The internet and email were in their infancy in the late 1980's and early 1990's. Blogs, social media, had not even been imagined. I did the majority of my writing on a computer and printed it out. Line after line after line.
During those early years of talking with patients, I found myself saying the same words, giving the same message over and over, providing support and answering the same questions. The questions everyone asked then and still do to this day are, "How do you do it? How do you recover? How do you not have an eating disorder? And not be afraid?" And the most feared: "How do you have a life without it?"
Speaking these words was no longer enough. They wanted more. I simply could not talk enough to satisfy their hunger for information, for explanation. For reassurance. I had to write those words down so that when I was not with them, they had something to remind them that they can get better. A person really can recover from an eating disorder and have a life.
By 1993, along with my volunteer work, I was also working as a career coach. When it came time to stablish my coaching business name, it was pretty obvious what it would be: HopeLines. After all, it is what I wrote. It is what I gave to others. On paper. In my words. And in my coaching. In time, those words, those lines, turned into pages. The pages turned into handouts*. The handouts were given to patients.
Since then, HopeLines grew and evolved as I grew and evolved to become what it is today, a professional Life Coaching and Training service specializing in supporting and empowering adults with eating disorders to move forward in recovery and in life.
The handouts also evolved, continually refined, updated and more added. All of the handouts centered around the goal of demystifying recovery, providing support, encouragement, practical strategies, as well as hope for those who believe their eating disorder will never end and they will never get better. Adults struggling with an eating disorder need and deserve this type of support. It was HopeLines mission then and now. Today, while my website and global coaching goes by cindybittercoaching.com, HopeLines continues to be my business name. And I also continue to use the handouts with coaching clients and coaching groups. Recently during a group coaching session, we were talking about recovery tools, things that are helpful during recovery. I asked group members, "What is the #1 recovery tool most needed?" One young woman imediately replied,
"Hope. It's impossible to get better and recover if you don't have hope that you can."