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Recovery, Flaws and All

Every day I choose to practice my recovery. Every day I choose to work on myself. Some days are good. Some not so good.

Some days feel easier. Some more of a struggle.

A pain in the ass? Yep! Worth it? Absolutely!

Self compassion in recovery

What I am finding is important in my recovery is to have self-compassion for those not so good or easy days. The days of struggle. The days that I can literally see my old angry, agitated, anxious or depressed self returning, even if just a bit. The days that if I am not careful I say things to myself like,

Get your shit together! This isn’t who you are anymore! Just freaking do better! Why can’t anything ever be easy? Why does this always happen? (And typically many curse words).

But as the mental health therapist, I know this critical inner voice doesn’t motivate change and it sure as hell doesn’t feel very good.

So I must do the work to change that inner dialogue. I must remind myself that this life, this recovery, is an ongoing process.

It is a practice.

And, that some days it is okay to white knuckle my way through, as long I practice.

The balance of embracing my flaws

But I also must remind myself that there are some parts of my personality that are just not that easy to change. Call it genetics, call it life experience, I don’t really care and I am not sure it really matters. What I do know is that I must practice what I teach to my clients. That sometimes there are parts of who we are that just aren’t the parts that we can ever get rid of completely. But we sure as hell can do the work to make them work for us rather than against us.

So part of my recovery must be a balance. A balance between working my recovery because it makes me a better, happier and healthier person and the need to accept and embrace who I naturally am…

Flaws and all

Because, I, Justine Lea Brooks Froelker will always be:


I like to joke that all of my patience was used up spending a year of my life in a body cast. But, I also know it is partly genetic, thank you dad ;).

And, it is just who I am.

Potty mouthed.

I curse. A lot. I started my counseling career working with people who struggle with addiction; lots of lively language is typically used in that setting. I also come from a very passionate (read sailor mouth) family. I have almost mastered not cursing while I teach and in front children. But, I pretty much choose to not refrain in front of adults; this pretty mouth says dirty things.

And, it is just who I am.


I walk fast, like really fast, and hard, you can seriously hear me coming from a mile away. If I say I will do something I will get it done fast. I drive fast, so fast that most people make comments to my husband after riding with me and vow to never do so again. I do everything FAST. No deep dark secret here, I just struggle to slow down.

And, it is just who I am.


I am terribly hard on electronics. I regularly break stuff, spill stuff and hurt myself by tripping, bumping into things and dropping things. I also completely realize that this is a direct result of the above characteristic.

And, it is just who I am.

Recovery, Flaws and All
Recovery, Flaws and All

These are characteristics of who I am and I am not sure I can ever “fix” them. These are the characteristics that if I am not careful in managing them and practicing in my recovery they can make me my old, unhappy and unhealthy self very quickly.

But, these are my characteristics that make me, me.

As part of my recovery:

  • I will embrace them, knowing that they are not all of who I am.
  • I will speak them because then they lose some of their negative power over me and I also call them out knowing I can work on them.
  • I will practice my recovery, even if it is in finding my balance.
  • And, I will own it all.

I also trust and know that these “flaws” also make me one of the hardest working, most committed and entertaining wife, daughter, friend and loved one ever.

I am not only lovable but also loved because of them, not despite them.

Because, I am enough. We all are.

Recovery, flaws and all.

And, it is just who I am.

*To read more about my experiences through two back surgeries and a year of my life spent in a body cast make sure preorder your copy of Ever Upward: Overcoming the Lifelong Losses of Infertility to Own a Childfree Life.*

If you found this post enjoyable, inspiring, helpful, hopeful, interesting or even infuriating ;), please take the time and the chance to share it through your social media! More shares means more eyes, means more people helped and the message heard on a wider scale. Thank you! Justine


Justine is a Licensed Professional Counselor with more than 25 years of experience in traditional mental health and personal and professional development. Justine has been certified in the work of Dr. Brené Brown for ten years. Justine is the author of eleven books, including five Amazon bestsellers covering subjects such as infertility, faith, and grief. She has been honored to do two TEDx Talks, The Permission of the And and The Donut Effect. She travels nationally and presents virtually to global audiences delivering keynotes, workshops, retreats, and trainings on topics such as leadership, courage, resilience, mental health, preventing and coping with burnout, and courageous and curious conversation, especially in creating cultures of belonging and diversity, equity, and inclusion. Justine lives in St. Louis with her husband Chad, their three dogs, and for four months of the year hundreds of monarch and swallowtail butterflies.

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