Human rights include things as basic as access to clean water, breathable air, shelter, food, clothing, physical safety, healthcare, the means to make a living and support a family. Human rights also acknowledge that human existence is more than material things. We need to belong, form relationships and feel like a part of things. We also need the freedom to be ourselves. We want to explore, learn, develop and express our ideas, convictions, creativity and potential.
So, what does this have to do with wellness and recovery …?
Almost everything! Human beings everywhere do best – physically, mentally, socially, spiritually - when we can count on certain basic needs being met. That’s why the human community has decided to recognize these needs as “human rights.” No one does well without them.
When human rights are denied or overlooked, it’s bad for everyone. We don’t have what we need to live well - or sometimes at all. This triggers concern and anxiety in most of us. If not addressed, it can grow into full-blown mental distress – like anxiety or depression. It can also lead to mental and behavioral extremes. This includes intense, prolonged ‘fight-flight-freeze’ responses that can disconnect us from ourselves, each other and the communities we live in.
When that happens, we definitely need to work on recovery. But, not from an illness, brain disease or clinical diagnosis...
We need to recover our human rights!