I am a firm believer that time heals all wounds. Riding the wave, waiting for the storm to pass, dancing in the rain; all that good stuff. But let me tell ya, every single time I walk into a doctor’s office, a familiar brush of panic washes over me as I am asked to hop on the scale.

It has been 5 years since I began my recovery journey and I have yet to regret a single step along the way. I write and run this blog. And hell, I am less than 6 months away from becoming a licensed counselor. But as soon as I caught wind of the fact that I have gained 20 pounds in a matter of 2 years, I crumbled like the piece of cake I didn’t think twice about eating for breakfast this morning.

Would this realization have brought me to my knees (and probably right into treatment) if I had seen those numbers before I began to choose recovery? Absolutely. Did I still end up sobbing into the arms of my roommate and yelling at my therapist over a text message because of the shame I was experiencing? You bet’cha!

But as I have been able to take a step back from it all and recognize this as merely a bump in the road, I can slowly, but surely, grant myself some grace. I have been considering myself in recovery from my eating disorder for over 5 years, but it has been only in the past 2 years that I began recovering from a toxic lifestyle. It was not until I admitted to myself that I was so deeply buried in a grave of narcissism, manipulation, and neglect that I realized something needed to change. I had been conditioned my entire life to expect abuse and the last place I was ever able to find safety was in my own body.

It was on February 19th, 2017 that I last experienced physical, mental, and emotional abuse at the hands of my own blood. And ever since then I have been able to recognize my self-worth and establish the boundaries that ultimately saved my life. So yes, I have gained 20 pounds in these 2 years. But I have also gained a life that I am happy to call my own. And so, in celebration of that life, here are the 20 things that I truly gained since 2017.

  1. My own home
  2. A supportive roommate
  3. A rescue puppy
  4. Safety from abusive relationships
  5. 3 new jobs
  6. 4 amazing little girls
  7. A therapist who has never stopped fighting alongside me
  8. My best friends
  9. A renewed love for Portillo’s
  10. A healthy sex life
  11. A good night’s sleep
  12. My dream internship
  13. 2 passed licensure exams
  14. 4 successful half marathons
  15. 5 new tattoos
  16. A real connection with my yoga practice
  17. A voice that I am not afraid to share with those around me
  18. Strength in vulnerability
  19. Self-forgiveness and patience
  20. Gratitude

Written and contributed by Megan Rose.