How to Share Your Recovery Story

Two people holding hands during diffuclt conversation in rehab
Rehab is a life-changing step for someone with a history of addiction. Unfortunately, the stigma surrounding drug and alcohol addiction can create an environment of shame, fear, and silence where even sober people in recovery often keep their experiences to themselves.

There is, however, power in opening up and sharing your recovery. Telling your story can help your own recovery journey, heal the hurt your loved ones have experienced, and offer encouragement and support to others battling addiction. If you’re not sure how to start, read on — we can help.

1. Choose the Right Moment for You

When is it best to bring up recovery? The truth is, not everyone feels comfortable sharing their recovery story or even think it’s necessary. Your recovery should come first, so when sharing your story, make sure you’re in a good place to do so without jeopardizing your safety. Talk to your therapist or counselor first to help ensure that you’re emotionally stable to open up about your struggle with addiction.

2. Prepare Others for This Conversation

Sharing your story with others makes your recovery more real. But before you lay out all the details to people, prepare them for the conversation. Stay calm and educate them about the truth and realities of addiction — it will help them get through the initial rush of emotion. Easing into the conversation helps others understand and have compassion for those with substance use disorders.

3. Be Honest

Being vulnerable is difficult, but honesty in recovery is critical to relapse prevention: telling your truth can be empowering. When speaking with friends and family about your recovery, don’t embellish or hide — give an honest account of your experience with drugs and alcohol. Exaggerating or downplaying, whether to protect others or yourself, doesn’t help anyone as much as working through it.

Men sharing an honest laugh in Milwaukee

4. Ask for Help When You Need It

While sharing your recovery story, it’s important to acknowledge your support system. Friends, loved ones, and peers you turn to for comfort and advice can help you remember that people are cheering for your continued recovery. If you’re afraid or embarrassed about asking for help, don’t be! Far from shameful, it shows courage and could make a major impact on your long-term sobriety.

5. Accept Responsibility for Your Actions

Low moments in the throes of addiction aren’t moral failings, but you do have to accept responsibility for your actions. When sharing a personal recovery story, take accountability for things you did even when you weren’t in complete control. Understand what you regret and how you will do better going forward when you make a promise of responsibility to yourself.

6. Prepare for Blowback

Addiction doesn’t just affect the person struggling with substance abuse — it can change family dynamics and friendships dramatically. When telling your story, prepare for resistance. Set realistic expectations and understand that regaining trust will take time. You may have spent years deceiving and causing stress, so don’t expect to rebuild relationships overnight. Be sincere and practice patience.

Two women having a conversation about addiction and recovery

Let Roots Recovery Turn the Page on Your Recovery Story

Sharing your recovery story isn’t easy, but it’s a necessary part of the healing process. At Roots Recovery, we’ll walk you through how to handle these tough conversations and help you find the best way to move forward in your unique situation. Starting with individual counseling, we help those in recovery identify, challenge, and heal the underlying causes of their addiction in one-on-one sessions, then give them the tools in group sessions and life skills courses to communicate and overcome.

To learn more about how we guide people through addiction to a life of purpose and peace, contact us today at 844.447.6687.