‘This guy is capable of killing you. I’ve never told someone they need a gun, but you do.’ I had to file bankruptcy. I was so naïve.’: Young woman gets sober to save her life from ‘sociopath’ ex, ‘I dodged an ATOMIC BOMB’

More Stories like:

“As I reflect back on my issues with addiction, I can see the majority of it started my senior year of high school. I was friends with the popular kids and played Varsity softball but never felt comfortable in my identity. It was around this time that my parents had split up and my mom had her own place that I would throw parties for everyone when she would stay at her boyfriend’s place. I was always the life of the party and the one everyone could count on to do some wild and crazy sh*t. Without knowing, I was using drinking as a way to get people to like me. If there was a guy I was crushing on I would only be comfortable around him when I was drunk because the drunk version of me is the one that made everyone laugh and have a good time. Throughout that year I experimented with snorting pain pills and cold medicine we called ‘Triple C’s.’ Every weekend and weeknight that I could get out of my house was spent blacking out on cheap vodka because that is what everyone was doing at that time. It was ‘normal.’

Courtesy of Delanie Dunham
Courtesy of Delanie Dunham

College is where the real fun started. I was on a scholarship as a Division 1 Softball player at Towson University. My first year there was a complete blur because all I did was socialize and get drunk. The first time I went and hung out with some older teammates over at the baseball house I ended up puking all over the kitchen in front of everyone. Luckily I had some teammates that helped me home because I was completely wrecked and humiliated.

Courtesy of Delanie Dunham

My freshman year I roomed with another athlete on the field hockey team and we became instant best friends. We had so much fun together and she was my partner in crime. As athletes, we had nightly study hall and we decided it would be fun to chug vodka beforehand. We would go into study hall blacked out and speaking for myself – making asses of ourselves. I would go to practice hungover and skipping classes almost every morning. Another time we were at the baseball house having a vodka bottle chugging contest where I was shortly throwing up and passed out on their bathroom floor. My roommate was able to get me home eventually that night and I ended up falling into a metal pole and getting a concussion. Another night we were out at a dance club with some LAX players who invited us back to their place afterwards. When we got there we joined them in smoking K-2 while drinking more. I wigged out and ran out of the house and was found lying in the street with my phone shattered from one of my teammates. I woke up the next morning in her bed with a bowl of puke on my chest and her telling me to wake up because I had an 8 a.m. final that morning.

Courtesy of Delanie Dunham

There were countless times where I would go home with strangers and wake up not knowing where I was or what had happened that night. I remember waking up in my dorm room naked with a guy in my bed and a used condom on the floor. But again, this was what you do in college, so I shrugged it off like it was ‘normal.’ There were times when I would walk out to my car the next morning with no idea where I had parked. One time when I finally located my car my entire rim was bent in and the tire was blown out because I had drove it while wasted. I took it to the shop and the mechanic said that for this steel to be this badly bent I had to be going at least 50 miles an hour straight into the curb.

Around my junior year of college, blacking out was then complimented with taking Adderall. Everyone was using it like it was candy. I decided to contact a doctor and get tested. I completely manipulated the exam by purposely delaying my responses and getting things wrong so he’d think I needed it really badly. I walked out of there with a prescription to take a dose of 20 mg per day. This is when I started binging on it the night before every paper was due or before any exam. It was my miracle drug. I took it to play softball and it made me feel so strong and focused. Everyone could tell when I was on it based off of it by the way I carried myself and the way I played. I even overheard a teammate say one time, ‘she really sucks without her medication.’ This is where my addiction to Adderall began and became worse and worse.

Courtesy of Delanie Dunham

Every time I would have a binge night, I would end up taking about 180 mg in one night. I’d start with 3 pills equaling 60 mg and then every few hours I would take another one orally and crush a second one so I could snort it in order to feel it quicker. The worst part was the fact that I would go out the next day after pulling a night of this, which would lead to such an extreme black out that I would wake up in my own pee and or vomit practically every time. My poor roommates basically became my babysitters.

My senior year of college threw me a curve ball. I started dating a girl for the first time and she happened to be on the softball team. I had always experimented physically with girls but as far as emotionally, I had only dated guys. As exciting and thrilling this new relationship was for me, it also came with a whirlwind of emotions. With my dad being a strong Christian who was currently in school to be a minister, there was no way I could be open with him about this. I heard how he spoke about other lesbian couples I was friends with and how they were going to hell. My dad put me on such a high pedestal with softball that I knew it would break his heart. I was so worried about him finding out, so I hid it from all of my family. For two years, she would come home with me as a best friend and a secret. I was living two completely different lives. Every time I would get a text from my dad saying, ‘Call me,’ I would get sick to my stomach thinking he had found out. It really sucked having to suppress such a huge part of me at the time and I couldn’t keep up with the lies. I continued to drink and drink to numb the pain and deal with the shame of this. The relationship eventually ended but unfortunately for my father, that part of my sexuality did not.

Courtesy of Delanie Dunham

May of 2015 was my college graduation. I had gotten off of my waitressing shift the night before and wanted to celebrate with a beer. Knowing my problem with drinking 1 always leads to more and in this case, it lead to about 8 IPA’s and a blackout. I woke up in the morning with my family knocking on my front door with flowers and so much happiness on their faces. They were so proud of this huge accomplishment of mine. Meanwhile, I had no idea how I had gotten home, my eyes were swollen shut, my head was spinning, and I had vomit all over my chest and in my hair. I walked into the bathroom to get in the shower and there was vomit all over the bathtub. My poor family had all gotten together and drove 2 hours for such a special day which consisted of me being beyond miserable to be around.

Courtesy of Delanie Dunham

After college, I was still working as a cocktail waitress at a bar on campus. Even though my schooling was finished, my addiction to Adderall had just begun. I can’t explain it but I felt worthless without this drug. I couldn’t clean or work or do anything productive without it. I would look forward to my days off from work so that I could have a ‘binge’ day but instead of schoolwork, I was now obsessed with cleaning and gutting my entire apartment. I’m talking scrubbing every baseboard with a toothbrush and organizing every single drawer and cabinet over and over again. I would start at 7 a.m. and go till 8 a.m. the next morning. The same thing as before where I was consuming upwards of 200 mg within that time frame. I would then crash for a few hours after cleaning and head into work completely going through withdrawal. I’d be pouring sweat, chewing the inside of my lip raw, and so irritable. This is where I’d promise God that if he took away this pain, I’d never touch this drug again. And we all know how that never lasts.

While working here I started hanging out with an older bartender who was nothing but trouble. He taught me how to play blackjack and we started going gambling every night. I remember betting with my last $50 dollars in my account with rent being past due. He was so much fun, but I couldn’t see at the time how toxic he was for my life. We were getting drunk every night and driving home from the casino. All of my money went towards drinking and gambling. I lost a few friends because they couldn’t stand the person I had turned into. He actually moved in with me and ended up really screwing me over financially which led to a falling out, which looking back, I’m extremely thankful for.

My Adderall addiction was constant until one morning in December of 2016. I had just finished cleaning and being on one of my binges. It was around 5 a.m. and out of nowhere I felt like I was going to die. My body started convulsing, my vision was going in and out, my mind was mush, and I just knew I had to get to the ER or I was going to die. I was admitted to the ER for an overdose on Adderall and my family rushed down to be by my side. This scared the absolute hell out of me and seeing what it had done to them was pure torture. I made a promise that day to never use it again. Which lasted for over 2 years. This past June I decided to see if I could possibly try it again and limit myself to just 1 dose per day. I thought I could have self control against it and resist the urge to consume a massive amount. I went to my doctor, who by the way knew about my overdose, and still gave me a prescription. I took it at work one day and as soon as that euphoric feeling rushed through my veins, I knew that there was no chance I could stop. I ended up having a binge night like I had done in the past. The next day I woke up feeling so disappointed and guilty that I gave a friend the remaining script and told her no matter what, to not let me have another one ever again.

Jumping back to after my overdose episode happened, I ended up meeting another girl that I fell into a super serious relationship with. I knew after a few months that she would be the one that would be worth taking a leap for and telling my family. I knew it wasn’t fair to her to keep her hidden especially since her family was so accepting. I decided to start with my grandma and then my mom. I asked my mom to tell my dad for me because I couldn’t bring myself to see the look of disgust and disappointment on his face. After my mom told my dad, he didn’t speak to me for a few weeks. He told me that he wouldn’t be able to walk me down the aisle which killed me inside. I felt disgusting. I blacked out the night he found out and I continued to drink heavily after that to suppress the pain. My relationship with my dad was very awkward after that until the relationship ended in the fall of 2017.

Following that relationship, I was left more confused and lost with myself than ever. I went into an ultimate ‘screw it’ mentality. I started drinking every night and sleeping around. I was blacked out in downtown Baltimore and walked up to a random car with two guys in it and asked them for a ride to my apartment in Owings Mills, Maryland, which is a 30-minute drive. They picked up weed on the way and came over. I ended up having sex with the one guy that I honestly barely remember. I didn’t even know his name. By God’s grace I wasn’t taken or killed that night. Following that event, I ended up booking a spontaneous trip to Las Vegas with my friend and continued this reckless behavior. I will leave that one to the good old saying, ‘What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.’ I just stopped caring about my life or myself. I wanted to numb out everything.

Everything up to this point has been leading up to this next chapter which ended up being the most dark and screwed up part of my life to date.

Courtesy of Delanie Dunham

January 27th, 2018. I went with my friend to her work Christmas party which ended up at the MD Live Casino. I was playing blackjack by myself and made eye contact with this guy who eventually came and sat next to me. He was super attractive, witty, and charming. He made me feel so desired and attractive. Feelings that had been missing in my previous relationship. I knew the second we interacted this was going to lead to something more. From that moment on we became inseparable. I thought I was entering a relationship with the person I was going to spend the rest of my life with. Still to this day I have never felt such a strong connection and love with someone. Little did I know he’d end up being a complete monster.

Within 2 weeks he was moved in with me in my apartment in Baltimore. Everyone who met him kept saying how he was ‘too good to be true.’ He swept me off of my feet and made me feel like the most beautiful girl in the world. He was hilarious and showered me with affection. He had his own business and was taking me to fancy dinners every night of the week. For Valentine’s Day, which was only a few weeks after we had met, he bought me diamond earrings. Had he proposed within those first few weeks I would have said yes. My family was in love with him and my dad even gave him his blessing to have my hand in marriage (a few months in lol). Yes, there were red flags in the beginning that I ignored. He had two daughters by two different women, had just gotten out of a 10-year relationship with the second mother, and had recently been out of jail for a crime involving his business. But he was so upfront and honest about those things that I found grace for him. He owned his sh*t and explained everything. Little did I know that I was dealing with a master manipulator.

For the first 6 months of our relationship we were in pure bliss, but I was drinking like crazy. It helped calm my nerves around him and it made him open up about his feelings towards me. I craved the things he would say when he was drunk or the level of affection he would give. We were going out for drinks every single night of the week and I would be calling off work constantly at my job I had before my current one. Eventually just going to dinner and out for drinks got old so we started going to the casino together. He loved that I could play blackjack and we began to live at the local casino. I was easily consuming 15 RedBull vodkas each night and gambling my entire paycheck away.

It was around April 2018 when he suggested I try applying for another credit card. Lo and behold I was approved for a $15K credit card which was used to help fund his business and take out cash advances of $2K at a time at the casino. We started going to Atlantic City every weekend we didn’t have the kids. Within 3 months that entire credit card was maxed out along with all of my other available credit. He had used my Square App to charge his customer for jobs which would put their payment in my name. The one guy had canceled a $4K job a month after it was done and after I had given my ex the money out of my account. That kicked back and was my responsibility. Before I met him, my credit score was at 710 with around $7K in debt… at this point I had gotten into about $30K in credit card debt and my score plummeted to the point where I eventually had to file bankruptcy. I was so naive believing he’d pay me back or that this was going to be my husband one day so what is the worry?

About six months into the relationship he really wanted us to move up to York, Pennsylvania, so he could be closer to his daughters. Once I was up there, he made sure I was completely dependent on him. I even quit my job and he was supporting us fully. He had 100% control. I had no clue what it was but after I moved in with him, he switched to a completely different person. I received a call from his parents that my dog had ran into my other dog while playing fetch and couldn’t walk. I rushed up there and took him to the vet and they thought he might be paralyzed. They wanted to keep him overnight but my ex wouldn’t help with the expenses and I was completely financially dependent on him. My dog ended up getting so bad that we had to put him down. My ex shed a few tears while I was bawling my eyes out at the vet and then 5 minutes later was singing along to a Miley Cyrus song on the car ride home. Holy Jekyll and Hyde. Losing my dog was to this day the most painful thing I have been through. I look back and feel so much guilt for even being in that relationship to begin with, otherwise he’d still be here with me.

Courtesy of Delanie Dunham

Following the death of my dog, girls started reaching out to me sending me screen shots of their conversation and that he had been taking them out on dates behind my back. His ex of 10 years came forward with various times where he showed up at her house claiming to be suicidal and begging for her back. So I did what any normal girl would do – I left him and moved in with my parents for a few days until I agreed to go to dinner with him so he could explain. Of course I allowed his charm and manipulation get the best of me. I made excuses for his behavior because I missed how it felt when things were good. I was fully addicted to him and forgave him. My mistake.

Things were great for the first month after getting back together even though I was going through his phone every night and second I could. Which is NO way to live. Soon our lifestyle of gambling and drinking wasn’t enough.

‘Would you be open to checking out the sex club down the street?,’ he asked me one night.

Anyone who knows me knows I am very open minded and a super curious person. The way he described it was basically like a regular club with people dancing and having a wild time so of course I was down. Needless to say, it ended up being a great time with drinking and dancing like a normal club but the basement was where people were having sex and watching each other. I felt like I was a part of this secret underground community and I’d be lying if I said it was wasn’t a little liberating. Women and men of all shapes and sizes were walking around naked and free without judgement. Pretty soon, going to just a regular bar wasn’t as exciting for us.

I was addicted to the thrill of these places. We started going every weekend to various ones in the Baltimore and Pennsylvania area. We had rules of course that we weren’t going to hook up with other people and that the most I was willing to do was to let others watch us. I could tell he was becoming more and more into this lifestyle and I started to really pull away. We ended up going to a swinger’s club in Atlantic City one weekend in the fall of 2018 which resulted in a disaster. We had left the club around 11 p.m. to go back to the room because we had been drinking all day and the club was dead. He wanted to step out to smoke a cigarette and I passed out. I woke up at 1:30 a.m. with the light still on and he wasn’t in the room. I went out looking for him and something told me to go back to the club. I walked downstairs at the place and there he is in a room bending over some girl who is pleasuring another man. I stormed out and got myself my own hotel room since I wasn’t able to drive right then and there. The next morning I went his room to get my stuff and we started fighting about it. He ended up throwing me on the ground and dragging me all the way across the room by my hair to the door, slamming my head into it. I called the police and was basically told the best thing to do is leave him and never talk to him again otherwise I’d have to go through the entire court process with him. So I left him stranded in AC and moved out.

I wish I could say this was the last time I spoke to him but about a month later I gave into temptation to see him after his relentless efforts to get ahold of me. Now I know you’re thinking, ‘how stupid could this girl be?’ And I totally agree. But I was so caught up in him and manipulated that I felt brainwashed. I no longer had my own identity. He slowly was isolating me from all of my family and friends.

By November of 2018 I had moved out of my new apartment in Baltimore and moved back up to his place in Pennsylvania. At this point my dad had stopped speaking with me due to my lapse in judgement and my relationships with friends were built on lies. I was humiliated to go back with him after everything but I was under a spell. To this day he has been my biggest addiction. I couldn’t resist him. About mid December of 2018 we had gotten into a fight about money and he became so violent that I thought he was going to kill me. I couldn’t get out of the house fast enough. He was sending me text messages saying how he knew he was going to snap and end up killing me one day. Or that I would end up doing something that would make him have to kill me. So I got another apartment in Baltimore and stayed away for about 2 months.

February 2019 I got wasted with some girlfriends and lost all self-control and ended up meeting up with him. I really didn’t want him knowing where I lived but I totally blew it because I was drunk. That night he ended up taking my phone and texting my co-worker because he found out I gave him a ride home after work one day, saying, ‘If you ever look in my wife’s direction again, I will find you and take a bat to your legs. You’ll find out why they call me the real Ted Bundy.’ I was mortified. He really did call himself that because he loved how he was similar in the sense that Bundy was attractive, smart, and charming. I remember when we watched the Netflix documentary on Ted Bundy he would sit there and point out the similarities with a big grin on his face as if he was proud of it. He was a sociopath through and through.

Over the next few months I would hang out with him once or twice a week. He would drive down the Baltimore and we’d get drunk, gamble, have sex, and call it a day. He begged and pleaded for another chance but I knew I couldn’t get back with him. This was all going on while he was dating another girl. She would message me telling me all these horrible things he would say about me like how I’m so fat and he isn’t sexually attracted to me anymore. This is stuff that he would even say to me when we fought in the past which would hurt me so bad. but I still entertained him.

In March of 2019 my dad still hadn’t talked to me since the previous November and my mom and I were meeting up at my Nana’s to spend the day together. We were sitting at the table and my mom pulls out a notepad and says, ‘Your dad is on his way over. We are having a meeting with you.’ I was enraged and felt cornered. My mom had printed my bank statements because I left my email account logged in on her computer. I was humiliated to see them going through the amount of money I was spending at the casino and on alcohol. It was thousands and thousands of dollars. Meanwhile my family was giving me money often to help with bills because I was always ‘broke’ which left them feeling completely taken advantage of. And rightfully so. They offered to send me to rehab and get professional help but I didn’t want to lose my job. I agreed to go to therapy and promised them I was done drinking and seeing him. I really believed myself too.

I lasted until June 13th, 2019. He drove down and we met up for dinner which ended up in drinks followed by the casino. We were at the casino and fighting and I was blacked out and ordered an Uber home without him. I ended up getting into a random man’s truck thinking it was my Uber who luckily was a nice guy and took me home. My ex started calling me and screaming like I’ve never heard him before because I left him there. I offered to call him an Uber but he said if I don’t come pick him up myself right now that he was going to come over and knock my door down and slit my dog’s throat. He wouldn’t stop saying it and going into detail so I panicked and drove. I had my dad’s car at the time and ended up hitting a median and blowing up both front tires on the way to pick him up. I continued to drive on just the rims, picked him up, and managed to get all the way back to my apartment without killing anyone or getting pulled over. I called out of work the next morning and called my parents and told them everything.

‘I need help,’ I told them, bawling hysterically.

Courtesy of Delanie Dunham

I spent the next few days with my family and we decided I needed to move down to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, with my dad in his new house. I went into work on Monday and told my boss everything and that I needed to give my two weeks. My biggest concern was my safety. After seeing a new level of violence from him that night and him knowing where I lived, I needed to get away from him forever. My bosses were extremely supportive and helped me see that running away is just letting him win. And he had taken enough of my power away from me. I started looking into a restraining order but it is complex and involved taking him to court which I wanted to avoid him altogether. I promised my boss and family that I would start going to AA and I did for the first few months of my sobriety.

My ex continued to show up at my apartment unannounced and leaving notes and gifts. It got to the point where he was stalking me and harassing me. I couldn’t sleep at night because I was so afraid he was going to show up and bust down my door. My family helped me get a new apartment and to this day he doesn’t have any clue where I live. After sharing all of the intimate details of the entire relationship with my therapist, he told me, ‘In all of my 20 years of doing this, I have never told someone they needed to get a gun, but you need to. This guy is capable of killing you.’ At this point we began to change my mind set of getting sober to get healthy into now as a way of survival. I wasn’t going to be able to resist him if I was drunk and inviting him back into my life was eventually going to lead to him killing me. Sobriety to me became so much more than just a lifestyle change – it became my biggest weapon in saving my life.

Courtesy of Delanie Dunham

To this day he still continues to contact me even though he is blocked on everything. He creates new Facebook and email accounts to be able to send me messages and I keep blocking them. Oh and get ready for this shocking piece of information… he made sure I found his Pornhub account consisting of about 20 videos of him and his new girlfriend having sex. The ultimate torture. I mean can you imagine seeing videos of your ex having sex with someone else, let alone 20 of them, and on a public porn site?!?! I guess the bright side is that he can keep his focus off of me and onto that. I like to say I dodged an ATOMIC BOMB.

Courtesy of Delanie Dunham

I can’t even imagine where I’d be if I didn’t make this decision to get sober. It has been 6 months since I touched alcohol and it has been 6 months of moving on completely from him. I am forever a different human because of everything I went through this past year and I truly believe everything happens for a reason. I believe that this horrible situation with this guy had to happen in order for me to hit rock bottom and get sober. Otherwise I would have continued to think the way I was living was ‘normal.’ I look back and have no idea in the hell how I thought I could ever accomplish anything or move forward in life while drinking alcohol the way I was. I wanted to lose weight and be successful in my job but there was no way I would be able to get anywhere with either of those things while calling out and being hungover all the time, along with blowing all of my money on gambling. My life revolved around when I could get back home and get into bed to sleep the hangover away. Now that I’m sober I want to wake up every morning and take on whatever the day brings me. I get excited to live life. I have always battled depression and anxiety but both of these things are at such a minimum now since I cut out drinking that I sometimes forget I have it and I plan to get off of my medication for it soon.

Courtesy of Delanie Dunham

My relationships with my family and friends have become stronger than ever. They never gave up on me and they’ve forgiven me for everything I’ve put them through. I spend so much more time with them now whereas before my plans would always consist of going out and drinking. I remember last year when my mom got tickets to Hershey Park for her, my sister, and I to go together. I showed up an hour late because I blacked out the night before and was miserable to be around. I pushed myself to ride the roller coasters so my sister didn’t have to alone and then I’d be throwing up in a trash can all day in front of people. I could see the look of disappointment on both of their faces. I also missed my niece’s first birthday party because I was too hungover to get up and make it on time. I showed up for the last 20 minutes of it high out of my mind because smoking weed was the only thing to help me feel better. Now it’s a different story. As my sister says, ‘I have my Delanie back,’ with a huge smile on her face. I am always on time and extremely dependable. I haven’t shown up late or called out of work in 6 months whereas before I was calling out and running late every week and making up lies.

Courtesy of Delanie Dunham

I am a completely different person because of my sobriety. I am feeling emotions that I have never felt before in my entire life and it is amazing. I get to experience feelings that I haven’t felt since I was a kid which involved being super passionate about things like making crafts and playing softball. I have put so much focus on myself that for the first time ever I am learning to love myself. I am motivated to live the life I’ve always dreamed of. I don’t feel sluggish and depressed anymore. I look and feel so much more alive. I sleep so much better and I’m a much better friend and daughter. For the longest time I thought my relationship with alcohol was ‘normal.’ All my friends my entire life would black out all the time and rage and drive drunk. And many still do. But that always felt acceptable because so many people did it and ‘that’s what you do at this age.’ I’ve had my eyes opened to those people in my life that are dead weight. I’ve grown apart from the friends who were my ‘party’ friends but not the friends you call in the middle of the night when you need something. Not the friends who are always in your corner and considerate of your struggles. I’ve grown closest to the friends who celebrate your accomplishments and push you to be the best version of yourself.  Those who add value to my life and are good influences are the ones I pour the most energy into.

Courtesy of Delanie Dunham

I’ve realized that the drinking and the wild nights out are just temporary forms of happiness and pleasure. The next day you feel like absolute shit and you have anxiety over what you did or the things you can’t remember doing. So much wasted time is spent recovering from the night before. I have reached a point in my sobriety that you couldn’t pay me any amount of money to trade in how great this way of living feels. I feel like the last 10 years of my life I have been just going through the motions and now I have become awakened. If someone would have tried explaining to me this high I’m on from being sober 6 months ago I would have laughed in their face. There is just no way you can possibly see it or wrap your mind around it until you actually go through it. I am more alive today than I’ve ever felt before or thought I could ever feel. And I honestly feel that I needed to experience these past years of addiction in order to feel what I’m feeling now.

Up unitl this point in my life, I have overcome an addiction to Adderall, alcohol, cigarettes, gambling, and a narcissistic sociopath. But this doesn’t mean that I am free of addiction. That addiction manifests itself in different areas now and that is still something I’m working on. When I don’t do the things I mentioned above then I end up eating a ton more or shopping nonstop. My goal is to find healthy outlets like an activity I enjoy or DIY projects to pour that addiction into. I know it can be super frustrating talking to someone who can’t relate to what you are going through so that’s why I’m sharing my story. My parents were so supportive but it’s hard for someone who has never experienced addiction to understand ‘why’ you make the choices you make. I get it. I don’t go to AA presently but I loved it for that reason. You are around 50 other people going through the same battle as you and they get it. Even talking to a therapist who can be empathetic and understanding helps so much. I’ve found that by sharing my journey there are so many others out there that have gone through the same thing. This community of people in recovery is amazing and unlike any other. The amount of love and support can move mountains.

Courtesy of Delanie Dunham

This is my testimony and if it helps just one person make the decision to get their life back then I’ve done my job. I am here to be the voice I once needed, and I will continue to lead by example. I want to show anyone out there who is struggling that there is hope. With the right support and determination, you can accomplish anything. Taking it day by day is key and celebrating the small victories will get you to the ultimate life you want to live. One thing I’ve learned in therapy and it’s so true is that, self-esteem is built from making promises to yourself and keeping them. Start slow and fix one area at a time. Believe me, when you are sitting there and you have 10 things that are all jacked up in your life it is overwhelming and I know you want to fix it all at once. That was me. I’m here to tell you it doesn’t work. Now that I’m 6 months in with my sobriety and out of a toxic relationship, I am ready to tackle my next area of my life which is my weight and health. I’m now starting to begin my journey to losing 80 pounds that I’ve put on since college. And once I hit that goal, I’ll focus on something else. And I’ll keep going until I exceed the vision I have for my life. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I would love to give you the support and inspiration you’ll need!.”

Courtesy of Delanie Dunham

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Delanie Dunham, 27, of Baltimore, Maryland. You can follow her journey on Instagram. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

Read more inspiring stories of people overcoming their addictions:

‘Mom, something awful is happening to me.’ They found embalming fluid in my system, causing me to black out.’: Young woman overcomes meth addiction, hidden sexual abuse on camera, ‘My awful memories no longer haunt me, I am healed’

‘I was sitting in a hotel room. I had on a tight black dress, listening to my client say what ‘he wants to do.’ My gut was screaming to leave, but if I left, there is no money, and my ‘boss’ will be upset.’

Provide strength and encouragement for others. SHARE this story on Facebook with your friends and family.

 Share  Tweet