Accepting and Understanding the Different Reactions to Recovery

An experience can feel “defining” to an individual. One moment, day, or event can completely alter a person’s view on life. One moment of trauma knocks us off our trajectory and sends us spinning out into the unknown, a chaotic abyss of uncertainty and fear. We spend weeks, months trying to get back on track, working hard to find the things deep within ourselves that we had been hiding or neglecting for so long. We force ourselves to stand in front of the metaphorical mirror and let ourselves become vulnerable to not only us but the world and the people around us. We identify those parasites within ourselves that have been feeding off our self-esteem, our emotions, and our mental stability, and we find the ways to rid our bodies of them, or at least keep them at bay enough to function and take back control.

The process of recovery is harrowing and a very difficult one. As essential as it is for many of us, we can’t deny that it is, often, not a fun one. But we do it, we enter our programs and we get better. We find ourselves better people on the other end and we realize that the world seems different than it did before. We feel like we have a new lease on life, and we certainly do. It changes us at a fundamental level and it’s a wonderfully freeing sensation. We’ve conquered ourselves; we have redefined what it is to be us. But there can be a danger in that feeling of power, a danger of restricting our perspective on our experience and others who may endure something similar.

Recovery Is Not Linear 

You see, we can feel like we have the answers after we have gone through so much. We look back at ourselves, we see how we worked, the effort we put in, and how we came out to be better, and we take that as knowing how to do it. We believe that we have found the solution when in reality we have just found OUR solution. Our perspective is not one that will be shared with everyone. At an early stage, many people will respond to their issues in a much different manner than we did. They will seek a different kind of help, a different kind of program than we did and they will find their solution in it. It is important to remember that they will have a different response to the same affliction. Recovery is a universal concept and is not constrained to just one definition.

But even further, we must remember that a person’s views on mental illness or addiction will be the same as ours after recovery either. To us, we may view our mental illness as something that must always be noted and taken into consideration. It must be at the forefront of who we are and affect things that we do. But that won’t be the case for many others. Some people feel that their mental illness is a private matter, a personal matter. They don’t view it as something that they should share or put on others to consider. We can find this to be a frustrating thing; in our valid pursuit of validating our afflictions, we want others to share in our views and our goals. We may find ourselves asking them to change to our ways, our beliefs, our views. But they shouldn’t have to nor should they feel pressured to. As we said earlier in this article, the concept of mental illness and recovery is broad, and that allows the existence of different viewpoints. Don’t judge others for how they have responded to their affliction. Do not look down on a person for not wanting to bring their struggles up to others or for not speaking out about what they have gone through. Unless they are using their experiences and beliefs to hurt or damage another person, forcing their own beliefs on others in an unhealthy manner, then they are entitled to live their lives post-recovery how they choose. Accept them for who they are and how they view their mental illness; feel free to tell them why you view this experience the way you do but always allow them to speak the same. Listen to them and understand where they are coming from. Mental illness and recovery are a confusing thing to navigate and with any mystery, there will be different interpretations of what goes on.

We have to stand with each other to help further break down the stigmas of mental illness and the process of recovery. If we are to truly change the way the world looks at our experiences, then we have to work together and support one another through it. Arguing amongst ourselves can only damage the stigmas and can even damage the other person as well. Care for each other, be kind and understanding, and let the world see that we can be stronger together. 

If you, or anyone you know, is struggling with addiction 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 at (866) 399-6528 or [email protected]