Building Faith in Recovery – One Day at a Time

Building Faith in Recovery - One Day at a Time

Though the 12 steps form a comprehensive program for recovering from eating-related disorders and addictions, there is a factor not always stated, but which is woven throughout each of the steps. This necessary element is faith. Faith is essential to recovering from an eating disorder and for maintaining long-term growth and sobriety.

How Do We Grow in Faith?

Faith is a supernatural entity, yet there is a practical, action-based aspect to it as well. Faith is something we feel, but the feelings are driven by doing. As we learn at every step in the process of recovery, we can do nothing without the willingness and decision to do it. You may think you want to have a deeper faith and that you want to walk through this world with the confidence that God is taking care of you and prospering your recovery, but are you willing to surrender to that belief? Are you willing to set aside the past to embrace an unknown future?

We found that as soon as we were able to lay aside prejudice and express even a willingness to believe in a Power greater than ourselves, we commenced to get results, even though it was impossible for any of us to fully define or comprehend that Power, which is God.

(The Big Book, 3rd & 4th Editions, Page 46).

But this initial supernatural experience of God’s power is only the starting point. To experience the kind of vibrant recovery that keeps addicts sober year after year, there must be growth. Faith is like a muscle—it needs consistent exercise, stretching and development.

Growth in faith is both active and passive. Above all, God is guiding your faith journey and he will design and allow the kinds of life experiences that will deepen and develop your faith. While some of these experiences will be painful and challenging, God will never place upon you more than you can bear. He will also intersperse moments of joy, contentment, blessing, and happiness to keep your spirits up along the road. You are not in control of these experiences, but they will increase your faith if you look to God in the midst of them.

There is also an active side of growing in faith. There are practices that the believer who is recovering can choose to engage in for the purpose of deepening faith.

Work the Program. Every day that you follow the steps and tools of recovery, you are putting your faith into practical service. By doing simple things, such as following your food plan and calling your sponsor, you are affirming that you trust God to keep you sober as you do the practical steps. You are believing that God grants recovery and that He is granting it to you as you engage in the activities that promote your health and healing.

Pray. While the program itself promotes prayer, it’s easy to overlook since it feels so intangible. Put simply, prayer fosters faith. Speak to God throughout the day. Affirm your trust in Him. Be in constant communication with the one who orders and controls the universe.

And Jesus answered them, Have faith in God. Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. Mark 11:22-24

Seek Fellowship. We need the support and experiences of others to buoy us when the undercurrent of life threatens to pull us under. Hearing how God is working in the lives of others is strengthening and encouraging. Having a close circle of faithful friends is essential to building and sustaining faith.

Study Scripture. The Bible is full of God’s promises and the evidence that He has made good on those promises. Reading the Bible and affirming God’s promises in your life puts you in contact with the source of your confidence—God Himself.

Practice Trusting God. Though you can’t control the circumstances God will use to deepen and develop your faith, you do have control of your attitude. In the midst of challenges, instead of letting your emotions and negativity get the better of you, stop and affirm that you trust God. Consciously make a decision to replace fear with faith.

Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make straight your paths.