Recovery and Perspective
When I talk about 'recovery' I'm using it in reference to any kind of therapeutic process which can result in a healthier lifestyle. Change is a fluid process that happens with periodic successes and challenges, sometimes we are able to see our changes right away and sometimes there's a lot of work that happens before a noticeable difference occurs. We can relapse or slip back into any unhealthy behavior or defense mechanism. We can see symptoms reappear that we haven't experienced for months or years. And we can recover from all types of things: self-doubt, poor self-esteem, neglect, abandonment, abuse, regret, trauma, substance use, compulsive eating, gambling addiction, sex addiction ...
When we carry scars from our past, they may run deep, or remain sensitive. Sometimes they've healed and then become re-activated.
A lot of people think about the recovery process as a linear path, but I picture it more like an upward spiral. Things that we have worked on in the past will often come back up for us because we are circling back around, walking the same path again, but making progress slowly with upward movement. We might see an experience from a different angle, change our perspective or shift our response. Each time we address an issue over again, we have the potential to transform our response to it or reinforce a new, healthier pattern. New behaviors take practice to become habits. Its important that this image of an upward spiral stay with us because we can beat ourselves up if we feel like we keep doing the same things over again. "I can't believe I'm still doing this!" If we're busy judging ourselves, we might fail to notice any changes that we're making. That's why its so important to have someone else on the path with us. Another person may be able to see what you can't. Whether its a family member or friend who knows your story or a therapist working with you; its important to have a person that helps you stand back and see the whole picture. Gains and challenges, someone to help get the picture back in focus and show you pieces you haven't been able to identify yet. Someone to help you stay the course and cheer you on.