“When you look back at your life and feel at peace because of the changes you made, that’s recovery.”

Several years ago I ended an abusive relationship. On our 2nd date he jokingly called me a bitch and I laughed it off. He apologized the next day. The relationship was good for the next following months and there were no red flags. I was falling in love and had total blinders on. After those few months I started to notice his drinking habits didn’t line up with mine. He would drink a bottle or two of wine a night. He wanted to sit at a bar from happy hour till closing which wasn’t my thing. But because of love I stayed. I turned into the designated driver. Then “Is it ok if I crash with you until I find a new place?” turned into moving into my studio apartment at 4 months permanently. Again, I stayed in the relationship because of love and because I was being pampered. It was nice that I was not strapped financially. I liked being wined and dined. It was at this time of him beginning to live with me, I was told by him that I was gaining weight and looked fat. It was also at this time that he said those words while under the influence of alcohol. I shook it off because he was drunk. Fast forward a couple months to a vacation he took me on for my birthday. It was all fun and games during the day but when the alcohol was flowing at night it was a different story. I was constantly put down and told I was worthless, while he was under the influence. The next morning he was not aware of his actions and apologized. Fast forward another couple months to the holidays. It was at this time when everything got worse. He had an injury and was mixing prescriptions with alcohol. He was coming home later than usual. He lied and said he was arrested and I needed to come bail him out, only to call the court to find out there was no record of him. An hour later he came stumbling through the front door wasted and thinking it was funny. He attended a dinner at my families house and was drinking glass after glass and putting me down in front of my mom and brother. He then passed out at the dinner table. I had to carry him out to the car. On the drive home he threatened to kill me. He said “I’ve done it before and I can do it again” meaning when he was overseas. The next day I confronted him and there was no apology or recollection of the night’s prior events. It was at that time I decided to end it. I packed my bags and stayed at my parents for a month while he moved out. He moved out but was still trying to keep me in his life. I ended up meeting him one time at a bar and nothing had changed. He was wasted and belittled me from the moment I walked in the door. Everyone around me was staring at us. He went to the restroom and everyone asked me if I was ok? I said, “I will be” and left the bar. I received several threatening text messages after that and never responded. I cut him completely out of my life. That was the hardest decision I ever had to make but I did it and have never looked back.

Abuse of any kind is never right. Abuse is abuse no matter how you look at it. I was blinded the entire year of our relationship because I thought I was in love. I thought he would change if he loved me like he said he did. But he loved alcohol more. He loved that numb feeling. Don’t ever be ashamed to ask for help. Reach out to those who love and support you. If you don’t have that, go speak to a counselor or priest. Also, take the time to heal. Continue to seek help. Spend time with yourself. Surround yourself with people who love you and will only lift you higher. Those who help you get up after you have fallen and have dusted you off. Those who don’t judge. Those who don’t ask questions. They just listen. Really take time for yourself. Enjoy the solitude. Learn about who you are as a person and what you want out of life.

I took 2 years off to find myself. I re-entered working out and eating healthy – some of the things that took a back burner while I was in that relationship. I expanded my creativity by taking art classes, I started a blog and was cooking for others. I felt my outlet for healing was through cooking. I enjoyed spending hours in the kitchen preparing meals for the week. I organized several fitness and diet challenge groups that were very successful. I decided I was ready to put myself out there again, so I did. I went on eHarmony and met a great guy. Our first date lasted almost 4 hours and conversation was easy. It felt great being out there again. That only lasted a few months but I was out there. I was able to trust again. I was able to let myself be open to new possibilities.

I then continued to take more and more time for myself. I was teaching Pilates twice a week, I had made new friends especially a best friend. Life was pretty good just being on my own. I continued cooking for others and was making extra spending cash. I established a very close connection with my mom and gained her as a best friend. I started hanging out with her and a bunch of other women who have totally inspired me. A group of crazy, fun loving, and strong women. They keep me grounded and have a wealth of knowledge and experience that help me on a regular basis.

It was this time last year that I decided to give dating another try. I went back to online dating because it was easy for me. My friends are all married and have kids. An idea of their Saturday night is a picnic on the living room floor, watching Disney movies. Don’t get me wrong I love Disney movies, but not too many single men come to these picnics. In those few months I went on so many first dates. So many unusual and awkward first dates. It was getting exhausting, frustrating and time consuming. It felt like a job interview each time. I should have started a blog on first dates. Man, there were some interesting characters. It was also during this time of solitude that I decided I wanted to go back to school and become a Nutritionist. I had already been helping others eat healthy and knew if I wanted to take it to the next level I would need a degree. So I took that first step.

I thought I had cancelled my online dating membership, but it hadn’t gone through. I was charged for another 3 months and couldn’t get out of it. That same day this guy wrote me. We hit it off and things went well. I was thinking whoa, maybe this is it? Maybe, I am done searching? Maybe, the cancellation snafu was fate? It was great for some time. I met a lot of new people who were very friendly and welcoming. I was trying new things and having a great time. However, there comes a point when you realize it’s just not meant to be. And as much as that sucks, it happens. There were issues within both of us but I am not going to address that. That is not the reason for this post.

This post is on reflection. It’s to get all of those emotions out so one can heal. It’s to show that the scars you share become lighthouses for other people who are headed for the same rocks you hit. Life is tough. No one ever said it would be easy. It’s to show that again, you go to those who lift you up and dust you off. They never are further away than a text or call. It’s to show that there are decent people out there; you just need to be ready to let them in and even if it didn’t work out there are still others. It’s about being true to yourself and not settling for less than you deserve. It’s to show that you are beautiful no matter what someone else tells you. It’s to remind you to never let anyone ever dull your sparkle. It’s to show that you can fight the hardest battles and come out stronger. It’s to show that you can accomplish anything if you have a little fate. Cry it out. Take the time to heal. Take the time to find yourself. Take the time to re-invent yourself. Take the time and be ready to let others in. Take the time and learn to trust again. Life is not a race. Life is a journey. God has a plan for each and every one of us. We just need to be patient.