Storytelling is a powerful tool, and quite frankly, we need more of it in the recovery community. Sure, it can be intimidating and vulnerable, but letting go of what we always held so closely can be what heals us the most. When we choose to speak up about our struggles, we’re no longer allowing them to have any power over us. In turn, we are setting free what has always made us feel trapped, and we’re gaining control over what we never felt in control of.
Before I made the choice to share my story with the world, I was plagued with the thought of “What if people judge me?” To that, I say, “Who cares?” Your story is not meant for everyone, and not everyone is going to understand your journey. THIS IS PERFECTLY OKAY. Not sharing your story out of fear of what others may think is an injustice to yourself and those who will benefit from your journey.
In the few years that I have been sharing my own recovery story, I have been overwhelmed by the number of people who write, saying it helped them in some way. THAT is why I do it, and THAT is why I will continue to speak my truth. The purpose of storytelling is to give others a sense of hope for their own life. Not all people will resonate with what you have to say, but the possibility they’ll learn something from it is the most important reason to say it anyway.
We all lead unique lives; each journey is different from the last. While some people may face more external struggles, others have to deal with internal battles. Strangers you meet at a recovery meeting might have had to endure something you’ve never dealt with before.
Imagine what kind of world we’d live in if everyone spoke openly about what they’ve gone through without feeling shame or insecurity. When we share our stories, we’re doing our part to break stigmas, form connections, and bring people who may feel alone together. When we acknowledge the elephant in the room and welcome a conversation about it, we can finally address the real issues people have, instead of pretending we’re all just fine. There is no reward for putting on the best show. We only begin to heal what hurts when we choose to become aware of it.
Whether your story includes a life of drug addiction, alcoholism, mental health disorders<, eating disorders, suicide or something else, there is always at least one person who will find value in what you have to say. By telling our stories, we are letting others know that it’s okay to be honest about who we were, who we are, and who we can become. We cannot keep pretending that we have it together. By speaking our truth, we’re giving permission to anyone who has stayed quiet to finally speak up. Being vulnerable should always be seen as a strength, and never something to be ashamed of.
The life you’re living is worth talking about. Your story is yours to share. Own it!
Wherever you are in your recovery journey, it’s okay to speak up and get help if you need it. Many of our representatives at The Recovery Village are in recovery themselves. They’re ready to take your calland discuss resources, support and treatment options that may work for you or a loved one.