What a great question, I know it was one I had when I started on this road. What is healing? What is recovery? The words meant little to me then but as time wears on and I continue to work on myself, alone and with my therapist, with my wife and family and friends, I think I have an understanding of what healing and recovery mean to me. I'm sure those words mean different things to different people. But I'll try to say what they mean to me.
First of all, I think the two words are interchangeable. Healing and recovery are basically the same thing to me. I think I can best explain it in a metaphorical manner. There are wounds that were caused by the abuse we suffered. Those wounds stay open, festering, infected for years and years. They stay that way until we finally realize they require attention. They need to be cleaned and bandaged and soothed.
In my case, those wounds stayed open for more than thirty years. That's going to take a lot of cleaning and bandaging and soothing. And I can't do it alone. I need others to help me reach the wounds I can't get to on my own. I need my wife and my therapist and my friends and family, a whole team of people to help me. Most of the work thought, has to come from me, from deep inside.
The infections in those wounds are of various types. They have been, at different times, drug abuse and addiction, alcohol abuse and addiction, sexually acting out, mostly with older men, in other words, I've kept the wounds open over time by hurting myself even more. The infections also come in the form of not being able to feel, of not being able to love or be loved, of not being able to trust. Anger and hatred are big ones.
But, now that I know what they are and where to find them, I can begin to look at them and treat them which is leading to my healing, my recovery. Sometimes the wounds are deeper than I thought, sometimes, to my delight, they are just little scrapes or scratches that can be taken care of quickly, easily and, almost painlessly. Usually that's not the case, but I'll take it when it happens.
I think I will be forever healing. But I get stronger all the time. The pain dissipates in some places but stays in others and then I concentrate on those areas. Like I said, it was thirty years of secrets and lies. I don't expect them to all be healed overnight. It takes patience and therapy, but it works if we keep trying. I hope this helps and I would love to hear others' definitions on healing and recovery too. Peace - John