Three years ago, I began to self-harm. I made scars—ones I thought didn’t matter, but they did. The power of darkness and depression invaded, and I got lost in the walls I had built around myself. There I made a home out of rock bottom, piling pain and ugly words on top of each other, my heart broken.
Today, I’m fighting back and letting the light in. But in the recovery process, it can be difficult to change, as well as to hold onto that change.
There are two sides of recovery: the painful lure of relapse, and the hope of new beginnings. These two sides can leave one dizzy in the constant swirl between nights of heavy hearts and days with blue skies. At times, the lines blur, and you find yourself somewhere in the middle ground, like a desert in the midst of a warzone. Sometimes this seems to carry on for so long, making it easy to doubt as the addiction starts screaming and hope seems to become only a whisper in the background. We start to question why we even started this adventure called recovery in the first place.
It’s a hard thing to change and break self-destructive habits, as if you are simply rearranging your sleeping routine or getting a new class schedule. It takes time, and we may even fail during those attempts. Relapses are real, and sometimes the darkness wins; however, one lost battle does not mean a lost war. It’s not a reason to retreat. If anything, it makes one stronger, braver, and more courageous than ever before. There is a lot of triumph and heart involved in standing up after a relapse, giving yourself a second chance, or maybe even a tenth chance. It’s such a beautiful thing to dream of something better.
You are worth recovery. Even in the times when it seems you have become your own enemy, you are still worthy. Even if you lose comrades along the way, you are still worth the fight.
Help is not something that people only ask for in times of desperation. In those in-between days, when it all seems never-ending or worthless, we should reach for hope and love all the more. Admitting that we are weak, scared, or losing control is never shameful; it’s human. This war is won in alliances and partnerships. We’ll always need that extra push when it’s time to curse, scream, and kick at the darkness.
The middle of recovery can seem like the heat of that fight. It’s where the most damage could be done. It can feel like we’re losing numbers—but in reality, we’re also gaining strength. It’s scary, and it’s frightening. It’s beautiful, and it’s honorable.
Recovery is neither perfect nor impossible. It’s a learning process filled with good intentions. We will all have moments of weakness, but we will also have moments of triumph. To be in the middle is to be where the heart of your story will take place. It is where you learn what it means to be a warrior, a lover, a survivor, a human being. And I believe, one day, peace will reign, like the first sunrise after a winter of cold bleakness. You may still carry your scars, but wear them like a badge of honor anyway. They represent strength in numbers and bravery despite the circumstances.
Your story will continue. The addiction, the darkness, the sadness—it may never completely stop shouting, but you can shout louder. We can shout louder, together.