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An Unexpected Companion: Reading and Recovery

Healthy recovery includes a balance of activities. Focusing on the everyday struggles and stresses of working on yourself can be a lot sometimes, so allowing yourself to escape into somebody else’s world for a little bit can prevent you from becoming too overwhelmed. A great way to do just that is reading.

“Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.” - Mason Cooley

In school, we were forced to read a bunch of things we didn’t think would have any use and really didn’t have any interest in reading. And for some of us, we just straight didn’t read. But in the real world, we can finally choose what to do with our time when responsibilities are set aside. Specifically in treatment, what we choose to do is a big part of our responsibility because it’s all a part of self care. However, when we are finally given some time to focus on ourselves, often the last thing we think of doing is reading, because really, who wants to sit down and read a book when you have free time? Automatically we get flashbacks of being forced to in the past which puts us off to it right away, or we just associate reading as uncool thinking that only a certain stereotype actually enjoys it. Well, let's change that mindset because there are actually a lot of benefits to reading and the written word is made for us all.

“Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors and the most patient of teachers.” - Charles W. Eliot

Just the act of making a decision to sit and read is significant. You are choosing time for yourself. There are times where for yourself feels like by yourself, and the fear of being totally alone can be daunting, but a book is a constant companion you can always turn to. Whether it is a self help piece that gives guidance or a fiction novel that let’s us be somewhere else for a bit, a book transports the mind and calms our thoughts allowing us a little time to escape reality.

“We read to know that we are not alone.” - C.S. Lewis

Setting time aside to read is a therapeutic method as it brings quiet to loud thoughts and replaces the noise with serenity of advice and understanding, allows us a chance to hear other experiences and relate, or lets us to turn our minds off for a bit through a character’s experiences. They say that if you don’t like reading, then you just haven’t found the right book yet. Deciding on a book that really captivates you can be difficult, so we are here to give some suggestions! Keep checking back for recommendations from not just us but others who have found books that made a difference to them in their recovery, in reading our upcoming posts in Book Talk.

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