“The strengths offered by mutual support groups do not promise certain recovery; they simply provide for the prospect of gradual change. There are no simple solutions to the lifelong practices of self-harm. The experiences of those who have modified intractable habits into manageable life patterns include a few basic truths: personal vigilance against self-harming ways must be lifelong; relapses are always waiting patiently to reassert destructiveness if anyone takes recovery for granted; the way back from each relapse becomes progressively more difficult; and there is no protection available for someone who “doesn’t care” or gives up.
As members of such groups know, the effective approach is . . . interested only in ending pretense, the pretense that “I always manage” and “I can cope”. It recognizes that the shortest distance between two emotional point is the truth, and that gentleness toward oneself and others is not an expression of weakness. . . . members strive to offer goodwill that is unconditional and tenderness free of gender plays. When loners who share the same specific sense of difference come together, the bond created can have the pure beauty of a blessing.”