Archive for June 2010

Mental Health Recovery   1 comment


In December of 2004, SAMHSA, The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, a department within the US Department of Health and Human Services, convened 110 panelist including: mental health consumers, family members, providers, advocates, researchers, academicians, managed care representatives, accreditation organization representatives, State and local public officials, and others. As a result of there discussion and the developed the following consensus statement as a definition for Mental Health Recovery

Mental health recovery is a journey of healing and transformation enabling a person with a mental health problem to live a meaningful life in a community of his or her choice while striving to achieve his or her full potential.

 Though I had not read or seen this definition prior to adopting the name of “Road to Recovery”, I have long believed that recovery was a “Process” and the more and more that I thought of it the concept of comparing it to being a “journey”, and thus the “Road” where one embarks on a journey. Summarizing from a previous post:

 Along our way on any road or journey, we will encounter trials, obstacles, mountains, valleys, plains, rain and sun. The same is true for our journey towards recovery and wellness. We will have good days and bad, struggles and victories. What determines whether we succeed or fail in this process? It is how well we navigate through each difficulty as we face them; if we do not navigate these appropriately we will find ourselves in the bar ditch, or in recovery terms, relapse.

 That brings me to the next phrase “healing and transformation”.  I have long believed that Recovery is no just about medication and therapy. It truly is a process of getting better, gaining strength as we face “our issues” struggling through the pain in order to eventually overcome them.  It is a way of life; a complete transformation in how we perceive the world and our place in it. Thereby, it changes how we respond to it. We learn to make better choices that are going to enhance our lives and well-being rather than exacerbate it.

 It is amazing how deep five little words in a simple phrase can be, but “to live a meaningful life”, is just such a phrase. Simply beginning with the word “live”, I imagine some that experiences life and is an active participant in the world around them. Someone that seizes life, experiencing every moment for all that it is worth. So many of us have been content to “survive” and “suffer through” our lives and experiences in the past. As we continue along our journey and transformation we finally, and for the first time for some of us actually start “living”!

 “A meaningful life”, for too long many of us have had no concept what actually having a meaningful life meant. Our lives have been ravaged by the symptoms of our illness, trauma and poor choices and behavior to the point that we came to believe that life, ours anyway had no meaning. As we grow and begin to see ourselves and our world through the new insights and perspective of recovery, we will gradually, yet slowly begin to recognize that our life does have meaning. Even more so, we acknowledge that we have value and have something to give back to the world around us.

 As we learn to “live” and not just survive from one day to the next, we realize that we have strength, and abilities that we had either never realized or forgotten. This insight fosters hope that we do not have to settle in our lives as they are; we can be and do ANYTHING that we set our minds to do. We are now able to realistic believe that we can set goals and trust in ourselves that we can actually achieve them. We can LIVE our lives to our full potential, no longer holding ourselves back in self-doubt and fear. We strive to “Be all we can be!”

 So today as you continue along your journey of healing and transformation, tell yourself, “The pain and difficulty that I am experiencing now is worth it, because I know that in the end I will become the person that I have wanted to be and I WILL achieve all that I am capable of doing.”

 Carpe’ Diem – Seize the Day

Remember Yesterday,

Hope for Tomorrow

LIVE Today!


That which does not kill us makes us stronger.   4 comments

That which does not kill us makes us stronger. That which does not kill us makes us stronger. Friedrich Nietzsche

It is not the traumatic event in and of itself that makes us stronger, rather our response to it. Some have said that we say this to ourselves or others as a way to attempt to minimize our or other’s pain and to rationalize it, and to find an answer to the ultimate question of “why”. Unfortunately, the truth is, very often there is no real answer to that question; all that is left for us is to feel the pain and deal with the outcome.

As we travel along our journey of recovery we are bound to encounter potholes and pitfalls. When facing some of these obstacles we will instantly call upon the strength and character that lie within and navigate through them easily, without hardly breaking a sweat. Others, on the other hand, will literally knock the wind out of us. They will sweep us off of our feet, but not in a good way! When we encounter these obstacles, it is as if there is a war within us. On the one side, we can just give up and quit working and surrender to our continued suffering and self-destructive choices that we have known so well for so long.  This choice, though painful is comforting as it is familiar and we know what to expect. On the other hand, we can choose to keep up the good fight calling upon the strength, hope and confidence that are within as a result of past successes. We set our mind and heart choosing with diligence to be an overcomer and the master of our destiny, refusing to continue to be a victim in our own skin. This is much easier said and written than done, but ultimately if we want to truly live and not just exist, it is the ONLY best choice that we can make.  This is a very scary choice as we are forced to trudge into an area that many of us have seen very little of, success. We have for so long settled for and accepted our failures that we have rarely, if ever known the other side of success. This is our “Great Unknown”: Unknown emotions, Unknown challenges, Unknown responsibilities.

It is this process, as difficult and frightening as it may be which actually makes us stronger. It is from our choices and behaviors in the midst of turmoil that we develop strength, hope and confidence for the journey ahead. As we face each trial as we encounter it and struggling through our difficult emotions and pain we keep pushing and moving forward, refusing to give up. In doing so, we overcome. With each new obstacle hurdled, with each new obstacle conquered we gain self-confidence and we begin to recognize the strength that lies within, that we have long refused to acknowledge. Confidence and strength are not the only benefits of success. As we journey and struggle through difficult time, we gain a greater understanding of our illness, and develop new and effective skills for coping with our symptoms and the day to day stressors that we face.

 As we grow stronger and wiser through our journey and success, we more easily manage the trials and difficulties that we will inevitable face. With each success we are stronger and more capable of facing and overcoming the next.

 Most of us have spent our lives “Making mountains out of mole hills.” If we choose success, endure the hardship and refuse to quit, then we will be able to make “Mole hills out of mountains.”

 Be strong and of a good courage, fear not…. Deu 31:6

Be strong and of a good courage, fear not…. Deu 31:6

Notes from the Road – STOP   1 comment

A fellow traveler shared this with me recently so I asked her permission to share it with you all. Your feedback and support for her would be greatly appreciated. Hope you are challenged as I was by her words.

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