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For when you begin to fight your battles

In this video Dan, Ben, and Jen speak to a user who is beginning their fight against abuse. Watch here:

Next Steps:

  1. How do you feel on the first day when you decided to take healthy steps to better your life?
  2. How did your family and friends receive this news?

The user speaks about feeling guilty for taking healthy emotional steps and fighting against the harmful effects of abuse in their life. They’ve been dealing with abuse for a long time, and their battle might be prolonged and deep as they unroot issues that have lied dormant for years. As a result of their new quest, they are having to distance themselves from some friendships, and this is really hard.

Jen speaks to the fact that sometimes it feels like our friends aren’t supporting us through our struggles and challenges. Sometimes those we thought were our good friends smirk at us when we want to better ourselves and change our lives. It’s important to remember that this is actually a part of healing. If we are in a deep relationship with someone else - whether it’s a friend, romantic partner, or family member - beginning the process of recovery and healing may feel like a burden to them. Suddenly you’re not “fun” anymore, or you don’t want to do things that you did before.

If you’re entering into a new stage of healing in your life, and your friends aren’t happy about it - this is a really good sign that you’re doing something right. If they’re good friends, they’ll understand, and stick with you. If they’re not, they’ll distance themselves, and that’s ok. Your recovery will teach you to be OK without them. In turn, you can be there for them when they start the process of healing.

Exercise:

  1. How do you feel your friends are taking your entry into healing?
  2. Why do you think they feel this way?
  3. Can you undergo recovery without your friends? (There’s no right or wrong answer here - what do you think?)
  4. Do you define yourself based on what your friends think of you?
  5. Were the roles reversed, and your friend was deeply struggling, and told you, how would you feel?

Next Steps:

  1. Man, the first day is always the best - the sun is shining, the sky is blue, and hope radiates through me as I set out on what’s going to be a wonderful experience
  2. Honestly whenever I enter into recovery on a certain level, I get the weird looks or judgement. Sometimes I get outright disdain.

Exercise (for me, I’m going to speak in my past-tense self, when I was trying to overcome abusing alcohol):

  1. Like my answer above, most of my friends do not appreciate my foray into recovery. Many of them snicker “oh John’s going back to church again”, and don’t support me in a great way.
  2. I think that my recovery is threatening to them. I’m figuratively saying “What we’re all doing is wrong” and that feels judgmental to them - on some level I can’t really blame them. Feels like I’m acting holier than thou
  3. Yes, I think I can, and through recovery am now better able to see who my real friends are
  4. 110%. This is one of my biggest life struggles
  5. I might feel a little hurt or judged, but ultimately I would support a friend through recovery, and help them down the path.