As Rosewood’s Recovery Coach, I sit back and I observe. I watch. I watch as you leave our facility wearing recovery armor. Some of you are confident, others are scared. I often wonder how strong your armor is because not all give treatment 100%. Some are just in treatment buying time. Others work very hard. I speak to most of you and give you my contact information. I tell you all about the alumni program and what is available to you when you leave. Very few partake in this support. Why? Have you chosen to go back to your eating disorder? Do you feel like you are a burden? Do you not make the time? Are you ashamed? I will occasionally see photos of you. Most of the time I smile. For some, I become worried b/c of what I see. I’m looking into the eyes of ED. I check in with you. Few of you are honest about your struggle. Many of you wear a beautiful mask lined in diamonds, rubies, and satin lace. You lie. You tell me that all is good and that you are strong in your recovery. I am saddened. There is nothing I can do but offer love and support and then wait. Are you really in recovery or do you have a part time eating disorder? What do you do when you are alone and behind closed doors? Do you talk the talk but act out in behaviors occasionally? Do you turn to diet pills? Are you restricting and purging? Binging? Are you coping through addiction swapping? Drinking, exercising, self-harm? Are you self-medicating and numbing through drugs? I spend a lot time wondering how you really are. Are you struggling? You should be. You are fighting for your life. But how are you coping? Are you truly working your recovery? Are you using your skills and tools that you learned? Or, do you have a part time ED? Over the past few months, we have had several alum return to treatment. THIS IS NOT A FAILURE! This is what recovery is all about. Forward and backward. But my question is, why are you not reaching out sooner? Why do you wait until you are spiraling to get help? What happened to your aftercare plan? You can not live your life with ED in your back pocket. Why do you return to the one thing that can kill you? The one thing that has stripped you of your very being. Nothing good comes from this. I repeat, NOTHING! Yes, it’s familiar and at times can feel comforting. I wonder if you have forgotten. Have you forgotten the hell that you fought so hard to get out of? Have you forgotten all of your losses that your best friend, ED stole from you? I haven’t. I remember the Loss Boards that we did in Relapse Prevention. I remember the tears that you shed as you processed. I will never forget. I can’t fight for you. You have to be willing to do the work now. You have been training for this. You are well equipped to fight this. You have to believe in yourself. You can always start over. There is no shame in returning to the basics. Is it time to surrender again? I know it’s uncomfortable and exhausting. We do not choose our mental illness, but recovery is a choice. We have to choose to fight and to keep getting back up. We choose to pick up the phone and call for help. We choose to take off our mask and bare our soul. It’s a choice. A choice that only you can make. I want you to know that you are worthy of this. You are worthy of starting over. I want a call to tell me you are graduating, getting married, having a baby, etc. Not a call to tell me that you have died. I believe in you and your fight. You don’t have to do this alone. Ask for help and support. It’s out there. If your family is not your support, that’s okay. Build it. Build your family of support. Build it big so that you have lots of support and love. You are worthy of this kind of love. Stop choosing to fight this alone. I say this with love, but you can’t do this alone. It takes a team to fight this. You know who you are…it’s time to stop playing games. If you’re waiting for a sign, this is it. Get back on track or get help. Your life depends on it. I’m not a doctor, therapist or a psychiatrist. What I am is a friend who cares and understands what you are going through. I am YOUR recovery coach and I care about you. I am not here to judge you. I am here to listen, hold you accountable, give you an occasional kick in the butt and to help guide you. Let’s do this together.