‘No Need To Worry’

By August 27, 2014 Blog

Letter from a friend: Hi Emma.   Sorry I haven’t replied for a while.  In answer to your question; My eating disorder makes me feel strong. I know this isn’t true but I feel like it is.  I know you’re right. I know this takes everything away from me. I know I have to eat and not lose more weight, but it’s much more easy to listen to the lies. I want to trust God but I’m frightened. And when …Read More

Out Of Reach?

By May 12, 2014 Blog

I’m sitting in Starbucks. A table down from me there’s a girl who’s maybe my age. I say maybe, because she could be anything between 13 and 60. Her cheekbones are sunken and her face has a fine coating of hair. She’s wearing a hat, but part of her head is visible and there are patches on her scalp. Her skin is grey, almost translucent and along her arms runs a criss-cross of blue and purple veins. Her legs look as …Read More

Hard Love

By May 4, 2014 Blog

If you suspect a friend is involved in something that is harming them and stealing them away, what do you say that won’t make them feel threatened or upset? People ask me this sometimes when they’re worried about loved ones. They’ve lost or gained lots of weight. You’ve spotted empty wrappers, personality changes, an obsession with exercise. Or maybe it’s not food.  Maybe it’s booze.  A bad relationship. Or something else. ‘Have you got an eating disorder?’ ‘Are you drinking …Read More

Bin-eating, Stealing and EDs

By April 1, 2014 Blog

Eating disorders are mental illnesses.  They change the way you think: which is one reason why they’re so difficult to treat.   And they make you do things you wouldn’t dream of doing otherwise. One of these things is stealing. Another is eating out of bins. Not the sanitised, recycling of sealed products within their sell-by.  A primitive tearing and ripping of foods that aren’t fit for consumption. Which is disgusting – but that’s what addiction does. It is not a …Read More

Warning Lights and Triggers

By March 26, 2014 Blog

I was asked today to describe some ‘triggers’. Some are mine; some are what friends have suggested:   Trying to please others Winter (for me it’s summer) Bereavement Family stresses Loved  ones getting sick Life changes Exams Uncertainty about life and the future Expectations  – my own or from others Feeling you haven’t lived up to early promise Lack of direction Comparing self to successful peers Low blood sugar Special occasions (especially birthdays) People you love hurting and not being …Read More

Life After

By February 20, 2014 Blog

Yesterday I wrote on the struggles you can face when addictions no longer have their old power.  They’re not always the ones you expect. Here’s a great example from ‘A Marriage In Recovery’, published in the Guardian, May 2013 Life after rehab: my husband, the alcoholic: “As I pulled into the sweeping drive of the Priory to collect my husband after he had completed the 28-day recovery for addiction programme, I was elated. We hugged, cried and did all the things that …Read More

Thirsty Women

By January 12, 2014 Blog

It’s funny how we ascribe certain struggles to certain groups of people.  And we expect those struggles to look a certain way. Young women, for example, will struggle with eating disorders and materialism.  (This means they’ll get too thin or buy too many shoes). Teenage boys will struggle with self-control (Pornography or booze).I guess if we can allocate specific problems to specific people, then they’re not so dangerous. They’re somehow less likely to happen to us. Of course it’s not true. …Read More

Christmas and Alcohol

By December 20, 2013 Blog

If you work for the emergency services, then today is what’s known as ‘Mad Friday’. As folks finish work and let off steam for the holidays, one pint can turn into seven…and there’s a massive increase in calls and hospital admissions. It’s especially tough if you’re working in the UK; alcohol consumption increases by 40% in December – and we’re already top of the leader board. Psychologists call it ‘legitimised deviancy’ – basically get-out-of-jail-free days, when the rules of normal human …Read More

Locked In and Locked Out

By December 13, 2013 Blog

Yesterday I went to prison to give my testimony. Sixteen doors, locking behind me. Quiet footsteps echoing down the landings – and then – suddenly, a burst of noise. Voices spilling into the corridor. A roomful of women – like me, but not like me. I take my seat in the circle. I push back into the brickwork.  I listen.  And then – gradually,  I speak. I talk about growing up in Northern Ireland.  In a nice middle-class home, with …Read More

Not Your Problem – Ours.

By November 28, 2013 Blog

Yesterday I was thinking about how to move past the past.  I mentioned a post by a friend who struggles with porn addiction – and his remorse, especially towards his wife. It’s one thing being sorry for your own mistakes.  But how does knowing the gospel help those who’ve been hurt to step forward too? His wife writes this: I can also be very disorganized, selfish, tardy and tend to put myself first.  I also consider myself an “addict” as well as …Read More