By Sean Swaby
“With great power comes great responsibility”
Superheros. I love them. There is something awesome about normal humans discovering that they have powers… super powers.
If you could have any one super power, which one would you choose? My choice would be the ability to do Batman-like parkour moves. Just for fun, click on this parkour link and you will be stunned.
Be honest, you want to be Batman too.
How can superheroes help you in your recovery?
I have been thinking about Superheros a lot recently. I think it is the adventure, the gadgets and the powerful sense of mission that they seem to have… combined with their humanity and vulnerability.
It turns out that superheros can help your addiction and mental health recovery in some pretty cool ways:
1.Superheros have their kryptonite, just like you.
Heros are not impenetrable. Their caring for other people gives drama and intrigue to their lives. You have your tragic weaknesses that sometimes add spice to your life and other times adds more trouble than you can handle. Hey, that gives you a little more adventure and adds some character to your life.
2.Superheros are known for their traumatic past, just like you.
Batman’s parents were killed in front of him. Superman’s parent’s died tragically, just like Spiderman’s grandfather. And Captain America, he lost everyone that he knew. Their past is what gives them the impetus to use their powers and ingenuity for the good of others.
3.One word: Batcave.
Every hero has his or her secret cave where they only allow visitors by invitation. We all need a place to regroup and recharge. Boundaries give you the space to be yourself. And sometimes, you just need to retreat, take time to reflect and slow down the pace of your life.
4.Heros take a beating, just like you.
You face a beating every day and it comes from an unlikely source: Your own mind. Your self talk about your addiction, your losses, your setbacks, your mental health can be brutal. You can’t eliminate the chatter, but you can increase the volume on your more powerful stories that give you hope, purpose and greater well being.
5.Heros find solace with other heros.
The solo hero is often the weakest link and will make easy prey to their enemies. Even Wolverene sought out the X-Men because his demons sometimes got the best of him. Every hero is different, but it is their similarities that draws them together. You need to find other people who get you… that is your mission. Will you accept it?
6.Heros need their tech support
Batman has his gadgets, Hawkeye has his arrows and Wonder Woman… well who wouldn’t want bullet-proof bracelets and an invisible jet? You need fresh ideas now and then to get through your tough days and seasons that try to kick the shit out of you. Investing time, energy and some cash in learning new ideas will help your recovery to move to another level.
7.Every hero has his or her private enemy.
Your enemies may be named the Joker, Lex Luthor, Doc Octopus or addiction, depression, over-eating or credit cards. Every one of us has our nemesis who challenges our strength and who may even overcome us now and then. Real heros recruit others to help them, they get some new gear, and they take time to understand a new situation so they can plan their attack.
They also understand that foes change over time. Your age, your needs and your vulnerabilities will change with time. You may overcome one addiction, trauma, or mental illness only to face another enemy. But remember that each foe will bring out something new in you.
8.No hero will face unending war.
Heros have seasons where life is boring and nothing is happening. They welcome the slower seasons and use the time to regroup. They create new ideas, they dream, and they build.
9.Heros defy stereotypes.
They come in every size, color, creed and gender. Heros cry. They bleed. They work with interracial and interstellar allies. They talk to each other and they are consoled in their similarities.
10.Heros rarely see themselves as heros.
They recognize that the greatest heroism comes in the form of daily acts of courage. Each of us are faced with choices every day, our own daily heroism.
Small choices that add up to make our life what it is: decisions to resist cynicism, choosing to not isolate or avoid, embracing reasonable risks and not allowing our trauma or our past to define us.
About Sean Swaby
Sean is a writer in the areas of mental health and addiction, family, leadership, and anything that demonstrates the power of story. You can read more on him here
Please click here to vote for his page on
Psych Central’s list of mental health blogs
This post first appeared at Good Men Project