“Recovery isn’t about bad people becoming good people. It’s about good people becoming healthy people.” – Unknown
Recovery, just like mental illness, substance use and so many other parts of everyday life are surrounded with stigma. I’ve personally lived it and I’ll continue to live it until society finds a new perspective. I can’t say I understand it though. Why does reaching out for help and fighting tooth and nail for a better, healthier version of ourselves get met with so much judgement?
Recovery from cancer, life changes with diabetes, or being fitted for a prosthetic are all forms of recovery but these are met with encouragement and celebrated openly by all. My experience with recovery has been up and down as far as reactions from others. Some have always been proud of my personal fight. Others know my recovery journey but can still only see the substance use or mental health challenge.
In someone’s eyes we may always be the unpredictable, harmful, dangerous, unknown, misunderstood person they viewed us as in our past. I do know that time in recovery changes us. We are and have always been good people but now we are giving ourselves the chance to regain our health. We are getting physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally reconnected. This brings new levels of health, strength and hope for continued improvement.
Don’t let that stigma stop you from becoming your absolute best self. We are good people becoming healthy people. We are the truth standing against the stigma and hoping the doors open for those who come behind us.
Sarah Deats is the Arizona Outpatient Support Services Manager at RI International and the Hope Inc. Stories Inspiration Engineer. Her goals are to make a connection with everyone that she can while building community, spreading hope, and sparking change. She believes that while life may not be easy, it is never lived alone.