I’ve learned that former addicts actually are empowered by telling their stories often. In detox, they encourage former addicts to tell their stories to people going through recovery. This method allows the former addict to embrace their story, and learn just how powerful their story is when it comes to helping others. Take the opportunity to work with current substance users in recovery, and share your full story with them. It gives the next person hope, and you will in turn embrace your past. Telling your story repeatedly doesn’t make your story less and less painful, but you learn more and more to accept the truth and fact for what they are, thus, strengthening you in the process.
This is similar to the topic of race. I have learned that we need to stop saying “I don’t see color” because people are actually proud of their race. How many times have you heard someone say, “I’m proud to be black”. So if you don’t see color, then you can’t see the one thing someone is proud of. Therefore, it’s ok to see race, and get to understand someone’s race, so that person can be free in their race. Just like the addict, we should let that addict wear their scars, so they don’t have to hide them. Just like the person of a different color who is free amongst a different race, this addict should be free amongst none substance users. Let’s embrace what actually makes the person, rather than saying “we are all the same”. Because the truth is, we are not all the same.
It is from my experiences that I have understood, in order to fully recover from addiction, the “addict” should learn to be comfortable with their story. This way, the addict receives even more support when they show signs of wanting to relapse.
This is like a cheating spouse, who wants to stay in the relationship. That spouse, above apologizing and asking for forgiveness a million times; the most important thing the spouse ought to do is to “confess of all the times they cheated”. Inwardly, the spouse will know they no longer have anything else to hide. And when all this shame is out, the spouse can operate freely in their relationship again. If they leave a story unsaid, the same story will always give them anxiety, and maybe deep down, it’ll remain the weakness that pulls them back.
Road to recovery is not easy, but it’s a lot easier when you no longer have to carry any baggage. Free your mind, so your spirit can be free. Your support systems will lift you higher because you become that much lighter to support.
When you feel like you’ve done enough telling of your story, it’s time to start holding yourself accountable. So, challenge yourself and start speaking to high schools, youth groups, and even in jails and juveniles. By taking this step, you’re accountable to every person you’ve shared your story with. That youth who listened to you now looks up to you. With this on your shoulder, you’re accountable for someone’s well-being. And you become even stronger mentally.