Eating Disorder Healing- Health Tips by Imam Ali

“How strange and foolish is man. He loses his health in gaining wealth. Then, to regain his health he wastes his wealth.”

Dear Readers,

No recovery from Eating Disorder is possible without food . I used food as a medicine to heal my body from within. I remember one winter my body collapsed and I became extremely sick. I had also developed insomnia.  I was faced with the prospect of taking Valium and other medications. But I said no and decided to go down more natural healing path. I spent years battling a useless battle with mother-nature, i.e. eliminating foods from my diet, convincing myself I was being healthy. I only experienced stable ED free mind when I started to incorporate everything in my diet. Eating everything in balance: it radically transformed my body and healed me of all muscle joint pains, fatigue, allowing me to experience vibrant health.

Ayurvedic quote , “If diet is wrong, medicine is no use and when diet is correct, medicine is of no need.”

Please find below wonderful Health Tips By Imam Ali- I hope you’ll find them as useful as I did in my Journey to recovery, health and healing from Eating Disorder.

 

 

Foods

Dried Grapes

 

 Dried grapes regulate the bile, remove excess phlegm from the body, strengthen the sinews, take away melancholic tendencies from the mind and purify the soul.

 

In recovery dry grapes act as a soothing balm, they have beneficial effects on hypertension, fluid retention, and anemia.

Enjoy This Nature’s Candy As Your Snack

Dried grapes have a high energy value, and are ideal as a snack. In addition to cereal and milk or yogurt can be a great breakfast, which can be combined with other kinds of fruit.

 

Pomegranate

 

Pomegranate is a fruit of paradise. There is one seed from Paradise in every pomegranate growing on the earth. pomegranate is powerful support for cardiovascular health.

Have you Tried this Healing Salad? Eat this to heal your body heart and to fight cell damage.

Pomegranate Kale Salad

Displaying Kale Pommegranate Salad.jpg

Ingredients

2 pomegranates
1 medium red onion
1/2 cup of fresh thyme
1/2 fresh jalepeno or habenero pepper
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup coconut nectar
sea salt to taste

METHOD: Open and squeeze pomegranates into bowl with cut up kale, letting pomegranate juice and seeds spread over kale.  Add onion, pepper, thyme to food processor with S-blade and pulse a few times.  (By the way, if you don’t have an S-blade, just dice the onion, pepper and thyme into tiny pieces.  Anyway you cut it, it’s going to be delicious).  Add mixture to kale along with remaining ingredients.  Mix well, enjoy!

Recipe: http://thehealingeffect.com/pomegranate-kale-salad/

 

Honey

Honey is nature’s best medicine. Whenever someone offers you honey as present, accept it.

 

So why should you add a regular teaspoonful to your diet? It will help to reverse some of the damage ED has caused to your health.

Promote Digestive health: honey will help with bloating, acid reflux, indigestion, stomach ulcers and irritable bowel syndrome.

Boost Immunity: Honey is high in antibacterial levels and recommended in the treatment of ulcers, strep throat, cold sores, skin infections, cuts and abrasions.

Skin Ailments: Excellent treatment for skin conditions such as eczema, insect bites, burns, and surgery wounds. It also helps reduce scarring and healing time and can also be used as a facemask or to soothe sunburn.

Energy: Great for a short-term energy boost as it is it made up purely of carbohydrates, such as fructose and glucose – your body’s primary energy source.

Top Tip: Recitation of Quran and taking honey with milk sharpens the memory.

Another Good Energy Boosting Tip: Having a honey-swirled hot drink in the morning should give you an energy lift for your day, but don’t forget to eat complex carbohydrates such as wholegrain bread and fibre breakfast cereal too, to avoid any potential energy slumps that can occur when consuming honey by itself.

 

Olive Oil

Satan does not visit for forty days a person who applies olive oil to his head or uses it in food.

 

Consuming olive oil provides antioxidants to disarm free radicals, reduces inflammation and gallstone formation in our bodies and protects us from cancers of the colon, breast, as well as skin.

 

Perricone says. “When used topically, olive oil results in smoother, more radiant skin.”

Eat it:
At dinner, drizzle a few tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil into a small bowl, and dip whole-grain bread in it to improve your skin from the inside out

 

Meat

 

Want a healthier life free of common diseases and conditions? Your best line of defence, as well as offence is in the meat. You can’t repair your damaged Eating Disorder neural pathways without meat.

Use of meat as a food improves health and builds up power of resistance against diseases. 

Benefits of Eating Meat in Recovery

Vitamin A, B and D are commonly found in meat. Not only do these vitamins promote good vision, stronger teeth and bones but it also support the central nervous system thus promoting mental health as well.

Meat contains a large amount of protein, this is  beneficial to the body as the need for protein is an important one for the body.

It is rich in iron, zinc and selenium. While iron helps in forming hemoglobin that transports oxygen to different parts of your body, zinc helps in tissue formation and metabolism as well as selenium breaks down the fat and chemicals in the body.

 

 

Red Lentils

Red Lentils, was the favorite food of seventy thousands prophets. It moderates the temperament and augments the activity of tear glands.

Boost your Immunitym, heal, nourish and soothe your soul with this Delicious Soup by Chef Fifi. 

Shorbat Adas(Middle Eastern Lentil Soup)

Shorbat Adas(Middle Eastern Lentil Soup). Photo by *Parsley*

“Soups are warm and easy to take,” says Andrew Weil, MD, director of the University of Arizona’s Integrative Medicine Program. “They’re an excellent way to get nutrients, and they provide good associations for people.”

Total Time:  45 mins
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 35 mins

Ingredients

  • 5 1/3 cups water
  • 1 cup small red lentils
  • 2 chicken or veg cubes (optional)
  • 1/3 cup finely diced onion
  • 2/3 garlic clove (grated)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/3-2/3 teaspoon turmeric

 

Directions:

  1. Wash and drain lentils.
  2. In a large pot, combine all ingredients.
  3. Bring to a boil, then let simmer on medium/low for about 35 minutes.
  4. Make sure to stir occasionally to avoid the lentils burn or sticking to the pot.
  5. Serve in with lemon wedges, on side.
  6. Enjoy!

Recipe: http://www.food.com

 

Topical Tips

Reverse ED Hair Damage with the Oil of Violet

 

Use Oil of Violet as hair oil because it has a cooling effect during summer and warm during winter.

 

Feed Your Face with Olive Oil

 

Natural Treatment for Wrinkles

Mix 20 drops of olive oil and 20 drops of lemon juice. Coat your face and neck for 3 hours then rinse with lukewarm water.

Olive Oil Fix for Chaps and Cracks

Rub 20 drops of olive oil mixed with 20 drops of glycerin right into affected skin for 4 minutes.

Get Rid of Freckles and Dry Skin

Rub a few drops of olive oil into your skin for a few minutes every evening – yes, as simple as that!

Olive Oil for Nails

Mix hot olive oil and lemon juice, wait until it becomes lukewarm and soak your nails in this mixture. Repeat once daily.

Health Tips

To avoid cold (flu) of the winter always open the door first for a few moments before leaving your house, let the outside air in, then step outside. To avoid the cold of the summer always open the door first before entering the house, let the inside air out and then step inside.

Mother’s milk is the best food for an infant.

The person who refrains from meat for forty days will become ill-tempered.

Food should be taken when it is at moderate temperature.

Starting meal with salt prevents seventy types of ailments, one of which is leprosy.

 Start eating from the sides of the plate and not from the middle.

For longevity one should eat nourishing food, wear comfortable shoes and try to remain free from debts.

 

 

Adapted from:  http://marefat.weebly.com/health-tips-given-by-imam-ali-al-ridha-as.html
Posted in Eating Disorder recovery Recipe, Eating Disorder Recovery Tips, Eating Disorders, Islamic Foods to defeat the demon of Eating Disorder | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Eating Disorders Colds and Flus- Are you taking particular care of yourself?

Dear Readers,

Are you taking particular care of yourself?  If you have an eating disorder you are vulnerable to colds and  flu. Take your taking care of yourself seriously. 

Winter is here. Coming down with a cold or flu bug can easily derail even the healthiest of the people. If you’ve an Eating Disorder, then you are very vulnerable to colds and flus. So this winter, please be mindful and take care of your health and your immunity. I remember getting a flu vaccination many years ago and this protected me against  many  flu viruses. This is the first winter in many years, where I haven’t been given a flu vaccination, according to my Doctor, “I’m no longer a ‘high risk person’.”

So this year, I have to be mindful, take precautions and fight my current very minor cold with home remedies and some anti viral medication.

Colds and Flus Can Kill- Eating Disorders take an enormous toll on the body and whether your suffering from Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa or Binge Eating Eating Disorder or EDNOS, please don’t forget that all Eating Disorders are dangerous. Eating Disorders is a multisystem disease. The longer you have it, the more damage you are causing to your body. With time the disorder can damage almost every body system.

According to Eating Disorder Recovery.com

Eating disorders weaken your organs and your immune system.  Plus, mental obsessions that are symptoms of an eating disorder can block your awareness of the personal danger you may face because of the flu epidemic. People whose health is compromised for any reason are more likely to get the flu and have severe symptoms.  Some people die.  Physical consequences of an eating disorder can be severe. A body ravaged by an eating disorder may be an ideal place for the flu virus to take root and thrive. A mind ravaged by an eating disorder may be incapable of understanding the necessity for stepped up personal health care and flu prevention actions. (Eating Disorder Recovery).

The flu is dangerous, even lethal to people with existing illnesses and your eating disorder is an illness.

Please do your best to subdue eating disorder thinking and behaviors so you can either prevent yourself from getting the flu or if you do get it, have a mild case.

Eat nourishing food throughout the day at regular intervals.
Drink eight glasses of water a day to keep yourself hydrated.
Sleep eight to nine hours at night.
Nap in the day if you are tired.
Rest, i.e. take it easy.
Do your best to reduce stress. Laugh. Watch relaxing videos. Enjoy nature if weather permits. Create gentle fun experiences for you and your family. Pet your dog or cat.
Find a way to think and feel nice things about yourself.And most of all, keep your awareness up.

I would like to share these wonderful tips by Chris Kresser on Preventing Colds and Flus .

7 Tips for Preventing (and Shortening) Colds and Flus

Cold and flu season is upon us—but that doesn’t mean you have to suffer. Check out these tips for supercharging your immune system and boosting your resilience.

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Conventional wisdom holds that there’s not much you can do to prevent colds and flus—and even less you can do to treat them. Of course you could get a flu shot, but research suggests they aren’t nearly as effective as many believe. OTC remedies like antihistamines, decongestants, and NSAIDs can suppress some of the symptoms associated with colds and flus, but they do nothing to prevent them or shorten their duration. And while antibiotics may be necessary in certain cases (e.g. a cold that progresses to a severe sinus infection, though even this is debatable), they aren’t useful for treating the viral infections that cause colds and flus.

Cold and flu season beating you down? Check out these 7 tips for boosting your immune system.

But here’s the good news: there are, in fact, several steps you can take that will strengthen your immune system and not only decrease the chances that you’ll get sick in the first place, but help to reduce the intensity and shorten the duration of any cold or flu you do get. Instead of just suppressing symptoms, these tips will actually improve the function of your immune system as well as attack the viruses themselves.

#1: Load up on immune-boosting nutrients

There are several micronutrients that are essential for immune health. Many Americans don’t get enough of these nutrients through their diets. But even if you are getting enough, taking additional amounts of them when people around you are sick, or if you’re already sick, can be a big help. These include:

  • Vitamin C. Liposomal forms are best absorbed. I suggest one teaspoon once a day on an empty stomach for prevention, and one teaspoon twice a day for treatment. If you’re using ascrobic acid, take 1,000–4,000 mg/d, up to bowel tolerance.
  • Vitamins A & D. Both of these fat-soluble vitamins are important for immune health, but here’s a little-known fact: research suggests that they are only effective for preventing/reversing colds and flus when taken together. This is why I’m such a proponent of cod liver oil: it contains natural forms of both A & D in a synergistic blend. This is the product that I currently recommend. Take 4 capsules a day for maintenance, or 8–12 capsules a day for treatment. You can also purchase it in the oil form, which is more economical for higher doses (take up to 10 mL/d for treatment).
  • Selenium. Selenium helps to balance and regulate the immune system. Most Americans get enough in their diet, but taking a little extra during cold and flu season can help. I suggest 200 mcg/d 3-4 times a week. This is the brand I recommend. Note: I do not recommend long-term, continuous selenium supplementation because it has been associated with increased risk of prostate cancer in men.
  • Iodine. Iodine also plays an important role in immune health, and many Americans don’t get enough of it. Ironically, this is especially true for health-conscious people that have removed iodized salt from their diet. The only significant sources of iodine in the diet are sea vegetables, fish heads, and dairy (especially pasture-raised dairy). If you’re not eating these foods regularly, you may want to supplement with about 1 mg per day of iodine in the form of kelp capsules. Note: some people with autoimmune thyroid disease cannot tolerate iodine even in this relatively low amount, so exercise caution if you have Hashimoto’s or Graves’.
  • Zinc. Zinc is another immune-boosting nutrient that many people don’t get enough of. If you like oysters, they are your best bet for meeting zinc needs through diet. You can also take 30 mg/d of zinc picolinate or zinc gluconate for short periods when you feel you’re fighting something.

#2: Drink fresh ginger tea

Ginger is a potent anti-viral substance that prevents the adhesion of viruses to the upper respiratory mucosa. If you drink the concoction I recommend below at the first signs of sickness, you can often fight it off successfully. But—and this is a big “but”—you have to drink it at or near the strength I suggest, or it won’t be effective. Some people find this difficult to do, because ginger is so intense, but if you can handle it your immune system will thank you.

Also, while it’s possible to do this without a juicer, it will take a lot longer. You can get pretty good juicers now for less than $100, so if you or someone in your family suffers from frequent colds/flus, a juicer is a worthwhile expense (and of course it has many other uses).

Directions:

  • Juice (or grate on a fine setting) 1–2 pounds of ginger; place juice in a jar and refrigerate
  • Place 2–4 ounces of ginger juice in a mug with the juice of one-half lemon and a large tablespoon of honey (honey is also anti-viral). Add 1/8 teaspoon of cayenne pepper and 6 ounces of hot water.
  • Drink 2–6 cups of this a day, sipping slowly throughout the day

#3: Wash your hands

Maybe you already know this, but studies have shown that frequent hand-washing is one of the most important things we can do to protect ourselves during cold & flu season. Wash your hands every time you arrive at a destination while out and about, and first thing when you get home.

#4: Take elderberry syrup

Elderberry is one of the most effective botanicals for strengthening immune function and preventing colds and flus. Take 1 teaspoon twice a day if you feel like you’re coming down with a cold or flu—and continue taking it if you do get sick.

#5: Take immune-boosting herbs

There are several botanicals that have a potent immune-boosting effect. I recommend the following blend for prevention during cold season:

  • Mix equal parts astragalus, cordyceps, and rhodiola in tincture form. Herb-pharm is my favorite brand.
  • Take up to 1/4 teaspoon 3x/d for prevention, and 1/2 teaspoon up to 6x/d if you’re already sick.

Note: since astragalus, cordyceps, and rhodiola are “immune boosting” botanicals, people with autoimmune diseases that involve an overactive immune response should exercise caution and speak with their health-care practitioner before using them.

#6: Take anti-viral herbs

If you’ve finally succumbed to a cold or flu despite your best efforts, there are a number of anti-viral herbs that can be helpful. If you want to go deep on this topic, I strongly recommend Stephen Harrod Buhner’s excellent book, Herbal Antivirals: Natural Remedies for Emerging & Resistant Viral Infections. But if you just want to cut to the chase, here’s the formula he recommends for treating mild influenza and colds:

  • Mix 2 parts lomatium, 2 parts red root, 2 parts licorice, 1 part isatis (all in tincture form).
  • Take 30–60 drops mixed with 1–2 ounces of water each hour until condition improves. You may have trouble finding some of these botanicals locally, but you can get them fairly easily online.

#7: Rest

Of all of the recommendations, I suspect most people will have the hardest time with this one. In our crazy, hectic world, rest is simply not valued—but it’s absolutely necessary when battling a viral infection is consuming a lot of your energy.

Of course it’s not always easy to take time for yourself, especially if you have young children (I know this firsthand!), but even a few short rest periods throughout the day can make a big difference when it comes to supporting your immune system.

Source: http://chriskresser.com/7-tips-for-preventing-and-shortening-colds-and-flus

Some Other Tips:

Taking more deep breaths, getting more oxygen in the body, stimulates the lymph system and makes the flu go away soon.

Homeopathic Remedies. Hyland’s product called Cold Calm and for flu use Oscillococcinum.

Treating Cold/Flu with Islamic Medicine

Hot Lemon and Honey- Take the juice of a lemon and squeeze a few tablespoons into a cup. Add a tablespoon of raw, pure honey. Then cover with boiling water. Stir it and then sip it. There is a cure in honey and lemon is a cleanser and a purifier. This mixture is great for sore throats, colds, or just as a general pick me up. Enjoy!

Blackseed Oil- Fry about 70-90 black seeds then finely ground them and soak them in little oil- drops are then administered through nose. It will cure cold accompanied by intensive sneezing.

Ayurvedic Home Remedies for Cold and Flu

ayurvedic remedies

“There is nothing (in the world) which is not a medicine”Vagbhata. 

You can make effective remedies using common kitchen ingredients.

Try some of the following instead of the Lemsip and see how they work for you:

  • Mix 1 tsp each of ginger powder, turmeric and black pepper and take ½ tsp of this mixture with warm water or honey twice a day.
  • Mix ½ tbsp ginger, black pepper, cardamom, clove, cinnamon and turmeric. Ad 3tsps of raw sugar. Mix ½ or 1 tsp of this mixture with honey or warm water and take twice a day.
  • Mix ½ tsp fresh ginger juice with ½ tsp honey and take three times a day.
  • Soak 2 parts fresh ginger root, 3 parts cinnamon and a pinch of cardamom in a cup of hot water for 10 minutes. Add ½ tsp of honey once its cool down a little. Drink a glass of this tea several times a day.
  • Crush ¼ tsp fresh ginger root with 8 fresh basil leaves, 2 peppercorns, 2 cardamom seeds, 1 cup of water, ½ tsp turmeric powder, 2 cloves, & 5 mint leaves. Boil, filter, add 1 tsp honey. Drink 3 times a day.

Downloads:

A self-treatment guide for colds and ‘flu – Consumer Health

Natural Treatments for Coughs, Colds and Flu by Gabrielle Traub , M.Tech (Hom), CCH, HD (Hon)

Watch This Wonderful Video on Home Remedies-

Posted in Anorexia, Binge Eating Disorder BED, Bulimia, Downloads, Eating Disorder recovery Recipe, Eating Disorder Recovery Tips, Eating Disorders, Foods for Healing ION, Recovery | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dear Daughter Your Father’s Back is Broken

Dear Daughter,

We Just attended our Third Family Therapy Session together. You aired your grievances against us. We are here to talk about issues that are causing problems in the family. Your mother responds to your comments, it’s like a battle scene between the two of you, emotions are running high. Your brother is not here. I sit there with my broken back, staring at the plush carpet. Dear Daughter, this carpet is so clean, so beige.   Therapist tells us you’ve made a remarkable improvement in four months.  Your responding well to therapy and your divorce.

I come home and search for recovery tips on Google. I close my eyes, and this is what I want to tell you Dear Daughter.

I accept I failed in many areas of life- and I failed as a father as well.

But Dear Daughter listen to this:-

I work as a cab driver, because it helps me to pay off our mortgage. I should have been home more often. I should not have been too controlling about our future. I should not have looked too far ahead into future, your universities, weddings and this big mortgage.

As you started to grow up, the size of my wardrobe shrunk. We had to update your and your brother’s wardrobe three- four times a year. You kids were growing up so fast. Looking at you in colorful outfits with matching accessories filled me with pride. I became arrogant, Yes I can provide the best for my Children.

When Festivals came, I sometimes would get tempted to buy a new shirt or new pants, but then I would recycle my old clothes and wear them at Eid and Weddings.

When you were 10, there was a skiing trip to Alps Mountains. You wanted to go. I was saving up for a trip back to Pakistan to visit my Abba ji, who had made a spontaneous decision to go and spend his retirement years in Pakistan with his widowed sister. I thought doesn’t matter, I’ll go next year, Pakistan can wait, but your trip can’t.

 When you were 13, you wanted a new bedroom with new furnishings, new wardrobe and new shelves. I was saving up that money to fix our broken home in Pakistan, but doesn’t matter. Your Grandfather said, give her the room of her dreams.

 When you were 14, you wanted more stuff, more money. Now I was struggling, so my Taxi Hours increased from 12 a day to 16 hours a day. Breakfast was just a cup of tea, lunch was a quick sandwich and dinner was usually at 1am in the morning. I would heat the left overs in microwave, ping the noise of microwave would bring me out of deep slumber of sleep, and I would tirelessly make my way through the meal. You would be upstairs tucked into your princess canopy bed . All nice, safe and warm.

When you were 16, you walked out with 7 A’s, we celebrated. It was a trip to New York for you and your Mother and Brother. I confess dear daughter, I was a selfish thrifty man, who realized that with his ticket money and hotel money, he can pay off another installment of mortgage and pay off your brother’s one month of university rent.

Family Trip to NY

You all Visit NY

ny2 NY3

I look at my finances. I haven’t been home in 10 years now. I think of my father. I no-longer enjoy playing snooker with my friends and I have not boxed in years.

I haven't been to small Vilage in 10 years Dear Daughter

I haven’t been to small Village in 10 years Dear Daughter. It calls me.

You said, No Muslim clothes, No covering of Head, No Hand stitched Village Clothes.  I said that’s fine.

So I said to you- No low necklines, No sleeveless and No showing of Legs.  You agreed with your old man. I stood tall, and proud.

Every Father’s Worst Nightmare

Dear Daughter, As a Taxi Driver, I would drive my Taxi around at wee hours of the morning, picking up semi conscious girls sitting on the side pavements with shortest of shortest skirts, waiting for some cab company to pick them up. Dear daughter, my blood recoiled, my fists clenched, as I would look at those bad-boys inappropriately touching those girls. I would ask God, Please never put me in this position.

There’s a grapevine, you’re seeing someone. I tell your mother and we ask you and you deny it. ‘Don’t tell me those illiterate Taxi Drivers are feeding you lies about me?’. You scream at us. Dear Daughter you can’t hide anything from Taxi Drivers. Tabloids come second, Taxi Drivers know all the in’s and out’s of the community before anyone else.

Dear Daughter me and other Cab Drivers would put our heads down and debate and argue whether we should  allow our daughters to date every Tom Dick and Harry, so she can find her Prince Charming. We all agreed unanimously that we would lose it, if our daughters bought home a bad-boy. We all know too well about the influence of a bad boy on girl.

Your 18. A-level results are out. Time for another celebration.

“I’m in Love” You tell us in a mater of fact tone.

‘Over my dead body she’s marrying him,’ I tell your mother. I’ve had him investigated, he’s 25 and she’s only 18.  He’s a school drop out, an ex drug addict, every father’s worst nightmare.

We try to reason with you, but we fail, your uncles fail, your aunts fail. I tell you  he spent 45 days in jail following an assault. You tell us your love has changed him. He loves you and appreciates you for who you are. You’re on hunger strike. after three days, we give in.  If I had known what was going on I would have put a stop to it, but I didn’t find out about your special friend until you were already at a marrying age.

Devastating Moment, You leave home never to come back.

Now your father walks around with lower gaze. I just can’t look other men in the eye. I’ve got a broken back. My friends look at me with pity. Some call me spineless, a man who could not control his daughter.

Your older brother doesn’t want to know you.  Your mother just cleans one bedroom after the other. She spring cleans, autumn cleans and summer cleans the house. Do you remember how well dressed your mother was? Do you remember the famous joke, we need an extension to accommodate your mother’s wardrobe? Dear Daughter, We no longer need an extension. She donated 3/4 of her wardrobe, her shoes, hand bags, jewelry to Islamic Relief.

 

One day we get a phone call from hospital. Your ill. Your not eating and your putting up a fight.

We go to hospital and we see a bag of bones, lifeless eyes and jutting collar bone.

Your brother is furious. ‘Let the love of her life take care of her. She’s not coming back home.’ He yells.   I tell your brother,  ‘she’s coming home with us.’, I chose you over him.

She needs to eat and then we’ll have therapy sessions, your doctor tells us.

I learn all there is about your Anorexia. I tell your treatment team, forget six months waiting list, We’ll treat her at home and we’ll go private.

I become a hated enemy, as I sit through one meal after other with you. You think I am trying to control you, punish you, but Dear Child, I’m merely supervising your meals. You need to eat to live. I can’t let you have your way with meals, it’s as simple as that. What am I going to tell Abba ji, that I failed to feed my daughter? Under my roof, I’m binded by an oath to protect you, and that means protecting you from the demon of Eating Disorder.

You coming home creates tension in our family circle. Your uncles are furious. Your mother cleans obsessively now. I think of my father in a small village in Pakistan. Family whispers grow louder. I walk with a hunch back now. ‘He’s spineless, he has no dignity. How can he bring her back home?’ Look Dear Daughter, How your Brother speaks to me? I used to be a man, strong, powerful and proud man. Today I am a man of very very few words.

‘Come to England, Abba ji.’ I tell him. ‘Why do you insist on staying in a country with no electricity, no running water and no technology.’ ‘I’m happy my Son, he tells me, you take care of your family’.

You gain weight, treatment team is happy. You’ve been with us for 8 months now. But then you want to go back to your husband. ‘He’s changed,’ you tell us.

You leave, and me and your mother, we simply stare into empty air.

 I want to go and visit my Abba ji. Me a man of 48 wants an escape.

I go home to my Abba ji. ‘Look my Son is here, light of my eye is here,’ my elderly aunt wails and hugs me tightly. A little sneaky tear rolls down my cheek, betraying my manliness. I am no longer ashamed of my tears.

My Father, My Abba Ji

My Proud Father

The house needs fixing. Abba ji’s sister , so old now cooks for me.  I work too hard she scolds me.

She Cooks for me- My Dear Aunt

My Aunt Cooks For Me

My House Needs Slight Fixing

Our House Needs Fixing

At night, so many people gather in Abba ji’s house. They are his cousins, his relatives. Some relatives have walked for miles to come and see me. I am treated like a king. Everyone drinks Fresh Milk with fresh Honey and Cardamoms.

Next Day, we take a stroll across our village. It’s so quiet and so peaceful.  Everyone is so happy. They are so poor, but so happy. No latest phones, no laptops, no Apple brands here, no Anorexia, no Children Yelling at their parents.

We walk around our Village

How we walk away from such peace is beyond me, but man has desires that need to be satisfied.

We go and pray at the mosque and Abba ji prays for you Dear Daughter.

We pray at Village Mosque

We visit Amma ji’s grave. Abba ji prays for her soul. We visit other ancestors graves.

 You’ve changed my elderly relatives tell me. Now  you are drinking water from our local Well. We don’t have to buy you a bottled water anymore. They smile at me.

‘Come back home’, your mother sends me a message. Our daughter is back.

I’m home, I think to myself. I’ve only been here for 15 days. I think of 14 hours of taxi. I think of bills, mortgage, mocking glances from family members and I slowly rise to my feet. I straighten my bent back and I say good bye to my Abba ji, to all his animals, to his sister. I kiss her hands and thank her for taking care of my father.

My FAther's Animals My father's animals My Village33

I come back. ‘Dear Wife, Dear Daughter, I will work long hours in Taxi. I will support my family. I will pay off the bills. But When I die, don’t bury me here in cold grey climate. Take me back to my small rural, backward village in Pakistan.  Bury me among my ancestors. I know someday, people in that village, children in that village will come and visit my grave and will pray for my soul.’

I look at time: 12:30pm. I bring my divorced daughter out of her bedroom.We eat Lunch. It’s Moroccan Today.

Her Favorite

Her Favorite

 

‘It’s going to be OK,’ I tell her! She looks at me with haunted look in her eyes. I walk around to her side, and I put my hand on her head and kiss her forehead. ‘Your safe here, your father is here. I’ll protect you here.’ I look into her eyes, ‘remember this will be all water under the bridge in few years, these people will get bored and they’ll find something else to gossip about.’  ‘Humanity is fallible, we all make mistakes. We will fight this together and you’re going to come out of this stronger.’ She squeezes my hand, I know she believes me.

 

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Eating Disorder Recovery Recipes- Digestive Super-Shot and Digestive Super-Soother

Refeeding and Eating should all be about ease, comfort and supporting your well-being,

Say No to Laxatives and Say Yes to Nature Friendly  Foods

Dear Readers,

When it comes to wellness, digestive health is important. People with eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa or bulimia often develop delayed gastric emptying. One thing I found really sad about Eating Disorder Unit was lack of focus on Digestive health. When I started feeding, I suffered from myriad of digestive health problems and there was absolutely no advice given on how to achieve optimal digestive health. Digestive Health matters and Eating Disorder Units really need to incorporate digestive friendly foods in their meal plans. Taking control of your digestive health can help you improve your overall health, well-being and happiness. I learned all about digestive health from Shaye Boddington and incorporated fermented foods in my diet. With time gastric emptying does resume and symptoms tend to improve when food intake and eating schedules normalize. I learned it’s a matter of taking simple Preventive Steps and that’s all. You can start making simple, proactive changes to your diet and lifestyle today that can benefit your digestive health, now and throughout your life.

Please find two excellent recipes for good digestive health by Belinda Blake and Nicola Moore from ION Short Course, Healing Foods for the Digestive System.

 

Healing Foods For Digestive Health

 

Digestive Super-Shot

Serves 2-4

Digestaid/Chloretic

 

 

 

Ingredients

1-2 lemons, unwaxed and cut into quarters

2-4 cm piece ginger root, peeled

½ pineapple, peeled and chopped

2 apples

1 medium beetroot (optional)

Adjust quantities to taste

 

Method

Put all the ingredients through a juicer and enjoy straightaway as vibrant aperitif!

 

Digestive Super-Shooter

Serves 2

Anti-inflammatory/carminative

 

Ingredients

3 apples

½ small white cabbage

¼ fennel bulb

1 bunch mint

(adjust quantities to taste)

 

Method

Put all the ingredients through a juicer and enjoy straight away! If you have problems with gastric reflux, you may find it more soothing to remove or reduce the apples.

A little slippery elm could be added to the juice to increase the mucilage content.

 

© Belinda Blake, Caterpillar’s Kitchen 2014

Posted in Eating Disorder recovery Recipe, Eating Disorder Recovery Tips, Eating Disorders, Eating Guidelines, Foods for Healing ION, Mindful Eating, Recovery | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Memoir of Anorexia and Recovery: Grace Bowman

A Memoir of Anorexia and Recovery: Grace Bowman

http://www.gracebowman.net/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/Grace_Bowman_photo1.jpg

Grace Bowman is an author and speaker. She was born in Durham city in 1977 and went on to read English at Queens’ College, Cambridge University. She is the author of Thin, published by Penguin

http://news.bbc.co.uk/nolavconsole/ukfs_news/hi/newsid_4710000/newsid_4716500/bb_wm_4716520.stm

 

Grace Bowman on Chrissy Show-

The Chrissy B Show (34) – My Body, My Rules (Do I Have an Eating Disorder?)

Dear Readers,

 

I remember reading this book at  the Day Unit. This is a memoir by Grace Bowman, a popular 18 year old who decided to go on a diet before heading off to university. Soon dieting turns into something vicious, she finds she can’t stop.  She struggles to understand how or why it’s happened and why she can’t bring herself to eat.  In this Memoir, you find out what  lead to Grace’s anorexia and you get to follow her recovery out of this self-destructive illness. The book draws you into mindset of Grace and into dark world of Eating Disorder. I would like to share few snippets from the book. It’s a good read, simple to comprehend and easy to relate to and gives a powerful message on power that exists in each of us to beat Eating Disorder.

 

The Passage of Time

The Passage of time is a powerful thing. When people ask how you overcome an eating disorder it doesn’t sound like the most convincing of explanations to put it down to things just getting better, but this was the case in my experience. It was a slow process to wear it down but the more I fought it, the more I wanted to rid myself of its strangling hold, and eventually, with sustained effort, the eating disorder voice gradually faded out.

A big part of my recovery came down to embracing the change rather than opposing it.

If you are able to admit real responsibility of what you can achieve -if you can start to encounter that fear- then you realise that anorexia is something you can put a stop to.

The strength of anorexia is such that its remnants are clearly felt, or translated into something else long after the ‘phase’ has passed. It is not something that you forget you experienced. You cannot do this because the potential long-lasting consequences for your body range from infertility to osteoporosis to the erosion of tooth enamel. And it can come back. Even if the relationship with food recovers, the relationship with yourself can remain a fragile one.

 

The Shape of Emotions

 

‘It’s gonna hurt, now,’ said Amy. ‘Anything dead coming back to life hurts.’

A truth for all times, thought Denver.

Beloved, Toni Morrison

 

As you recover from very low weight and self-starvation- as you put on more weight, and return to the target you are told to achieve- lots of things do improve (perception can shift and rational decisions can begin to be made), but at the same time it can be a terrifying experience. The biggest change for me was the emergence of real feeling. I felt, like many others who regain weight and grow, that I was thrust back into my hypersensitive body. Emotions returned with full force after a long period of nullification. I went from emotional paralysis to a sense of being flooded with fear and feeling. It was as if all of the experience of the last few years had been unlocked and released, and I was initially totally knocked down with it. The first thing that an anorexic looks to do with that intense emotion is to relate to her size and weight. She believes this is what shapes all of her feelings and moods, and fuels her happiness or unhappiness. It was the same for me.

 

As an anorexic, you don’t have a sense of what your ‘self’ equals, and so you think that if you can emulate others, something will form around you. If the images you are presented with are long and thin and glossy, it is easier to think you should be like that; it is easier to think that that is how  and why those people have got there.

It is hard to accept you have to find your own level, which is inevitably a different level from everyone else’s. It’s hard to stop staring, to pull away, to stop wishing for a transformation to someone else’s idea of ‘the right shape’. Your inside strength finds it hard to come through, but when it does, you stop the self-rejection. You start to think of your-self as your own unique shape, your own outline.

 

I am different today, no question. The anorexic version of me is a part of my memory, but she doesn’t feel like she needs to be part of my present. It is amazing now, but I am able to stop myself thinking about the fat on my stomach, or the depth and width of my thighs. One day like that came along, and then it was two days, and then three in a row. Imagine that! Three days in a row with hardly any fat feelings and a head focused on other things. Even better sometimes I can’t remember what I ate two days ago.

 

Mostly I still remember today, but I certainly can’t list everything over the last week. I can’t even tell you the calorie content of a pizza, or a slice of toast with butter, or a can of coke. In fact, it’s almost as if I have been brainwashed not to remember by my own brain. It’s like I hypnotized myself backwards.

 

Quiet often I forget about my body and my weight, I stop thinking about it. I wonder if it is because I don’t need to focus on that anymore.

 

The voice, the wrong-speed inside voice has slowly faded. It is more like a whisper than a roaring shout. Sometimes I faintly hear it trying to come back. Sometimes I punch it out in the gym. Sometimes I breathe it away. Sometimes I sleep through it. Sometimes I laugh so loud that it disappears entirely. Sometimes I jump on my bed and do forward rolls; anything to mix it up, screw it right up, throw it out the window.

My Story

 

Anorexia just lost its appeal frankly, the view of thin me was not fulfilling, nor truthful, nor logical. The equation didn’t make sense. I had been reciting the same lines over and over again, and years later, the thinness had contributed nothing to my self-esteem (that had to come from somewhere else). It took me time to work this out. It took me time to outgrow it, until one day, or one series of, days, I decided to stop running away from finishing it.

When you decide to allow yourself access to the reality of your eating disorder, past or present, that’s when you empower it with an existence outside the confines it has shrouded itself in. That is when it can start to break down. When it is shared it is broken.

The anorexia itself tries to stop such an invasion of its privacy, of course. It tries to stop any sense of an ending to keep its power within, and you have to fight this. You have to break the secrecy.

 

My Shape

For my part, I have stopped thinking about my body so much, and I have accepted that it will change as I change, and as I grow older. So what I weigh today, or yesterday, or tomorrow will not tell you anything about me. It will not tell you who I am, what kind of person I am, What I believe or what I will be tomorrow.

To give up control, you need to give yourself and your time to someone else’s plans, to someone else’s needs; to do things for other people. This helps to break through the fear of what will happen if your life isn’t planned just the way you want it to be. You can’t control everything, and never will, and once you have accepted this you begin to steady.

I used to feel an absence from myself. I discarded my body, I threatened it, I tried to shrink it. Now I feel it, I sit in the presence of myself and I nurture it. It has helped to try and link my body and my mind, rather than separating them out and letting them fight each other. I feel like I am not fighting myself anymore.

I actually feel protective of my body now. This is my shape, my body. This is my shape, my life.

 

 

 

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For the Love of Imam Hussain, Anorexia, Recovery, Healing

 

 

Dear Readers,

 

This is such a beautiful tale of hope , courage, healing and Love. The tale is also laced with deep pain and suffering. My request, Please try to respect the stories of people on this blog. It’s really hard for some people to delve into these experiences– experiences which they would prefer to put behind them, and to pretend their Eating Disorder didn’t happen. They share their stories out of good will, to raise awareness of ED in Muslim world and to dispel the stigma that surrounds this illness.  I’ve known this incredible person for over a year now and I really respect her from depths of my heart for sharing her story on this blog. Many times during the process of telling me the story she broke down and we both cried; these times are traumatic and not ones to look forward to. She said what she learned from her accident was to take responsibility, to never forget, and rather to use these experiences to focus on a better future and Alhamdulilah she has.

 In Gratitude to my Grandmother Who Taught Me about Love for Imam Hussain, Taught me about Healing and helped me to set myself Free.

I was thirteen when I developed anorexia. I was born in Oxford and grew up there. Both my parents are Iranians.

Every summer holiday we went to Tehran to visit my mother’s relatives. They lived in Mahmoodiyeh, one of the most affluent areas of Tehran. In Tehran my Father’s mother would come to visit us for a day . She would come all the way from Shiraz in a bus and it was a six hours journey.

One of the most important thing in my life was to remain thin and successful. I held these limited beliefs very dear to my heart. Everyone knew my Eating was very disordered but I simply refused to acknowledge anything was wrong. I was just extremely health conscious and proactively conscientious.  Eight years later, I was forced to change and let go of my perfectionism and my beliefs. At the age of 23, I had my Mphil in Finance and Economics. At the age of 24, I was advancing in my career and making progress in investment banking and asset management.

That One Night

Coming out of that swanky night club, I never knew getting into that car would change my life forever. I wasn’t drunk. My faint memory of that accident is how windshield shattered and the glass flew onto me and my face hit the steering wheel. In pain I saw my paternal Grand mother’s face مادر بزرگ flash before my eyes before I lost consciousness. This is something I remember very clearly, but other than that nothing about that night really exists in my memory. What I’ve learned about that night is through friends.

For days I was unconscious in hospital. My first memory approximately two weeks later is vague and unclear of waking up and seeing my mother.  

My clear memory of hospital is how everything in my body hurt.I couldn’t talk, words wouldn’t come, my throat was so dry and my face hurt. My mother told me I had suffered a skull fracture (caused from hitting the dashboard and the windshield). I also had few broken ribs, fractured pelvis and a fractured right knee. I was lucky that I didn’t suffer heart attack because of my low weight. Doctors were uncertain as to what extent I would recover. My chance of surviving the accident had been less than 20 percent. Years of Anorexia and under eating hadn’t had the impact on my health that one accident did, it took seconds for an accident to rob me of my own body’s freedom. At that time I was too sick to understand that I could have avoided some of the injuries if my weight was not very low. The lack of fat on my body caused and fractured organs that I had no idea even existed. My lungs had to be inflated and I had to have a surgery on my pelvis.  Soon horror of what had happened sank in and I fell into a state of despair from the pain and shock.

My second memory and a very clear memory is waking up one evening and seeing a woman in black chador there, it was my Grandmother. She had come all the way from Shiraz. It was a shock and then tears came hot and fast. For two weeks, I had not shed a single tear in front of my family and then I wept and my Grandmother cried with me.

 

God Sends Someone in Pain

He sent my Grandmother, a woman from Shiraz who had never been to UK before.

For six months I was in hospital, she remained by my bed side. She recited names of God on her black stone beads. She read one chapter of Qur’an everyday and when I was able to drink soup through the straw, she told doctors in her very firm tone that her grand daughter was not eating hospital food. To her it was not edible.

First Day she gave me soup, I had no idea what was in the soup except it was going to heal my bones.  Next day I did faint, when I discovered I was given a lamb broth.

Having a thin body is far from your mind when your lying on a hospital bed trying to survive. There were days when I did panic.  I could not exercise or  walk and at times needed morphine to sleep. Do you know what scared me the most? It wasn’t the physical pain, but the pain in my mind, the fears, the uncertainty about future.

My sole consolation was my Grandmother, who didn’t let me fall into despair. Who simply refused to accept I was vegan . Her attention and efforts soothed the anxiety about everything and about operation. She would apply rose water oil to my skin and very carefully would lift my hair from my fractured skull and comb it. About one month after the accident, I recovered enough physical strength to make it through surgery.

 

The Love for Imam Hussain

We were soon approaching Muharram and date of my surgery. It was then  I learned about the tragedy of Karbla, the love people had for Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and His family and about the Martyrdom of Imam Hussain (Grandson of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) who was martyred in a battle in a place called Karbala in Iraq). Something shifted  in my heart.  Before my surgery, I was just falling into a state of melancholy, I didn’t see much hope.  Then my Grandmother told me something very profound which changed my whole perspective on life. She told me before His Martyrdom, day before his death,  Imam Hussain and his loyal followers asked the rivaling army to grant them One night where they Could Pray to God.  I found that astonishing, Imam Hussain, the most beloved Grandson of the Seal of Prophets could have asked for anything, amnesty, a week to live, surrender, ease for his family, anything, but what he asked for was a simple chance to pray to His Lord. This simply reduced me to tears. My pain no-longer mattered, and there was no room for personal despair or self-pity.

The morning of my surgery I recited a tasbih of Fatima on my Grandmother’s rosary beads and I entered surgery with Allah and Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and His Family on my mind.

 

Stay close to any sounds that make you glad you are alive.

Hafiz

Day of Surgery

After six long hours I came out and the surgery was a success, it was first of Muharram, first day in Muslim calendar, Islamic New Year. A  month that is remembered for its sorrowfulness and tragedy and tears. And while I was in surgery, someone was kneeling on the floor praying for  me.  First time in my life I felt gratitude toward anyone.  I was truly thankful to my Grandmother for her care.

After the Surgery

After the surgery, I remained bedridden for a month. Little by little my body started recovering, regaining its strength.  Rehab was painful, we worked hard at walking. With rehabilitation, my Grandmother’s Iranian food and the power of prayer, my body recovered at a speed that amazed my  doctor. After 4 months, I was finally discharged from the hospital. Can you believe this? because of anorexia, doctors thought my body wouldn’t heal quickly, but according to my Grandmother healing was in her Iranian food.

As my Grandmother’s visa was running out, she had to go back. She told me Shiraz was calling her back, she missed poets of Shiraz, people of her country and gardens of Shiraz.

We are
People who need to love, because
Love is the soul’s life,

Love is simply creation’s greatest joy.

Hafiz

Shiraz - Hafiz mausoleum

Three months later, I was in Tehran and my Grandmother came to visit me. I went back to the city of poets with her. Shiraz is one of the oldest cities in the world, dating back to 2000BC, and is known throughout the world as one of the leading centers of the arts. The famous poets Hafez and Saadi hail from Shiraz. The tombs of these poets and the Persian mystic and writer Khaju e Kermani are in Shiraz.  There were no triggers in Shiraz, no Alcohol, no Magazines or posters of stick thin girls and my Grandmother would have slapped me if I even had tried to smoke.

Shiraz - Jahan Nama garden

You are Lucky When Life Presents you with a gift-  AWake up Call

 Freedom is our Destiny. Yet We Fear Taking the Very Step which will Take us into the Gardens which is our true Nature.

The accident was a deep awakening for me. I thought the value of my existence came from the way I looked, the way my body was and results at work, but all I could do while in hospital was to simply exist. In Shiraz, a strong feeling to want to be useful to more people started to grow within me. I appreciated the happiness in the little things, learning to cook with my Grandmother, buying bread from the bakery, visiting her friends, attending poetry sessions every week,  visiting old family members in Albourz mountains, eating locally sourced plums and pomegranates, visiting Aramgah-e Hafez (the beautiful tomb of national poet Hafez)  praying at Nasir-ol Moik mosque, visiting Eram gardens, the Quaran Gate and Shah Cheragh mosque complex.

And let me tell you, all this was so hard. Before I went to Iran I could not stop reflecting on my past, I could not get the life I lived before the accident out of my mind. Why me? Why did this had to happen to me? I asked myself time and time again. Depression settled in and I turned to drinking and smoking. Putting my life on hold wasn’t getting me anywhere. I was miserable, and I was alone. And I was falling, falling deeper and deeper into despair and self pity. And then one day my mother decided to take me to Tehran for a short break. I had no plans of going to Shiraz, but then as usual my Grandmother came on a bus to see me and it was the look of shock and horror on  her face that made me change my mind.

It hurt me, when I saw my  Grandmother cry. She could not understand, why I looked so frail and so ill. I owed my health my well-being to this lady and seeing her so distraught was simply heartbreaking. Something was going to change, and in that moment I determined that what needed to change was me. I decided to settle one debt in this life and the debt was towards my Grandmother, to see a smile on her face, to see her happy and not so distraught. When my grandfather passed away none of us made it to the funeral, we were simply too busy. She simply waited by the body while my father delivered one excuse after other. She never held that against us and when I needed her, she just dropped everything and came.

I was no longer going to shut myself away from the world, so I embarked on a very uncertain journey and gave up the comfortable life I had in Oxford.

In Shiraz

In the following months I learned more about myself than I had in my entire lifetime. I also discovered the strength of the power within me.

I still have some injuries that affect me. I have lower back problems, a significant hearing loss due to head trauma, but I am so lucky that my jaw healed correctly, my jaw could have left me with uneven bite and I am so glad that did not happen.

Now four years later, I am well and truly recovered.  I’ve not substituted my addiction for low weight with any other addiction. I’ve not touched wine in four years.   In the city of poets I learned to live a life of gratitude, a life of open eyes, a life of appreciation, a life of simplicity and a life of happiness.  It gave me the opportunity to use the experience for personal transformation and transcendence and replace the feeling of being a victim to being a victor (a human being capable of defeating the mental illness and her Eating Disorder).

My Message

If you want to experience victory in life, walk by faith. To walk by faith you must believe in your heart what God has said about you being best of the creation,  and you must act upon this by taking care of yourself, living the life in servitude of God and in utter humility. When you live a life of gratitude you are walking by faith and not by ego. No matter what the circumstances may say or be, you keep saying what God says, and you keep doing what God has said.

 Feed the Body, Free the Mind

 

 

 

 

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Step 4 Eating Disorder Recovery- 12 Islamic Steps to Recovery

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Step 4 Eating Disorder Recovery

Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

We are One

 

Dear Readers, Welcome to Step 4 of 12 Islamic Steps to Recovery from Eating Disorder. In step 4, you show your willingness to trust God. You make a searching and fearless written inventory of your life, surveying or summarizing the thoughts, events, emotions, and actions of your life, making your inventory as complete as possible. Doing a fearless and thorough inventory of your life will not be easy. When we say fearless, we do not mean you will have no feelings of fear. You will likely experience many emotions as you survey your life, including embarrassment or shame or fear. Fearless means you will not let your fears stop you from being thorough in the inventory process.

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In step 4, it means you commit to rigorous honesty as you focus on events in your life, including your own weaknesses, and not on anyone else’s weaknesses. In the past you probably justified bad behaviour and blamed other people, places, or things for the problems you had created. Now you will begin to take responsibility for past and current actions, even though you may need to acknowledge painful, embarrassing, or difficult events, thoughts, emotions, or plain simple truth about yourself.

Truthful in Islam

Being truthful is not always easy, especially when we make a mistake. We fret over whether or not to disclose exactly what happened. We sweat, we are afraid, we feel nervous and anxious. We are often afraid that if we tell the truth about what we have done or said, we will be in trouble with our parents or friends. What we forget is that whether we tell the truth or not, Allah Most High knows exactly what took place, even those things that were never manifest or visible to people around us. Despite how burdensome telling the truth might seem, all of us are aware of the feeling of relief we experience when we tell the truth, even if the consequence of telling the truth is punishment. Casting the telling of truth and the fate of the truthful in terms of profit and loss, Allah Most High tells us in the Qur’an:

[This is a day on which the truthful will profit from their truth: theirs are gardens, with rivers flowing beneath — their eternal Home: Allah well-pleased with them, and they with Allah. That is the great salvation, (the fulfillment of all desires).] (Al-Ma’idah 5:119)

So much is to be gained from being truthful as opposed to escaping punishment or blame because of not being truthful. Not being truthful, in fact, leads us down a slippery slope, guaranteeing that with one lie, more lies must be told. Being truthful is not an option for Muslims, but rather an obligation, because our goal in being truthful is Paradise. The beloved of Allah, Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), said, as narrated by `Abdullah (may Allah be pleased with him), Truthfulness leads to righteousness, and righteousness leads to Paradise. And a man keeps on telling the truth until he becomes a truthful person. Falsehood leads to al-fujur [wickedness, evil-doing], and al-fujur leads to the (Hell) Fire, and a man may keep on telling lies till he is witten before Allah, a liar.” (Sahih Bukhari, Book #73, Hadith #116) Ultimate success is therefore achieved by living one’s entire life — the youthful years, the adult years, and the elderly years — being truthful.

rumi

In Step 3 we made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the CARE of Allah. This means we very selflessely turned ourselves to Allah.

“Next we launched out on a vigorous course of action, the first step of which is personal housecleaning, which many of us had never attempted.” (Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 63&64)

Step 4  can seem like a monumental task… a “searching AND fearless moral inventory”… but in its simplest terms it really is just about taking stock. What is working for us and what isn‟t? What are our assets and liabilities? Although many of us have led good moral lives, the content of our inner lives can be much different. How judgmental are we? How much of our lives do we spend worrying about the future? How long will we carry around a resentment? You may have heard this before, but any business that doesn‟t take stock of its inventory on a regular basis is bound to fail. People, too, need to take regular inventory of their assets and liabilities. Often, we hang onto behaviors and attitudes that once served a useful purpose but have long since turned into serious liabilities. Sometimes, too, we develop wonder ful traits — patience with others, for instance, or a deeper appreciation for life –but haven’t really noticed these changes either. Taking stock of our personal assets and liabilities — taking a good and honest look at our habits of attitude and action–is half of what Step 4 is all about. The other half involves figuring out a plan to keep the right stuff going and to get the wrong stuff stopped.

You may wonder how we can possibly know if we have done a proper job with Step 4. Some of us were such perfectionists we hardly knew where to begin, let alone end. How honest is “good and honest?” Were we even capable of real self- honesty? The truth is that nearly all of us were quite seriously crippled by fear, resentment and self- pity when we began our jo urney of recovery.   Step 4 is the searchlight that reveals these confounding bedevilments and helps us see what we must do to be rid of them. If we do a decent job with Step 4, we begin to see where we routinely invite muck into the house. We have a plan for how to get and keep our house clean. We are prepared for a serious house cleaning and we begin to feel free.

We’ve already said that taking Step 4 means taking stock of our habits of thought and action and making plans for replacing rotten ideas and behaviors with something better.   It is equally important to remember what Step 4 is NOT .   Step 4 is not about shaming ourselves. It is not just another creative way to abuse ourselves. Step 4 is also not about other people.   Step Four involves looking at how we, individually, reacted to the world NOT about what the world or individuals in it did to us.   “Though our decision was a vital and crucial step (Step 3), it could have little permanent effect unless at once followed by a strenuous effort to face, and be rid of, the things in ourselves which had been blocking us.” (Big Book, p.64) Most of us have spent our whole lives trying to get away from the turmoil inside by bingeing, purging, starving, engaging in perfectionism, people-pleasing, and more. We thought if we could run fast enough or work hard enough we could get away from ourselves.   Step Four therefore demands great courage of each us. Individually, we must make a decision to turn around and look directly at all those things we have been avoiding. Though we must do this for ourselves and by ourselves, we are never truly alone: we are standing on the shoulders of those who have gone before and we stand shoulder to shoulder with one another, taking responsibility for our lives at last. This may all sound quite awful, but Step 4 can be a very gentle process if done in the right frame of mind; please try and remember that as you embark on this part of the journey. We have abused ourselves long enough. Step 4 is part of the natural continuum of healing that you began with the first three steps.
ego

Different EDA Members’ Step Four Experiences

“I will say that I had probably been writing my fourth step in my head for the last month, but as soon as I actually started writing it got so much better and easier to do. It isn’t yet completed and I am sure that I will constantly find more stuff to add to it until I meet with the person that will hear my fifth step, but it will be so much easier to add to a project that has already been started. I also know that I can do another fourth step later if I need to, it doesn’t have to be perfect and 100% complete this time as long as I am honest.” The 4th and 5th step are like the hump day of the workweek. Get past these and you’re well on your way to the weekend. There are lots of guides to doing an inventory and I think everybody has to find one that suits them. I remember being totally confused and overwhelmed by this step. But when a sponsor really got across to me that this is like a business looking at it’s shelves and seeing what is there and what is not there, objectively and thoroughly, I got started. It isn’t about blame or shame. It is about looking for and seeing what character traits, habits and thinking brought us to where we are. I was told that gett ing past the 4th and 5th meant going forward a whole stage in recovery. If you’re tired of relapsing get past these 2 steps. And I’ve found this to be true not only for me but for others I’ve seen recover. So just get started on the 4th. Don’t be afraid of it.”
“Now I actually do this on a daily basis as situations arise when ever possible. I think before acting and try not to react. For me this step is like the essence of “Mindfulness” a Buddhist principle. Basically you take a step back from the moment to observe it as if from the outside without judging or reacting. Once you master this you will be able to observe the situation from your own point of view and that of others and understand the reality of motives and emotions and how you are “reacting” to them.”
“Praying for the willingness to start and complete this step was the only way I could continue on my recovery. With my higher power and sponsor’s support I was able to take an honest searching and fearless inventory of myself. When finished, I sta
red at the paper that used to be blank. I thought to myself, “here are all of my „secrets‟ down on this paper.” I had a strange sort of relief as if I wanted to get rid of these “character defects”
“ASAP.” I prayed again to God to provide me with the willingness to share this with my sponsor and trust her with my “secrets” in Step Five.” “The point of the fourth step is not to justify our ill thinking and behavior, but to see where we (I)–not the other people– went wrong, so we (I) don’t have to wallow in misery and pain in the same way again, and so we (I) don’t have to go around blaming other people for our (my) misery. That attitude of blame, and the accompanying (sometimes unrecognized) feeling of victimization and self-pity, keep us stuck for as long as we hold onto them: they are the shackles of helplessness and of powerlessness. Well, the point of the steps, according to the Big Book, is to help us find a power by which we can lead sane and useful lives. Step four is where we cut those shackles that bind us to powerlessness.”

Suggestions:

1. Get a notebook or journal just for the purpose of doing this step. Keep it in a safe
place.
2. This step is meant to take a while. How long depends on how thorough you are willing to be. It is best not to try and complete a Fourth Step this in one sitting.
3. Pray  Salat Hajjat (prayer of guidance) each time before you start writing. Asking Allah to help you be fearless and thorough can be enough.

4. Don‟t go back and read what you have written and “edit.” Whatever com es out of your pen is what needs to be on the paper.
5. Make sure you have a sponsor to help you when you get “stuck” or let your
support people know what you are doing and ask for their support.

Exercises:

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A.) Resentments

1. Make a list of the resentments you have (or had if this is your first time through the steps) on the left side of the paper leaving room on the right side and under each resentment for the second, third and fourth parts of this exercise. Write down the names of people, groups of people, institutions,  anything you have resentment about. Resentments can be recognized as memories that have a “sting” to them. Write down the names of the people you hold responsible for the sting in these memories.
2. In the right hand column write why you are or were resentful at that particular person or group of people. Was your pride or self-concept threatened? Were your relationships jeopardized? What was threatened or lost?
3. Under each resentment (on the left) and how it affected you (on theright), write down your part in it. Were you selfish, self-seeking, dishonest or petty? Remember this is YOUR inventory, not anyone else‟s. This is not a time to get angry all over again at what others did but to try and disc over patterns in the way we react to situations.

4. VERY IMPORTANT! For each resentment, ask yourself “If this happened
again, how might I respond differently? How would the person I most respect respond?” In many cases our outward response will not be very different, but our
new internal response involves an “Aha! There it is again!” aspect. Every time we see this situation play itself out, we get another chance to respond in a way that affirms us as whole, healthy, calm adults.
** Leave some room before going on to the next section in case you think of more resentment later.

B.) Fears:

1. Same format as above: make a list of fears you have (even if they seem ridiculous) on the left.
2. In the right- hand column write why you are afraid of whatever it is.
3. Underneath each fear, write what Allah would say to you if you were again experiencing this fear. If you can’t think of anything, don’ be alarmed. Ask your sponsor what Allah might say if she were experiencing this fear.

C.) Character Defects:

1. Below is a list of character defects. For each one, write examples of how that character defect has impacted your life. Give specific examples.
  • Perfectionism
  • Self-Pity
  • Self-centeredness
  • Selfishness
  • Dishonesty
  • Being judgmental
  • Gossip
  • Pride
  • Greed Intolerance/ prejudice
**Leave room after each of these exercises in case you think of other things to write down later.

D.) Patterns:

Look over everything you have written so far, and write a couple of paragraphs about patterns you see.

E.) Assets:

1. Make a list of all the things you like about yourself. These are characteristics that are often the flip side of the character defects listed above in part C. For instance:
  • Sense of Humor
  • Cheerful, enthusiastic
  • Thoughtful, caring
  • Generous, giving
  • Trustworthy, honest, open
  • Discerning, intelligent
  • Loyal, true friend Humble, respectful
  • Hard-working Tolerant and open-minded
  • Daring, courageous
  • Creative, inventive
  • Loving Even-tempered, calm
  • Fair Friendly, helpful

If you‟re having a hard time coming up with things to put down, ask people that you trust what they like about you. Before writing it down, ask yourself if you believe that is true. If you agree, then write it down. You have completed Step Four. Remember… if you did your best, it is good enough. A Fourth Step is never perfect and does not have to be. You have crossed a major milestone in your recovery. Celebrate! But don‟t stop here. On to Step Five…

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