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Why I Identify With the Term 'Process Junkie' as Someone in Mental Illness Recovery


Bullseye. It hit me. Right there. I’d been reading Pete Walker’s book, “The Tao of Fully Feeling,” and one paragraph stopped me in my tracks. It was like, “that’s me.”

“Some survivors work over-diligently at their recovery that they become what those versed in recovery terminology call ‘process junkies.’ These survivors are constantly preoccupied with self-help exercises, perpetually thinking, reading and talking about recovery. They eat, drink and sleep self-improvement.”

So I’m a process junkie. This caused me to name it, to own it. I am indeed a process junkie. Ever since February when I became ill with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression and anxiety,I have been on a huge journey striving, striving, striving in order to get better. I perpetually self-reflect on how I’m feeling, constantly thinking out loud with close friends. For someone who hates reading, I’ve been getting through a lot of self-help books on trauma and PTSD and Complex PTSD. I’ve become addicted to them, become a “process junkie.” I want to get better. I will get better. No matter what it takes, I tell myself. That’s all I can be bothered with, that’s all I’m focused on.

But what does being a “process junkie” really mean? It seems to have negative connotations. Is it that I’m trying to get a fix, or get a “high” from my recovery? Is it that I will push myself to unhealthy lengths and let nothing stand in my way of getting that “high?” Will my habit become greater and greater that I will never feel “cured” or “recovered” or “fulfilled?” Am I just seeking a momentary high that will not last past the hour?

Apart from the answer of “everything in moderation,” I think it’s important to reflect on this subject. I am concerned that in my great efforts in recovery, I could perhaps be skimming over real deep-seated issues, and progress I think I’m seeing is actually a façade. The problem with this is instead being a junkie of the process, I am in danger of becoming a junkie of the process of the process. I’m very well practiced and I feel most comfortable being a “human doing” as opposed to a “human being,” and I guess that’s where I need to start. A process being.

Shout out to anyone else who identifies as a “process junkie.”

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Thinkstock photo via ARTQU.