Something significant happened before I hit rock bottom.

For the first time in my life I could truly be myself in a relationship. And not in the bullshit “he loves me without makeup” kind of way.

In the past, I had always counted on boyfriends to fix me. I purposely chose successful and motivated men to keep me in line, and I figured if I spent enough time with them their lifestyle would eventually rub off on me.

This worked to a certain extent. I would curb my drinking, go to the gym more regularly, and keep my drug use to a minimum. Eventually I’d decide they were boring and lame and leave, then revert back to my hot mess ways until the cycle would eventually repeat.

I was always bored and antsy in relationships, going through the motions to fit the mold of what they wanted in a girlfriend while convincing myself I was getting fixed in the process.

But everything changed when I met Bobby.

Love at First Sight

Bobby and I met at a local bar one night, and we instantly bonded over our mutual love of double margaritas. 12 shots of tequila and two hours later and it felt as if we had known each other forever.

From the moment we met, we were literally inseparable. (Or as inseparable as appropriate considering we were both dating other people.) Over the course of the next few months we began spending all of our free time together. We’d share secrets over bottles of wine and bond over our degenerate ways until the sun came up.

I loved having someone I could be myself around, and since I already had a boyfriend I didn’t need to “win” Bobby over or put on an act to make him like me.

Talking to Bobby was cathartic. I trusted him and respected him, and he quickly became my go-to confidant when I needed guidance in life

We supported each other through a move, a job change, and eventually our respective break-ups.

Up until this point, our friendship had been an escape from “real” life. The debauchery was limited to once or twice a week, just enough to fill my tank and curb my craziness until we’d meet again.

Once our break-ups occurred though, the dynamic between us quickly changed.

Jumping in Head First

I was apprehensive to jump in at first. Not only was it so bizarre for me to date a guy who knew EVERYTHING about me, but I had a nagging feeling in my gut telling me this would end badly. At the same time I also knew that what we had was special, so after much deliberation we decided to give this new relationship a chance.

Being with Bobby felt like a dream. He checked all of my superficial boxes (hot, tall, funny, successful) – but more importantly, he was my best friend who loved me inside and out.

There is something so freeing about putting everything on the table. Things are easy and light when you aren’t being weighed down by your secrets. He didn’t judge me for my past, he didn’t judge me for my present, he simply let me be. He loved me for me and I couldn’t be happier.

I had spent my entire dating career transforming into a custom girlfriend, tailored specifically to the liking of my lover du jour, and for the first time in my life I was the perfect girlfriend – completely raw and unedited.

At first, I couldn’t understand how he could possibly love me after knowing all my secrets. I had a healthy dose of confidence, but I’m not sure I even loved myself as much as he loved me at the time.

I could barely even see my true self through the smoke and mirrors anyways, and I preferred it this way. I hated my dark side and had spent the past 12 years refusing to accept that it was a part of me. I always figured this aspect of my personality would eventually just disappear, and in the meantime I’d just embrace my fake facade and shove the other shit away.

Being with Bobby made me feel like I was coming out. This deep and shameful part of me that I kept deeply hidden was finally out in the open, and for the first time in my life I felt free.

Spiraling Out of Control

I was happy and in love, but couldn’t ignore the feeling in my gut that this would end badly. Oh, and when your rich boyfriend funds your drug and alcohol use, that’s probably a good sign that it will!

Needless to say, my drinking and drug use spiked during this time. Even if he had to work late, Bobby would practically encourage me to go out with friends. He never batted an eye at an open beer at 11am, and was shockingly calm when I admitted to him that I had smuggled drugs internationally on our recent trip to Spain

My addictions and I were coexisting as one, They didn’t have to hide anymore, if anything they were encouraged to come out and play. But now that things were coming to the surface, i was forced to face myself head on. At the age of 30, I was finally seeing the real me.

I was finally able to see the big picture in a way I hadn’t before. With all my cards on the table it was becoming impossible to ignore that I had a serious problem.

Officially Broken

To say this was a recipe for disaster would be an understatement. I was spiraling out of control fast, and the “functioning” part of my addition was ancient history. I could hardly hold it together at work, and I began neglecting responsibilities left and right in every department of life.

By the end, I knew without a sliver of a doubt that I would die if I kept going.

To the outside world Bobby had ruined me, but I knew the truth. This relationship saved my life. I could have gone on forever had we not met, but because he gave me the space to “be myself,” I was finally able to see myself in my all my glory. And I was a fucking disaster.

I still have no idea why or how he tolerated my behavior for so long, but looking back I couldn’t be more grateful. I was frighteningly good at being a closet addict, and I truly believe I could have gone on indefinitely had he not shined a light directly on the behavior I had spent an entire decade carefully hiding.

The last three months of my drinking and drug use consisted of a series of events and poor choices that ultimately led to my decision to quit drinking, but I never would have reached this point had Bobby not accepted me for who I was first.

Facing the Truth

I don’t know what the future holds for Bobby and I, things have been weird since I decided to give sobriety a whirl. In a strange way, I think he’s mourning the loss of my drinking more than I am.

I am also opening my eyes up to a lot of bad things I put up with while I was too fucked up to care. I allowed emotional, verbal, and sexual abuse, because in my mind it was the price I paid for my own less than savory behavior. At the risk of sounding like a complete gold digger, I had also convinced myself that it was a fair trade-off for being financially supported. Now that I am sobering up to reality (literally and figuratively) I know this absolutely cannot continue.

In a way, I am mourning my old life too. I am mourning the loss of the blinders I put on that allowed me to ignore the abuse – because now that they’re off I’m forced to see my relationship for what it is – and it’s not the pretty picture I presented to the world on Instagram.

It’s only been four weeks, but sobriety is becoming much more than just the loss of drugs and alcohol. Oddly enough, that’s been the easy part. The real bitch is facing life exactly as it is and seeing things exactly as they are. But in a strange way, I’m starting to think that’s kind of the best part too.