a battle. Who are very close to giving up – or already have.

In my own experience, the Lord has worked what was impossible in my own strength. But it’s taking a while. Six months to go downhill.  Six years to crawl back. A miracle – in increments.

 

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8 thoughts on “‘Better’

  1. Once addicted always addicted, regardless of whether activively ‘abusing’ (can’t think of a better word) or just thinking about it as an option however option.

    Behaviours, tendencies, reverting to those/similar thoughts when things get tough.

    Once caught by something – properly not just when you follow/copy others for a bit – it will always be in your head. Whether you give in and do it or not is the difference.

    Once addicted always addicted. Not necessarily an addict but definitely addicted!!!

  2. Your post flags up my own question, do you ever recover from any mental health condition, eg depression, or do you continue to have the tendency towards it and life is a balancing act to avoid toppling over the edge.

  3. Wondering what it will look like when I’m all “done” is a constant struggle for me.
    As the bible doesn’t actually refer to “addictions” as any thing other than sin, I’m thinking we are perhaps framing the question wrong.
    For some time, I have begun equating Recovery as a state of being, and not a destination at all. A path we choose to walk for a lifetime, with physical death just before the end, and the end of course being Heaven.
    For the Christian, I think “recovery” is just another way of saying “I fully understand my weakness. I am broken by my sin. I can only live by Jesus Christ”
    So the first step in a “twelve step” is actually the first step towards spiritual maturity, which is just another way of saying, “recovering”. We never get all-the-way-there…until the end.

    Step 1- I suck.
    Step 2- Jesus doesn’t suck
    Step 3- I need Jesus
    Step 4- I suck in more ways than I knew
    Step 5- I confess to me, Jesus, and you,how I suck
    Step 6- I want to not-suck and I see only Jesus can help me not-suck
    Step 7- I ask Jesus to help me not-suck
    Step 8- I notice all the people I’ve damaged by my… suck-full-ness
    Step 9- I make restitution my priority when possible
    Step 10- I continue to notice how, when, where, and why I want to suck
    Step 11- I fall in love with Jesus, who does not suck
    Step 12- I help other suckers whenever I can

    (paraphrase mine)

    Romans Chapter 12 follows along similar lines, but without all the sucking of course.

  4. I have similar questions about depression. How do we measure recovery? I’ve known people who are naturally very happy people, and then they get depressed, and so getting better for them is like trying to get back to the happiness levels they had before. But what if you’ve never been a ‘happy’ person? What if sadness is just a part of you? Then what does recovery look like? And should ‘being happy’ be my goal anyway? Or should it be knowing Jesus more? And can I do/have/be both at the same time?
    Questions that have been going through my head the last few days!

  5. Yes…… I can echo most of those questions. I put a bit more info on the survey response I sent you. But I totally agree, what is ‘recovered’? Is chronic management of a chronic condition recovery? Medical stats show a third fully recover, a third become chronic and a third die. I don’t know how up to date that is, but I guess I think of myself somewhere between chronic and recovered. Better than I was, but not completley free either…

  6. After suffering for 4 years fairly intensively and obsessively with anorexia. My experience of healing was, all at once I was rescued by Jesus. Deeply and spiritually healed, my life reorientated. Jesus lifted me out of the mud and mire and set my feet upon a rock – himself (Psalm 40), the walk away from my former way of life was gradual, slow for the first 2 years a healing in increments and over time. After 7 years I could honestly look back on the addiction of 7 years earlier and say ‘that is what I once was’! But I had been rescued, and the hold of the eating disorder over me broken. Twenty one years later I am still completely free of addiction, Praise God! I’m not a perfect person yet. The process of being made more like my precious Jesus continues, and will until I am united with Him. I long for His presence and all imperfection and brokenness to be no more.

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