Five years isn’t a very long time; but it seems like a very long time when you are struggling to notice every inhale and exhale, every step your foot takes, every smell you breathe in, every single thing that you touch, all the sounds that you hear and the struggle involves becoming “aware” of each of those factors I’ve mentioned. I know this because I’ve been consumed with doing this very thing for the exact amount of time - five years.

I’ve been aware of my diagnosis, my need for recovery and personal growth from a wide array of dysfunctions, illnesses – both physical and mental, an eating disorder, and several dozen traumas for five years. Four marriages, five children, a few abortions, one custody fight, and many abusive relationships have colored my past as well. Can you believe I hadn’t been aware of what I was coping with for forty-five years until I began this recovery journey?

I was unaware. For five years I’ve been working on the average of eight hours a day – seven days a week, including all holidays without pay and working harder than if I were being paid millions. I’ve been reading articles, books, pamphlets, and anything that included information that was related to experiences, illnesses and dysfunctions I had experienced. For five years I’ve been typing on my keyboard, designing a network of what I have now accomplished – 28 websites.

I’m not finished with it, but it’s a far cry from what I believed I was faced with five years ago when I started out with one website that I mistakenly believed would be large enough to envelop all the information one would need to recover. I wanted to sort through all those articles out there in the Internet world, to bring the best, most concise and clear information to those who were like I had been five years ago; struggling.

I understand now, how vast the horizon really is when you set out to recover from a lifetime of pain. I do have difficulty understanding how to relay to others who want to recover as I’ve been; the very important intensity of the desire you must conger up in order to begin to grow personally. It’s intense, earnest, gut-wrenching arduous work that brings sweat to your brow. It’s a thirst that can’t be quenched. It’s consistent, unwavering and so gradually promising that you sometimes forget to be aware of your accomplishments!

I discovered a short-cut that I am very happy to offer to anyone who thinks they might be able to use it. When I very excitedly begin describing my theory of helping yourself through helping others, their smiles begin to fade and I somehow always hear their tone of voice become faint. I can literally feel the intensity of their desire to recover becomes extinguished. Why is that?

I made a commitment to myself when I began my journey. I was tired of being mentally ill, consuming food all night long in sugary binges that left me with a food hangover the next day. I was tired of living in the depths of fear which had totally consumed me. I told myself, “Self, if we begin to recover, we will not stop until we feel as though we’ve recovered. I will not involve other people by designing a website for self helpers if I’m going to quit and abandon the site in a month or two. I will complete the site."

I’ve only made two commitments to myself in my life. I’ve so far kept both of them. I’m hoping that all of you smarter – more learned authors out there have a way to describe the intensity of this desire that you must have to journey in your own recovery. I’m a great cheerleader, but I’m not sure I’ve had the time to learn how to describe that initial vital factor.

You can’t begin to journey in your car until you’ve put gas into the gas tank; is about all I’ve been able to figure out so far. And you’ll need a whole bunch of gas to do 50 years worth of driving! Find your desire to recover, recognize it, identify it, and be with it awhile to get to know it. Then let it take you, let it take you to the point that you make that very important commitment to yourself to recover. It’s worth the gas money, even with today’s prices!

Author's Bio: 

Kathleen Howe hosts a network of 28+ websites for self helpers, corresponds daily with the visitors via e-mail and moderates a support group for those experiencing night eating syndrome within the Yahoo Groups pages. Beginning this month, in Dayton, OH where she lives, she’ll be starting an encouragement group to celebrate small accomplishes for those needing support within her community! You can visit her network by going to the main site: