Coming to Montrose Manor I was 57 years old, having had an addiction to sweets and chocolates for most of my life. I have been on and off diets since I was 18, yo-yo-ing for all my adult life.
Being made redundant at my job was the final straw for me. I was scared that my ED would completely take over when I lost my daily structure. I saw myself putting on more and more weight, jeopardizing my health. I was in despair, feeling hopeless and anxious. Leaving home, I was extremely nervous and my blood pressure was really high. But it was my own choice to come. I was willing to surrender to the program. It felt like a chance, a golden opportunity I was given, so I was grateful as well.
From day one until I left, the “food part” of the program has surprised and amazed me. The three delicious meals plus the three snacks were enough for my body. I had no cravings after meals as I had at home. I learned how to eat slower, mindfully and I enjoyed my food. After a week, I was allowed to exercise as well and slowly I began to feel fitter. I had never imagined that this part would be so easy. But then, I had never asked for help from my Higher Power before.
The other, bigger and more important part of the program was about identifying my thoughts and feelings and how to change them. This was quite a challenge and I had my ups and downs. I could not have done it without the support of my counselor, the Montrose staff and the community. It was a healing experience to be in a community where everyone understands where you come from and what you are going through. Shame dies on exposure is what they teach and there are lots of opportunities to work on this. Most of my time was – in my experience – spent on Inner Child work. My inner child was still in the incubator and afraid to live when I arrived and had grown to a little shy, but happy six year old. I learned how to “step into my adult.” This process was supported by the many classes and lectures we had. Besides the “mental work” I enjoyed Art, Drama and Crafts, getting in touch with my creative side, letting go of perfectionism.
Even though I felt home sick at times, may not have liked certain rules, felt upset, it was really worth it. The chance to take those first steps into recovery is the most beautiful gift that I have given myself. I have received the tools that I need to continue on this road.
Montrose is not, as in the song, “all about the base” or about food, but on how to face emotions.
It is about recovery instead of living to survive and about tools and skills for a healthy life.
57 years old