Craig Lewis is a Certified Peer Specialist living and working in Massachusetts. He has struggled immensely with mental health issues throughout his life, but he has successfully transformed this into a life of wellness. He has embraced his recovery process, producing remarkably beneficial results. He has discovered that he has innate skills and capabilities for helping others in their recovery, and he has been able to help many people improve the quality of their lives, which is life-affirming for him. He does this by tapping into his lived experience to help others transcend their own struggles. He is sincerely committed to his recovery and helping nurture the recovery and wellness of all with whom he comes into contact. Craig is successfully working as part of an outreach team at a human services agency in Boston, Massachusetts. Craig authored the recently published ‘Better Days – A Mental Health Recovery Workbook’ with the hope that the workbook will help those aspiring toward recovery and wellness and also those in recovery, find increased success on their journeys. He also tours the United States and Canada, speaking about his lived experience, sharing his struggles and triumphs to help others.
Below is an excerpt from his book. You can get more information and purchase the book from the following site:
Sometimes We Struggle
There are days when I feel so bad that I become unable to see things for how they really are. Often my thoughts are twisting and turning throughout a maze of total and brutal negativity. I find myself gasping for air and grasping for a hand to hold onto, yet sometimes it seems that I am very alone.
I ask myself–—is this struggle for wellness and recovery worthy of all my efforts? Why am I dedicating all my hard work and time and effort toward my recovery? What is this recovery that I am fighting so hard for?
It is important for us to think of the big picture. When we work hard to improve our quality of life and strengthen our coping skills, we will experience beneficial results. When we struggle, experience difficulties and question our recovery, we can and will take back our lives and celebrate our progress and accept that sometimes, we will struggle.
Our struggle has meaning and our recovery is here to stay.
Sometimes We Struggle Worksheet
- Do you believe that there is meaning and value in your struggling and why?
- In your daily life, how do you manage the ups and downs that you face without being thrown off course (give two examples)?
- What are three reasons that you are fighting for your recovery?
I have made countless mistakes over the course of my life. I have damaged others and I have damaged myself.
It is said that time heals all wounds. What does this mean? Is this true?
I think that taking responsibility for our actions can be an empowering process. Each of us possesses the ability to liberate ourselves from the chains of our past. The decisions that we make today and tomorrow are our gateway toward a Better Day and a better life.
- List three ways that your life has been affected by decisions that you have made.
- Name one mistake that you have made in your life and what you learned because of it.
- List three things that you want to improve in your life and what you can do to make them happen.
Biting Your Tongue
Today I experienced the emotions of anger and hurt. My hurt feelings have been building up even while I have tried my best to process them. I could feel myself about to boil over like a pot on the stove.
I knew that I had to control myself. I knew that, as bad as I felt at that moment, that in time I would feel relief. I needed to protect myself and manage the intensity of what I was feeling and thinking. I had to do this to protect myself so that I could deal with the issues responsibly once I felt more settled and calm. I had to bite my tongue in order to take care of myself and to protect my life. Only I can do this for me, and only you can do it for you.
Biting Your Tongue Worksheet
- Name a situation where you had to bite your tongue and how your life benefited from you holding back your words.
- What are three healthy ways that you can calm yourself down when you are angry?
- When you are upset, hurt or angry, what can you say to those around you so that they can help you deal with your situation in more healthy ways?