For the first couple of weeks after finishing therapy I was unstoppable, I was going out almost every day doing things that I haven’t done in years, I was on top of the world and having the time of my life. My social life was busier, I looked better, I felt better and I was making everyone around me so proud with my progress which gave me such a buzz and made me determined to push myself further.
For the past two weeks I’ve been going through a really hard time with some family stuff that I won’t go into here out of respect for my family’s privacy. Day by day I’ve been struggling and have felt myself deflate slowly like a balloon.
So right here, I’m going to admit something I haven’t told anyone.
I am in recovery and I am not okay.
I always imagined that when I reached that massive, far off, recovery milestone that things would be easier, that bad days would be a thing of the past and that I’d be able to function just like everyone else. But for me, that isn’t the case. I’m still ill.
Recovery is so much harder than I ever could have imagined. I still have days where it’s a struggle to get out of bed and I still have triggers that I’m not yet ready to face. The only difference is that before it felt okay to have these problems, whereas now there is so much expectation on me to be okay and instead of having my counsellor to guide me out of the darkness I have to try and find the way myself.
Now that I am in recovery I am feeling a lot of pressure to stay in recovery. I’m finding it harder than before to admit to the people around me when I’m struggling, but harder still is admitting it to myself because I am so scared of relapsing.
Recovery is not what I expected and right now I am going through the process of figuring out what it means to me. Here’s what I have so far:
• Being in recovery does NOT mean that I am cured
• It’s okay to have bad days
• Recovery is at my own pace, not anyone else’s
• Being in recovery means that I’m doing better than I was before
• Recovery is the process of returning back to a normal life. It doesn’t happen all at once
I’m learning that recovery is personal to each individual and that everyone’s journey is different. I’m still making great progress and when life throws bricks at me, I keep on getting right back up. That is what being in recovery means to me.