I’ve really been trying to express gratitude more, especially within recovery so I think I’m going to start doing a series of thank yous. Here’s part one:
1 year ago today I discharged from inpatient treatment and started outpatient recovery full-time. Ho-ly crap. What a year it has been.
When I left EDCD a year ago I had no idea what the future had instore, but boy was I excited. I was in a place I had never been and for the first time in a long time I was so happy. I mean, I was equally as terrified and guilty and nervous and angry about coming home but I also knew that things were gonna be good. I kept thinking, “You feel the same way about going home as you did about coming to treatment and look how good that turned out. Everything it going to work out.” Besides, I had to face real life eventually. As much as I would have loved it stay in the comfort and safety of treatment, I had to get back to my life.
As I think about this last year, I can’t help but get emotional. I celebrated the anniversary of the day I entered treatment but man, this is a day worth celebrating too. Guys, recovery has given me so. much. Yeah, it’s taken a lot too, but when I let myself look back I can’t help but smile on the past year.
One thing I’ve tried to become more intentional with as I recover is being grateful. Realizing the opportunities that have been given to me, whatever they are, and being thankful for whatever I can get out of them. So I just wanted to write a quick thanks to a place and a group of people that absolutely changed my life for the better. One that I don’t think I could ever thank enough, and one that I’m sure will never actually see this post, but I wanted to put it out there anyway.
To the wonderful, caring, hardworking therapists, doctors, dieticians, chefs, and staff of EDCD,
I thought I had an eloquent letter in my head, but I was wrong. Where do I begin? What do I even begin to thank you for?
Thanks for giving me my life back? Heck, thanks for giving me my life. I’m not sure I ever had it to begin with. Thanks for introducing me to Melissa, the real authentic Melissa. I wish I could say that I love myself and never struggle with self-acceptance or body-image, but I can say that the more I get to know authentic Melissa, the more I like her.
I’m writing this to say thanks for showing me that I’m not the person ED told me I was. I got 3 Cs this past semester. Yep, 3. Cue the audible gasp. The girl who couldn’t stand the thought of getting a B a year ago and who finally agreed to go to treatment only because it was affecting her academics got 3 Cs. This. Semester. Sucked. I wanna say it sucked more than treatment. The thing that pisses me off is I worked my ass off for those 3 Cs and still only got Cs. I want to say I’m totally fine with it and I’ve moved on with my life and whatever but the truth is it’s wrecked me. ED has managed to take full advantage of this opportunity to prove what a failure I am and what a failure recovery has made me. But you know what hasn’t happened because I got Cs? My world hasn’t crumbled around me. I wasn’t kicked out of my program. My family didn’t disown me and I didn’t ruin my chance of getting into a good grad school or getting a good job, in fact I got a good job. I got into Teach for America, C’s and all, and am going to teach elementary school in Mississippi after I graduate. You know what has happened, however? I saw my roommates a heck of a lot more than I used to. I spent time with my friends and let myself have some fun. I decided to sleep instead of torture myself with all-nighters. I focused on me and what I needed.
And yeah, right now I’m trying not to convince myself that I need straight A’s for the rest of my college career to make up for this “abysmal” semester, because I don’t, but I can let myself smile at the fact that yeah, last semester may have been my worst semester academically, but outside of school I’ve never been better and that makes up for it ten times over. And I have you guys to thank for that.
I could go on and on. Thanks for not giving up on me. Thanks for not letting me give up on myself. Thanks for challenging me in ways I’m challenged in my everyday life, even if I hated it in program. Thanks for doing what you do. You guys hear it all the time I’m sure, but you are changing and saving lives and it takes special people to do that.
Lastly, and you guys don’t have much control over this one, but I want to say thanks for being in Denver. I have a great team here in Bloomington, but that’s it. There’s not a lot of extra support besides that. I remember so many weeks wanting to give up and quit. I saw all of my treatment friends going to ANAD or EDF groups or going back to IOP and still having a life. I didn’t have that option. My options are do outpatient or pause my life entirely to go to treatment, in Denver, Indy, St. Louis or wherever. And while I still struggle with wanting to just give up and go back, I’m so thankful that, while I was there, you guys never let me stop thinking about my goals. You never let me forget that treatment was just a stop, it was never the end goal. And while there was no shame in being in treatment or going to treatment, I was always going to have to leave my treatment bubble no matter how many times I came back, so I decided that I’m not quite ready to go back into my treatment bubble. I’ve had one unnecessarily secretive but luckily pretty short relapse but besides that I’ve decided ED’s taken enough of my college years.
I only get one undergrad, and I’m a senior, so it’s time to have some real fun, there’s no room for you ED.
So thanks again, EDCD. Thanks for giving me the ability to look towards my future with genuine excitement. You guys really are changing lives.