Cleland Corner: Enduring Resilience
Given the theme of this year’s 4th Annual Alumni Retreat, ‘The Essence of Resilience’, I am inspired to explore as we all do throughout our lives, the emotions and effects of stress and painful events. Resiliency requires the ability to move through life while experiencing stress, pain, adversity, loss and sadness.
I asked the Alumni Task-Force Committee about what resilience in recovery means to them:
From Kayla: Resilience. The perfect word to describe my recovery journey. The word resilient does not mean never bent, compressed by stress or stretched nearly beyond it’s limits. It means having the power or ability to bounce back. Life can be hard and complicated. We will all go through struggles, set backs and difficulties. Especially in our recovery. ERC gave me the ability to recognize my own resilience and opportunities to practice using it. Having the knowledge, tools and now confidence on how to bounce back, my life and recovery is now even better than the original.
From Laura: Resilience to me is all about forgiveness.
From Chris: Resilience means allowing yourself the grace to not be perfect, mess up and still be able to get back to being recovery-focused. It means handling the ups and downs of life — whatever might cone your way — while recognizing that it can be done in a positive way without behaviors. Sometimes, resilience is going to treatment when you’ve been there before, recognizing that there is still more work to be done and that’s ok. Resilience for me often means getting up for work to provide an income for my family, when all I want to do is roll over and die so the pain will finally cease and the flashbacks will go away. It means giving to and serving others, especially when you are hitting a rough patch in recovery. Taking your eyes off of your own problems and serving others is often a great way to get a break from your own head.
From Bethany: Resilience to me is like a boat in a storm. It just rides the waves. Sometimes I want to throw my anchor down in the form of all the old control mechanisms and beating myself more so I can ‘get it together’ but then the waves just bash against me and I break apart. When I remember to be gentle to myself and to be willing to ride the waves, that’s when the boat makes it through the storm even though it’s tossed about. So resilience isn’t the absence of the storm but the ability to ride it out.
From Marissa: To me, resilience is the quality we have that allows us to come back strong after being knocked down. I was knocked down by my eating disorder, but through treatment at ERC, came back stronger than ever and able to live life. The following quote to me represents resilience, as well. “My scars remind me that I did indeed survive my deepest wounds. That in itself is an accomplishment. And they bring to mind something else, too. They remind me that the damage life has inflicted on me has, in many places, left me stronger and more resilient. What hurt me in the past has actually made me better
equipped to face the present.”-Steve Goodier
From Emily: In my own words, resilience means to me: [Your] Strength increases every time decisions are choices. Keep trudging, each time a positive choice is made, the path eases, if only slightly.
Best in health,
Pam Cleland, MS, LPC