Embracing Your Unique and Shared Past to Empower Recovery

Embracing Your Unique and Shared Past to Empower Recovery

A person’s story of addiction and recovery can help benefit the recovery efforts of both the person sharing the story and the person hearing it

Drug and alcohol addictions often work in the same way for different people leaving many recovering addicts with similar stories to share. Each person is unique and their experiences with past drug and alcohol abuse or addiction are unique also. However, the unique stories that recovering addicts have typically share similar key elements and patterns. The similarities in people’s experiences with addiction are what make it beneficial to share these stories with others who are either new to recovery or not yet in recovery. Specifically, a story of how addiction was overcome can benefit both the person sharing the story by acknowledging her achievement as well as the people who hear it and find it inspiring or full of useful tips.

Hearing a peer’s story of how he dealt with addiction and eventually reached recovery can motivate and encourage newly recovering addicts to continue with their efforts to recover. This contributes to the 12-Step recovery model’s success as addicts in recovery can thrive off of shared experiences.

Julie Cornell of KETV in Omaha, Nebraska published an article of one former addict’s story of addiction and eventual recovery. The recovering addict described in the article is back in college maintaining a 4.0 grade average and working toward her associate’s degree in chemical dependency counseling. Her past helps other struggling addicts to realize they are not alone and her current success inspires them to put in the extra effort to push towards their own recovery.

Another way that a person’s past struggles with drug or alcohol addiction can empower recovery is to use the memories of the really bad things that happened in the midst of addiction to fuel further recovery efforts. The memories can serve as reminders to say “no” when a relapse trigger occurs or a temptation arises. Remembering the people that were hurt, the things that were done just to get another hit and the things that were lost because of the addiction — those memories can empower people to continue their recoveries when it starts to get difficult.

The New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) has a campaign called “Your Story Matters” that aims to raise awareness for addiction, overcome the stigma’s associated with addiction, and help people understand that recovery is possible with proven treatment methods. Their thought is that when people share their recovery success stories, it helps in many different ways. First, it simply raises awareness about the chronic illness known as addiction and it helps people understand that it is a treatable disease.

Second, it breaks down the unjustified stigma that people often believe of addiction and addicts, such as addiction being a moral weakness or choice. The campaign highlights the fact that addiction is a chronic illness and people can and do recover from it every day through professional treatment services. As other struggling addicts hear or read the stories of their peers, they can be empowered to strive towards their own recovery goals.

The campaign focuses specifically on success stories to ensure that people in need of inspiration and hope will be directed to their website, read the stories and be encouraged to fight through their addictions and get help to reach recovery.

The people who share their stories of recovery with others often receive a personal boost in motivation to continue their recovery efforts. As the story is shared, people often find that being able to motivate others to strive towards recovery actually also motivates themselves. Recovery is a lifelong process and even people who have long been sober and may now be helping others recover still need motivation and encouragement to continue on a regular basis. The temptation or triggers may not be as intense or often for people who have been sober for a long time but they still present themselves periodically. The more a person shares her success story of recovery the more she finds encouragement and motivation to continue her efforts.

Need Help Finding Professional Treatment for Drug and Alcohol Abuse or Addiction?

Addiction is medically recognized as a chronic brain disease that can be successfully treated through professional rehab services and counseling. People can and do successfully recover from addiction every day and are able to experience a healthier lifestyle and the ability to say no to drugs.

If you or someone you love is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction and needs help, please call our toll-free number now for more information. Our admissions coordinators are standing by 24 hours a day in order to help you find a professional treatment program that will work for you. Don’t let addiction get the best of you. Experience how much better life can be in recovery. Call us today.