I’m no pro at quitting addictions at this point, but from what I had heard, it was not going to be a pretty process.
I couldn’t bare the thought of facing this alone. This is when my focus began to shift. It was as though I went into survival mode, searching for the strength and stability that I needed for this battle I was about to endure. I needed tools, tools that I had never used before. I needed to do things I hadn’t done before, and think in a way I hadn’t thought before. If I was really going to come out on top, and not revert back to these weaknesses, I needed all of the strength I could muster.
That’s when a certain friendship of mine lit up like a lightbulb. Whenever I was around this particular friend, I saw a glimmer of hope I couldn’t find anywhere else.
I was inspired to be the very best version of myself in his presence. The effect he had on me became a clear asset.
Most would laugh when they hear me referring to someone that I love as “an asset”. And you probably should laugh. I too, can laugh at it now. But to be completely honest, that’s kind of what he was. He was a great friend that provided a great deal of insight for me as I danced with the idea of becoming a better person. I had known him for years, but only recently had we spent any one on one time together. We would casually meet for coffee and end up talking for hours.
I wasn’t trying to impress him, I was just trying to learn from him. He had known about my past relationships, and my experience on the bachelor, because he had been around, as my friend. I didn’t feel that there was any pressure there to turn this into something. We openly talked about how we loved our independence, and freedom, and how a relationship was the last thing on our minds. This was a relief for me. Not to say that I wasn’t attracted to him, because underneath the calm, cool, and collected friend dates, I was giddy inside. But I was relieved that he was just being him, and I was just being me.
Conversations with him left me feeling more excited about life than ever before. We used our time together to discuss health, positivity, our dreams, our goals, opportunities, and possibilities.
The more time we spent together, I realized what was so dynamic about this guy… He was honest. Sometimes, even brutally honest. And I found this incredibly refreshing. He never told me what I wanted to hear, just because he thought it’s what I wanted to hear. He spoke what was on his mind, regardless of the predicted outcome. His honesty and his truth is what gave me the strength to face my own. I felt different about this one…
For the first time, I looked at this guy and saw not only how he could love me, but how he could teach me to love myself.
He was consistent, confident, and emotionally strong, and he’s exactly who I needed on my team.
Coffee dates led to dinners, dinners turned into day-long adventures, and then I found myself spending most of my time with him.
The life I had dreamt of living, he was already there. He didn’t go out to bars, and he didn’t fall pray to the pressure and “rules” of society as I had for so many years. He didn’t need anything but himself, and never let any substance get the best of him. He ate for health, not for pleasure, and he had big, wild dreams. He had a light inside of him and a true confidence that wasn’t being simulated by some external force. He was eager to learn, and to share information. His energy was electric, and contagious. I found myself feeling stronger every second that he was near by. I had a glimpse of what it might be like to live a purposeful, honest, strong, and healthy life. He showed me that it was possible through his actions. It was the most powerful thing for me to see in order to begin my healing process. Despite our very clear intentions of remaining single for the rest of our lives, it’s safe to say that we eventually found ourselves, accidentally in love.
“Despite our very clear intentions of remaining single for the rest of our lives, it’s safe to say that we eventually found ourselves, accidentally in love.”
I remember one day very specifically… it was just before a bartending shift, and he had stopped by to say hello for a little while. I was sitting on my bedroom floor working on a painting I had randomly become inspired to do. This was long before I was taking my art too seriously, and this piece wasn’t for a customer, it was simply just for me. He came in the room, got down on the floor next to me and just examined it. I watched him as he watched me. His eyes were on my hands, as I carefully blended one color into another. I could tell he was really soaking it in… I even wondered if maybe it looked better from someone else’s perspective considering how pleased he was with that simple experience of watching me paint. And without even lifting his eyes from my brush, he said, in the most certain tone, “You’re really good.” The honesty behind his words left me no choice but to believe him.
In this moment, I felt an unfamiliar and slightly uncomfortable feeling… self-confidence.
Dalton encouraged me to take my art to the next level and to really focus my energy on it. I knew my whole life, that art would always be a part of me. I’ve known myself to be talented, but never have given myself permission to really own it. My friends and family have always encouraged me to do what I love, whether that was modeling, painting, acting, serving turkey legs at Disney World, you name it. But, there’s something counter-intuitive for a parent to suggest that their child quit his or her job and become a “starving artist”. So, this was the first time I had really been encouraged to just go for it, all in, no plan B, and there was something insanely invigorating about that…
Dalton’s excitement about my creativity made me excited, and his confidence in my abilities to support myself financially with my art skills gave me the push that I needed to leave my job as a bartender. I had been desperate to leave the industry that was constantly feeding all of my addictions, and this was my out. The feeling of freedom I felt after quitting my job, gave me the strength to go further… within days, I decided it was time to sell my car. It only took a few hours online for this beautiful white Land Rover to sell. I guess from the outside, it may have seemed a little extreme to do everything I was doing, but for me, I was doing exactly what I needed to. I was freeing myself. I flushed all of my remaining pills down the toilet. I went through my closet and cut my wardrobe in half. I threw away bags and bags of makeup, extensions, self-tanners. With each material possession that I shed, the closer I felt to finding my true self.
Dalton was by my side through it all, and I couldn’t have made these choices without him there. Although I was on the right track, this was no time to be celebrating… Flushing the drugs down the toilet, unfortunately doesn’t mean they’re flushed out of the body. And throwing away the makeup doesn’t magically make a girl confident without it. My cupboards, my closets, my wallet and driveway were all empty… I had just let go of anything that made me who I was in order to transform into someone that I wanted to become.