This column is dedicated to permaholics who are in recovery. Also known as recovering permies, these women are addicted to chemical relaxers but are ready to kick the habit.

First, let me congratulate you for your decision to make the transition to a more natural lifestyle for your hair. You have taken a major step toward setting your follicles free.

While I hope your transition will be a smooth one, you will likely face challenges along the way. Brace yourself for criticism from those who will question your sanity and don’t be surprised if there are times when you second-guess yourself. Post-Perm Guilt is common among recovering permies. You blame yourself for taking your hair off drugs. You need to be reminded that those feelings of guilt are only "natural" and you have done nothing wrong.

As recovering permies, you should not take this journey alone. I strongly urge you to find a support group—particularly one that hold regular "hairepy" sessions where you can get help managing your chemical relaxer addiction. I also encourage you to build a network of supportive, nappy-headed friends who you can call on whenever you feel a relapse coming on.

For those of you who need spiritual support, I offer my 12-Strand Program for Permaholics. Please note that any similarity to other recovery programs is purely parody.

The 12 Strands

  1. We admitted we were powerless over perms and that our lives had become un-mane-geable.
  2. Came to believe that a Hair Power greater than ourselves could restore us to nappiness.
  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our follicles over to the care of a Higher Hair Power as we understood Her.
  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of our follicles.
  5. Admitted to a Higher Hair Power, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our follicle failures.
  6. Were entirely ready to have our Higher Hair Power remove all these defects of character.
  7. Humbly asked our Higher Hair Power to remove our short-combings.
  8. Made a list of all nappy-headed people we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
  9. Made direct amends to nappy-headed people wherever possible.
  10. Continued to take personal hair inventory, and when we snuck out to get a touch-up, promptly admitted it.
  11. Sought through meditation to improve our conscious contact with nappiness as we understand it to be, meditating only for more knowledge of that state of being and the power to maintain it.
  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to permaholics and to practice these principles in all our hair affairs.

It is my sincere hope that these guiding principles, dear permies, will help you stay the "coarse" and take your recovery one nap at a time.