I remembered what today was ten minutes after I woke up. It was very sudden - within a few seconds I went from drowsy and warm to teary-eyed. Four years ago today, I met him. It was also his 21st birthday.

It's a day I wish I could forget. Along with the next two and a half years. But I can't. For better or for worse, that relationship shaped who I am today more than any other event, person or thing in my adult life.

Last year, April 2 was also a victory: it was the day I won in small claims court against him and recovered over two thousand dollars he tried to steal. But today, it's just a day. I want it to stay that way. And even though I talked to myself on the way to work and wished him the worst birthday ever and hoped everyone left him before he ruined their lives, I have also had a song stuck in my head since the moment I woke up. The lyrics are, "If love is all you have, then, baby, that's not bad / if love is all you've got, then that's a hell of a lot." And I do have love now. A lot of it. My life isn't perfect, but the people I love actually love me back. And that is a hell of a lot.

Recovery has been two steps forward and one back from the very beginning. But I'm getting somewhere. So on this anniversary of the day I met the man who almost ruined my life, I will remember that he failed. Today will be a day of celebration.