Recovery: Why it Is Important to Share Your Story
There is much talk about stigma as it pertains to mental health issues; whether it is substance abuse or an eating disorder, our culture has long preferred to simply not talk about it. While some substantive efforts aim to break down the stigma, the fact remains that discussing these things aloud can sometimes be rather daunting.
Daunting though it may be, it’s also important—and not least for those who are in recovery. In fact, if you’re in recovery yourself, sharing your story with others is one of the most important things you can do—stigma be damned.
Sharing Your Story is Important for You
Sharing the story of your recovery is important for you as the storyteller, and can enhance, underline, and strengthen your own recovery journey. Consider how sharing your story can help you:
- It affirms the importance of your story. If you have dealt with an eating disorder or with addiction, you know it to be one of the defining experiences of your life. Sharing your story lends credence to that.
- It also makes your recovery more real to you. No longer is it just something you hope for; it’s something you’ve spoken aloud, passed around with friends and strangers, and laid claim to as your very own.
- It helps you find your voice. Putting your recovery into words can be a richly cathartic, immeasurably therapeutic experience.
- Sharing your story will very likely yield some words of encouragement and affirmation, all of which can strengthen your resolve and your commitment to recovery. By the same token, it can provide you with greater accountability.
- Sharing your story can be a great path toward self-love: It affirms that you are worthy of having a voice, worthy of being heard, worthy of being cared for, and worthy of being loved.
- Finally, it can be helpful to others, which enables you to turn a very dark and difficult part of your life into something that is actually positive and meaningful.
Sharing Your Story is Important for Others
Speaking of which, you don’t just tell your story because of the good it does for you; you do so as a service to others who may be struggling with similar issues, or who may be just starting down their own path to recovery.
- Hearing your story can be a tremendous encouragement to those who are wrestling with comparable issues—proof that they are not alone.
- It also gives them hope: If you can start down the path to recovery, perhaps they can as well.
- It forms instant bonds of solidarity between you, which may even blossom into something like friendship.
- It can also be highly practical: Not only can you share your story, but you can share specific strategies, toolsets, and coping mechanisms that have been helpful to you.
There may be times when you are simply not ready to talk about your story—and that’s okay! But when you are ready to share, do so—for everyone’s sake.
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