Talk to anyone who’s known me for awhile and they’ll probably tell you that I’ve changed a lot over the last 2 years. My attitude, my behavior, even my outlook on life and the future aren’t quite what they used to be. Some see change as a bad thing because it makes them uncomfortable. In my case, change ended up being the best thing for me.
I’ve been criticized in the past for giving my boyfriend Nate “too much” credit when it comes to my happiness. People seem to think that by attributing others for our accomplishments, we’re taking away from our own self-worth. I’m here to tell you that’s bullshit.
When I met Nate almost two years ago, I was just a year out of college and working a job that felt like a dead end. I was 30 pounds heavier and I thought blacking out from drinking was normal. My life was a routine of cheap wine and excessive partying, and I didn’t know how to stop. The “Sunday scaries” were all too real for me, and I was constantly telling myself “next week will be different.”
The day I met Nate was the day after my 23rd birthday. It was the Sunday of July 4th weekend, and my best friend Melissa invited me to a rooftop party in the Seaport, Boston. Unable to resist the opportunity to continue my birthday bender, I excitedly agreed to join her with another one of my roommates. Anticipating a mean hangover, I told myself I would call in sick to work Monday.
The rooftop was beautiful and the rosé was bottomless. I drank until my vision blurred pink.
The next morning I woke up for work and had multiple texts asking why I had so many pictures on my Snapchat story with “a kid that looks like Ed Sheeran.”
The memories began flooding in. The red-headed boy named Nate had come to the party a bit later in the afternoon, and I remembered leaving with him to go to his boat in Charlestown. I remembered being in his car and talking his ear off about God only knows what. I also remembered feeling like I was going to throw up and him driving me home.
That morning I shamefully got my shit together and actually made it to work on time. I asked Melissa for Nate’s number so I could apologize for being sloppy, and thank him for the ride home. To my surprise, Nate said he really enjoyed his time with me and after a little back and forth, I was invited back to the boat for dinner that evening.
Nate and I hit it off, but my habits didn’t change, I was just drinking nicer wine and keeping different company. Fast forward about a month, and to one of my worst blackouts to date.
A group of us decided to go out to a bar in Boston. I’d had a few blood tests done at the doctors that day and told myself a light dinner meant I wouldn’t have to drink as much. I got so drunk I couldn’t even stand up on my own. Some friends used to call this “fun Nathalie.”
The next morning was one of my most anxiety-ridden.
I woke up weak and with swollen eyes. I remembered bits and pieces of the night before; begging Nate to take me home, crying as he tried to get me into a cab, and crying again as he tried to get me into another cab. As suspected, I’d had a series of meltdowns and worked myself up to the point where I could barely breathe.
Nate sat with me that next morning as I broke down telling him I didn’t want this to happen to me anymore. He helped me talk through my issues and together we decided what I could do about it. In the past when I had a bad blackout, I would “cut back” my drinking for a week or so, only to fall back into my same patterns shortly after. This time, I committed to cutting alcohol out completely for at least two weeks.
It may sound silly to some people, not drinking for such a short span of time should be simple. But when you’re fueling your body with toxins every day like I was, this was a break I desperately needed.
I welcomed alcohol back into my life slowly. It’s only now, nearly two years removed from that part of myself that I truly understand the impact the alcohol had been making. My dad admitted that he had been scared for me. He said he’d thought about talking to me multiple times but knew well enough that it wouldn’t have helped. I needed to hit my rock bottom and figure it out for myself.
I give Nate a lot of credit because he met me when I was my most fragile and never judged me or tried to change me. My anxiety had reached its peak the summer we met, but he didn’t let that slow me down. Instead, he offered perspective and opened my eyes to the life I wanted so desperately, a life that was within reach if I could stop getting in my own way.
I’ve had a lot of people ask me what I did to lose the weight. In fact, many people implied that I may have been going about it in an unhealthy way. Quite the opposite really, because it was the positive change in lifestyle that helped me lose 33 lbs. Cutting back on drinking and giving myself a purpose changed my life immensely.
It’s always been my understanding that people in love bring out the best in each other, and if you are lucky enough to find that even once in your life you do everything you can to hold onto it. I’ve seen the negative effects alcohol has had on many relationships, my own, and others, but this wasn’t one I was willing to lose. I may have been the one doing the work, but it was Nate who kept me on track, Nate who caught me when I fell and Nate who inevitably changed my life, and I will always be grateful to him for that.