what is recovery (?)

For those who may not know me, I’m a man who, for the first 16 years of
childhood, I experienced abuse and trauma.
I first got into ‘recovery’ in 1999, after a breakdown.
Here are some tips I learned along the way…

Principle one: if I’m over 18 (an adult), I am responsible for everything I
think and feel.
This also means I’m not responsible for what other people think and feel.
Yes, we influence each other, but ultimately we are not responsible for anyone
but ourselves.

Principle two: honesty. If you come from an abusive home, you may be familiar
with people being dishonest…so a willingness to be honest is very much part of
recovery. Truth is mental health.

Principle three: abstinence. I don’t think that abstinence is a ‘one size fits
all’ solution. Sometimes acting out our emotions can keep us alive for another
day, giving us another chance. This being said, some people need abstinence, and
that’s OK too.

Principle four: passion/creativity. For me this has been essential for recovery.
It’s what keeps me alive and interested in things and life.

Principle five: spirituality. This one is not necessarily for everyone, but can
be helpful. Because I don’t have a sense of personal value, spirituality has
been helpful in seeing the bigger picture, and to decentralize from self.

Principle six: education. If you had said this to me in 1999 I would have said
you were crazy! I’m referring to a broad education, not an education on bee’s


I’ve been studying, slowly since my break down, and it really helps me to think
better. Due to abuse and trauma, I wasn’t able to concentrate at school, so I
grew up very naïve and dumb.

Principle seven: support groups. Once again these are not for everyone. Due to
not being able to stay connected to my family, support groups are excellent, and
kind of replace the absence of family.

Principle eight: medication/therapy/etc. These all can be helpful, but sometimes
they can be unhelpful. I’ve met many a therapist who had a negative effect on
me, so take care in choosing one.