Addressing self-harm in recovery is not an easy task but if you are ready to get help for cutting or self-harm there are ways to get help. In recovery we are trying to leave negative and self-destructive behaviors behind and part of that means leaving self-harm behind. We have worth today and we handle life with grace and dignity so it is important to address self-harm in recovery.
If you are ready to address self-harm in recovery the first step is to confide in someone about it! It can be really scary to talk to another person about something that you have tried so hard to hide but it is also going to be an amazing relief to let someone know what has been going on with you. It is important that you find someone you trust in order to address self-harm in recovery; whether that is a sponsor, therapist, or family member make sure that you can feel somewhat comfortable being honest and open. Make sure when you address self-harm in your recovery with another person that you focus on your feelings not the actual self-harm, communicate in the way you feel comfortable, and that you give the person time to process what you tell them. Talking about self-harm can be stressful and can bring up emotions; don’t get discouraged.
The next step in addressing self-harm in recovery is to figure out why you are cutting. In recovery we leave addiction and alcoholism behind but that doesn’t mean we leave all of our negative behaviors behind. Figure out why you cut and you can begin to find a solution. Begin to learn new coping skills for dealing with emotional pain such as loneliness, sadness, anger, and emptiness. Maybe re-work your steps with the sole purpose of working on your self-harm. Also, learn what your self-harm triggers are. Do you self-harm when you are overwhelmed, bored, ashamed, guilty, or angry? Get in touch with your feelings if you cannot identify your triggers or why you cut. Meditation and prayer can help with this. Paying attention to your feelings and accepting them rather than numbing them is part of a healthy recovery.
And last but definitely not least in order to address self-harm in recovery you must learn and utilize your new coping skills. There are so many outlets in the world for us where we can release negative energy. Find your niche. Find the thing that makes you feel the best and replace that with numbing and self-harm behavior. For instance you can paint, draw, journal, listen to music, and write poetry if you cut to express your pain and emotions. You could also try taking a hot bath or shower, cuddle with your dog or cat, and give yourself a massage for self-harm that you act out in to calm and soothe yourself. For any time that you engage in self-harm to feel numb try calling a friend instead, take a cold shower, go online to a self-help website, call your sponsor, or go to a meeting. If you want to self-harm to release anger try exercising intensely, dancing, punching a cushion, ripping something like paper, or play an instrument.
Addressing self-harm in recovery is imperative to staying sober and living a healthy, happy and full life. It won’t be easy but it can be done. Realize your worth and realize that all emotions are neither positive nor negative, they just are!