Ellie Barham | Client Spotlight

Ellie Barham | Client Spotlight

Ellie's Story:

I took my first hit of Crack I was 19 in a Taco Bell parking lot. At this point I had already detoxed from heroin, but I needed something else...

It took me 6 years to finally put the pipe down. I now have one year clean!

When it was all said and done I not only had a mess, but a disaster. In those 6 years I did whatever it took looking for that same feeling I had in the Taco Bell parking lot. I lied, I stole, I gave up self respect and dignity. My days were filled with shame, guilt, misery and defeat.

The last time I took a hit I realized I wasn’t even getting high any more, but I couldn’t stop. I got to the place that there was no other choice than to admit that I was an addict and I hit rock bottom. Even Helen Keller could have noticed. What I didn’t realize was that as an addict I can take anything, even stuff that’s good, and pervert it. My new DOC: food.

I found myself using food the EXACT same way I used drugs. I would eat to numb. I ate because I was happy, sad and bored. I was a closet eater. I would eat fast food in my car alone and hide all evidence of it. Eat in the bathroom. It got so bad that I had to spray my food with dish soap before I threw it away so that I wouldn’t go back in the trash for it later. I had to admit that I was addicted to food before I could make the next step of doing something about it. That next step was this challenge. I could not cheat. One slip up could be my fall. This cannot be a diet. It has to be a lifestyle. The same way I cannot just do a diet from crack.

That’s not to say that I didn’t check the scale every day or body check. It’s biological to believe that external represents internal. I made good progress on the scale, but it pales in comparison to my progress mentally: I am strong I am persistent I am capable I am more than my feelings I am more than my cravings Instant gratification is truly only gratifying for an instant. I have come to realize that there’s nothing at the end of the pipe, nothing at the bottom of a plate, nothing in the shopping cart that is going to make me feel better. In Buddhism there’s a belief that anything that can bring misery cannot bring true happiness: money can run out, relationships can fail, material things can break and food can kill you if used inappropriately.

"Happiness has to start within." Thank you Ryan.

From Ryan:

When I received this message I was taken back. To be in the position Ellie was in feels hopeless. Nothing left but sorrow followed by a rock bottom moment. I was pulled right back to my battle with alcohol addiction many years ago. Remember you never know what someone is fighting.

What Ellie found in that moment is that no matter how hard things get, you can explode out with the right mindset. I am so proud and honored to see what she's achieved. She's an inspiration and congrats to year one of the rest of her life.

This story puts things into perspective and I am so grateful for moments like this to inspire us all. 

Keep rocking Ellie! <3