The Power of Addiction

“One of the hardest lessons I learned was that I was worth recovery.”

Demi Lovato

The term addiction is not a one size fits all kind of term, which is why many people need multiple rounds of treatment in order to truly begin sobriety.

For some, their addiction may be to a chemical or drug. This would be considered a substance dependence.

For others, their addiction may be gambling or eating. This would be a behavioral addiction.

Either way, addiction at its root is defined as “is a psychological and physical inability to stop consuming a chemical, drug, activity, or substance, even though it is causing psychological and physical harm.” *

Those who are caught in the midst of addiction struggle on a daily basis with overcoming the demons that got them there in the first place. Most people start voluntarily, but each time it becomes harder and harder to overcome the physical and mental pull addiction has. Self-control slowly diminishes as the person tries to “medicate” their body. The power of addiction is so strong that it is a leading cause of death in our country.

Addiction is like that friend you wish you never had. It gave you what you thought you wanted and then began to take everything from you.

The key to recovery is wanting it, and wanting it more than your addiction. Sometimes that can take years. Or other times, one addiction can manifest into another.

I am one of those people who struggle with an addictive personality. While I might recover from one addiction, I often find another to take its place – especially in times of distress.

The addictive pattern started in the form of cutting when I was a young 13 years old. I thought if I could take that pain I was feeling and put it somewhere else like in a physical wound, it would make more sense to me. This distorted thinking lasted for a while. Working with a therapist, I was able to stop and found other healthy ways to manage my stress.

However, shortly after, while trying to loss a few pounds, I got stuck in that addictive mindset again and a full blown eating disorder shortly followed.

Each time I tried to recover from one addiction, another one set in. Many people do not know the full extent I suffered because I have never disclosed it.

If I were to map out my addictions, it would look something like this:
13 yrs old – Cutting
16 yrs old – Anorexia
18 yrs old – Bulimia
21 yrs old – Drinking
28 yrs old – Physical Self-Harm and Pills
29 yrs old – Binge Eating

Looking back at this timeline, it is disturbing for me. It makes me feel horrible, which is generally what most recovering addicts feel while in recovery. It is almost like a cycle. The guilt can be consuming, which makes you want to go back to what soothed you.

The key is positive and factual self-talk – reminding yourself that the future is a blank slate and that you are in control. Yes, it might be an everyday struggle for a while – and it is definitely easier said than done. But, just like in real life – boundaries can be set.

You need to know you are worth recovery. You are worth a life beyond addiction. While this can be a hard fact to digest, saying it outloud and matter of fact, can actually fight those inner demons telling you “you are worthless.”

The power of addiction will always try to pull the person back into its cycle. It is a long journey, but it is not hopeless. A lot of organizations can help. If you or someone you know is struggling, please know help is available.


*Medical News Today, “What is Addiction?”

#addiction #recovery #addictionrecovery #sobriety #love #mentalhealth #sober #soberlife #depression #addict #rehab #wedorecover #anxiety #recoveryispossible #soberliving #motivation #alcoholism #mentalhealthawareness #onedayatatime #alcoholicsanonymous #addicted #aa #addictionawareness #drugs #healing #support #steps #therapy #health #bhfyp

Dear Me: I forgive you.

Sometimes in order to heal, we have to forgive ourselves for our imperfections and mistakes. The hard part is “how”.

In my experience, the first step is acknowledging whatever it is that is keeping you stuck. That moment in time doesn’t have to be acknowledged to anyone but yourself. It just has to be present so that you can finally move forward.

Let yourself feel the feeling you don’t want to feel. It is easy to numb the pain. However, by numbing your emotions, you do not allow yourself to heal. Feeling – while uncomfortable at times – allows you to grow and gain resilience.

Once you acknowledge the event and allow yourself to truly feel the emotions that come with it, it is time to let it go. Close your eyes, and picture that horrible feeling in a balloon. See yourself holding that balloon and then letting it slip away into the universe – never to be seen again.

Below is the message that was inside my imaginery balloon:

Dear Me,

Two and half years ago you were a hot mess. You were so focused on saving someone else’s life that you forgot your own self-worth, and ultimately the destruction that it was doing to your own life. I know you were in pain and just trying to stay afloat, but I was mad at you for that unrecognizable person you had become in order to juggle your pain .

Yet – at the same time – I have begun to realize how hard I was on you; you needed someone to be cheering you on, not someone tearing you down. I beat us up more than anyone ever could.

I forgive you for the mistakes you made and I’m sorry I abandoned you when you needed me the most. I’m sorry you felt like you desperately had to fix others, when your own hands were bleeding. I’m sorry I did not love you the way you deserved to be loved. I realize I caused our own destruction by not seeing self-care as a priority.

I promise to do a better job at putting you first, especially at times when I am feeling too much of my surroundings.

It’s time and I’m ready.


#selfcare #selflove #love #skincare #mentalhealth #wellness #beauty #loveyourself #health #mindfulness #motivation #healing #meditation #mentalhealthawareness #yoga #fitness #inspiration #anxiety #positivevibes #healthylifestyle #selfcarethreads #life #relax #happiness #forgiveness #wellbeing #instagood #threads #bhfyp

How Your Core-Conflict Shapes Your Identity

“Believe that life is worth living and your belief will help create the fact.”

William James

One of the coolest things about being a human being is that we are each unique due to our various experiences and circumstances. These layers of influences have shaped our beliefs whether we realize it or not, and have created the person we are today.

This can be both a good thing and a bad thing. While we use our values to have a positive impact on the world, we also have limiting beliefs about ourselves that we have formed from an early age. The negative beliefs, while we try to repress them, are actually working subconsciously throughout our everyday life.

While on a coaching call the other night, my friend pointed out to me that I had a pattern – a pattern that was influenced by something called a “core-conflict”. We began talking it out and I realized that everytime I thought I wasn’t going to succeed in something, I gave up. I wouldn’t let myself completely fail. By doing that, I never let myself completely succeed in something because I stopped anytime a bump in the road came. The road to success is often very bumpy. As Rachel Hollis says, you have to let yourself “fail forward” many times in order to achieve the very thing you want. Success is not linear, but rather a curvy line.

When I realized this talking to my coach, it angered me. I began to think of all the things I quit prematurely – – multiple sports, swimming, acting, singing, piano lessons, and dance. I asked her, “Well I just don’t understand…when did I start feeling ‘not good enough’? What was the turning point and why did I feel like I needed to protect myself?”

Her response – “Your core-conflict is often shaped by an event in your childhood (sometime between the ages of two and six) and then continues to fester over time. The good thing is you can rewrite your story. You just have to face it head on.”

I think back and it’s amazing to see how that core-conflict of mine negatively affected my identity and how I went about doing things. To be completely honest and transparent – there have been many times even recently when I thought “what’s the point of my blog and what’s the point of Arbonne – I’m not really helping anyone anyway.” Even though this is not completely true, it “feels” true and it feels safe to take the easy way out. “I can’t fail this way” is what I tell myself. But, in reality the only way I do fail is by quitting.

I know in my heart that God has a huge purpose for me. As I sit here writing this, I know that if I were to continue down this path of self-destruction, my potential would not be met and the people I want to help will never be helped. I have learned I need to trust myself, as I begin to rewrite my story. Trust what I know to be true, and allow those bumps in the road to happen.

According to the Law of Attraction (which I have discussed in my blog before), what you send out into the universe is what you get back. In other words, “believe that life is worth living and your belief will help create that fact.” So if I am to rewrite my story and send positivity out into the world, I must first start by abandoning my core-conflict and allowing myself to feel the emotions connected with failure. By doing that, I will have to practice seeing these experiences as opportunities to practice mindfulness and self-development rather than times that I am “not good enough”.

Whatever your core-conflict is, I challenge you to do some self-reflecting as well. It will hurt to uncover the past and it will be challenging to relearn a new truth about yourself. But I guarantee you it will be worth it. Your purpose is just waiting for you to discover.


#healing #love #meditation #selflove #health #wellness #selfcare #yoga #energy #mentalhealth #spirituality #spiritual #mindfulness #peace #crystals #nature #reiki #motivation #life #inspiration #spiritualawakening #loveyourself #awakening #recovery #anxiety #therapy #positivevibes #energyhealing #consciousness #bhfyp #coreconflict #fear depression

Watching Your Loved One Pass

“I’ll be seeing you…”

Billie Holiday
No photo description available.

It was April 24, 2010. I was twenty years old. My dad was sick with pancreatic cancer and had just gone through his second major surgery in two years. Most of my days were spent between college classes and the hospital room in which I slowly watched my dad deteriorate.

On that warm spring day in April, I remember sitting at my kitchen table catching up on my college homework, while my mom was at the hospital and my boyfriend was at work. It was 3:30 in the afternoon and my phone began to ring. It was my mom – “I think you should come to the hospital. Dad is not doing good.” By the sound of her voice, I knew it was serious – yet I also did not realize what the rest of the day would entail.

I called my boyfriend, who drove my car to work that day. “I need you to come home and take me to the hospital – Dad is not doing well.” Without hesitation, he left work and drove the 45 minutes home.

By the time we arrived at the hospital it was around 5pm. When I walked in the room, I could see the difference and I knew something was wrong. He was not responsive and, according to the doctor, was on a high dose of morphine. I held his hand and told him I loved him. Within those fifteen minutes, his breathing began to slow down. I kept saying, “We need a nurse, something is not right”. I ran out and grabbed one. When she looked at him, she said “It won’t be much longer.”

With those words, a range of emotions went through me. No matter how much you know someone is at the end of their life, you are never prepared for that moment itself.

I spent the next five minutes watching as the breaths got slower and slower. His body was shutting down in front of my eyes, as his soul was preparing to move on. Breathing was shallow…then the last breath came…I watched his tongue as he breathed in and his body went limp. It was 5:20pm. Within twenty minutes of arriving at the hospital, my dad was gone.

I immediately dropped to the floor and screamed. My boyfriend leaned down and held me as I cried in disbelieve. I couldn’t even look at my mom because of the immense amount of pain I felt. Did this really just happen? Is my dad really gone?

I spent the rest of the night in a fog, yet to this day I remember odd details like what I was wearing, what food I ate, and what my dad looked like when I left that hospital room that day. My senses were heightened even though I felt like I was no longer in my body.

One of the last things I remember that day was picking up a picture frame I gave to my dad that said “Daddy’s Little Girl”. As I held the picture frame in my hand, I looked at the two of us and said, “I will always be daddy’s little girl”. All of a sudden, the lights flickered. Lights that have never flicked in the twenty years I have lived in that house. You can call it coincidence, but I call it my dad. It was a sign that no matter how far away he was, he was always going to be in my heart.

To this day, my mom questions if she did the right thing by calling me the day my dad passed away. My response? I was meant to be there. Dad waited for me. I would not take that away for anything. The hard part has been making peace with those last images of my dad in the hospital bed. While I am glad I was there, remembering him in that room is still hard for me to picture – even ten years later.

Watching a loved one pass for that reason is a very selfless act. We do it to help that person move on to their forever home in Heaven. But, for us, still on Earth, there is no amount of preparation that will help you with that moment you say goodbye.

What helps is making every day count up until that last day. Fill it with laughter, fill it with joy, tell stories, and say “I love you”.

When that day comes, remind yourself how strong you are and that it is okay to grieve. We need time to grieve in order to move on. You’ll feel numb, you’ll feel pain, and you’ll feel anger. Let yourself feel those emotions.

Then take a step back, fill yourself with the good memories, and say “I’ll be seeing you…”.


#grief #loss #griefsupport #griefjourney #love #griefandloss #grieving #lifeafterloss #healing #babyloss #death #stillbirth #griefquotes #depression #miscarriage #bereavement #stillborn #anxiety #infantloss #mentalhealth #griefsucks #babylossawareness #selfcare #pregnancyloss #childloss #griefawareness #in #stillbornstillloved #suicide #bhfyp #parentloss #dad

The Truth About Being an Empath

“When empaths absorb the impact of stressful emotions, it can trigger panic attacks, depression, food, sex and drug binges, and a plethora of physical symptoms that defy traditional medical diagnosis from fatigue to agorophobia.”

Judith Orloff, M.D.

Growing up, I was always told I was “emotional” or “overly sensitive”. While I knew wholeheartedly this was true, the comments would make me feel like something was wrong with me. I hated crying at the drop of a hat and feeling overwhelmed so easily. But, at the same time, I knew I had a gift of helping people. Being emotional allowed me to connect with people; I could empathize easily and be there for others who needed a shoulder to cry on.

I spent years not really understanding this gift/curse; that was until I came across the definition of an empath. According to Dr. Orloff, a psychiatrist and empath herself, an empathic person is someone who “feel(s) everything, sometimes to an extreme, and are less apt to intellectualize feelings.” She states that, “intuition is the filter through which they experience the world. Empaths are naturally giving, spiritually attuned, and good listeners.” I remember thinking, “wow, okay… I guess I’m not weird after all.” I honestly had thought there was something wrong that I could feel ten times more than the normal person. This definition is basically me in a nutshell.

Now, while being an empath has allowed me to help others (like all of you reading my blog!), the downside has been the following:

  1. Overwhelmed by large crowds. Too many emotions at once.
  2. I have to have my down time in the day to decompress.
  3. I am a homebody. It is my safe zone.
  4. If someone is distraught, I start feeling distraught. My heart breaks as if it is me.
  5. Yelling terrifies me.

Stating these things make me feel vulnerable right now, but I feel like it is important to convey. For empathic people, negative behavior is often a result of “the impact of stressful emotions” if boundaries are not set in place. It can “trigger panic attacks, depression, food, sex and drug binges, and a plethora of physical symptoms that defy traditional medical diagnosis from fatigue to agorophobia.”

It is a fantastic feeling to have endless amount of love and compassion. But it can easily become draining if I do not take care of myself. That is why I put so much emphasis on self-care now. Most people I find have a hard time understanding why I am the way I am and WHY I need to put up boundaries. I mean, I don’t blame them – I find myself questioning it myself sometimes.

If you are an empath like me, it is important to find your inner peace – whether that is yoga, meditation, writing, or something else. You will drain yourself taking care of others if you do not recharge. Also know, you are not alone. There are many of us empaths out there going through the same struggle! Honor your gift, but also know when it’s time to take a step back. It does not in any way mean you are a bad person. It means you are human.


#empath #lightworker #love #spirituality #meditation #healing #selflove #spiritual #narcissisticabuse #awakening #intuitive #spiritualawakening #introvert #narcissist #tarot #infj #empathproblems #selfcare #hsp #lawofattraction #life #intuition #energy #thirdeye #quotes #mentalhealth #empaths #gaslighting #consciousness #bhfyp

Loneliness

“Loneliness is designed to help you discover who you are and stop looking outside yourself for worth.”

Do you ever have one of those days were you just feel misunderstood? Like no matter what you do, you cannot get your point across?

Well, what happens when this feeling occurs on a daily basis, leaving you feeling alone and discouraged?

Feeling alone can take up a lot of energy, especially as we tell ourselves how alone we are. But there is a difference between feeling alone and being alone.

Loneliness often does not come from actually being alone, but rather from feeling misunderstood or like you do not belong. So, the first step is to acknowledge that. Are you really alone or do you feel alone? If you are feeling alone, try to pinpoint why. Are you having trouble getting your point across? Do you feel like no one understands you? Once you have a clearer idea of what you are struggling with, you can begin to put together an action plan to heal.

First off, it’s important to note, that feeling lonely is much more common then you would think. Tons of people are trying to find their way whether they state it or not. And there are definitely times when many of us feel like something is wrong with us and that we do not fit into the world around us.

Once you figure out what is causing you to feel alone, I challenge you to see the power that you hold: “Loneliness is designed to help you discover who you are and stop looking outside yourself for worth.” Reread that one more time. “Loneliness is designed to help you discover who you are and stop looking outside yourself for worth.” If you can wrap your brain around this concept, that means our dreadful feeling of loneliness is actually quite powerful. So –

Step #1. Stop looking for another person’s approval – whether it be a spouse, a parent, a sibling, a friend, etc.

Step #2. Start appreciating yourself for everything you are. You would never tell a friend how terrible he/she is, so don’t tell yourself that either.

Step #3. Start filling your day with things that you love to do. What brings you the most joy? What brings out your inner light?

And lastly,

Step #4. Give yourself a break. We can often be our worst enemies. It is now time to be your best friend. You have so much to offer this world. Keep fighting through the negative thoughts; you are meant to shine.


#edrecovery #eatingdisorderrecovery #recovery #anorexiarecovery #anorexia #eatingdisorder #mentalhealth #edfighter #edwarrior #anarecovery #bulimiarecovery #anorexianervosarecovery #recoveryispossible #ed #intuitiveeating #bulimia #recoveryisworthit #recoverywin #food #selflove #anorexianervosa #mentalhealthawareness #haes #edfam #recoverywarrior #anorexiafighter #fearfood #bodypositive #foodfreedom #bhfyp #mentalhealth #mentalhealthawareness #anxiety #depression #selfcare #love #selflove #health #mentalillness #therapy #recovery #motivation #wellness #mindfulness #healing #ptsd #mentalhealthmatters #fitness #wellbeing #loveyourself #psychology #life #meditation #happiness #worldmentalhealthday #suicideprevention #endthestigma #inspiration #positivity #loneliness #alone

Law of Attraction

” In the New Thought philosophy, the Law of Attraction is the belief that positive or negative thoughts bring positive or negative experiences into a person’s life. “

Have you ever heard someone tell you how important it is to think positively?

If you haven’t, even more of a reason to read this article! If you have followed my blog, you have heard me say how important affirmations are and to be aware of your self-talk.

There is a reason behind all of this. There is a theory called “The Law of Attraction”, which claims that the vibe you send into the world is the vibe you get back. It is believed that, regardless of age, nationality, or religious belief, “we are all susceptible to the laws which govern the Universe, including the Law of Attraction. It is the Law of Attraction which uses the power of the mind to translate whatever is in our thoughts and materialize them into reality. In basic terms, all thoughts turn into things eventually. If you focus on negative doom and gloom you will remain under that cloud. If you focus on positive thoughts and have goals that you aim to achieve you will find a way to achieve them with massive action.” ***

I’m sure after reading that last paragraph, your mind is blown and you are still trying to fully grasp all of what I just stated. No worries, I was too at first.

My first reaction was to question – “So you’re telling me that I can basically think good things into my life?”

Yes, that’s exactly it. Now, this does not mean bad things will not happen. That is a part of life. But what it does mean is that, by thinking positively, you are more likely to achieve higher because you are aiming directly at your target (your end goals and thus YOUR PURPOSE).

The practices and beliefs in this law have been practiced for years, dating all the way back to the ancient Buddha. He believed “what you have become is what you thought.”

So, how can you use the Law of Attraction in your own life?

If you don’t like your life, CHANGE IT. Stop waiting for the perfect time or perfect situation because it isn’t coming. The Law of Attraction really is that simple. Be proactive, see your goals, and go after them – “No matter what you are looking to have or achieve or be in life, if you can hold onto an idea and see it for yourself in the mind’s eye, you can make it yours to have… with some effort on your part.”**

It really is about changing your mindset. It can be hard, but don’t give up. In a society where there is so much negative, most people have to practice affirmations everyday in order to retrain their brain into thinking positively.

My suggestion? Start a vision board or post quotes in places you will see everyday that remind you what you are fighting for. Set your intention.

Here are twelve affirmations I found that might be helpful. Begin each affirmation with “I am”:

1. Receiving abundance now in expected and unexpected ways.

2. Increasingly confident in my ability to create the life I desire.

3. Acting on inspiration and insights and I trust my inner guidance.

4. Giving and receiving all that is good and all that I desire.

5. Receiving infinite, inexhaustible and immediate abundance.

6. Creating my life according to my dominant beliefs; and I AM improving the quality of those beliefs.

7. Constantly striving to raise my vibration through good thoughts, words and actions.

8. Making a meaningful contribution to the world and I AM wonderfully compensated for my contribution.

9. Willing to believe that I AM the creator of my life experience.

10.Willing to believe that by raising my vibration, I will attract more of what I desire.

11. Worthy of love, abundance, success, happiness and fulfillment.

12. Willing to believe that by focusing on feeling good, I make better choices that lead to desired results.


#edrecovery #eatingdisorderrecovery #recovery #anorexiarecovery #anorexia #eatingdisorder #mentalhealth #edfighter #edwarrior #anarecovery #bulimiarecovery #anorexianervosarecovery #recoveryispossible #ed #intuitiveeating #bulimia #recoveryisworthit #recoverywin #food #selflove #anorexianervosa #mentalhealthawareness #haes #edfam #recoverywarrior #anorexiafighter #fearfood #bodypositive #foodfreedom #bhfyp #mentalhealth #mentalhealthawareness #anxiety #depression #selfcare #love #selflove #health #mentalillness #therapy #recovery #motivation #wellness #mindfulness #healing #ptsd #mentalhealthmatters #fitness #wellbeing #loveyourself #psychology #life #meditation #happiness #worldmentalhealthday #suicideprevention #endthestigma #inspiration #positivity


**These quotes were found from the following site: http://www.thelawofattraction.com/what-is-the-law-of-attraction/

Affirmation statements found here: https://blog.mindvalley.com/law-of-attraction-affirmations/

The Untold Story: My Battle With Depression, Body Image, and Food

“Real hope combined with real action has always pulled me through difficult times. Real hope combined with doing nothing has never pulled me through.”

― Jenni Schaefer, Goodbye Ed, Hello Me: Recover from Your Eating Disorder and Fall in Love with Life

This is a story that almost came to an end many times over the last two decades. The person that you are looking at to your left has battled disordered eating since she was thirteen years old. What started out as trying to lose a few pounds turned into a full blown eating disorder by the time she was sixteen. There were many tears, doctor visits, breakdowns, and therapy sessions — BUT this is no longer a tragic story anymore and it is time to share it. While it is a long story, I hope you bare with me and follow along. It is important to know the different phases of my life to understand where it lead.

I had an amazing childhood, one that others dream of. I grew up with a brother (who was close in age) and had two amazing parents who would have given their lives to make sure ours were perfect.

Everything was pretty normal up until the time I was ten years old. The month after I turned the “double digits”, I got my first menstrual cycle. It wasn’t a big deal at first. I was now officially part of womanhood! Or at least that’s what my mom told me. It wasn’t until my body started changing faster than those around me that it really started to affect me. I was a fourth grader, who was 5’3 with growing boobs and hips – while the other girls in my grade were flat chested and didn’t have to worry about wearing a bra. To give you a gist of how embarrassing it was, other girls would snap my bra straps to make notice of my growing change.

I also noticed that, not only was I physically more mature, I was maturing mentally faster as well. It began to feel like there was no where I fit in.

Then fifth grade came – the year that changed everything. I had my first heartbreak. And while that seems absolutely silly now, it really tore me up mentally at the time because it was just another thing I found “wrong” with me.

I began to separate from all my friends. As seventh grade came, I would hide in the bathrooms in the mornings and cry because I felt so alone. No one seemed to even notice.

I finally broke down to my dad that I needed help. I was so sad, and I felt so bad about it because at the time I could not put the pieces together. He and my mom made a psychiatrist appointment and I was put on my first antidepressant. Except, the psychiatrist was not a very good one – he started me out on a high dose of Effexor, which as a 13-year-old was way too much for my body.

It was a January day in 2003, I told my dad I needed a mental day from school. I ended up grabbing a hand full of Aleve and shoving it down my throat. I didn’t want to live anymore; I felt so alone. Long story short, I spent some time in the hospital, got taken off Effexor, and was put on about twenty different meds in the course of the next three years to try to help my depression.

In those three years, the meds caused me to gain a lot of weight. I began feeling even worse about myself. To try to lose some of the weight I gained, I began doing pilates everyday; nothing obsessive just enough to combat the weight gain.

The pilates worked and I had lost most of the weight I gained. As a result, I was starting to get comments about how good I looked. That was the most damaging thing anyone could have said to me. Why? Because it told me that I was noticed when I was thinner.

This is when I began to restrict what I ate. By the time I was a junior, I would go to the library everyday during lunch so I wouldn’t have to be around food. I wouldn’t eat in the morning and would play around with my food at night so my parents wouldn’t notice something was wrong. That routine only worked for so long. Once I hit a certain weight, they knew something was wrong.

There were many fights at the dinner table. Many tears, and quite a bit of yelling. “Why can’t you just eat?” I don’t know, why couldn’t I just eat? The truth? it wasn’t about food anymore – it was about control.

When everything felt out of control, I knew the one thing I could control was what I put in my mouth. And I wasn’t giving in.

I ended up inpatient at Renfew in Philadelphia and then continued outpatient treatment for months after.

It was now my senior year of High School. As it was coming to a close, I chose a college close to me so that I could continue the treatment I needed for my eating disorder. However come August of that year (a month before school was supposed to start), I was at my lowest weight ever and the doctor now wanted me to go back inpatient. I made the choice to go to school. I wasn’t going to lose that too.

Once in college, I began to gain a little of the weight back. I found an amazing college counselor and attended eating disorder groups fairly frequently. I thought I finally had it under control.

Then 1.5 years later, my dad passed away. I did the only thing I knew how – restrict. A couple months later, I was back in the hospital. I had contracted MRSA and the bacteria quickly moved into my bloodstream. While in the hospital, they did a bunch of bloodwork finding my iron and potassium levels extremely low. The doctor turned to me and said “If you don’t start changing your life, you are going to die.”

Over the next ten years, I have fought to have a better relationship with food. Just like a recovering alcoholic, you can consider yourself recovered and still have thoughts that you know aren’t healthy or beneficial.

More about my nutritional journey will be in another post – but for now, I want to share my biggest take away. Food is not the enemy. Negative thoughts were and continue to be the enemy. When I didn’t eat, I allowed the negative thoughts to tell me I was empowered. And when I did choose to eat, I wasn’t eating to feed my body and to nourish myself. I was eating to fill a hole inside of me created by those negative thoughts. That hole can only be filled with self-love and affirmations.

If you struggle with an eating disorder or disordered eating, I encourage you to fight those negative thoughts and challenge yourself to see what is really going on behind the self-destructive behavior. I needed to love myself and know I am exactly who God made me to be. I needed to find my inner strength and purpose.

The secret to beating an eating disorder, or any addiction for that matter, is the desire – the desire to find something BIGGER and more IMPORTANT than your self-destructive behaviors. Because, yes…while these behaviors become our outlet and our “friend”, it takes more than it gives and ultimately it can take your life.

You are so much more than what your mind is telling you. Recovery is possible and life is waiting for you. xoxo


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The Holidays Without a Loved One

“Those we love never truly leave us. There are things death cannot touch.”Jack Thorne

Rewind time back to 2010 – the year my dad died and the first set of holidays without him by our side. Each day that passed was challenging, let alone a group of holidays which seemed so empty. My dad was a staple of the these special family days, especially Christmas. Some of the things I remember are the massive breakfasts he would make Christmas morning, as well as him setting up the video recorder the night before to tape us unwrapping each of our gifts.

These are memories that will never fade. Cancer cannot take these memories from me, like it took my dad. But, sometimes these memories, can hurt and be debilitating because they are just that – memories. I cannot go hug my dad Christmas morning and thank him for everything he has done. And this – no matter how many years go by – is still hard to overcome. The emptiness never fully goes away. It is just something you learn to manage.

It took years to get here but now I try to picture my dad here at Christmas, just in a different form. I see him sitting in the living room with a huge smile on his face watching us with joy. While we cannot communicate or hold each other, he nods to us acknowledging his presence. He is now an angel that overlooks us, keeping us safe and together. He would be so proud of how far we have all come.

If you know someone who has lost a loved one this year, check on them – call them, send them a letter, text them a simple “love you!” message. Most likely they are not okay. It takes years to learn how to manage that emptiness.

If you are the one who lost someone, whether it was this year or not, it is important to acknowledge how you feel and then do something about it. Celebrate your loved one in a way that will be healing to you. I went to visit my dad’s grave and I also wrote letters to him. Maybe you make a special ornament or you plant a tree in their honor. Whatever it is, make it memorable and don’t be afraid to say you need support. It is okay to hurt, just don’t let it consume you. Your loved one would not want that for you.

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