Speaking Your Truth

therapy group session

After treatment, people might ask you about your journey through addiction treatment and achieving sobriety. It’s your choice to tell your story; however, there are plenty of benefits that come with speaking your truth, from ending the stigma to helping someone who might feel alone. Ultimately, it’s your decision to tell people about your truth as a person recovering from addiction, but you might be surprised by the positive impact you can have on others.

What You Are Willing to Share

You might feel reluctant to tell your story at first. There is a lot of shame and stigma surrounding addiction. The media doesn’t depict those struggling with addiction in the best light. At first, you might hesitate to tell others about your experience out of fear that you will get judged. It’s okay to share less at first. Even if you feel comfortable,  there might be details you don’t feel comfortable sharing because they are so heavy. What you experienced was hell, and others outside of it might not understand what that was like for you. 

In recovery, you’ll meet many other people who had similar experiences as you. You’ll meet these people in treatment,  at 12-Step meetings, or in group therapy. They’ll share their stories, and you’ll find that you aren’t all that alone. This might help you feel more confident about telling your story. Not only will you find that your experience in some cases is highly similar to others, but you’ll also find that your experience doesn’t say anything negative about you as a person. Hence, there’s no reason to feel ashamed. 

Starting a Conversation

Telling your truth is about talking about the things people are afraid to bring up. Many might not understand at first. There are many myths about addiction that people rely on for information. They might be confused about why you acted the way you did, why you made the choices you did, and what that says about you as an individual. A person might not even know that you had this experience and not see you as someone they’d expect to have lived this experience. Talking openly about your addiction will help open the floor for discussion, and they might learn something new.

Helping End the Stigma

During treatment and the rest of your recovery, you learn a lot about addiction. You’ve gained information you might otherwise not have known if you never sought treatment. This includes information that corrects your impression of addiction in general. You’ve learned that addiction is a disease. It’s something that takes a lot of work to overcome. Having an addiction doesn’t mean you’re a horrible person. It’s something that anyone with a family history of addiction is susceptible to. This newly gained knowledge puts you in a position to educate others who might have a negative impression of those with an addiction. 

Stigma often comes from misinformation and shame. Those with addiction issues are left to the margins of society and ignored based on what culture has taught us about addiction. However, science tells us that our impressions of those with addiction are inaccurate and only play into systems that hurt those with addiction and other mental health disorders. Educating others about your story and the truth about addiction can help combat the stigma.

Humanizing Addiction

It’s easy to paint someone with addiction as a monster when you don’t see the human qualities. Speaking your truth about your addiction puts a human face on the disorder. You aren’t dangerous or scary. You are you, and you’ve been battling addiction for as long as you’ve been sober. When people hear that someone like you, who might appear genuine, has an addiction, it can change their perspective. They don’t view it as this scary, unfamiliar thing. They see a person. 

Helping Someone Who Feels Alone

You might not realize it, but many people out there feel like they are the only ones living their experience. When you don’t know someone who can relate to your problem, you feel alone. Since so many addiction stories go untold, many people feel like they are the only person suffering. This can impact their self-esteem and make it difficult to connect with others. By telling your story, you might be helping someone feel like they aren’t the only person who feels the way they do. 

Becoming a Role Model

You might not have seen yourself as someone to model your life after. However, you’ve come a long way from where you used to be. When you tell your story about achieving and maintaining sobriety, you become a model for someone else. This becomes even more true if you eventually become someone’s sponsor. They’ll want to hear your story. They’ll want to know if battling addiction is possible. Being candid about your experience can help someone realistically understand the journey they are about to take. This knowledge is valuable, and you’re in a position to share it.

You might feel reluctant to share your truth because you’re afraid of being judged. Your truth might also feel too private to share with others you don’t know well. Sharing your reality doesn’t mean that you need to start a blog or a podcast talking about your experience. It can just mean being honest with a friend or a close family member. Later in life, you might share your truth with someone else who is also struggling with addiction. There are plenty of ways that this benefits the addiction recovery community. Do not feel pressured to share your experiences if you don’t feel ready yet. However, your story adds to the narrative that it is possible to be sober successfully and that those with addiction are human.

If you’re interested in finding ways to tell your truth or how you can participate in alumni activities, call Jaywalker Lodge today at (866) 529-9255

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