Rosewood Santa Monica Alum Reflects On One Year In Recovery

One year later:

The feelings of gratitude I have for recovery are unmatched in every way. The last year has been one of growth and resilience but also pain and loss. I have mourned the loss of my eating disorder in moments of frustration and anxiety, remembering moments when I escaped into my behaviors in order to avoid the pain. For most of my life, I held on to my eating disorder in order to avoid living, because it was easier than showing up.

It has been ONE FULL YEAR out of treatment and I am living. Living and feeling and crying and laughing.

The road to recovery has not been an easy one and there have been obstacles and challenges and full on roadblocks along the way. I haven’t been going one single direction the entire time. The destination has changed multiple times and I have had to make a number of U-turns in order to get back on track.

It’s not like all rainbows and smiles and rosy colored hearts in the sky. Every day is hard work but everyday it gets easier. Every day the light becomes a little clearer and the negative thoughts about myself and food are quieter. I can sincerely say I love myself….and with that, I have allowed others to love me. I have opened my life to thriving relationships and shut the door on those that seemed to hold me back. It was a painful time and it still continues to hurt when I look back, but I also look forward and rejoice about the freedom and life that awaits me.

I couldn’t see this a couple years ago, but turning my back on my eating disorder meant turning into an array of possibilities and opportunities. It opened me up for bigger things that could fill my life without weighing it down. In so many ways, things have seemed to come into their own, always reminding me that all that anxiety and worry about menial things was in vain. This has allowed me to stay in the moment and continuously enjoy the present and what is the here and now.

My eating disorder stripped me of a lot in the years that it took over my life. It felt like I was raw and skinned when I walked into recovery…like the everyday hardships and climates would somehow break me and turn me inside out. But I soon realized that the beautiful people in my life (both clinicians and peers) were the safeguard I needed during that delicate time. I became a child again, I went back to the basics…learning how to eat, how to breathe, how to make simple decisions for my well being. I learned how to be Aimee all over again. It was tough, it was rough and it was my own personal hell. But then it ended.

Before I even acknowledged it, I became the person I had longed to be for so long. And I was ready to brave the every day life struggles by myself, and when I couldn’t, I knew I had a community of power behind me every step of the way. Since then, my community has shifted significantly for the better. And the beauty of recovery is that change no longer frightens me in the deep ways it did before.

I am now excited and so blessed to be marrying my best friend! After September 14th, I will be Mrs. Bravo, yet another chapter of my life! A chapter that no longer includes the eating disorder. I am excited to explore what direction my life takes me…I am ready to continue to be myself, AND LOVE IT.

To everyone still in the storm & those who have seen the way out…

Aimee, Alumni