Why beginning your recovery at any age can be vital – but starting young is best of all

Why beginning your recovery at any age can be vital

There is a promise that if you get into recovery for yourself that the best years of your life lie ahead of you. This holds true even for someone in their later years. 

The reason this is true is that no matter what someone’s work status, age, wealth, or background if they do not feel they are their real self, there will always be inner turmoil. But recovery is about rediscovering and reuniting with the real self.

When this happens – and someone can truthfully say: “I am who I am” – they will feel the best, most complete and satisfied they have since their true self was broken or hidden away. This happens usually in childhood due to such trauma or toxic shame

But when these unresolved histories are looked at under the guidance of someone with expertise in these matters, the real self is recovered – hence why the word “recovery” is used. Now, sometimes for the first time they can ever remember, someone’s inside can match their outside.

To thine own self be true

As Shakespeare wrote: “To thine own self be true.” Yet so many people are not their true selves due to the coping mechanisms they’ve developed in an attempt to deal with certain things that have happened to them (most frequently in childhood).

So recovery can give someone who even starts in their 70s or 80s the best years of their life. They will know an inner peace like never before. 

But ask any of these people about it and they will always say they wish they’d started their recovery decades earlier. Thankfully, due to raised awareness of mental health problems, an increasing number of people are starting their recovery sooner – in their teens and 20s. 

This is extremely positive as not only will they avoid years of pain from such as depression, anxiety, or addiction, they will be able to start living the life they were born to live. With the knowledge about the human condition they will gain in helping themselves get better they will also be able to understand and help other people – and much sooner than if they had delayed their recovery.

As well, of course, they will actually stay alive. Tragically, as an increasing number of people are suffering, it means more deaths from such as suicide and overdose. 

Why doesn’t everyone start recovery while they’re younger?

Mental health conditions get progressively worse. For instance, anxiety usually starts as occasional “twinges”, but can soon become so bad that the same person has terrifying panic attacks. 

Or someone starts drinking alcohol on Friday nights in their late teens. They are just a social drinker, like most people who go out. 

But ten years later it’s developed into alcohol addiction. They are drinking much more and on most days.

Mental health illnesses are like most physical illnesses in that if they are not treated they will get worse. A cut that is not cleaned and protected with a dressing is very likely to fester. 

So most people don’t start recovery while they are in their teens and 20s because perhaps things are not quite painful enough to get their attention to make changes or they have not been painful enough for long enough. 

There is also the belief and clinging on to this that the person can “fix” themselves. This is nearly always not the case, but all ideas of how to mend might have to be tried and used up before the person asks for help from someone else. This can take many years.

Another factor is that in the case of addiction to drink and drugs, a great many young people are using these. Young people socialize more often and very often drink and drugs play a part in their socializing. 

However, for most people these act as social lubricants, but they will grow out of them as they settle down. Or they will at least use them only occasionally. 

So for those people who have a problem with them, it can take some years for them to realize that their use has continued, that it is not normal. In most cases it will also become more prolific – and it might be that only then can it be noticed that there is a problem.

Another reason is that whatever they are using to push down negative memories and feelings might stop “working”. It is then that the person will crave more. Or they might try other types of alcohol or drugs that will most likely be “harder”. 

What can a younger person do to get into recovery?

What can a younger person do to get into recovery

If addiction is the problem there are thousands of 12 Steps group meetings across America and around the world. These have proven to be successful now for more than 80 years since Alcoholics Anonymous was formed in the US. 

But a growing number of younger people are choosing to stay at a recovery center such as ours at Tikvah Lake. Here there is dedicated help from experienced professionals on a one-to-one basis every day. Our experts are on hand 24/7.

The environment and setting of a recovery center is also a valuable aspect for gaining a swift and enduring recovery. Everybody who stays with us as our guests appreciate the comfort here, delicious healthy food as well as the beautiful scenery that includes the tranquil lake that laps up to the edge of our lawn. 

Then there is also the togetherness of being at our recovery center. This comes naturally as we are family-run – but also from the other guests here, many who are younger people too.  

Our friendly team at Tikvah Lake has great experience in treating people with all mental health problems and emotional disorders. Get in touch with us to chat about how we can help you or someone you care about – starting today.

David Hurst - Tikvah Lake Recovery

About David Hurst

David Hurst has four books published on mental health recovery, including 12 Steps To 1 Hero, The Anxiety Conversation and Words To Change Your Life. He has written for national newspapers and magazines around the world for 30 years including The Guardian, Psychologies, GQ, Esquire, Marie Claire and The Times. He has been in successful continual recovery since January 2002.

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