Today is my fourth birthday. Yes, that is right, my fourth. Four years ago today, I boarded a plane with my mom that took us to Phoenix, AZ. A kind woman met us at the gate, took my bags, and placed us in a van marked “Remuda Ranch”. We drove two hours to the small town of Chandler, AZ. I stepped out of the van, walked in the door, and was greeted by the desk nurse. I was nervous, and so was my mom, but I think the tears were more about how I couldn’t believe I was in a treatment center, and she couldn’t believe she was leaving her child here. We prayed and I she left. I spent the rest of that afternoon having tests run, and that night I was admitted into Chandler Hospital. I was in the emergency room because my heart tests were coming back abnormal. After that night and the tests were all back, I went back for my first night, my first of 45 nights, at Remuda Ranch.
I guess I felt more than just fear about being there. I felt relieved. I was finally safe, in a place where the toilets were flushed for me, and I had to eat what was put in front of me, and I was free from all decisions concerning food. I learned a lot about myself while I was there. I learned how to ride a horse, I learned how to paint and sculpt my feelings. I learned how to be silly and free. I learned what it feels like to have fifteen cactus needles in your hands. I learned how to eat, and be okay eating. I learned how to let go and just gain some weight.
One of the biggest moments for me and in my recovery happened my fourth week in treatment. My family had come out to see me, and it was time for my “Truth in Love”. My family had come and seen me, they had spent a day learning about how eating disorders work, why someone develops them, how family relations work in regards to eating disorders, ect. What they didn’t know was that I had spent four weeks in private counseling, practicing how to let them into my heart a little, and let them know why I chose an eating disorder. I chose it because I felt invisible, because I was angry, and because I was scared. I had many times in my childhood where I was afraid, and some of those came from my dad. I needed to share my feelings with my dad, how I was scared he would get mad at me about my eating disorder, and i needed him to apologize for scaring my so much while growing up. I remember walking in the room, scared out of my mind, unsure of what he would do. I prayed and literally thought of how I was about to jump off a cliff, not sure what would happen. I decided to trust God and jump, knowing that He would catch me. What came from that time is a sweet moment in my recovery. I made amends to my family, I shared my hurts with them, and when I shared with my dad, he apologized and God used that to heal a large part of my heart.
So, four years down the line, I could not have imagined the things God has done in my life, the ways God has molded me and broken me, what He has taken from me and given to me. The weeks I spent in treatment were some of the sweetest times in the past few years, though it was trying, hard, and at times awful. It is amazing how in the middle of the hot Arizona desert, God blessed me with sweet healing.