“What is Recovery” according to Stephanie Brown (Part 2)

IMG_2891In my last blog, I referred to Stephanie Brown’s book A Place Called Self, in which she describes recovery as radical change in personal identity, or the self. Stephanie goes on to emphasise a number of myths about recovery.

Firstly, the dictionary definition of recovery states ‘a return to a normal condition.’ This would suggest that in addiction recovery the person goes back to where they were before they became addicted. In fact, this is rarely the case. ​

​Stephanie emphasises that recovery is more like a starting over than a restoration of what was lost during addiction. This is because for many people the real self was never really developed.

‘Recovery is a resumption of the work that was not completed when the woman was a girl. It is a coming into her own. It is an opportunity to resume the normal process of development that was sidetracked, perhaps first by constrained roles, perhaps by trauma, and then multiplied many times by hiding in the addiction.

Her development was sidetracked by not accepting her needs as legitimate and not finding healthy ways to meet them, by not even knowing her needs.’

Stephanie goes on to say that recovery is ‘a developmental process of finding and building a new self. Recovery is a process of radical growth and change. When you are in recovery, you give birth to a new self.

Is it any surprise, then, that it’s painful and takes time.’

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