The choice to recover is a good start, but for all those in recovery, it means so much more than that. There is not one universal reason to why we felt the need to recover, for we all have different stories to share when it comes to what lead us there in the first place. The most important part of it all: Recovery is the reason we are here today to share our stories, and to inform others that they to, can overcome whatever has been able to control them for so long. Whether that be a mental disorder, substance use disorder, or in a lot of cases, a mixture of both, there are a number of ways that we can survive them, with RECOVERY being the first step we make to get there.
For me, recovery means a handful of things. It means choosing to be who I am every single day, without using anything to become someone that I am not. It means acceptance of the person I have been at my lowest, and acknowledging that I have the power to become so much better than that. It means that I have made the choice to feel everything that is thrown my way, instead of avoiding what it means to be human. Recovery has shown me that I have had the strength within me the whole time, and that if I trust the process, I will overcome any obstacle I have yet to face. Recovery, to me, is being able to look myself in the mirror, notice that I am flawed, but also, recognize that it is not how you appear to the world, it’s what you bring to the world that counts, and because of that, recovery is what makes me feel beautiful.
But don’t take my word for it! I also wanted to hear from a handful of my favorite Recovery Voices, and ask them the question, “What does Recovery mean to you?” I love that the word Recovery can mean something unique to each person. There are no rules to this thing. What’s important is that we are all actively doing what works for us, and what keeps us on track to becoming our best selves. Keep reading for what recovery means to some of my favorite humans!
"Recovery is the most beautiful gift I have ever given myself. I have found a new way to be. A new way to experience life. It has allowed me to become a woman I am very proud of. I live in integrity & truth. Recovery is a process of re-discovering the true me. It has allowed me to shed identities & old beliefs. I am no longer tied to anyone's perception of me. Recovery allows me the opportunity to grow & evolve. It has shown me the strength in my scars & my wounds. I have found the purpose in my pain. I know, without a doubt, that everything I have ever been through had meaning and purpose. I believe it is my dharma, my calling, my life's work to speak openly about my sobriety. I have no shame anymore. I am proud to be in recovery. I know what it means to be present, awake, & alive. I have become a truth-teller. A fierce believer in the power of owning our stories. Recovery affords you the opportunity to rise & continue rising. You become deeply in touch and in tune with the universe. You truly discover and know what it means to be alive. This is what recovery means to me." -Lara Frazier (Click here for more on LARA)
"For me, recovery is dealing with all the issues that I used to drink to avoid. Whenever I'm extremely stressed, anxious, or depressed, I often think about drinking. Those are the defining moments when I apply the tools I've learned in therapy. A lot of times recovery sucks because it's incredibly hard work that never seems to end, but I can't imagine living my life any other way." -Tawny Lara (Click here for more on TAWNY)
"What does recovery mean to me? Well, I believe that it means the efforts put towards reinventing ourselves and building on top of where we currently are in life. Recovery isn’t just putting down drugs and alcohol, in my opinion. It is healing the wounds of the past and building scar tissue, making us stronger than we ever were before. It is the process of liberating us from the constraints we were once in." -Austin Cooper (Click here for more on AUSTIN)
“Recovery means…Possibility for daily growth; Responsibility and accountability for my own actions; Cultivating a spiritual practice through yoga and mindfulness; Appreciating the beauty in nature; Being a better daughter, sister, and friend; Helping others who are struggling; Connection; No hangovers, aka, no regret, shame, guilt, or throwing up; Acceptance and self-love, even on the hardest days; Knowing I can make it through anything without needing to drink, or wanting to; Being truly happy, sober.” -Laura Silverman (Click here for more on LAURA)
“Recovery is freedom; to be who I am unapologetically. Recovery is love; loving myself, others and living loved. Recovery is spiritual; an intimate relationship with the God of my understanding. Recovery is being woke; to all life has to offer. Recovery is creative; expressing and processing emotions through art. Recovery is hope; you matter, your story matters.” -Lisa Schmidt (Click here for more on LISA)
“Recovery to me means wholeness. It means opportunity and the chance to work on becoming the person I am truly meant to be. Sobriety has given me everything I wanted when I was drinking; confidence to follow my dreams, confidence in my own ability, and the strength to know I can handle anything.” -Laurie McAllister (Click here for more on LAURIE)
National Recovery Month is a beautiful way for all of us to get talking about our stories, and coming together to see that we were never alone. It allows those who may not understand what it means to suffer from mental, or substance use disorders, a quick glimpse into what it must be like to be at war with yourself. Sharing our stories, and owning up to the worst parts of ourselves is ultimately what has set us free, what will continue to give us purpose, and what makes it all worth it in the end. Your story matters, and it is never too late to make it beautiful.
I hope you were able to take something away from this post. I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments; OH! and also, "What does RECOVERY mean to you?"
Thank you for reading. I appreciate you.