The History of OSPA
OSPA, Obsessive Skin Pickers Anonymous, was born December 3, 2004, upon the inspiration of our founder’s Higher Power. Having reached the point of desperation with her skin picking, and having searched the Internet for Skin Picking and found a website specifically for skin pickers, our founder discovered at long last that she was not alone in the world, and it was an epiphany! The website was a discussion board, and after posting for several days, and having been sober for 10 years in Alcoholics Anonymous, our founder was prompted to create a Twelve Step program for Obsessive Skin Picking. She named it OSPA, Obsessive Skin Pickers Anonymous. She started a thread on the Discussion Board specifically for working the Twelve Steps of OSPA and that thread is still there to this day.
Initially she and other skin pickers began to work the steps on the discussion board thread and via instant message, and by telephone. Word spread and the administrator of the newly launched Stop Picking On Me website invited OSPA to her website and set up two specific forums for OSPA with Step threads for each step.* OSPA still resides there, ten years later. OSPA was now on two websites, and our founder and other skin pickers worked the steps, and the program grew.
One year later, OSPA Meetings were started in the Chat Room of the SPOM website and what started as one meeting per week expanded to as many as six meetings per week in the years that followed.
After achieving one year of continuous abstinence an OSPA member flew to California from her home in Australia to meet “the woman who changed her life”. Two other OSPA members joined in the California visit, three meeting up in San Diego, California, and three visiting Lake Tahoe, California. The first face to face OSPA meetings were held on this trip.
In the following years the founder traveled to Australia for a return visit, Arizona, Morocco, Amsterdam and Los Angeles to meet fellow OSPA members and hold face to face meetings. A Skype meeting had been started in Amsterdam, and other Skype meetings followed, in video format. Now OSPA members all over the world could see each other! The Skype meetings flourished, and the membership slowly grew.
In Spring of 2014 two of our members attended the TLC (Trichotillomania Learning Center) Annual Conference in Los Angeles and one spoke at the closing meeting. A videotape of her testimonial of recovery through the OSPA program was posted on the TLC newsletter some months later and the video went viral in the skin picking community! Facebook likes and requests for information poured in and a growth spurt ensued.
Still a small but closely knit program, OSPA members from Australia, Brazil, America, Denmark, the UK, the Netherlands, Morocco, and South Africa join in the weekly calls and more people each week visit our Facebook Page - Obsessive Skin Pickers Anonymous (OSPA) and request help, support and information. We hope to sustain the growth spurt into the coming years with help from our newly launched website, added Telephone Conference Meetings, and ongoing outreach through TLC and a number of Skin Picking (Dematillomania) Facebook Groups.
We hope you will join us in our recovery journey and become a part of OSPA’s History!