Peace, Be Still — Recovering Through The Grace of God
Over the course of two weeks we will be focusing on addiction recovery by awakening Christ in our lives: through articles, the LDS Addiction Recovery Program (ARP), and stories shared by our Small Seed community. We are so grateful to the women who have reached out courageously, with love and hope, to share their experiences. As you read, we invite you to prayerfully ask how you can apply this to your life, and think of who you know who you could share it with too.
— The Small Seed team
How do I even begin to describe the addiction that has robbed twenty-three years of my life? It has led to an existence (if you could call it that) in and out of hospitals and treatment centers, nearly destroying my body, and even worse nearly destroying my soul. Anorexia and bulimia snuck into my life as a teenager and ravaged my life to such a degree that I was entirely convinced that if the disorder didn’t first kill me, I would end up taking my own life. The gory details of it all, including why I suffered for so long and so acutely, aren’t necessary. What I do wish to share is my message of hope through God’s Atoning Son.
In the fall of 2015, I was once again at the end of my rope. I had recently completed another inpatient treatment stay and the second I walked out of those doors, I was again consumed by my disorder. Within two months, I had whittled my body back down to a state where I was barely surviving. One night, as I contemplated taking my own life, I knelt and pled with the Lord in prayer. I don’t always receive direct answers to my prayers, but that night I felt a clear, distinct impression that I should seek out long-term residential treatment. This prompting brought such feelings of peace and hope.
Because I had been so deeply entrenched in my disorder for such a long time, it took thirteen months of residential treatment and an additional ten months of day treatment for me to get to a place where I was living recovery and learning to thrive. I still don’t understand how I was able to leave my husband and two precious children to undergo such lengthy and intense treatment, but it truly saved my life. I spent a lot of those months in dark depression as I struggled to let go of deeply ingrained behaviors and delve into the internal issues that had contributed to my prolonged struggle. Much research has shown that eating disorders have profound effects on the brain. Through neurofeedback and various therapies, I began to create new neural pathways in my brain. The ups and downs were extreme, and at times I felt like I would not survive. Over time, and through the grace of God, my heart was changed and I began to feel hope.
A large part of my transformation occurred when I began attending Addiction Recovery Program meetings. The meetings taught me to surrender my will and to allow God to heal the parts of me that I couldn’t heal on my own. Another critical part of my journey was creating my own personal book of favorite scriptures to reference in times of need. This book is sacred to me. Through the words of Christ, I have been endowed with strength from on high.
Despite my heartfelt efforts, I still struggle to discard all of the addictive behaviors that have plagued me for years. About eleven months ago, I felt the prompting that I needed to weekly attend the Latter-day Saint temple whenever possible. Until then, I had not understood the power of the temple. I now know that the temple is the house of the Lord, a place where I can receive heavenly help. The Lord says: “...I will fight your battles,” and He has done that for me. From the time I decided to regularly attend the temple, the Lord has given me new strength to maintain my weight and refrain from purging. I have now gone these last eleven months without using behaviors, something I haven’t achieved in decades.
This process has not been easy. Even though I am living recovery, the last few months have been filled with difficulties. Leaving behind my eating disorder is like leaving behind my identity. I have experienced a profound void and emptiness which my new interests, pursuits, relationships, and passions have yet to fill. I often feel so alone, wondering if God really is there watching over me, but I remember the scripture found in Psalms 34:4 which says, “I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.” And the one in Doctrine and Covenants 84:88 which reads, “I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up.”
There are dark days where the fog is thick, and I feel like I have tied so many knots in my rope and tried to hang on for so long that my bloodied hands are ready to let go and be done. But there is something that saves me when nothing else can. I plead in prayer, I study my treasured scriptures for hours, I write my heart out, and I tell God I need Him to carry me because I just can’t do it alone. It doesn’t always happen all at once, but God parts the clouds. He stops the storm. Christ holds my aching heart and carries me back to safety where no rope is necessary.
I know without a doubt that it is because of our Savior Jesus Christ that I have been given this second chance. I may have to “stand still” until I am fully able to comprehend the salvation of God, but I choose to stand still, because God has given me a gift far greater than anything my eating disorder ever provided. He has given me His Son, and I want to spend my life in His service as a token of my gratitude for this supernal gift.
Courtney Crofts lives in Salt Lake City, Utah with her husband and two children. In her spare time she loves to run, ski (water and snow), hike, travel, and play the piano. She has been battling an eating disorder for over two decades but she is winning the war and she is determined to never give up. You can connect with her on her blog here.