The holidays are notorious for being an emotionally intense time. We’re expected to be around family or to socialize in big groups, two things I’ve never really enjoyed if I’m being honest.

This year I chose to forgo my usual holidays traditions. I spent Christmas Eve alone with my dog and I as fell asleep that night, I thought to myself that it was the happiest I’d ever been during the holidays. I didn’t feel uncomfortable with a partner’s family or completely run down from social interaction. I felt strong in my solitude and content with my choices. I chose to spend New Year’s Eve with close friends and I stayed sober. I woke up New Year’s Day and wasn’t hungover or sad. I went to the gym and started the year off by reminding myself how much I’ve grown and changed, both physically and mentally, over the past five months.

Time is a construct. I think any time is a good time to set goals and make resolutions. The beginning of the new year didn’t feel substantial to me in any way, but I appreciate that it’s a great reminder for folks who need a catalyst for change. 2016 was notorious for being a garbage fire and I think 2017 has the possibility of being equally horrible for me unless I continue to develop my coping skills.

I had a week off of therapy for the holidays and I felt the difference. I’ve found so much comfort in the care I’ve been receiving, and I look forward to my twice-weekly visits. I enjoy the routine of waking up, going to the park with my dog, then making my way to the hospital. I used that time to reflect on the past weeks and gauge my progress. When I started this program I felt so emotionally broken. I would go to therapy and come home and sleep or cry until my next session. My life is so different now.

Starting this spring I’ll be going to school for the first time since high school. I’ve moved, fallen out of love, developed new love, healed and have begun to create a life that I actually feel is worth living. I’ve learned how to assert myself and be effective in emotionally challenging situations. I’ve learned how to experience my emotions in ways that aren’t excruciating. I haven’t self-harmed in five months. I wish I could send this article back to myself in July of 2016, when I was at my lowest, most broken point. What I’ll always have though is the knowledge that I am capable of change and growth, and my resiliency is fucking beautiful.