It’s Wednesday, y’all.
We’re getting over that hump of the week.
In other words, it’s HUMP DAYYYYY! 🙂 Wednesdays are also my shortest days of the week so I can’t complain! Wanna know what else I can’t complain about? Today’s Warrior Woman Wednesday feature! 🙂
I feel so grateful that I get to share an inspiring story every single week with you all. These women are truly incredible and it’s amazing how far they’ve come! Can’t wait for all to read about today’s lovely lady!
Not sure what I’m talking about? Read below!
In this series, I feature a female blogger or woman in my life who has gone through a transformative experience, inspiring health journey, or something that changed their life for the better. See my Warrior Woman Wednesday page for a full listing of previous posts!
Today’s featured woman’s story is a little different than usual, but it’s INCREDIBLE.
But before I dive into things, let me tell you about her life right now!
This woman is an NASM Certified Personal Trainer, a fitness instructor, has completed FOUR half marathons as of 2015, and lives in Chicago with her husband. Oh, and she’s also a rockstar blogger and writes for several other websites! 🙂
Now let’s rewind.
Let’s talk about where she’s been and why I am featuring her today.
I had no idea that all of this happened to her….you just never know what happens inside a person’s head, right? Not only did this woman suffer from an eating disorder, but she also suffered from another very serious addiction.
She is very open about this, and you can read the complete story on her blog.
Check this out:
Up until she was 18 years old, she was an overachieving student on the honor roll, played sports, and had an active social life. She even got a part time job at a pharmacy in high school and decided she wanted to pursue it as a career. Speaking of pharmacy/drugs, she found out her boyfriend at the time was smoking marijuana and almost ended the relationship over it. But then a number of people started asking her what the big deal was and she began to question her values about it…
…and thus began her loyal relationship to DRUGS.
Soon she was drinking every night and supplementing her alcohol and marijuana use with ecstasy, cocaine, hallucinogenic mushrooms, or whatever altered the way she felt. She was really good at deceiving everyone else, so very few happened to pick up on oddities in her behavior. She even graduated college in 3 YEARS! With her addiction rapidly progressing, she then started to steal drugs from her pharmacy. No one would suspect her of anything though, because she had successfully worked her way up to assistant manager and had a stellar work record.
But pretty soon she got caught and lost access to those free drugs. Since she couldn’t afford to buy them anymore, she started driving to Baltimore to ask random people on the street where to buy heroin. She taught herself how to shoot heroin using the Internet and her background from pharmacy school. Sometimes she couldn’t wait until she got home and pulled into a dark Baltimore alley to shoot up.
Long story short, her life was OUT OF CONTROL. She finally told her family what she was doing, drove to rehab, and ended up serving 9 months in jail.
Her clean date was May 20th, 2010 and she has been recovering these past 6 years. Since then she has changed jobs, paid back $20K in credit card debt, bought a car, and got married. She started her blog as a way to help her “get outside of herself”, and now advocates for everyone realize that true wellness comes from within (emotionally, physically, and spiritually).
Now, if you can believe it, you’ll read about her incredible story of overcoming an eating disorder during her rehab days.
She is the DEFINITION of a warrior.
Please give the BIGGEST round of applause to the amazing and beautiful Erin, of Erin’s Inside Job! <3
M: At what point did your eating disorder start? Or, what was the largest contributing factor?
E: My disordered eating actually started while I was in recovery for drugs and alcohol. I had about a year and a half clean and had begun to cut back my 12-step meeting attendance because things were going well in my life.
I had always enjoyed exercise, but it was typically for aesthetic reasons and I hadn’t yet found a healthy balance for it. I started running and keeping Google calendars that tracked my mileage. Along with the increased exercise, I started to restrict the foods I ate. I checked the calories and the ingredients religiously and stayed away from sugar as much as I could. I read menus ahead of time to figure out if I could eat at restaurants we were going to and constantly obsessed over what and when I ate.
M: What would you eat in a typical day?
E: I wasn’t eating enough for the amount of exercising I was doing, and I made sure that everything I ate was healthy. Only healthy. I had a breakfast of Greek yogurt and blueberries, lunch of salmon, veggies, and pasta, and then another healthy dinner. I would snack on bags of spinach and mushrooms. Super exciting.
M: When did you realize that you needed help?
E: I realized that I was thinking about food ALL THE TIME. Whether it was ok to eat, if it was too late to eat, etc. I used to snack on Craisins and my husband made a comment one day that there was a lot of sugar in them. I felt like he was judging me (spoiler alert: he wasn’t), so I started to eat them in secret so he wouldn’t see me.
I also started to feel legitimately sad in the evening after I had eaten my last healthy snack. I knew I “couldn’t” eat any more that night and I felt really upset and depressed about it.
M: What kind of changes did you make (physical, mental, etc.)?
E: I told people. One of the things I learned in recovery was that secrets die in the light. I started going to more meetings and telling people in recovery what was going on. Just getting it out and hearing how absurd it was alleviated a lot of the obsession. I still needed to put work into figuring out the WHY and that was part of the entire journey. Why I used drugs. Why I used alcohol. This time why I used exercise and food.
M: What was the hardest part of your recovery/journey?
E: Taking the time to look at myself and figure out what was going on. You don’t just enter recovery and everything is fine. It’s a LOT of work. A lot of uncomfortable work. You have to deal with feelings and work to figure out who you are as a person. I’m six years into recovery and there’s always room for growth and change.
M: How different is your life now after taking that first step to recovery?
E: Night and day. I’m actually in the early stages of a book about what I wish I had known when I was younger that may have taken me down a different path. I’m more confident now, I have a better grasp on my values and morals, and I’ve learned how to check in with myself to see if things are getting unmanageable.
In the beginning I was on track to be a pharmacist and today I’m a personal trainer, blogger, and freelance writer. It’s nowhere near where I thought my life would be, but looking back I feel like I was really supposed to be here.
M: What advice do you have for others who want to recover but are afraid to take that first step?
Do it. Courage is about facing down that fear and walking through. It’s hard — REALLY hard sometimes — but in the end it is so worth it. They don’t have to be big steps, but always try to move forward a little bit more. Just know that you are not alone and there are people who are willing to help you if you want it.
M: This one’s hard…what’s your all-time favorite food and why? 🙂
E: Chocolate chip cookies. I have a ton of favorite foods, but I think that’s the most comforting. My Instagram is out of control with all the things I love 🙂
“Courage is about facing down that fear and walking through. It’s hard- REALLY hard sometimes – but in the end it is so worth it.” #www
Be sure to check out Erin’s wonderful blog and connect with Erin on social media, she would love to hear from you! 🙂