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Find hope. 888-364-5977

Articles tagged with: Recovery

Uncertainty

September 29, 2015.
  • photo of childrens shoes lines up by door

    This is one person's story; everyone will have unique experiences on their own path to recovery and beyond. Some stories may mention eating disorder thoughts, behaviors or symptom use. Please use your own discretion. And speak with your therapist when needed.

    By Liz Rognes, a former Emily Program client in recovery. She is a teacher, writer, and musician who lives in Spokane, WA.

    My toddler is learning how to assert himself. He'll run over to me, holding on to a pair of red shoes while exclaiming, "Toes! Toes! Toes!" This means that he wants me to put the shoes on his toes. I'll sit down with him on the floor, his wiggly body in my lap, and I'll work hard to get those red shoes on his feet. As soon as the shoes are on, he'll run back to his room, little flashes of red pattering across the hardwood floor, and then he'll return with a pair of green sandals. "Toes, Mommy!" So I'll sit down with him again and work hard to get those red shoes off and the green sandals on, all while he's squirming and moving and happily watching his feet. And then, as soon as the Velcro is attached, he cheerfully demands the red shoes again.

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The Last Vestiges of Self-Harm

September 08, 2015.
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    This is one person's story; everyone will have unique experiences on their own path to recovery and beyond. Some stories may mention eating disorder thoughts, behaviors or symptom use. Please use your own discretion. And speak with your therapist when needed.

    By Clare Harmon, a former Emily Program client and woman in recovery

    Confession: Until a few weeks ago, I hadn't had my teeth cleaned in over ten years.

    Like many people, my fear of the dentist was cemented at an early age (this comes to mind). The dentist's office terrified: a noxiously lighted chamber in which the slightest transgression (you only floss twice a day and not after every meal?!) met the harshest punishment. I hated it. I hated the small talk, the smug dentist and his lackey, the self-satisfied hygienist. I hated the power trips and the authority and the "we know what's best for your body" rhetoric. When I left for college, I artfully dodged my bi-yearly check-ups. On several occasions, I actually reorganized gig schedules to conflict with appointments made months in advance.

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Talking About Recovery

August 27, 2015. Written by Mark Warren, M.D.
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    Lately, I've wondered what we mean when we talk about recovery. Some people use the term "recovered," others say "recovery," and yet others don't use either. When someone enters into treatment, either that person or their loved ones want to know our success rate. Of course, this presents the question, "Success as measured by what?" As a field, we are at a loss on this question.

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Clients' Thoughts About Recovery

August 18, 2015.
  • By Dr. Mark Warren and clients at TEP

    Recovery from an eating disorder is the clear goal of treatment, however, the scientific literature on clients' experience of recovery is often defined in different ways. In general, the literature tends to focus on re-feeding, growth curves, medical stability, and resolution of behaviors. At TEP we fully endorse that these are the first steps towards recovery and without them no discussion of recovery can take place. That being said, recovery from an eating disorder can have various meanings for those who suffer from these illnesses. In general, there are psychological, social, and identity issues that also change when someone describes themself as being in recovery. We feel it is important to talk to our clients and their families to gain understanding of what recovery means to them. With this in mind we had a conversation with clients about this issue. We asked them to answer the question "How do i know if I am in recovery?" Please find their responses below:

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The Practice of Yoga

August 13, 2015.
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    This is one person's story; everyone will have unique experiences on their own path to recovery and beyond. Some stories may mention eating disorder thoughts, behaviors or symptom use. Please use your own discretion. And speak with your therapist when needed.

    By Liz Rognes, a former Emily Program client in recovery. She is a teacher, writer, and musician who lives in Spokane, WA.

    A few years ago, I dropped in to a yoga class in my neighborhood. I had not been to this class before, and I did not know the teacher, but the class was on a sliding scale fee and I was a graduate student, and I knew I loved the way that yoga can help me feel present in my body while also calming my mind. So I showed up right on time, unrolled my mat alongside the other yogis, and settled in to a comfortable child's pose, waiting for the teacher to arrive and for class to start. The moments before a class are my favorite; I can sink into a gentle stretch and let my body and mind begin to let go of the tension of the day.

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Living Moderation in a City of Extremes, Part 5: Neither “Big” Nor “Easy”

July 28, 2015.
  • C.Harmon Midcity Bayou St. John sunset

    This is one person's story; everyone will have unique experiences on their own path to recovery and beyond. Some stories may mention eating disorder thoughts, behaviors or symptom use. Please use your own discretion. And speak with your therapist when needed.

    By Clare Harmon, a former Emily Program client and woman in recovery

    A dear colleague recently pointed out to me—in a conversation regarding this experience—"you're right you know, New Orleans ain't that big and it ain't that easy." Indeed. I might start calling the crescent city the "Lil' Arduous."

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Gardening & Nature as Therapy

July 23, 2015.
  • photo of a hiking trail

    By Dana Rademacher, intern at The Emily Program

    "Gardening is the most therapeutic and defiant act you can do...plus you get strawberries." -Ron Finley, Ted Talk: A guerilla gardener in South Central LA

    Let's be honest here for a second, I do not have the best track record when it comes to gardening and caring for plant life. I always get excited by the idea of gardening, but when push comes to shove, I'm just no good at keeping anything alive. I have the opposite of a green thumb if there is such a thing. Being busy between work and school, it is hard to find time to learn which plants are best for the climate, which fertilizer to use or to even pay attention to the rain-to-sun ratio every day.

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What I'm Learning About Food From My One-Year Old

July 16, 2015.
  •  photo of a variety of foods on a plate

    This is one person's story; everyone will have unique experiences on their own path to recovery and beyond. Some stories may mention eating disorder thoughts, behaviors or symptom use. Please use your own discretion. And speak with your therapist when needed.

    By Liz Rognes, a former Emily Program client in recovery. She is a teacher, writer, and musician who lives in Spokane, WA.

    My one-year old son loves mealtime. He sits in his high chair, picks up a piece of macaroni or an orange or pieces of fish, brings it to his mouth, and then looks at me with big eyes and says, "Mmm!" He takes another bite and again exclaims, "Mmm!" If his dad is in the room, he'll say, "Dada?" and my partner will say, "Yeah, buddy?" and he'll say, "Mmm!" He wants to communicate with us, to share his happiness about this food he's eating. He marvels at the new and familiar tastes, he looks at me with joyful surprise when he feels a new texture, and he claps his hands when he sees me preparing one of his favorite foods.

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Living Moderation in a City of Extremes, Part 4: Hard-to-Handle-Anger

July 07, 2015.
  • photo of cover illustration of Clare's book Wishes

    Illustration credit: Casey Foote

    This is one person's story; everyone will have unique experiences on their own path to recovery and beyond. Some stories may mention eating disorder thoughts, behaviors or symptom use. Please use your own discretion. And speak with your therapist when needed.

    By Clare Harmon, a former Emily Program client and woman in recovery

    Two weeks ago I assisted at a performing arts day camp for adolescent girls. They learned theory, instrumental technique, rehearsal skills, and performed songs made famous by Nina Simone, Irma Thomas, and Ella Fitzgerald. In my last entry, I wrote about my first day there and here, now, I still consider the experience a transformative one. All cliché aside, music is super great.

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Recovery Nights at The Emily Program

July 02, 2015.
  • Recovery Blog Image

    At The Emily Program we know recovery is possible, often from personal experience. Due to this, we enjoy hearing former clients, community members, and even our peers talk about their journey to recovery from an eating disorder. Gathering together as a community provides another level of support. It provides a forum that is safe, inspiring, and powerful.

    This month we will hold Recovery Night in St. Paul, MN and Seattle, WA. You can check our website for all dates and locations of future Recovery Nights.

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Responding to Cultural Pressure

June 18, 2015.
  • photo of rocks in a circle formation

    This is one person's story; everyone will have unique experiences on their own path to recovery and beyond. Some stories may mention eating disorder thoughts, behaviors or symptom use. Please use your own discretion. And speak with your therapist when needed.

    By Liz Rognes, a former Emily Program client in recovery. She is a teacher, writer, and musician who lives in Spokane, WA.

    There is great pressure on women to gracefully and effortlessly do it all—to find the elusive, delicate balance that will keep everything in its place. As a working mother in recovery from an eating disorder, I am very aware of those cultural pressures. It's hard to measure up, and it can feel sometimes like I'm being judged from all directions: a student gives me a scathing evaluation, another mom thinks I plan to wean too soon (or not soon enough), someone in the grocery store glares at me when my baby starts screaming, a visitor to our house remarks that our lawn looks too dry, and so on. Some of those pressures come in the form of explicit messages, some of them come from societal presentations of femininity and motherhood, and some of them come from my own lingering feelings of insecurity.

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Living Moderation in a City of Extremes, Part 3: Recovery as Reclamation

June 16, 2015.
  • Music FromClareHarmon640x350

    photo credit: Clare Harmon

    This is one person's story; everyone will have unique experiences on their own path to recovery and beyond. Some stories may mention eating disorder thoughts, behaviors or symptom use. Please use your own discretion. And speak with your therapist when needed.

    By Clare Harmon, a former Emily Program client and woman in recovery

    Before I launch into the topic du jour—recovery as reclamation—I'd like to tell you a story about my pre-recovery, pre-treatment life. Once upon a time, I studied music. I mean, I really studied it. Once upon a time, I practiced between five and eight hours a day; subordinated everything to the viola. Once upon a time, I gave myself to music. I worked hard, eked out a meager living playing weddings, subbing with various mid-tier orchestras, and teaching lessons at a small liberal arts college. Once upon a time, I went to music school and subsequently tried to "make it" as a classical violist.

    Two weeks ago, I wrote about a job I applied for (spoiler alert: they didn't hire me) in the Lower Ninth. The same week I interviewed for that job, I was hired by my current employer—a stellar community school on Broad Street—to teach music fundamentals. At the time (and unfoundedly so), I was disappointed. I had it in my head that I would make a clean break from music, that I'd transfer my love of teaching to the language arts, to poetry, literature, the humanities. Music—all music—represented something destructive, a past that exacerbated my eating disorder and nearly killed me. I'm done with you, I thought. I'm on to greener pastures, a sparkling fantasy world where no one ever hurts and fancy unicorns expunge traumas grand and small. I'm leaving music far behind for pursuits clean, unsullied by my untidy young adulthood. I am a musician by economic, rather than ideological, necessity. As a colleague once callously announced, "I only play the viola if I get paid."

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Living Moderation in a City of Extremes, Part 2: Guilt and Negative Self-Talk in the Lower Ninth

June 02, 2015.
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    This is one person's story; everyone will have unique experiences on their own path to recovery and beyond. Some stories may mention eating disorder thoughts, behaviors or symptom use. Please use your own discretion. And speak with your therapist when needed.

    By Clare Harmon, a former Emily Program client and woman in recovery

    Recently, I interviewed for a teaching job in the Lower Ninth Ward. After a grueling set of questions, an assessment of my tenacity, my ability to weather verbal abuse, and the telling query "are you comfortable crying in public? 'Cause these kids will test you," I exchanged thank you's with the two-person committee. The corridors that led to the exit were thoughtfully adorned with process art, collages, and outlines filled by vibrant crayon. A scrappy Pomeranian licked my heel and at the threshold of the Walgreens-turned-community center, I accepted a "don't call us, we'll call you."

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Living Moderation in a City of Extremes, Part 1

May 26, 2015.
  • photo of a street and shops New Orleans 685x370 

    This is one person's story; everyone will have unique experiences on their own path to recovery and beyond. Some stories may mention eating disorder thoughts, behaviors or symptom use. Please use your own discretion. And speak with your therapist when needed.

    By Clare Harmon, a former Emily Program client and woman in recovery

    I've lived in New Orleans for almost two years and I dearly believe I owe some of my recovery to this deeply flawed, deeply rich, and very, very humid city. This of course, is not to say, "come to New Orleans, recover from an eating disorder in ten easy steps!" Certainly not. Recovery is a practice, a set of skills, a way of thinking and acting. But for me, recovery is also about setting goals and meeting challenges and I can think of no more challenging a city than New Orleans.

    Before I continue, I feel obligated to offer a disclaimer. I've tried many times to write about New Orleans. Upon first arriving two years ago, I reacted expectedly: Louisiana is not Minnesota and New Orleans is not like any other American city. And this, at first, is perniciously charming to a born-and-bred Midwesterner. People smile, there seems to be music everywhere, the lushness of live oaks gives gracious respite from a near-suffocating Southern sun. But eventually, the tourist's rose-colored glasses come off and you realize this is a city of extremes: wealth and poverty, corruption and goodness, violence and fellowship. And then of course, the Storm, about which the complex befores and afters I have only just begun to fathom. All that said, I'll do my best not to fetishize the city I cannot help but love.

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Relapse

May 21, 2015.
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    This is one person's story; everyone will have unique experiences on their own path to recovery and beyond. Some stories may mention eating disorder thoughts, behaviors or symptom use. Please use your own discretion. And speak with your therapist when needed.

    By Liz Rognes, a former Emily Program client in recovery. She is a teacher, writer, and musician who lives in Spokane, WA.

    I've relapsed many times. I've had everything from little hiccups, slips, trips, stumbles, big falls, to full-on crashes. When I first started treatment, I couldn't make it a day without using eating disorder symptoms or without obsessing about some aspect of food, my body, and my perceived lack of worth. Frequent relapses fed my eating disorder. Any time I slipped or crashed, I would sink into shame. I would count relapses as evidence that I was not capable of succeeding and that I did not deserve to get better.

    Friends and treatment providers would challenge me on that kind of thinking, but I couldn't seem to escape it. I would feel positive when I was doing well, but when I struggled, I felt like I lost all traction, and all of the negativity of the eating disorder would come rushing back at me.

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Recovery for life is possible 888-364-5977

Recovery for life is possible

888-364-5977

The Emily Program