If you’ve ever been to rehab or talked to anyone who has gone through it, you know that sharing your story with others is an important part of the recovery process. But if you haven’t been through the process, it can be difficult to identify exactly why this is so critical to your future success.
Sharing Your Story
One reason sharing your story can help you is that in times of stress (like recovery), you probably have hundreds of ideas running around your head at any given time. You can never relax because your thoughts are stressing you out. Talking to others can help.
Sharing your story with others can benefit you in two different ways:
- Talking about your thoughts can help you organize them. You may have a dozen different thoughts that all seem random. However, when you start sharing those thoughts with others, it can help you to make sense of them. The listener may even ask you questions to help clarify your thoughts even further. It can give your “mental static” a much sharper focus.
- Sharing your thoughts out loud has another important benefit. Sometimes the simple act of talking out loud about the thoughts you have can release them from your head.
Sharing Goes Both Ways
It’s important to remember that “sharing” is actually a two way street. Just like it helps you to share your story with others, it’s good for others to share their story with you. You might think that listening to others is all for their benefit, but this is actually good for you too.
When you started using drugs or alcohol, you probably liked the way those substances made you feel. However, when they stopped working, you didn’t stop because at that point you were addicted to them, either on a physical level or an emotional one.
Recovery isn’t just about getting clean, it’s about changing the damaged thought process you have. That old thought process was the one that told you it was better to use drugs or alcohol instead of dealing with reality. That thought process is what got you in trouble, and you have to change it. Listening to stories from others about their experiences is a great way to change that thinking.
If you’re in a program, it’s difficult to believe in it just because your counselors or your sponsor told you to. You have to see that it works. The best way for that to happen is to hear other people tell their story. Their stories can help you believe.
When you hear other people talk about how scared they are, you know you’re not alone. When they talk about their hopes for the future, it gives you hope too. When they tell you how hard they had to struggle before they got sober, you know that it can work for you too.
It’s not about comparing your story to anyone else’s, it’s about identifying with their story or pieces of it. Everything you’re feeling, has been felt by everyone else in the room. Every fear you have, they have had. Every bad decision you made or action you took that hurt people, they did too. Sharing stories is how you know you are not alone in your recovery and it can give you hope.