Two clients, both young, frustrated, confused, ashamed and embarrassed. At least that is how they both presented themselves the first time I met them. Now looking at their arms, at one time I saw the marks of needles, scars from cutting, and on him burn marks from cigarettes. From an outsider looking in, one would ask, “How could they hurt themselves like that?” My response, “exactly.” Exactly, meaning they hurt themselves in their best attempt to feel, to feel something beyond their self loathing, despair, and at times distress. They cut themselves out of lost control. The act gave them that artificial sense of control long lost as surrendered to their drug. But the scars have healed, at least the people can see.
Now, they are not embarrassed about what was and what shows on their arms. The two of them are veterans to the campaigns they fought in their heads, with their feelings, and in their thoughts of not worthy, not good enough. They are veterans to being in the shit of drub abuse.
Now they listen, they listen to what I share as they take the time to connect. The scars on their arms they have as not reminders, rather merits to what once was. They were in the shit, they ate, smelled, and lived it. But rather falling as a victim, they are doing with, embracing control over what they once did, they are learning to learn the opportunity of experience. They have sat in their shit, and now they are cleaning themselves off. I am proud of these two. They are my heroes.