Do We Ever Truly Recover?

We’ve all been through difficult times in our lives. It could be anything – sickness, injury, bereavement, financial or family turmoil, addiction or mental health issues. The list is as long as your arm and then some. Such struggles might be in your past, you may be battling them now, or they might be just around the corner, waiting to pounce. We don’t know when, but it’s a nailed on certainty we will all wander into the desert of despair at some point during our lives.

Tragically not all of us emerge from the other side but, for those of us who do, we are changed creatures. The journey takes its toll, we become new creations. Sometimes this means discarding habits and rituals that are detrimental to our well-being, sometimes we pick up new skills and talents. We break apart and grow anew, it is a process, a voyage, an experience unique to who we were and who we want to be. We walk alone.

We recover, but are we recovered? The dictionary definition of the word is ‘to return to a normal state of health, mind or strength.’ It originates from the Latin word ‘recupare’ meaning to ‘get again.’ To recover is to get back to where we once were, to find that moment, place or state of mind we once cherished. It is to return to the status quo, square one, the safe ground we strayed from in the first place. The circle is closed and all is well again.

But is it? When we travel through the trauma of treacle are we ever as we were before? I can only speak of my own story but I am not the person I was ten years ago and I am now in a very different place. I’ve battled demons and they now circle my castle walls, watching and waiting for me to lower my defences, to end my watch and turn my back on their cruel claws and vicious beaks. They want to torment, torture, tear me apart. They do not recognise any truce or treaty. Their war is without end.

I don’t recognise the person I was, so how can I say I’ve recovered? I’m no longer where I was, in fact I’m heading in a very different direction now. Yet, I cannot forget who I was nor my actions, as to do so would allow complacency to creep in. I cannot relax as I know what lies within me, dormant but intact. I unlock the door to that particular cell and the years of hard work are undone in the blink of an eye. I will fall at the feet of my enemy.

The stakes are too high, there is too much on the table for me to rest on laurels. I must be alert, attentive and aware of my flaws and weaknesses. One slip and I will tumble off the cliff, my screams unheard as I fall into the abyss, never to return. I’ll never fully recover as to do so is to relax and declare the war is won. It will never be won, so I write to warn others of the pitfalls and perils I fell foul of. My recovery is a flare, a bell, a klaxon of alarm.

Are you on the other side, or wading through the mire? Either way, do you feel fully recovered? Has every cut and bruise healed, your skin unblemished and rejuvenated? Or do you wear your scars with pride, a red badge of honour to remind yourself and others of the battle ahead and around us. It rages on. My OCD will never go away but I fight it every day, using coping mechanisms other than alcohol to overcome it.

Be confident in your recovery and reach for the stars, but never for one moment think you have recovered. For to do so, is a false flag mentality that could be your ultimate undoing. You are getting there, step by step, and you look forward to what lies ahead. Your new normal will be a better, stronger place than where you were before. You are recovering, you are in recovery, but you must never go back to the place where everything started, where it all began to unravel.

Published by Fractured Faith Blog

We are Stephen and Fionnuala and this is our story. We live in Northern Ireland, have been married for 17 years and have three kids - Adam, Hannah and Rebecca. We hope that our story will inspire and encourage others. We have walked a rocky road yet here we are today, together and stronger than ever. We are far from perfect and our faith has been battered and bruised. But an untested faith is a pointless faith. Just as a fractured faith is better than none at all. We hope you enjoy the blog.

40 thoughts on “Do We Ever Truly Recover?

  1. I totally agree with your point Steven, we are all works in progress. For me personally, were I to claim I am recovered from alcoholism would be like drawing a line in the sand. The closed loop, as you refer to it, would immediately be whispering in my ear that I could handle a drink or two this time (like I was ever able to in the past!)
    No, today I will stay in the process of recovery. I, too, am a changed person; yet with honest introspection I find that there is plenty more in me that needs changing and/or improving.
    I will continue to treat this day as the gift that it is, using it to look both inward and upward without dragging the past alone with me.
    Thank you for the excellent post,

    Liked by 1 person

  2. No, never recovered. A few of my friends who don’t understand addiction tell me that after 39 years of sobriety, surely I am recovered. NO! I will be recovered when I have taken my last breath. Only then can I claim a full recovery. Great post, profound reminder, Stephen.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. For some, I am sure it will be a continous journey of recovery with is no room for complacency. Or a relapse rears its head—be it an addiction, a mental health or anything that can throw our emotions out of balance. Having come out of depression many years ago, I can confidently say I have recovered. In fact I am a stronger person than then. But what I have noticed in my own experience is that, every now and then those same negative emotions that triggered my depression knocks at my door. But this time, I know how to bounce them off and carry on with my normal life. So I have fully recovered but I constantly fight off negative emotions. Only, they don’t pin me down. Thanks for this amazing post.


  4. I know what it feels like to have no hope. In 2015, I was depressed and I had anxiety. With therapy I got better. However, I feel like the state of my country right now will never be normal again. I worry about my career. I hope I come out of this situation with an income.


  5. I don’t think we ever go back to the people we were. We create a new normal where we are often fighting and sometimes it gets easier.


  6. Thank you for sharing this encouragement. We will slip up, we will see back to where we were and be tempted, but we can work hard to make more good decusions than had ones every day.

    One of the best things I’ve heard recently helped me think about recovery a bit differently. Like you say who we are is constantly shifting and changes. What happens then if instead of thinking about ‘recovery’ we think about ‘rediscovery’? We do not forget where we’ve come from and what we’ve been through, but use our experience to discover the new us.

    Keen on keeping on. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. What a wonderfully insightful article. I find the word recovery a little misleading, as I know my process has not be one where I’ve recovered an old self, my recovery has involved finding myself, reclaiming parts of my nature that were stifled and underdeveloped due to trauma. I’ve reclaimed rather than recovered. Discovery over recovery. Excellent work, I enjoyed reading it.


  8. Wonderful post! “What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger” and all that. Nobody gets out of here alive, so we must do our best to be our best while we continue to travel along on this good earth. Great advice, Stephen, very wise!


  9. Great post, and no, recovery can never include a return to the way things were. Ugh, can you imagine? I often wonder why people look to that as a good sign.


  10. The Foreward to the BB talks about being recovered from a hopeless state of mind and body. In that sense, I am recovered. Not from alcoholism, but from that state. I am not cured, of course. I know what will happen if I pick up a drink. I did it after about 5 years of not drinking, but I was in denial about my alcoholism until I came face to face with it when I drastically changed inside as a result of that first drink. It started to go downhill from there and I became obsessed. I am no longer obsessed, so again, in that sense… I am recovered. Just my thoughts. 🙂


  11. I have always said I am almost recovered from schizoaffective disorder but didn’t know why?! This well done blog puts into words what my subconscious knew- that I will never be the same again. And also as another commenter said rediscovery. I really like both of these ideas. Do you mind if I share on this as well on my blog? After I think some more about it… thanks 😊


  12. After ‘recovering’ I don’t think we go back to being who were before. Like the saying goes, “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” you are different after “recovering!” Love this post!


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: