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  • Jason Wood


I returned from my trip last week with several souvenirs, but best of all they took up no room in my suitcase. These valuables exist only in my heart and mind.

This trip was a step outside of my comfort zone. I hung out with some of my best friends for the first time in almost two years, while breaking away from my daily routines. I was nervous to see my friends because I thought it might be awkward now that I don’t drink. Oh, and toss in the fact that earlier this year I embraced vulnerability and opened up to them about my insecurities and eating disorder.

However, as soon as I saw them it felt like old times again. No, let me rephrase that. It felt better than old times because I was my authentic self. There were no masks, except for the COVID ones. I smiled bigger, laughed louder, and loved deeper.

Leaving the racetrack one night, I looked over at Matt and said, “Wow, I just realized that I don’t need to drink to be fun or have fun.” What a beautiful discovery!

As the trip progressed, I allowed myself to take rest days. Instead of working out every day on vacation like I used to, I gave my body and mind a break. As I return home and back to my workout routine, I feel stronger. So I guess rest days really are a good thing! Another souvenir for the collection!

Along those lines, I realized that I don’t have to earn my food. While I’ve told myself this in recovery, this was my first real opportunity to put those words into action. I had pizza and cheesecake and didn’t work out the next morning! I survived and reminded myself that my diet and weight will never define me again. A newfound freedom that is hard to put into words, but yet another token from an amazing trip.

Last but not least, I revisited my childhood hometown. A place that is filled with many wonderful memories, but one I ran from for years because of the unresolved pain and grief inside. On this trip, however, I finally got to share this place with my husband. I took him to my old fishing spot and drove past my childhood home. This was a healing experience and one I will never forget.

This was a literal trip outside of my comfort zone and you know what I have to show for it? A beautiful collection of memories, lessons, and discoveries.


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