Growing with Recovery

I’ve thought about being a recovered mental health client-consumer many times throughout the years that I have been working and associating with co-workers and others.  I know that “recovery” began in the late 1980’s, a time when I was virtually useless as a drug addicted person and alcoholic.

As the mental health system began to change so did many others I knew as consumers. I began to realize that I had to grow, but I did not know how to start to make a transformation. People other than those I knew as an addict, peers in the mental health system began to associate with me and began talking about becoming cured or recovered from their mental distress, their illness; even I wondered if there was a “cure” for the illness I suffered from, besides addiction and drunkenness.

As time progressed I learned there were internal and external forces to be reckoned with.  Resilience and hope, words I never used, besides empowerment and something I lacked, which was responsibility and self-direction, were words I never thought of until I thought of reaching out for help. Yet as I grew, I learned I could educate myself about my symptoms and learn to cope and manage these symptoms of my illness. I could with this new knowledge, mold myself with self-discipline and know what empathy meant in this society.

Recovery means changing direction, your attitude and what you believe in from what I have learned about others and myself as well.  It doesn’t mean having a reliance on medicine, pills or self-medicating your self on illicit drugs or alcohol; it means to search and explore your personal self, exercise and meditate, and find a balance between yourself and those who care to help you as well as loved ones.

Focusing on building a new world for yourself is a step in recovery, from the woes of distress which had become common to you to knowing that recovery makes you a new person, one who is unique with an ability to understand your rights and who knows the choices and self direction of your life.