I'd like to say I spent three years blissfully watching Lifetime movies with the shades drawn, but I can't. My first few months were spent like anyone who goes through any kind of detoxification process. The first step is just sheer pain and agony. The body and heart craves what it has come to know and love. Every time I would meet some gorgeous guy who had that playful "I am totally going to mess with this girl" twinkle in their eye, I'm sure the pain was evident on my face as I convinced myself to stay the course. I declined invitations; I ached for someone to touch me, for the drama of a bad relationship. Giving up casual sex was one of the hardest parts of the detox.
I needed space and time to shock my system clean. I took numbers out of my phone, I tearfully erased email addresses, IM names, whatever it took to make sure I had no way to take myself out of my soul-searching solitude. I was miserable at first, then irritated. Determined to stay the course, eventually I began to like the calm and order. I began to figure out I enjoyed doing. I discovered exercise, something I hadn't done in a really long time. How had I forgotten that I like to exercise? I discovered I was really interested in wine, so I took a wine class. People think this was really lonely, but it wasn't. I took myself out on dates instead of someone else taking me out, and I learned that I really value my own company. Without anyone else to get high on, I decided to make myself a bit of an addiction, and I learned that I was pretty freaking awesome.
Once I learned how to love myself, it became the foundation for a tremendous amount of bravado. If I could rid myself of the wrong guys in my life, what other wrongs could I right? I made huge changes in my life. I got rid of toxic friends who fostered negative feelings in me. I cleared the air with relatives who used to make me feel less than special as a child. I left a career in corporate America and moved to New York City to become a writer. I lost 82 pounds. I quit smoking.