Storytelling offers you the ability to connect with your thoughts, history, and values. Everyone’s recovery story will look different. What matter most is that you share your authentic experiences. If you want to tell your recovery story, this article will offer you a step-by-step guide. Remember though, there is no right or wrong way to express yourself.
Benefits of Storytelling
Storytelling is a powerful tool that can educate, foster understanding, and inspire others. Using the power of storytelling during your recovery can also be therapeutic. It can help you view the events in your life from an objective standpoint.
It’s easy to let negative thoughts roam your head. Putting your thoughts on paper gives them somewhere else to go. While developing your recovery story, think about how substance use has affected your life and how your relationship with substances, yourself, and others has changed through your recovery story.
Beginning Your Story
When the pen is in your hands, you can take your story in any direction you’d like, which can feel daunting. Sometimes it’s easiest to start by writing down your thoughts without limitations. When you finish brainstorming, evaluate your notes. What anecdotes, words, or emotions resonate the most with you?
It’s okay if you start writing not knowing where your story is going. You’ll be able to develop your recovery story as you write it and live it. To help yourself get started, try answering these questions:
- What was your life like before and during addiction?
- What was treatment like for you?
- What’s your life like now, post-recovery?
- What did you learn during each phase of your recovery journey?
- What were your biggest hurdles?
- What helped or didn’t help get you where you are today?
After answering these foundational questions, you can branch out into the characters of your life.
The Characters in Your Life
Characters are arguably the most critical part of any story. Sure, world-building can be fun, and drama can keep you on the edge of your seat. We stay for the characters though. Pick which characters you’ll include carefully. Doing this will put into perspective the people who matter most to you and who have had the greatest impact on your life.
Understanding Your Relationships
Limiting who you put in your story will allow you to dive deeper into your relationships. Unfortunately, not all relationships will look healthy. By writing your story, you may realize how certain people damaged your mental health. You’ll also gain a better understanding of the role trust played in being able to or not being able to connect with others. You might discover that dishonesty, miscommunication, or selfishness were sources of pain points in your relationships.
Alternatively, you might find that some relationships lifted you up. You’ll better understand the role of honesty and communication. You can find that emotional honesty, active effort, and genuineness benefitted your relationships.
Reflection & Theme
You’ll get out of your story what you put into it. As you reflect on your recovery, you’ll notice insight mirrored in your story. This could help people with similar recovery journies. You can also learn a lot from writing out your own experiences. In your story, you might reflect on your relationships with others by asking yourself:
- How have others influenced your decisions in your journey?
- Who has built you up, and who has torn you down?
- How have you built your relationships before during, and after your substance use?
- What have people sacrificed to protect you from harm or help you on your journey?
- How have people let you down, diminished your self-worth, or encouraged negative behaviors?
You can also examine how your perspective, beliefs, and attitude has changed throughout your recovery journey. Think about the work you had to put in to process and move forward with your recovery. The writing process could open your eyes to yourself, others, and the world.
Ending Your Story
It’s hard to end a story that you are still living out. Don’t think of your ending as the finite solution to your recovery. You do not need to have it all figured out. The end of your story can highlight the progress you’ve made, what you learned, and your fears for the future. When you arrive at the end of your story, you may want to ponder:
- What are the lessons that you’ve learned?
- What advice do you have for others?
- How have you grown on your recovery journey?
- How do you find hope in your life?
Try to focus on the positive aspects, but don’t fall into the trap of toxic positivity. You want authenticity and hope.
When to Put The Pen Down
Writing your recovery story should give you a sense of peace with your past, a better understanding of yourself, and hope for your future. If writing about traumatic events of your journey is overwhelming or you find yourself obsessing over your past wrongdoings, put the pen down. You can always come back to it later, or revisit the topic during a therapy session. You can receive support from a therapist as you examine those incidents. You may also take your story in a different direction. However you decide to write about your recovery, it should help you find meaning and purpose in your journey.
Writing your recovery story could help you process your emotions, connect with others, and gain a positive perspective of your recovery. You can create your story however you like as long as it serves you on your journey. Our team at Restoration Recovery Center is eager to listen to your story with all its twists and turns. We value our patients as people, not numbers. We will guide your story to a healthier place and help you restore your life’s purpose. We understand that one size doesn’t fit all, and we tailor our treatment plans to fit your needs. We encourage people to stay as long as they need, enforcing a minimum of 30 days. We can help you achieve long-term sobriety through treatments that focus on the body, mind, and spirit. If you or someone you know is struggling with substance use, please call Restoration Recovery at (888) 290-0925.