The Questionnaires
Conducted by A.E. Cox

Filled Out By: Ariele
Addiction Type: Self-Injury

Q: So, tell me about this addiction. (What the addiction is, how old you were, why it started, how long it lasted, etc.)
A: Self-mutilation. I was 13. I was in my room alone with scissors in my hand. I'm not sure what made me do it the first time; but I found myself sliding the shard edge of the scissors against my skin. I remember being really scared that it felt good. The last time I did it was right before I turned 18, so 4-5 years. I will be 21 next month.

Q: When did you first know your addiction was an "addiction"?
A: I realized it was an addiction when I began relying on it. I started doing it at school in the bathroom on my breaks. I'd rush to get home just so I could slide a razor against my skin &see myself bleed. I began doing research on the problem &found that I wasn't alone.

Q: Did you feel other people judged you based on this addiction?
A: Definitely. I told my few closest friends &those who didn't understand it definitely changed the way they acted toward me.

Q: Did you try to hide the addiction from others? Is so, what would you do to try and hide the addiction?
A: Yes, I always tried to hide it. The easiest places to cut were my arms. It was hard to get away with covering those up living in Southern California, so once it got too warm to wear long sleeved shirts, I resorted to my legs. Being a beach goer &a pool owner, that didn't work out too well either. I started cutting underneath my upper arms, on my stomach, and below my stomach underneath my panty line. If people did in fact see the cuts/scars, I always lied - cat scratches, I fell in a thorny bush, etc. etc. Now that I look back, I'm sure most people didn't buy it - no cat scratches in perfect parallel lines.

Q: Did you loose any friends or harm any relationships due to your addiction?
A: In this case, not really. I think it actually brought me closer to one friend in particular because she, too, was going thru the same thing. Then again, once my mom found out, there was a bit of tension between us. But she never did a damn thing about it.

Q: Did you feel, at any point, you were in control of your addiction and brushed off concerns of friends or family members?
A: For the first year or so, I definitely felt in control. I knew I had a problem, but I figured if it made me feel better, it couldn't be that harmful. During that time, I was thinking more that it wasn't physically harmful. I wasn't worrying about it being mentally or emotionally harmful.

Q: Were there certain "triggers" that made you want to continue your addiction?
A: It was a release, an escape. Any negative emotion that had caused me to cut before I quit still unearthed some sort of craving to do it afterward - probably because it was so familiar.

Q: When did you decide enough was enough and get help for your addiction?
A: I didn't get help. I went through a sort of self-revelation &proceeded to endure in a sort of self-therapy. I've been clean for three years.

Q: Were there certain steps you took to recovery? Did you go to someone for help?
A: I wish I had gone to someone for help at some point. I believe my path of recovery may have been easier to deal with. Because I hate to say that coming out of this addiction was actually caused by a new addiction.

Q: Did you experience any kind of withdrawal symptoms?
A: Yes, although not your normal kind. I think it was more of a depression, a hole I would sink into &some nights I would find myself on the bathroom floor with a razor held to my skin, tears streaming from my eyes. I starting crying a lot more after I quit than I did before or during.

Q: What kind of support system did you create for yourself in trying to overcome the addiction?
A: My boyfriend at the time, although his support was more of the silent type. My friends. And unfortunately, a new addiction.

Q: What would be your advice to anyone currently experiencing this addiction?
A: Unfortunately, I have learned that my advice is not warranted. You can tell people how you learned from your mistakes, but they have to learn from their own.

Q: How do you feel your life has changed since your recovery? What have you learned?
A: After going through withdrawal for a couple years, I look back &its hard for me to comprehend that that is who I used to be. I have self-respect, self-assurance, self-esteem - things I never had before.