mental health

8 years

“But like, what is the importance of being out of treatment for 8 years if you relapsed once and still struggle with issues from time to time?”

FIRST: shut the fuck up

SECOND: let me explain

My last day in treatment was October 24th, 2011.

I had given up my post-high school summer, going out of state to college, going IN STATE to college, friendships, relationships & my freedom for just over 4 months straight to fight the addictions that had outrun me.

And it wasn’t my first time in treatment, but it WAS my last time.

So I’m not celebrating the fact that I never have difficult days; that’s not realistic.

I celebrate handling my shit.

I celebrate being able to appreciate my body, even when I don’t necessarily like it.

I celebrate the ability to refrain from scarring my body when I feel pain; being able to go hang out with my sister instead of going to the gym; being able to eat something that isn’t watermelon.

I celebrate the acknowledgement that pills with someone else’s name on them are not for me (hahaha funny).

I celebrate the friendships I lost when I got out of treatment that proved they weren’t real to begin with; the connections I’ve made with girls when I return to the center to speak.

I celebrate the life that I’ve built:

  • graduating college
  • buying a car
  • moving into a house
  • becoming a Personal Trainer and being able to educate others before they get too deep into misinformation like I did that they can’t dig their way out

I celebrate because having something to celebrate takes away the pain from knowing addiction stole over 6 years of my life, and I get to live just wildly enough to make up for it.

So there you have it; I celebrate because I like to.

Because when I first went in, it wasn’t certain I would live to see my way out.

It wasn’t certain that full recovery was an option for me, or that I was even worth trying.

And as I type this while all snuggled up in my own bed with oodles of blankets, music playing and my puppy at the end of the bed all tucked in, I’m reminded of the windowless bright orange-walled room that I spent approximately 8 hours a day in uncovering the deep shit, and then the problems that ran even deeper.

I’m reminded of the hours I spent making friendship bracelets so I would have something to do with my hands, and taking 2 hours to eat chicken nuggets while everyone else got to go outside.

I’m reminded of the days we spent sitting in silence after a meal because no one wanted to be the first to speak, and picking EKG stickies off me for weeks on end because by the time you got it all off, it as time for another one.

I’m reminded of not being able to use the restroom alone (true story).

I’m reminded of family night, when my parents would come and eat with us, and my 18th birthday, when everyone was mad at me because I was the reason our dessert that day was cupcakes.

They make you talk about really hard shit when you’re there – why you hate your body, and then why you ACTUALLY hate your body (one is because you think you’re ugly and the other is because you went through trauma as a child and can’t stand anyone touching you, let alone looking at you).

I’m reminded of my friends calling me from UMD to see if I was all moved in, while I was still in that same room, wondering why this was my life.

And I am reminded of my final check-up before I was discharged, saying goodbye to everyone (no hugs, I hate hugging) and driving away, unable to comprehend that I was actually one of the ones that made it.

So there you have it; I celebrate because I like to.

I remember celebrating my first year.

And tomorrow, I get to celebrate 8 of them.

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