When You are Knocked Down

From Surviving to Thriving

This section is here because, as difficult as recovery from trauma or addiction can be, it can also provide an opportunity to accelerate growth – going from surviving to thriving.

Bad things happen.  People are victimized.  It happens to almost everyone at some point in their lives – sometimes more traumatic than others, but significant victimization nonetheless. 

For example, you can be recovering from:

  • Addiction
  • Depression
  • Injury
  • Illness
  • Loss
  • Failure
  • Endings of Key Relationships
  • Abuse

Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny.

C. S.

The question is always, “So what am I going to do about it?  I’ve been victimized.  Will I stay a victim or recover and fight my way back?”  Another key question is, “What place in my life will the trauma or addiction have?”

That is not the same as saying, “Oh, just snap out of it?” Or, “You’ve been down and depressed long enough, get back in the game.”  It is tough to recover from trauma or addiction and it takes work and time.

I am not what happened to me. I am who I choose to become.


The first issue is always safety.  That may be places where you are safe, people you can connect with to feel safe or organizations that can provide safety for you.

Then you can begin to use the recovery from trauma or addiction to accelerate your growth.  You can use your recovery to learn and grow faster as the trauma begins to recede just a bit.  As tough as it can be, recovering from a trauma or addiction can significantly accelerate and deepen your growth on every level – intellectual, emotional, physical, social and spiritual.

Never be ashamed of a scar. It simply means you were stronger than whatever tried to hurt you.


The Heroic Journey

There are a few specific parts of the heroic journey that are particularly important. 

1. Be the author.  This is critical as the trauma or addiction threw you out of your posture as author.  Committing to get back into the author role is essential – even if you don’t feel very powerful at the moment. 

2. Connect to others.  Trauma and addiction disconnect people – from themselves and from others.  Taking the initiative to connect to individuals, groups and organizations is central to your recovery. 

You are not alone.  You are automatically a member of the trauma tribe if recovering from a trauma (large or small).  You are part of the addiction community if recovering from addiction.  Those are both groups that get “then journey” and have members who are increasingly resilient.  There are other groups and organizations that can help, so look around and connect.   

3. Act.  Focus on getting as much as possible from the three core challenges – identity, relationships, competencies.  Committing to intentionally build your sense of identity, your relationships and your competencies are all ways to empower yourself

The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something. Don’t wait for good things to happen to you. If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope, you will fill yourself with hope.


4. Focus.  Focus on the three types of tests you face on the journey:  letting go, discovery and mastery and dealing with “inbetweenity.”  You may need to let go of some beliefs, some relationships, some activities, etc.  You may need to discover some new ways of looking at yourself, others, the world in general.  You may need to master some new ways of being in the world.  And you will certainly be dealing with a sense of “inbetweenity” as you recover and get your world back in balance.     

5. Act.  Use the six strategies in the section on how to manage your journey.  They help answer the question, “So, what do I do to recover and thrive?”

6. Commit.  Commit to paying attention to the 12 critical success factors for thriving.

Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained.