Renfrew saved my life. It gave me the tools to succeed at recovery and build a life better than one I’ve ever had before.
Having been in other treatment facilities, I could instantly feel the difference when I first walked into Renfrew. Everyone was very compassionate and knowledgeable and really “got” the issues. At Renfrew, I felt like a whole person who had a voice and whose thoughts and feelings were important. Their focus was on holistic recovery - body, soul, mind, and spiritual - instead of oversimplifying the issue to weight and food. That approach played a major role in my success in recovery.
Renfrew offers so much support in a variety of ways. Mealtime support therapy was very helpful to me when I first started the program - to be able to talk about my discomfort and anxiety after meals and to have other people understand helped lessen the anxiety of being there. Psychodrama and role-playing helped me practice and reinforce using my voice to speak my feelings rather than relying upon an unhealthy eating disorder. Art therapy was especially therapeutic for me when words were so hard. Creating art allowed me to sort out the issues that lead me there as well as discover more about myself in the present. Family therapy and multi-family group helped my family grow as well.
Before Renfrew, I didn’t really believe true recovery was possible to me since I had suffered from an eating disorder for most of my life. But at Renfrew, I found hope. Group and individual therapists, physicians, nutritionists, and nurses were all there to support us in recovery. Renfrew emphasizes that recovery is a process that starts there and continues long after the stay.
I’m so grateful for all of the knowledge, compassion and skills that I took with me from Renfrew. I love that Renfrew offers free alumni events, such as reunions, webinars, and other events to help us even after we exit their doors. At Renfrew there is always so much hope, healing, strength and support.
I was blessed to be able to find Renfrew at a time when I was hopeless and ill. My heart and body were empty, filled with pain and I knew that without help I wasn’t going to live the life I was intended to live; a life of joy, love, hope and happiness.
The staff at Renfrew was incredible! They were so patient with me and understood that tackling an eating disorder is no small task. Renfrew designed a program that was right for me. They listened to me and my disorder and helped me separate my illness from my true self. They were there with me every step of the way, motivating me to find freedom from my anorexia and holding me accountable for my health and progress.
Once I found hope in getting healthy I began to regain my strength and confidence. Every day was a new set of challenges, but worth the fight. Renfrew addressed my eating disorder on a physical, emotional, mental and spiritual level. They taught me about balance, how to maintain a healthy weight, equipped me with coping skills to tackle the many challenges that I would face as they prepared me for life outside of Renfrew.
I am so glad I took the necessary steps to find my health, hope and happiness. The staff and program at Renfrew helped me gain my confidence back and guided me in the direction that would help me stay healthy and happy for the rest of my life. My time at Renfrew was precious and I am forever grateful for the time, energy and love that they gave to me. I take it with me where ever I go and it is now my mission to share it with others.
On September 19, 2008, I walked through the doors of Renfrew in Philadelphia and into the rest of my life.
When I was told I would be on full bed rest, I had no idea what it meant nor how truly profound it would be. In that moment, I fully surrendered to doing what was needed to recover. It was, without question, the defining, shifting moment whereby my life began again.
I was 46-years-old when I entered treatment for anorexia after having pushed against it for a long time. I knew all too well what residential treatment might entail having been through a program for alcoholism 6 years prior. It was not easy then and because the eating disorder was more deeply rooted, was sure this recovery would not be any easier. I also knew I had no choice.
I became interested in Renfrew specifically because of their Thirty Something and Beyond track. To be honest, I didn’t think there would be many other women in the group. I had no idea the extent to which I was not alone. The women I met were remarkable, smart, lovely angels who I’m certain remain equally so today. Together we shared our truths and a deep desire to recover as a whole. We supported each other, cried together and rejoiced in every accomplishment no matter how small.
My three month experience at Renfrew was not only miraculous, it was completely transformational. I’m not talking just about my “shell” (my outer self), I’m talking about the transformation from the inside out. In that span of time, I rose from full bed rest to emerge a completely different and peaceful woman ready to face life on life’s terms.
In the almost four years since, I have not found a reason to return to unhealthy behaviors in order to deal with life’s challenges. And trust me, there have been many.
The first year after leaving Renfrew, my father and brother died within months of each other, each requiring life sustaining decision making. It doesn’t get more challenging than that.
In addition, I made the decision to step away from my corporate career to completely dedicate myself to serve those in recovery. Today, I speak at treatment centers and have been the focus of many articles about recovery later in life. I’m in the process of writing a book and maintain a blog site about life in healthy recovery in order to help others who struggle with this life threatening disease.
Without the help I received from Renfrew, my life today would not be possible. I owe a debt of gratitude that can’t ever be repaid so instead, I simply pay it forward.