National Recovery Month
Recently I heard someone describe me by saying, “she’s in recovery!” I immediately had this visceral feeling in my body that was NOT pleasant. It was awkward because this person was not saying anything negative about me. In fact, she was truly speaking highly of me at that moment, so what was going on here? Whenever I get that feeling in my chest, it’s a sign that I need to look inward to see what’s going on and figure out why something bothered me the way it did. I want to take you along with me on that journey.
National Recovery Month is recognized every September, and the purpose is to recognize new evidence-based treatments for alcohol and other substance abuse.
The word “recovery” in itself is amazing. Just looking at a few definitions:.. “A return to a normal state of health, mind or strength” Or I love this one “the action or process of regaining possession or control of something stolen or lost”. These are beautiful words and I honestly can get an uplifting feeling when reading these.
Now I want you to think about “recovery” when someone is referring to addiction. What comes up for you? Any thoughts about that person and what their life is like?
There are many people that are very proud of the term “in recovery” and they should be. This journey is hard work. However, I think it’s important we understand that other people have different perspectives. For many people, there are a lot of stigmas attached to this word, and there are a lot of assumptions made.
For me personally, when I was doing that internal digging on why this rubbed me the wrong way, I found the source of my painful pang in my chest. It’s that many people use the term “recovery” as synonymous with “in remission”. In the world of addiction, people can think that “recovery” means that their disease is in remission, but it also leaves room for it to come back at any time. This mindset is something that never made sense to me, and didn’t serve me at all. Living with the fear that addiction can come back and get you at any time gives alcohol so much power, and it wouldn’t be freedom from the substance for me.
So for National Recovery Month, I say we all celebrate each other that are on this journey. No matter what path we are on to get there… Let’s celebrate all paths to getting our lives back.
Let’s do this!