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Recovery blog

A Voice of Inspiration

By: Shalini Wickramatilake-Templeman

Posted on February 26, 2019

"Residential treatment would be the best level of care for you." When I heard that during my intake at the Renfrew Center, I was shocked. After 18 years of struggling with an eating disorder, yet never quite feeling "sick enough," I couldn't believe that I had hit such an out-of-control point.

I was scared to leave everything behind for several weeks in order to go get the help I needed in Philadelphia, but in hindsight, it was the best investment I've ever made in myself. Those weeks of introspection and refeeding and emotional tolerance were painful, but nothing short of enlightening.

I remember learning at Renfrew that we often stop emotional development at the age at which our eating disorders started; I had been stuck as an 11-year-old in many ways. My experience through residential and then day treatment at Renfrew helped me develop those long-stunted parts of me, while letting me finally tune in to my inner child.

A few months ago, when I once told a friend of mine that trite saying, "recovery isn't linear," he responded with, "you're right; it's more of an upward trending corkscrew." I remind myself of that during the tough days—if I keep using the skills I learned—ARC, 3-point checks, mindfulness, and reappraisals, just to name a few-- and seek support from my loved ones and outpatient treatment team, I will work my way back up to a good place again.

While there is no shame in struggling, I have the opportunity to choose recovery every day, multiple times a day, and that is an incredibly empowering feeling that I wouldn't have without Renfrew's help.

Shalini Wickramatilake-Templeman lives in the suburbs of Washington, DC with her husband, Scott, and rambunctious German Shepherd, Maddie. She works for a nonprofit organization that focuses on substance use disorder policy. In her free time, she enjoys baking, crocheting, and spending time with her family. She also manages a blog,

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