I have been challenged to blog once a week and I am making a commitment to do so. No, this was not originally one of my New Year’s Resolutions, however, it now is.
I recently finished reading the book My Stroke of Insight, a Brain Scientist’s Personal Journey by Jill Bolte Taylor, Ph.D. At age 37 she suffered a massive stroke in the left hemisphere of her brain. She states it took 8 years, however, she has now healed her brain completely and her book recounts her journey. It is a powerful read in further understanding the brain, the right and left hemispheres, and the brains amazing capacity to heal. Since alcohol and drugs also affect the brain, I learned some important tools that can apply for healing the brain in recovery from addiction. In her Appendix B at the back of the book, she lists Forty Things I Needed the Most. I am not going to repeat all 40, however, I am going to paraphrase the first 5 and compare healing in recovery from addiction.
Number 1 – I am not stupid, I am wounded. Please respect me. When someone is wounded physically it is easy to see and be empathetic, however, when one’s brain is wounded, it is hard to see and appreciate just how severe the wound may be. In the process of recovery, it is important to respect ourselves and how we have wounded our brain enough to do the work of healing. Dr. Taylor spent eight years working and challenging herself to heal her brain completely. She is living proof, it can be done! Yes, she had a great support group, however, she did the hard work.
Number 2 – Come close, speak slowly and enunciate clearly. Here she talks about how energy can be positive or negative to our healing. Those who are loud and speak fast with nervous energy is counter-productive. How is our own energy and how is the energy of others around us.
Number 3 – repeat yourself, assume I know nothing and start from the beginning over and over. So many times I hear from client, “ I know all that, I have been to treatment before”. Perhaps repetition is needed for my brain to internalize and for me to take action?
Number 4 – Be patient with me the 20th time you teach me something, as you were the first. The average for treatment experiences by clients with addictions is 8. How patient can we be with ourselves and with others in the recovery process?
Number 5 – Approach me with an open heart and slow your energy down. Take your time. Hopefully, we can approach our recovery and healing with an open heart and offer the same to others.
Again, any thoughts and comments from others is greatly appreciated.
Sue Judd, MSS, LSAC
Licensed Substance Abuse Counselor