His own struggle with compulsive eating inspired him to help others.
“Overeating destroyed my body,” Fr. Ryan says. “At my highest weight I was 464 pounds.” In a moving short film, Fr. Ryan recounts his story of compulsive overeating and how his recovery has changed his life, inspiring him to help others heal along the way.
After his father left when he was four years old, he sought comfort in eating. He says it became for him an “emotional experience” to cope with the anger and rejection he felt. But his suffering over losing his earthly father also prompted him to rely more fully on his Heavenly Father.
After hitting rock bottom, gaining 70 pounds in six months, he realized he needed help and he sought out a recovery center for priests. Ultimately, facing his demons has allowed him to grow as a man and as a member of the clergy.
“I know through this whole process of recovery and addiction that there are so many people that struggle,” he says. “And so that’s why it’s important to have a priest who understands that process and to meet people where they are. For me it’s a very personal responsibility, empowering me to spread this message of wellness among the people.”
Fr. Ryan’s story testifies to the universal struggle to battle our demons and the powerful love that can result when we do, helping others to walk along the path towards healing.
You can watch the full video below.