In Jenni Shaefer’s book Life Without Ed she writes…
“Relapse is inevitable. It will happen. Relapse is a normal even necessary part of recovery. I made a point to learn something from each relapse, and I grew stronger and stronger…Ed will not let you walk away easily. but no matter how hard he fights, you can walk away. When he blocks you, step around him and keep moving.”
Relapse is inevitable.
That basically means- it’s going to happen at one point or another. My best friend does not like this, particularly when I️ use it as an excuse when I️ have relapsed or when I️ want to give up on recovery. But it’s so important that I️ remember that recovery isn’t a choice. I️ don’t get to say,”I️ don’t feel like taking steps forward in recovery today.”
I️ have to always make an effort, some days more than others, to get better. That’s the end goal after all isn’t it?
Relapse is normal. At the same time that I️ sometimes use “relapse is inevitable” as an excuse, I️ also expect my recovery to be perfect. I️ can’t tell myself enough times that I️ WILL NEVER BE PERFECT! If I️ were perfect, then Jesus Christ died for nothing. And he definitely died for something. Recovery is not linear. It never will be. I’ll have good days, bad days, and neutral days, and so will you.
Learn from your relapse(s). It is essential that you a) don’t sit and pretend like nothing needs to change when you relapse, and b) move on and not learn anything from those mistakes. God knew we would mess up, so he gave us a way out. He gave me a meal plan and a wonderful support team. He has given me all this stuff and I️ have to use it as a patch on the leaky roof. Another analogy Jenni mentions in her book is a leaky roof dripping on your couch. It would be very unwise to sit and mope around about the leak. It is a need to move the couch and patch the leak. It’s the same when recovering from and eating disorder. You can’t just sit around and pretend like nothings wrong. Things will only get worse. You have to take action and do something about it. Call/text your support team. Follow your meal plan. Challenge Ed.
We all grow stronger each time we work through our fears.
One of my favorite quotes says, “feel the fear and do it anyways.” This is such a strong statement. We can’t let fear paralyze us and steal our life away. Each time you work through a fear- or relapse, it gets easier. Every time you eat that food that Ed says not to, you get stronger and Ed gets weaker. Every time you choose to obsess over the truth- what Jesus says about you, and not your weight, how many calories you’ve eaten (or will eat), or what other people you will think you win and Satan loses.
Fears are basically a weakness if you think about it, so each time we exercise those ‘muscles’ (aka working through the fear/challenge) we get stronger and eventually we no longer have that weakness. Isn’t that amazing?!
Also, you may be asking, “What if the weight you are trying to lift is just too heavy? What if my muscles aren’t strong enough to lift even the smallest weight?” The GREAT news is Jesus promises that if we ask, we will be given. When we ask God for strength, He will give it to us. Even better news is that as we ask God for strength, He will not only give us strength, but he offers to carry it all for us. For everyone. What looks like a million pounds to you will never be to much for Our God to carry. That’s what He died for! He died and took the weights from us so that we wouldn’t need to be strong enough.
Through God’s strength, each time you “feel the fear and do it anyways” you get stronger. Rejoice over that good news!
You can walk away. You can beat Ed. You can.
It’s in everyone of us to defeat our demons. You can challenge that fear and eat the pice of cake. You can stop counting calories. You can stop defining your worth by a number on the scale.
In recovery- or relapse I should say, I often find myself saying, “I can’t do this. I can’t overcome that.” That’s truly Ed whispering in my ear always saying I will never recover. It’s Ed telling me that it will always be this bad. The Father of Lies (Satan) is where Ed comes from. I think we can all determine that nothing the “Father of Lies” says will ever be true. Nothing Ed says will ever be the truth. You may believe it since you’ve heard it so many times, but that does NOT mean it’s true!
Never give up. Keep choosing recovery. Just like many other things- recovery is a choice you will have to make daily, or maybe even hourly. Keep following your meal plan. Keep reaching out to your support team. Keep doing self care. Keep keeping on. I know you can do it.