West Hartford resident Amanda Aronson, secretary of the West Hartford Board of Education and principal of Aronson Consulting, has written the following in honor of National Recovery Month.
By Amanda Aronson
Hello, my community. It’s been awhile, so I’m checking in.
In March 2020, we connected here about the road we had ahead of us and how we were going to try and avoid the slippery slope into substance-use disorder. In January 2021, we connected again to center ourselves in support of children.
How are you now?
If you are struggling and feel like you need help, you may be afraid of what that means. You may want to try and recover your health, but you worry what people will think and what they will say. You may be unsure what recovery looks like or what that word even means.
You have reason to be apprehensive. Society doesn’t make it easy to seek help. Until we make some real progress toward breaking the stale stigma that people who try to recover from something are the weakest among us, seeking help is going to feel hard.
I can tell you with great confidence, however, that the stigma surrounding people in recovery as the weakest among us is wrong. They are the strongest.
Think about what they are trying to do: They are trying to build their strength to be the best version of themselves as possible for their loved ones and community. They are committing to a focused process rooted in a desire to live a healthier life. There is so much dignity earned through that effort.
And while it is hard, it is not something to fear. At its core, recovery is a process of discovery.
You will discover why you are struggling and develop coping skills. You will discover that it’s possible to feel better, and that you can maintain your health with structured support. You will discover new interests and relationships. And most important, you will discover that you are capable of building more strength than you ever thought possible.
I want to encourage you to think of recovery this way, but I do understand that it’s not that simple and that it can be scary.
Seven years ago I was scared too. I felt my health slipping away from me and wondered how I would cope in a crisis if I didn’t get support. That fear is what drove me to seek support – and I’m proud to say that nearly 7.5 years later, when crisis did strike, I was not only ready, I was strong. You never know when you are going to need strength, so when you choose to start building it in a focused way, go all in. Value your health above all things and do the work.
We have a long way to go to get our community on stronger footing, so don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. You aren’t the only one trying to find your way.
Be well, my community – and please, help others be well, too.
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