The 5 Stages of Recovery
These are Non – Linear as they are in no particular order and can strike at any point and given time in your life of recovery.
Impact of Illness
Life is Limited
Change is Possible
Actions for Change
Commitment to Change
The Disabling Power of a Mental Illness includes: Stigma and self – image
In the beginning ten years ago this very month of August I lay curled up in the fetal position on my sofa in tears crying uncontrollably. Not knowing how to make the tears stop. Finally being taken to Northside Hospital by my Aunt and Mom who are both nurses to be treated for a family violence incident and me being diagnosed with marital abuse and Northside Hospital reporting it to the Rockdale County Sheriff’s Department as per law. From there I was told I could stay at Northside a few days or go to Peachford for recovery. I chose Peachford for my recovery time and was given my initial diagnosis of depression and codependency as the care giver to other’s with drug, alcohol and gambling problems. I attended classes and got the recovery I needed but was estranged and alienated from my four daughter’s overnight from choosing to be a patient at Peachford by the State of GA. The Impact of the Illness had set in from the very moment of the sobbing tears in the fetal position on my couch and have carried through years to hit me from time to time. The Impact of Illness is hard and rough and has a great sting to it when it strikes leaving you in the darkness uncertain as what to do or who to turn to feeling all alone and helpless and worthless often times with uncontrollable crying and fear accompanied with doubt.
For several years after my diagnosis I felt as though I was helpless that the diagnosis had taken me over and that there was no life looking forward for me. I gave up on life. “Life was limited.” I gave up on ever seeing my daughter’s again or fighting for them in court. I just simply gave up as that seemed the best option that I had given the courts were even looking down upon me for having a mental diagnosis accompanied with marital abuse with documented authenticated paperwork stating so. It was a great challenge for me to accept the fact in my 30’s that I had been mentally diagnosed and would live with this for the rest of my life as I had never underwent anything of this nature before. For several years I allowed the diagnosis to lead and live my life for me. Following my initial diagnosis I was incarcerated for 6 months and served 90 days on the Forensic Unit at Georgia Regional. I made sure that I was competent because while there I gained strength and realized I needed to be competent in order to fight for my daughter’s in court upcoming. I gathered myself and got myself put back together during these 90 days. I do not discuss this issue online due to the privacy and ethics owed to the other party and for the fragile life they have led but given I do not discuss it online I have made everyone from psychiatrists to attorney’s, to Judge’s, to the Covington Newspaper editor and so forth, everyone in my life has been made aware of the 90 days spent on the Forensic Unit and the incarceration. But I was able to pull myself together here and within a month of being released I was gainfully employed and had already filed my initial Pro Se hearing regarding all four of my daughter’s that was accepted as correct in form and that I won with Honorable Sidney Nation eventually ordering therapeutic counseling for me, my ex-husband and youngest daughter given the ages of my older daughter’s I could see and talk to them anytime that we so chose to. Being gainfully employed living in Chamblee at the time I finally felt that “change was possible.”
I began to win hearing after hearing regarding my youngest daughter and finally knew that “change was possible” and that I held the cards for “actions for change.” And that I was the only one that could pull myself out of the depths of despair back into life. I continued to win hearing after hearing regarding my daughter and have won every hearing since. There has never been not one single hint, suggestion, accusation or implication in my direction of wrong doing as a mother nor as a wife. I knew that I had to continue to take the necessary self – help steps to bring about “action for change.” It was a work in progress living one day at a time often scared to death being alone but it was working and I was coming along well. I also was finally released of any and all obligation pertaining to the arrest and had completed all requirements of the arrest and was fully released of that obligation to the State of GA. I was so very pleased the day the release of obligation came to be in my mailbox from the State. I was elated and am still happy that I have been up front, open and honest about my arrest with everyone. It will be discussed more if I ever write my memoir but not online for the privacy and ethics of the other party. Of which, I have never met. Not once. But I was learning that change was possible and that I had taken the necessary actions for change and was living a better life for it. I finally felt as though I had a little life back in me and could breath again. I was working on being my whole self again and still to this day work very hard on being my whole self that I once was.
I made a commitment to the State of GA and kept it by continuing to fight for my daughter in and outside the courtroom and complete all obligations of the alleged arrest. I began journaling following my release from Peachford which began by tearing out clippings from magazines that I found interesting and wanted to journal about. I then began penning and that turned into a Word Press blog and then from there my Covington News blog that I have been a full time blogger at for nearly 3 years now. November marks my 3 year Anniversary with The Covington News and I attend many community events and photograph these events and places and incorporate them into my blogs. Being very much involved in community activities and events has been most therapeutic and I hope that I can continue to attend these events and have the strength and will power to continue to photograph my community and be an advocate for family violence victims, parental alienation, the mentally challenged and parental reunification. I have taken “actions for change” very seriously and had finally moved into “commitment for change.”
I have won many court hearings to our full favor and kept all responsibilities to the courts as promised. I have attended and taught classes at New Rock Day Treatment program being awarded Certificate of Recognition for Inspiring others with strength and resiliency and working towards goals with increased stability. I have taught many classes to my peers and mentors alike. I have prepared for those classes at home and taught them during class to others sharing in my recovery process and self – help skills and advice. I am a Respect Institute graduate of Mr. Joel Slack of the State of Georgia. I ran my first 5 K walk for The Walk of Heroes in September of 2012. I have attended and taken classes at The Georgia Peer Institute training program for the State of Georgia through The Georgia Mental Health Consumer Network and have made application to become a Certified Peer Specialist for the State of GA that I will continue to apply for until fully accepted into the training and one day soon hope to work closely with The ACT Team in my community of which I am a graduate of as well. All this has been made possible through View Point Health and The Georgia Mental Health Consumer Network.
I am a college graduate of Dekalb Technical College with my diploma in Business/Legal Office Assistant and my Paralegal Certificate. Being awarded the Velocity Award in 2002 and writing the Introduction to the Paralegal program of study for The Honorable Virgil Costley that was in “The Paragraph” Newsletter of GAP, The GA Association of Paralegals of which I was a charter member of. I plan to continue my education by becoming a CPS Certified Peer Specialist and working closely with other peers in my community on The ACT Team or at a hospital setting such as Peachford or The VA Hospital or GA Regional telling of my illness of being mentally challenged and my process and the stages of recovery.
The 5 Stages of Recovery are Non- Linear and can strike you at any given point and time. There is no particular order of these 5 Stages and relapse is possible if not careful. I took a class on being a “Walking Miracle” and came to realize that I am. And I hold that class near and dear to my heart.
I think back over the last ten years and I would more than likely be an attorney by or Clerk of Court had the family violence incident and mental diagnosis not occurred but I try and not let these facts discourage me and feel that with View Point Health’s help I am headed in the right direction to becoming a CPS giving back to my community of my recovery story and to my peers who have become my friends enlightening them on self – help and guiding them through their own recovery always hoping to avoid a full relapse such as I do.
The class I took on the 5 Stages of Recovery was very enlightening as I did not feel alone in my struggles and that there are many others who have experienced these stages in their recovery process as well. Not only myself and that I had no reason to be ashamed of being mentally challenged and that the State of GA does recognize just how important the CPS Certified Peer Specialist is to this State of GA and to the nation.
1000+ Georgia Certified Peer Specialists Since October 2001
The State has rectified their once mistake time and time again but it has changed nothing as far as the reunification process of me and my daughter’s and my ex- husband continuing to alienate and estrange us by the act of hate. I want this state of GA to know that there have been 1000+ Georgia Certified Peer Specialists Since October 2001.
And the requirements include:
> Candidates must have diagnosis of mental illness or a dual diagnosis of mental illness and addictive disease and must desire to identify themselves as a person with mental illness current or former consumer of mental health services.
> Applicants must hold a high school diploma or GED and may be requested to provide a copy of this document.
> Must demonstrate strong reading comprehension and written communication skills as indicated on their responses on the pre – test which is part of the application.
> Must have demonstrated experience with leadership, advocacy or governance.
> Must be well grounded in recovery
These facts are taken directly from the Certified Peer Specialist brochure.
The motto of the CPS being “Each One Reach One.”
I hope to reach others by sharing in my recovery story and my path to becoming a Certified Peer Specialist. The training teaches you that there is always a small glimmer of light a flicker of fire that guides your every movement and can help you succeed if you open up to this ray of hope and let it guide and direct you and take full advantage of it not being scared to continue to move forward following this flame day in and day out.
There is always the danger that you may get stuck or side-tracked but you should just keep pushing forward into that flicker of flame that guides you. Not allowing the Impact of the Illness to over take your life again. If you do relapse you are still a “Walking Miracle” and you pick up with the “commitment to change” and “actions to change” where you left off at prior to your relapse and use your self – help skills and coping mechanisms to continue to once again thrive and be successful.
Just remember you are not alone and this State of GA recognizes the importance of recovery in mental illness and shines because of its consumer leadership. The September training for the CPS marks the 44th to date. I hope to one day soon have my CPS Certification to accompany my college degree and share in my recovery with so many more showing them that small flicker of flame does exist and you can follow it to a road of a making a better life for yourself thriving while surviving along the way being an advocate and telling your recovery story.
You may read more on the Certified Peer Specialist at The Georgia Mental Health Consumer Network website or at The Certified Peer Specialist Project website both for the State of GA.
I am very thankful for View Point Health and The Georgia Mental Health Consumer Network for all the positive possibilities and accomplishments that I have made over the last several years. And will be forever indebted to many of my mentors. Thank you with much thanksgiving.
My CPS Ms. Brenda Williams. One of the most dedicated, committed, loving people I have ever came to know. I appreciate all your guidance and direction Ms. Brenda and helping me through the stages of my Recovery always with and open door and an open heart and mind for me.