Archive for the ‘Recovery’ Category

Win the War   Leave a comment

No war is won without losing a few battles.
So whether you wake up today and feel like you are winning or losing,
Get up, hold your head and chin up high and keep fighting the fight.
With time, patience and effort you WILL win the war.


There is Hope; You can and WILL recover.

Posted March 11, 2014 by Hope in Recovery in Hope, Recovery

My Life   Leave a comment

My Eyes – A window to the soul
Sometimes reveal things you shouldn’t know
My Lips – Utter “I’m just fine”
But I’d tell you more if you’d take the time.
My Face – so flat, no life within
Just can’t feel this pain again.
My Smile – It shines so bright,
Behind it’s where I try to hide.
My Arms – Deformed with scars and lines,
All the words I could not find.
My Heart – How many times can it break?
How much more can I take?
My Ears – Hear a kind word;
Start to believe I‘m still loved.
My Soul – Revived finds a speck of hope;
Pressing forward, believe I can cope.
My Life – Once lost and broken, no hope within
Getting stronger; this fight I can win!

Posted February 28, 2014 by Hope in Recovery in Mental Illness, Recovery, Trials

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If I Could Choose to Never be Depressed I Would!   Leave a comment

depression-ADBy Angela Hill Dickson

If I could choose never to be depressed…I would choose happiness…it is not like flipping a dang switch!

I just want there to be more tolerance and for people to maybe get a bit more educated on mental health issues, rather than just assume and make stupid comments that do not help!

I say: Feel your feelings and let me feel mine. And if you cannot be helpful, get out of the way…I am in a “process” here!!

There is no other option than to support each other, because if we do not there is nothing.

Support = Love and. Love= Support!!!

Each person who has a mental health issue is responsible to do their part in taking care of themselves and helping themselves. BUT they need a strong support system, plenty of rest, to take meds if they are on them, and to be eating and healthy.

The things that can make a person shut down fast: not feeling supported, feeling blamed for situations that are out of their hands, having people resent them for their mental health issues, and more. Life is hard for everyone…life gets complicated, marriages suffer, kids suffer.

People might think: WHY feel so depressed? You have so much! You have kids, a husband, friends, clothes on your back, vehicles, food, etc. Yes, I have all of that and I am VERY thankful for the blessings I have, but I cannot change the chemical imbalance in my brain, I cannot control the rapid cycling of thoughts and emotions, the bad thoughts just come, the feeling of hopelessness that can just drop out of no where, the irrational fears, the pain. If I could control all of that, I would be different! I apologize to my kids all the time that I am sad. Kaleb (12-year-old son) looked me right in the eye yesterday and said: “It is not your fault, Mom…I know if you could choose to be happy, you would be. When you are happy, you are wonderful!” And he hugged me and I cried. He has more compassion and understanding than most adults. And that makes me sad, too. That he has had to grow up processing everything and having to be so mature and adult in this. It hurts my heart that my kids see me sad. I try very hard EVERY day to be positive, to find the things to be hopeful for and to be thankful for my blessings. Some days are harder and I reach out. Some days are worse and I just want to hide. but EVERY DAY I am still fighting….
I am not lazy or stupid or mean. I am suffering with a chemical imbalance in my brain. I am a work in progress. I am hopeful for the future. I am ME and I accept that. And all I want to do is be accepted….just as anyone else does. And that, my friends, is ALL I can do.

Heart of Hope Manifesto 2014   Leave a comment

HOH-logo3At it’s inception, this little project, ministry, whatever you want to call it started simply as a coping skills class that I developed and provided as a part of my job in the Patient Education program at the State Psychiatric Facility where I work. The class known as “Road to Recovery” utilizes an active, interactive model of sharing and communicating information. The basic strategies is to address the issues of recovery from mental illness and substance abuse issues from a holistic, whole person, perspective. In the process of interacting with those that attended the class during their treatment and watching as many would be discharged only to be re-admitted within a relatively short period of time. I finally acknowledged something, these individuals needed something more that was not available in their home communities. We all know too well, “there are NOT enough resources available in most communities to adequately support those that are on this journey on a daily basis.

That being said, in April of 2010 Road to Recovery took its first steps standing on its own feet with the launch of a blog and then not long after that a Facebook. Page, and then Facebook “Group”. Since that time a “profile” has been set up that at the time of this update nearly 1600 “friends”. The project has branched into a number of other social media platforms as well, including: Twitter, Tumblr, YouTube, Pinterest and Deviantart. Also since that time, the projects name has changed (or at least parts of it have) a few times. Currently the primary name is “Heart of Hope”.

So what is Heart of Hope today?

Well, Heart of Hope continues to be the persona taken on by this writer with the hopes that through our interactions either personal, one on one, in the blog or other means of communication that you will experience on of the following as a result of that interaction:

  • Enlighten: To me, to enlighten is to share information with others so as to teach them something that they did not previously know, in order to allow them to improve the state of their lives.
  • Encourage: I recently described encouraging as offering a hand to another whom has slipped and fallen along their way and helping them to get back to their feet,
  • Inspire: Continuing from the previous thought, once the individual has gotten back on their feet; to inspire is to walk alongside and urge them on in their journey, rooting them on saying “you can do it”.
  • Instill Hope. To give, to share or impart hope. Hope is the belief that something good will happen and success is possible.
  • Empower: Finally, to empower is to have others come to the realization of the strength and courage that resides within, so as to believe in themselves and their potential for success.

To this day and as long as I am blessed to continue this journey, this will be me mission and my purpose whether it is in face to face interactions or by utilizing modern technology.

However, I have also learned a very valuable lesson through this process, I have come to realize that I am merely A voice. I am not THE Voice. That brings me to the second and probably the more important part of Heart of Hope today.

I see it as a caring community of travelers who are all on the same journey, striving to overcome our “issues” and be “better” than we were yesterday.

We come all parts of this great planet on which we occupy, with all different types of problems including but NOT limited to any of the following:

  • Mental Illness – Depression, Bipolar, Schizophrenia, etc
  • Substance Abuse/Dependence
  • Co-Occurring Disorders – Both of the above at the same time.
  • Eating Disorders
  • Personality Disorders – Borderline, Dependent, Histrionic
  • Trauma – Abuse, PTSD, etc.

We come together to share of struggles, our victories our joy and our tears. In sharing our experiences, we draw strength from one another, and individually and corporately we

are one step further along in our journey. We acknowledge our similarities as well as our differences, respecting both. We will not always see eye to eye, but we can always accept one another’s opinions and discuss issues and ideas without resorting to personal attacks.

Every physical road has curves, mountains valleys, pot holes, signs, etc. The same is true in regards to personal recovery process and our growth as a community.

What determines if we are successful in our recovery and maintain our personal and corporate well-being is how well we navigate these obstacles as we face them on our journey? Just as in driving, if we do not navigate these appropriately we will find ourselves in the bar ditch, or in recovery terms, relapse.

I hope and pray that as you navigate along your journey, you will find enlightenment, encouragement, inspiration, be instilled with hope and ultimately feel empowered as you continue on as a result of being a part of this project. Similarly, I hope that you will share your failures, successes, struggles and insights here. In doing so we help one another on this journey we call recovery,

Heart of Hope Vision Statement

To develop and maintain a collaborative community of consumers and providers of mental health and/or substance abuse services, in order to create an environment that promotes hope, recovery and personal growth.

 I’ll tell you what it really means to worship the LORD. Remove the chains of prisoners who are chained unjustly. Free those who are abused! Isaiah 58:6 (CEV)

Heart of Hope Organizational Mission Statement

 Hope for Healing Hurting Hearts is a non-profit outreach ministry with the sole purpose of sharing hope and healing to the hurting, especially those confronted with various forms of mental illness or substance abuse/dependence. It is recognized that these individuals are not the only ones affected by their challenges; they are not in this journey alone. They are a part of families and other social networks. These other networks are an integral part of the individual’s life and recovery and as such should be considered and included in the recovery process.

 This sharing of “hope and healing” is characterized by the following foundational principles:

  •  Enlighten:to share information with others so as to teach them something that they did not previously know, or to assist them in recall of previously known information, in order to allow them to improve the state of their lives.
  •  Encourage: To give help or to inspire with courage. In other words, offering a hand to another whom has slipped and fallen along their way and helping them to get back to their feet.
  •  Inspire: To influence, exert an animating, enlivening, or exalting influence on, to spur on or motivate. Continuing from the previous thought, once the individual has gotten back on their feet; to inspire is to walk alongside and urge them on in their journey, rooting them on saying “you can do it”.
  •  Instill Hope. To give, to share or impart hope. Hope is the belief that something good will happen and success is possible.
  • Empower: To promote the realization of the strength and courage that resides within, so as to believe in themselves and their potential for success.

This goal is achieved through a number of different avenues and techniques including, but not limited to the following:

  • Written materials

  • Motivational Speaking

  • Educational Workshops and Seminars

  • Personal Interactions – Face to Face, Telephone and Virtual (E-mail, Chat, Social Networks, etc.)

Posted January 12, 2014 by Hope in Recovery in Hope, Recovery, Uncategorized, Update

Scars   3 comments

First things first, this post is not what you are accustomed to seeing from me.

No it is not about me. However, it is exactly what I hope I would be able to say if I was is in this situation.

However, we all have scars of one kind or another, they just may not be visible on the outside.

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Scars

My scars are not a stain of shame,

They are a badge of courage,

An emblem of victory.

Though I may have been knocked down,

battered and bloodied,

I fought my way out of the pit of darkness and despair.

My scars are not a reminder of my weakness,

But of my strength.

My scars declare “Survivor”;

They shout “Overcomer”

I will not be ashamed!

Carpé Diem 2012   2 comments

A brief thought for the New Year

Carpé Diem – Remember Yesterday, Hope for Tomorrow, Live Today!

We always talk about New Years being a chance for new beginnings, a chance to start over, to do things differently than we have in the past. However, sometimes, the first thing that we have to do is do NOTHING! As we prepare to leave 2011 and enter 2012, I encourage you to join me in a time of reflecting on the the past year. Yes, that includes acknowledging and possibly facing some old pain, but it is also a time to remember the joy and the victories that we have had. In looking back that focus is not to beat ourselves up over our mistakes, but to remember them so as to not repeat them. Most of all I hope looking back is an opportunity to look back and see how far that you have come in your life and recovery. How much more like the person that you WANT to be you are and less like the person that you were. No matter if it is GREAT strides or only a few baby steps, Celebrate EVERY success.

Having “remembered yesterday” we turn our focus to “Hope for tomorrow.” Let me begin by saying I am NOT a proponent of “New Year’s Resolutions”. “Why not?”, you might ask. TO explain lets look at the typical “Resolution Experience”. First things first- the resolution itself; it is usually some expectation that is in realistic an impractical for us to consider trying. They are also often very vague. Examples include: “loose weight”. “Be a better person”, “Stop smoking”, etc. Next, when the New Year rolls around and we set out to start working towards keeping these resolutions we quickly become discouraged as realize how vague and unrealistic these resolutions really are. As a result, we simply give up and quit trying completely. Having done so, we suddenly start hearing all those negative messages replaying in our minds, “I knew that you could not do it”, “You will never amount to anything”, “You are such a failure”, “It’s no wonder no one wants to be with you.” Anyway, I think you get the idea. We end up overcome with guilt, shame and ultimately depression. Not my idea of a good way to start of a new beginning. Let me offer an alternative way of preparing for the year ahead. Goals are a necessity. We have to have something that we are working towards. When you travel you do not leave home without a destination to which you are going. Life/Recovery is the same way; we must have some goals that we are working towards. In this season, or any other as a matter of fact, we need to set clear, specific and attainable long term goals and then corresponding shorter term goals that act as steps to achieving the larger ones.

Let me try to illustrate with a brief personal example. As some of you ay or may not know, I have a dream of taking “Hope in Recovery” in to the community. My ultimate desire is to “someday” become a “motivational speaker” traveling doing workshops and seminars encouraging/empowering consumers of mental health services and providing support and resources to the people that serve them. So that is my “LOOOOOOONG Term Goal.” Is it attainable? Who knows. I hope so. In order to EVER get there are a number of other things that I need to do in the mean time, my shorter term goals. Even some of them have sub-goals as well. One of the important pieces that I feel must be in place to achieve my ultimate dream is that I have to complete the process and get my License to practice as a Professional Counselor. Thus short term goal. However, to do that I must take and pass a licensure exam and then complete internship hours; more sub-goals.

In setting shot term and sub-goals, the MUST be very clear, specific and set a time frame for completion. Deadlines are not for beating ourselves up over if we do not succeed; they serve as motivation to be actively pursuing that goals that we have set for ourselves.

Let me share one very brief example of setting deadlines: In one of his most recognized speeches, then President John F. Kennedy on May 25, 1961 called for the United States to put a man on the moon before the end of the decade. On July 20, 1969, just 8 years and 2 months later NASA’s Apollo 11 mission would land with the first humans on the moon.

So whether it is in your career, education, family and especially in your recovery start thinking about what your long term goals are and what steps, shot term/ sub-goals are you going to need to reach them. That brings me to what I believe is probably the most essential of this process, “Live Today” We can make no progress towards ANY goal doing nothing. As the old statement goes, “Actions speak louder than words.” Similarly, goals, no matter how great or noble, are not worth the paper that they are written on if they are not actively being pursued. It is time to get off the couch, believing and expecting the everything in the world to just “work out’ will we sit and wait. As the famous quote states, “…time waits for no man.”

This is where my tag line comes in: “One breath, One step, One day at a time” Each and every second, minute hour day, is an opportunity to move forward addressing and struggle and obstacle as it comes or to continue to as we have in the past, accepting it all and continuing to be that same person that we always have know ourselves to be. “Live Today” is not just about battling the struggles. Seeing as the present of today is the Past of tomorrow, make sure that despite your striving and work towards your goals, you take to to enjoy the good things that are in your life. Here again borrowing from an old tired cliché, “Stop and smell the roses.” Be honestly grateful for what you have and express it to those around you.

Today is your day!                                 2012 is your year of victory!

If you will only believe… ALL things are possible.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

Carpe Diem – Remember Yesterday, Hope for Tomorrow, Live Today!

Posted December 30, 2011 by Hope in Recovery in Change, Hope, Recovery, Uncategorized

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Unexpected Gifts   1 comment

Have you every been given a unexpected gift? A gift that you get at a time that there is no special day or time associated with it, no birthday, no holiday. no anniversary, etc. For many that either personally battle with the challenges of addiction and mental illness or have a loved whom does, that is exactly what they get almost every day. Unfortunately is not in a good way. Addiction is a “gift that keeps on giving.” What kinds of gifts does it “bless” the affected with?

  • Physical Illness
  • Emotional Pain
  • Poor Self-Esteem
  • Legal Problems
  • Estranged Relationships
  • Financial Problem
  • Guilt / Shame
  • Hopelessness

Unfortunately, there is no “Day after Christmas” in the real world. There is a strict “no refund, no exchange” policy in reference to these “gifts. Once they have been received, the best that we can do is take them as they come, and attempt to cope with them as best we can. <Kinda like the ugly sweater that Aunt June gave you. You think it is absolutely hideous, but with a smile you put it on and wear it for the day. Then when she goes home you put it in the pile for your next rip to Goodwill.>

Unfortunately as we all know those that battle addiction, do not typically respond to these gifts in a “healthy” or “positive” manner. Many times they are taken as a good “excuse” to continue the negative and destructive behaviors.

This is so typical, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR) says this about Substance Abuse (Addiction):

When an individual persists in use of alcohol or other drugs despite problems related to use of the substance, substance dependence may be diagnosed.

This is one pattern of behavior that is needed for a person to be “diagnosed” with a substance abuse disorder.

In my opinion, this is the typical view that has been taken of these “Gifts of Addiction”, the negative and destructive. I want to challenge our paradigm and look at them from a little more positive perspective. Then I want us to look at the greater gifts and rewards that are found on “the other side”, in a life of recovery.

Friedrich Nietzsche (October 15, 1844 – August 25, 1900) a 19th-century German philosopher, poet, composer and classical philologist, once said,

That which does not kill us makes us stronger.

A couple of similar quotes reinforce this idea.

Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.Arnold Schwarzenegger

I have had to fight like hell and fighting like hell has made me what I am.John Arbuthnot Fisher

Opposition is a natural part of life. Just as we develop our physical muscles through overcoming opposition – such as lifting weights – we develop our character muscles by overcoming challenges and adversity.Stephen R. Covey

So what am I trying to say? I would NEVER choose to rewind the clock of time relive any of the struggles of the past including their pain, loss anger, etc. However, as strange as this sounds, I would not go back and undo them if I could either. Despite, all of the negatives that resulted, these struggles come with their own “unexpected gifts”. They develop character. Each one of us is the person that we are because of our experiences good and bad not despite them. These same trials foster strength and courage. Having gone through and overcome these trials, we become stronger and stronger with each obstacle that we conquer. With each step that we take onward and upward, we are stronger and wiser when it comes time to face the next one. It is not easy and will take a lot of work and devotion, but in the end we realize that it was all worth it.

That brings me to the ultimate “unexpected gifts”, the gifts that we discover in a life of recovery. In my experience and communications with those that have known both sides of this coin, there is one gift that is far and above the most treasured, “PEACE”. We learn that life does NOT have to be full of chaos! As we grow and get wiser and stronger, we realize that we are capable of much more than we have ever given ourselves credit for in the past. We realize that we DO have something to share with the world that is around us and it is some thing positive, healthy and beautiful! Life AFTER addiction is just that LIFE! We finally start living and being able to enjoy the experiences of each day rather than simply “surviving”. Life after addiction is a life of daily “unexpected gifts”. That is if we will open our eyes and hearts to be watching for them.

So whether it is your past, your present or you future, I challenge you to open your eyes and your heart and be grateful for each of the “unexpected gifts that come into your life.

Thanks for letting me share one with you in these words!

One breath, one step, one day at a time,

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