Self love is possible

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COLUMBIA - Three years have passed and Erika Navarrete remains on her path to recovery. She has a history of self injury, a part of her struggle with mental illness.

As her condition improved, she developed an idea to help herself and others see that their progress was real and that recovery was possible.

“I would consider self-injury an epidemic and it affects everyone,” Navarrete said. “I think it’s important to celebrate recovery and not be ashamed to admit that you struggle with self-injury.”

Art is Navarrete’s passion, and she likes to use clay to make knickknacks. She has created coin-like pieces to mark how many weeks, months, and years has passed since she self-harmed. She calls them recovery tokens.

“I thought of how alcoholic anonymous and narcotics anonymous have their sobriety tokens, and how there’s so much shame regarding self-injury and the struggle with it because it is an addiction,” she said. “I wanted something that was motivating to me to stay in recovery and something that could help other people.”

Self-Love is Possible debuted on the online shopping site Etsy. Navarrete said people who have ordered the 50 cent tokens have spanned the country, with buyers in Illinois, Georgia, Florida, Oklahoma, Missouri, Colorado, Pennsylvania,  California. One was from Spain.

Navarrete's roommate, Tori Trampler, has also self-harmed said she has benefited from the recovery tokens herself.

“For me, having that physical token is something I can actually look at,” Trampler said. “I can say 'this is real, this isn’t in my head, this is a fruit that’s been born from this tree in taking care of myself in the past two years.'"

Trampler said self harm is an addiction.

I am in recovery, but I am still addicted to self-harm. I’m two years clean, but there are times where I think of self-harm on a daily basis.”

Navarrete is planning to turn Self-Love is Possible into a non-profit organization. She said she hopes to touch more lives with her clay recovery tokens.

“It makes me happy to give them to people because it takes so much strength to admit the struggle with this addiction,” Navarrete says. “The fact that I can celebrate with someone is like, ‘Hell yeah! You’ve got this far and you’re capable of doing this!’”