Never give up responsibility for your own recovery.
Just saw a post saying “If this post gets x number of notes, I’ll stop (addictive behavior).” I “liked” the post, because hey, it might work, but MAN, that is not a great recovery strategy. The single biggest sign of addiction is the loss of control over our own behavior, so basing a change in that behavior on other people’s actions will always backfire. It’s so clearly self-defeating: as this post said, “It’ll never get there anyway, so I have nothing to worry about.” Meaning that if people don’t do what they want, this person will basically get permission to keep up the addiction.
Of course that’s not what this person consciously intended. It’s much more obviously a call for contact, recognition and support. But asking for support is different. “Help me by liking this post” doesn’t make your recovery depend on our actions. Sorry to get all red-flag about this, but it’s an absolutely bedrock recovery principle, and I’ve seen waaaay too many addicts faceplant and relapse when other people “let them down.”
It’s not a good way to recover.
I saw that post as someone asking for validation or recognition… People say physical self-harm (cutting/burning etc) is attention seeking behaviour. I don’t think this is always true, but in some cases it is. Something being “attention seeking” is wrongly stigmatised: there is NOTHING wrong with looking for attention. If you’re cutting (etc), you need some damn attention. If you want attention for any reason, you almost certainly need attention, need someone to let you know your feelings are valid. I just wanted to say to that person “I see you. I am looking.” I wish I could tell them that what they’re doing isn’t insurmountable.
I don’t think I really know anything about addiction. I have self-harmed on and off for about 15 years, usually very superficially, and when I’m not self-harming regularly it’s because… I don’t want to, not because I’m making the concious effort not to. AFAIK that doesn’t fit within the usual definition of addiction. I don’t think getting a certain number of hits on a post is going to really help anyone to stop self-harming, because, absolutely, you cannot place your recovery on other people. But I hope that person and other people who self-harm might feel a little more… visible. Because self-harming is shameful, stigmatised and isolating, and it helps to be seen.
[PFG I hope this response makes some kind of sense, I am very brain-foggy.]
God yes, that’s perfect. Attention, contact, recognition are absolutely vital. I think that’s the main reason 12-step programs work, because that’s what you can get in any meeting, and you can find those meetings just about anywhere. Though you’re right, behavioral addictions aren’t the same as substance addictions, and harmful behavioral patterns aren’t necessarily addictions. Thanks for adding that.