Do you have a reason for recovery? My dear friend and colleague, Dr. Michael E. Berrett, shares below about how finding a reason—any reason—can help you to find recovery. This month, Dr. Berrett and I will have the chance to present together in Greenville, South Carolina—where we will certainly mention the power of reasons. Please join us on Thursday, October 22nd, for a free evening community event. Then, on Friday morning, October 23rd, Dr. Berrett and I will present a free clinical training for professionals. To register for the clinical training and for more information about these Center for Change-sponsored events, click here.
For a chance to win a signed book, see information at the bottom of this post!
Find a Reason, Find Recovery: Nurture a Reason, Live Recovery
by Michael E. Berrett, Ph.D., Co-author of Spiritual Approaches in the Treatment of Women with Eating Disorders
I always get a kick out of three or four year old children. When you ask them to do something, they say Why? With teenagers, that Why is usually silent, and then acted out in some way. I get an occasional verbal Why and an almost universal silent Why from my eating disorder clients when I ask them to “fight for recovery more than you’ve fought for anything in your life!”
A Why is a common internal response.
I believe that for the child, the Why is a challenge—a stake in the ground in claiming a big step in independence and separation. This is necessary for ongoing development of confidence in the world. For an employee, friend, or spouse—the Why might represent the questioning of others wisdom, to be followed by their own “better” way, soon to be announced.
For one suffering from an eating disorder, the Why may represent deeper concerns difficult to express straightforwardly, such as I’m scared, I don’t believe I am capable of recovery, or I’m unworthy of the good life anyway.
Why recovery and Why have a reason for recovery?
A reason is a beginning point—both in a long journey, and in any moment of the present. It is my belief from personal and clinical experience, that any reason is a good reason when it comes to recovery. Rather than waiting for a “better” or “the best” reason, we can best serve the worthy goal of recovery by starting with any reason we can find, and then increasing the breadth and depth of those reasons as we go along. Embrace not just any reason, but every reason, since reasons, meaning, passion, purpose, and vision can push or pull us up the path towards recovery.
A personal story might illustrate my belief.
More than a couple decades ago, I was a very young father, with a beautiful and supportive wife, and an innocent and magnificent newborn son. I also, however, had an intruder in my new young family. I had a drug and alcohol problem. One night, after indulging in my addictive and self-absorbed substance abuse, I had a spiritual experience which is too difficult to describe here, except to say that I learned that my infant son deserved better than a father loyal to and absorbed in an addiction, and also that my wife, having grown up in a home plagued by alcoholism, deserved better than a repeat in marriage of her difficult childhood. This understanding in that moment seems miraculous to me, because these realizations became reasons, and my starting point and a cornerstone towards recovery. I didn’t think I was worth it; in fact I was almost absolutely positive that I was not worth the effort of recovery. But I had a reason—a couple of great reasons!
I now have more than a few decades of sobriety under my belt, and I have something else—I have a new reason. Some would call it the best reason, but I’m not sure about “better” or “best.” That new reason is that I now know that I also am worth it.
If you are struggling with an eating disorder, or another addictive process, and you often say, or wonder silently Why, then search for a reason. Search both outside, and inside. Any reason and every reason will do. Don’t wait to find a “best” reason, although better reasons or refined motives may eventually come. Start where you are. Grab onto a reason and hold it tight. Write it down and refer to it often, and start a growing list. As the reasons grow, let the list grow, and remind yourself often, especially in those rough times—there is a reason—a very good reason.
If you are a loved one of someone suffering from an eating disorder, then seek opportunities to hold up some windows and some mirrors, and help your loved one see a reason or two.
Full recovery is possible. There are reasons to recover. Freedom comes from taking the scary walk away from the miserable familiar. Hope and joy come from walking towards something better. One of the great reasons, which you may not know about yet, is that you are worth it. You are deserving of giving yourself the very best that life has to offer.
Book Giveaway: With this post, Dr. Berrett and I are both giving away signed books! To enter to win my book, Goodbye Ed, Hello Me, just comment below with one reason for recovery. If you are an eating disorders professional, enter to win Dr. Berrett’s book, Spiritual Approaches in the Treatment of Women with Eating Disorders, by posting one reason why you dedicate your lives to helping people heal. One winner for each book will be chosen randomly among all of the commenters.