Bring The Gifts Of Recovery Into Your Life

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Bring the Gifts of Recovery into Your Life: Can You Take This Challenge?

Recovery from substance abuse is a big deal. It requires individuals who have the illness of addiction to "surrender", one inch at a time, the armor that they thought "protected" their fragile sense of self:
The illusion of self-sufficiency. Persons "in recovery" know that only way out is through others. They acknowledge and make themselves accountable to sober kith-or the cocoon of caring people who surround them (for more information about "kith" ).

Facades and secrecy. Persons "in recovery" know that they are transparent. They know that the ability of others to see through them can help them stay honest and authentic.
The "poor-me" perspective. Persons "in addiction" get stuck on the delusion that they are the victim of everyone and everything. The person "in recovery" thrives on being in charge of his or her consequences instead of blaming their sad lives on others.

Shame and despair. Persons "in addiction" let themselves get caught up in emotions that intensely depreciate their self and the future. In recovery, people understand that shame and despair are emotional spaces that they should not enter. They learn how to put on the emotional brakes before they collide with internal forces that make self and future appear as "hopeless". How do they do this? Initially, they are taught to enlist the aid of a "sponsor" or "mentor" when they find themselves approaching the badlands.

Recovery month is about more than people who are "in recovery" from addiction. It is about us as a humanity-you and I-the human family-each of us dependent necessarily on each other for survival. It is about our ability to face hardship-as we draw upon the strength of others and the inner strengths we have developed as we have interacted with others. We can recover and be resilient because we have each other.

All of us need recovery. Each of us has in our possession thoughts and actions that nurture life; as well as thoughts and actions that nurture destruction. Whether or not addiction is a part of our arsenal of destructive behaviors, the fact remains-we do have thoughts and actions that are destructive-thoughts and actions that must be overcome in order for us to heal inside and consistently nourish love in ourselves and others. Our capacity to recover and be resilient-honed in the furnace of relationships-is our moxie mental health.

Tools of Recovery

Tools that are used to overcome addiction are tools that can be used to overcome other thoughts and behaviors that hold us down and keep us from being our best selves. These tools of recovery include (but are not limited to):

Healthy interdependency. We can learn to give and take, nourish and be nourished by those around us. Relationships need daily feeding-we can do this!

Honesty and authenticity. We can learn to accept ourselves enough to trust others with knowledge of our mistakes and weaknesses. This will allow us to go through the washing machine of life and come out clean.

Accountability. Accountability gives us a reason to stay focused on our goals and to keep on trying, even when we have some failures. Through accountability, we can get what we want-eventually.

Self-regulation. We can learn to put on our emotional "brakes" when we find ourselves headed for the emotions that could lead us to give up or act out. If we can't make it happen fast enough-we can put ourselves in the presence of a mentor or someone who can help us stop the collision.
The Shaker Hymn, "Simple Gifts", poetically summarizes how we can give ourselves and others the gift of recovery:

‘Tis the gift to be simple,
'tis the gift to be free,
'tis the gift to come down where you ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
It will be in the valley of love and delight.

‘Tis the gift to be loved and that love to return,
‘Tis the gift to be taught and a richer gift to learn,
And when we expect of others what we try to live each day,
Then we'll all live together and we'll all learn to say,

When true simplicity is gained,
To bow and to bend we shan't be ashamed.
To turn, turn will be our delight,
‘Til by turning, turning we come round right

‘Tis the gift to have friends and a true friend to be,
‘Tis the gift to think of others not to only think of "me",
And when we hear what others really think and really feel,
Then we'll all live together with a love that is real.

The Recovery Month Challenge

Moxie Mental Health invites you to celebrate Recovery Month with us by choosing to be "in recovery" from a thought or behavior that is holding you hostage. We invite you to talk to us about what you are doing to recover. Simply register for or log-in to Then click the "contact" tab on top of this blog. It will bring up a comment box where you can tell us about the change you are seeking. You can comment about what you want to recover from and how you might make that recovery happen.

We will publish some of the comments, but not include your identity or e-mail. We, and perhaps other readers, will send you some words of encouragement.


Katrina Holgate Miller, PhD writes about the strengths and skills people use to face their mental health issues with empowerment (moxie) rather than victimization.

She has turned her 30+ years of clinical experience with thousands of clients into stories and tips about how her clients were able to recover from mental illness and addiction and return to the roles they enjoyed during times of wellness. She is author of the website Her email is

Katrina Holgate Miller, PhD, MFT is a freelance medical journalist specializing in mental health.

Her professional experience has encompassed many facets of mental health care, including mental health assessment and treatment, substance abuse, domestic violence, sexual abuse (victims and perpetrators), couples counseling, and adolescent group counseling. For the past five years, Katrina has worked with patients across the country to help them resolve their barriers to adequate and effective mental healthcare and chemical dependency/addiction treatment.

Her writing tells the stories of the patients who used their moxie to overcome their distress.


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