ROADS TO RECOVERY: PICKERS ANONYMOUS
12 Step Pickers Program – 1. Admitted you are powerless over picking – and that your life has become unmanageable.
Powerlessness means that we recognize that although we know the results of picking, we still continue to perform this destructive behavior. It also comes in the form of mental obsession which makes it impossible for us to think clearly about our habit. As a result of this unstoppable habit, our lives become unmanageable. We go out of our way to style our hair, put on makeup, wear long shirts, wear gloves, turn our heads this way or that, or hold our hands in ‘covering’ positions all to cover up the damage we have done. We must admit there is a problem first and foremost before any healing can be accomplished.
12 Step Pickers Program – 2. Came to believe that a power higher than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
We have to get ‘outside’ ourselves to see the road to sanity. This mean turning over you life and will to God as you see him/her. This can be Jesus, Buddha, Krishna, the Goddess or you may believe that ‘God’ is simply your own “Jiminy Cricket” consciousness. Whatever you believe, turn the problem over to this higher power. Because it is this connection that has been missing from your life.
Pickers operate the way they do, because of a false belief that they can control the outcome of their actions, even though time and again they are proven wrong. It is essential to develop a connection to a higher guiding power. Believe that it can get you through the tough tempting times.
12 Step Pickers Program – 3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understand God.
You simply have to let go of the control. What you have been doing up until now has obviously not been working for you. So be open to try a different way. A way that comes from a higher power – let’s call it a universal consciousness that ultimately wants you to be happy and healthy. When you get the urge, ask your higher power to intervene for you. Pray or meditate for help.
12 Step Pickers Program – 4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
Okay, this is a really important step. Make a list of all the unpleasant things or memories that have occurred as a result of your picking.
- Did you mess up some pillowslips like I did.
- Did you act weird at work, because you felt so embarrassed about your problems?
- Did you not go to a good friend’s party because your face was a mess?
- Did you almost get in an accident because you were so focused on picking at a piece of skin?
- Did you lose sleep because of worrying about this or that related to your skin?
Think long and hard about this step and write down everything that comes to mind no matter how small or how inconsequential it may seem to you now.
12 Step Pickers Program – 5. Admitted to God and to another being the exact nature of our wrongs.
This is a hard one. You gotta read that inventory to another person. You have to face the world and admit the problem to another human being. Find someone who will listen to you without blaming or judging you and will be supportive of your attempts to get better. Hopefully this will be an understanding friend. If not, hire a counselor for a day if you are not already in regular counseling. Or perhaps there is a priest or minister whom you can talk to.
Admitting you have a problem to another person is the most profound and empowering thing you can do for yourself. Get it out in the open and be honest. Keeping it bottled up inside will just make the problem worse. If you don’t have anyone you can trust, PAY someone to listen. Hire a psychologist for an hour. Talk to a school counselor or minister. Go to a free clinic. Find someone who will listen compassionately. If you can’t find that person right away – keep looking. Don’t give up. And by all means – join an online forum for pickers!!!
12 Step Pickers Program – 6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all of these defects of character.
This is about reflection. You have listed all the bad things you have done or been as a result of your picking issues. Now prepare yourself to be ready to ask for resolution. This is not asking for forgiveness just yet. But saying that now that you have admitted your shortcomings, you are willing to change.
12 Step Pickers Program – 7. Humbly ask God to remove our shortcomings.
Now that you are willing… it’s time to be absolved. If you can’t forgive yourself – let your higher power do it for you. And allow yourself the possibility that someday someway – you WILL forgive yourself, too.
12 Step Pickers Program – 8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
Go back to your inventory list from Step 4 and made a list of the people who were inadvertently hurt by the path or actions you chose.
- A friend who missed you at their party.
- A boss who was disappointed in your services.
- The person you rear ended in your car because you were looking at your face in the rear view mirror.
- The boyfriend or girlfriend or husband or wife that felt rejection.
Think long and hard about this one. And don’t forget THE most important person you have harmed along the way… YOU.
Make sure you list how you have hampered and harmed your life through your habitual obsessive picking. From the physical act that caused damage to your body through the emotional havoc it caused your soul. If you don’t feel like crying after doing this, go back to step 4 and do some more inventory.
I am as sad for you as I was for myself. I feel your pain. I have shared your sorrow. I was in a state of disbelief and denial about how much I had hurt myself. I was definitely in total denial about the physical pain I suffered when I would squeeze and cut away at my skin, but that was nothing in comparison to the denial of the emotional pain that got me there in the first place. So please please please don’t rush through this one. You have been beating yourself up for too long now. Stop it and give yourself a hug and know that I love you and eventually you will love you, too…. Once you can admit what you have done to the others in your life and yourself and come to terms with it. Only then can you start the forgiveness and healing process.
12 Step Pickers Program – 9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure than or others.
Making amends is about being honest about what you have done, saying sorry and then doing something extra positive to make up for the indiscretion or mistake or harm..
This might be more difficult to do in a direct manner as the problem of picking can be very socially embarrassing and uncomfortable to some people. You have to be respectful that most people won’t be able to handle your truths. So just go ahead and know your own truth and do something nice for anyone that you may have harmed along the way if you are able to do that.
Where someone is approachable to your amends, then by all means share with them your sorrow over any damage you may have done and make your amends with them more directly.
12 Step Pickers Program – 10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
This is about the continued struggle you may encounter as you begin your recovery. You may never pick again OR you may slip. It is not so important whether your recovery is 100% flawless. It is important that you stay present in the moment and acknowledge your feelings when you slip or feel like slipping into your past obsessive behavior.
12 Step Pickers Program – 11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God.
As a picker, you probably have a lot of nervous energy that needs channeling. This is discussed further on in this book. For now, just take a pause now and then to reconnect with a source of higher consciousness. As an obsessive personality, you probably forget to take time to stop and smell the roses. Retrain yourself to do that.
12 Step Pickers Program – 12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to others in pain and to practice these principles in all of our affairs.
Once you have gained some small amount of peaces and respite from your obsession, try to help others that suffer. You need friends. They need friends. We all need to connect at some level. If you see someone who looks like they might be suffering from the similar issues, pass along the website for Stop Picking On You. An anonymous slip of a private handwritten note is non-offensive, non-confrontational and won’t embarrass anyone too much.
Helping others will help you.
12 Step Pickers Program – HALT
Once of the best slogans that A.A. offers is HALT – Don’t ever let yourself get too
You may find this to be pretty solid advice for your picking obsession as well…