A Father’s Perspective
by Larry Espel, father of a former client
From sometime in 2001 through early 2010, our youngest daughter struggled with an eating disorder. That nine-year experience was very challenging for her and hard for me and the rest of our family. I have recorded some recollections and observations about that experience.
The key point for me is that, through the support of The Emily Program, our daughter worked through and moved beyond her eating disorder. She has been in sustained recovery since March 2010. She has completed her undergraduate studies and has gone on to graduate school. She is engaged to a wonderful young man. She has grown and learned from her experiences. There are times when she still wants and needs support and encouragement for her recovery, but my wife and I and the rest of our family and our friends are always happy to help her along. And, her recovery is holding and becoming more secure.
So, for the last few years, one of the ways we express our gratitude for our daughter’s recovery is to attend and facilitate discussions with friends and family groups. It seems to me that I always come away from those discussions richer than I came to them. There are so many wonderful folks, some of whom are concerned parents, some of whom are concerned spouses, and some of whom are concerned children, friends, or other relatives. All who come to the groups come in pain, with worry, with frustration, or with doubts. I understand and can empathize with all of those feelings, because we lived with them in our family for about a decade and that decade seemed at times like a lifetime. I remember times when it hurt too much to even dare to hope for our daughter’s recovery. But now we can come to these groups with a message of hope. With proper treatment and support, victims of eating disorders can and do recover.