Spring Cleaning in Recovery by Anna McClelland, LMFT


Spring cleaning… For me, the words conjure up images of old ladies digging through mothball laden closets, removing items that have been out of fashion since FDR wheel chaired around the Oval Office. I’m sneezing dust and cobwebs just thinking about it. Regardless. Spring and its age-old cleaning rituals do somehow seem to signify rebirth, resurrection, and the tossing away of old stuff.

Applying this age old practice to mental health and your recovery might seem overwhelming- pulling out old thoughts, feelings, and memories, and sifting through them. Deciding which ones can be dusted off and re- integrated back into your life and which ones need to be let go of, in order to make room for new experiences, can be difficult without the right help.

To be honest, one of my fondest memories as a teenager is when I’d help my best friend clean out her closet every year. I would come flop on her bed while she stood in the entrance of her walk-in closet and painstakingly hold up every item for scrutiny. We’d laugh and reminisce about the past as we’d decide what stayed and what went. When it was over, she always told me should couldn’t have done it without my help. In that same way, we all need our supporters as we climb into the closets of our hearts and rediscover the past while making room for a stronger future.

Finding friends, family and community (such as spiritual centers, support groups, mindfulness communities and process groups) that support your recovery and healthy behaviors are powerful allies when managing a life that’s being transformed by recovery. With the proper support, you can successfully revamp your emotional wardrobe by mixing this year’s fashions with the old vintage classics.

Elana Clark-Faler
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