In this month’s Recovery Insights Q & A column, Alumni Director, Molly Mammen, shares personalized advice and specific ways to build a happy and successful life in recovery.
Here are her specific responses to recently submitted alumni questions:
How will I come back from this?
Of course you will come back from this! One thing that is very important to remember is that the reason you went to treatment was to get help with your health, whether that be physical or emotional, and there is absolutely no shame in that.In some ways, it’s one of the bravest things you can do, to take time away from your life and prioritize your physical and mental health.
t Just like if you were recovering from a surgery or medical procedure, there are suggestions that you need to take in order to build yourself back up to a better place. That could be continuing with therapy or an outpatient program, or going to meetings or similar self-help type groups. It can seem like an overwhelming process when you look at it as a whole, by that’s why the golden suggestion is always just to take life one day at a time.
Can a person have a normal life after treatment?
I’m not a huge fan of the word normal, because I think it sets up the expectation of how someone should or shouldn’t be, and then when you don’t fit into certain categories, you feel disappointed with yourself.But I can also understand and relate to feeling as though having attended treatment, I was no longer a “normal person”
Almost 10 years after treatment, my life looks incredibly normal, and in many ways, better than normal.I have a great job, I graduated from college, I’ve gotten married, I take vacations with my family, I grocery shop every week, and I have way too many tv streaming services than I am comfortable admitting. The only thing in my life that deviates from “the norm”, is that I chose not to have a drink. I have never felt as though that fact keeps me from doing things I like to do, and I would even go as to say I enjoy things so much more with a clear and sober mind. The truth is, the life I was living prior to treatment was anything but normal! I was never able to have the things that I listed above before I got into recovery, and I know that the only way to keep them is to continue with that journey.
If I mess up, will all my hard work be erased?
Absolutely not! Although they are never ideal, slip-ups do happen, that’s part of the recovery process.Whether it’s a substance related relapse or a fall back in terms of mental health, obstacles can happen. It’s important to remember what you learned and to return to the behaviors that had you in a better place before. The foundation that you had set in place isn’t gone, and your knowledge of the tools that you had has not been erased. Whatever the circumstances, the most crucial thing is to get yourself back on track rather than allowing a mess up to spiral you down to a darker place.
The FHE Health Alumni team is available to answer questions about early recovery and mental health issues. Email us: firstname.lastname@example.org.