Writing Your Own Recovery Story

The best part about our story is that it’s unique to our own experience, thoughts, feelings and life lessons; nobody else on this Earth has the same exact life that we have, and that can be incredibly empowering. That’s what makes your story important – everything that you’ve gained along the way – all of the wisdom, strength, and guidance that you’ve received – can be explained to others through the telling of your own recovery story. In fact, many people would say that claiming your story is one of the bravest things that you could do in recovery – because it takes a lot of strength to not only explore what’s happened in the past, present and potential future – but also to tell others about it.

Our story lets others know where we’ve been and where we are now – it gives hope for others so that they can learn more about who we are and how they can apply what we’ve learned to their own lives. It also reinforces the hard work we’ve been doing towards our own recovery – previous studies have explored the implications of telling a recovery story and have found there’s a number of benefits: 

  •     They allow us to better understand ourselves throughout the process
  •     They depict our intentions and beliefs surrounding the rest of our lives
  •     They help us change false or negative beliefs that perhaps have held us back in the past

The act of sharing your story is a spiritual one, as you’re helping others to better themselves, and you’re also becoming stronger within yourself as well. If you’ve decided to take on this selfless, powerful pursuit, it’s time to begin building your recovery story so that you can inspire yourself – and others – along the way.

We help people with addictions and substance use disorders recover. Get mindfulness training and learn the 12 Steps for deeper healing.

Building Your Recovery Story 

One of the first aspects you’re going to have to consider is how much you want to include in your story. Do you feel that giving a broad, sweeping description of life events you’ve experienced could give people enough information to explain what you’ve gone through and what you can overcome? Writers tend to identify this choice as a “thick” or “thin” narrative writing style – and each person’s choice is a personal one. We all have moments in our lives that we consider to be pivotal points – the time when we realized we needed help, the time someone held our hand while we went through a difficult time, the moment when we fell down and got back up on our feet – and the way we describe these moments can determine how we influence our listeners.

Second, you want to structure your story by what seems to feel best to you – most people prefer to tell their stories chronologically since it can feel easier to tell your story at a specific point in time and then discuss how your life progressed from there. This type of organization will help people follow along and get a better understanding of what you’ve gone through and how you’ve overcome certain challenges.

What to Say

You really want to use descriptive words to help your listeners visualize parts of your story. There are several types of examples that you can provide in your story, and you can explain things in a way that really helps show what you were going through. Here are some examples:

“Tears were streaming down my face that day, and that’s when I looked up to the sky and asked God to change my life for the better.”

“I felt myself sinking, and I couldn’t help but feel like I’d become trapped in this whirlwind of negativity. I felt as though I was sucked into something I couldn’t get out of.”

“I’ve worked so hard in my recovery, and it’s one of my proudest accomplishments. I’m here. I made it. Every single day that I wake up, I tell myself that I’m not giving up.”

When it comes to recovery, you want to really emphasize the struggles you’ve gone through as well as the path you’ve taken, and how recovery has contributed to you leading a stronger, happier, healthier life. Sobriety is a major success story – and if you can explain those defining moments of recovery, it will truly motivate your audience to push forward in their recovery journeys, too.

Ending Your Recovery Story

The big “takeaway” lessons are what should be guiding your recovery story, so you need to make that apparent as your story wraps up. You may also want to talk about the perspective that you used to have before you started recovery versus what your perspective is now. This is a key point that could really hit home for people.

If you’re ready to start your own story of recovery, speak with a professional from Burning Tree today. It’s never too late to begin working towards healing and rejuvenation.

Along with helping to treat various mental illnesses and psychological issues, mindfulness can be a great tool for battling addiction and building a healthy lifestyle.  A holistic treatment center can teach you these and other strategies for creating a happy and fulfilling life beyond addiction. At Renewal Lodge by Burning Tree, you will find a team of compassionate, knowledgeable professionals ready to coach each client through the 12-steps and beyond.  By structuring treatment to fit individual needs, including the identification of co-occurring disorders, Burning Tree facilitates an environment of healing and holistic wellness. Here, our clients tackle their addictions head-on and harness the power to restructure their lives through high accountability and life skills that foster lasting sobriety.  We specialize in treatment for the chronic relapser and believe that with the right tools, you can put an end to the cycle of addiction.

Find Healing At Renewal Lodge

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Dear Renewal Lodge Visitors,

My name is John Bruna, co-founder of the Mindfulness in Recovery® Institute, and more importantly, a grateful member of the recovery community. I am incredibly fortunate to have found my recovery in 1984. Of course, I did not achieve continuous recovery through willpower or my own efforts, but through the guidance and caring support of countless others that selflessly taught me how to live through the 12 Steps.

My journey of recovery brought this once homeless, shame-based, traumatized, insecure young man to a life far beyond anything I could have ever imagined. I discovered self-worth, the joy of helping others, the gifts of parenting and grandparenting, and most importantly the ability to live a meaningful and purposeful life with integrity.

One of the greatest gifts of recovery is that I have the opportunity to give back and help others discover their self-worth, dignity, and the skills to fully live lives that they find truly meaningful. This is the inspiration for developing the skills of Mindfulness in Recovery® (MIR) to meet the needs of new generations struggling with alcohol and other substance use disorders. MIR is a set of evidence-based skills designed to help people fully integrate their tools of recovery in ways that are personalized, practical, and in alignment with their deepest values.

While we train counselors and therapists throughout the United States and abroad, I personally have chosen to work directly with the amazing team and clients at Renewal Lodge to develop the model MIR 12-step program for the nation. I choose Renewal Lodge because of the vision of its mission and the dedication of its team. Renewal Lodge is an extremely rare environment in which the staff embodies the very mindfulness and 12-step practices and skills they offer their clients. The results have been beyond my expectations. It is an honor to be here and I treasure my personal time with every client I meet.

With Gratitude,

John Bruna
John Bruna
Director of Mindfulness
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