Here’s a heartwarming story we came across just last week! We wanted to give this couple’s journey and relationship together some attention.
Michelle & Jimi are currently engaged…and are finalists in a competition in Alabama where they could win a $20,000 wedding package. Their story of their time together was picked along with two others couples by the Calera Main Street Wedding Giveaway 2023, sponsored by the Calera Main Street non-profit organization in Calera, Alabama.
The contest has been going on for several weeks and is closing out on March 31st. Here’s the details on the contest. You can see how things are shaping up for each of the 3 couples by looking at their number of Likes, Shares & Comments on each of their ‘story’ posts.
Jimi & Michelle’s Story:
My name is Michelle and my fiancé, Jimi and I, believe that we are the perfect candidates for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to celebrate our love and commitment to each other. Our love story is one of perseverance, resilience, and hope.
Jimi’s story started when he was adopted from South Korea at only five months old. Though he was brought into a loving home, he struggled with feelings of alienation and separation during his childhood which culminated with a drug addiction during his mid-twenties.
It was his decision to change his life for the better that prompted him to leave his home state of Tennessee and enter inpatient treatment in Birmingham, Alabama. After completion of treatment, he unexpectedly fell in love with the recovery community in Birmingham and the widespread and loving outreach that community provides. He has now been in recovery for over five years. As a psychotherapist with a passion for addiction treatment, I understood and supported him from the beginning of our relationship.
I have lived in Alabama my entire life and Shelby County has been a big part of my story. I’ve worked and gone to school in Shelby County for years and I am grateful for my time there and the opportunities that time has afforded me. In 2020, I was emotionally exhausted from the dating scene. Giving it one last chance, I reluctantly got on a dating app. On a warm August Saturday, I took a chance and sent a like Jimi’s way and the rest is history! While meeting online may not be the archetypal love story, our first date definitely was. We first met at a sushi restaurant where we talked for hours and ended up shutting down the restaurant. Our connection was undeniable.
As we got to know each other, we bonded over our shared interests in food, the outdoors, and weightlifting, but also over our mutual respect and understanding of each other’s ambitions and our desires to want to both continue to help others who struggle with addiction. Our bond is grounded in the belief that anyone can change with the right support and internal motivation.
During our relationship, I made the decision to move my group counseling practice to Pelham, Alabama. It was an opportunity, I felt, that would allow the practice to reach and help even more people. During this transition, Jimi has worked his own full-time job in business and employee development. In his spare time, he has used his knowledge of data analysis and business to help me grow my practice. As if that’s not enough, he has also continued to mentor others struggling with addiction where his experience has benefitted others in similar situations.
We are also an interracial couple, which adds an extra layer of significance to our relationship. We hope that by sharing our love story, we can inspire others to celebrate diversity and love in all forms.
Jimi proposed to me on February 24, 2023, at a cabin we visit every year in Sevierville, Tennessee. He surprised me by having his mother and brother come decorate the cabin while we were out to dinner.
Imagine my surprise when we pulled up to the cabin to see another car parked out front that I did not recognize! I was in such shock, I kicked over a lit candle and almost set the place on fire. Once things settled down, Jimi told me that he couldn’t imagine life without me – in sharp contrast to where he was nearly seven years ago where he couldn’t imagine a life at all. What made this moment even more special was that we got to share it with two of the most important people in Jimi’s life, his mother and brother, who have supported him through his addiction even during the most difficult times.
Jimi and I are grateful for the chance to celebrate our love for one another in front of our family, friends, and mentors in Calera!