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Your Identity When You've Recovered

Exploring our internal conversations, is a powerful way to become aware of what we think. When what we think is the most critical step towards our recovery it beckons us to pay attention to it. Our thoughts become our behavior and actions (includes non-action), even if they're habits and patterns that don't support our recovery. The research from multiple prominent psychologists have found that 80% of your thoughts are negative, but it does not have to be this way.

As we walk this road of awareness you may begin thinking about the deep question “Who am I?” Exploring our self-perception can be a difficult road. As we dig into our sense of Self, we uncover some aspects that we are not proud of or that are difficult to understand and deal with.

Think of these discoveries or realizations as roadblocks to getting where you want to be. Also, give yourself a break and remember to love yourself deeply and give gratitude that you are changing your thoughts and your life now. For example, if we are on a road trip and the only road going to our destination is blocked by debris, and no one is around, we would get out of our car and move what is blocking us. Depending on its size, we may require assistance from others. Moving a large log with four people is much easier than moving it alone.

When we are diagnosed with a disease, we are given the label of having something—cancer, MS, another autoimmune condition, etc. This label may require changes in our life or the loss of who we thought we were. This loss may lead to fear, making us hold on tightly to our past, which is a roadblock. Through our challenges, we realize the old ways we thought and lived are not supporting our recovery. We may want to recover and get past this label of our diagnosis, in order to live and survive.

We know where we want to go, but our strong desire to hold on to our past (because it is comfortable and known) becomes the roadblock or mental debris. Depending on the size and impact of our concept of “who we once were,” removing this debris can be difficult, but it is not impossible.

I found that Awareness of the debris allowed me to take steps to remove it, piece by piece. Removing the roadblock does not have to be done alone, which is the good part. Allow and be open to help; it will require you to become vulnerable and ask for help. This can be done with friends, family, or from the recovery and support team at Sagebrush. This team should understand who you are, where you are going, and what needs to be removed. Having confidants who understand what you're trying to achieve, people who listen and hear you, will be a lifesaving gift.

Exploring Who You Are

I encourage you to begin exploring the question of Who You Are.

Start by using a sheet of blank paper in your journal. The questions below will push you to explore the core of Who You Are. Ask yourself these questions and record your answers. Write, draw pictures, or jot your answers in whatever form resonates with you.

Take twenty minutes and write down what first comes to mind.

  • What did I once love about who I was? Hint: It starts with used to, for example, I used to run faster than anyone else.

  • What did I tell people I did when asked? Hint: It starts with I am: I am a father. I am a salesman (or any other profession, etc.).

  • What are my adopted identities? Hint: These are probably how other people would describe you: mother, father, grandmother, etc.; athlete (include which sport); smart; loving; detailed-oriented; etc.

  • What is the one thing that I enjoy doing every day?

  • What do I miss?

  • What is one of the funniest moments of my life that I can recall? (Take your time.)

  • What is one of the most humbling moments of my life that I can recall? (Take your time.)

You are making a list of Who You Are, now!

Any language that does not promote your feeling of greatness, simply cross it out. You are now aware of what your negative inner voice might be saying. What did you find out? Did you discredit or lessen the impact of what you wrote? For Example, if you wrote down, “I am a musician,” then said to yourself, “It was not that big of a deal,” or “I really only knew a few songs…” you are lessening the impact and greatness of yourself. What did you feel when you wrote those answers? Did you feel happy or sad, encouraged or fearful, etc.? Did you feel energized by any of the memories?

Pay attention to these feelings as they begin to bring you closer to the core of Who You Are. Can you drill further into any of the questions and answers? Write down a pattern or theme you may have recognized.

A powerful tool you can use during this time is compassion. Offering yourself love during this time can help you through your most difficult storms and moments.

To your recovery with Love and Joy,


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