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Recovery blog

Voice of Recovery: Alexa K.

By: Alexa K., Renfrew Alumna

Posted on January 20, 2020

It's hard to point to the exact moment I developed this illness; often, it seems like it has always been there. I recall my sixth birthday and the presence of the voice inside my head telling me that I did not look good enough, that I was not good enough.

As I grew, the voice inside my head became taller and louder and my insecurities and lack of self-confidence grew together with it. At a certain point, my own insecurities had fed away from who I was and suddenly, that "spark" and "light" within me vanished. At that point, I was - both emotionally and physically - surviving, not living.

In 2015, at sixteen, Renfrew created a space in which I could learn, talk and write about my eating disorder. From the program, I acquired coping mechanisms to deal with triggers and I became familiar with the causes of my emotions and the ways I could address them. All skills that I use, years later, to this day.

Renfrew handed me the rope that allowed me to get out of the black hole my eating disorder had pushed me into. Coming out of the program, I realized that the problem wasn't the way the mirror made my body look. It was how I looked at myself in the mirror.

Calories would not change my life. Yet, the decision to evade them - the decision to remain married to my illness, the decision to not fight back, and the decision count insignificant numbers as if they somehow measure the weight of my worth - that would alter my life every time.

And for that, I will be forever thankful.

Suddenly, the boundaries that had seemed like brick walls surrounding me, the limits and rules that caged me within four walls, were broken.

My success is not tied to my weight, my success is not tied to the way I look, and neither is yours.

Today, I am able to look at this period of my life glad I didn't give up and glad I gave myself the opportunity to heal. Today, I aspire to contribute to a world in which people bring each other and themselves up, not tear themselves and others down.

Today I no longer survive. Today I live.

Alexa's testimonial is featured as a Voice of Recovery in the fall 2019 issue of Connections, The Renfrew Center's alumni newsletter. Published twice a year, Connections highlights alumni recovery stories, upcoming events, tips and tools to stay in recovery, and much more. To read this issue, please click here.

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