I hear you!
I have 3b curls too and also went through a straightening phase that lasted about a year (where I straightened it everyday). I finished the year of hair damage by keeping my hair in a tight bun (soaked in hair gel) the entire summer I worked at camp....
I think what broke my straightening days was that I really wanted long curly hair (like lower back long) and for some reason it never occurred to me that how I treated my hair would affect the health of it or the growth (Iím a bit thick sometimes).
I went to a hairdresser at the end of last summer and the ends were so damaged she ended up cutting off about 2-3 inches (the entire time commenting about how damaging straightening is). At that point I made a promise to myself: I was not going to straighten my hair for an entire year AND the only thing I was going to use in my hair (from that point on) was going to be leave in conditioners.
It has been the best decision I have ever made for my hair.
I also made a couple other changes as well. I always had washed my hair 3 times a week (if not everyday) because my scalp always got itchy and I thought that was cause it needed cleaned. WRONG! What I discovered was that sulfates actually irritated my scalp so I switched to sulfate free shampoo and silicone free conditioner. I also started washing only my scalp (and letting the shampoo clean go through my hair as it rinsed off).
Itís been nearly a year now (2 months to go!) and my hair has never been healthier. I dampen it in the morning (regular old Wal-Mart spray bottle), comb it with a wide-tooth comb, and put LíOreal Ever Sleek conditioner in it. Done. My hair is shiny, bouncy soft etc. I have no frizz, no split-ends, and no random breaking.
Now, I donít think straightners or flatirons are evil. I think itís fine to do it every now and than (change it up a bit!). But now that my hair is healthy, I love it being curly, and I honestly canít see myself straightening it much at all much less going back to doing it nearly every day!
Haha I pretty much wrote a novel. Hope it helped though!