Our recovery process is built upon being united. Whether it is sitting and listening to someone else share their story and emotions or speaking up in front of our peers to do the same, the goal is to feel like we are a part of something and take away the loneliness we so often experience while dealing with mental illness. It builds bridges and forms connections, bringing you closer to people you never would have had relationships with otherwise. It doesn’t have to strictly be a negative influence on your life, it can forge the kind of bonds that last a lifetime. When we leave treatment and are working a program of recovery, we continue to feel a tie to how things were for us before we reached for help. This connection to the difficulties we have faced gives us a sense of empathy for those who are still struggling. We feel a responsibility to stand up for those who are still dealing with similar challenges and we do, but there are limits for each of us that we should take care to observe. We have been through the fire and we want to help those are in it or wanting a way out. We have formed an identity around the triumph over our struggles and the ability standing by those going through it is a manifestation of that identity, however, there is a point where we have to take a step back and be able to see when someone is expressing themselves in a solely negative or unhealthy way.
We all deal with adversity and emotional turmoil differently and some turn to unhealthy ways to cope with theirs. Whether it be using drugs and alcohol or lashing out emotionally at the people around them, they become toxic and unhealthy, masking and avoiding feelings instead of healing. After having personally experienced something incredibly similar, many of us feel as if we have to accept this behavior. Patience and compassion are essential when dealing with someone acting out in unhealthy ways and we must try to accept their low points and their mistakes and work to not hold these things against them. Often forgiveness can carry a powerful message when someone has failed to control a negative impulse or emotion. While we do our best to stand by those we know who are struggling, this does not mean that we should tolerate any and all negative behaviors and interactions, especially when we fail to see effort towards change. We should strive towards balance, learning not to be afraid to speak up when a line is crossed, whatever that may look like. When someone is repeating a pattern of destructive habits or behavior, it is sometimes more important for us to be willing to confront the situation with honesty and care, as many of us know from experience what the end result can look like. Continuing these behaviors unchecked may perpetuate the idea that the only way to find peace is to pursue a dangerous path, like substance abuse.
We Need to Talk
There is a degree of feeling lost and constantly seeking an answer we experience when dealing with mental illness, it’s important to remember the hopelessness we went through. We have felt many of the same things they are struggling with now and we should not forget what it was like. We also know the some of the actions that we took to cope were healthier than others, and being aware of this, we should not be afraid to help them find those positive alternatives if they have the desire. We do not need to be afraid to have an honest conversation in order to set boundaries or share that we have fears about the detrimental behaviors that someone is engaging in. If we do our best to maintain a kind and composed manner, rather than speaking from a place of anger or frustration, we have a much better chance at communicating effectively and in turn a more positive impact. We are likely someone that they look to for support and understanding and we can best serve them by continuing to offer them those things while we communicate. Conversations like this are best if undertaken only after thoughtful consideration and with no expectation of a specific outcome. We best serve someone who is in a situation similar to one we have experienced in the past by lending them only our own experience and doing our part to make clear that our only aim is to offer hope and if they desire to change their behaviors or recover, support them in getting help.
Our common emotions and experiences bind us together on this journey. Each of us that has experienced recovery and mental illness can relate to one another on some level. We stand by and support each other in a truly unique way, through all the complexities we face. Do not let fear of losing this connection stop you from speaking up when someone in your life is turning to dangerous behavior. As someone who relates to and understands them on the level we do, we have the option to have difficult conversations that are conducted with compassion and clarity, offering hope and help if they want it. Difficult conversations are a necessary part of this life, and recovery has given us the ability to undertake them with new skills. When it’s needed stand up for those in your life who are engaging in unhealthy means to cope, allow them to hear of your concern, and be clear when you feel you can no longer stand by certain behaviors. Speak out and talk to those around you about the recovery you have experienced and assist them if they are interested in finding the same freedom. Share what you have been given by always being open and honest.
If you, or anyone you know, is struggling with anxiety or mental illness, do not hesitate to contact the team here at True Recovery. Our program, founded in 2014, is built around finding what’s best for you to overcome your addiction. Our facility is located in Newport Beach, California, with our supportive housing located close to our campus in Costa Mesa. Take advantage of the local beaches, nature preserves, and Orange County community while we fight for you. Contact us today at (866) 399-6528.