What do you do when you want to stop injuring, but you are finding it hard to resist the temptation? How do you resist that craving, that need to end your inner pain? It seems impossible to refuse the need to harm yourself and it’s hard to think of doing anything else other than ripping at your flesh. Are there alternatives to injuring? Can you do something else to fill your longings? My answer to you is yes. There are alternatives to self-harm.

   Putting an end to self-injury is like giving up drugs. You feel like you need it, you have to do it, you can’t survive without it and nothing else can take its place. When you try to give it up, somehow you keep getting drawn back to it. To curb those feelings, there are safe alternatives you can use instead of self-injuring. Below is some of the alternatives I used when I felt the need to harm myself.

  • Start a self-injury journal and write down how you are feeling and why you want to injure. Then write down how you would feel after you hurt yourself. Doing this helped me express what I was feeling inside and helped me see that I would only feel worse afterwards.

  • Draw on your arms with a washable marker, where you would like to injure. Put lines or draw a picture. I just drew lines in the spots I would usually cut. Afterwards I looked at my arms and thought how bad they would look if those were actual injuries. Then I’d wash them off and it was like washing the pain away.

  • Hold an ice cube in your hand until you feel the sting of the coldness. For me holding an ice cube until the coldness stung my skin resembled the sting of harming myself. This took the place of my need to feel physical pain instead of emotional. It was just enough to take me away for a few minutes.

  • Use a rubber band or hair band to snap yourself just enough to simulate an injury. I used the rubber band to also take the place of a cut. The snap against my skin was enough to relive my temptations.

  • Call a friend and tell him or her how you are feeling. Talking to my friend distracted me from what I wanted to do to myself. We would talk for hours until she was sure I would be okay.

  • Get out of the house by going out with friends, visiting family, or just going to the movies. Getting away from the place where I harmed myself kept me away from the tools I used and the place that I felt I could not resist my urges.

  • If all else doesn’t work, call your therapist or 1-800-DONTCUT. Talking to my therapist gave me a professional who could help me find other ways to express my pent up pain. My therapist also got me to talk about the feelings and thoughts that led to my injuring.

   Find an alternative to help you resist your addiction to self-injury. It’s not easy to do, but with hard work you can find ways to stop harming yourself. Eventually you won’t even need the alternatives because the need to injure will no longer haunt you. In time you will learn healthy ways to handle your inner pain and you will forget about using self-harm.

   I no longer need alternatives to self-injury. I now can handle emotional pain with healthier methods and without even considering cutting myself. Finding recovery from self-injury has freed my soul and allowed me to stand within the light.

   These are only a few alternatives. You can find some of these and many more at Teen Help at

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