It’s been quite some time since I’ve written on this blog. I think of it often and how it got me through so many rough times and so many sleepless nights. I feel full of thoughts tonight and like I need to let it go somewhere. I’m not as used to being as vulnerable as I was before. I’ve been clean and sober from drugs and alcohol for one year and three months, self harm free for two and a half years. I don’t keep track of it so much anymore but I wanted to say that for anyone who is struggling and feels like going 24 hours without it is impossible. That’s how I used to feel. I have self harm on the brain because I was at Michaels, the craft store, this afternoon and I saw things that I used to use as tools and it caught me off guard how it made me feel. Reminiscent, sad, excited, a little tempting. Then I moved on. I try not to let those thoughts dwell in my mind for too long anymore. I think a lot of my relapses with alcohol and self harm started with letting an enticing thought go on a little too long and not talking to anyone about it. I think another thing that led to some relapses was focusing on the quick relief I’d get and not the terrible things that followed. I used to feel like there were two parts of me, the good side and the bad side. The good side always wanting to do better and get better and heal and the bad side wanting to cause mayhem and destruction and sabotage myself. Now I feel complete, like one integrated being with good qualities and some things I can work on. Most days I don’t feel that self destructive little monster in my brain, I don’t know where it went but it’s gone and I’m so grateful. I think maybe healing the guilt and the shame by opening my mouth and shining light on all that twisted up darkness made it dissipate. Self harm was always my “go to”, it was my best friend, it was my escape, my punishment, my relief, my very biggest comfort before I found alcohol and then it was still there always along side each other working together to help me slowly kill myself. When I stopped self harming I still kept tools with me for comfort, on one particularly hard night I even slept with them, just knowing they were there but not actually using them. My therapist never told me not to, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t encouraged either. Tonight leaving a 12 step meeting, I drove past near the hospital I was in 5 years ago. That day I had a suicide plan and I didn’t care if I lived or died and I walked around downtown the city I live in very intoxicated and out of my mind and I was harming myself in public and I blacked out. My memories are still fuzzy about the hours after and then I came to in the hospital on the psychiatric floor. I stayed there a few days and was detoxed and rested for a little bit and wow, its been such a hard, winding road through recovery since then. Passing by that hospital tonight brought all of this back to me like it was yesterday and I broke down. I hadn’t thought about that time in a long time. Tears of gratitude just exploded from me. I have no idea how I got from that girl walking around downtown hurting herself, so intoxicated I could barely stand, to where I am tonight. If I had to guess its by a lot of uncomfortable work in therapy, a lot of uncomfortable things in general, learning to call people and talk when I don’t want to, using people as support when I need to, sitting through anger and sadness and happiness and anxiety and letting it flow through me even when it feels like it will kill me, and probably a lot of grace from God. If you’re struggling, reach out, there is always help. One of my most favorite lines from one of my favorite books says that happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.