Do you remember that one moment in time that forever altered your life? I vividly remember mine. However, that prolific moment did not just alter my life…it saved my life.
In the early morning hours of Saturday, July 11, 2009, I told a new friend my secret. A secret not even my husband knew of. I revealed that behind the shadows of my smile, I was suffering from a life threatening eating disorder. I confessed that every waking moment of my life was consumed with food, calories, size and other forms of self-hatred. Of course, at the time I did not have the wherewithal to admit I had an eating disorder, much less the severity of it, but deep down I knew what the truth was. For some reason this new friend was the only person on earth I felt safe sharing this secret with. Throughout my confessional ramblings and nervous talk that day, my friend never flinched at anything I told her. She never batted an eye. She never judged. She made me feel safe. For the first time in my entire life I felt that maybe there was a chance I could finally be free from this suffocating lifestyle. My friend took my hand that day and has never let go.
A few weeks later, I began outpatient treatment. She found the center and sat next to me as I made that first phone call. She even came with me to my first appointment. But it was not all sunshine and recovery after that…far from it. I hated every minute of treatment. I was angry…angry with my friend and my husband. What had I done? Why had I told her my secret? I was better off when it was just me and my eating disorder. How dare she come in to my world and tell me I was sick. How dare she call me bulimic. How dare she talk to my husband behind my back. How dare she care about me so much. But no matter how many times I yelled and pushed her away, she never went away. She never flinched. She never batted an eye. She never judged. She just continued to hold my hand and picked me up each time I fell.
Thanks to this day three years ago and the amazing support of my friend, as well as my husband and family, I found recovery. It has not been an easy road. Recovery is hard work, but it is possible…and it is worth it. One of my biggest blessings recovery has brought me is the ability to be a friend. Today, I am strong enough mentally and physically to be there for my friend when she needs me. But at the same time, I no longer stop my life to take care of others. I am a friend, not a caretaker. I am no longer the fake, always happy girl and I am no longer the sick, distraught girl, relying on my friend to save me. I am me…good days, bad days and every day in between. Today, I can pick myself up and take care of me and at the same time I continue to work on the strength to reach for support when I need it.
Recovery has changed my life in every way, shape and form imaginable. My eyes well with tears when reflecting back on the magnitude of this day. I am afraid to think what my life would be like if my friend never entered it. But lucky for me, she did. I stand strong in recovery today because of that moment three years ago. I stand strong in recovery because of my extraordinary friend and her unwavering support. In our short three-year friendship, we have celebrated the highest of highs and supported each other during the lowest of lows. My heart at times is still heavy from everything I put my friend through. But we are both survivors and throughout it all we have come out not just best friends but soul sisters…destined for a lifetime of friendship. My dear friend is proof that God puts people in our lives for a reason. I know I would not be in recovery today without her. I would not be the friend, wife and mom I am today without her. I am forever grateful for this day, but most of all I am forever grateful to God for bringing my special friend in to my life. They say there are angels among us…and I am glad she is mine.