Recovery is getting your mind back

By David Joel Miller

“Recovery for me was I got my mind back”

Getting your mind back.

Getting your mind back.

A client told me that once. It made a lot of sense.

One thing that happens along the way to recovery, whether you are struggling with depression, anxiety, addiction or any other problem, is that your mind stops being on your side. It seems like your mind can go over to the other side.

You can’t do anything, your mind says. You need another drink, it tells you. And when you try to think what you should do, your mind just doesn’t want to work.

Losing your mind.

“Lost their mind” used to be a shorthand expression for someone with either a mental illness or a substance use problem. Even their best efforts to think their way out of this problem did not seem to work.

It is not just that your thinking slows down. If you are depressed, or drunk, lots of things that you would never believe otherwise start seeming true. Get depressed enough or high enough and you might start hearing and seeing things no one else is. That should convince you that your mind is lost somewhere.

Recovery is getting your hope back.

When you are in your problem, you might also start thinking that there is no need to try anymore. Why keep trying if you are gonna be like this forever. When your mind goes so does your hope, follows right along.

In twelve step groups, you hear the expression “my best thinking got me here” by which they mean that they had told themselves all sorts of reasons why it was OK to go on drinking and using despite mounting evidence to the contrary.

Symptoms of anxiety, depression and a bunch of other emotional disorders include that inability to get your mind to do the tasks you ask of it. Confusion, indecision, and inability to make decisions are all signs that your problem has become a disorder.

Depression makes you confused and indecisive, so do drugs.

As you move into recovery you find your thinking changing, slowly at first, almost imperceptibly. Often others see the changes in you before you do.

The longer you are in recovery the more you find that your thinking will improve. It is as if there was a fog inside your brain and the mists begin to clear.

If you feel like you have lost your mind, get into recovery. Do the work on yourself. Accept the help that is offered and look for the recovery tools that you need.

Getting you mind back is one of the miracles of recovery.

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For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings, and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books


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