Presidents Message-September 2011

 Welcome to the September edition of the Voice. This month MHS joins thousands of service providers throughout America to celebrate National Recovery Month. In this issue, you can learn more about how MHS will be involved in this national observance to raise awareness that addiction treatment and mental health services can help those with a substance use or mental disorder live a healthy and rewarding life.

The upcoming celebrations gave me the opportunity to reflect on just what recovery means to me. Recovery is about moving ahead in life and that can take true courage. From my very first day with MHS nearly twenty years ago, it was the courage of the clients that won my heart. Those clients had serious mental illnesses. Yet they got up each day and traveled an hour on a bus to get to the program. They then spent an hour on the bus going home at the end of the day. Many of them were taking medications that would stop a horse. Still, they found the strength to make it there to participate and move ahead in their recovery. While in the midst of their own challenges, I watched them give of themselves and genuinely care about the well-being of others. As I saw their courage facing such serious mental health issues, they became my heroes.

Some people say that it doesn’t matter where we come from, that it’s where we’re going that counts. While I agree that where we’re going truly counts, I also believe that where we came from does matter. It helped form who we are today. I can think of countless examples of MHS clients who have exercised courage to move ahead in their recovery from substance abuse and mental health disorders in order to get where they are today. I wouldn’t want to diminish that courage by saying where they came from did not matter.

Everybody is recovering from something, whether addiction, trauma, physical illness, grief over the loss of a loved one, or even a broken heart. In some way, all of us are learning how to move ahead, as we find ways to understand our experience and overcome whatever hardship we face. Hopefully we are also able to allow this to be transformed into something of value, whether that is wisdom to share, or compassion for others who suffer. Certainly, we will have gained the strength of exercising the “character muscle” of courage.