CW: This post discusses self-harm, addiction, and relapse.
Is there any worse feeling than going back to square one?
Yeah, there is – and that’s never leaving square one for a second, a third, perhaps a tenth time.
If y’all know me, you know I was addicted to self-harm for the better part of six years. And if you don’t, now you do. Just before I turned 19, I quit self-harm for a remarkable 3 years, 10 months, and 15 days.
Before it all came crashing down and I relapsed.
That’s 1,414 days – and on 3 January, 2017, I pressed the reset button, and went right back down to zero.
Boy, that’s painful. That’s one of the most painful things I’ve ever done.
After that, I developed a dangerous mindset. “Oh, screw it. It’s done now. What does it matter?”
And I relapsed again a few weeks later.
I thought, “Well, I’ve already thrown away almost 1,500 days of being clean. It doesn’t matter so much if I throw away 20 or so days. That’s nothing compared to what I had.”
That was when I realised I needed to do something before my “monster” came back full force and I ended up in the hospital again.
So I decided to stop wallowing about what I threw away and reorient myself on the road to recovery. I can’t change the fact that I relapsed, but I can’t get back to 1,414 days of being clean again unless I start at day zero again.
Yes, it’s painful, but I’ve got to hold myself accountable for what I did and work to make sure it never happens again. I can’t let my fear of going back to square one prevent me from getting back to – and eventually surpassing – that incredible milestone.
No matter what you’re struggling with – addiction, relationships, impulsivity, other mental health issues – take my advice, and squander your fear of starting back at square one.
Starting over just means that you’re determined to get better. It means you’re able to recognise you screwed up and you’re gonna do something about it. It means you’re taking responsibility and you’re gonna put your best foot forward.
Starting over means that you got up off the ground, dusted off your hands, and put yourself back on the path to where you want to go.
It doesn’t matter how many times you have to start over, as long as you start over.
So get up off the ground and walk that road, no matter how long you spent walking it the first, second, or tenth time. You can do it. You just gotta commit to doing it every single day.