Thursday, September 20, 2012

Heroes in Recovery

I recently received these great promotional materials from Heroes in Recovery in the mail last week. I had first heard about Heroes through finding them on Twitter- and then I went to their website to find out what they were all about. What I found there was very encouraging and uplifting.

Who is Heroes in Recovery?

"Heroes in Recovery is a movement ignited by Foundations Recovery Network and the widespread community of those who are in recovery from addiction and co-occurring disorders. We discovered that while 22 million people each year need help for addiction, only 3 million actually seek treatment. We’re looking for the other 19 million, who may not be seeking help due to the overwhelming stigma that often surrounds substance abuse and mental health disorders."
What is Heroes in Recovery's mission?
"Heroes in Recovery has a simple mission: to eliminate the social stigma that keeps addicted individuals from seeking help, to share stories of recovery for the purpose of encouragement and inspiration, and to create an engaged sober community that empowers people to get involved, give back, and live healthy, active lives."
Their above statement on what their mission is speaks to me. In the whole essence of the paragraph, it speaks of eliminating stigma so that people are able to get the help that they need, to share their stories to encourage others (peer support), and thus helping others get involved and give back. My passion aligns quite well with their vision statement.

I believe that with starting to dialog about mental illness and addictions then we are raising awareness and helping to reduce the stigma. There is a lot of stigma associated with mental illness and addictions as well as a lot of misconceptions- but by talking about them then we are taking a stand in what we believe in.

I like how Heroes in Recovery put a positive spin on recovery- we are all heroes in our struggles- and have overcome great. This is something to be proud of and not hid away. Although, I may not of struggled with a drug or alcohol addiction, I certainly have struggled with other behaviours that were indeed hard to break along with  mental illness.

For 9 years of my life, I struggled with self injury, beginning at the age of 13. There was a lot of stigma associated with self injury when I was younger and there still is today. I currently no longer engage in this behavior, however I do still have urges when I am feeling unwell. It is hard sometimes to not give into the urges because I had used it as a coping mechanism for so long in my life- and it was second nature to do so. At the time, it served its purpose on how I was feeling. I was not able to communicate how I was feeling verbally to others, so I would keep it inside until I could no longer keep it there and it started to come out through self harm. It was not easy to stop this behavior as it had worked to mask how I was feeling- but I knew that had to. I realized that if I did not then I would one day perhaps go too far and I would not be alive. Something needed to change and self injury was no longer my best friend but rather my enemy. So with lots of support and prayer- I was able to overcome this addictive like behavior.

So, it is a real blessing to see how Heroes in Recovery use people's stories that they submit to help others in their journey through peer support essentially. Its great to see that people can go to their website to read stories and see that there is hope out there and that RECOVERY IS POSSIBLE. If you would like to learn more about Heroes then please visit their website http://www.heroesinrecovery.com.

I encourage everyone to get involved in a cause that they are passionate about and know that they can help others by offering hope through personal experience. This is why I decided that I was going to volunteer for Partners for Mental Health and become a Community Correspondent. I can share my experiences, struggles, and offer HOPE to others who may be struggling. Your recovery story is your greatest tool to use to help others who are also suffering. Speak out and share- everyone has a part to play in reducing stigma in our communities. Together, lets be Heroes in Recovery!

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