I won’t quibble but the 90’s were known as the decade of the brain (not recovery). I must ask, from what is it that folks are “recovering?” Certainly not the unproven phenomena known as “mental illness.” I contend that we recover our self. As my life spiraled deeper into the realm of mental patient, I lost more and more of my self. I lost my self-esteem, my self-confidence, my self-assurance, and all sorts of other aspects of self. For me, recovery meant to regain that which I had lost, some stupidly and voluntarily surrendered to authority and some forcibly taken by that authority. I had to regain my sense of self and the confidence to be my own expert on my own life. Think about it. Imagine two soldiers returning from war with a single leg. You go visit with them and one reports that he’s anxious to get out and resume his life to the fullest. The other batters you with his self-pity over the fact that he lost his leg. You might honestly report that one is recovered and the other is not and yet neither regained their leg. What then might you mean by “recovery?” One of my heroes is Tony Iommi, lead guitarist of the heavy metal band, Black Sabbath. Tony worked in a factory and the last day on the job before going full-time with the band, he lost the finger tips of his right hand. He would melt plastic and press the scalding hot material over his fingertips and then take a file to shape them to be able to play. He found he could no longer play right handed so he switched to playing left handed. Despite these handicaps, Tony became one of the best guitarists in the world and responsible for most of the heavy metal licks we hear today. Would you say he’s “recovered?” He certainly never got back his fingertips. I believe he’s recovered and that’s why he’s my hero. He didn’t let anything stop him and he’s living a full and productive life of his choice despite any so-called limitations. It proves to me that “recovery” is more about your attitude toward yourself and others than it is about anything physical like controlling symptoms. Tony is 68 years young and touring at the moment with Ozzy and the band. He’s overcome cancer and is a real model for hope and never giving up. I recovered my self. I don’t talk about “being in recovery” as if it’s a life-long process. I made it. That doesn’t mean that life won’t construct more obstacles to overcome but if those are “recoverable” then I’ll recover each of them on their own.