Last Sunday, April 26th, was our 1 year anniversary. They say that the first year is the hardest but I honestly think we grew closer and stronger this past year. There were the normal adjustments and challenges that come with being newly married and living together, but I fall in love with him more and more everyday. I seriously love this guy!!! He is my best friend and the love of my life. I am grateful for him in my life so much!
This past week, as I was thinking back over this past year, I started thinking about the four years that we have been together and how much I have grown - not just with Brian - but also how much I have grown in my recovery and in my self. I thought back to where I was at the time when I first met Brian. I remember that day so well. It was January 30th, 2011. At the time, I was living with in a house with 5 other roommates. One of my roommates was friends with Brian (they had been friends for a while but I had never met him before.) I remember going out into the front room to walk my friend out to her car and a few of my roommates were all hanging out in the front room with Brian. After I said goodbye to my friend, I went and sat down with everyone and joined in on the conversation. As the evening went on, one of my roommates and I were texting back and forth and she was asking what I thought of Brian and if I thought he was cute. And I did! There was something about him that drew me in and I was immediately interested in this mysterious guy. I later find out from Brian that he thought I was cute too, but he thought that I wasn't interested because I was texting on my phone all night... but little did he know at the time, I was texting about him! It's still something we laugh about to this day. I am also really shy at first when I am around someone that I really like, so sometimes that can seem like disinterest but it's just me being nervous and shy.
It was so crazy too because at the time, I wasn't looking for a boyfriend. I was mainly just trying to focus on my recovery and falling in love was not at the top of my list. But there was something about this guy that just drew me to him. I really liked him and the next day, I talked my roommate into calling him and seeing if he wanted to hang out. So her and I went rock climbing with him at the climbing gym he was working at at that time. And then the next day we hung out, and the next, and so on. It was weird. I just wanted to be around him all the time. And ever since that first day, we have seen each other pretty much every single day. There were days here or there when we wouldn't see each other for a day or two, but those days were rare. And that's not to say that everything was perfect. We had our ups and downs like most relationships do as you are getting to know each other and just normal day to day stuff. And one thing that helped too was that since we didn't officially start dating until March 17th of that year, (he asked me out on our first official date on St. Patricks Day) we got to know each other as friends first. Which was kinda hard because we both really liked each other but we wanted to take it slow and get to know each other first. Looking back, I'm glad we did it that way.
That first year we were together also really helped me let go of my eating disorder more and more. At the time that I met Brian, I was kinda bouncing back and forth on that line between "recovery" and "anorexia." I had one foot on one side and the other foot on the other side and was just kind of back and forth. I was doing pretty good at the time, I was in the early stages of stable recovery after a pretty horrible relapse a couple years earlier that took a while to bounce back from. At the time, the only treatment I was in was seeing a therapist. Which was a really good sign for me that I was doing okay and maybe starting to make some lasting progress. And I'm not going to say that I recovered because of Brian or that love saved me and made me better... But he did help me save me from myself. At the time, I was really starting to feel like I could and wanted to recover for myself. I was so tired of the eating disorder and I think I was finally ready to really start to let go of it. And when Brian came along, he gave me that extra motivation I needed. He came into my life at the perfect time, and because every other relationship that I had in the past had failed because of my eating disorder, I didn't want that to happen with Brian. There was something special about this guy and I didn't want my eating disorder to take that away from me like so many other things in my life. I will forever be grateful to Brian for helping me, loving me, and supporting me in my recovery.
But I did still struggle. That first year was especially tough because I was really truly trying to let go of the eating disorder that I had had since I was 13 years old. And that was scary. But I kept reminding myself of all the things that I wanted more than I wanted my eating disorder. And slowly but surely, I did let go. I still struggled and I still had those days (or weeks) when I would slip back into those behaviors for a moment. I still do to this day at times. I still have my bad moments. I think my eating disorder is always going to be something that I am vulnerable to, but I haven't relapsed since then which is really crazy to me because relapsing was ALL that I seemed to be doing ever since I was sent to my first inpatient treatment center. A lot of people (including myself) thought that I would never get better. Thought that I would never recover. So to see where I am in my life now... It's truly a blessing. I have come a long way these past four years. I am living a life I didn't think I would ever have. I am alive, I am healthy, and my eating disorder is not what I live my life around anymore. Who would have thought??? And that's why I truly do believe that recovery IS possible for all of you too. We all find recovery at different points in our life and in different ways - but as long as you are fighting and getting back up after you fall, then you will find it when you are ready. I honestly believe that. But you have to keep fighting. It is hard. It is the hardest, scariest, and most painful thing I have EVER had to do. But it IS worth it. And I just want everyone out there to know that you deserve to find your light and your recovery. Please, please don't ever give up! You are worth SO much more than the struggle you are going through and I truly mean that from the bottom of my heart. I really do.