I haven’t posted in a long time.  To be honest, I haven’t even visited the blog in a long time – it usually triggers me – but I felt drawn to come back tonight and visit.  I’m actively in recovery and I didn’t really realize how some of the things I believed where helping me, were actually hurting me.  I thought there was some magic cure for this and that talking about self-injury constantly would be what would keep me clean.  I found the opposite to be true.  This site, for a while, was actually making me want to hurt myself more — so I stopped coming and managed to get clean and stay clean from self-injury.  

 The best thing for me has been to surround myself with “ordinary people” who are healthy and those who take care of their bodies.  My recovery sponsor has visited the blog a few times and she has told me it makes her cry.  Looking at the blog makes me cry because I understand what it is like to be in the place of many of you – I was once there and I’m posting again and I’m back again to reassure you, there is so much life after you surrender self-injury.  You must give it up in order to receive LIFE – life abundant!  

 I’m 26, almost 27, and I’ve been struggling for over 10 years.  When I started recovery, I wanted to be around everyone else who was “recoverying”.  This turned out to almost be the end of my recovery and health because I started feeding off their trials and pitfalls and successes, rather than focusing on getting healthy myself.  I became dependent on recovery, rather than dependent on living.  When I started putting myself out there, mingling with those who are healthy and loving life and taking care of themselves — I started seeing how life really doesn’t have to be all about the hiding, the secrets, and the pain.  I learned by watching them that there were healthier ways to cope, like crying or exercising or talking.  They encouraged me to start doing these things rather than hurting myself and in the beginning, it didn’t always work – but they didn’t and still haven’t given up on me.  They know when I’m upset and encourage me to talk, my friends even call me and some just text me without me even having to say a word – they just send me a text to say they love me or that they are thinking about me… which is usually just enough of a reminder that I can pick up my phone and call them so we can talk about the weather or what is on my mind.  

 Most of my close friends know and they love me anyway.  They are teaching me by example how I can live after all of this over and done with.  They are accepting me, even though I still wear long-sleeves in the summer.  Being around healthy people who cope healthfully has been one of the most influential aspects of getting and staying “clean”.  I consider not self-injurying staying “clean” because my body remains CLEAN from marks.  My body is clean and healthy and it is beautiful!

 One painful day about 3 months ago, my recovery sponsor and now mentor came straight out and told me that I couldn’t have it both ways – I couldn’t be trying to get better and continue to let self-injury remain an option for me to cope with.  Either I was going to stop doing it all together and fully commit to finding and using other coping mechanisms or I was going to continue to hurt myself.  If I wanted to continue to hurt myself, it was fine with her, but she could not help me as long as hurting myself remained an option for coping.  Self-injury was the choice I was making to cope and she was going to help me learn new ways of coping, if and only if and when I would cross of self-injury as an option for dealing with life.  

 I had to give it up all together and when I did, it worked.  I’m not saying I’ve been perfect since, but the option really isn’t there for me anymore.  I still think about it and I tried it once since that day, but it didn’t work because I refused to let it work.  Self-injury is a choice and when you let it no longer be a choice for you, life can be so amazing and rewarding!  

 Where I’m at now is in trying to put my life back together after what self-injury did to my life for so many years.  It has destroyed my self-esteem, physically ruined the outside and inside of my body, and has financially taken a toll too.  I’m picking up the pieces and moving on, taking it one day at a time.  I finally cleaned out my apartment and physically moved away from where many of my negative memories took place, which has been a huge blessing.  I no longer have any tools and I have people in my life who hold me accountable for my actions and thoughts, especially related to self-injury.  My life is night and day different now than it was only 3 months ago and that is because self-injury no longer controls every aspect of it.  There is another side to this, you just have to stop accepting self-injury as a choice for coping and remain determined to use other skills.