Recovery   1 comment

Recovery similar to hope is a term that we all use on a regularly, but its meaning is very obscure and abstract. This is especially true when discussing recovery from mental illness and/or substance abuse.  To begin, lets look at the most basic definition of recovery: ”a return to health: the return to normal health of somebody who has been ill or injured”. In other words to get better after being injured or sick. We recover from a cold, flu, broken leg, etc. This concept is also true regarding our mental illness. We “get better” following a return or increase in symptoms that affects our ability to continue function normally.  As we all know, recovery from any set back, physical or psychiatric doe not happen overnight, it is a process, a journey. It will take time and effort on our part to achieve.

Another definition of recovery is “gaining back something lost or taken away.” I know many of us have made the statements or thoughts “I am loosing my mind,” or “My life is out of control.”  Relapse of her illness can and/or has taken many things from us: freedom, relationships, employment, housing, children, etc. The good news is that with time and effort, some of these things that have been lost or taken away can reclaimed. I once heard a persons describe their life during a relapse as feeling like it was a wasteland with nothing of value left. Through the journey and process of recovery, he was able to salvage his own value, purpose and usefulness and eventually also started reclaiming his freedom, relationships, employment and other things lost or taken away due to his illness.

Another view of Recovery is quite similar to our first definition, but one significant difference, “the return of something to a normal or improved state after a setback or loss.”  The most important part of this definition is the simple phrase, “or improved state”. Mental illness and Substance Abuse are the only conditions in which I feel this is possible. With most, if not all, other conditions there are residual effects of the illness that never truly heal to their previous state. Some have said, “How can I recovery to a better place than where I was before I got sick again.” This is possible because through our journey of recovery we learn new things about our illness and gain new skills for managing it and coping with the other issues of daily life. Thus we are better equipped for our journey as we continue our journey.

Personally, I fell the most important thing for all of us to remember is the journey of recovery is different for every individual that endeavors down this path. Due to the multitude of varying circumstances, strengths, weaknesses, supports and perspective, each of our journeys are as different as the snowflakes, none alike. Consequentially, we each of have a different interpretation of what recovery means to us, and we should.

On finally definition, that I think summarizes these concepts better than I feel I may have in these paragraphs.

William Anthony, Director of the Boston Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation developed the following definition of mental health recovery.

Anthony (1993) Recovery is “a deeply personal, unique process of changing one’s attitudes, values, feelings, goals, skills and/or roles. It is a way of living a satisfying, hopeful, and contributing life even with limitations caused by the illness. Recovery involves the development of new meaning and purpose in one’s life as one grows beyond the catastrophic effects of mental illness.”

So no matter where you find yourself on your journey along the Road to Recovery I hope that you are moving forward and actively making progress towards getting better and reclaiming those things in your life that have been lost or taken away.

Anthony, W. A. (1993). Recovery from mental illness: The guiding vision of the mental health service system in the 1990’s. Psychosocial Rehabilitation Journal, 16(4), 11-23.


One response to “Recovery

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  1. Hi
    I have two blogs concerning my past and present experiences with addiction, recovery, bi-polar and add. these are true personal writing that are helping me find out who I am and may help other addict s in the process. My blog addresses are and I am looking for other blog authors to post comments and to subscribe to their blogs. Please let me know what you think.

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