For many of my clients, knowing there is light at the end of the tunnel is crucial to staying on the path to recovery. Some have been struggling for several years and cannot imagine what life without the constant negative thoughts and judgments would be like.
A significant part of my job is to regularly remind them of what they are working so hard for and normalize how many bumps in the road there will be. It can often feel like it is one step forward, two steps back and they question whether it is worth it. I will often share articles or recommend books written by women who have recovered, like Carolyn Costin or Jennie Schaefer, to help them trust in the process.
Yet, I wanted to be able to share something with them that was even more tangible, especially for women just realizing that they have an eating disorder. That the idea of letting go of such long held beliefs could be done. And that the treatment plan I was recommending of self-care, mindfulness and the intuitive eating approach does work. I knew it would make it so much more meaningful if they were able to see it, in someone’s handwriting, and know that the writer had sat in the same spot on the couch in my office so ready for change, but unsure at one time how it would ever happen.
I began asking clients who were at the end of their recovery journeys if they would be willing to anonymously share their story. Without hesitation, they filled the journal’s pages with their own unique experiences; the highs and lows, the rock bottom and aha moments and the tools that helped them make it through. They were happy to be able to give back in some way and inspire someone to stay committed to recovery. I am immensely proud of this journal; of the diverse stories in which healing and transformation took place and the amazing women who courageously fought for the lives they were meant to live.