THE BLOG

Shouldn't You Be Doing This For Free?

22/10/2014 16:15 BST | Updated 22/12/2014 10:59 GMT

I started all three of my websites at different points in my life, but all for one reason: to be what I never had.

I never had anyone be my example of how to lead a successful sober life, to get sober and stay there.

I never had anyone to show me how to get out into the real world and cope with it again after years of being housebound.

I never had anyone tell me it was possible to live outside of the prison of eating disorders. To explain why I'd ended up there in the first place. And that it was incredibly easy to overcome and to maintain this freedom long-term.

Because I never had anyone to show me the ropes? It took me bloody years to figure this sh*t out. And I failed a lot along the way. I fell down. Got pushed over. Ran into walls. Crouched in corners. I felt loneliness and despair beyond description and there was never anyone shining a lamp in the distance, guiding me back onto the right path because there was no path. Nobody had cleared the way. I had to pack my own secateurs and hack my way through, crossing my fingers I would reach a place I could at least exist in without wanting to die every day.

I'm here now. Obviously. And whilst I would never wish to put myself through any of it ever again, the very least I can do is spend a good portion of my time ensuring no one else has to do it the hard way. So; that's what the websites are for.

So why not just make a full-time career out of it if you care so much?

Because I don't believe anyone should make a full-time career out of other people's recovery. Anyone who does cannot experience enough time out on the real world to gain enough current knowledge that will keep their information and guidance fresh and relevant. They just end up with guru-syndrome, and in endless cycles of recovery-based discussions with other counsellors.

And because if they absolutely have to make their only form of income from other people's recovery? They are forced to do things like drag out symptoms. And keep people just sick enough to ensure they come back for more "help". There's just no option to simply give people the solutions all in one go, and then send them off all better. Repeat customers are the order of the day. And I hate that. It feels so deeply wrong to me. Because I've been on the other side if it. Been robbed of money and hope. It's heartbreaking.

So then why bother doing it at all?

Because I'm really good at it. And it's nice to be really good at things. I'm not really good at most things in life, this just happens to be one of them. It gives me pleasure to do it. And yes, pleasure is a big part of all successful recovery as far as I'm concerned.

But it's not the only thing I'm good at. And I really, really enjoy what I do for a living. And luckily it keeps me financially secure enough that I'll never need to depend on helping people in recovery as a main source of income. So I'll never feel the need to do anything as underhand as refuse to reveal 100% of the information people need all in one go, so they can go off and do the rest by themselves.

Then why do you charge so much when you do work with people individually?

I don't charge massive amounts. I start my UK fees at £100 per 90 minute session. That's enough time to pretty much guarantee somebody won't need to use me again. It includes a month of email support to implement all the instructions I've given. Because I have a 100% success rate with anyone who follows my guidance to-the-letter. If people do want to take it further and implement these lessons on other aspects of their life? That's fine-but there needs to be at least a month in between sessions-or you aren't utilising them properly.

And because when I did it for free? No one was interested. No one invested their time because the stakes weren't high at all. It's actually not always £100. it's whatever your currency equivalent is of £100. I work with a lot of American and European people, so I don't make as much money from those sessions. The South Africans I work with I end up making about £10. That's not the point. The point is the investment the individual is making. The statement that this reinforces to themselves. I'm here. I've paid money so I'll pay attention: Let's Go.

So if you don't need the money, what do you do with it?

Again it reinforces the basic premises of recovery as far as I'm concerned. And whether your recovery is from being physically unwell, being addicted or having an eating disorder, there are universal rules that apply.

  • No more bargain basement hunting. It's not about getting as much cheap sh*t for as little as I can spend. It's about paying more for quality. Raising lifestyle standards. Raising expectations. If this isn't addressed there is no long-term recovery. Because I can't live in a world where I expect less than I want. Where I accept cr*p experiences. I'd just end up back where I started. Unwell. Addicted. Imprisoned.
  • I must strive for things outside of my current realm of experience. To keep reaching for new, for more. To be a bigger, bolder more beautiful version of myself, that's what all recovery is. And that takes money. Trust me.
    • Feeling good, all the time. My life has shown me that I cannot expect long-term, successful recovery from anything if my life experience as a whole does not feel good. This encompasses the clothes I wear, the places I live and socialise, the conversations I have and the work I do. They all have to feel good to me. Feeling good is an investment in more. The more I have to invest, the more feel-good components my life will be made up of.

    So. That's why I charge more than most. And why I refuse to see people very often for sessions. and why I feel like it's okay to charge what I like. Maybe one day I won't want to do it anymore, Then I'll stop. For now everyone I work with is happy, and I leave them in a far better place than I found them in, so I'm satisfied. And yes, satisfaction is a huge part of my successful recovery, thanks for asking.

    Who do you not charge?

    I don't charge anyone asking for help with physical recovery who is paralysed and being fed through a tube. They get as much help as they want. Because like most of us there's an infinitesimally small part of me still afraid I will end up there, and if that ever happens I would want someone to do the same for me.

    Anyone who is above this stage physically can sort their sh*t out to some degree. And aren't anywhere near as f*cked as they think they are. Because believe it or not a huge part of successful recovery is stopping manipulating other people to see you as sick so they will give you special allowances on the behavioural front. And everyone who is well now? We all had to learn that. So the quicker you learn it too,the better.

    The websites will always be free. The email advice likewise. The individual sessions are just for anyone determined to do whatever it takes to move on immediately to their New Life After and leave old ways behind. It's not easy so not many want to.

    Most importantly; whichever path you choose to take? I wish you all the luck in the world x