Sharing Your Story
Addiction recovery is a momentous step and a highly personal process. As I often sit in the rooms of open AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) meetings, I listen to many an addict’s life-changing story of recovery. AA upholds anonymity as it pertains to its program principles & creates a safe space for those struggling to address their addiction issues. It’s also a secure space for those to tell their recovery story as part of their service to others. Though beyond the rooms of AA, addiction is still perceived as more of a moral failing than a disease or illness. This perception generates shame and fear which has led to a culture of silence around addiction perpetuating social and internal stigma. Considering 19.7 million American adults (aged 12 and older) battled a substance use disorder in 2017 it seems it would make sense to want to get the word out that the ‘struggle is real’ but recovery is possible.
There are many reasons people in recovery can embrace being more open to sharing their story and how their openness can help others struggling with addiction:
- Sharing your story with others makes your recovery more real. Your recovery story is a personal account of your experience with drugs or alcohol. Beyond the details of active use, your story should also be about overcoming challenges providing hope and freedom from addiction.
- Telling about this difficult time will help you organize past events and structure your story that will make sense to others and create a better sense of your experience as well.
- Sharing difficult experiences with others helps create supportive bonds, reaffirm positive self-worth and improve health and well-being.
- You will help others who are feeling hopeless and isolated in their struggles and be that bridge to getting help.
- Storytelling builds community and promotes humanistic connections.
- Your perseverance and resiliency in striving for recovery is strengthened in knowing you have something to offer others that can help.
There is a power in sharing your story based in inspiration, encouragement and hope found by others who are listening and a valuable tool in breaking down stigma.