Archive for January, 2011

Second look: Sara Goodman on recovery

January 29, 2011

For those who come behind me… I shed some light

My soul was withered, atrophied and dehydrated
My spirit had retreated into the hibernation
My heart was encased in a sheath of ice…
Dry ice… hurtful to the touch…
It was my defense against pain
Old wounds still hurt inside the sheath… what to do? What to do?
Anesthetize… deaden the nerve endings
Thunderbird, pot, sex, physical neglect
A vegetable I’d become… a rotten one at that
Drained of all nutritional value
Unfit for use

My brain was in pain
Exploding, imploding…
I couldn’t maintain the life I’d worked so hard to build
My life was made of straw, all surface and no substance
The Universe huffed and puffed and blew my life down
And I cowered, hands over my aching head, under the debris
Choking, croaking
Begging God to take me home…
Too chicken to take the journey on my own

My constant query was when was it going to be my turn
I woke one day to a shifted perception
Only I can take my turn
No one is going to come up and tap me on the shoulder…
OK, girlie… s’your turn now
I could choose to spend my life sending out invites to my pity parties
I felt rejected when no one even showed up to those
Or I could insinuate myself into the mainstream of life

Oh, what a task… so much to know… hard to keep up… out of breath…
Because deep in my heart I believed that me at my worst was often better than some at their best
I wasn’t going down again without a fight
So I took control of my “self”
My mother’d always told me to do that… Sara, control yourself! But she never told me how

How……………… how indeed
I started by dusting off my brain
Examining the flotsam and jetsam
Exploring my values
Hugging my monsters
Addressing my traumas
Maintaining a gratitude attitude
Exploding the myths that had previously guided my journey
I needed a dumpster!

My life is my canvas
I choose what colors, what textures, what designs
Only I choose!

I signed up for courses
I engaged my brain
I went from someone I didn’t want to admit knowing
To wanting to be my own best friend
I was enjoying my company
My pity parties stopped
I even started to smile on the inside

The ache in my brain began to subside
I learned of recovery
Others struggling yet healing
No longer on a downswing
Moving up the slippery slope of despair
Gaining ground
Determined to cling to hope
Cultivating hope
Nurturing hope
Celebrating hope

I am healing now
I am becoming whole from the inside out
My accomplishments reassure me I am on the right track
I have left behind the clouds of gloom and doom
I can now shed some light to those who come behind me

(C) 2009 Sara Goodman

Bio stuff:
I am a decade into my recovery journey. Took me almost 5 decades to find my starting gate… I did and now I am at the top of my game and constantly raising the bar… challenging myself to conquer new heights, come to new understandings, master new skills, add the columns up differently. For most of my life, I was a flip flop in a sea of Manolos… a day late/a dollar short… almost pregnant… waiting for my bus at the airport wondering why my ship never came in. Then I discovered RECOVERY! and I finally felt the sun shine on my face… my spirit hydrated, my balloon filled with helium and I took to the skies joyous to be alive. My recovery is my main and constant wellness tool. I am committed to my recovery as if it were a dear lover, Yes, once in a bit, the clouds still gather around my shoulders but I am resilent now… I shake myself off, remember who I’ve become, and propel myself forward… in spite of myself… sheer determination sometimes but I do it… whatever it is at the moment. You, too, can embark on such a journey. Strap yourself in though because at times the ride can get bumpy… it’s for those moments that I glide, free of care, high in the air, that I live for. Ten years ago, you couldn’t light a match near me… I was so drunk, I would have combusted. I can take life’s dings and knocks now and remain unscathed. Today, I have the pleasure, privilege and responsibility of shaping the curriculum for Howie the Harp’s Peer Specialist Training Programs. If I can do it, you can do it! Bye, Leo:)

Second look: What does recovery recover

January 29, 2011

What does recovery recover?  The answer, I think, is simple.  The future.

The experience of many with mental illness is too often one of few or no options.  Life is seen as limited and living about learning to live with the limits.  And the biggest message is dont expect too much.  The future is what happened to you yesterday and you just need to learn to accept it and cope with it better.

The message is it doesnt matter what you do.  And that is the single easiest way to kill hope.  When you divorce the way people live from what their life becomes life becomes rote.  You either drown in the pain, drown in the diversions you find to escape the pain, or numb out and die long before you are gone.

Recovery means vision is real and purpose can be found.  It means you are more than what ails you and that no part of you defines you.  It means you have strengths, talents and interests and they all count.  It doesnt mean it will be easy.  For most of the people in this world life is never easy.  It takes persistence, commitment, gratitude, acceptance and wisdom.  But as I have said before, the purpose of life is not to get used to it, but to find more and better life.

No matter how real and how hard the hard times and how much they cover up everything remember they dont.  The future is real.  The future can be built, be found and be treasured.  And hope recovered

On being disposable

January 28, 2011

We fight each day against the message that we are little more than disposable material.  For many of us, each situation is a referendum on whether or not we stack up, a chance to prove if we are enough of all those things we want to be enough of .

We proclaim our platforms and make our speeches and wait anxiously for the next poll that tells us how the election looks to be going.  And we clutch our votes to us strong, determined that they are not lost in the swirls of the next moment.

We measure ourselves by the boxes we live in and try hard to ensure that we are not robbed of our rightful placement.  Life is about being “enough.”  Smart enough… strong enough… enough…powerful enough……good enough….. loved enough….

But we forget we are not the boxes we live in or the sum of the boxes we live.  We are not the names we are called and rather they reassure our dignity or threaten us they are after all only names.

But in our lives names do have consequences and that is real.   There is a book called “The Unit.”  It is a novel written about a place where those who are over 50 are placed  away from society and told they are disposable- their only function to be a source of biological material for those who might need a liver, or a kidney, or a heart.

How many boxes do we have for “disposable people?”  As I watch the debate over health care it occurs to me that regardless of what your politics are you must make a decision on one question.  The question is not does it cost too much.  The question is when do people cost too much?  When are they disposable?  When does their life not matter enough?

I have watched the budgets for mental health care drop steadily down in a system that already gets a D or F and I wonder are the mentally ill not also disposable.  Is mental illness becoming our first elective disease?

I know that I fight this issue  in my daily life each day and I see others do the same.  Too easily we find our dignity and pride in the names we are called and too little do we realize the simple truth that our dignity is a gift of God’s creation and that there is no one that doesn’t matter.

To often we seek our value in things in don’t matter and are suprised at the difficulty of the search.

People with mental illness are 11 times more likely to be victims of violent crime than the general population. – MIWatch

January 27, 2011

People with mental illness are 11 times more likely to be victims of violent crime than the general population. – MIWatch.

On being financially responsible: An open letter to the Tennessee legislature

January 27, 2011

Dear legislator:

I am involved in several different ways with the mental health system in Tennessee, but I write this letter not as an advocate or member of any group, but as a private citizen.  Many of the people I know have mental health issues in their life or in the life or someone they love.  Most of the people I know are very concerned about what the coming legislative debate and decisions about the mental health budget will mean for them and their loved ones.  It is a concern I share.

There are many good and committed people in the Tennessee mental health system.  This includes both providers and consumers.  People are trying hard to impact the lives of those in need in a positive fashion.  But despite their best efforts the system is, I and many others believe, on life support.  It is fragmented and inadequate to meet the needs of many of those most needing of its services.  Mental illness, according to some studies, affects as many as 1 in 4 adults during their lifetime.  Most of these people know and impact the lives of many others.  The health of our mental health system radically effects the quality of life of literally thousands and thousands of Tennesseans.

Over the last 4 years something over $40,000,000  in permanent funding has been cut in funding for mental health programs that before the cuts was skeletal in many parts of the state.  Plans I recently heard indicate that as much as $5,000,000 in permanent funding may be eliminated in the next budget.  Against this efforts by advocates, consumers, providers and many of you have helped to restore about $31,000,000 in one time funding to lessen the consequences of these cuts.  Many of the most valuable services offered by the department, services that are instrumental to keeping people out the hospital, out of jail, and out of the streets are included in these one time funds.

More and more of the mental health system has to be reinvented each year.  The system is becoming more unstable and eventually it seems inevitable it must fall.  No business of any size can exist not knowing if the next year it has to be reinvented.  The one time funds have saved lives, but as a way of doing business they plant the seeds of  the further impoverishment of an already impoverished system.  It is time to make a commitment, not just to  mental health, but a continued commitment to mental health that gives us a solid foundation to build on and improve the system.

I am asking you to be financially responsible.  This is much more than a debate about the cost of any specific services.  It is as much a discussion about the cost of the consequences of mental illness.  You have a choice about the services you fund.  You do not have a choice about the consequences that must be faced.  Not to understand this is not to be realistic and not to be responsible.  Often in trying to save money on services, the cost of consequences are passed on to local communities who dont have a prayer of being successful.

The equation is not simply a matter of what you decide to do costs.  It is equally and even more importantly a matter of what you decide to not do costs.  More people fall through the cracks when there are more cracks.  It is that simple and that complicated.

The disasters of mental illness have been catalogued many times.  In Tennessee more people die from suicide than homicide and car accidents combined.  Our jails are becoming our biggest mental health centers.  Services for children are inadequate and we are helping to create a population who will be tortured by mental illness their entire adult lives.  The financial effects on business are massive.  I dont know how you even put a number on the widespread misery and suffering all this entails.

We can help people with mentally illness.  I have seen it in my own personal life and in the lives of many others.  I have also seen what happens when we dont.

I am not asking you to be wasteful or extravagent.  I am asking you to apply a new measure of  responsiblity that looks at the real costs.  Life is more than the short term financial bottom line.  What we do right now drastically effects the future we create.  It is time for all of us to get our head out of the sand and take a realistic look at where we are going and take positive and responsible steps to create the future all of us want for ourselves and our children.

Fund the mental health system on a permanent, recurring basis.  Every year in January begins a new “mental health season”  as we many people fight to preserve the services and help they need.  Please make this the last “mental health season.”


January 26, 2011

I was recently asked to be a member of the advisory board for the peer support center in Blount County where I live.  I set the first night and listened to people tell their stories.  They were stories of lives saved– either theirs or a family members.  They talked about what life had been before and what life had been after.  Putting names and faces to the statistics make a difference.  I wish a lot more people could have been there.  I wish legislators beginning to talk about whether or not peer support centers should be funded or not could have been there.  I wish you could have been there.


That is the cost for one person for one day.  That is the cost of making a difference.  You can send them to a regional mental hospital to save the cost of peer support centers.  That costs $612 a day.  You can wait until there is a crisis and let them go to the emergency room to save money on peer support centers.  That costs $1591 a visit.  You can just wait until they mess up and end up in jail to save the cost of peer support centers.  That costs $1250 a month.  You can send them to prison.  The prison is full of mentally ill people after all.  That costs $128 a day.  You can save the costs of peer support centers if you really want to.

Or you can pay $3.80 a day.  And maybe, just maybe save some lives, save some families.  Maybe save something with no price tag.  What do you think?

Second look: ON life anew

January 26, 2011

Life is about more than what is hard, difficult, and painful.  It is about more than making things less hard, less difficult, and less painful.  If you have a mental illness (or mental health issues or whatever politically correct term you prefer) the management of symptoms is essential for a better life.  It is not, I believe, sufficient and that is where the concept of recovery comes in. Saying that recovery is simply symptom management is like saying driving a car is about having oil and gas in the car… It is, but it is about much more than that.

Mental illness has devastating impacts on daily life.  It makes everything harder.  But the experience of mental illness goes past even this.  It becomes the lens through which you see yourself, other people, and make decisions about what is important and possible in life.  It defines what is real and what is illusion.  Most often it tells you that you are centrally flawed as a human being and much of what is available to other people is not available to you.  It tells you the only question in life is what bad thing in life is going to happen next and the only task in life is to get use to it and accept it.

Often the message that people seem to get from treatment is that it is all about symptom management. And even that is not always real effective.  People are left more with a sense of how they are limited than in the discovery of what is possible.  I believe the reason so many people opt out of the mental health system is not because they dont buy the problem.  I think often they simply lose faith in the solution.

What does it mean to find a better or new life?  What does recovery mean?

There is something in life worth getting.

  1. You can get from the beginning of the day to the end of the day without disaster.  Life is not so stressful that the events of daily life are a never-ending struggle.  Your days are not a perpetual wreck getting ready to happen.  Your choices are more than numb out, be on ever vigilant guard,  or medicate your experience.  There is more to life than being anxious and fearful about what is about to happen or being angry or guilty about what did happen.  This is the initial step in recovery and without progress here you dont get much farther.
  2. Other people are more than a source of deprivation or threat.  You begin to repair damage relationships and establish others.  Life becomes what you do with other people rather than what you try to do despite them.
  3. You begin to establish your own sense of personal significance.  There is a growing sense of purpose.  You are about something.  And life is about making that real.  It is a combination of your talents and interests and the needs around you.  You become part of a larger something.  You begin to get a growing sense of completion.
  4. Many things may continue to be hard or difficult, but life is defined more by the opportunities presented to you, rather than the threats presented.  Hard times become more survivable because you know “something better is coming.”

You have something worth giving.

  1. You count.  What you think, what you feel, what you do makes a difference to others and in the scheme of things.  This is one of the biggest lies told the mentally ill.  “What you do doesnt count anymore.  You will always be a source of disappointment for yourself and for others.”  It is the message that is at the heart of most stigma and one of the most crippling experiences that someone can have.
  2. Others start to see you as a source of opportunity in their lives and not a threat or source of  threat.  It is almost impossible to have any sense of hope in life if the people around you are not hopeful about you.
  3. Success builds momentum in your life and your first response to challenge or stress is not resignation, but anticipation. You begin to have faith in yourself.

Life is safe

  1. This does not mean that it is not dangerous.  It does not mean that it is not painful.  It does not mean that problems do not occur.  It means that you see life from a new context.  Each problem is not forever.  Each problem does not mess everything up.  Each problem is not an indictment of you or the people around you.
  2. It means fundamentally that you know that bad times are real, but that they are not the only thing real.  It means you know that bad times can be coped with, or endured and that good times can be created and treasured.

Someone cares

  1. You are loved and you love.  You are seen as who you are and treasured for who you are.
  2. Life is not defined by loneliness and the feeling that you are forever Robinson Crusoe.
  3. Not only are you cared for but you can trust that care and what it means.  And others can trust your care and commitment to them.

These are some of the things that I think define recovery.  Life can better for virtually everyone.  Life anew can be yours. It can be mine.  It can be something we share with each other and help each other to find and grow.  Life has a promise that is real and no diagnosis, label, or judgement disqualifies you from laying claim to that promise.

Bless you.

Second look: The 1….2…..3……. of recovery

January 26, 2011

Excessive stress is the enemy of recovery. It is a trigger for everything you struggle with to get harder and maybe a lot harder. It is a trigger for depression for those with depression. It is a trigger for both manic and depressive episodes for those with bipolar. It makes alcoholics more likely to drink and drug addicts more likely to drug.

Part of recovery, an essential part of recovery, is getting better at dealing with stress. Getting stronger means learning to deal better with bad news and bad things. What I would suggest though is that it matters what stresses you deal with when.

  • The first task is to learn how to get from the beginning of the day to the end of the day without disaster or catastrophe. It means getting past the point of wondering what is going to go wrong next. It means knowing that whatever you are doing is not going to be short-circuited in the next moment. It is the primary reason that those who talk about recovery stress routine, planning , and balance in daily living. Somethings should be automatic. To the extent that getting from the beginning of the day to the end is an ordeal you will find life to be a stress machine that eats you alive.
  • The second task is rebalancing and repairing relationships. Good relationships with people is instrumental to any chance of happiness in life. Life is what we do with people not what we do to them. But if we dont have a least a little bit of handle on the day it is not likely that our stuff with other people will get a lot better. People will be a threat, a disappointment, a stranger and generally more stress than what we think they are worth.
  • The third task is the who am I and what is it all about questions. It is tackling the questions about purpose and reason for life. It is about direction and meaning. Unless we find something larger than ourselves to be part of life tends to be a disappointment.

Are all these questions alive all the time? Obviously it is. It is not a neat process. It has many starts and restarts. Things are never settled forever, but are accomplishments that need to be redone each day. But yet this does describe what I think is a basic order of emphasis for finding the answers we seek in life. Many people who fail in recover do so because they have not got the requisite foundation lain. It doesnt work well to be focused on who you are when you cant get through the day. Learning to live with the stress of daily living is the first task of recovery. But without relationships that doesnt provide much enjoyment to life. And enjoyment without purpose soon grows empty.

On life as an invitation

January 26, 2011

Someone once told me we are never commanded– only invited.  Life he said is a series of never ending invitations.  He told me how he had a terrible temper until he realized that things didnt make him mad–they only gave him an invitation to become mad.  And he began to realize how many invitations to anger he really got and how many he already refused and he found power he didnt know he had.

Not all invitations are the same.  Some are very loud.  Some are very quiet.  Some are repeated time after time. Some seem to be one time events.  Some are long.  Some are short.  Some are so clear and some are so garbled.  Some we come to trust and some we are not sure we will ever trust.  But the measure, the pace and the direction in life is in what we do with the invitations given.

Some people only hear one invitation and because of that come to believe there are no others.  And they become blind to any other possibilities.  For them life becomes like the falling tree in the forest.  If they dont hear can they really say it fell?

Some people find in getting out of bed an invitation to gratitude.  Others find only another demand to complain about.  Some people find in their time with others an invitation to joy.  Others find a reminder to check their wallet less they be robbed.

The neat thing is that when you begin to understand this you begin to understand that you have much more to say about your life and that what you say counts.  Talk about a neat invitation.  Listen….Listen carefully….Perhaps it is being given to you now.

Second look: ON the importance of fatigue

January 24, 2011

Sometimes you just get tired. You just get burned out on so many things being so hard and you don’t want to do it anymore. Someone is a support group said it well, “Sometimes I just want to know where to stand in line to give up…”

Its not just that you struggle to solve problems. You struggle to stop struggle. And even when things work out, and even when you have a basic faith that it will work out you are still human and you wonder why it has to be so hard. There seems to be a lack of basic justice. It doesn’t seem like it is that hard for others and you don’t understand why you never get dealt the “easy card.”

So much of recovery is based on awareness and knowledge and on actively implementing plans and strategies. When you get tired little things slip and before you know it you find yourself making excuses for bigger and bigger things slipping. It is not so much that you don’t see what it happening. You just get tired of looking.

When things are hard everything feels urgent and like it has to be done right away. Urgency exhausts us and we find ourself having a hard time focusing on what it important. It’s like driving down the road for miles and miles in horrible and terrible weather and being afraid of wrecking or being wrecked into and then realizing too late– we forgot to check the gas gauge.

You get tired of cleaning a plate that is forever refilled and some times that is what it seems like life is. A friend I know is struggling real hard right now. He tells me the problem is not that he is so depressed. He insists he is not. He is just tired of trying. He tells me, “What is the use in going someplace you never get to?”

Second look: ON falling skies

January 24, 2011

Have you ever thought the skies were falling and it was so bad that when you woke up in the morning you would probably be dead? I have. Most people I know have.

I do something… Or I see something being done that just takes my anxiety and sends it through the roof. And I become convinced that the damage or threat of damage is so real and so strong and so indisputably true. There are no options to look for, nothing else to do because the truth of disaster seems so totally true. I either become frantic and run around being frantic. Or I numb out, curl up and unfeel it away. In the process whatever is bad, gets worse and catastrophe seems validated by the “evidence” and life becomes a terribly scary, painful, assaultive, destructive place to be.

Typically I believe everything is messed up and it is messed up forever and everything is falling directly on my head and the options are to run or hide. Later I wake up to find out I am not dead. And the process of coming back begins.

Beware of reports of falling skies. Misery is almost always convincing. It is very seductive for most people. I am not really sure why. There are bad things….really, really bad things, but distrust reports of total unmitigated disaster. Chicken Little was wrong.

When you wake up in the morning odds are high you will be alive.

  1. How much of a problem is catastrophizing for you?
  2. How much does fear and anxiety control the ways you see things?
  3. Why is is hard for you to doubt bad news?
  4. What are the consequences of fear and anxiety in your life?
  5. What can you do or say to put your fears on hold?
  6. How often do you hear people talk about “falling skies?”
  7. What do you say to them? What would you like to have people say to you?

On being disposable. Being mentally ill in the United States

January 22, 2011

2.1 billion dollars has been deleted from state mental health budgets in the last 3 years.  The New York Times story attached below is grim.  “Adult day treatment centers have been shuttered; subsidies for outpatient counseling, medications and family support services have dried up; case managers have been laid off; and more than 4,000 beds in psychiatric hospitals have closed, according to Michael J. Fitzpatrick, executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness. The fiscal squeeze has highlighted the inadequacy of community services to accommodate deinstitutionalization, and waiting lists have grown steadily in many states….In Washington State, Gov. Christine Gregoire, a Democrat, imposed nearly $19 million in midyear cuts to community treatment programs last fall…In Kansas, the new governor, Sam Brownback, a Republican, has asked the Legislature to eliminate $10.2 million from the state’s community mental health centers and $5 million from therapeutic services for children with severe disorders…In Mississippi, Gov. Haley Barbour, a Republican, has proposed spending 13 percent less on mental health than his own division director said would be needed to provide the same level of services as this year. His state has already cut spending on group homes, subsidized medications, case management, halfway houses and crisis intervention. It has also eliminated $7 million in grants to community agencies and closed more than 200 beds at a state hospital and a dorm at an adolescent treatment center…”  Virtually every state could have been catalogued in this article.  This is the tip of the iceberg.

In our zeal to curtail the costs of mental health treatment we have left ourselves and literally millions of people, millions of our fellow citizens defenseless before the consequences of mental illness.  We all affect each other and everyone that has a mental health diagnosis intersects with and affects the lives of many other.  The statistics are so common now I wonder if we have not just gotten comfortable with them.  33,000 commit suicide each year.  The jails feeling up with people whose major issue is untreated mental illness.  The homeless…..the families affected…. the children affected…..the incredible financial costs of mental illness in the workplace….the growing needs of our militiary– what area of life has not been affected?

I understand the costs of mental health treatment.  At what point do we talk about the costs of the consequences of mental illness?

We have, in effect, by the omission of help needed, defined a large segment of our population as disposable.  “We really would like to help.  After all that is what is in our values.  But times being what they are we simply cant afford to do what we would like. ”  If we define our brothers as disposable I really wonder how we have defined ourselves.  And I cant help but wonder about what that has cost us.






After Tucson Shooting, Scrutiny on Mental Health Cuts –

ON the Tucson tragedy. The best thing I have read

January 20, 2011

Jared Loughner: An Example of Our Broken Mental Health System? | World of Psychology.

Stanton Peele: The Gabrielle Giffords Shooting: Why Don’t We Just Force People to Be Treated?

January 20, 2011

Stanton Peele: The Gabrielle Giffords Shooting: Why Don’t We Just Force People to Be Treated?.

Second look: ON a culture of recovery

January 18, 2011

Many people look at the state of the mental health system and say what we need is a culture based on recovery.  But what would that involve?

Every culture, every group, every model is based on its assumptions about what it believes to be true.  A recovery based system would be no different.  It would make every effort to “prove” it was true, but even that proof would be interpreted in light of its assumptions about what is true and real.

What are some of the assumptions that a recovery based system makes?

  1. Individuals matter.  No degree of impairment or difficulty make them matter less.
  2. If an individual is important what is important to that individual is important: his thoughts, feelings, goals, aspirations, and interests.  No degree of impairment makes those things matter least.
  3. If an individual matters then recovery is not about what others develop for him, but about what he chooses for himself.
  4. The primary thing that is recovered is the ability to make informed decisions about life based on the tools acquired, the knowledge gained, the success experienced, and the continuing care and support of others.
  5. Mental health professionals are often essential for recovery, but their appropriate role is as a consultant or coach and not direct supervisor.
  6. Recovery assumes that hope is a real thing.  Life can and should be a movement towards better things.  The steps may be slow and require much in the way of patience, but no matter how slow or small they are they are real and should be valued and treasured.
  7. Recovery assumes that mental illness does not cause you to lose anything essential to being a human being.  Mental illness may block you.  It may disrupt you.  It may damage you.  It may detour you.  It does not diminish what it means for you to be a human being.
  8. Recovery assumes personal responsibility.  It is not something done to you.  It is not something you are given as much as it is something you get.
  9. Recovery assumes that you can develop and maintain relationships with other people.  That you can love and are worthy of being loved.
  10. Recovery assumes that you can support and help others, that often, the greatest help you get is in the help you give.
  11. Recovery assumes that mental illness does not make a happy life a delusional concept.
  12. Recovery assumes that mental illness (or whatever term you choose to substitute there) is real and the pain and desperation it brings to human life is real and that everyone is entailed to the help they need to regain the life they deserve to have a chance to live.
  13. Recovery assumes that people are biological, social, emotional, cognitive and spiritual beings and recovery to be real and meaningful may have to address each of these dimensions.
  14. Recovery assumes commitment.  It is not a given, a right or an entitlement.  While very possible it assumes the commitment of those seeking it and their determination to do whatever it takes to achieve it.
  15. Recovery assumes that all of us are more than the names we are called or the labels placed upon us and to reduce us to these names or labels is inherently unfair, wrong and misses the reality of who we are.
  16. Recovery assumes that since it is an individual thing and each of us has our own burdens that recovery will vary with each person in speed, distance, and kind.
  17. Recovery assumes that while some burdens can be surmounted, others must be lived with and that recovery helps us to learn the difference and develop the skills to do each.

Some of these assumptions are commonly accepted in the mental health system now.  Some are not.  This is not meant to be an exhaustive list, but part of the movement towards a culture of recovery means helping others to see this assumptions, adopt them as a valid way of looking at things, and to press for them to become an operative part of the experience of anyone who has mental health issues and becomes involved with the mental health system.


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