Eating Disorders

What’s the Secret to Recovery?

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Sometimes in life, we just wish there was an easy answer, a solution, a step-by-step instruction book to get us past the challenges and difficulties, and on toward a happier tomorrow.

Unfortunately, life rarely provides us with a specific list of ingredients to solve our problems; usually, we have to find them on our own. Regardless, people commonly spend ample time trying to figure out the secrets to recovery, or the tricks that can make the process a little bit easier and a lot more successful.

Although I have not arrived at an exact formula, I have comprised a list of essentials for which my recovery ultimately depended and continues to depend upon.

However, it is important to realize these tips may not be right for everybody. Each person must discover what works for them throughout their recovery, as everyone’s journey is unique and requires different things. I am still finding new behaviors, mantras, practices, and support systems to help my restoration process grow and improve each day.

Nonetheless, I would like to share with you my tried and true secrets to recovery:


The number one most important ingredient for recovery is a strong, supportive, and knowledgeable team.

I use the term “team” because it is open-ended, signifying that each person is going to have very different players on their team. However, a strong, supportive, and knowledgeable team means establishing a group of people who are experts about your particular struggles and can provide you with the appropriate treatment, tools, and resources you need to be successful.

During the first years of my disorder I floated around from doctor to doctor, but did not see anyone who specifically handled eating disorders, and only saw people inconsistently. Finding a team of doctors, therapists, or nutritionists who have been exposed to your illness and understand how it affects the body and mind is essential.

Furthermore, seeing someone regularly will not only provide you with a support system, but will force you to be accountable to another person. I owe my recovery success to the treatment team I currently have. After going to see many clinicians, I eventually found someone who fully understood my struggles and was willing to stick by me and guide me through the good and the bad.

Although finding the right team can be arduous and defeating, it is worth it, as there are individuals out there who can and want to help!

Another secret to success is finding a creative outlet.

I cannot express how important it is to find something in your life to focus on other than your illness and recovery. Battling and recovering from a disorder is very time consuming and can be a lonely process.

Finding a hobby, activity, club, or skill to focus on and find catharsis in will help you get through the bumps and bruises along your journey. More importantly, it will help remind you that you are so much more than your disease. It may even help you learn to love something completely new and unique you would have never given yourself time for before.

For me, my release and creative outlet is yoga. In the beginning of my recovery, I was exposed to yoga therapy during my partial-hospitalization program. Yoga allowed me to let go of my emotional baggage, develop awareness of my body, and find a sense of peace from my head to my toes. As I moved forward with my treatment and eventually out of treatment I was able to try more and more poses and make my practice a daily part of my life. Now, whenever I am struggling, I can pull out my mat and laugh off my anxieties while falling out of tree pose, or calm my restlessness while relaxing in downward facing dog.

The best part of a creative outlet is that it is always there. It is just for you. There is no competition, no inconsistencies – just you doing something you love. Whether it’s painting, playing music, or sewing, find a release that you can run to in times of struggle and enjoy in times of strength.

My last secret to recovery is one that I use almost every single day: a list of the reasons why I want to recover.

Recovery is one of the hardest battles to approach and an even harder one to beat. It requires motivation, persistence, courage, and endurance. With all that hard work, it is essential to knowing why you are taking on such a scary challenge. What is it all for? It is for all you want to be and can be, and all you want to have and can have.

When I started recovery, I made a bucket list of all the things I wanted to do and would be able to do when I recovered. I still carry this list with me, and take great pride in getting to cross another accomplishment off of it. The list gives me hope and strength to push forward when I feel like I have nothing left to give.

This past spring when I was feeling especially weak, I made a word document on my computer containing pictures of all the reasons why I wanted to recover. This included things like going to graduate school to become a clinician to help others who are struggling, going on a mission trip, and running a marathon through team World Vision. When I get scared, anxious, or doubtful, I pull this document up and I find a sense of purpose in my struggles.

Creating a tangible list of your reasons why will remind you each day that recovery is truly worth it. Today, I encourage all of you to consider applying some of these ingredients to your restoration journey.

Any step forward is a step in the right direction, and it’s one step closer to finding your successful secrets to recovery.

Share Your Story | Libero Magazine 17

Shelby is currently working on completing a double major in Psychology and English from Central Michigan University, and will graduate this spring. She recently applied to graduate school for doctoral programs in Clinical Psychology, and hopes to pursue a career in eating disorder treatment and yoga therapy. She is incredibly passionate about increasing advocacy and awareness for eating disorders, and has devoted her life towards providing support, guidance, and love for those inflicted by “ED.” She hopes she can use her experiences and writing to encourage victims towards recovery. In her spare time, Shelby enjoys running, yoga, and spending time in the great outdoors. She someday hopes to travel to Africa and help provide mental health services and yoga treatment to the African population as a part of the Africa Yoga project.

SITE DISCLAIMER: The opinions and information shared in any content on our site, social media, or YouTube channel may not represent that of Libero Network Society. We are not liable for any harm incurred from viewing our content. Always consult a medical professional before making any changes to your medication, activities, or recovery process. Libero does not provide emergency support. If you are in crisis, please call 1-800-784-2433 or another helpline or 911.


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