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When You Meet the Love of Your Life in Recovery

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I’ve told this story many times and it never gets old, because it’s a tale of how love helped me learn to survive, thrive and live.

I met the love of my life during my recovery — during a period in my life where I was unsure of many things, during a time in my life I wasn’t confident in myself, let alone being someone else’s partner. But the funny thing about life is that it doesn’t quite understand when the right time for things is, or maybe we just don’t appreciate enough that things happen for a reason at that exact moment when they happen.

I met my partner during a time when I was withdrawn from others. But there was something about him and his energy that allowed me to open up and put myself out there. As we became friends, I fell in love with the person he was and eventually we moved to something more than friends. I was extra self-conscious during the start of our relationship, worried that he’d think differently of me. I never wanted him to have a bad image or view of me, so I was always trying to be careful about what I did or said.

Then one day, we were on an ice cream date and I bit too much off the ice cream cone he was feeding me. It resulted in me not being able to eat the whole bite and getting a brain freeze. I was looking around for a way to spit back the ice cream or do something to alleviate the brain freeze. He was gracious enough to let me spit the ice cream into his hand. I know, you’re probably thinking this is sounding like one of those dates where I won’t get a call back or asked on another date, right? Oddly, we just laughed about it.

That night he told me dates like that make him laugh and have fun, showing a side of me that’s more carefree, and it makes him like me even more. It was then that I knew I found the right person because he loved me for who I am – a dorky, clumsy and anxious girl who easily gets brain freeze but loves her ice cream anyway.

During the time we met, I was mentally fragile and unwilling/closed to the idea of dating. How was I supposed to be able to love someone else when I was still trying to learn how to love myself? But when you meet someone as thoughtful, nurturing, caring and kind as my partner, you learn. You learn that the right person stands by you no matter what, that they think you’re beautiful and perfect even when you think you’re at your worst, and that they’ll love you regardless of anything. And in that process, you might also learn that they give you a newfound purpose and inspiration to be a better person. You learn that the image they have of you, which is of this amazing person, is real — and you should believe in it too.

So in that process of falling in love with someone, you can slowly build confidence within yourself because you learn all of the things they love about you that you never clearly saw. You get to understand those parts of you better that you once hid, but show your partner because being vulnerable can be brave. That’s what I learned when I met my partner. I thank him every day for helping me see the person I really am. Behind the distorted image I have of myself is the real image he sees; and he helps me not only see it, but also accept and eventually love it.

Every day I am with him I learn how to be a little more confident, more positive, to love the person he fell for and better myself to be the partner I want him to have. Finding love, or being found by love, gave me the inspiration I needed to get better. It gave me the motivation to live the healthy and happy life I deserve.

To the love of my life, you inspire me everyday to use love rather than hate to better myself. To anyone reading this, I hope you find the love you need to shine a light in your life.

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Lead image via contributor

Originally published: May 8, 2018
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