I am a 25 year old male, I've been picking/biting at my thumbs as far back as I can remember. I've been free from ALL biting/picking for the past 2 months, and i'm hoping this post helps someone else out there. Skin picking for me was something that started as a thought-driven habit when i was studying, and over time it became a subconscious nervous habit where I would start picking the thumbs using my index fingers without even realizing it.
Roughly 2 months ago in early October, 2016 I went to visit my brother in Northern Michigan where he attends college, and my sister and I drove up to see him. Over the course of that weekend, my biting happened to be really bad and my sister nonchalantly suggested that maybe i try to stop biting just one thumb. The thought had never crossed my mind before. I assumed that if I was going to stop, I had to do it cold turkey and refrain from ALL biting/picking or it would never work.
When I returned to work on Monday (again in early October), I started by using scotch tape and band aids to cover my left thumb. This 1st part is VERY important, so read closely. Like any drug addict or victim of relationship abuse has to do, I had to personally commit to keeping my left thumb covered. No Contact = No Biting/Picking. If i noticed that I was starting to pick away at the tape/bandaid on the left thumb, I would openly gnaw away at my right thumb with no regret. Mentally, I had to split the two thumbs down the middle and force myself not to bite the left, while also being 100% ok with biting the right thumb.
After about a week of this, I started to notice two things were happening simultaneously. My left thumb was starting to heal, and I was also starting to consciously notice when I was biting and/or picking at the right thumb. I used this opportunity to expand the mentally i had from my left thumb to the right thumb, and try my best to not bite/pick at it. (FYI still had tape on the left thumb).
The final step takes some personal gut checking, so be careful, timing and progress will be different for everyone. At this point in my skin picking career, I was feeling pretty confident, so I took the tape off of my left thumb and VERY CAREFULLY proceeded with my day/week. I was being cautious to maintain the same level of awareness I had up to that point, and if I ever started to pick/bite, I'd immediately put tape back on either thumb. It took about another week of me having to sometimes put tape back on one of my thumbs to keep the momentum rolling, but at the end of that two weeks, I was clean and I could feel it.
The rest is history. I still get urges of course, but the healed skin on my thumbs act as a bittersweet reminder of where I once was, and where I am now. If anyone has questions, please comment below, I'll be checking back on this post over the next couple weeks. Hope this helps, and best of luck!