Short term for the long term.
Benj and I said that to each other almost every day when I was in treatment. This is the short term separation to yield a lifetime of recovered living. I fought because I wanted the end result. How often did I ask myself if recovery was really possible, if recovery really existed and what did it look like? And so I trusted in the fight. I trusted that each battle I fought in my head was a step closer to that elusive “recovered”. So in the short term I lived separated from my husband, my children, my job as a teacher, my responsibilities as a wife and mother. And I held the long term in my heart.
But friends, my ‘short term” in recovery didn’t happen until 17 years later. Please figure out where you were 17 years ago, if you were even alive. Benj was with me for 14 of those years. Getting to our “short term” was a long journey. Grabbing a loved one out of their Crazy Cycle does not happen overnight. It’s a journey of impatience and patience, anger, frustration, resignation, desperation, and yet hope. I didn’t understand that until Melrose. I needed my ED-fog to clear enough for me to see what it had taken to get me to our “short term for the long term”. Benj went through hell while I held on to a monster in my head. Such a sneaky manipulator that I trusted his lies over my husband’s love. It’s the illogic of an eating disorder that will drive those closest into their own version of insanity.
Please don’t give up on the one you love. Don’t give up.
They need you to not give up because without you they may have no other exit ramp to recovery. Without you, they may end up dead. Don’t become resigned to life with an ED-infected loved one. Fight back! Fight for your own freedom by getting them freedom. Pray without ceasing. WITHOUT CEASING. You must do what it takes even when what it takes means your loved one might lash out at you. Because you must get this straight – they don’t hate you, ED hates you. Never lose sleep over what ED thinks of you. He doesn’t matter. The loved one buried underneath his demeaning rule matters over everything. That’s called Tough Love. And there’s a reason why it’s tough. You will be tired, exhausted, fatigued, hurt, maybe even broken. But this is so key: ED does not have the right to win. He does not get your “long term”. He shouldn’t even have your “short term”. God knows this path you are on, and he will prepare you for it with the strength and endurance you need.
Benj and I praised God everyday at Melrose. It was that short term separation from my family that set my eyes and heart on God who saved me so that I could come home to continue on the fight towards our “long term”. It is a gift to be able to look past the moment to see what can be. God gives that vision. Then he gives the gift of faith, to believe that even in the fight he sees and understands and empowers and equips. That, my friends, is a precious gift. Ask and you shall receive. Don’t settle. Reach for your “short term for the long term”. Because God has set eternity in our hearts. He knows our story because he is writing it, and he already sees the end. Our Alpha and Omega created our short term for the long term!