I choose to be well. I take full responsibility for my choices and
realize the choices I make directly influence the quality of my days.
Many people with schizophrenia don’t realize that they have choices
bearing on their illness. Senior members of SA try to encourage new
members to fully grasp their choices. The primary alternative is a
conscious decision to get better.
To choose to be well may involve cooperating with a psychiatrist or a
psychotherapist, listening to what they say and adhering to their
advice. Another choice maybe to recognize the need to take the
medication that helps so many people with schizophrenia. To choose to
be well may also require the patient to acknowledge that, at some
point during his or her recovery, there may be setbacks and
re-hospitalization may be necessary.
The decision to be well may mean different things to different people.
A person with schizophrenia in the “back wards” of a state psychiatric
hospital is no more responsible for his or her illness than others and
he or she may be so overwhelmed with symptoms (such as voices) that
personal choice is limited.
Yet, SA encourages such a patient to make the best of his or her
circumstances, to make choices that would influence the quality of his
or her days. This might involve avoiding behaviors that would lead to
the patient being placed in seclusion in a locked room or to being
placed in restraints. We encourage behaviors that would lead to
granting of special passes to the patient, such as a grounds card,
enabling the patient to get out of the ward and into the sunlight.
One of the principles of Schizophrenics Anonymous is that, although we
may not be responsible for symptoms, we are responsible for our
responses. For those ready to accept the responsibility, comes the
satisfaction of having increased control on one’s own life and future.
SOURCE S.A. Blue Booklet (program text, first published in 1989)
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