“When I get quiet and align with the Universe, I gratefully let go of people and things that are OUT of alignment.” Wendy Blanchard, MS, CHHC
As I continue to navigate through a loved ones serious illness, I am reminded of the importance of my own health and of SELF CARE, so that I am able to remain in wellness. It is up to me to live up to my own responsibilities including work, and being present and whole for my four children, my granddaughter, and friends, while still coordinating care, and supporting my mother in her recovery.
Yesterday was particularly challenging as I was called upon from early morning, and throughout the day, to provide care that my mother, herself, is completely able to accomplish. As my sister and I fell back to allow mom to discover her own independence, we were all frustrated, (stomach in knots all day) always remaining in an empathetic mindset, yet preserving our own wellness at the same time. I disconnected after work (once I spoke to mother’s care nurse and was satisfied that she was doing well), to practice much needed self care, to take advantage of some quiet time, to cook a healthy meal, and to go to bed early. I had begun to feel very unwell midday from the stress, and of wanting to do for my mother (what I was told weeks ago she could do for herself) to make it easier for her, and truthfully, for my sister and I…but long term, I knew that would not be helpful or productive for any of us, and actually would take away from mother’s power over her life and recovery. Being strong in our decision, and supportive in guiding mother was what we chose as the best solution for all of us.
One thing that stuck with me in my own recovery from lifelong Substance Use Disorder (now in a thriving recovery for 6 1/2 years) is “Never do for someone else what they can do for themselves.” So often over the years, I wanted others to do for me because it would have taken some of the burden off of me and things would have been easier…the easy way out…However, as I was learning to live independently for the first time in my life at 55 years old, my decisions were self made, based upon what I felt was best for me, and in conjunction with loving guidance given by those I trust and love.
Yesterday, I received much support from my therapist/colleague, sister, other family members, and a colleague/friend at work who encouraged me to allow my mother to find her way as she has to take the reigns now in her own recovery. Of course, I continue to keep in touch with mother’s doctors daily so that if I AM NEEDED for something that mother cannot do for herself, my sister and I are aware of it as it is happening and we jump right in, with love and guidance. After hours of back and forth, my mother finally, of her own accord, realizing she truly is in charge of her own health, took her very first step in being responsible and proactive in her health and wellness. The first step is always the most difficult. After that, one looks forward to moving, growing, learning, body, mind, and spirit, and actually begins to take pride in ones recovery…a recovery that is tailor made by ourselves, for ourselves. It is, after all, our life, so the way we choose to recover reflects the life we are planning for as we heal.
We are all in charge of our own lives, and we are all in need of loving guidance and support…and we all must, in every situation, and in all of the challenges that we are faced with, practice self care first before we are ever able to help another. It is the oxygen mask analogy. On an airplane if we need to use our oxygen mask, we place ours on first…otherwise, we are unable to help anyone else…family, friend, or fellow passengers on “the journey.”
Self care are the tools/actions that we take to achieve wellness, and wellness is where we stand in our power. When we take care of ourselves and are feeling well, feeling positive, feeling productive, feeling that we are in charge of our lives and of all of our decisions, we can do anything we want to, and everything is possible.
“Never do for someone else what they can do for themselves.” It really does take away their power.
Guide, love, support, encourage, reassure, and allow others to make mistakes and to take risks…this is how we become self confident, and successful.
Love and blessings,
Today we launched our new site, Write Pray Recover: A Journey to Wellness through Spiritual Solutions and Self Care!
This website will provide you with inspiration, guidance, ideas, and hope in recovery from Substance Use Disorder and Mental Illness through my own experience and transformations over the past 6 1/2 years of my own recovery from prescription drug addition and mental health challenges. I have recovered, and continue to sustain my recovery through healthy wellness practices, and a dedicated spiritual practice that is at the root of my ongoing successful and sustainable recovery. I am thriving in recovery!
I am a mental health professional, trained in a variety of areas, and I am a certified holistic health counselor where I support and guide others in their recovery according to what they feel they need to be successful, healthy, joyous, and productive…with passion! I assist them in achieving their health and wellness goals!
It is always miraculous when someone recovers from an illness, and continues to heal through working toward ongoing self discovery. It reveals the pride one has in themselves, and that they are willing to learn, to grow, to work hard, and to evolve…for themselves, their loved ones, and their community. Some may “speak” the right lingo, but we all know that it is not authentic until you connect your words to synchronized action. “Walk the talk.” This…is true recovery.
In the disease of Substance Use Disorder (SUD) and Co-Occurring Disorders, i.e., Mental Illness (MI), Eating Disorders, (EDs) etc., it is always miraculous when one in recovery has done the work to mindfully make changes where they experience self love, to practice self care, and to find a true spiritual path that allows one to purposefully and successfully sustain their recovery. One that offers an individual choice in a pathway to recovery. I chose a holistic pathway through natural and organic solutions. This is my greatest accomplishment in recovery…and, miracle. I am whole, and I am so blessed to be able to pay it forward with the love and support of so many, many people in our community, and of course, my loved ones and friends.
I, too, seek ongoing support as I am cognizant of my weaknesses that creep up from time to time, and I am eager to work to improve upon them so that I can be the best me, the best mom, girlfriend, friend, and offer my best self as an advocate, peer, Ambassador, and community educator to all of the patients, clients and community members that I work with each day. I have the opportunity to offer them the insight and encouragement they need to create change through my own journey of a sustainable and successful recovery.
In my own recovery from Substance Use Disorder, and Mental Illness, through my years of diligent work, determination, resilience, strength that I didn’t know I had, my willingness to change, and the greatest piece of all…love and care of self, I remain grateful for all of the experiences and people that have helped me to become the woman I am today…with the Universe/Spirit/God’s grace and blessing. I will continue my journey and my dedication to being a voice for those suffering with the disease of SUD, and Mental Illness, and their loved ones. I will continue to advocate for much needed change, to educate and empower our community on this disease, its risk factors, its protective factors, how to recognize signs and symptoms, how to safely and empathetically engage, and how to offer reassurance and offer appropriate resources to those asking for help. I will continue to work on eliminating the stigma of Substance Use Disorder and Mental Illness…a progressive brain disease, sometimes occurring simultaneously, or “co-occurring.”
It is imperative that we, ourselves, be educated, trained, and perhaps have life experience in the field so that we may truly empathize with others, as well having an ongoing opportunity in the community to work with those suffering with the disease, and their families. We must be on the front lines. We must become educated on the facts. We must sit and hold a hand. We must listen to a story with great empathy and compassion with no regard for our own views, and we must have the time to devote to someone in need if we decide to work the front lines. We must decide a beneficial course of action to suggest to those asking for help based on what they feel they need that will allow one to feel safe, empowered, and respected…making them proactive in their recovery.
It only takes one person to make effective changes, especially with Substance Use Disorder and Mental Illness, although we must work as a team. Having one person believe in me throughout my recovery, and I’ve had more than one, has been the sustaining force in me believing in myself. We all want to know that we are not alone, and that we are loved, and to have validation that we are on the right path. I think whether we are in recovery, or not, we all need and want these things. We cannot isolate ourselves. We cannot hide from the pain. We must try our best to find the courage to ask for guidance and support…ongoing. We may not want to say it aloud, but when we are alone, or blaming others for our pain, in the silence, we know the truth…and we can either step up to ourselves and begin the work, with lifelong support, if needed, or allow the thoughts and the emotions run us into a ditch. We can still make our way up and out, but we need a loving hand of guidance.
Sometimes a loved one is not yet ready to take that first step. If their behavior is affecting our own health, it has been suggested to me by the professionals highly respected in this field to “detach with love, and be there when they’re ready.” We must put the oxygen mask on ourselves first…you know the drill.
It is such a vulnerable and frightening time when the darkness is prevalent…and in my opinion, the only way out…is connection. Connection is the path to the light. My light comes from those loving souls that I surround myself with each day, most especially my loving children, and loving friends and colleagues, and we all receive our “power” and our “Connection” from this loving Universe. For me, my strong Faith comes from my Connection to the Universe/Spirit/God. And I always know that the One who knows all…knows all. There is never any doubt of my loving Intentions…
I am so blessed with a wonderful family, so many wonderful friends, and my amazing work family, as well as so much love and respect from the community that I love so much. Every day that I hear someone say, “Thank you,” or tell me that they have been helped, or a family member has been helped by my work in the community, it validates for me the path that has been chosen for me by the Universe, and one where I am making a difference…by the grace of God, and the amazing people I surround myself with.
It is an honor and a privilege to serve the people of my community on so many levels, and to continuously be asked to go out and speak to more and more people, to educate, to empower, and to just have a conversation as a peer, a teacher to students, families and educators, as an advocate, as a survivor, is worth its weight in gold…For me, this is what I live for, and it is truly priceless.
We MUST change our language when we talk about Mental Illness and SUD. It will change the way we think, as well as our understanding of M.I. and S.U.D., eliminate stigma, and empower our communities through education of this chronic brain disease which is diagnosable, treatable and manageable.
Most importantly, we must implement daily self care and wellness practices that resonate with us individually. What makes us feel better when we are feeling unwell? What and who has helped us in the past? What do I need right this moment to help me to feel better, balanced, and well? Speak up! Ask for what you need! So many are willing, in a loving and caring capacity, to assist us. All we have to do is ask.
Knowing our triggers, avoiding them whenever possible, and having the awareness of our emotions, and the ability to manage emotions, are all an important piece of recovery. When our wellness practices are not bringing us back to wellness, we must know when it is necessary to reach out and ask for help from a professional. Think of your physical health. If you are feeling so unwell, you inherently know you need to see the doctor so that he can treat you accordingly and you can begin to heal. Please think of your mental health in the same capacity. When your wellness practices are not helping you to feel better, seek out help from your primary care physician, therapist, social worker, or a trusted friend or loved one. TELL SOMEONE WHAT YOU FEEL YOU NEED. There are ALWAYS options.
If you would like more information on my holistic health practice, and/or you would like to be connected to a variety of holistic practitioners, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mindfulness strategies, inspirational quotes/stories, healthy nutritional suggestions, exercise, meditations, and thought provoking questions are just some of the exciting topics that I will address here on my website! You can also follow me on Facebook at WRITE PRAY RECOVER and Harmonious Health 4 Life.
Please watch for my upcoming book WRITE PRAY RECOVER : A Journey to Wellness through Spiritual Solutions and Self Care to be released in late 2020! This is an interactive journal for you to reflect and to write, in addition to my story of lifelong substance use disorder, and my miraculous recovery.
In the meantime, just for this moment, think about one thing that made you smile, or made you happy today! Write it down! Start a daily Joy Journal! No matter how many challenges we experience, there is always at least one thing in our day to jump for joy over! Waking up! Eating a delicious meal! Seeing/speaking to our children/family! Hearing a song! Taking a nature walk! Volunteering! Kissing our sweetheart! Writing! Dancing! Singing! Whatever wellness practice resonates with you and makes you feel well…do it!
And last by NEVER least, I want to acknowledge my loving son, Matthew, who created this forum for me to have the ongoing dialogue that I feel is necessary to eliminate stigma and to raise awareness on Substance Use Disorder and Mental Illness. Matthew started me on my very first blog on August 4, 2013, (now part of my upcoming book), and here we are again collaborating and creating a forum for one of the most important issues going on in our world today…Substance abuse and mental health.
Thank you Matthew for being my biggest support and for believing in my work. Love you always, Mom.
Feel free to leave comments and questions!
Sat Nam…(“Truth is my Name”)
Love and blessings,