I has teh thoughtz *trigger warning - self-injury*
As noted in this entry's title, it comes with a trigger warning for self-injury.
Last night, I was watching an episode or two of [I]Buffy the Vampire Slayer[/I] (so, um, spoiler warnings too?). In the episodes, the character Willow, who has been a witch for several seasons, is dealing with quitting "magic". She, for all intents and purposes, became addicted to the use of magic, to the point that she endangered Buffy's little sister just to get a fix. As Willow's friends pack away all tools that she might have used to perform magic and Willow adjusts to the slower ways of doing things, she struggles with temptation. I was surprised at how much with this resonated in me with my experience of giving up cutting. I'd have to re-watch the episode to jot down some of specific references and dialogue (I might do that & discuss this in a blog post) that really seemed to fit. The sense of "just this once" is something that I think every addict deals with at some point during recovery. It stopped me from quitting for a while.
The main thing that seemed familiar to me was the temptation that lingers, even after so many years. If I ever got in a really low place again and Hulky wasn't in the picture anymore, I can easily imagine myself "relapsing". The reason why I see cutting as an addiction to me is something the character Xander said: "Relapse is part of recovery." I didn't think I was "addicted" to the behavior for a long time, but the difficulty with which I had to give it up pretty much proves that. There was this warm feeling I got, not physically warm, but something that felt like buzzing inside of me, when some of the characters were talking about getting used to living without the familiar behavior. It's a feeling I think I used to have when I would disassociate from my surroundings & cut myself. Feeling it last night, I didn't feel like I was in any "danger", but it was strange to have that feeling come up without a direct trigger in my life (some traumatic event). It's a familiar feeling, which makes it seem safe, but I know what it means for me so it made me uneasy at the same time.
One of the things that made it easier for me to distance myself from cutting as an option (sometime in the last year, one of those miraculous revelations just made me feel like it was never going to be an option again) was to tell myself, "I am an ex-cutter." This statement has more of a concrete feeling to me than "I used to cut."
It's been 7 years since I quit, with 2 relapses since then (last one being 5 years ago). I'm pretty fucking proud.