Did you ever think that your story could help someone else? I’ll bet you right now someone has a similar story. It might not be exactly the same as yours, but the similarities will vastly outweigh the differences.
When you get honest with yourself and start to open up, most of us are full of shame and stigma about our past. We all have done things or said things we are not proud of. We all wish we could forget many things. I wish I could forget several years of my life at this point.
I blew up relationships, I blew hundreds of thousands of dollars, I was very quick to anger and I’ve done and said some truly awful things. Many addicts and alcoholics have. I wish I could change the past, but I can’t. None of us can.
But, my past I can learn from. I can learn how I caused pain and then change those things. I can change my way of living. I can make amends. I can apologize. I can right wrongs. And we can adapt and overcome to make my future and my friends and family’s future bright.
In my early recovery I was told, “one of these days you’re going to hear your story from someone else.” At about two years sober, I did. A 35-year-old women got up and spoke, did a lead, and her story was my story. Many of the same details, all of the same feelings and emotions. I could relate to everything she said. It was a very odd experience. She talked about how she was arrested and went before a judge. The judge was taking too long for her and she said “I can’t believe they put incompetent stupid people in charge of these things here”. No, I’ve never been arrested or before a judge like that but I’ve been that entitled and rude to people.
What I found out is that many addicts and alcoholics have a similar past, similar emotions, similar thoughts and similar problems. I can relate to every addict on some level, from the senior citizen with 40 years sober, to the 18-year-old with an hour at his first meeting.
So, we’ve all done a lot of things we’re less than proud of. Even the regular citizenry has done the same, the non-addicted people, the regular joes. The upright citizen brigade as I call them. We are spiritual souls, trapped in an imperfect body, having a human experience.
What matters is to stop comparing yourself to others. Stop living in your past, especially your past failures. There’s no resting on your laurels even if your laurels are shame. What matters is what you are doing about it.
I urge you to take the plunge into the deep end of the pool. To share your story. Be fearlessly honest and open. I can guarantee you people have done the same thing and felt the same way, they were just too afraid to speak up. Think about it, your story shared in the open could be why someone has a breakthrough. Imagine someone at their first group session. Sick, scared, fearful, lonely, sad, and afraid to speak up. Sitting there all quiet and even in a group of people, feeling isolated. And you share your story. The good the bad and the ugly. Suddenly, they can relate to someone. They felt just like you did, and they did just what you did. Now they’re not quite so alone, not so full of fear. They think to themselves “he or she is just like me.”
So, go out and be brave, be courageous, share your story. Unburden yourself, and you may just help someone else by doing it.
Be great, as greatness is within you.
If you or someone you know is struggling with an addiction, please reach out to us at 877-RECOVERY or 877-732-6837. Our addiction specialists are available to take your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Because We Care.