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A Journey to Hell and Back

I never thought that I would experience the hopelessness of anorexia and bulimia first-hand.

Growing up, I pitied and looked down on the women who threw up their food in order maintain their physical experience. In my opinion, it was both gross and wrong. But when life spun out of control during my teenage years, controlling food and my body seemed like the only option. So began over a decade of anorexic-bulimic behaviors. It felt like a cyclone I would never escape, and my parents did the best thing they knew how to do: they sent me to rehab.

Having experienced the harmful long-term psychological effects of inpatient treatment firsthand, I realized that if recovery was possible, it wasn’t the way I had been taught. In fact, if true recovery existed, it had a completely separate definition from the one given to me in treatment. There, I had been told, I would struggle and fight my ED for the rest of my life.

The best I could do, they said, was survive. But I wouldn’t accept that.

For years after treatment, I sought to cure myself. I learned Reiki, adopted Nichiren Buddhism, and obtained spiritual training. I went to cognitive-behavioral therapy, underwent hypnosis. Sometimes these hypnoses took the form of conventional regression therapy, and other times it took the form of past life regressions. Each moment of spiritual progress, I felt, led me closer to lasting recovery. Eventually, I converted to Judaism.

There was no length to which I would not go to be cured from the “disease.” But in spite of all my efforts, I couldn’t seem to stave off my ED or the trauma related to it, and so I began to drink heavily, adopting yet another “addict” label and feeling more hopeless than ever before.

After I gave birth to my son, attaining true and lasting recovery became even more paramount. Though I had had stints of abstinence from purging, they were always overcome by violent and demoralizing relapses, even after I had given birth. My son had become my purpose for living and health, but I couldn’t seem to make recovery work long-term.

What I didn’t realize I needed was something very simple: unconditional love and accountability. Once I had obtained this through a coach, someone who would talk me through my emotions in real-time, sustained recovery was not only possible, it was the inevitable conclusion of my efforts. It had come with a high price-tag, but it had been worth it.

I had needed someone to show me that I was worthy. This was the opposite of our education at conventional rehab, within which we were told we needed to struggle and fight our “addiction” till our dying breaths.

After I discovered that long-term and lasting recovery did in fact exist, my main purpose quickly became tied to spreading this news. I wrote my memoir about the worst of the rehabs I had attended as a cautionary tale to those who wished to recover, and I began my eating disorder coaching business to provide the service I had so desperately needed, but at a much more affordable rate.

Both my book Skinny As Hell and my coaching business RecoverED Now are meant to inspire hope in the respective reader and client. There is another way, both ideologically and practically, to regaining and retaining health. And the means is through a shift in one’s identity.

As an autonomous human being, only you get to define who you are. When I decided who I was – someone separate from both labels and trauma – I finally accomplished my goal of lasting mental, physical, and emotional health. What is remarkable is that I could sustain it, quite easily, simply by believing a few basic concepts: I am worthy of love; I am a divine being full of purpose; and I have much to offer the world.

What I seek to provide in RecoverED Now is a mirror. I am the mirror that reflects back to you who you truly are. You are not the labels or the misdeeds, the trauma or your past. You are a transcendent and powerful being who is capable of transformation and transcendence.

And you are not alone.

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