Saturday, April 30, 2011

Hope, Truth, and Possibility {{ Guest Post }}

Today's guest post is brought to you by the letter "A" - Arielle Lee Bair of Actively Arielle and of the Freedom Fighters - she's Wednesday which makes her extra cool as that's the date I am over here ;)

 Hope, Truth, and Possibility
~ Arielle Lee Bair

When it comes to eating disorder recovery, there are many different kinds of people. There are those who believe in full recovery, those who believe in full recovery – but not for themselves, and those who do not believe in it at all. I think full recovery is possible for everyone. Will it happen for everyone? No. But is it possible? Yes.

There are a lot of factors that influence a person’s ability to recover, but real recovery from an eating disorder happens, and it happens every day. It’s not a matter of beating the odds, but of beating the eating disorder.

When influential folks say that full recovery from an eating disorder is unlikely, I get angry. When they imply that full recovery will happen to one in a million (or some equally incomprehensible number), I get upset. When they focus on all the people who have NOT recovered instead of those who have, I get emotional.

It’s difficult to promote recovery to those struggling with eating disorders when they are constantly being told that the odds are against them. Why bother trying at all? If you are already deemed to be (and doomed to be) a statistic from the start, what’s the point in paying money for treatment/care/counseling or getting support from friends/family/services? Isn’t it all a waste?

The short answer is: NO. Not only is recovery completely possible, it’s also worth every effort. Whether you’re involved with a whole treatment team, simply seeing one therapist, using an alternative support system, or going it alone – recovery is possible, real, and wonderful.

I know this, because I’m a recovered individual myself. It wasn’t always an easy path. I worked hard, used support, created support I didn’t already have, and kept climbing.

Today, I’m happy and healthy in body and mind. I live my every day, a woman who is transformed from the girl she used to be. I think things start to disappear one by one as we recover. I think the more obvious pieces go first. We get to a healthy weight (whatever that is for us and our respective disorders). We let go of behaviors. We stop berating ourselves. We stop looking for perfection. We stop seeing perfection where it doesn't exist. We let go of pain. We let go of the past. We slowly let go of the thoughts, a day at a time, until we realize one day (like I did) that they're not there. They don't accompany me. They don't hide out in my mind waiting to come out if the opportunity presents itself. Call me “fat,” call me “ugly,” call me “stupid,” tell me I "shouldn't be eating all the food" that's on my plate... and I'll still be serene and confident in myself, in my recovery, in my body and my way of life. The change has taken place. I'm okay now. It's a beautiful reality.

I can't promise you that during some terrible, sad, or scary time in my life I won’t for a split second remember how I used to cope. But I can promise you this: I'm done with my eating disorder and I'm done with the thoughts, and if one ever does re-appear in my head, it'll be gone and I'll be on my feet no matter what life throws at me, because I've found the secret. I've learned to stand.

How do I know I’m recovered?

- Because my life doesn't revolve around food, exercise, feelings of hunger, my own image in the mirror, the way my clothes fit, what people say to me regarding appearance or success/failure.

-Because I actually have a life.

-Because when I wake up in the morning I am content, not filled with despair.

-Because I don't have to work at it. It is now natural.

-Because I can help others without being triggered by them.

-Because I live by what I’m writing here.

-Because I like my body.

-Because I even, most of the time, LOVE my body.

-Because I am at peace with issues of my adolescence.

-Because I can eat without over-thinking.

-Because I don't binge or purge or starve myself.

-Because I don't even WANT to binge, purge, or starve myself.

-Because I don't care what the number on a scale says and it used to incredibly define me.

-Because I am a healthy weight.

-Because I appreciate myself instead of hate myself.

-Because I feel free.

I am here in the moment and not afraid to eat, look, live, love. And you can do it too.

The length of time isn't what's important. It can take 3 years or 30 years. The goal is to get to the point where you can say, “I'm free” and mean it. Don't give yourself a deadline. Don't beat yourself up for slip-ups. Just. keep. trying.

Understand my main point: being "recovered" isn't about always being happy 100% of the time—it's about knowing what to do when you're not.

Today, I help others with their eating disorder recovery as an ANAD (Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders) Support Group Leader, an ANAD Resource Person, and a well-followed recovery blogger and YouTuber.

No matter how many cons there are to your dilemma, one big pro outweighs them all: you getting better, you feeling better, you learning to live life again.

Put more faith in yourself than in your eating disorder. Don’t underestimate your power to move forward and stay there. It all starts with you.


EDITOR's note by Kat - I just want to thank Arielle for sharing this, I think it's particularly important after that recently published NY Times article (more about that here) as it shows that full recovery CAN happen - Stories of hope are SO important.
If you have one you'd like to share, let me know by emailing me, I'll gladly post them as I receive them on either Thursday (until Ashley comes back) or Saturday

click here to email me

Also to announce the giveaway winner as promised -- HollyT won - just email me (you can use the above link) with your address so I can tell the seller what address to ship to =)


  1. What a wonderful post! After reading the NY Times article I made the decision to just ignore all the nay-sayers. Yes, recovery might not happen for everyone, but it will happen for me. I have hope, and I will choose to listen only to those people that support my hope.
    Thank you for giving me another piece to hope to read and re-read whenever I need it :)PJ

  2. Yes yes yes all the way and I can pretty much say the same for myself :)

  3. Thanks so much, Kat and all at Recovering Inspirings! I appreciate the kind words and for being asked to post. Keep the hope alive, everyone!

  4. Fantastic post Arielle... Thank you so much for opening your heart and sharing your wisdom. You are truly beautiful and such an inspiration to myself and many.. :o) x

  5. thanks Arielle what a great post and it answers my earlier post about whether full recovery is possible

  6. Great post, and great reasons as to why you know you are FULLY recovered! It is totally possible!


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