What I’ve Learned in Recovery


I promised myself that I wasn’t going to make a Thanksgiving post.


Because honestly, scanning the blogosphere, if I see another post about “Pumpkin Pie,” “What I’m Grateful For,” or my favorite…”How Not to Gain Weight During the Holidays”…I’m going to hurl.


Dramatic much?




But seriously, it’s undeniable. The interwebs are positively saturated with such Thanksgiving-esq topics. What could I possibly have to say that’s even remotely worth reading for 3 minutes.


And maybe it’s the fact that Delta is already playing Christmas music, but, as I’m sitting here at the airport, waiting to go home to visit family, I’ve decided to shed some light on my recovery. What it is that I’m truly grateful for … because to be 100% honest, when I was entrenched in my anorexia, I did not even know what a life in recovery would look like. What freedom would actually feel like. I was so enslaved to my anorexia that I couldn’t even imagine a life without it. Truly.




So, for the beautiful warriors out there who are facing this food-centered holiday with paralyzing fear and anxiety (trust me, I’ve been there)…this is for you.


I’m grateful that I can be truly present with my family.


Especially around the holidays, there was always stress, always tension about food and my health and how it was tearing my family apart. I’m grateful that I can have fun with them, drink alcohol, share hearts and have the focus of our time be on each other, and not on ED.



I’m grateful that I can wear clothing and have it fit.


I know I’ve mentioned it before, but celebrating my healthy body is something that is not only liberating, but also fun. Dressing up in lovely clothing and actually filling it out is an amazing thing. It was literally an agonizing thought during my disease, but wearing clothes that fit and — dare I say it — look good on my figure — is something worth celebrating. And spoiler alert: weight restored does not mean fat.



I’m grateful to have my body temperature back to normal.


Always being cold is not fun, or attractive, or something to be proud of. It is a sign that your circulatory system is shutting down: read: your heart muscle is weak.



I’m grateful that my bones have rebuilt themselves.


Again, being osteopenic with post-menopausal hormone levels as an 18-year-old is a grave side effect of eating disorders. Not something to be glamorized or joked about. Period.




I’m grateful for friends, and for having opportunities to socialize.


I spent years – literally years – during my anorexia saying no. Not answering the phone, not returning calls – in isolation with my one “true” companion: ED. I’m grateful for the friendships in my life and all the fun I’m having! I work hard all week and live for the weekends. Friday night. Saturday night. Sunday brunch. (Followed by Sunday church) 😛 But seriously, I am so grateful that I’m finally allowing myself to be loved. Allowing myself to receive love. It is still a journey I am on, but I’m making great strides and that is something to be grateful for.



I’m grateful for the lessons I had to learn the hard way.


Not that I’m grateful for the anorexia I endured, but I am grateful for the lessons I learned and the growth obtained from it. My anorexia shattered my pride. It is an ugly, disgusting, thing, but I was very prideful, very self-focused, making my body and my “social status” an idol in my mind. And I’ll tell you what, looking in the mirror at rehab, having destroyed (temporarily, thank God) the relationships in my life, having missed my high school graduation, skeletal, having my hair fallen out, grey/blue skin with peach-fuzz all over from the absence of nutrients, without passions, faith, hopelifeless in every sense of the word – that pride was completely annihilated. Nonexistent. I was no longer the “golden girl.” I was the girl needing saving.



Which leads to my last thing I’m grateful for.


I’m grateful for being saved.


When I was at that bottom of rock bottom, I couldn’t get out by myself. I was unable to save myself. I did not want recovery. I wanted to cling to ED. My anorexia was all I had left. But Jesus came in. Jesus loved me through that pain, that shame, that brokenness. And it was only because of His doing that I was able to leave that pit of ED hell. So I am grateful for that.


Lastly, I am grateful for you.
Which is insanely cheesy, I know. But I have so loved and appreciated getting to know each and every one of you through this blog. Sharing my heart with you, and having it be received with warmth and love is a gift that you have given me, that you will never know the impact that has had on me and my recovery. I pray for all of you every night, and I want you to know that I am grateful for your friendship.


I hope you all have a beautiful Thanksgiving. Whether you find yourself with family or friends, know that you are loved. And there is so much to be grateful for. And a life in recovery will be one of the greatest gifts you will ever give yourself in this life.

208 responses to “What I’ve Learned in Recovery”

  1. Wow! This is, hands down, the best Thanksgiving post I’ve ever read. I am so glad you decided to break that promise and share yourself with us. I think anyone who has gone through something like what you did can identify and feel the hope, the strength, the pure love radiating from your soul. Reading this gave me joy, and I thank you for that.

    I’m an alcoholic and I used to dread this holiday, wondering who would get drunk and yell at me, wondering who would offer me a drink, ask me what was wrong with me, wonder what it’s like to be an alcoholic (it’s just like being you except I drink less dimbulb). Now, for the first time since getting sober, I can’t go home to my family and it makes me sad but that’s one of those curveballs life throws at us; I will miss my family but it is for a good reason and I will see them soon.

    I cannot tell you how happy I am that you took the time to share this with us. My life is so much better because you are here and the world is a much better place because of you. God bless you and I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!

  2. Wow. This was very deep. I’m glad that you are better. The holidays do mean food out of control and if you are trying to lose weight (like me), it’s hard. I LOVE LOVE LOVE to eat but then I go in during the holidays and hate myself later after my clothes are tight or not fitting at all. You made a lot of sense about the self love. Thanks for providing jewels of wisdom. Happy Holidays!!!!

    • Thank you so much for this comment. I appreciate your kind words. You’re so right about that. The holidays definitely bring a lot of joy but also several challenges too. I hope yours is filled with lots of love, relaxation and joy! Thanks for reading! Hugs!

  3. Dear beauty, It is so fulfilling to read your testimony of the victory you have achieved with Jesus and through Jesus. You are an over-comer. Your story is sure to bless others. Look how Richard has already told you of the battle he is in and his journey to victory.. I’m sure your story will give strength to him as he is being “armed” – maybe to be with his family at a holiday sometime.

    • Thank you so much Oneta. God is so good! It is He who got me through it and will “arm” others as well. I know, I am so grateful to Richard as well as you and everyone – for sharing their hearts and opening up. It is when we open up that we truly can heal and mend. I am just overwhelmed with the beautiful community that has come together. I am just blown away and humbled. Like I said … God is good! Thanks for stopping by and for being awesome:) hugs and happy thanksgiving! Xx

  4. First of all, I Love genuine & inspirational expression. And I Respect people that allow and demonstrate Vulnerability enough to write about it. Kudos! But what caught my attention above all else, is that so introspective and perceptive Revelation that you can’t force people to love you… You can only let yourself be loved. How Profound a thought, yes? As I came across your blog from a comment you left on mine, I am forever in your corner as you continue in the Light of Christ, a light that has enabled and empowered your Recovery. God bless you girl! We are all here to help each other, yes? Know that positive energy & prayers continue to flow in your direction. One of my favorite quotes; “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience, we are spiritual beings having a human experience. It’s all context and Perspective. Embrace the Light! Happy Thanksgiving to you.

    • Hi MW. Thank you for this insightful comment. I absolutely love that quote. It is so true! Thank you so much for being in my corner and for the prayers and encouragement. They will definitely be reciprocated. Blessings to you and yours this thanksgiving. Thanks for stopping by

  5. Wow. This was deep. The holidays do mean food out of control and it’s hard when you are trying to lose weight (like me). I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to eat and go in during the holidays but then regret it after my clothes don’t fit or are tight. You are right about the self love. Thanks for your words of wisdom. Happy Holidays!!!!

    • I am so sorry to just now be getting back to you! somehow I missed your comment way back when! Thank you so much for this reflection, P. You’re right – self love is one of the most important gifts we can give ourselves. Big hugs to you 🙂

  6. It’s great to read how you have moved on from anorexia.

    Oh, and it’s great for me not reading about Thanksgiving. It’s something that doesn’t happen in Britain. I think I may have mentioned that before.

    Have a happy Thanksgiving.

  7. God bless you as you continue to recover. So glad that you have him at your side. All things are possible with him. I’m thankful for you and your journey. Happy Thanksgiving!

    • Thank you so much:) that means a lot. Yes, He is the best companion at my side. He gives me strength and life. Happy thanksgiving to you too! May it be filled with love and relaxation!! Thanks for stopping by!

    • Thank you so much Lisa. I am so glad that God delivered me from that place too. He is so good. Thank you for reading and for your kind words tonight. I hope you have a lovely thanksgiving. Blessings

  8. <3 love love love. <3 I thought about posting something like fun thanksgiving day workout then I was like, nah. Just eat and ENJOY your many blessings like friends and family!! happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

  9. God bless you in your recovery. Thank you for sharing your recovery story and for being an inspiration to other women who also struggle. What struck me most was your thankfulness for the lessons you had to learn the hard way. You said, “Not that I’m grateful for the anorexia I endured, but I am grateful for the lessons I learned and the growth obtained from it.” What a mature way of looking at challenges. It’s so hard to see God working when we are in the midst of a struggle, but to get to the other end and be able to see God using it for good, takes a special maturity of faith. Thanks for sharing.

    • Gosh thank you so much for your kind words Lonna. I appreciate it more than you know. You’re so right. When we are in the midst of trials and struggles, it is hard to recognize God working, but we were promised that He will use all things for good. And I find peace in that promise. It has taken me a long, long LONG time to come to that peace and it is still a journey but God is good and is my strength. Thank you so much for your friendship, Lonna. Blessings to you and yours.

  10. Everything you mention more than certainly represents something you should be very bit grateful and thankful for 🙂 I am happy to see that you are enjoying life especially during the Thanksgiving holiday, which as we all know serves as the missing link between Halloween and Christmas 🙂 Even though, you are spending the holidays elsewhere, are you going to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving day parade which is being held in the state that you live in which is New York? I live in the state of Illinois, so I can’t watch it in a crowd, but I can always watch it on television 🙂 Anyway, I hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving 🙂 I know I will because I do not have to go into work the next day (I work at Wal-Mart which is retail). 🙂 I am also grateful and thankful for many things, but I will limit it to one here for the time being since their is so many and that is for having a lot of friends and family on my side and for finishing this semester of college 🙂 Anyway, keep up the great work as always 🙂

    • Thank you so much John! Ah yes, the delicious link between Halloween and Christmas:) I will definitely be watching the parade tomorrow! 🙌 love it! I went one year — it was crazy!! What great things to be thankful for! I’m so glad you don’t have to b part of the Black Friday madness! Phew! Thanks for stopping by, John! Enjoy your time off and happy thanksgiving! ☺️

  11. Brilliant! I have had the same dilemma with my writing this week and had to find what my true heart needed to say. Thank you for your willingness to express your truth.

  12. Wonderful post. I think we should be SO thankful that our bodies can heal and recover themselves if we give them the resources to do so. Happy thanksgiving dear!

    • Thank you so much Floey! You’re so right. The ability to heal and restore is such a blessing. Definitely not one to take for granted! Thanks for stopping by! Have an awesome day!

  13. I admire your courage in working to recover, and appreciate your following my blog. I am an atheist, but I share your faith in the possible potential for creating beauty that we as human beings all share.
    Be well,

    In Solidarity with All Kind People,
    Peace via Cooperation and Non-Cooperation,


    26 November 12015 HE

  14. OK, I still wish that I knew what you have acted in as I have a lighter resume. Also, you know I am a trainer but I have issues too. I am not the new kid, the beast who can do anything. My metabolism always was my friend. Insomnia has always been my enemy. Sleeping meds that were covered by my ins are those that made me a zombie. The ones I changed to made me gain 35 pounds in 2 months twice. Back on them for 2 years and happy to say I may snack but I managed to keep myself at what some think is a good weight as when I gained it before it was all mid section and now it is similar, age related and not kicking my own butt as much as I should. But looks are deceiving I suppose. I figure you have your own methods, a journal, diary, a plan to follow and if it is working for you and it does not feel like a job that is great. It is good to see someone from many places even where I am doing well, overcoming and being superior to the demons that once held you down. You are better and will be. If you have a bad day or weekend, I know it would scare you to death as if you are out of control. But reading your posts for months now. You can have fun for a few days and get past it. So enjoy everything that you deserve to and have fun. You are more than beautybeyondbones, you are special. Never forget that.

    • Wow, thank you for this beautiful and encouraging comment. You have been such a constant source of support and positivity and encouragement, like you said , for months. You are an incredible friend. Thank you:) I’m so glad that you’ve found freedom too. Life is meant to be lived to the full in every sense of the word, and I’m so glad that you’ve found that! Thanks for being you:) blessings and hugs!

      • Honestly I am still held down but I look past it daily. Seeing my friends post and be happy that I do and or comment is truly a gift I did not think I was worthy of. I am going to let this response go as I see your next one.

  15. I really appreciate your vulnerability and honesty which is something that’s lacking on a lot of social media platforms. I admire you for sharing your faith so openly. Sincerely, your sister in Christ 🙂

  16. Wow, what a brave, honest, deep, and incredible blog you have! I am SO glad that you got better and are sharing your story to help others. These are some great things to be thankful for. Have a happy Thanksgiving! 💙

  17. This is incredible and beautiful and I am so grateful you would share your words and story like this! I found your blog because you liked my post and I am so humbled you would do so after reading your words. I hope your Thanksgiving was wonderful – much love in Christ!

    • Hi Allie! Thank you for stopping by and for such thoughtful words! Oh my gosh you’re so sweet! I really enjoyed reading your post, and look forward to reading more from you 🙂 Have a great thanksgiving weekend! God bless! Xx

    • Oh gosh Samantha thank you so much for say that:) I app really appreciate it. And I do pray that someone who needs to hear some encouragement stumbles across this little blog:) thanks for stopping by. Have a lovely afternoon xx

  18. This was such a beautiful read! It was refreshing and so much better than all of the corny cliché thanksgiving posts:) no offense to those! But on the real, thank you for your generous genuineness. It’s beautiful much like your story!

  19. Thank u for sharing this. Beautiful.

    (And I totally feel ya on the Thanksgiving posts. Haha I debated too but I’m new to the blog thing and thought – what the heck)

  20. Hey girl!!
    its your friend… who had a page before than cancelled it, but i want to tell you i started a new one, cause i really like writing it makes me happy. do check it out!

  21. Hey girl
    i dont know what happened but i thought i left a comment on your blog but its me your friend i created a blog long ago called itsmemy3 but i took it down, well i started a new one cause i really felt the need to do so if you want check it out : stories870.wordpress.com

  22. What a lovely style of writing you have! It’s like I can hear you through your words. What us Thanksgiving? We don’t celebrate it here in Australia and New Zealand. I’ve heard that it’s got something to do with a massacre, where men, woman and children were tortured, raped and murdered. I don’t know who by. Forgive me my ignorance. Thank you for liking my post/blog. Jx

    • Hi Jodine! Thank you for stopping by! Thanksgiving celebrates when the pilgrims came over to America from England on the Mayflower. They were escaping from persecution, and such was the birth of America! The first thanksgiving celebrated the fact that we had food and shelter and religious freedom in a new land. So today, it’s just a time to reflect on all the things we have to be grateful for in life. ☺️

      • Oh Ok, they must have been doing those things to the native Indians. That’s what happened back then unfortunately. Thanks for filling me in. I’ve always wondered why America celebrated Thanksgiving hugely then straight into Christmas. Our white ‘founder’, for want if a better word, was Captain Cook. He ‘discovered’ New Zealand and Australia. ..and ended up getting eaten by the natives in Cooktown, about 4 hours North from me in Cairns lol. Karma is a wonderful thing. Jx

      • Well, he messed with the wrong natives that’s for sure! I’m looking forward to Christmas & family. I LOVE presents! Giving AND receiving. It’s been a long year for me. I’m spending the day in the garden tomorrow trying to revive my tomatoes. ..sigh! I keep forgetting to water them…lol. I’m off to sleep now. It’s 1.45am, Wednesday morning, 2nd Dec. 😪

      • Sleep well Jodine! That sounds like a lovely day tomorrow. I love Christmas too. There’s nothing better than being with family:) and the presents aren’t so bad either 😂 hugs!!!

  23. The start of your post made me laugh and say oh @#$%. I did that on my blog, but hey I kept it short… lol. On a more serious note, I always enjoy the strength that shines through your posts and admire your courage to share your story and cheer your recovery to wellness!

  24. Wow. I admire the courage it takes for you to share your journey. When I was single I dated a girl that was bulimic, so I learned a lot from that experience. I have taken the recovery journey myself for things so I am interested in blogs like yours. Your friend in recovery.

  25. Praises for you in being in recovery. Praises to God for showing you the way through! Thanks for stopping by and having a read at justencourage.com. So glad I came on over to read about your victory! Blessings!

  26. I am so impressed and inspired by your writing. Aside from being a quadriplegic, I am a recovered alcoholic. When I collapsed in my kitchen over two years ago, I was completely sober. I had been in recovery almost 3 years. The timing seemed quite odd – and yet we know that Jesus has a greater plan than what we can imagine. Thank you for sharing your heart and being so vulnerable so as to help the rest of us overcome our own obstacles.

    • Thank you so much! Wow thank you for sharing your story. Yes, Jesus absolutely has a plan for all of us. One that is good and one that uses everything for good. Blessings and love to you on your journey! Hugs, friend!

  27. Good to know that you overcame anorexia. Even i had suffered a lot from anorexia in the past. My friends used to call me mute, because i didn’t like to talk to anyone. But by GOD’s grace, HE helped me to overcome it. Like to read more of your articles on how you overcame anorexia.

    • So sorry that I am only now getting back to you! somehow I missed your comment way back when! Thank you for sharing a bit of your story. I’m so glad you’ve overcome that. Yes, God is GOOD and praise Him for rescuing the both of us:) sending big hugs xox

      • O my goodness!!! Long time no see!!
        Even I’m sorry for giving a late response, I got really busy with my job so I couldn’t get time for blogging….
        Hey congratulations for having 18,000 followers, which is certainly not an easy task but you achieved it. Hats off….
        If I’m not wrong, it was my first comment on your site BBB.
        Thank for checking out.

  28. Crazy God moment that you liked my post, because I used to struggle badly from anorexia and have recently been thinking about blogging it to help others. This was the sign I needed 🙂

    • Hi Ruby! Oh, I’m so glad this was the encouragement that you need! I’d definitely love to read your story and will cheer you on if you decide to take the plunge and share:) sending so much love and hugs to you. So glad you’ve found freedom and have kicked ed to the curb! xoxox

  29. Still running a surplus, Beauty. Look at all of the responses you get from people who get a lift from you. Look at all of the affirmation you get from them. How many lives have you made better by showing the buried the light at the exit? When they never even thought there was one. When I taught, I had some memorable successes with people. You are doing he same here, but on a much more critical scale. Again, thanks for putting yourself out in the open, thanks for your support to me. You are refreshing!

    • Gosh, thank you so much Jeffrey. Seriously. Thank you for such affirming words. I have been simply astounded by the outpouring of support and encouragement on here. I am simply humbled and grateful. I started this blog with the hope that maybe – just maybe – One person might find hope in the struggle. All I can say is that God is good. God is so so good and will use all things for His glory. I can’t take credit for any of this-the writing-nothing. I literally sit down at the computer and say, “okay god what do you want me to write.” I am just the broken mouthpiece. And I have to say how incredibly encouraged and affirmed you have made me feel, with your continuous reflections and insight. That is a true gift you have given me. So thank you with all my heart. You are a blessing ☺️

      • This will sound like a non-sequitor, but the book Killing Christians by Tom Doyle is something of a parallel to your mission. It’s about Muslims who have chosen Jesus in the Middle East where the risk of martyrdom is very real. The book tells the stories of several who became Christians. Some still live, others have been killed. But, like you, they are all about how, with God, “Been there. Defeated that.” VERY inspiring!

  30. I just wanted to stop by and let you know I admire you and your strength in recovery. Thank you for spreading awareness about the disease, but for also highlighting the joys of recovery. Journey on, recovery sister.

  31. Hi im very new to wordpress and i love your blog
    I think its a good way to express ourselves and i think you are extremely brave. Im still starting up but could you follow me back? Stay strong hun xxx

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