No matter what it is that you’re dealing with, when you struggle with something that begins to take over your life—and even change your persona—then every day can feel like a battle. If you have ever experienced symptoms of or been diagnosed with a mental illness, eating disorder, addiction, or self-harmed you may understand how the world you once found yourself quite fond of, and certainly in control of, suddenly starts to feel like a prison. At least this is what I felt like during my lowest points.

Your thoughts no longer feel like your own. Your mind appears to be working against you. Nothing seems familiar—your face even starts to blend in. How could this possibly be? My reality had crashed and I knew no way out. My usual trusty saviors—partying my troubles away for nights on end, binging on drugs and alcohol, and then recovering with junk food—were doing me no favors. I knew I needed recovery and I needed it badly. I didn’t want to feel this way any longer.

If this scenario sounds familiar to you, keep reading. If not, don’t worry; recovery comes in all shapes and sizes. If you wish to work on your own recovery, understand that there is probably a voice talking to you in your own head who doesn’t want this to work out. Just as there is an optimistic voice who wants you to succeed. Kinda like having your own little personal devil and angel. You know, one on each shoulder. Well, the devil isn’t a fan of recovery. You need to accept that this voice might always be there urging you to make bad choices. Try to remember where those decisions got you before.

Nothing Changes If Nothing Changes

Vow to make better choices this year. You will feel better and better things will happen because of the better choices you make.

The dictionary defines recovery as a “return to a normal state of health, mind, or strength”. I prefer Russell Brand’s definition:  “to unf*** oneself”. As far as I can see recovery seems to be about connecting with ourselves and others while learning to disconnect with all the things that f***ed us up in the first place. It is a process of skills and practices that can be worked on each day in order to maintain effective recovery and prevent relapse. This will change depending on the individual and his or her personal needs.

Mindfulness plays a big part in my recovery and I would recommend it to anybody. Anyone can benefit from it. These benefits include stress-reduction, emotional regulation, and increased self-control. Mindfulness is a powerful tool for dealing and coping with both physical and mental health issues.

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I work on my recovery in many ways. I try to incorporate mindfulness into my everyday life. I also attend SMART groups where people share the various ways they are managing their recovery from addictive behaviors. I have four and a half months sobriety now and am extremely grateful for that. Every day I have worked on my recovery to achieve this and it has positively affected my mental health.

In the past, I have struggled to manage my mood, though it has somewhat improved. There are still lots of smiles and tears. Only now I am learning to accept that I’m emotional and I’m kinda okay if that’s who I am. Who doesn’t love a good cry? I also feel deep emotion for my loved ones and my support network. Connecting with people in recovery is great as it really helps to boost confidence and self-esteem when it could otherwise be very low.

Whatever it is that you are struggling with, please know that you can recover. Do whatever you need to do to aid your recovery. Be selfish. You matter most. Reach out. Share your thoughts—this takes the power away from them. Take the smallest steps if you must. Each one counts. Remember, one day at a time.

Reasons to Recover in 2018 

To be able to live instead of exist
When you are living inside of your own head you constantly live in fear. You live your life on auto-pilot. It becomes one vicious cycle that seems to never end. By choosing recovery you can regain control, break free from your cage and see the world with a whole new perspective. Small daily steps can be taken to reduce your anxieties, manage thoughts and avoid triggers. Sometimes professional help can be useful, but eventually, you will learn to cope on your own and live life the way you decide.

Reconnect with yourself (and others)
Recovery allows you to connect with yourself on a whole new level. You will regain energy and self-esteem as you deepen the connection with yourself and with others. For a long time, I felt numb and did not treat my body very nicely. I lived to please others, was extremely disconnected with myself and became very sick. Now I am in recovery, I know that I deserve better and try not to deprive myself.

As you recover you will likely begin to feel intense emotions like never before and may even start to feel this way towards other people too. Recovery can send lots of raw emotions rising to the surface so try to be mindful of this and avoid acting irrationally or impulsively. If you do have a lot of feelings going on, it could be helpful to start a journal/diary to let your thoughts out. Journalling can also be good for personal reflection to see how far you’ve come.

Make your loved ones smile again
Possibly the worst part about being stuck in a vicious mental cycle, whatever it may be, is seeing your loved ones suffer. Often they try to help but might not know how and eventually relationships can deteriorate due to the illness. By changing our behaviors and maintaining these changes through long-term recovery we can really work to improve relationships. This can be a big motivating factor for many people, I know it was for me.

Ultimately make sure you choose recovery for you; know that making your loved ones happy and proud is just a bonus when you are healthy again.

Create the future you deserve
When you are living a life trapped in isolation and complete dissatisfaction your future looks unsurprisingly bleak. When you dip your toes in the waters of recovery a whole new world of opportunity seems to open up that never seemed to be there before. It really is amazing what goes on around your local community that you don’t know about. Get involved with your local services. Access help and support if you need it, volunteer or simply spend time at support groups if that would be beneficial to you in your recovery.

Know that you deserve a better future and if you must start with small steps to make it there then that is okay. Work towards your goals one day at a time. You will make it.

Because you matter
Live the life you deserve. Start looking forward. Make yourself proud. You must believe you are worth it. That you are worth a better life. If you don’t believe it, if you are full of self-doubt then let’s start with some positive daily affirmations. These are now a part of my recovery plan as the way we speak to ourselves is so important and massively influences the way we act and think.

Here are some examples of daily affirmations you can try for yourself (*Say these to yourself in the mirror*):

  • You deserve to be loved
  • You deserve to be happy
  • You are strong
  • You are capable of anything you put your mind to
  • You are worthy of great things
  • I love and appreciate myself
  • I am doing my best
  • Every day is a new beginning
  • My urges do not control me

Will you choose recovery this year, or are you already in recovery?

Editor’s note: This article was originally published on OhEvie.com

Last Updated: Feb 23, 2018