Help reqired please

Discussion in 'Self Harm & Substance Abuse' started by Up&down, Dec 22, 2007.

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  1. Up&down

    Up&down Well-Known Member

    Hi Everyone,
    I'm helping someone using the 12 step recovery programe for a drink addiction.
    It works for drink, drugs, eating, deppression etc.
    Anyone who knows about it knows you have to deal with parts of your life that come back to haunt you from time to time, it really does work I have not had a drink, drugs or copulsive behaviour for nearly ten years.
    My problem is the person I am working with someone self harms, drink etc has not cut for a few months but by going through some stuff over the last couple of days, she had a binge on choc's and cut herself twice.
    My thoughts are to carry on with the 12 steps to get the drink and eating firmly sorted then move on to self harm,I have no experience with cutting any advice will be greatly taken on board.
    I have just sent her a link to this wonderfull site.
    Thank you
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 22, 2007
  2. Isa

    Isa Well-Known Member

    cutting is a release of stress.

    start the steps again.

    cutting is an addiction like everythin else and it stays with you for life because it has an escapist value to it.

    But it builds up over time. You can go 3 days without, then a week, then 2 days, then a month, slowly your tolerance against stress builds up.

    Cutting when your trying not to isnt a failure, it doesnt reset you to 0. Remind your friend of that.

    Heres a post ive made about self harm...

    Harming is a form of escapism, to help us keep control over our pain and escape from it sort of. Therefore it will ALWAYS be a temptation for most people who have self harmed for long periods of time. You cant wait until you dont need self harm to stop as self harm causes a vicious cycle, you find yourself depressed because you have scars and then scarring yourself because your depressed.

    To begin with accept token victories. If you last two days, or even two hours if your that extreme currently, then note to yourself that you went that long without it, if you slip up tell yourself you were stressed and needed the control but it doesnt mean you dont want to stop any more, keep reminding yourself of goals.

    Two useful things that have helped some people

    1) a happy box, a shoe box full of things that make you happy, photos cds etc for when you feel like you might cut in the near future, to distract you until the feeling passes, this helps you by giving you an anchor, things to think about to distract yourself, and hopefully some positive feelings. You wont feel happiness in the traditional sense looking at them when you are feeling low, but it might be enough to help... if not...

    2) a "safe box", in the safe box keep sterilising fluid, your razors or whatever so that when you cut you clean the skin, then cut with clean blades, then clean it again so it becomes more like a medical procedure rather than a romantic ideal of escapism. The more you think of it as a medical procedure that sometimes you have to endure in order to continue functioning, and less like an escape from the stress of life that you hide in, the less tempting it becomes.

    The second part sounds crazy doesn't it? Advising you to make it easier on yourself to cut.. But its not. The safe box helps you because a) it saves you from infections and having to answer nasty questions from doctors or families and getting sick.. and b) it stops self harm being a spur of the moment or emotion fueled thing.. it means you have to think about what you are doing. It means you arent 'escaping' your pain by self harming, just like a diabetic has a shot of insulin sometimes you might have to to get control over your emotions.. it helps you stop idealising the self harm.. the self harm wont help you get over your problems, its just a means to control yourself when you absolutely have to, to get through another day. And every day you survive is an achievement.

    It takes time but keep reminding yourself that you want to give up and the little goals you achieve.

    Good luck!
  3. the recluse

    the recluse New Member

    self-harm is in many ways like any other addiction: it's something that helps the person to cope and it's something upon which they can become (and in this case apparently have become) reliant upon in order to get by.

    in terms of treatment for comorbid addictions, especially with a self-help, twelve-step-type program, the general approach is to deal with things one-at-a-time in order of the discomfort and/or danger they cause to the individual. so if your friend thinks that drinking and eating are her main problems, then she can deal with them first. this approach is nice because you can deal with things one at a time rather than giving up all your addictions at once, which can be overwhelming. it can also be somewhat dangerous, however, and you have to be careful that the other addictions aren't merely increasing in order to cover the ground left bare by the departure of one. if the individual's cutting has not significantly increased, then you don't need to deal with it concurrently if she doesn't want to. as long as quitting drink doesn't make cutting worse, etc. if it does, then it's probably best to deal with all at once.

    don't forget that addictions to cutting/drinking/eating often all stem from the same source and from the same psychological issues, and that dealing with those issues (which hopefully you are doing) might necessitate dealing with them all at once. i'm reminded of MICA (mental illness and chemical abuse) inpatient programs that various hospitals have implemented, and the success they have there because they treat mental illness at the same time as drug addiction, vastly reducing recidivism rates (which sadly was not widely done until somewhat recently).

    just some advice from your neighborhood friendly clin psych major... but at the end of the day, i think it needs to be the individual's decision; only they know what they are capable of handling at once and what would be best for them and their progress. i wish you the best.
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