My daughter realized that she was in trouble and that an eating disorder had taken over her life when she was at school in Tampa. When she transferred to school in New York, she quickly realized she needed professional help. She went to The Renfrew Center’s New York site where her team determined she needed a higher level of care and so she was referred to Renfrew’s Philadelphia’s residential facility. This came as a total shock to her family and, especially, to me. We fully supported her recovery so I accompanied her to Philadelphia.
Terrified of what was to occur when we arrived, I put on a brave front. By the end of my day there, though I left in tears, they were tears of relief and tears just knowing that I was going to miss my most precious daughter. There were, however, no more fears; no more worries. From the moment we entered the facility, the caring and concern of the staff was evident. The entire admission process was so organized and laid out. I most dreaded having to meet with the finance person as this was the part I played on her road to recovery. Words can not express the kindness that was shown to us by the finance person. There was no pressure, no attitude. Just kindness, understanding and a willingness to work with us to pay for her care. They worked with us every step of the way.
The care she received during her residential treatment was amazing. I was lucky enough to speak with her every day (she had to call from the pay phone so I had to learn to be patient) and, though we are in Florida, I was able to be a part of her family therapy sessions with her doctor, who I believe is God’s gift to anyone suffering with an eating disorder and their family.
My daughter left residential treatment after almost four weeks. Even the discharge process was very organized and she was prepared by the staff for what lay ahead. She went from residential to Day Treatment at Renfrew’s New York location and will be stepping down to Renfrew’s Intensive Outpatient Program shortly.
The recovery process is a long one with many hiccups for her and stress for all of us who love her. However, we all sleep better at night because Renfrew is there and we know that all of their staff will always be there to help her and to guide us. Thank you for what you do and for having such incredible staff as to make the journey easier for all.
We had been dating for almost a year when Aimee told me that she was checking herself into The Renfrew Center to deal with her eating disorder. She had told me about her struggles here and there, but this was the first time that she had truly conveyed to me the full gravity of her situation. I was very proud of Aimee for making the tough decision, but I was also somewhat afraid and uncertain. I didn’t know what to expect, and I was admittedly a bit clueless when it came to eating disorders.
I can vividly remember my first trip to Renfrew to visit Aimee. I was so nervous and unsure of what I would encounter there. Once I arrived I realized immediately that this was a special place. Renfrew felt like a calming, healing oasis. Sitting in the main common area with Aimee I could look around and feel the presence of a soothing natural element around us. The physical grounds of Renfrew felt like an appropriate reflection of the vibe that seemed to be present there. Granted, you could still definitely feel the pain and the struggle of the women who were going through the program, but there was an underlying sense of optimism, healing and power as well.
I visited Aimee many times and went to several counseling sessions as well as family group therapy sessions, and what I was left with was the overwhelming sense of pride in my future wife for having the courage to go through this process in order to regain control of her life. We celebrated our one-year anniversary while Aimee was still an in-patient at Renfrew.
Renfrew wasn't an end, but rather a positive starting point. Aimee's road to recovery continued for a long time, and to some extent still continues through to today. But now Aimee is a courageous, talented, self confident, appreciative woman who continues to inspire and amaze me every day of our lives together. I know that without Aimee's time at Renfrew that she would not have been able to arrive at this healthy place in her life.
It was while attending art therapy sessions at Renfrew that Aimee rekindled her love and passion for creating visual art. From a place of deep pain and recovery came an honest realization of a long dormant passion.
Aimee and I are now happily married and Aimee is pursuing a career as a visual artist. I know that without Renfrew, Aimee wouldn't have been able to stand up as tall and proudly as she does today and be the strong, dedicated, inspiring woman and artist that she is. And I know I have Renfrew in large part to thank for that.