Entering recovery is a major healing journey; healing the mind, the body, and the spirit. To foster emotional healing, one of the most powerful vehicles is to share your personal story with others. This action has a twofold purpose: to help you along your own path to healing, and to help encourage, support, and bond with peers in recovery.
Anyone who has ever spent time in “the rooms” of Alcoholics Anonymous will attest to the beauty and power of seeing someone share their recovery story. With transparency and humility, individuals reveal their struggles and triumphs with amazing authenticity. Their stories inevitably touch everyone in attendance.
The same can be said for process group sessions, whether as part of a residential treatment program or in outpatient continuing care. These group sessions also provide opportunities to share personal stories, which allows participants to relate to each other’s experiences. Their common bond—the struggles that led them to embark on the path to recovery—leads to mutual support.
The Importance of a Recovery Story
Everyone has a life story to tell. For people who have been impacted by the disease of addiction, and found their way to recovery, their stories can be immensely touching. Because so much of the success in recovery rests on social support, sharing in a group setting becomes an important outlet.
When people open up and share their recovery story they reveal, in an honest and vulnerable way, their experience with a substance that likely caused a great deal of pain. Those who are present feel a connection with the person and their story, which promotes peer support. Group participants may feel a range of emotions while listening to each other’s recovery stories, such as empathy, encouragement, and hope.
It isn’t easy to formulate the thoughts and memories, and then deliver your story. Being an open book is not natural for someone just emerging from substance use, much less talking about such personal issues with strangers. But being brave and allowing others to know you on a deeper level can be extremely therapeutic. It shows that you value yourself, your life, and your future enough to not only be heard, but to also be cared for.
5 Tips for Recovery Success
Recovery is all about new beginnings. It’s never too late to turn the page and begin a new chapter. While there’s no promise that the recovery journey will be free of obstacles, there are some ways to improve your chances of success through relating with others:
- Connect with a Recovery Community. Find the perfect fit, a setting where you feel comfortable enough to freely share your recovery story with others, and where you will be enriched by their stories. Social support is a powerful, protective force against relapse. This is because you become accountable for your sobriety, not only to yourself, but to your recovery community as well.
- Grow Your Sober Network. Starting over in recovery means shedding those people who no longer fit your life or your goals. But because connection is essential in recovery, you may need to cultivate new, sober friendships. Join sober meet-up groups, a sober gym, sober travel clubs, or participate in local sober social events to make new connections.
- Continue with Therapy. The old classic song states that “People who need people are the luckiest people in the world.” This is true! Acknowledging the need for touching base with your sober support crew is crucial in recovery. Ongoing outpatient therapy, both individual sessions and group support, provides you with the foundation that will guide you through rough patches.
- Consider Sober Living. When your home environment is not conducive to a healthy recovery, you may wish to consider spending a few months in transitional sober living. A well-managed sober living home will ensure a substance-free space, a daily routine, a requirement to work or attend school, and weekly engagement in house meetings. All of this is supportive in sobriety.
Note that all of these recovery success tips involve engaging with your sober community and support system. In many ways, it is sharing your own personal story with others that opens the door to deeper connections, which supports recovery in so many important ways.
Ashley Addiction Treatment, formerly Father Martin’s Ashley, is a nationally recognized nonprofit leader in integrated, evidence-based treatment for substance use disorders and is accredited by The Joint Commission. We offer both inpatient and outpatient programs, holistic addiction treatment, drug detox, relapse prevention plans, family wellness programs and a variety of other services tailored to each patient’s needs. Our driving principle — “everything for recovery” — reinforces our mission to heal each individual with respect and dignity, and reflects on our ongoing commitment to meet new challenges. For information about our comprehensive programs, please call (866) 313-6307.