Tattoos For Recovery

*Still Inpatient*

Recovery tattoos are becoming more and more popular,anything from an awareness ribbon, the symbol of the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA) to personal mantras.

I personally have one recovery tattoo already, (which I’ve already written about in the beginning of this blog) it’s a peace symbol with “inner” written across it, creating my personal mantra “inner peace.” This mantra has stayed with me since my first treatment program at fourteen,and just last year (has it really been a year already!?) On my ninteenth birthday I has it permantly tattoed on my left foot (placement due to enabling me to see it while practicing yoga, which I also began at fourteen during treatment)


But recently I have wanted another recovery tattoo (ok that’s a lie I’ve has three other tattoos planned, but have yet to put them into motion). My next tattoo I’m hoping to get is a orange awareness ribbon (orange is for self injury.) My plan is to have it placed on my inner left wrist, where I have a spot between my scars, it will have to be small to fit, but that makes it just a bit more special to me. My plan is after being six months self harming free ( no cutting, no burning, and no sctracthing till I bleed) I will have this tattoo done.


My sketch of the dove tattoo I wish to have.


There are a few other recovery tattoos I’m planning on getting over the years also. I’m hoping to have a dove tattood onto my ribs. Doves to me symbolize freedom, freedom to “fly” away from my past abuse, freedom from the deathly hands of depression, anxiety and unhealthy relationship with food. I’m also hoping to have “believe” tattood around my wrist. The word believe has always been one of the words I gravitate towards, partly due to my vaste imagination, but it grew into believing in myself, believing there is hope, and believing that even though right this second I’m hurting inside, one day I believe I wont.
I personally think one of the reasons many people get recovery tattoos is to have a permanet reminder of there recovery, something to look at when someone is low, when they might start to slip back into a relapse, seeing the tattoo reminds them they are a fighter, reminds them of a positive.

Do you have, or plan on getting a recovery tattoo? What of? Does it help you personally to have a constant reminder of your recovery?

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6 Responses to Tattoos For Recovery

  1. rheasofhope says:

    I have two recovery tattoos and look to them everyday for inspiration. I have the NEDA symbol on my ankle and “HOPE” written in Cherokee (my heritage) on my wrist (over my scars). I believe that not only to recovery tattoos serve to remind us why we are so worth living and loving, but they are conversation starters that we can use to reduce the stigma associated with eating disorders and other mental health concerns. I love your tattoo ideas. They are personal and unique; just as a tattoo should be. Keep up the good work!

  2. I got a new tattoo yesterday which says ‘don’t break character’; it’s from a song I listen to when things are tough as it reminds me of one good day I had..

  3. sorry not yesterday – last week! 🙂

  4. Jordan says:

    I’m planning on getting the Shine the Light lightbulb along with a green ribbon(for mental health) and either a yellow(for survive suicide attempts) or orange(for self-harm) ribbon in either side of it.

  5. Jezebel says:

    I plan to get a tattoo of my favorite quote, which I believe will greatly aid me in my own recovery and therapy. It was read to me when I called RAINN and spoke to my local crisis center in the midst of a breakdown.

    “Our greatest fear is not that we are inadequate, but that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, handsome, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?”
    – Marianne Williamson

    I want the first sentence tattooed on me somewhere, but I may shorten it to “we are powerful beyond measure.”

  6. I just came across this post and actually just got a “recovery tattoo” today! I am inpatient but not locked (this time) so I was able to go get it once I convinced them it was not impulsive or self-harm. I got a phoenix on my ankle/foot to symbolize rebirth, rising from the ashes of depression (as well as anxiety, self-harm, bipolar, etc), and recovery. I too love the idea of freedom and flight. I think it is wonderful to have a visual reminder of positive progress on the path to recovery. Your tattoos sound like they will be wonderful!

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