Hello, everyone! This is the first in a series of blog posts I plan to write on self-harm. Please join me in welcoming Patti J. Smith, author of ‘Moments with God’ as well as many other works in the Christian, Romance, and Suspense genres.
CL: Welcome, Patti! First of all, thank you for being willing to speak with me about a topic that is so personal. You’re very brave. As you know, I just released my debut novel in June titled, Memoirs of a Girl Who Loves God, and the main character is a fourteen-year-old girl who struggles with a self-harm addiction. Her particular addiction is cutting. Could you tell me what forms of self-harm you were or are afflicted by?
PS: I was afflicted by alcoholism and promiscuity which resulted in my being institutionalized for being suicidal.
What do you feel caused your behavior?
I learned through therapy, alcohol rehabilitation and a subsequent healing program my behavior was a direct result of two abortions. Alcohol and promiscuity were the tools I used to repress the regret, shame and remorse. I drank to ease the pain and slept around for love and acceptance.
What impact did your struggles have in the long term?
I have been sober for seventeen and a half years, but although successful in sobriety, there was still a dark cloud hanging over me. Even after working the twelve steps of AA, I was still filled with self-loathing and didn’t know why. It wasn’t until I heard a woman speak about post-abortion syndrome that I realized where that lingering pain came from. I attended a Rachel’s Hope healing retreat and was able to come to terms with what I had done, and was able to mourn the loss of my children and ask for God’s forgiveness, my children’s forgiveness and most importantly, forgive myself.
Do you still struggle with urges to repeat this behavior?
Even after so many years, I have days when I crave alcohol. It doesn’t have to be something negative to create the urge, it could be something exciting and joyful.
What person or things has been your greatest hindrance with your struggles? And also, what person or things has been your greatest help?
The greatest hindrance in my continued recovery is myself. If I don’t maintain a close relationship with God, my AA friends, and my Rachel’s Hope circle, I start sliding down that slippery slope. My faith community, AA, Rachel’s Hope and my loving husband and family are my sources of strength and understanding. I write about my experiences in books and via journaling which also helps keep me balanced.
If you were standing in front of an audience of people who were suffering from many of the same things you’ve been through, what would you say to them? Any words of wisdom?
I do speak publicly about my abortion experience and the associated consequences. I would tell them there is light at the end of the tunnel and they are not alone. There is absolutely nothing in this world that cannot be forgiven or overcome. All one needs to do is reach out and let someone else love them until they can love themselves.
Amen, Sista! Love that. Thanks again for allowing me to interview you.
Folks, feel free to drop Patti a line or comment below. Click here to watch/read Patti’s testimony.