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Recovery Corner:

Recovery is a Choice
by Andrea Hercha Schmook

Recovery is a choice. It's not something that happens without making it a choice. When you choose to recover, it also means making another choice to do the work that's necessary to get the results. Sometimes people don't understand what it means to make a choice or they may not know that they even have one.

CHOICE. What does it mean? It simply means decision. Recovery is an option or alternative to being sick. People don't recover if they don't "make up their minds" to recover. Choice is a commitment to yourself and you must commit yourself to get results.

The action of the WILL is necessary to carry forward the choice to it's future result. For favorable results, the will must act freely. Everyone was born with "free will" to make choices about their lives. People make choices where they live, where they will work, career choices, whether to get married or stay single, and sometimes they may choose to get a divorce.

The will must act freely for favorable results. Recovery cannot be forced on anyone. It must be the free action of the will. When force is used, recovery does not take place because the will is broken instead. The will must be educated through reason. Recovery must be nurtured and supported by the example of others who have recovered. Only by example, mentoring and role modeling in an environment that promotes this process can recovery succeed.

People with mental illness must be told that recovery is an option they can choose. For it to happen, it must take place in an environment that makes it possible for people to succeed at it.

People don't recover if they don't "make up their minds" to recover.

The recovery process engages people in "training their will" by repetitive choices in some very simple actions and as one recovers, more complex choices and actions. In the early stages of recovery, some of the simplest actions must be chosen moment by moment. It's only through exercising freedom of choice and action that the healing process takes place. In time, it becomes habitual. Habits are formed through the use of our will. Habits determine our patterns of behavior and are acquired by frequent repetition.

Recovery Corner has introduced many of the healing principles. Recovery was defined in the first article, a guideline was presented to know when you need help, self -responsibility and accepting oneself right where you are was another; faith, belief and action, along with affirmation and auto-suggestion; taking a personal inventory of what is going on inside of you, and now one of the most important principles -- CHOICE

Choice takes conscious effort in this process. There isn't anyone that can make this conscious effort other than the person who to make choices about their wants to recover. This is why lives. People make choices where they will live, where they will work, career choices, whether to get married or stay self -responsibility is a key principle. The only thing that other people can do for recovering persons is to support their effort and encourage it. Others can make people aware that they have a choice, but they can't make it for them. Nobody can do that but the people who need to recover.

It's important to understand that it can be sabotaged when people are stuck in denial, blame, anger, or fear. They are so busy living in the past that there is no future because they don't live in the present. When hope of recovery is nurtured in hospitals, community treatment programs, and public education then maybe people will freely choose it.

Recovery is a matter of the heart. It's the light in the darkness. When it shines, healing happens. It empowers us to improve the quality of our lives, just as electricity empowers a bulb's light to shine and overcome the darkness.

Recovery Corner is a column written by Andrea Schmook. She has recovered from mental illness. Anyone interested in contacting her for training/workshops can do so by e-mail to Ahschmook@aol.com

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   Copyright 1998 Andrea Hercha Schmook.  All rights reserved