Stephanie S. holding a baby

Stephanie S.: Patient Finds Recovery and Loves Herself Again After ACUTE

Two years ago, I was at the ACUTE Center for Eating Disorders and Severe Malnutrition at Denver Health for just a few weeks. Little did I know those few weeks at ACUTE would change the course of my entire life.

Prior to ACUTE, I had been battling my eating disorders (both anorexia and bulimia) for nearly 20 years. I spent the majority of my 20's in various hospitals and treatment centers. I was labeled “treatment resistant” and my parents were told I would die of my disease. I was in a treatment center in Arizona and not doing well at all; I was as sick as I had ever been and felt helpless in my battle against symptoms. That's when they recommended I transfer to ACUTE.

My time at ACUTE was difficult but 100 percent what I needed. It was one of the only treatment centers I have ever been to that was strict without being shame-based in their treatment of patients.

Following my time at ACUTE, I went to a step-down program and after that I struggled off and on for a few months. Finally, I got to the point where I was just so sick of hating myself. Spirituality has always been a part of my life, and in all honesty, my struggles with the eating disorder made it difficult because I knew I was not honoring what God had given me.

My identity for years had been my disease and I knew that needed to change; God worked in my life to help me see that I needed a new foundation. I began with, “I am a child of God,” and went from there. I knew I had no self-esteem, but I had also heard that you build self-esteem by doing esteem-able acts (this is from Alcoholics Anonymous, in the later years of my eating disorder I struggled with addiction as well).

I now have been in full recovery, symptom-free and clean/sober for 16 months. I am currently employed at my church and work within the children’s ministry department. I am enrolled in school online and am about a year away from my bachelor’s degree in Theology and Biblical studies. I have been able to repair relationships that I thought would never be ok. I have sponsees that I am able to help. I started taking a kickboxing class with some of my co-workers and it has been a blast!

Most importantly, I like who I am today.

I can sit with myself without feeling a compulsive need to change the way I’m feeling through self-destructive behaviors. I am so grateful for everyone at ACUTE.

Simply put, ACUTE saved my life before I was able to fight for it myself, and for that I am forever grateful.

ACUTE Earns Prestigious Center of Excellence Designation from Anthem
In 2018, the ACUTE Center for Eating Disorders & Severe Malnutrition at Denver Health was honored by Anthem Health as a Center of Excellence for Medical Treatment of Severe and Extreme Eating Disorders. ACUTE is the first medical unit ever to achieve this designation in the field of eating disorders. It comes after a rigorous review process.

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