Something that can be very difficult for people entering treatment for addiction is sharing our stories. In front of other people. Out loud. It is easy to see why it would be hard for us. We have just made the most difficult decision in our lives after what feels like a lifetime of self-combat, and now they want us to tell a random group of strangers our most painful experiences and thoughts? No thanks.
Think again, though. Why are we being asked to do this? Is this going to be helpful to us in some way? Will this help the people listening in some way? Will this help our healing? Maybe there is some method to this madness after all.
It might be that we would rather dig a hole in the ground with a plastic spoon and hide there until this whole sharing thing blows over. However, when we open our mouths and share our experiences, we are actually helping ourselves. Not in the way that grandma told us that if we drank enough castor oil, it would cure our acne. No, this sharing thing actually works.
There is something very powerful about voicing our thoughts. Hearing our own voice say aloud the things we have kept neatly tucked deep inside of us makes them real. It makes us real. They are just things, and now that we have said them, we can let go of the shame and guilt and just look at them like everyone else in the room will: they are just our stuff. Bonus points for sharing them in a safe space like a group in therapy or other meetings, because no one will judge us, either. See, that actually did help us, right?
We. Have. No. Idea. We literally have no idea until someone has shared with us exactly how much us sharing with others can help them. Our sharing validates them in ways that nothing else can. We are all alike. We do not need to feel alone. There are people in this world who have been through similar things as us.
When we share our stories with others, we build a common bond as nothing else could. We help others feel safety, commonality, and unity. We are all part of the same human race. We have all made mistakes, and we are all going through similar things. We are not alone. There is so much power when we share with others.
Finding Our Truths
When we open our mouths and share our thoughts in recovery, we find our truths. We may not be a great public speaker. In fact, communicating publicly may be very difficult for us. But in this setting, it really is the thought that counts, and as we are able to get those thoughts out there, we learn more about ourselves. As we hear the words coming from our mouths, there may be many different emotions: shame, guilt, blame, disgust, self-loathing, embarrassment, and more. But as we speak them, we realize that we have the power to change our future story. We find out more about the person we want to be, about the stories we hope to tell in our future. Sharing our experiences out loud helps us to find our truths.
Healing Our Wounds
When we share our experiences, it has the strange effect of healing. No, not like grandma’s castor oil. Actual healing from the pain that we have kept inside of us. We can speak about our experiences, about our emotions, and we might even emote into a blubbering mess or a raving lunatic while we are at it. That’s okay. That is what helps us to process our pasts and helps us to learn about ourselves and to feel again.
The more we learn about what has caused us to drink or use drugs, the more we are able to heal the pain we tried to numb. When we share with others, it may feel like we are ripping off the Band-Aid to our wounds. But actually, it is more like a salve for our wounds. We draw strength and healing from speaking about our experiences in front of other people.
Of all of the ways that sharing helps us, the biggest is perhaps empowering. When we share our experiences in a public setting, we own it. Like it or not, we have to own up to whatever has happened. Sometimes, saying it out loud has the opposite effect that we think it would have: instead of embarrassing us, it actually normalizes it. We realize that we are human. Whether it is shame from something that happened to us or guilt from something that we did, we realize that we are human beings and that everyone has a story to tell. This empowers us to keep sharing and keep growing.
There are so many reasons that we share in recovery, and all of them help someone as part of their growth. Sharing helps other people, but it helps us even more. Contact Enlight today and share your way to recovery with people just like you. Call us today at (805) 719-7954 to speak to one of our admissions experts. Someone is waiting to hear your story, they need to hear you share.