In searching the internet, reading self-help books, or talking to a doctor, one can find many different, very viable options on how to begin the recovery process. Because I have experienced the recovery process from a personal point of view and from the point of view of a Certified Peer Support Specialist, I have created my own template for steps to take towards recovery. This is, of course, not concrete. Each person’s situation calls for the process to be tailored to fit their individual needs. Tailor away!!!
Step #1: Make a Commitment to Yourself
In my experience both personally and in talking to others who struggle with mental health or addiction issues, I have formed the opinion that often times, a large contributor to our issues is that we have lost our sense of self along the way; we adopt the world’s opinion that we are not worth the effort to claim recovery for ourselves or we are so busy taking care of other peoples’ needs that we forget to take care of ourselves. However, let me tell you that if you truly want to recover a life full of meaning and importance, you must be willing to start putting yourself first from time to time. It is NOT selfish to focus on getting better; you will be doing not only yourself, but your friends, family, and the world a favor in reclaiming health for yourself.
Accept the following truths for yourself:
- You deserve to take care of yourself.
- You deserve to put your life as the top priority.
- You deserve to learn, stretch, and grow.
- You deserve to make choices about your life.
- You deserve to have options to draw from.
- You deserve to fulfill your personal goals.
- You deserve to celebrate the steps along the way.
- You deserve to feel renewed.
- You deserve to recover!
(Ridgeway, et al. vii)
Step #2 – Identify the Issues That Cause Stress & Stop the Forward Motion of Your Life
In order to begin the recovery process once we have accepted that we are worth the effort to recover, we must identify the issues that cause us pain and suffering. These issues can be as simple as needing to learn how to better handle one’s home finances to finding a doctor to give you a diagnosis to begin researching. Afterall, if we have not identified what is holding us back from a happy, productive life, we can never know how to best go about overcoming those obstacles and learning not to put ourselves back into difficult situations.
Step #3 – Actively Search for Understanding of Your Issues
Once we have identified and accepted the issues at hand, we must begin understanding their causes, what feeds into their overtaking our lives, and how best to tackle those issues head-on, in order to reclaim our power from them. If we do not understand what enemy we are up against, how can we ever conquer it?
Step #4 – Accept That Reclaiming Your Life and Healing Past Wounds is a Process That Takes Time
As wonderful as it would be to simply take a prescription, or participate in therapy in order to conquer our issue, we know it isn’t that simple. However, that is ok! As long as we accept the fact that recovery is a process with highs and lows that are normal to experience, a great weight of anxiety can be lifted off of our shoulders to feel the need to suddenly be perfect and never make a mistake again. Life is about learning from mistakes and even with the best of intentions, we will continue to make mistakes…what we learn from them and how we adapt is what constitutes a successful recovery!
Step #5 – Find a Network of Support
I cannot overstate how beneficial a support network is in working towards recovery. Whether friends and family participate in the recovery process as cheer leaders or they even go as far as to help make sure doctor appointments aren’t missed, you are eating regularly & healthily, or bills are paid, this sort of support can make a difficult & complicated process so much easier & tolerable. I know that a simple message of support on Facebook from loved ones who take a moment from their busy lives to bolster me can give me the strength and energy to tackle my day successfully! And I hate to sound so heavy, but sometimes, a simple word of support can mean the difference between life and death when mental illness comes knocking on the door. Your kind words and support can save a life…literally!!!
What are your necessary steps to gain recovery in your life? What make the difference between fighting another battle or giving up the war?
Pathways to Recovery: A Strengths Recovery Self-Help Workbook