Darling CFCers, awesome techaroos, and fabulous staffers, too:
I can’t describe to you how excited I am to discharge from Center for Change – not because I can’t wait to leave, because this has become one of my favorite places, but because after trying to utilize the opportunities given to me here I have learned so much and am stoked to be able to go out in the world and use the tools I’ve been given.
Ten and a half months ago I walked into Center for Change terrified, lost, and an absolutely incongruent mess. At that point I had no way of even imagining what life could be like now, or how much I could change, learn, and love because of my interactions with each of you. I had no idea that it was possible for a place so foreign and scary to become such a safe, welcoming environment along with everyone in it.
It breaks my heart to think of all the groups I’ve been in, listening and wondering in complete bewilderment why each of you couldn’t see how truly amazing you are. There were times when I just wanted to run up and hug you, or shake you (it depended on the day!), and make you realize that you are worth so much more than an eating disorder; to force you to believe that you really didn’t need to do a single thing to deserve unconditional love and respect in this world. But I knew that I could talk until I was blue in the face, and it wouldn’t change how you felt. I knew this because I felt the same way about myself. I didn’t have a magic phase or moment in particular that made everything change, but I am forever grateful that it did.
The most earth-shattering concepts I’ve learned here are basic truths I thought I’d known since I was 3. The magic happened in learning to truly believe them. I’ve learned that my life really is priceless. It doesn’t matter what I do or don’t do, how I look or don’t look, what I say or don’t say – I’ve learned that I have infinite worth just by being alive. I now fully realize that I don’t ever need to prove it to anyone and that nobody (including myself) has the power to take away from that worth. I’ve learned that it doesn’t matter how many awards you win, which influential people you can list as friends, or what title is attached to your name (including what phase you’re on!); it truly does not matter!
What matters is finding excitement and joy in whatever life throws at you. It matters that your choices in life fulfill your dreams and desires and aren’t chosen to please others. I’m finding that happiness, like recovery, isn’t a destination. Happiness is an attitude. Abraham Lincoln once said that people are about as happy as they make their minds up to be. I fully agree with the responsibility of choice – not just with happiness, but more importantly with recovery. Choosing to recover was the hardest choice I’ve ever made, but it’s also the best one because nothing’s better than finally deciding to be free from the addiction and relentless pain of an eating disorder.
Recovery is possible for every single one of you. No, I’m not talking to everyone in the room except for you so stop mind reading. You, insert your name here, are absolutely capable and deserving of recovery. The freedom is there, but only you can choose to take it. DON’T give up! After all, if recovery’s like going through hell, why stop while you’re still down there? Keep going. I promise that the struggle to get out is absolutely worth it.
With that said, I need to say thank you. Thank you to each of the patients for always being so supportive, encouraging, and loving; for the laughter, inside jokes, silly songs and tears we’ve shared; for sharing your experiences and valuing mine. Thank you to the techs and nurses for pushing my weaknesses so that I could come out stronger in the end; for praising my accomplishments and “learning experiences” with equal amounts of enthusiasm; and for giving me honest feedback even when I didn’t want, but needed to hear it. Thanks to my therapist for being patient, putting up with far more than she deserved; for knowing when to push and when to lay off; and for not giving up on me even when I had given up on myself. Finally, thanks to every other staff member who has helped Center for Change to become such a miracle in my life.
Before I end, I’d like to leave you with my goodbye song from the wonderful and amazing Rascal Flatts:
You feel like a candle in a hurricane
Just like a picture with a broken frame
Alone and helpless like you’ve lost your fight
But you’ll be alright, you’ll be alright
Cuz when push comes to shove
You taste what you’re made of
You might bend til you break
Cuz it’s all you can take
On your knees you look up
Decide you’ve had enough
You get mad, you get strong
Wipe your hands, shake it off
Then you stand
Then you stand
Life’s like a novel with the end ripped out
The edge of a canyon with only one way down
Take what you’re given before it’s gone
Start holding on
Keep holding on*
Every time you get up and get back in the race
One more small piece of you starts to fall into place*
I am deeply grateful that you’ve been a part of my start in recovery. Remember that trials will come, but that they will also pass. Through it all you may stumble, cry, break down, maybe even completely face plant once or twice along the way, but in the end you’ll “decide you’ve had enough … get strong … shake it off … and you’ll stand.” I love you all to the moon and back! You rock my world!