What will recovery give me?


There’s only everything to gain. Recovery is life-transforming – and more often than many people know it is life-saving.

Perhaps just in time too.

To understand more fully, it’s useful to know something that is behind many emotional disturbances and mental health problems including addictions. That is trauma.

Addiction expert Dr Gabor Maté explains how everyone he’s ever seen with an addiction was suffering from trauma of some description. Their addiction was a way of attempting to mask or numb the unbearable pain.

As Dr Maté says: “The question is not why the addiction, but why the pain.”

This also applies to most mental health issues including depression and anxiety. There is always a reason.

Scars that can’t be seen

So situations or incidents in life that have moulded someone need to be looked at when the person is ready to do so. This often means going back to childhood days, although a trauma can happen to someone at any stage of their life.

Just like with an outward wound, trauma needs to be looked at in order to treat it, so that it will heal. In fact, the word “trauma” derives from Greek words titroskein meaning “to wound” and tetrainein meaning “to pierce”.

It’s an inner wound, a scar that cannot necessarily be seen – except in terms of what might be seen as someone’s character traits that are in fact really their self-defence mechanisms.

It can also clearly be seen in terms of behaviours. Such as addiction or in having depression.

Depression or depressing something?

This excerpt from my book 12 Steps To 1 Hero describes it:

It is not that people get depression, it is that they are depressing something, something terribly dark and heavy. In some way, they were made to feel unlovable. But we are human and we need to be loved.

So at some point the drugs do not work any more. They only make it worse. The fire needs to be found and rekindled, to be fully alight again, to be burning brightly, glowing and sharing its warmth and light. Sometimes it’s been hidden so well and for so long to protect it, the suffering person needs to really search deep-down to find it. Into the suffering, deep into the wound… into the heart of the darkness.

If this is you, then you need to ask: why the addiction, why the anxiety, why the depression? What’s the trauma, the wound, the toxic shame and where was – and perhaps still is – the failure of love that encompasses all of these? I strongly recommend help from someone who’s been there and knows what they are talking about to answer these questions. Someone who has come out the other side. You may know where honest-to-goodness help is, you may have been to see the understanding and knowledgable counsellor or to the 12-Step meeting. Now you meet a certain someone or read something or see a sign…

The pain of mental health disease is to attract your attention to all of this. For all this disturbance is signposting the way to the solution for you. If not dealt with, run directly into, the pain will only ever get worse because it will increase its effort to attract your attention. Many reach this point.

They reach this point, and the lucky ones realise it.

Major benefits to recovery

There are countless immense benefits to recovery.

From the first hour to the first few weeks you can know:

  • A sense of hope, often for the first time in a long time.
  • Clarity.
  • More time.
  • More energy.
  • Much better sleep.
  • Less mood swings.
  • Increased peace of mind.
  • An ability to live in the now.
  • A growing sense of freedom.
  • Growing self-esteem, self-love and self-confidence.
  • A mind that functions more rationally and more efficiently.
  • Physical benefits to such as the heart and liver, complexion, hair and general looks.
  • More money (from having more time and energy, with a much better and capable state of mind for work, and from beating an addiction if that was the issue or one of the issues).
  • Life will start to flow again – with more opportunities for new and/or exciting and memorable experiences. There may be new passions discovered or the rekindling of such as old hobbies that had fallen away.
  • Overall connection with the world, including other people will get better. This means improved relationships, including with family, friends colleagues and partners.
  • Spiritual growth.
  • Greater kindness.
  • More understanding and empathy.
  • Less drama, more calm and serenity.

Only everything to gain

Many people come into recovery because they’re desperate, without hope – and they’re sick and tired of feeling sick and tired. Many are terrified as they have run out of ideas of what else they can do.

It takes great courage to admit you need help, then to reach out for it. But anyone who has done this and then given their all to recovery will tell you it’s the best thing they ever did – both for themselves and anyone around them.

Just ask the children who have got their dad back; or the brother who’s got the sister back he used to know; or the colleague who once again knows who their work mate is; or the mother and father who have to their utter relief and joy gained again their beloved son or daughter.

As addiction and other mental health problems always get progressively worse, the good news on the other side is that so recovery gets progressively better.

I’d love to help you or someone you care about get recovery.

There really is only everything to gain.