My Recovery Letter - Chris's Story

You enabled a lasting recovery that I never thought possible. You taught me how to love myself. You taught me acceptance. You made sure I never gave up. I am finally free.
Dear Eating Recovery Professionals and Community,
You taught me that life is worth sticking around for. During my darkest days, you walked beside me and believed that I could recover — even if I didn’t believe in myself. You saw the beautiful family I have and showed me why I should stick around for it.
You enabled a lasting recovery that I never thought possible.
You taught me that the past was real, and that I am a survivor - not a victim. I could not see it then, but my experiences would go on to shape me into a beautiful person that could breathe life into others. I never thought I would be worthy of that until it actually happened.
You taught me how to discover who I am, and to accept and love what I discovered. I did not know that this journey of self-discovery would take me through the masculine, the hyper-masculine and into the feminine, where I would find a piece of myself that I would never give up for the world.
You enabled courage. You enabled me to take a journey that is quite scary for a guy and come out better for it. You enabled me to accept the past and give it a place where it was neither locked away nor able to hijack me with its flashbacks and hypervigilance. You enabled me to set healthy boundaries in my life to protect myself against the things that aren’t good for me. 
You taught me how to love myself. 
You have shown love and compassion for a guy that hated himself. Loving myself has enabled me to love others in ways I didn’t know existed. Oh, the many blessings I could speak of that have come from learning to love others and to love humanity.
You taught me that faith in God could be integrated into my recovery. Indeed, it has become integral to my recovery. I depend on this faith for healing and guidance. It is my solid foundation. It has shown me a world of love and compassion where miracles actually happen.
You taught me acceptance. 
I touched on this before, but it’s important to emphasize that I had to accept myself before I could love myself. You accepted me, and I learned to accept myself. You showed me how much you loved me just as I was. I learned to love myself and embrace my feminine nature.
You taught me that recovery was the way to lower mental health bills. The eating disorder robbed me of my ability to buy a house for my family. Recovery gave me my house. It has been an enormous blessing to finally own my own home. It is my safe place - full of love, laughter and silly people who love each other. We stick together through the good times and the tough times. We are a real family.
You made sure I never gave up. 
You brought out the warrior inside. You showed me how to fight for my future. You helped me find the strength to be authentically me and to not allow anyone to shame me into not being me. Discovering my authenticity and being authentic has taken a huge weight off of my shoulders. 
I am finally free.
Dear Eating Recovery Professionals and Community, thank you for teaching me how to get my life back. I have been able to shape it into something truly amazing!
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chris ayres
my recovery letter

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