Book Review: You Are Not Alone
As an author, I’m sometimes asked to write blurbs or reviews of books on eating, which is a wonderful way for me to keep abreast of what’s out there. For example, YOU ARE NOT ALONE (Vol. 2): THE BOOK OF COMPANIONSHIP FOR WOMEN WITH EATING DISORDERS (with a great music CD) by Andrea Roe. Although the book says it’s for women, it’s really for men, too, so don’t be fooled by the title!
The book’s premise is that recovery is possible and its theme is hope. Anita Johnson (author of EATING IN THE LIGHT OF THE MOON) writes in her introduction how hope is the inspiration for recovery. I would add that hope is not a constant thing, but waxes and wanes. One day we make wise, satisfying, nourishing choices around food and feel optimistic and even mildly confident that we are changing, then the next day, we make poor choices and disregard appetite cues and are thrown back to square one and despair. It’s at times like this that YOU ARE NOT ALONE comes in handy. You can’t read its stories, anecdotes and poems and view the accompanying illustrations without your spirits lifting.
One reason for my message boards (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/foodandfeelings and http://groups.yahoo.com/group/nicegirlsfinishfat) is to help people with disregulated eating feel less alone and provide a forum for giving support. The problem with message boards, however, is that you don’t always have access to log on. But what you can hold in your hands any hour of any day is a book. Too many people with eating disorders struggle alone—they’re ashamed, they feel too vulnerable to open up about their problems, they fear humiliation or invalidation. For them, even a message board can be too scary. But a book speaking to your heart does wonders.
YOU ARE NOT ALONE is for anyone with an eating problem—anorexia, bulimia, overeating, binge-eating, or chronic dieting. It’s for those of you who are unhappy with your bodies and want to improve your relationship with the image you see in the mirror or the number on the scale. It will inspire you whether you’re contemplating changing your eating, are in the throes of struggle, have lost hope, or simply enjoy learning about how other people cope and vanquish eating problems. Although I’m a cognitive-behavioral therapist at heart, I want to stress that changing your thinking about food is not the only way to recover. You also have to make connections to other people and let them help you—in person or through the pages of a book. YOU ARE NOT ALONE sends a powerful message about support, hope, and the possibility of recovery.