The blessing of recovery on Independence Day

It's America's birthday! Imagine that cake 241 candles aglow with lots of smiling faces thankful to be living in our great country.

And among those thankful people are millions of Americans in recovery from a mental health or addiction issue - people who have worked hard to move beyond the sometimes-debilitating effects they felt every single day. They are, in many ways, celebrating their own independence from the illnesses that so consumed their lives.

Recovery isn't a simple task. People living with a mental illness or addiction don't just wake up one day and say, "I think I'll just stop being depressed" or whatever. It's a lot harder. It's not just that they've acknowledged a problem exists and that they need professional help to deal with it. The simple act of reaching out takes some courage.

Then there's the journey to recovery. It's different for everyone - short for some, longer for others. The things people may have to do to move forward such as one-on-one counseling, journaling, group therapies, or even medication-assisted therapies, all move the person toward that singular goal: recovery and skill-building to know the things that triggered the issue.

People in recovery move through traumas and addictions to opiates or other things - even getting past thoughts of suicide - to rejoin society with a stronger emotional wellbeing.

So this Independence Day, as we celebrate a big national birthday, let's also celebrate the things that make us who we are today. Because whether we've dealt with a mental health or addiction issue in our own lives or in the life of someone we know and love, we appreciate the things that make us unique - just like this wonderful country of ours.

Have a safe and happy 4th of July!