“Thee lift me and I’ll lift thee and we’ll ascent together.” – Amish proverb
This summer we invited the alumni of Center for Change back to Orem for a celebration of life and recovery. We did everything from yoga to workshops to a research project to a drum circle. It was a busy day, but a really fun one.
First of all, it was so fun seeing you guys again. As staff, we really do miss you and think about you once you’re gone. The nature of our work is that we only get to see you for a tiny sliver of your lives. That’s exactly as it should be—we certainly don’t want you to live in treatment. We’re so excited to see you discharge and go do all the awesome stuff you’re meant to be doing. At the same time, it’s really fun that once a year, we get to actually see you doing that awesome stuff! So thanks so much to those who came, or those who couldn’t come and dropped a note saying hi, or those who posted on the Facebook wall, or on this blog. We really do love hearing from you.
Secondly, it was great to talk about recovery as an asset. The theme of the event was “Be the change you wish to see in the world”, and we spent a lot of time talking about how we can give back to the people around us.
Eating disorders suck. We know that. They suck up time and money and energy and opportunities and relationships and values. They suck and suck and give nothing back. Recovery, on the other hand, gives us so much. It gives us back that time and energy and everything else that got so rudely taken. It also teaches us skills we maybe wouldn’t otherwise have learned. We get to figure out how to be truly kind to ourselves. In treatment, we learn how to listen to each other, and understand with compassion, and communicate assertively. We learn how to create safety in relationships with boundaries. We learn about intuitive eating, and how actively heal our relationship with food. (I don’t know about you, but I know a whole lot of people in my life who don’t actually have an eating disorder, but could sure use intuitive eating.) Recovery can be a gift.
Lastly, it was great seeing the alumni connect with each other. We had people all along the spectrum of recovery, and it was so cool to see us all taking the step that was in front of us, whatever that was. I spoke to one alumna who said that she felt like her eating disorder had happened to someone else, it seemed so far way. She said she could remember the thoughts and feelings, but they had no power or connection to her anymore. She couldn’t imagine ever feeling that way again. It’s so important to see that full recovery is possible and to talk to people who have gone through it. Another alumna said that this event was the first time she realized that fact…she’d sort of reconciled herself to a life “in recovery”, but this was the first time she could picture a life without her eating disorder at all.
I hope that wherever you are in the country or in the world, and wherever you are in your recovery, you can reach out to people around you and find support and hope.
Okay, very lastly, thank you so much to everyone who presented!
Dr. Michael Berrett
Sydney Beames Williams, LCSW
Dr. Nicole Hawkins
Hannah Hammond, LCSW
Jessica Buckway, MA
Kathy Spencer, MA
Jennifer Glauser, RD
Lynette Taylor, Music Therapist
Leanne Tolley, E-RYT
Can’t wait to see you all next year!