- Carolyn Costin
"Sometimes the only available transportation is a leap of faith." Margaret Sheppard
Today Im posting this piece on faith written by my friend and colleague Keesha Amezcua:
Faith is a hard concept to hold on to when someone is in the throes of an eating disorder. It can feel impossible to look on the bright side when you feel stuck in the dark. But faith is a pre-requisite for recovery. Faith is the foundation for the work that is the path to recovery. You must believe that something better is on the other side or you'll never cross the bridge. It's funny, though, because the grass is always greener mentality doesn't seem to apply to eating disorders. People struggling with eating disorders are perfectly content to stay on their itchy, dead plot of grass. But this is because they can't see the greener pasture of recovery. It's like a mirage, something talked about in metaphor but that doesn't exist in reality. Or it might feel like a foreign land that is impossible to get to, and they don't speak the language. The greenness can even feel like astro turf - too good to be true. And at least, the familiarity of the current grass provides a sense of safety and security. The confines of a single familiar blade feels safer, more doable than a whole yard of grass. And sometimes, the person feels like they don't deserve a pasture. They feel like they are only allotted a little and can't imagine having a lot.
So, part of my job as a recovered therapist is to be the travel agent and tour guide for recovery. I have to use my experience of crossing the bridge, of knowing what it's like not to just visit but to live in the land of recovery. I stand as a model of possibility, of hope of finding a net after taking a leap of faith. Teaching clients that they deserve the greener pasture. Teaching them that they're invited to join the club of recovery. There is no magic password. Just faith through hard work.
As therapists, you often have to hold this flame of faith for your clients. You have to encourage them to keep going through what can feel like endless months of pain and strife. You have to help them believe in things that can't be seen, touched or understood.
As someone trying to recover, you have to make the choice to take the leap or to stand on the precipice forever. Recovery can't be something you dip your toe into. For it to be fully felt and completely comprehended, you have to immerse yourself.