Today I read a post from a fellow recovery warrior, and a dear friend.
She had just disclosed that she had a “slip” in her 2 1/2 year recovery with 3 drinks at the end of last year.
I love her candor, and that she is using this as a spiritual lesson in order to teach and to empower others, rather than feeling guilty, or shame, or like she did something “wrong.”
In my eyes, this young woman is a gorgeous example of being human. I told her that her honesty and truth were going to be a part of her strength and help her to build resilience. That she, is in fact, a warrior.
If we tell anyone living with a brain disorder that they “cannot” or “should not” experience recurring symptoms because this demonstrates “poor behavior,” or that they did something “bad,” we will never normalize mental health. We will never fully recover.
Alcohol use/substance use disorder is a chronic and progressive brain disorder. Like any other disorder, it IS subject to recurring symptoms. It is diagnosable, treatable and manageable.
When a cancer patient experiences recurring symptoms, we never call them “bad,” or shame and stand in judgment of them.
We MUST treat and respect our mental health in the same way that we treat our physical health.
And we MUST normalize mental health. We must continue an ongoing dialogue to understand this disorder, to change the language about the disorder, to use language that is not fueling stigma and leaving those who need and want help too afraid to seek treatment, and to be appropriately educated about this disorder. We must work to eliminate stigma. We must work to raise awareness. We must come from a public health approach.
We all have mental health.
There is no shame in living with a disorder, or feeling unwell.
It is all about building resilience, self forgiveness, and using the experience to strengthen ones understanding and respect of the disorder with which they live.
It is about learning, growing, and evolving as we continue to live with a brain disorder.
One moment, one hour, one day at a time.
“Before you judge me, make sure your hands are clean.”
I have yet to meet that person.
Let us love and support each other no matter who we are, or what we have experienced.
When we come from a place of empathy and compassion, we can actually see ourselves in another gorgeous human, and we become a part of the healing process.
We are beautiful. We are imperfect. We are all on our separate journey.
Perhaps I will meet you at the crossroads.
Love and blessings,