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Alumni Story: Melissa P.

It was the day before this post and picture above when my precious pastor, amazing mentor and sweet friend Amy hugged me tight in the Chattanooga Airport and said, “I love you. God loves you. I am so proud of you for doing this. You are braver than you know.” – it’s not often in life we are lucky enough to find all three of those people, certainly not lucky enough to find all three in one person – I suppose it’s not luck though, having Amy as my precious pastor, amazing mentor, and sweet friend that loves me unconditionally is an example of the Divine Order, Divine Timing, Relentless Pursuit and Relentless Grace Source has extended into my life.  On this day, exactly one year ago when I took the picture above, I stood outside the door with my lovely, caring, sweet friend Kat ready to walk through the doors not knowing what to expect. I could not envision the afternoon much less the following week or month. I knew that I had lost everything. I knew I had left everything. I knew I was overwhelmed with emotion and completely numb at the same time. I had no idea what was before me other than I knew I was about to become more relentless than I had ever been in my entire existence on this earth. One year ago I could have never imagined the power and truth that would be held in the 7 words I wrote in the screenshot of the post above right before I walked through the door to began treatment for complex ptsd, a crippling eating disorder and many other demons on my back that were determined to kill me – to be honest, when I was taking that picture I wasn’t entirely sure I would make it an entire year, I wasn’t certain I would make it to the end of the year but I was committed to relentlessly fighting with everything in me. I have a lot of people that can and will be happy to tell you that fight in me was not only relentless it was also willful and pissed off at times (but those people also stood beside me and loved me through it all). I didn’t have an ounce of self-esteem when I began treatment one year ago, even when I sat down with Gina on February 20th the only positive thing I could say about myself is that I was an amazing Aunt to Will as evidenced by his testimony and love for me. I am not afraid to admit to you today that on this journey I have been and still am confused, heartbroken, terrified, homesick, afraid of failing and I mess up every single day and every single day I am honest about it, I might sit there for a minute and pout but I always get back up, I keep showing up even when I don’t want to, I am empathetic, driven, persistent, authentic, compassionate, loving, supportive, determined, funny as hell, relentless, the biggest, greatest and loudest advocate for myself and I quote, “the best damn aunt, greatest friend and most awesome, beautiful girl in the world” according to the little boy that has been my sunshine and heartbeat for the past 10 years. There’s something incredibly difficult about being forced to see myself through the eyes of love, ED and these other asshole demons of trauma and addiction don’t want me to see through those eyes. I have had my eating disorder for well over 30 years and he quietly allured me, making me think he was my friend because there was so much trauma and chaos going on in my innocent life. I have to be relentless in my pursuit of recovery because ED has proven that he’s not going down without a fight…sometimes I feel completely defeated and want to quit but then I get tickled as I am reminded, “they clearly has no idea how willful I can be.”  Today on November 16, 2017 – 365 days after that cold, day in Edmonds, WA – I am walking out of the door of treatment (after a full year of relentlessly fighting for recovery through every level of care) in Carlsbad, CA. I wish I could say to you, “Look world! I did it! I completed! Glory Halleluja I am Recovered and this how you do it in 47 steps and 365 days! This secret can be yours for the low price in 12 installments of $49.99. However, that’s not how it works. I can say this with rigorous honesty. Look world, I did do it! I am alive and I am absolutely not the person that I was on November 16, 2016, looking at pictures that were taken on November 14, 2016 of this girl that had my name and wore my skin I cried because I felt her pain but I don’t know who she is. I can’t sell you recovery in 7 steps or even 700 steps, you have to want it for yourself – there has to be a point in your life where you say, “I’m going to be relentless about this.” Does that mean that you won’t have lapses and relapses? No. Absolutely not, it’s part of it. Hopefully you along with your solid support network will recognize it and get back on track. One of my best friends of 18 years said to me in an email this morning, “Melissa, you completed the goal you set for yourself when you were sitting in the airport on November 14, 2016. You were absolutely relentless in your pursuit of treatment, my beautiful friend!” Last night I reread the email I sent to my treatment team at The Center when I was delayed at the Chicago airport and she is right, I have slayed that goal beyond what anyone would have ever imagined when I could have easily rolled over and played dead and everyone would have understood my choice to do so. I chose the absolute hardest right over what was most definitely the easiest and most comfortable wrong and I have continually kept doing so. Over and over and over again when I have had every reason in the world to throw in my gloves and give up I keep relentlessly fighting, I keep doing hard things even when I don’t think I can. So today, one year after I walked into the doors of treatment, I am walking out of the doors of treatment saying those same 7 words, “Here goes the rest of my life…” Here goes the rest of my life.

– Melissa P.