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Check out the latest issue of Connections, our alumni newsletter!


Recognizing Freedom Through Loss

By: Erin Birely, LCPC, The Renfrew Center’s Alumni Services Coordinator

Memorial Day has become synonymous with cook outs, getting together with friends, and the start of summer. But the purpose behind Memorial Day is really meant to be a chance to honor and remember those we have lost in service to our country, and this year I want you to add on a recovery piece to your Memorial Day.

While enjoying the time with family, friends, and hopefully nice weather outside, I also want to encourage you all to remember and appreciate the hard work you have put in to your recovery. We know recovery is not an easy or comfortable process for anyone. We lose things along the way we never thought we’d be able to survive without—sometimes objects, ideas, or even relationships. While we mourn these losses, I also want you to think of what you have gained through them. While letting go of the eating disorder has likely brought more discomfort at times, it has also hopefully brought you more freedom.

The original meaning of Memorial Day and this recovery spin on it both highlight how freedom often comes with a loss of something else. The way we can work to make this loss feel more tolerable is to take advantage of the freedom it has brought us. Acknowledge for yourself the things you feel able to do this Memorial Day, that maybe you wouldn’t have when in your eating disorder. Take time to notice these and appreciate them this Memorial Day and think of the things you’ll hopefully continue to gain with your freedom from your eating disorder.

Erin Birely, LCPC, started working as the Team Leader of The Renfrew Center of Baltimore in September 2016 and joined the Alumni Services Team in 2019 as the Alumni Services Coordinator. Prior to joining Renfrew, Erin had worked in private practice as well as inpatient, partial and intensive outpatient levels of care. Erin has worked in the field of eating disorder treatment since receiving her Master’s degree in 2012. She enjoys working with people to make positive and long lasting changes in life through therapy and building their emotional tolerance.

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