Red City Review of Washed Away: From Darkness to Light

Nikki Dubose’s Washed Away: From Darkness to Light is a modern take on an old genre, namely the salvation narrative. It begins with a brief anecdote of the author at her worst, before providing a chronological memoir of Dubose’s life. Dubose’s early childhood was riddled with abuse and neglect. She is brutalized by her stepfather, sexually molested by a family friend, and forced to deal with her mother’s mental illness, which results in yet more abuse. Dubose internalizes this abuse, and the reader witnesses her become her own worst enemy, hounded by the voices in her head that tell her she is disgusting, ugly, fat, and worthless. These voices are only silenced by her compulsive behavior, which includes round after round of binging and purging. Despite all of this, Dubose manages to become a well-known model, which unfortunately only exacerbates her eating disorder and body dysmorphia. Dubose only truly begins to heal after her mother’s untimely, but not unexpected, death. The tragedy allows her to begin to forgive not only those who harmed her, but herself as well.

Read more on Red City Review.

“When Abuse, Eating Disorders & Sibling Rivalry Collide — Stop Comparing and Love Yourself”

“I love my brother. He’s twenty-four and I’m thirty. We’ve been through so much together during our relationship; through Mom’s alcoholism and eventual death, my seventeen-year eating disorder and the physical, sexual and emotional abuse I received as a child. We’ve just been through it. Our bond has been strengthened by the pain and nothing can ever replace the love that we share.

I’ll never forget the first moment when Mom placed him in my arms in the delivery room. He was wrinkled, red and so fragile. I thought if I blinked too hard he would shatter into a million pieces. Time ceased to exist as I studied every tiny finger and toe. And his eyes, his beautiful, big brown eyes – I was hypnotized.”

Read more on Eating Disorder Hope.

Body Image from the Inside Out

“Every day I am faced with a challenge. I can either accept and embrace myself, or I can choose to listen to the negative voices that threaten to tear down the walls of my self-worth. Building my body image is a job that begins on the inside, and it’s one that I must form with blocks of love and patience.

In order to construct a solid foundation, I must clear away the rotted materials and replace them with long-lasting ones. As I take inventory of my life, what do I see that needs to be swept away? What does not serve me anymore? What are healthy changes that I can make that will ensure a positive environment for my mind, soul and body?”

 

Read more on Eating Disorder Hope.

 

Join me and Eating Disorder Hope for a Google + Hangout!

Join me and Eating Disorder Hope for a Google + Hangout at 12 pm PST today as we talk about Body Image!

Missed it? No worries! Watch the entire hangout below!

Love Letter to God

March 4, 2015

Thank You Dear Lord Jesus,

You are my Hope

You are my Strength

You are my Mind

You are my Love

You are my Savior

You are my Rock

You are my Comfort

You are my Healing

You are my Security

You are my Confidence

You are my Peace

You are my Stability

You are my Protection

You are my Beauty

Thank You Dear Lord Jesus,

You love me forever and forever

I love you with all that I am.

-Nikki DuBose


Love_Letter_to_God

Psalm 56:3,4

“But when I am afraid,

I will put my trust in you.
I praise God for what He has promised.
I trust in God, so why should I be afraid?

What can mere mortals do to me?”

Psalm 57:1-4

“Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy!

I look to you for protection.

I will hide beneath the shadow of your wings

until the danger passes by.

I cry out to God Most High,

to God who will fulfill his purpose for me.

He will send help from heaven to rescue me,

disgracing those who hound me.

My God will send forth his unfailing love and faithfulness.”

The Cure

I searched for myself
inside of bottles, liquids
pills and powders too
I took my pain
and numbed it with food
starved myself
’till I was nearly dead
Then one day
as I lay broken on the floor
a man appeared before me
“Are you ready to be healed
take my hand
All you have to do
is accept me.”

©2015 Nikki DuBose

Paint Me A Soul-Part One

In honor of NEDAwareness 2015, I will be writing about some of my experiences in the modeling business. According to the National Eating Disorders Association, we are fooled into believing the mirages created by the media I cannot even begin to tell you how many times my images were manipulated to make me look thinner to the point that it was destructive for my mental health and the health of so many others.

Over the next week I will detail raw, personal accounts of my time in the modeling and entertainment industries. These stories serve to inform and educate the masses about eating disorders, mental health issues, drug and alcohol addictions, and what really lies behind the doors of the fashion world. 

     It was the beginning of the fall of 2008. The changing air in Los Angeles signaled a shift in the direction of my life yet again. I was tired of running, tired of moving but deep within I felt that something better was on the horizon. I could have dreamed at least. After a couple of weeks of waiting to hear whether or not I would be accepted into modeling agencies in South Florida, I received emails from a few. Some of the most prestigious ones had responded. Nearly besides myself, I spotted their names in my inbox.

This is it! I’ve made it now! I’m going to be somebody, I thought.

Dizzying scenes of parading down glamorous runways filled my mind. I was overwhelmed with the prospect of my new life. My new life that was at the tip of my fingertips.

My sweaty fingers slipped on the keyboard as I clicked on the first message. However, my eyes melted with the lines as I recognized the all-to familiar response. Rejection.

Dear Ms. DuBose,

Thank you for contacting us. After reviewing your images we are sorry to say that we do not think that you would be a good fit for us at this time.

Damnit.” After reading a few more of those I shut off my computer and rolled over onto my messy bed. Crumbs from weeks worth of binges stuck to my clothes and skin and the disgusting feeling brought me back to my harsh reality.

What is wrong with me?

I pondered that question over and over again, so much, that it kept me in the pits of my destructive behaviors. I was trapped in bulimia, without a way out. Rejections from agencies fed my insecurities and mental instabilities. In turn, I cycled through binge eating and bulimia multiple times a day.

About a week later, I heard from an agency and management in South Florida. The feedback was different…sort of.

Dear Ms. DuBose

We would like to meet you. When are you coming?

Also, there are some areas that need attention on your body. The thighs and hips in particular need to be reduced. Competition here is intense!

My mind raced. Ok! I was accepted. But…I needed to change. Again. Change my body, but how much? I could handle it. I was determined to be who they wanted me to be. God knows I didn’t like who I saw when I looked in the mirror constantly throughout the day.

You stupid idiot. Look at yourself. Fat thighs. Big nose! No chest. Ugly, ugly, ugly! Worthless. Of course they won’t accept you. You’ll never be like them. Never. Get to work!

The voices I heard in my head dictated my life. Demeaning, yes, but familiar. The voices were what soothed me just as much as they belittled and controlled every single area. I was captive to them.

I succumbed to the voices that told me to starve myself in preparation for my new life as a model in South Florida that fall of 2008. I also prepared myself to listen to the voices of the people in the fashion industry. I never once thought about listening to my own voice, my heart, or my soul. I had no idea who that voice belonged to.

To be continued…

 

The Golden Letter

The Golden Letter to My Mind_Nikki_DuBose_Poetry_2015

Late one winter’s eve

as the wind mocked and moaned

I uncovered a golden letter

and here is what it read:

‘O, Frankly my mind

I am no respecter of your thoughts

No longer your slave

A prisoner of your delusions

I am not.

You wail in the night

singing for my soul,

and whisper quietly in the stills of the day

concealing your intentions

But I,

I am free

Frankly my mind

I am me.’

©2015 Nikki DuBose

It All Starts With Love

Print

Sapan Karecha is an artist, photographer and musician living in New York City. He has personally seen the harmful effects that eating disorders can have, as a couple of people in his family have been affected. Sapan is a proud supporter of our Artist Initiative Team for the Los Angeles NEDA Walk, and has even created a special art piece to be printed on T-shirts for the walk! We are honored to share his story and find out what his artwork represents.

The art piece I created for (The LA Artist Initiative Team) features four words written on the iris and pupil of an eye: hope, healing, happiness, and central to it all, love. Finding harmony in our personal lives and contributing to harmony as members of a greater community comes from non-judgmental love and compassion. We must always look at ourselves and others with loving, compassionate eyes, because this is how the seeds of hope, healing, and happiness are sown. It all begins with love.

I decided to become involved with (The National Eating Disorders Association) because the two women whom I love most are survivors of eating disorders. Having seen first-hand what eating disorders can do—the physical and emotional ravages they wreak—this is an issue close to my heart. NEDA provides valuable resources and education to those who seek help, and is a beacon of positivity, awareness, and prevention. I support NEDA, and I thank NEDA.”

God Bless,
Nikki DuBose

 

 

Roasted Pears with Camembert and Agave

Roasted Pears with Camembert and Agave

 

Happy New Year!  This is a simple, delicious and perfect way to welcome in 2015. This dish is ideal for when you do not have a lot of time and want to have something comforting and satisfying.

You will need: 

Cutting knife

Spoon

Melon ball scoop

Non-stick cookie sheet

Aluminum foil

2 TBS oil, such as canola or coconut

Three pears

Camembert cheese

Agave nectar

To make: 

Preheat the oven to 375°. Rinse the pears well. Place the pears on a cutting board and with the cutting knife slice the pears into halves and then scoop out the middle of each half with a small spoon or melon ball scoop. Discard the mush. Place aluminum foil on top of the cookie sheet and grease with two tablespoons of oil. Put the pear halves on top of the aluminum foiled pan. Fill each hole with camembert cheese and squeeze agave over top in a zig-zag motion. Place the pears into the oven for thirty minutes or until tender. Enjoy, and remember to eat mindfully. You are worth it!

God Bless,

Nikki DuBose

Apple of my Eye

Mountain Rose Apple
Mountain Rose Apple

 Our authentic beauty comes from within. Sounds cliche, right? Oh, but how true it is.
Just like this rare Mountain Rose apple grown in the Mountain Hood River Valley of Oregon, we never know what we have to offer until we cut beneath the surface. If we take the time to meditate on the inner beauty in others too, we can form longstanding, rewarding friendships and relationships that otherwise might have been missed.

Raw Reflections of Self Esteem From a Thirteen Year Old

*Note: B.E.A.U.T.Y is meant to serve as a tool to release feelings and to build confidence in an otherwise damaged society. Our perception of beauty today has been lost and many times we feel ugly inside, instead of the perfectly created souls we are. The content submitted is raw and unedited, as every individual has the right to express their perceptions that have led them to where they are today.  The sole intended purpose of B.E.A.U.T.Y and all content therein is to bring healing and the message that full recovery from all eating disorders, mental health issues, abuse, and negative situations is possible.

When we hear the word “self-image,” what comes to mind? The mental pictures we form about our identities may be a reflection of  the positive and negative experiences we have encountered over a lifetime. Sometimes the manners by which we perceive ourselves is consistent, while other times we are capable of changing our mirror formations radically in the blink of an eye. Whatever the case may be, our self-image is critical in how we interact with ourselves and the world around us. Our image is a mere representation of what we show to outsiders; are we giving a correct portrayl of who we are to those around us? Are we honest in our spirits first, and letting that flow to our physical image?  So often in life we wear many masks to various associations and crowds of people; we desire our image to be one thing to one group, and another thing to another. The problem with this is that we can never be anyone but our true selves, and if we don’t know who we really are, we will never live fulfilled. We musn’t live life for others because truly no one is going to be approving of us all of the time. We must connect with a self-image that is peaceful and content at our core, and be satisfied with the image that is projected for all of the universe to see.

How and What I feel about Image

by Jacaila, age 13

 Image to me is a bunch of crap society makes up to make us feel bad. I mean I didn’t receive proper care when I was five years old! Don’t get me wrong, I care about image too. Whenever I think I look good, somebody always has to tell me I look horrible. It brings my self esteem to an all time low. I’ve always tried to figure out how girls can be “ana” or “mia.” I tried to be like that once but food is just too good! When I say, “I tried,” I meant it. I purged and starved myself, tried diet pills without eating anything after words. In fifth grade things were changing for me, just because of someone’s opinion of me. The boy called my “ugly.” It took me awhile but in my mind I thought he was right. Every time I looked in the mirror, all I saw was ugliness. My whole attitude changed, grades slipped and relationships slowly disappeared. In sixth grade, self-harm played its way into my life. I couldn’t stop, therapy wasn’t helping at all and life wasn’t getting better. So I feel that self esteem, image and what we think about it is restricting us from thinking better about ourselves. In conclusion, image is just society’s way of keeping us down.

*Jacaila is now fourteen years old, and has a more positive view of herself through working recovery.

B.E.A.U.T.Y Project Story–Self Esteem: A Long and Winding Road

“Self Esteem: A Long and Winding Road”

by Sam, from New Jersey

When I was growing up, you might not have noticed there was something wrong with me. I was a healthy-looking, fit, active boy. You could have asked me about it, but I wasn’t aware anything was wrong. The problem was subtle and invisible: the face and body everyone saw was not the face and body I saw in the mirror with my own eyes. Where you might see a nose that was proportionate to the rest of my face, perhaps a handsome nose, I saw a weighty, unwieldy, shapeless thing. Some people would compliment my broad shoulders, and I would focus on my imperceptibly protruding belly.

If you’d asked me who I wanted to look like, I would’ve said Superman. As child of the 1980s, I specifically wanted to look like Christopher Reeve as Superman. The fact that I didn’t look like him didn’t make me feel sad or depressed. I believed that if I exercised and did enough push ups, I would build a strong physique. It didn’t bother me that I couldn’t have his face.

There were things about my face and my appearance that did cause me distress, however. Both of my parents had difficult childhoods, and less than loving parents. My mother and father were both regarded as good-looking people; though I inherited their features, my parents would make offhanded comments about my appearance which hurt. These comments were not intended to be hurtful, and I couldn’t have known at the time that some of the things they’d say stemmed from insecurities they had about themselves. My mother didn’t like her nose. She wished I had my father’s nose. In fact, my father didn’t like my nose either. He developed a routine where he’d clench my nose between his thumb and forefinger and hold it tightly until I managed to wriggle away. He thought it was funny. Having a swollen and red nose for the rest of the day wasn’t funny. “Like Rudolph,” my mother would joke. I began to wonder if I had inherited any of my parents’ preferred parts. Were any of my features the right ones? Still, my appearance wasn’t something I thought about every day. Not until I reached high school.

In high school, it seemed like everyone was dating or socially active except me. Other boys would get attention from girls and I wondered why they didn’t seem to notice me. I questioned my looks, I questioned my personality. Most families in town were upper-middle class, and there were periods where we didn’t have much money. Was it my lack of designer clothing?

I wondered about race, too. I’m an American-born East Indian. Around this time, the demographics of my hometown and neighboring towns were changing. East Indians were moving into the area in droves, yet my school’s population remained nearly all White. I got teased a lot for looking different. I was bullied over my religious differences, mocked because I developed a beard and chest hair before the other boys. Some White adults in town were quietly unhappy about Indians buying up homes, businesses, with little to no cultural integration. You could feel something was simmering underneath the surface of tolerance. Walking to school or walking home, the threat of violence from other kids always existed. Having a healthy sense of humor helped me diffuse a number of intense encounters, but jokes didn’t save me every time.

I remember getting caught in a sudden, heavy rainstorm with a friend. His house was a few blocks away, so we ran for it. It was futile, we were soaked in seconds. When we reached the front door, sloshing clothes hanging off our frames, his mother swiftly opened up. “Get inside!” she yelled. My friend ran in first. When I stepped forward, his mother shut the door in my face. How could she not see me? I rang the bell and knocked. Through the hard crackle of rain I heard the muffled sounds of an argument inside. They never let me in.

I was surprised, and yet, not surprised. In all the years we’d been friends, his parents had never allowed me inside their home. All of our mutual friends had been inside. I wasn’t a troublemaker, I got good grades in school. What made me unfit to enter?

It didn’t take much more before I developed a full-blown self-esteem crisis. I returned home from the barbershop one summer day with a crew cut. My mother told me I looked ugly. Looking back on it, she probably meant, “I don’t like that hairstyle on you.” English was not her native tongue. Nevertheless, her actual words were, “You look so ugly. Your face looks too long. And with that beard you look even worse.”

I wasn’t aware that I had a beard. I’d been so busy with activities that I’d forgotten to shave for a couple of days and had some stubble. I was a sensitive kid who wanted to please his mother, and those words injured me deeply. A subtle dig here or there might not have fazed me, yet a lifetime of them can wear down all but the most self-assured. The next time I looked in the mirror, the gap between reality and my own perception had become a chasm. I felt trapped inside an ugly thing, an ugly thing that was not a part of me, not who I wanted to be.

My mother had been injured this way too. Despite being a beautiful young girl, her brothers and sisters constantly teased her about her weight. They didn’t call her by her given name. At home, “Chubby” was her name. She wasn’t chubby. She was a standout athlete and as strong as the boys in school. Her physique reflected that. Sadly, the criticism didn’t end with her childhood. My father criticised her weight as well. She had never been overweight, but he expected a model-thin wife and expressed his desires plainly. I was 4 years old when I realized something was wrong with my mother: she wasn’t eating. What could a little kid do, except wonder why his mother was always sad, why his mother was always feeling sick, always coughing, always throwing up?

The catalyst for her recovery from eating disorder was not one she could have predicted. My father died of Leukemia. Her recovery began not so much with relief, merely the removal of her most outspoken critic. Years of starving herself left her with severe asthma, a significant loss of smell and taste, and lots of weight gain due to metabolic changes and medications. As time passed, I’d tell her that her weight didn’t matter. I’d tell her that her size didn’t matter. All that mattered was that she ate enough of the right things to make her feel strong. That’s all. Some 25 years after she’d married my father, I think she finally came to accept her appearance. I’m very happy for her.

My wounds would close, for a time. When I got to university, I was part of a diverse population. I wasn’t a weirdo or a social outcast. Many of us began university with a clean slate, and I felt liberated. Girls spoke to me, I went out on dates. I made better friends than I’d known in years prior. For a long time, all I wanted to feel was normalcy, a peace inside my own skin, and not some great desire to wriggle out of it and hide. It was a good time for me.

Then something hit me, hard. I came down with a bad case of the chicken pox. I never had it as a child, and for some adults it can be quite serious. My body looked ravaged, and I was covered in scars despite my dedication to proper skin care. The fit body I’d build up over the years shrunk down by 40lb. in a month, and my overall health in the following years would be poor. Infections, fevers, body aches, sharp muscle pain, tiredness, allergies, they became constant. I was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Best to keep working, I thought. I’ll eat healthy food, I’ll exercise, I’ll do whatever I can to stay functional. Nothing helped. My muscle pains became worse and worse. Then migraines started. Weekly, then daily, then my life was a big migraine. A doctor prescribed a drug called Neurontin. He said, “Take this, you’ll feel better. Don’t worry about side effects, you should be able to tolerate it. It seems to work for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I believe this will help you.”

Neurontin significantly reduced my pain while introducing new problems. My hair fell out in handfuls, I was constantly tired, and my weight ballooned. Every month I’d need new, bigger clothes. The image I saw in the mirror—an image I’d sculpted through hard work and healthy habits, an image I’d finally made peace with—was getting away from me. I saw a face and body that felt like my own melt away into something else. What I saw in the mirror was far worse than what anyone else saw. Some of my friends noted the weight gain, but they never said anything unkind. My hard-won confidence turned out to be quite fragile, and it crumbled. Any compliments about my looks were disregarded as insincere, or I deflected them with self-deprecating humor. I stopped socializing and buried myself in work, all because I couldn’t stand how I looked. I mused, “How crazy am I being? Why can’t I accept how I look and move on? I look like a normal person.”

The self-affirming ideas I had on an intellectual level didn’t sink in emotionally. Therapy didn’t help. I just couldn’t believe that I looked like a normal man to everyone on the street when my eyes saw a distorted mess. I became deeply depressed. I fell into a hole so relentlessly bleak that I didn’t feel like I was supposed to be there. Is this really how I feel, or is it the drug? My doctor and I suspected the drug, so I tapered off the Neurontin.

Within a few weeks, the darkness faded but I hated how I looked and felt. Despair gave way to malcontent. I was overweight, and all of the physical pain I’d compartmentalized was back up front. The pain was more acute than I’d remembered it. We tried other medicines, but nothing helped. I gave up on pharmaceuticals and tried meditation and alternative medicine. Nothing helped.

The stress of dealing with my health problems, work, family responsibilities, and damaged social life became too much for me to handle. My doctor advised me to take a long vacation if I could. I could, and I did. On the second day of my vacation, I felt a searing pain on the right side of my face. When I looked in the mirror, I saw lines of red bumps. An allergic reaction to something, perhaps? I saw a doctor, and he didn’t need too long to give me a diagnosis. “Yep, it’s shingles.” He gave me anti-viral tablets and a topical cream before sending me on my way.

Shingles is caused by the chickenpox virus. Once you’ve had the chickenpox, the virus never leaves your body; it simply goes dormant. In people who have compromised immune systems, the elderly, or the seriously stressed out, the virus can wake up and cause all sorts of damage.

Doctors became worried about nerve damage when I lost hearing in my right ear. Soon after, my sense of taste disappeared and my eyes became extremely light sensitive. And then, things got worse. At some point during my shingles ordeal, I picked up a very serious bacterial infection.

The regime of anti-virals and anti-biotics that saved my senses didn’t come without a price. First, all the undesired weight I’d gained on Neurontin dropped. I was happy about that. Soon, a couple dozen extra pounds dropped too. We realized I was having problems digesting food. The good bacteria which live in healthy intestines, helping us extract nutrients from what we eat and lending balance to our immune systems, were wiped out and replaced by bad bacteria.

Two years after the shingles, the waves of bacterial infections and immune issues left my face scarred and discolored. The skin that grew back on my forehead was fragile and unhealthy. The look was familiar, I suffered some small but deep burns on my body a few years prior. Only this time, I couldn’t cover up. I looked at myself in the mirror, and saw a face like pizza. Skin dark brown and yellow, mottled and rough, striations of bloody red and moistureless white: this was not the face I’d known. It wasn’t the face I’d come to accept during the good times. It wasn’t the chubby face I’d come to hate, unjustly, in the difficult times. This face cracked and bled when touched, it split when I moved my eyebrows. It burned when I cleaned it. It burned with every gentle breeze that kissed it. It was so sensitive and vulnerable that it easily became reinfected, and it often did. Months passed, and the scarring seemed to set itself in stone.

I could have fallen into despair, but I didn’t. There was a specific turning point: one day I looked into the mirror, sulking, and my cheerlessness, my indulgent self-seriousness became comical. A small laugh ascended into a laughing fit. Had there been a witness, they’d probably describe the scene as a psychotic break. It wasn’t. This was a break of clarity. I experienced one calamity after another. It was amazing that I hadn’t lost my eyesight, I could still look at myself in the mirror. It was amazing my hearing was returning, I could hear myself laugh. Yes, I was unlucky to have fallen so ill, but I was so lucky to have survived largely intact.

Suddenly, the smoke of self-hatred was clearing. For so long, things I didn’t like about my appearance overshadowed things people liked. The distorted view of myself was one I believed everyone else could plainly see. The distortions were phantoms of my mind. Now, everyone could see my scars. There was no hiding them.

I made a decision. I control how I feel about myself, no one else does. Why do I have to look like anyone else but me? And who decides what the best version of me is? I don’t have to look like my friends, I don’t have to look like people on TV. And most importantly, it is not how I look that matters, it is who I am. Taking care of myself physically and emotionally is my goal. If looking good to others is a side-effect of this, so be it. If it isn’t, why should I care? Those who are good, those with values I respect, those who truly care about me will accept me scars and all.

With healthy eating, plenty of water, exercise, and gentle natural skin care, I have begun to reverse the damage my body endured. Every day I feel a little bit stronger, a little bit healthier. The chronic pain and migraines are fading, even my skin is recovering against the odds.

When I go out, people rarely notice my scars. When they do, I don’t take offense, and understand it is usually benign curiosity. If it isn’t, it’s not my problem. It’s strange that my appearance had to become worse before I could learn to accept it. Pain can be a swift and merciless teacher, but I respect its power. I don’t know how long I will carry my scars, but they remind me that I have a life to live, and I can’t allow a negative mindset or hang ups about appearance prevent me from living the kind of life I want to live. Our time in this world is limited, and time is an arrow pointing in one direction. Forward.

The Hope Diary: Step Twelve: Helping Others

We have now arrived at the twelfth and final step of the recovery program. Congratulations! Give yourself a huge hug and relish how far you have come to reach this point. Your recovery is the cornerstone of the success for the rest of your life.

Step twelve touches on what is single-handedly the most important part of daily recovery. Although all of the steps are essential for a healthy soul, mind and body, the twelfth step is crucial because it instills the importance of giving away what you have been given. After all, where would we be if recovery, support, and guidance had not been given to us by others all along the way?

Helping other people get their life back on track by sharing our experience, strength and hope can be done in the form of sponsoring up to the level of your recovery or by being an accountability partner.  Just being kind to others and allowing positivity and love to flow through your personality to the world around you enables all kinds of continual healing to take place. When we don’t pass on the knowledge that we have received, we run the assured risk of falling back on our own recovery and becoming selfish and proud.

The steps need to be repeated for the rest of our lives. We never become “too good” for program; rather, our success in life is dependant upon our daily surrender to God and being willing to work on ourselves. Recovery is a beautiful thing; how will you pass it on today?

Thank you to The Life Recovery Workbook by Stephen Arterburn and David Stoop for the following questions.

Our Mission
Isaiah 61:1-3

1. How have I passed through the pain and despair of enslavement to addiction and moved into healing and freedom?

2. Having had a “spiritual awakening” after being set free from my addiction, am I excited or hesitant to share my experience, strength, and hope with others who are struggling with addiction? Why?

Our Story
Mark 16:14-18

Describe the story of your spiritual awakening and how the first eleven steps have brought spiritual principals, truth, and healing into your life. Describe what you were like, what happened, and what you are like now.

Sharing Together
John 15:5-15

1. Am I connected to the vine? How do the Twelve Steps help me to “remain” in him?

2. Is my recovery attractive to other addictive/compulsive people because I am becoming more loving rather than condemning those who need my help?

3. What am I doing to reach out with Jesus’ love?

Listening First
Acts 8:26-40

1. What is my attitude about sharing my story of recovery? Am I reluctant to tell my story, or am I the type that wants to share too much, too soon, with too many people?

2. From either extreme, am I willing to wait for God’s timing for sharing recovery?

3. Do I see my story as valuable to God’s plan? Describe how.

Talking the Walk
1 Timothy 4:14-16

1. Paul encourages Timothy to “throw yourself into your tasks so that everyone will see your progress.” What changes in my life can others observe since I have been sober and working the Twelve Steps?

2. Paul wanted Timothy not only to teach others, but to be an example. When I share my story with others, am I preaching, or sharing my experience, strength, and hope.

3. Am I able to let the other person make his or her own decision by relinquishing control and letting God do his work?

Never Forget
Titus 3:1-5

What do I remember about my last drink or my last binge? Describe that last time, including actions, feelings, behaviors, and thoughts that led up to it and followed it:

The Narrow Road
1 Peter 4:1-4

1. Peter pointed out: “You have had enough in the past of the evil things that godless people enjoy-their immorality and lust, their feasting and drunkenness and wild parties” (1 Peter 4:1-2) the pains of recovery.

2. Does the approval or judgement of others keep me from sharing recovery? Do I fear negative rumors?

3. How can I work the Twelve Steps on this fear?

God Bless,

Nikki DuBose

The Hope Diary: Step Ten: Taking Daily Inventory

Step ten is the first step that I take daily in order to keep myself in check. When I find that my character or food plan might be getting a bit sloppy, I try to immediately surrender myself to God and ask for His help to renew my mind In Him and take account for exactly where I am going wrong. In doing so, I am able to get back on track much faster and have a fruitful day. In the past before I found strong recovery I just kind of floundered around mercilessly inside and felt very lost. My mind was weak because I had let the eating disorder and other problems control it for many years. Thank God for His Grace and the twelve steps of recovery to bring daily help in every single situation that can arise.

Thank you to The Life Recovery Workbook by Stephen Arterburn and David Stoop for the following questions.

Personal Boundaries
Genesis 31:45-55

1. In order to restore trust in relationships, what particular weaknesses do I need to set boundaries around?

2. Is there a trusted person to whom I can clearly define my commitments? Who? What commitments am I willing to make?

Repeated Forgiveness
Romans 5:3-5

1. Do certain behaviors and character defects that show up in my Step Ten inventory point to a pattern? Which ones? What is being revealed to me?

2. Am I having trouble admitting these promptly and forgiving myself?

3. Do I give myself grace? Why or why not?

Dealing with Anger
Ephesians 4:26-27

1. What is my first response when I am angry? Lashing out? Stuffing down? Avoidance and covering up?

2. How was anger dealt with in my family? How did my mother deal with anger? My father? Which pattern do I follow?

3. When I am angry, can I promptly admit it? Why or why not?

4. Do I have support people who can help me learn to deal with anger more appropriately? Am I willing to ask for assistance with this issue?

Spiritual Exercises
1 Timothy 4:7-8

1. As this continual inventory is important for spiritual fitness, where in my daily routine can I set aside time to make myself self-assessment part of every day?

2. Do I have any resistance to evaluating my defects daily? What are my objections? What do I fear?

3. An example of a simple, daily, personal inventory:

Where have I been selfish, dishonest, fearful, inconsiderate, or proud?

What have I done right today?

What do I need God's help with tomorrow?

What am I grateful for today?

Perseverance
2 Timothy 2:1-8

1. How do I see my recovery as a war against addiction and as a fight for my soul?

2. How do I see myself as an athlete in training for the marathon journey of recovery and serenity?

3. Am I working in every season and situation? planting seeds of recovery by applying the Twelve Steps to my life?

4. Where do I lose heart in fighting, training, and working through the Twelve Steps?

Looking in the Mirror
James 1:21-25

1. Have I been quick to recognize but not take action in a particular area of my life or defect of character? If so, I can take action without self-criticism by going back through Steps Six and Seven, then Eight and Nine on that particular area or defect.

2. On what area or defect do I need to take action today? This week? This month?

Recurrent Sins
1 John 1:!-10

1. Have I hoped for immediate release from my defects as I may have had from my addiction? Have I perhaps unknowingly hoped that by doing all this step work I could attain perfection? Write any thoughts and feelings that arise from reading this meditation:

2. Am I clear that I still need inventories to continue my spiritual growth? In other words, have I developed enough humility to accept that inventories will be a regular part of my journey?
Explain:

3. Am I sensing that my conscience is returning or developing so that I more easily recognize my faults? Am I humble enough to admit them more readily? Record any progress you've noticed in your conscience:

God Bless,

Nikki DuBose

Healing My Body with the Foods I Eat: Healing The Gerson Way

(Note: 6/6/2014 I am no longer on The Gerson Therapy but I highly recommend it for anyone seeking a natural alternative to medicine. I do still cook their incredible and healthy recipes!) 

Healing The Gerson Way: if you are considering doing the Gerson Therapy at home or want to just educate yourself more in this area I highly recommend this book. It also includes their best-selling DVD: The Beautiful Truth. This therapy  helped to heal my body from the damages that incurred as a result from a more than seventeen year battle with eating disorders, drug and alcohol addictions. My kidneys, liver and digestive system were completely wrecked, and by using this book I was able to bring my body back to a place of stability.

Please visit the Gerson Institute Online at http://gerson.org/gerpress/ to find out more about the Gerson Therapy and how you can do it at home.
God Bless,
Nikki DuBose

The Hope Diary: Step Eight: Reflecting on Who We Had Hurt

Step Eight requires tremendous doses of humility and courage as we ponder over the courses of our lives who we have hurt while living in our addictions. Sometimes we have mistreated others and were not even aware that we had done so. As we begin to meditate on those who had been affected by our irresponsibility we quickly find that we can list a slew of of people we had hurt.

This was a tough step for me the first couple of times I went through early recovery and now I really try not to hurt others. I may not always be where I need to be but with God’s help thank God I am not where I used to be! Take heart and know that although your healing journey may seem difficult or like a long road to walk on, that it is a path filled with healing and with healing comes many blessings and happiness. And we all deserve to be happy! Most importantly we all need to learn how to treat other people with kindness and love so this is a very important step to accomplish but with God’s help you can do it one day at a time.

Thank you to The Life Recovery Workbook by Stephen Arterburn and David Stoop for the following questions.

Making Restitution
Exodus 22:10-15

1. How have I failed to respect the property of others.

2. Have I been so harmed or condemned by others that I have avoided responsibility for myself. By whom and when.

3. What excuses have I used for not looking at my behaviors.

Unintentional Sins
Leviticus 4:1-28

1. In what areas have I unintentionally harmed others with my words/moods/self-pity/depression/anger/or fears.

2. In what ways have I acted thoughtlessly without regard for others’ needs or feelings. When; To Whom;

Scapegoats
Leviticus 16:20-22

1. Have I been putting off making a list because I am afraid of some responses. Whose.

2. Have I held on to shame about a certain incident or relationships. What am I willing to do to let go so that I can become willing to make amends.

3. Is there someone I am having trouble forgiving who blocks my willingness. Who.

Overcoming Loneliness
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

1. How have I allowed isolation due to shame and guilt to keep me from supportive relationships.

2. What is the role of shame and guilt in my isolation.

3. Am I willing to forgive myself for the hurt I have caused others. Write a prayer of willingness to forgive and ask for God’s grace to heal these relationships.

Forgiven to Forgive
Matthew 18:23-35

1. Are there people on my list that I am having trouble forgiving for their part in our relationship. Who and Why.

2. What keeps me from letting others off the hook. Fear/Resentment/Caretaking.

3. What blocks me from forgiving others for the wrongs done to me.

a. Fear of what others would think of me. (Pride).

b. Fear of letting others see my hurts.

c. Fear of conflict. Protecting others feelings to avoid conflict.

The Fruit of Forgiveness
2 Corinthians 2:5-8

1. Is there anyone on my list whose behavior I do not approve. Who. Why.

2. Am I willing to let go of judgement and disapproval to open myself to working this step.

3. Have I been so afraid of rejection that I have delayed willingness to make amends. Who could reject me and why.

Reaping Goodness
Galatians 6:7-10

1. What “crop” did I sow while practicing my addiction.

2. Describe the correlation between healthy living and acceptance of the consequences for my addiction/behavior:

God Bless,

Nikki DuBose

The Hope Diary: Step Seven: Humility and Asking God to Remove our Defects

Step Six was all about getting ready for God to remove our defects in order that He may help us to be all that He has created us to be. Step Seven now is simply and humbly coming before God in prayer and asking Him to remove every shortcoming that stands in the way between us and our God-Given Purpose.

Being a humble person is so important because without it it is pretty impossible to recognize our defects and to be people that can ask God to help us. I daily come to God in prayer in the morning and all throughout the day and ask God for His help now because I know that I know that I know that without Him I can do nothing. Within myself I am weak addicted and a total mess but In Christ I am strong confident courageous and an overcomer. I am set free from every attack that satan tries to bring against me because God is with me and for me.

Thank you to The Life Recovery Workbook by Stephen Arterburn and David Stoop for the following questions.

Clearing the Mess
Isaiah 57:12-19

1. Have I developed enough humility from my experiences in addiction to see that I need to let God work in my heart. Is there any doubt that self-reliance has kept God out.

2. Describe the difference between humiliation and humility.

Giving up Control
Jeremiah 18:1-6

1. Have I ever demanded to have circumstances changed for my benefit. When.

2. Have I ever become impatient with God’s timing in the process of changing my heart and character.

3. What keeps me from letting go so that God can shape my life better than I could ever imagine or create myself.

Pride Born of Hurt
Luke 11:5-13

1.Is it hard for me to ask anyone even God for help. What keeps me from sharing.

2. What experiences in my family of origin have brought about this self-sufficiency.

3. Have I held back from asking God for what I need because I am projecting my disappointments onto Him. Do I trust Him.

4. Am I willing to give up self-sufficiency and pride to persistently ask for God’s help in removing my shortcomings.

A Humble Heart
Luke 18:10-14

1. Have I ever compared my faults/problems/sins to blatant sins of others such as robbery/murder/adultery to justify avoiding deeper work on my own character defects. What does this do for me.

2. Have I ever justified myself because I attend church/sing in the choir/do service work. Do I judge others for their lack of participation or involvement.

3. After self-examination in Steps Four through Six have I been struggling with self-hatred and shame.

4. Do I realize that the “secret sins” of pride/judgement/comparison are just as serious as the more blatant ones.

5. Have addiction and adversities humbled me enough to open the door to God’s forgiveness.

Declared Not Guilty
Romans 3:23-28

1. Steps Six and Seven re one path to acceptance of this verse: all of us have fallen short not only of our own ideals but also of God’s glory. Have I been trying to “measure up” and show God that I can “be good” by doing good works. How have I tried to show him that I am okay.

2. Can I now trust in faith that Jesus will not only make up for my weaknesses but will also begin to remove shortcomings as I surrender humbly to his will. If not why.

Into the Open
Philippians 2:5-9

1. Have I disguised my addiction by covering it up with a good image. Have I hidden behind a good reputation.

2. Do I still fear that others will find out about my addiction. Will my pride be hurt if someone knows the extent of it. Am I willing to share it if it will help others.

3. Can I release to God my self-centered fears of being known and of losing my image. If so write a prayer to God expressing your desire to do so.

Eyes of Love
1 John 5:11-15

1. God already sees us as we will be when his work is done. Am I aware of any blocks that keep me from asking him into my heart to do that work. What are they.

2. Is my confidence in God’s willingness to remove my shortcomings renewed. How and why.

God Bless,

Nikki DuBose

The Hope Diary: Step Five, Trusting Another

After going through my Step Four Inventory the first time in 2010, I was scared to death to actually share it with another person. I had read in my recovery book early in my program that I had to confess my deepest, darkest secrets to God and to a trusted sponsor, pastor or unbiased friend.

At that time I remember thinking: “HUH? How humiliating! Wasn’t it good enough to give it to God in prayer and trust that He was Healing me? Why would I tell my shameful past to another person? Besides, they would just hurt me like everyone else…right? How in the WORLD could I truly trust blindly someone else. I knew it, here was the catch. I knew this recovery program was too good to be true, everything always is. No one and nothing is ever to be trusted. There is always fine print.” And I thought like this for about, oh, a good six months or so the first time I went through Steps 4 and attempted to go through Step 5. And I backtracked in my recovery and slipped into old habits because of FEAR. Do you know what fear really stands for? F.E.A.R. False Evidence Appearing Real.

I was so afraid of the false scenarios I spent more time making up in my mind about sharing my mess with my sponsor than actually DOING it for the healing that I needed to get, that I ended up having a relapse. Now, relapse can be a part of recovery, but do you see what I am saying that if we just learn to take hold of the fearful thoughts and know that God is with us and for us, and just DO the things that are being asked of us, surrender and get the help we need, we would see so much victory in our recovery and lives.

Fast forward, three years later, strong in recovery, Praise the Lord I did regain victory over the relapse and did end up completing Steps 4 and 5 (a few times). I had gotten a wonderful sponsor and life coach who really worked and worked with me and never gave up. I would never be where I am without my sponsor and without working with her and continually taking inventory and telling her about my messes. I believe that we generally give up too easily in life and we can give up on others too soon also. You never know what you can do for another person’s life if you just keep praying for them, working with them, and helping them in any way you can.

In the Catholic religion, confession is very similar to step five, you know, going and releasing your sins to the priest and being relieved of your burdens. Well in recovery, your past and the things underlying your addiction truly have to be inventoried and shared with God and another person because if not, they continued to get buried. Our secrets, pains, traumas, defects and past fuel our addiction if we do not get healing for them. This is what I consider to be the most critical step of any 12 step program.

So as I continue in sharing from the Life Recovery Workbook, here are the questions from Step Five.

“Overcoming Denial
Genesis 38:1-30

1. What am I avoiding in Step Four by delaying Step Five?

2. What is the exact nature of my wrongs as listed in Step Four?

3. What interferes with my being honest about myself?

Unending Love
Hosea 11:8-11

1. How do I react/respond to the truth that God does not give up on me?

2. What keeps me from being truthful with God?

3. What makes me think that I can hide anything from God?

The Plumb Line
Amos 7:7-8

1. Have my morals and values been in line with God’s? Explain.

2. Have I had morals and values without being able to apply them to my life? Explain:

3. What has kept me from staying in line with God’s and my own morals and values?

4. Am I ready to surrender to God’s moral “plumb line” and share my Step Four Inventory? If not, why am I hesitating?

Feelings of Shame
John 8:3-11

1. What scares me about sharing “the exact nature of (my) wrongs” with another human being?

2. Who is my fear related to in my past? How did this fear develop?

3. Has there ever been a time in my life when I felt the fear and took action anyway?

4. Have I set the appointment for completing Step Five by sharing my Step Four Inventory? My commitment to myself:

Date: Time:

Receiving Forgiveness
Matthew 5:23-24

1. Why would God want reconciliation before praise when we bring gifts to him?

2. Does anyone have anything against you that needs to be reconciled? Who and why?

3. What would be the impact on your life if you opened yourself up to forgiveness of others and from others?

Freedom through Confession
James 5:16

1. Lack of confession and openness with others results in a self-constructed prison. Do you know what that is like? Describe it here.

2. How can confession result in such profound healing?

3. Reflect it here on God’s command to be open not just to Him but also with each other.

Escaping Self-Deception
Lamentations 3:40

1. As you examine yourself, can you admit to some self-deception in the past?

2. Does anyone have the freedom to speak truth into your life on a regular basis? Who?

3. Ask three or four trusted friends to write five words describing your strengths and five words describing your weaknesses. Record them here and examine them to discover areas you can work on within your small group of trusted fellow strugglers.”

Thank you to The Life Recovery Workbook by Stephen Arterburn and David Stoop for letting me reprint the above questions to help further the recovery process for those still suffering.

God Bless,

Nikki DuBose

One Year Later: Remembering Nana

thenikkidubose.com Nikki DuBose supermodel read me 2013 Nana January 31

One year ago today, Nana passed away while I was shooting in the Dominican Republic with a very sweet crew. I never thought that in just a few months I would lose my mom and my mom’s mom. I have all the Faith in God that His Ways are Higher and that they are in a better place. We love and miss you Nana and Mommy. Here are some photos I took the day Nana passed away when I was in Punta Cana. She was one of the most influential people in my life and her passing has greatly affected me. She will forever live in my heart and soul. ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

January 31 4 Nikki DuBose thenikkidubose.com Nana Punta Cana Nikki DuBose supermodel writer editor in chief SQUA.RE SQUARE LUXURY

Nikki DuBose thenikkidubose.com Nana read me Punta Cana Janurary 31 3

thenikkidubose.com Nikki DuBose nana 7

thenikkidubose.com Nikki DuBose supermodel read me Nana Punta Cana 2

thenikkidubose.com Nikki DuBose supermodel writer editor in chief SQUA.RE SQUARE LUXURY Nikki DuBose nana

The Hope Diary: Step Four, Coming Clean of My Deepest, Darkest Secrets.

Now that I had one, admitted I was powerless over my addiction, the biggest step towards recovery I could ever take in my life, I then had two, allowed that God could restore me to sanity.

As I have discussed in my earlier Hope Diary entries, this was a journey that took a couple of years to walk down. I was constantly battling with myself, thinking that I was my own god and my pride is what kept me bound to my eating disorders during that time.

Third, I had to finally give in to God and just say, “Lord, Your Will be done, not my own.” I learned that every time I found myself in a tempting situation to give into my addiction, I would surrender to God and pray that prayer. Many times I have failed and slipped into the addiction like a bad habit, and on those times I know better that as a Child of God I do not have to listen to the lies of the devil that I am a failure. I get right back up, learn from my mistakes, and do my very best to not repeat them from that moment on. I see myself as a victorious person now, not as a broken person like I did most of my life. That victim mentality is what used to hold me back and bind me in my addictions. It doesn’t serve me anymore.

The fourth step is one that I see many people afraid to take. It is where we take “a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.” (Life Recovery Workbook). We go through our entire life, even our deepest, darkest secrets. We list all of the people, places and things that we have fears, resentments, angers and sadness against. We look at our own character and evaluate our defects. What about ourselves do not add up? Are we selfish? Angry? Corrupt? Do we use people? Steal? Lie? Cheat? We go by a recovery program workbook and disclose our information with a trusted sponsor, friend, pastor, or someone that we feel we can go to in total anonymity and confidence. We understand that what we share will never be revealed to anyone else and that this is to help mold us into better human beings. We also take a look at our strengths, because it is not healthy to just mark our weaknesses. We seek to become stronger and wiser as a result of this process, even if it is temporarily painful.

If you feel that you would like to get started with your Step Four Inventory, but are unsure as to where to go to begin, I have provided The Life Recovery Workbook Inventory to help get you started. There was a great quote that was shared with me from the AABB that says, “We are only as sick as our secrets”. When I heard that, I realized that a lot of the shame and guilt that I was trying to bury all of these years was dying to be set free. Once I began to share my deepest secrets with my sponsor, I received God’s forgiveness and was truly able to allow for healing to start flowing through my body, starting from the innermost parts of my soul. I had never experienced such Grace and rawness before. It was as if I was free to be the person that God had created me to be! What a glorious concept. No more hiding!

Thank you to The Life Recovery Workbook for the following questions:

Coming Out of Hiding
Genesis 3:6-13

1. When and in what ways have I led a “double-life”, looking good on the outside while full of shame about my addiction inside?

2. By hiding my problems with image management, how has my shame taken root and grown in my heart? Am I fearful to admit what is there?

3. Am I ready to deal with “the dirt”, to wash the inside so I can live free? What holds me back?

Facing the Sadness
Nehemiah 8:7-10

1. What painful memories keep me from going forward in writing a Fourth Step inventory? Describe them.

2; What have I been afraid of facing?

3. What role has shame from past mistakes played in keeping me from starting and completing an inventory?

4. Does pride tell me that I don’t need an inventory? Have I told myself that others who are in more dire straits than I am are the ones who really need it?

Confession
Nehemiah 9:1-3

1. What behaviors over my lifetime have been offensive to God?

2. What destructive habits need to be identified and confessed to God?

3. What blocks and resistances do I have to being honest with God about my wrongdoings?

4. What consequences from past wrong choices am I living with today?

Family Influence
Nehemiah 9:34-38

1. Are there people in my family of origin whom I have blamed for my life situations and resulting addiction? If so, who?

2. What resentments do I carry toward them, even if unrelated to addiction?

3. What truly brought me into the bondage of addiction and dependency (what is my responsibility, my part in it)?

Finger-Pointing
Matthew 7:1-5

1. Is it easier to look at the faults and shortcomings of other people in my life, past and present (such as bosses, coworkers, classmates, church members, pastors), than to recognize my own?

2. What is the “log” in my eye, the blind spot that has caused me trouble and given rise to pride, finger-pointing, and eventually to addiction?

3. Where and when have I stepped on people’s toes and invited retaliation? Have I been proud, blaming, or tearful?

Constructive Sorrow
2 Corinthians 7:8-11

1. In what ways have I avoided facing my sorrow about how my addiction has impacted my life and the lives of others?

2. Am I willing to set aside time to grieve and allow humility to grow in me? When? What is my commitment to myself, my growth, and my recovery?

3. Am I bent on self-condemnation? Am I now willing to let God’s mercy go with me as I examine my faults and their impact on others?

God’s Mercy
Revelation 20:11-15

1. Taking a moral inventory of ourselves here on earth will help to prepare us for the life to come. Is anything standing in the way of my taking action, such as pride or fear?

2. As I trust God in Step Three, am I able to let go of pride and fear in Step Four and allow His Will to be expressed through me? If so, write out a prayer of trust and willingness to complete Step Four.

3. Write down a list and description of resentments, fears, wrongdoings, and character flaws such as pride, jealousy, domination of others, self-centered needs/wants, etc. (Use extra space if necessary.)

Fears:

Resentments:

Wrongdoings (i.e., what actions have I committed which oppose my own and God’s morals and values?):

Character Flaws (remember that honesty and humility are character strengths that we are building here, so be as thorough and honest as possible to move toward long-term recovery):

Where have I acted out of pride, vanity, or a sense of superiority?

Where and when have I tried to dominate others (e.g., at work, home, marriage)?

What makes me jealous, envious, or covetous (wealth, good fortune, successful kids, functional families, jobs, and/or positions of others)?

Where and when have I demanded that my wants and/or needs come before those of others, especially those of my spouse, children, or coworkers?

4. After careful self-examination, am I more convinced than ever that I need a Savior every day, not just for salvation, but to walk in freedom from addiction and sin? If so, write out a prayer to God that expresses your complete dependence upon Him for salvation and freedom.

God Bless,

Nikki DuBose

How Yoga Has Helped Me Heal From My Eating Disorders

I am all for medicine and traditional therapies to help on the road to recovery for eating disorders, but there is something to be said for the ancient art of yoga, the tried and true Eastern practice that originally hails from India over 5,000 years ago.

Combining both Western and Eastern practices has been my method for the past two and a half years since I started overcoming my disorders. Yoga helped me reconnect to my inner self and has allowed me to focus on my body and the things that it really wants, instead of being ruled by my impulses. Before I practiced yoga as part of therapy, I lived as an addicted person who lived largely ruled by compulsive decisions. I am now able to listen and live intuitively on what is good for me. The art of yoga has greatly helped me get back to the basics of loving my body and myself.

Just how does yoga help to heal anorexia, bulimia and other eating problems? Read this great article by Velvet Mangan on yoga, meditation, and eating disorder recovery to find out! Velvet is an eating disorder specialist in Los Angeles, California.

God Bless,
Nikki

Be Informed: Do You Know the Warning Signs of an Eating Disorder?

The term “eating disorder” is used loosely nowadays in the media and amongst young people. But if you or someone you know may be suffering from any degree of a real struggle with body image or an eating disorder, it can be life threatening.

The earlier an eating disorder is recognized and treated, the more likely the sufferer can go on to lead a normal, healthy life and even help others. Don’t wait seventeen years like I did to seek treatment. It was a mistake that nearly killed me, and to this day I struggle with emotional and physical side effects related to my disorder having gone on so long untreated.

According to the National Eating Disorders Association, there are clear and important clues to look for to know if you or someone you know may be at risk for bulimia, anorexia, binge eating, or other types of eating disorders.

“Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia nervosa is a serious, potentially life-threatening eating disorder characterized by self-starvation and excessive weight loss.

Symptoms

Resistance to maintaining body weight at or above a minimally normal weight for age and height.

Intense fear of weight gain or being “fat,” even though underweight.

Disturbance in the experience of body weight or shape, undue influence of weight or shape on self-evaluation, or denial of the seriousness of low body weight.

Loss of menstrual periods in girls and women post-puberty.

Eating disorders experts have found that prompt intensive treatment significantly improves the chances of recovery. Therefore, it is important to be aware of some of the warning signs of anorexia nervosa.

Warning Signs

Dramatic weight loss.

Preoccupation with weight, food, calories, fat grams, and dieting.

Refusal to eat certain foods, progressing to restrictions against whole categories of food (e.g. no carbohydrates, etc.).

Frequent comments about feeling “fat” or overweight despite weight loss.

Anxiety about gaining weight or being “fat.”

Denial of hunger.

Development of food rituals (e.g. eating foods in certain orders, excessive chewing, rearranging food on a plate).

Consistent excuses to avoid mealtimes or situations involving food.

Excessive, rigid exercise regimen–despite weather, fatigue, illness, or injury, the need to “burn off” calories taken in.

Withdrawal from usual friends and activities.

In general, behaviors and attitudes indicating that weight loss, dieting, and control of food are becoming primary concerns.

Health Consequences of Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia nervosa involves self-starvation.; The body is denied the essential nutrients it needs to function normally, so it is forced to slow down all of its processes to conserve energy. This “slowing down” can have serious medical consequences:

Abnormally slow heart rate and low blood pressure, which mean that the heart muscle is changing. The risk for heart failure rises as heart rate and blood pressure levels sink lower and lower.

Reduction of bone density (osteoporosis), which results in dry, brittle bones.

Muscle loss and weakness.

Severe dehydration, which can result in kidney failure.

Fainting, fatigue, and overall weakness.

Dry hair and skin, hair loss is common.

Growth of a downy layer of hair called lanugo all over the body, including the face, in an effort to keep the body warm.

About Anorexia Nervosa

Approximately 90-95% of anorexia nervosa sufferers are girls and women.

Between 0.5–1% of American women suffer from anorexia nervosa.

Anorexia nervosa is one of the most common psychiatric diagnoses in young women.

Between 5-20% of individuals struggling with anorexia nervosa will die. The probabilities of death increases within that range depending on the length of the condition.

Anorexia nervosa has one of the highest death rates of any mental health condition.

Anorexia nervosa typically appears in early to mid-adolescence.

Bulimia Nervosa

Bulimia nervosa is a serious, potentially life-threatening eating disorder characterized by a cycle of bingeing and compensatory behaviors such as self-induced vomiting designed to undo or compensate for the effects of binge eating.

Symptoms

Regular intake of large amounts of food accompanied by a sense of loss of control over eating behavior.

Regular use of inappropriate compensatory behaviors such as self-induced vomiting, laxative or diuretic abuse, fasting, and/or obsessive or compulsive exercise.

Extreme concern with body weight and shape.

The chance for recovery increases the earlier bulimia nervosa is detected. Therefore, it is important to be aware of some of the warning signs of bulimia nervosa.

Warning Signs of Bulimia Nervosa

Evidence of binge eating, including disappearance of large amounts of food in short periods of time or finding wrappers and containers indicating the consumption of large amounts of food.

Evidence of purging behaviors, including frequent trips to the bathroom after meals, signs and/or smells of vomiting, presence of wrappers or packages of laxatives or diuretics.

Excessive, rigid exercise regimen–despite weather, fatigue, illness, or injury, the compulsive need to “burn off” calories taken in.

Unusual swelling of the cheeks or jaw area.

Calluses on the back of the hands and knuckles from self-induced vomiting.

Discoloration or staining of the teeth.

Creation of lifestyle schedules or rituals to make time for binge-and-purge sessions.

Withdrawal from usual friends and activities.

In general, behaviors and attitudes indicating that weight loss, dieting, and control of food are becoming primary concerns.

Continued exercise despite injury; overuse injuries.

Health Consequences of Bulimia Nervosa

Bulimia nervosa can be extremely harmful to the body. The recurrent binge-and-purge cycles can damage the entire digestive system and purging behaviors can lead to electrolyte and chemical imbalances in the body that affect the heart and other major organ functions. Some of the health consequences of bulimia nervosa include:

Electrolyte imbalances that can lead to irregular heartbeats and possibly heart failure and death.

Electrolyte imbalance is caused by dehydration and loss of potassium and sodium from the body as a result of purging behaviors.

Inflammation and possible rupture of the esophagus from frequent vomiting.

Tooth decay and staining from stomach acids released during frequent vomiting.

Chronic irregular bowel movements and constipation as a result of laxative abuse.

Gastric rupture is an uncommon but possible side effect of binge eating.

About Bulimia Nervosa

Bulimia nervosa affects 1-2% of adolescent and young adult women.

Approximately 80% of bulimia nervosa patients are female.

People struggling with bulimia nervosa usually appear to be of average body weight.

Many people struggling with bulimia nervosa recognize that their behaviors are unusual and perhaps dangerous to their health.

Bulimia nervosa is frequently associated with symptoms of depression and changes in social adjustment.

Risk of death from suicide or medical complications is markedly increased for eating disorders.

Binge Eating Disorder

Binge Eating Disorder (BED) is a type of eating disorder not otherwise specified and is characterized by recurrent binge eating without the regular use of compensatory measures to counter the binge eating.

Symptoms

Frequent episodes of eating large quantities of food in short periods of time.

Feeling out of control over eating behavior during the episode.

Feeling depressed, guilty, or disgusted by the behavior.

There are also several behavioral indicators of BED including eating when not hungry, eating alone because of embarrassment over quantities consumed, eating until uncomfortably full.

Health Consequences of Binge Eating Disorder

The health risks of BED are most commonly those associated with clinical obesity. Some of the potential health consequences of binge eating disorder include:

High blood pressure

High cholesterol levels

Heart disease

Diabetes mellitus

Gallbladder disease

Musculoskeletal problems

About Binge Eating Disorder

The prevalence of BED is estimated to be approximately 1-5% of the general population.

Binge eating disorder affects women slightly more often than men–estimates indicate that about 60% of people struggling with binge eating disorder are female, 40% are male.

People who struggle with binge eating disorder can be of normal or heavier than average weight.

BED is often associated with symptoms of depression.

People struggling with binge eating disorder often express distress, shame, and guilt over their eating behaviors.

People with binge eating disorder report a lower quality of life than non-binge eating disorder.

Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorder (OSFED) previously known as Eating Disorders Not Otherwise Specified (EDNOS)

Eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia include extreme emotions, attitudes, and behaviors surrounding weight and food issues. They are serious disorders and can have life-threatening consequences. The same is true for a category of eating disorders known as Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorder, or OSFED, which used to be classified as Eating Disorders not Otherwise Specified or EDNOS. These serious eating disorders can include any combination of signs and symptoms typical of anorexia and bulimia, so it may be helpful to first look at anorexia and bulimia.
Symptoms associated with anorexia nervosa include:

Refusal to maintain body weight at or above a minimally normal weight for height, body type, age, and activity level.

Intense fear of weight gain or being “fat”

Feeling “fat” or overweight despite dramatic weight loss

Loss of menstrual periods

Extreme concern with body weight and shape

Symptoms associated with bulimia nervosa include:

Repeated episodes of binging and purging

Feeling out of control during a binge and eating beyond the point of comfortable fullness

Purging after a binge, (typically by self-induced vomiting, abuse of laxatives, diet pills and/or diuretics, excessive exercise, or fasting)

Frequent dieting

Extreme concern with body weight and shape

The following are some common examples of eating disorders not otherwise specified, but your experience may be different. If you are concerned about your eating and exercise habits and your thoughts and emotions concerning food, activity and body image, we urge you to consult an ED expert.

Examples of OSFED (EDNOS)

Menstruation is still occurring despite meeting all other criteria for anorexia nervosa.

All conditions are present to qualify for anorexia nervosa except the individual’s current weight is in the normal range or above.

Purging or other compensatory behaviors are not occurring at a frequency less than the strict criteria for bulimia nervosa

Purging without Binging—sometimes known as purging disorder

Chewing and spitting out large amounts of food but not swallowing

The commonality in all of these conditions is the serious emotional and psychological suffering and/or serious problems in areas of work, school or relationships. If something does not seem right, but your experience does not fall into a clear category, you still deserve attention.

Diabulimia

Diabulimia is an eating disorder which may affect those with Type 1 Diabetes. Diabulimia is the reduction of insulin intake to lose weight. Diabulimia is considered a dual diagnosis disorder: where one has diabetes as well as an eating disorder. While diabulimia is generally associated with use of insulin, an individual with diabetes may also suffer from another eating disorder as well.

Health Risks of Diabulimia

High glucose levels

Glucose in the urine

Exhaustion

Thirst

Inability to think clearly

Severe dehydration

Muscle loss

Diabetic Ketoacidosis (unsafe levels of ketones in the blood)

High Cholesterol

Bacterial skin infections

Yeast infections

Menstrual disruption

Staph infections

Retinopathy

Neuropathy

Peripheral Arterial Disease

Atherosclerosis (a fattening of the arterial walls)

Steatohepatitis (a type of liver disease)

Stroke

Coma

Death

Possible signs of Diabulimia can include:

Hemoglobin level of 9.0 or higher on a continuous basis.

Unexplained weight loss.

Persistent thirst/frequent urination.

Preoccupation with body image.

Blood sugar records that do not match Hemoglobin A1c results.

Depression, mood swings and/or fatigue.

Secrecy about blood sugars, shots and or eating.

Repeated bladder and yeast infections.

Low sodium/potassium.

Increased appetite especially in sugary foods.

Cancelled doctors’ appointments.

Orthorexia Nervosa

By Karin Kratina, PhD, RD, LD/N

Those who have an “unhealthy obsession” with otherwise healthy eating may be suffering from “orthorexia nervosa,” a term which literally means “fixation on righteous eating.” Orthorexia starts out as an innocent attempt to eat more healthfully, but orthorexics become fixated on food quality and purity. They become consumed with what and how much to eat, and how to deal with “slip-ups.” An iron-clad will is needed to maintain this rigid eating style. Every day is a chance to eat right, be “good,” rise above others in dietary prowess, and self-punish if temptation wins (usually through stricter eating, fasts and exercise). Self-esteem becomes wrapped up in the purity of orthorexics’ diet and they sometimes feel superior to others, especially in regard to food intake.
Eventually food choices become so restrictive, in both variety and calories, that health suffers – an ironic twist for a person so completely dedicated to healthy eating. Eventually, the obsession with healthy eating can crowd out other activities and interests, impair relationships, and become physically dangerous.

Is Orthorexia An Eating Disorder?

Orthorexia is a term coined by Steven Bratman, MD to describe his own experience with food and eating. It is not an officially recognized disorder, but is similar to other eating disorders – those with anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa obsess about calories and weight while orthorexics obsess about healthy eating (not about being “thin” and losing weight).

Why Does Someone Get Orthorexia?
Orthorexia appears to be motivated by health, but there are underlying motivations, which can include safety from poor health, compulsion for complete control, escape from fears, wanting to be thin, improving self-esteem, searching for spirituality through food, and using food to create an identity.

Do I Have Orthorexia?

Consider the following questions. The more questions you respond “yes” to, the more likely you are dealing with orthorexia.
Do you wish that occasionally you could just eat and not worry about food quality?
Do you ever wish you could spend less time on food and more time living and loving?
Does it seem beyond your ability to eat a meal prepared with love by someone else – one single meal – and not try to control what is served?
Are you constantly looking for ways foods are unhealthy for you?
Do love, joy, play and creativity take a back seat to following the perfect diet?
Do you feel guilt or self-loathing when you stray from your diet?
Do you feel in control when you stick to the “correct” diet?
Have you put yourself on a nutritional pedestal and wonder how others can possibly eat the foods they eat?

So What’s The Big Deal?

The diet of orthorexics can actually be unhealthy, with nutritional deficits specific to the diet they have imposed upon themselves. These nutritional issues may not always be apparent. Social problems are more obvious. Orthorexics may be socially isolated, often because they plan their life around food. They may have little room in life for anything other than thinking about and planning food intake. Orthorexics lose the ability to eat intuitively – to know when they are hungry, how much they need, and when they are full. Instead of eating naturally they are destined to keep “falling off the wagon,” resulting in a feeling of failure familiar to followers of any diet.

When Orthorexia Becomes All Consuming

Dr. Bratman, who recovered from orthorexia, states “I pursued wellness through healthy eating for years, but gradually I began to sense that something was going wrong. The poetry of my life was disappearing. My ability to carry on normal conversations was hindered by intrusive thoughts of food. The need to obtain meals free of meat, fat, and artificial chemicals had put nearly all social forms of eating beyond my reach. I was lonely and obsessed. … I found it terribly difficult to free myself. I had been seduced by righteous eating. The problem of my life’s meaning had been transferred inexorably to food, and I could not reclaim it.” (Source: www.orthorexia.com)

Are You Telling Me it is Unhealthy to Follow a Healthy Diet?
Following a healthy diet does not mean you are orthorexic, and nothing is wrong with eating healthfully. Unless, however, 1) it is taking up an inordinate amount of time and attention in your life; 2) deviating from that diet is met with guilt and self-loathing; and/or 3) it is used to avoid life issues and leaves you separate and alone.

What Is The Treatment for Orthorexia?

Society pushes healthy eating and thinness, so it is easy for many to not realize how problematic this behavior can become. Even more difficult is that the person doing the healthy eating can hide behind the thought that they are simply eating well (and that others are not). Further complicating treatment is the fact that motivation behind orthorexia is multi-faceted. First, the orthorexic must admit there is a problem, then identify what caused the obsession. She or he must also become more flexible and less dogmatic about eating. Working through underlying emotional issues will make the transition to normal eating easier.
While orthorexia is not a condition your doctor will diagnose, recovery can require professional help. A practitioner skilled at treating eating disorders is the best choice. This handout can be used to help the professional understand orthorexia.

Recovery

Recovered orthorexics will still eat healthfully, but there will be a different understanding of what healthy eating is. They will realize that food will not make them a better person and that basing their self-esteem on the quality of their diet is irrational. Their identity will shift from “the person who eats health food” to a broader definition of who they are – a person who loves, who works, who is fun. They will find that while food is important, it is one small aspect of life, and that often other things are more important!”

 

The Hope Diary: Step Two: Only God Can Restore me to Sanity

Step two of the twelve step program was one that did not come so easily for me. I mean, I was raised a Christian and I had always believed in God. However after all of the addiction, abuse, and disordered eating behaviors I experienced for many years, I became angry and bitter towards the idea of God and religion so I turned away from Him and lived my life on my own terms. I spent most of my teenage and twenties examining other religions and spiritual concepts, believing that I could control my life without any consequences.

Without a solid spiritual foundation, and after spiraling deeper into my destructive behaviors, I found myself flat on my face in despair without any way out and no one to help me. None of my alternative spiritual principles could help me out of my mess, and I was confronted with the unshakable truth that God was the only one who could save and strengthen me. I had a big pride pill to swallow, and many character defects to dig out, but man, how much pain and suffering did I hand over to Jesus, the one who had died for me, when I made the decision to stop hurting myself and give it all to Him instead in exchange for a beautiful life. The biggest difference now in regards to God is that I seek a personal relationship with Him, instead of abusing religion. I don’t belong to any religious organization, and if you ask me, God loves everyone!

I had many questions to reflect on as I humbled myself in the recovery process and allowed Him to take away my power. After all, did I create the universe? No. Did I create myself? No. Had I ever been successful in stopping my eating disorders and addictions on my own? No!! So, I had to humble myself and accept that only God could bring about the changes in me that I so badly needed.

But you know, I surprised myself with the issues that came about with step two. I believed in God, but I fell many times in recovery with my pride! I realized that one of the reasons why I had struggled with my disorders and addictions for so long was because I had tried to be my own god! I thought that I could worship my body instead of God and still have a meaningful relationship with Him! It does not work! When I put myself first instead of the One Who Created me, I fell to my own sin and devices repeatedly.

There are countless examples in the Bible of leaders who tried to take the place of God and fell terribly.
Take for example King Nebuchadnezzar. In Daniel Chapter 4, we see how the king thought he was the greatest and worshipped himself. He looked at his successes and called the glories for himself. He forgot to be humble and remember that God is the creator and ruler of all and that He gives power and success “to anyone He chooses” (Daniel 4:32). God took everything away from King Nebuchadnezzar and spent a time period with the cattle in the fields, eating and living with them until he humbled himself and acknowledged that God was the only one with power and might.

I lived the same way as King Nebuchadnezzar for most of my life…in pride, selfishness, and thinking that I was my own god! Because of my choices however, I also lived in addictions, pain, and an endless cycle of eating disorders that I could not get out of on my own. God allowed me to live in my own filth until I humbled myself and said, “Ok God, I admit it!! You are the only way, truth and light, Please help me!!” At that moment, my whole life began to change. I started to live according to what He wanted, and not unto my own destructive habits. I started to slowly become free.

Let’s take a look at the corresponding questions on Step two from the Life Recovery Workbook by Stephen Arterburn and David Stoop.

Persistent Seeking
Job 14:1-6

1. How has life seemed unfair to me in the areas of family?

Trauma/abuse?

Addiction?

2. What are my objections to trusting God fully with my addiction and my life?

3. What emotions and questions do I need to be honest with God about?

4. Am I willing to work through the pain and unfairness of my life in order to find God and be freed from addiction? What holds me back?

Grandiose Thinking
Daniel 4:19-33

1. When in my addiction, in what ways did I display the belief that I was only accountable to myself?

2. How have I tried to have power over the events, outcomes, and people in my life?

3. In what ways did I show that I forgot that God is ultimately in control?

4. How have I avoided acceptance of God’s power over my life?

Internal Bondage
Mark 5:1-13

1. What self-destructive behaviors have I inflicted on myself due to addiction? List and describe them.

2. How has my addiction kept me from living my own life while finding myself more comfortable in “caves” of isolation, anger/rage, or silent judgement?

3. Have I begun to drop my insanity of living alone and being trapped in addiction? Am I ready to have Jesus visit me in my “caves” and cleanse me? If so, write out a prayer to Him here:

Healing Faith
Luke 8:43-48

1. How have I tried to control my problems in my own power?

2. What were the results?

3. Is there any other way that I would like to try to control and manage it?

4. Am I ready to do my part, as this woman courageously did, by reaching out for recovery in faith that Jesus’ Power will be there? Write a statement of readiness to God.

Restoration
Luke 15: 11-24

1. How have my compulsions and addictions led me to compromise my values, convictions, and principles?

2. How have my compulsions and addictions dehumanized me and brought me to shame?

3. In light of how my addictions and dependencies have degraded me, am I now open to a deeper level of believing that the power and forgiveness of God will restore me to sanity?

Coming to Believe
Romans 1:18-20

1. How have my experiences shown me that my way of living is not a satisfying or productive way to live?

2. How have I seen God’s power at work in other people’s lives?

3. What are the signs that I am on the path and in the process of being restored to sanity?

Hope in Faith
Hebrews 11:1-10

1. Am I becoming able to believe that God can help me live sanely? How?

2. Can I now believe that as I reach out for God’s Strength and surrender to Him, God’s Nature is to be present and ready to help and support sane choices? Why or why not?

God Bless,

Nikki DuBose

The Hope Diary: Step One, I am Powerless!

The Hope Diary: Step One, I am Powerless!
October 30, 2012

In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, I have been spending the evening quietly reflecting the past couple of days and how so many people in Jersey City and NYC around me are without power, submerged in water, scared, alone and helpless. I am extremely thankful that by the very Grace of God, my home was one of the only to not be affected with loss of anything, and I am definitely counting my Blessings.

The running theme right now of helplessness around the East Coast reminds me of Step One of my Twelve Step program for recovering from an eating disorder. Step One states that when we finally come to the realization that we have a true problem that is destroying our lives and many times, the lives of others, we say that we are “powerless.”

It took me 19 years to admit to myself and to others that I was powerless. Even after going for help 17 years into my bulimia and anorexia, I still did not admit that I was powerless. I sought help mostly for the wrong reasons; to please others and to make myself look better. I wanted everyone to think that I was again…perfect. That even though I had had an eating disorder for so many years that I could, in fact, pick myself right up and get help and be recovered immediately.

How absurd it was to pridefully seek help, and never really admit my powerlessness. The outcome of this was I went around and around my problems for much longer than needed, with results far more atrocious than the past.

True admittance of my powerlessness came when I found myself with nowhere to look than up at God for my life and my answers. Hopefully you will be smarter than I was and learn from my and others’ mistakes and seek help before you have to just about kill yourself to get there.

My Twelve Step Program defines powerlessness as such, “Step One: We admitted that we were powerlessness, that our lives had become unmanageable.” My unmanageable life, emotions, finances, and relationships all became sure-fire signals that my addiction had taken over and that I was powerless over myself. It was a sad realization but one that truly set me on the path to God, self-discovery, recovery, and ultimately, saving my life.

If you are thinking that maybe you have a problem with food, anorexia, bulimia, taking laxatives, over-exercising, or binge-eating, here are some questions and correlating Bible verses taken from The Life Recovery Workbook by Stephen Arterburn and David Stoop that are truly valuable in helping you get on the way to recovery.

Genesis 16:1-15
No-Win Situations

1). What feelings do I experience as I acknowledge people in my life who have power ( such as supervisors, spouse, religious leaders, and sponsors)?

2). What do I try to escape from?

3). How do I escape my feelings such as anger, boredom, fatigue, or loneliness?

4). When things do not go my way, or when I am in a no-win situation, what is my reaction (with relationships, work, promotions, kids who question or rebel, traffic, drivers in front of me, people talking on cell phones in public places, financial difficulties, people who hurt or disappoint me, or God, who seems to be silent)?

5. If I could, how would I change my response?

Dangerous Self-Deception
Judges 16:1-31

1). What is the longest time I have been able to stop addictive behaviors or using addictive substances?

2). What are some of the reasons I use for starting my behaviors or substance abuse again?

3). What are the things I think I can control? How do I lie to myself, and about what?

4). What is so scary about telling the truth?

5). As I explore powerlessness, what blind spots have I discovered?

6). What are the results of pride in my life?

A Humble Beginning
2 Kings 5: 1-5

1). What is the difference between humiliation and humility in my life?

2). How do I regard myself as being a little more important than other people?

3). What makes me think I am in control of anything?

4). How do I try to influence or control God or his representatives?

5). When have I places expectations on other people or God?

6). When have my attitudes shown that I believe I know better than God?

7. Why is it difficult for me to follow another’s instructions?

Hope Amidst Suffering
Job 6:2-13

1). What kind of people do I hang around with and trust– people who criticize, or people who encourage truth?

2). What emotions can I identify with when I am at the bottom?

3). What have I done in the past to tidelands with pains or sadness?

Like Little Children
Mark 10:13-16

1). What happened in the past that still provokes fear in me today?

2). When do I feel the most cared for?

3). What do I see in my life that reveals God’s care for me?

A Time to Choose
Acts 9:1-9

1). When I continue to pursue my own agenda without asking God for direction, what happens in my life?

2). Are there areas of my life in which God may have to use extreme measures before I will listen for direction? Which areas?

3). What will it take for me to listen to God?

The Paradox of Powerlessness
2 Corinthians 4:7-10

1). These are examples of when I have demonstrated acceptance of my own powerlessness and God’s Powerfulness.

2). How do I respond to trouble?

3). How do I respond to being perplexed?

4). What do I do when it seems that God or someone else has abandoned me?

God Bless,

Nikki DuBose

“Six Tips on How to Forgive Someone Who Has Hurt You” by Karla Downing

Christian Relationship Help: Six Tips on How to Forgive Someone Who Has Hurt You by Karla Downing

“Forgiveness is a commandment for Christians (Matthew 6:14-15); yet, there is a lot of misunderstanding on how to forgive. This Christian relationship help gives you six tips on how to forgive someone who has hurt you:

1. Understand that it is a process.The first step is to commit to that process. Some people erroneously suggest that someone should forgive right away when they find out about a major offense. This isn’t possible. Before you can forgive, you have to know what you are forgiving. It takes time to figure out what has happened and how it has affected your life.

2. Reflect on the facts of the situation, your reactions, and how it is affecting you. You have to count the cost in order to forgive by first recognizing how you have been affected by the offense. This way you know what you are forgiving.

3. Understand what the offender did and why it was done.This is putting yourself into the shoes of the other person. It gives you a perspective that can help you to be empathetic. Hurt people hurt people. This doesn’t mean you excuse the wrong or not hold the person appropriately accountable; it only means that you try to understand the problems the other person had that would have caused him/her to do what was done.

4. Choose to let go of the right to get revenge.You turn the person over to God and allow him to judge in his way and time (Romans 12:19). This can include allowing the person to face the legal, relational, financial and situational consequences of his/her actions; however, you need to let go of your bitterness and resentment and not take pleasure in the person’s pain and demise.

5. Treat the person with dignity and respect.You want to love your enemies and offer them a cup of cold water, as Jesus suggested (Romans 12:20); yet, you can still set boundaries to protect yourself. This requires that you take a step of faith and treat the person well. When you do it, it will help you to maintain the forgiveness and allow God to work in the person’s life.

6. Choose to no longer be defined by the offense.This is where you integrate the offense into your life as another thing that has happened that you have walked through that God has used to shape and mold you. Your identity is not: “The spouse who was abandoned,” The parent who lost his child,” or “The unloved child.” You have a different perspective that involves acceptance, forgiveness, and faith and a self-image that includes how you have been refined through your life experiences and how God is using it for good.

This Christian relationship help offers you these six tips on how to forgive someone who has hurt you. These tips will enable you to move on from the offense in a way that sets you free and pleases God.”

God Bless,
Nikki

Fall Time Fun Back at Alstede Farms, NJ

Bunnies, cows, pigs, oh my!! I was in hog-heaven this Columbus Day weekend at Alstede Farms in Chester, NJ. Not only was the scenery surrounding the Fall-Festival breath taking, but the “scene” inside the park wasn’t half-bad either! From kiddies to pumpkin fudge (who knew?), animals galore to more Pick-Your-Own activities than you could shake a honey flavored stick at!!

I don’t know about you, but fall time is my absolute favorite time of the year. The beautiful colors on the leaves changing signal that the Holidays are a-comin’ and that the layers on my clothes will be a wrappin’!! I am so thankful for the beautiful seasons that God has created, but fall and winter have always been my favorite! You can be sure I will be blogging much more during this time as it brings back my childhood memories with my family, and I love to create that here on my website.

The South of France, Where I go to Rest my Soul.

Out of all the places I have visited, none have compared like the South of France. From the dreamy lavender fields and Midsummer Night’s Dream-like air of Provence, to the way that every aspect of nature looks like it it carved out of a painting, my soul is truly refreshed when I come and stay here. The quality of the food, the smell of the fresh, uninterrupted air, and the rare, precious quiet time I have in the countryside is something that I encourage all of you to treasure wherever you may have it! Here is a peak of the way I see life in the many cities on the Provence region.

So there is a full complete rest still waiting for the people of God. Christ has already entered there. He is resting from his work, just as God did after the creation. Let us do our best to go into that place of rest, too, being careful not to disobey God as the children of Israel did, thus failing to get in. (Hebrews 4:9-11)

In my action-packed life, I thank God for the opportunities to rest and relax!!

Peace, Love and Light,
God Bless the World,
Nikki DuBose

My Reflection In the Mirror

My nine and a half year old niece *Colette loves to sit with me in the bathroom and watch me fix my hair in the mornings and put on my makeup. The other day we were spending time together while I was doing just that, and I frequently stopped to dance around the room with my hairbrush and sing songs on the iPad that she knows almost every word to. We just laughed and laughed until a hour and a half had passed and she was half silly and I had half of my hair and makeup on still, ha ha! These are precious memories and ones that I will cherish for the rest of my life.
After we had finished our mini concert in our jammies, Colette became pretty quiet and started to stare down at the floor. “Are you ok, Colette?” I asked. She didn’t really answer even though I knew she had understood what I was saying, and instead she went over to the weight scale that was over by the sink and promptly put her two feet firmly on the face of it. I carefully but discreetly watched as her face fell and she immediately became disheartened. Again, I repeated to her to tell me what was wrong, this time in French to make sure she understood. “Qu’est-ce que c’est ?”, I asked her beautiful, tiny face. After one enormous huff of a breath, Colette pointed to her belly and implied that she was overweight, and by her face, that she felt horrible about her body and appearance because of the number on the scale. I was shocked! A nine and a half year old child!! A child, so concerned about her weight and appearance already! What in the world is happening to our society?
Right away I took her and looked her straight and lovingly into her saddened eyes. “Colette, you. Are. Beautiful. Jolie. Do you know?” Obviously my French is terrible, but I could see in her expression that she understood because she peaked through with a microscopic smile. “Bon, now I want you to come to the mirror, look straight into it at yourself, all of you, and repeat after me, I. Am. Beautiful. Just. The. Way. I. Am.” Well, my first attempt failed. She could not even look at herself, let alone repeat the words. This was a total learning experience for me, and I was just so heartbroken that this incredibly gorgeous, inside and out, talented, bright, sweet, charming, gracious child was deep down full of intense self-esteem issues because of a number on a scale. And where in the world did she pick this up? How did she even know to go and weigh herself and what these numbers mean? Ooh, I was just so infuriated!! And then subsequently all of the feelings that I had as a child came flooding back to me all at once. I had the same emotions, fears and knowledge of myself and body at her age and had already developed serious, serious body and food issues at the age of eight! Eight! Imagine, the psychological effects and damages that society can have on a child, with all of the messages it sends on what it is to be acceptable. This is plum ridiculous!
I gently repeated it to Colette over and over until she said it to herself in the mirror. “I. Am. Beautiful. Just. The. Way. I. Am.” And you know what? She finally had a smile on her face, and she had a face of confidence where she could at least say it and look at herself in the mirror at the same time!
It is so important the words that we speak to children, and the words that they say to themselves and how they see themselves. Growing up, I did not really have any encouragement directly at home. Abused in my childhood in many ways from some family members, I had zero self confidence and in fact I hated myself from as early as the age of eight years old, when all of the abuse started to take on a more serious turn. There is so much power in our thoughts, our mind, our actions, and the words we say to ourselves and others. Just the kindest and most gentle sentence can help to change someone’s life. I often wonder what would have happened if instead of constantly hearing words of discouragement and disapproval, I would have been raised in an environment of positive reinforcement, encouragement, kindness and concern for my well-being, as every human being deserves to hear and know from childhood.

me, age 4.

Believe it or not, I struggled for seventeen years of my young life with body issues, self esteem, weight control, and loving myself, the real myself; and in fact, I don’t think I ever even knew who I really was because I never started my life with any kind of a healthy foundation on which to grown on or to have guidance from. When you are eight years old and start having deep-psychological food issues and base your worth and value on how you feel when you look in your kid jeans in the morning, there is a serious, life-altering mindset that takes place; And child, it’s not pretty.
Needless to say, when Colette started to talk negatively about herself in the bathroom and play the “blame game” with her body and the weight scale, I knew that I could not and would not let her leave there without trying to get her to see herself and speak to herself loving, caring words the way that God sees and loves all of us. It is important to share with you all how I was treated as a child and the problems I went through, but it is much more important and exciting to shout from the rooftops what God has done for my life! God took a messed up, broken, abused and helpless woman who had a hurting, angry little girl still living on the inside of her; a victim of her own perfectionism. He took me, when I had finally had enough of living like a victim and decided I wanted to live a victorious life, and in fact, He came running with open Arms to me, picked me up, carried me, and gave me a totally New Life that could only be found In Him! When I surrendered every single area of my life to God, it was not easy, it was very challenging, in fact, but I began to see myself the way that God saw me, as I first learned from His Word. In the Bible, there are four key adjectives that are used to describe how we are seen in God’s eyes, and although there are many more I want to share the following with you, and invite you to repeat these powerful phrases in front of the mirror, and to yourself throughout the day whenever you need a “pick-me-up.”

I am created in the Image of God. In the Book of Genesis 1:27 it says that, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” Well, this verse really changed a lot for me. If I am created in the very image of God, and God is supposed to be All-Seeing, All-Knowing, All-Capable, All-Powerful, Always in Control, just PERFECT, then right here and now I should understand that I should NEVER, EVER, EVER say another bad thing about myself ever again! If I know that I am created in God’s very image and He did so ON PURPOSE because He loves me, and He has an amazing future for my life, then speaking and thinking bad things about myself would be just like slapping Him in the face, never-the-mind all of the damaging effects it would continue to do to myself. So the next time you feel like you are ugly or not worthy just the way you are, that is total crap and hurtful to God because He. Made. You. Unique. And. Precious. In. His. Sight.

I am accepted. Ephesians 1: 3-8 says, “I have been chosen by God and adopted as His Child.” Wow! You mean all of this time I did not have to have feelings of abandonment, loneliness, unworthiness and shame for not having my family there for me? NO! As children, we tend to idolize our parents, and see them as being perfect and incapable of making mistakes. When we become adults, we tend to blame all of our problems on our parents and our childhood, but what we really should be doing is accepting the fact that all our parents really did was give us life, bring us into this world, and raise us the best that they knew how to with the resources they had. The only One perfect is God, therefore, we have to learn to forgive our parents, even if we never even had any, even if they mistreated us, even if they left us as children. Why? Because we are not perfect either, and we can never point the finger because that is being hypocritical and God is not a hypocrite. When we understand what God says above in Ephesians 1:3-8 then it takes all of the pressure off ourselves having to constantly live in regret for not having the “perfect” childhood that maybe we would have liked to have. For we can discover that having a personal relationship with Christ gives us something far beyond and better: a Loving Father Who is with us Eternally and Who has a Home for us on Earth and in Heaven, and Who will never Leave us Nor Forsake us. So it does not matter what your childhood was like, the next time you feel sad about your family, feel comfort in knowing, “I. Am. Accepted!”

I am secure. 1 John 5:18 states, “I am born of God and the evil one cannot touch me.” Safety is critical to a child’s wellbeing mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally. How many times have you seen a child act out in anger or frustration or how many times have you done this yourself, all the while knowing that the root of the action was fear? Fear is a joy-killer because it is not something that is valid, but it is something that we tend to believe. Fear is the opposite of faith, and when we live in fear, we can act out in all kinds of negative emotions on ourselves and to other people, places, and things. Deep rooted fears of gaining weight, past traumas, fears of not getting approval from others, etc., can be a main cause of eating disorders that start in children, and can develop into more severe problems if left untreated. Perfectionism and People Pleasing are very common “disorders” that, myself included, hundreds of millions of people struggle with, and it all really stems from childhood, the lack of feeling accepted and secure, and trying to make up for it all as adults by doing way too much for the sake of everyone else, when on the inside you are dying. God gives you unlimited security, safety and rest in His Arms, when you begin to study His Word little by little you will find that you do not ever have to feel afraid to take another step in this life and beyond alone. You are valuable and you have unbreakable security bank in the Kingdom of God. When fear starts to creep up on you, you pray, “Devil, shut up! I know who I am and what I have with God. God is with me always and I will not fear. I am secure. You cannot touch me, fear.”

I am significant. 1 Corinthians 3:16 clearly says, “I am God’s Temple.” Our body is God’s Holy Temple, and how dare we disrespect, destroy or disregard what God made! Whatever size, weight or shape your body is, you need to embrace or love that! The number on the scale should be left there, and should not follow you throughout your day, determining your value and significance. Your significance is found in Jesus, and what He says about you, that you are HIS Temple, His Body, and You are FREE to love your body! So you should not go by the world’s standards of “measuring up” and obtaining worthiness from a certain dress or pants size because you are important enough in God’s eyes just the way you are!

So throw away all of your worries, take deep breaths and release them, go and look in the mirror, and I mean really look in the mirror. Now see yourself the way that God sees you.

Perfect.
Accepted.
Secure.
Significant.

Aaahhh. Now say, “I. Am. Beautiful. Just. The. Way. I. Am.”

God Bless,
Nikki DuBose

*Names have been changed to protect privacy.

The “IT LIST” on SQUA.RE

I am so Honored to announce that now I am a Contributing Editor for the “IT LIST” on SQUA.RE!! http://squa.re/category/community/
SQUA.RE is fresh and unique because it is the first All-Encompassing online platform dedicated to luxury. Coming onboard to SQUA.RE with a writer, editor, and supermodel’s eye, I also want to broadcast soon people across the world who are doing something for others…because isn’t that REALLY what the world should be about.
This month so far we have John Mayer and Lovecat Magazine editors Prince and Jacob joining Musician Olivier Bassil and SQUA.RE Editorial Director Adnan Z. Manjal.
Stay tuned with me for this exciting new addition to my ever growing family 🙂

Peace, Love and Light
XOXO
God Bless the World
Nikki DuBose

The World’s Trash is God’s Treasure!

I am inspired today by this quote from pastor Joyce Meyer, “Who the world would throw away, God will pick up, choose and use to do GREAT things.”  If you do not know Joyce Meyer, she had a terrible first half of her life filled with all kinds of abuse, torment, neglect and wrongdoings, like most of us have. I know in my own life for many years I experienced a terrible beginning, however, only through the Grace of God, I was able to totally turn my life around and receive a Healing of a brand new life. A life of forgiveness, restoration, peace, abundance, self-love and kindness, humility and self-control. The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 5:17, (King James Version) “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”

So, if you are feeling like trash today, understand that what are the world’s standards of trash, are God’s standards of beauty. God loves to take anything broken and use it for His Glory. First, to heal and restore you, to give you a New life found only in salvation through the Blood of Christ, and second, to use your mended past to help OTHER people get set free from their “garbage.”

I think I have more trash bags than I know what to do with from my past, and I always have plenty of bags to take out every morning.  But thank God, that He sent His son Jesus to save me totally and Give me a clean, shiny, new body, soul, mind, and emotional state where I am forgiven and renewed!!  And You have that treasure too! How beautiful it is!

Every day, let’s choose at least one person to lift higher!  With our words, actions, anything.  Choose today to be a Blessing to others!!

Proverbs 18:4 says, “Your words can be like Life Giving Water.” People are thirsty, so be the water of life and encouragement that we so all need 😀

Here is a little poem I wrote, entitled:

YOU SURROUND ME

I’ve felt you all my life, and in the whispering night

Your Spirit came to me

It spoke with love so sweet

It Made my soul feel complete

Before I even saw your face

Surround me with your breath

I want to smell you

Surround me with your Arms

I want to feel Protected

Surround me with your Love

Your Eternal Love

It’s all I need

For the rest of my life

*************************

Peace, Love and Light

God Bless,

<3 Nikki DuBose

 

Sky & Sand Editorial, Space Magazine with Oscar Munar, Ibiza

Editorial: “Sky & Sand”

Space Magazine, June 2012

Ph: Oscar Munar

Shot in: Ibiza

Styling: Katia Gregori

Hair and MUA: Luiz Mantei

XOXO

God Bless the World

Nikki DuBose









Your Mannequin

My slippers laced

Pink, pressed and tied

My feet are engaged

Pointed left and right

My back is straight

No room to breathe

My body cannot contain

More control, more detail

Your mannequin cries in pain.

The lights are set

The curtain is drawn

The sea of faces

Waiting, judging, knowing

What lies beneath

This perfect face

A devil of distress

My heart in tears

Your Mannequin loses the game

Your Mannequin gains the fame

Your Mannequin stands lifeless

Limp

Pale

Perfectly packaged

Your mannequin needs her name.

©2011 Nikki DuBose

 

Joy Magazine, Germany

Editorial: “Country Affair”
Shot in Miami with an amazing team!

XOXO

God Bless the World

Nikki DuBose













Beauty Shoot with Damon Hall Booth

Photography by Damon Hall Booth

Shot in Miami, Florida.

Hair and Makeup by Mary Irwin and Miriam.

XOXO

God Bless the World

Nikki DuBose