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The Behavior Lists

The three lists are the Qualifying Behaviors List, the Dangerous Behaviors List, and the Recovery Behaviors List.


This tool helps us to recognize our behaviors so we can define our abstinence. As we gain more awareness, we are able to choose recovery instead of acting out. The lists aren’t set in stone. We can always change, remove, or add behaviors. We have found that it is best to work on the lists with a sponsor or a more experienced fellow.

Qualifying Behaviors are all the addictive behaviors that we want to stop. We list the things that qualify us as skin pickers. Examples could be self-extraction, causing bleeding, interfering with wound healing, or using tools to pick.


Some Qualifying Behaviors might be more obvious than others. Self-extraction and causing bleeding are on many of our lists, but we also look at behaviors like rubbing skin too harshly with a towel or inspecting bodily material. It could take a while to get all of them on paper. On this list, we write down every behavior that we want to stop. Even if we don’t believe that we can stop a particular behavior, we write it down anyway. Abstinence will come in time; the first step is to be aware of what our Qualifying Behaviors are.


It might be hard to see all of our Qualifying Behaviors on paper, but we don’t judge at this point. We are just observing here. Most of us have similar Qualifying Behaviors on our lists. But while there may be similarities among our lists, it’s important that we create them for ourselves alone. All of our lists are very individual, as we act out on different body parts and engage in different behaviors. In other words, we all have different versions of the same disease.

The second list is the Dangerous Behaviors List. Dangerous Behaviors are habits, behaviors, and situations that lead to our Qualifying Behaviors. Some of them may be eliminated, but more often than not, we are not able to remove everything on this list from our lives. For example, if we pick in the bathroom, we can’t stop going to the bathroom!

Other examples of Dangerous Behaviors might be getting too hungry, too stressed, too tired, too lonely, or just leaning into the mirror to get a closer look at our faces.

We must think about situations, locations, and times in which we tend to act out. Examples like stress, grief, or even a broken heart are things that we can’t avoid, but that doesn’t mean that we have to act out on our skin because of them.

This list is a tool to help us connect more deeply with our inner selves. When we see that we are acting in a dangerous way, we can now recognize that. Instead of picking, we might choose to call our sponsors or do any other Recovery Behaviors that we have on our Recovery Behaviors List.

Again, some items on our list might be similar to those of other fellows, but we make sure to create our own individual list. As a result, we gain more awareness of our triggers and of situations in which we are likely to act out.

The third list is the Recovery Behaviors List. This is where the fun starts! Our goal in making The Three Lists is not only to eliminate the Qualifying Behaviors and to embrace our Recovery Behaviors. We found that living in our recovery behaviors increased our spiritual connection with our Higher Power.

We list all the things that support our recovery. Examples might include: going to meetings, making outreach calls, and meditating. There are many more recovery behaviors that we do as part of our program. We also add things like our hobbies, exercising, playing with our pets, drawing, or cooking to our list.

However, that doesn’t mean we have to do all our Recovery Behaviors daily, especially because some are not possible to do all the time. Therefore, we enjoy having a long list of Recovery Behaviors that can help us prepare for all sorts of situations.


Additionally, we encourage fellows to actively plan and/or bookend Recovery Behaviors, as we know that many of us struggle to find time to take care of ourselves and do things we enjoy.

Most of us find the process of making the lists helpful, but beyond that, it is also helpful to read them on a regular basis, as well as to discuss them in meetings or during outreach calls.

We find that living in our recovery behaviors increases our spiritual connection with our Higher Power, bringing us closer to freedom from skin picking.

Once again, we emphasize that we don’t make our lists alone. We ask our sponsor or any fellow who has more experience than we do to guide us. In fact, we found that it is vital to our recovery to get our Three Lists approved by a sponsor.

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