It’s never too late to be happy. Don’t ever give up.

For most of my life, I think I have appeared to have it together. I was always near or at the top of my class; I graduated summa cum laude with a master’s degree in writing. I had my own business that paid my bills for 14 years. I did my best to give back to my community.

But something was missing deep down: belief in a future that was kind. My brother died when I was 15. But my anxiety started years earlier, when I realized his having epilepsy could kill him. That scared me. I didn’t want him to die, and I didn’t want it to be my fault. So I was always on guard, ready to jump to the rescue. And so began a long trend of controlling behavior and codependent relationships – without any real belief in a positive outcome. When I was on my own, I felt pretty good; as soon as I got in a relationship, I lost myself in that other person. And so it ended, one way or another.

In late 2017, now 45 years old, I was drowning in uncontrollable emotions, in a relationship with a wonderful man who had deep wounds of his own. He tried to suppress his pain with alcohol; I used sugar. We loved each other intensely and were doing the best we could, but we were hurting each other and ourselves, because we had not healed our own wounds.

And then I found Danette May’s New You 30-day challenge and other programs — and yes, I lost 30 pounds, but more importantly, I found self-compassion, peace, and hope. I found the strength to stand up for myself: to both set healthy boundaries and be accountable for my own behaviors. The growth this past year has been phenomenal, and I know this is just the beginning. Am I excited about the future now? You bet I am!

~ CW

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