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We are off to a slow start this month if you haven’t noticed. And I am the one to blame. See, nothing happens each month until my Note from the Editor goes up, announcing the new theme. Because we couldn’t possibly begin sharing articles before the theme is properly announced! (at least not as long as this Type-A editor is in charge..)
The truth is, I’ve been afraid.
I didn’t realize it at first, but after spending two days curled up in the fetal position on my couch watching Nashville I knew something was going on beyond laziness or procrastination… It turns out I was afraid to write this. And so I did what many of us do when we’re scared (or at least I like to think “many” of us do this so I can feel better about myself…): I froze.
Everything was waiting for me and rather than moving forward, I slammed on the brakes.
I’m sure at this point you are wondering what could possibly be this “theme” that is so big and scary that it had me paralyzed? (or maybe the title of this post gives it away…) The truth is, it’s not so much the topic as it is the topic’s importance to me.
But here I am, two therapy sessions and at least three heart-to-hearts with friends later, and I am finally ready to write about Life after Recovery. Or, more accurately, why it’s so important to me.
This topic has been a long time coming – I’ve been wanting to integrate it somehow and have been waiting for the opportunity, and now here it is. Because the truth is, contrary to what it may seem on the surface.
Libero is not really about recovery – it’s about what happens after that.
That’s why I first shared my story, and that’s why we’re all here.
And now it’s my turn to try to explain this without it offending, being misinterpreted, or falling short. Wish me luck!
For those of you who don’t know, I grew up in Africa. My parents have been working there for fourteen years now, and I lived there for ten of those years. What does Africa have to do with any of this? Well if you ever lived in Africa, you most likely realize by now that Africa has to do with everything.
My parents run an organization that provides care for children at risk throughout Africa. When asked what his ultimate goal for the organization is, my dad always answers the same: when every last VOH Africa location closes it’s gated and gets shut down, his dream will be fulfilled. Why? Because that means that there are no longer children in Africa not being cared for.
I hope you see where I’m getting at with this?
When I started Libero nearly four years ago (wow!), my goal was to provide support to those in recovery. But I also wanted something more, for myself and for others: I wanted Freedom.
Making the transition to recovery was difficult, but just as difficult was the transition out of recovery. See, the recovery community is a beautiful thing – I have met some of my closest friends there and am forever grateful for the impact each person has had on my journey.
I love that there is this community of people coming from different places, but walking similar journeys, and saying “hey, if you need a hand to hold, I get it, and I’m here because I’m on the same path as you.”
However, sometimes the recovery community becomes a comfort zone that we don’t want to leave. And, eventually, it holds us back from what we initially entered recovery for: life after recovery.
I didn’t enter recovery so I could stay there forever. I entered recovery with the hope that one day I would move beyond it. I was fighting for my life in recovery because I wanted to have a life outside of it, beyond it, past it.
Recovery was never the final destination, life was.
Sometimes I worry that here at Libero we’ve become part of the problem, that we’re giving people the chance to stay in recovery rather than move beyond it.
We have amazing support groups on Facebook and the Team members who manage our various social media accounts bring inspiration and positivity to so many every single day. People feel safe here. Which is a good thing? But I don’t want anyone to feel too safe, or too comfortable.
I don’t want us to be the final destination – I want us to be part of the road that leads there.
I want everything we publish, everything we share, to point not towards recovery, but away from it. I want it to point towards something more, towards life.
And that is why this month’s theme is “Life Beyond Recovery”.
And please know, some of us are still on that journey in recovery, and so through our writing this month, we are looking forward. While others of us are writing from a position of reflection – I believe both positions are necessary.
And if you’re going through what I went through – where you find yourself standing at a line, with recovery on your side, and life beyond on the other, and you’re afraid to take that final step (because don’t get me wrong, I get it – it is terrifying), I hope this month will equip you to take that final step over the line.
We are all here cheering you on, no matter what side of the line we are on. Because we are all in this together.
There is life after recovery, and when we talk about “always moving forward”, that’s the direction we are talking about.
So I am making the commitment to you, right here, right now, that from this day forward (and hopefully backwards, as well), our goal here at Libero will always, always be pointing to something beyond recovery: to life. To freedom.
And at the risk of sounding unoriginal, if asked what my ultimate goal is for Libero, I would answer: to see the entire project shut down because we are no longer needed.
Lauren is the Founder and Editor of Libero. She started Libero in April 2010, when she shared her story about her struggles with an eating disorder and depression. Now Lauren uses her writing and videos to advocate mental health and body positivity. In her spare time, she enjoys makeup artistry, playing Nintendo, and taking selfies with her furbaby, Zoey.
SITE DISCLAIMER: The opinions and information shared in this article or any other Content on our site may not represent that of Libero Network Society. We hold no liability for any harm that may incur from reading content on our site. Please always consult your own medical professionals before making any changes to your medication, activities, or recovery process. Libero does not provide emergency support. If you are in crisis, please call 1-800-784-2433 or another helpline or 911.