I could write a letter to society at large...or to parents of those with eating disorders...or to professionals who deal with those with eating disorders...or to magazine editors...or treatment center staff...
But instead, I'd really like to write to YOU. I'd really like to write to those WITH eating disorders. The ones who are struggling...who haven't yet chosen recovery...or the ones who have finally decided to make that leap, but are afraid...or the ones who have been at recovery for so long it's become a big mountain they are growing tired of climbing...
I want you to understand that...
Recovery is possible.
It's not a guarantee. It's a possibility.
It's not simple. It is difficult and sometimes seems impossible.
It's not a one-step process. It's a multi-step process complete with twists and turns and bending roads...and roads you didn't even know were there.
It's not the same for everyone.
It's not always a happy process. It's not always a sad process.
It IS empowering.
It's not about pleasing other people. It is not about them.
It's about YOU.
It's not about perfection. It IS about emotion. It IS about honesty. It IS about self-discovery and self-affirmation.
It's not about what you don't have. It's about using what you've got.
It's not about hiding. It's about finding and displaying.
It's not a quick-fix. It's a lifelong plan set into motion by truth and nurturing and self-love.
It's not about external factors or environment. It IS about what's within.
It is not crazy. It IS real.
Recovery is possible.
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.
I've said it many times before and I'll say it again: being "recovered" isn't about always being happy 100% of the time—it's about knowing what to do when you're not.
No matter how many cons it might feel like there are to your leaving your eating disorder behind, 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.
There's a 4 minute video I made that I like to share when I think people need it most. Do you need it today?
For more of Arielle's Letters to YOU from over the years, go here: Arielle's Letters to YOU.
And keep fighting...because, in short, I want you to understand that...recovery is possible.