May 07, 2018

My Recovery Letter - Shannon's Story

my eating disorder recovery letter - shannonDear Shannon,
Remember when you worked at the San Diego Humane Society and sent a hopeless email to your therapist? You wrote, “I feel like I will never recover, and I hate myself for that.”
I can picture you typing those words. You’re wearing a baggy sweater that covers up the stomach you loathe, for no other reason than that it’s yours. An old meal plan from rehab is abandoned in one of your messy drawers, under poop bags and dog bones. Finley, a red, three-legged pit bull, is sleeping in his bed in the cubicle beside yours. 
You often lie on the carpet with him and tell him your secrets — the food you stole, the money you spent, the men you let treat you like crap. Finley kisses your face and listens to you intently — his perky ears moving back and forth like antennas, his eyes glowing with affection. 
You feel as though you don’t deserve eyes that glow like that for you. But dear girl, you do.
You should know that ten years after you sent that email you will re-discover it in an old Gmail account. Noah, your eleven-month-old son, will be playing by your side. He will have your dimples and the color of your hair. He will laugh hard and often: at running water and plastic cups and fallen leaves. He will be your joy.
You will recover. You will become a mother. You will write a book. You will latch onto and love this awesome, messy, mundane life.
The hurt and hell will build compassion. The years lost to an eating disorder will bring you close to others who suffer in the dark — late at night in the kitchen or alone in a hospital bed or homeless inside of a dog kennel. 
You won’t be afraid of their struggles. Or your own. You will realize that even when the pain is immense, love is bigger. 
Join our ‘Recovery Letters’ campaign. Write a letter to who or what embodies the spirit of recovery for you; show others that recovery is possible – and that we can honor the big moments as well as the small ones along the way. 
Reflect on recovery, offer up gratitude, or praise yourself or someone else. 
Write your own #MyRecoveryLetter at
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