This past weekend, I had the honor and privilege of being in a room with 6 men and women who had the courage to take their recovery from trauma, addiction, and shame to the next level by attending my bi-annual Mastering the Trauma Wound Workshop.
Six individuals that may not have known exactly what they were getting into, but nonetheless all extremely courageous and willing to go deep into the core of their wounds to guarantee they will have a better future.
That is Resiliency.
Victor Frankl, the much praised writer, psychiatrist, and Holocaust survivor who found the will to live in the midst of horror asked himself why some prisoners survived, and others did not. He found that,
Survivors develop reasons to live which gives them hope for a brighter future.
When I think of the amazing individuals I work with day in and day out who spend countless hours in individual therapy, groups, and workshops multiple times per week, dedicated to having a better life and future, I am in awe at their dedication to bouncing back especially in the depths of their darkest hours. These are incredibly strong men and women who struggle with lapses and relapses, but continue to get up, brush themselves off, take the feedback for making improvements on their journey, and move forward.
Sometimes it can be hard to be hopeful, to have resiliency, especially when society, family members, and loved ones place judgment on one's struggle and don't seem to understand that change takes time and includes a lot of trips, falls. Especially since you have been practicing this maladaptive behavior since you were a child.
Learning new coping skills can be hard and scary, particularly because it takes so much time, energy, effort, and practice.
This is where resiliency comes into play.
Being able to bounce back in your darkest hour takes courage and strength, especially when you feel the outside world is continually judging your struggle. You could, after all, give up and quit, going back to your old ways of living. But the reality is, most of you reading this have tasted the sweetness of recovery, if only for a few minutes a day, and know that there is something better waiting for you.
It takes the utmost courage to face your addictions, aversions, and own who you truly are~authentic, pure, innocent.
Recovery takes a lot of time. There is not a timeline, like so many people assume. To change your brain, literally, you must practice on a daily basis new ways of thinking, feeling, behaving both non-sexually (or non-substance abusing, or non-denting, non-gaming, whatever your vice may be).
Some days will be easier than others. On the days that you struggle, reach out to someone who you know will be able to give you some hope, whether it is your partner, friend, a group member, someone from your anonymous group, your sponsor, therapist.
In time you will realize that it gets easier to bounce back. You will notice that you are able to brush off the negative core beliefs easier while holding onto your new positive core beliefs to help you reframe each situation. You will create new story-lines that give you lasting hope, not the feeling of despair or shame that you have felt for so long.
We were all born with resiliency, and as children we had a natural, innate ability to bounce back. It is time to reconnect with that ability even if it takes courage and support.
Today, notice if you are feeling hopeful; resilient. Explore why you feel this way and embrace the feelings. Also notice if you feel the opposite; despair, shame, and hopeless. What may be causing these feelings, and what can you do to bounce back (i.e., talk to a safe person, journal, go to a meeting, group, talk with your therapist).
Always know that on this journey, you are not alone. You will get better; it just takes one step at a time, one moment at a time.
Remember, YOU ARE WORTH IT.
NOTE: I am in the process of publishing my workbook Mastering the Trauma Wound. If you want to purchase one in the meantime, please contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.