Dear Aunt Sevvy, How can I fight an addiction—I pick at my skin—and become a better person, like Jesus would like me to be? I can’t give up popping pimples. This has isolated me from others. I was born and raised an Adventist. But even if I moved to a new city and the people from church who betrayed and hurt me are not near me anymore, I still don’t feel comfortable going to church or other public places.
Signed, Unwelcome Habit
You sound so very sad, and I understand why! Not only are you dealing with an unwanted impulse, but it is one that makes you feel weird and unattractive. I don’t know the story behind the alienation you’re feeling from your church family, but that also appears to be related to this problem.
I passed along your question to both a psychiatrist and a dermatologist. Psychologically, the problem may be associated with a condition called Skin Picking Disorder, and it is difficult to overcome by yourself. There are several possible causes that have been identified which can be addressed with professional help—some medications, and some behaviorally-based treatments. You should also see a dermatologist and see if your skin condition itself can be addressed, which may interrupt the skin picking problem.
The main thing is that because it has caused you such anxiety and isolation, you need to see physicians who specialize in these problems, and begin to work on it!
Prayer is always part of overcoming any addiction, and so I hope you will pray, and ask those around you to pray, so the Lord can help you to gain victory!
With Christian concern,
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