griefThe world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places. ~Ernest Hemingway

When you are in recovery, it is hard to imagine a day when your life will be not just better, but better than it was before the experience that left you broken and in pain. Whether you are struggling with a physical or mental illness, mending after an accident, or coming back from a life of addiction or despair, it is difficult to accept that each tiny step forward moves you closer to the day when you are fully alive and functioning again. More difficult still is opening to the truth that the path to recovery is a journey to a new beginning – a new you. You never will be “your old self” again.

Healing and rejuvenation are synonymous with growth and rebirth. As you recover, use your journal to set goals that allow you to embrace whatever changes your healing brings. It is natural to want to get back to normal, where you felt safe and secure. Even if you were completely miserable–even if you consciously want to leave behind the person that you were–letting go is painful. Part of your recovery is allowing yourself to grieve

“No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear.” ~ C.S. Lewis,

Journaling exercise

Today in your journal, write your own eulogy. As honestly as you can, write about yourself as if your life was over, as if this is your last chance to share with the world the truth about the unique person that you are. Describe yourself in the way you would like to be remembered. Who are you? Who do you love, and what do you love to do? What are your deepest beliefs? What brings you joy? What makes you angry? What do you fear? What contribution have you made to others and to the world?

When you are finished writing, think about how the person who you just described is changing or has changed as a result of your illness or injury. What parts of you are gone? What things that you love to do are no longer within your reach? Try to connect with your feelings about the changes that have come into your life. The sadness, anger, guilt, remorse, and pain of grief is a natural and necessary part of the healing process. It is essential that you experience them in order to move on to the next chapter of your life.

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