A step toward healing

Published 1:39 pm Monday, July 7, 2014


Words on stepping stones tell the story. Messages from the soul reflecting a search for help and hope. “The pain I’ve been feeling is just the hurt before the healing; just the dark before the morning,” reads one, and another, “The first step is the longest stride.”

These words, literally engraved in stone, were penned by the young women who call Magnolia Creek Treatment Center for Eating Disorders in Columbiana their temporary home. “A walk down the stepping stone path in our garden is a powerful experience,” said Jamie Edwards, Magnolia Creek executive director. “The stones are created by our residents who are graduating from the program.”

Magnolia Creek, which opened its doors seven years ago, is the only residential treatment facility for eating disorders in Alabama and one of only a few in the country. Situated on 37 wooded acres and centered by a five-acre lake, the old-fashioned yellow clapboard farmhouse is where the journey begins for young women whose primary diagnosis is a feeding or eating disorder, such as: Anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa or binge eating disorder.

“Our goal is to normalize food for them and make them think about food like a normal person would,” Edwards explained. I eat my three meals and maybe a snack, but food is not a consuming issue for me because I deal with stress and emotions in an appropriate way and not using food to deal with it. What we try to do is to normalize food for them, to take the focus of their existence off food and help them to deal with the issues they are having through therapeutic means.”

Perhaps part of that therapy is a visit to the house’s wide wraparound porch outfitted with the requisite rocking chairs reminiscent of lazy Southern summer days. This is a quiet place, a nurturing place, and as the stones say, a place where young women over the age of 18 struggling with eating disorders come to find hope to overcome their disease and help with how to do that.


Read more about Magnolia Creek in the July issue of Shelby Living. Find your copy here.