Marriage & Recovery

There was a time in my life when I wholeheartedly believed that finding “the one” would fix everything. That my prince charming would sweep me off my feet and make every insecurity and addiction disappear. Over the years I realized the naivety of this belief, yet there was still a part of me that believed, or maybe hoped, that having a ring on my finger would make every other struggle in my life vanish.

I’m here to say that this is 100% not the case.

I’d learned well before meeting Ryan that being in a relationship would never fix my problems. No man would ever come along and miraculously make my trauma disappear. However, there were, and always will be, men who try to convince women that they are indeed the answer to all of their issues. It’s these men who reinforce codependency and lead their partners even deeper into the pits.

One of the reasons I fell in love with Ryan to begin with was because he never tried to be my cure-all. He’s supported and encouraged me from the beginning, but has never pretended to be able to “fix” me. Instead, he has loved me through relapses, grief, insecurities, depression, anxiety & nightmares. To explain a bit more, this is part of the little speech that I gave at our reception:

“I’d never ever been the one to make the first move, or say those three little words first, but I did. He was different, he is different. He is my knight in shining armor, but not because he saved me. But because for the last three years he has challenged me to save myself and continues to be my support and my best friend… The point is, he is not like anyone I’ve ever known, and I cannot believe that I’m lucky enough to call him my husband.”

It’s been difficult for me figuring out this whole “wife” thing. I have the same, if not more, unconditional love and support from my husband, but I’ve been struggling. I think I’m trying too hard to identify who I am as a “wife.” I’m still me. I’m still the same woman who is learning to love herself, despite not necessarily liking what she sees in the mirror. I’m still the same woman who has claimed victory over some of her most aggressive demons. I’m still the same woman who is madly in love with Ryan Norton, and who is working so freaking hard, every day, to be a better human.

So here’s to marriage not fixing all of our problems, but to being able to celebrate the victories, big and little, with your permanent roommate. 👫

NN


A Letter to My Valentine

I don’t brag about you enough. Seriously.

Never have I known a man as hard-working, generous, kind, loving, or patient. You are truly incredible, and I don’t know how I got so lucky.

I am not, in any sense of the phrase, an easy person to love. Mom used to say that a person cannot truly be loved, or love another, until they love themselves – and boy oh boy was she right.

Years ago as our relationship progressed, you were able to see my insecurities and vulnerabilities more than anyone was ever able to. And much to my surprise, you didn’t leave because of them. Not only did you not run away, you fought for me. You changed me; I have never been so content with myself and with life in general. You have challenged, supported, and encouraged me to such an extent over the last few years that I genuinely cannot put it into words.

img_20171216_110943597692265899.jpg

The bottom line – thank you.
Thank you for being my adventure buddy.
Thank you for always making me laugh.
Thank you for loving Jesus.
Thank you for loving me.
Thank you for being you.

I love you Ryan.

-Your Forever Valentine
💒💑

his love roared louder than her demons
💕NT

Be Gentle…

Recovery is hard, it’s a simple fact. It can be so easy to allow little mistakes or slips ups to lead to a relapse, but instead we need to accept them, learn from them, and move forward.

A common trait in folks recovering from eating disorders is perfectionism. Speaking for myself, perfectionism reveals itself in my recovery specifically when I take a step backwards and practice a behavior. Perfectionism says that if my recovery isn’t perfect then there’s no point, but grace says that every set back is a set up for a come back

The perfectionist voice in my head prevails like this after any kind of mistake: 

NOW you’ve done it. There’s no reason to try anymore. You just ruined (insert the number of days / months clean) of successful recovery and hard work. Might as well keep (insert addiction / ineffective behavior). You’re a worthless failure. 

Etc, etc, etc.

The bottom line here is that no one’s recovery is perfect. For me, instead of listening  to the voices from my eating disorder & addictions, I need to focus on positive affirmations and the whisper of my savior in my  heart. All we can ultimately do is continue to push forward, love ourselves, and trust that the sun will continue to rise each morning – no matter how dark the night is.

N.T. 💛