from addict 2 advocate

By: C. W. Stratton

“I would rather be damned by my honesty than caged by my lies.” ~Omega Maverick


What Story Are You Telling?

Some people travel, meeting to meeting, telling their story each time there’s an opportunity to share.  Those who are listening may say, “I’ve heard his/her story many times.” There are those that go through the fellowships carrying the “script.”  The “script” is the story we choose to say to those around us.  Many times, it’s the same story. . . word for word.  This is because it’s comfortable and familiar.  Better yet, it feels safe.  The script has information that we know won’t be too shameful, hurtful or embarrassing.  We conditioned ourselves to stay away from those areas.
Think about a time you were watching a movie and it seemed that there were pieces missing or you wanted to see more of what was really going on.  I always say “it’s in the script,” that’s how they wanted to portray it.  This is just like our lives, there is so much more, but we only give what we believe will suffice at the time. This leaves those around us guessing, wondering and questioning where we stand. This isn’t to say you will just tell all at a meeting in one sitting, this takes time. The “script” protects us.  __

What’s Your Story Missing?

As we continue to carry this with us, we are missing a valuable opportunity to discuss the very things that kept us sick. Of course, there are those experiences that we may seek professional help to work through, but there are those experiences that we can actually share that would allow another to better know us and what we are struggling with. Some may feel they’ve told their total truth over the years.  If we were to look deeper within, well below the surface, we can still see untold truths of our experiences. This becomes the obstacle and a stumbling block that we will carry with us along the way. 

How Much Truth? Too Little, Too Much, or Just Right?  

Getting to a point in our recovery, which requires rigorous honesty is frightening.  As I look back on my own experiences, a thorough assessment had to be conducted.  In recovery, we are asked to look closely within and even far into our past to find the exact nature of the behaviors and activities we chose to engage in, and some people are hesitant, falsely believing that the inventory is only about identifying actions that fill them with shame and guilt. As a result, many want to bury the past experiences and begin the new journey from a starting point of their choosing, not from the place where they are building their foundation. 
If the inventory is done fairly, many people find some valuable gifts and insights about themselves as well. Picking and choosing this highly critical part of the process can be devastating.

What Won’t You Tell in Your Story?

from addict 2 advocate___
Our experiences in the world may be dark, scary and even painful.  However, we should come to a place of opening those doors with the help of our supporters to get a better perspective of where we were, where we are, and where we’re headed. Not everyone’s experiences are dark, scary and painful.
Those who haven’t experienced those, are not excluded from identifying how past experiences may have led them to destructive and deviant expenses associated with addiction.
Creating a discrepancy about my behaviors was required.  Looking in the mirror, my discrepancy appeared like this: “You consistently engaged in  destructive and life-threatening behaviors, where everyone one could see, but you are having difficulty verbalizing what you’ve engaged in.”
This created such conflict and barriers to my personal recovery that it took a  lot of courage, honesty and sincere willingness to change, to overcome this obstacle.  This may seem like a simple or even small obstacles for some, but for many, it’s like attempting to climb Mount Everest; it looks too huge and dangerous.

Getting Comfortable with All of the Story

Coming to grips with what we’ve experienced or what we’ve done, during our destructive journey brings a sense of peace and freedom once we get there.  As we all know, the goal is Freedom.  This freedom isn’t just from addiction, but freedom from our destructive thought patterns as well. During active addiction, we presented with such courage and not fearing anything we met:
*Committed Crimes
*Drank and drove despite knowing the law and dangers
*Hurt Family
*Incarcerated for periods of time
*Placed trust in those who were out to harm us
*Used substances without knowing what they actually contained
Now that we’ve entered the recovery process, we’ve become fearful of discussing the circumstances of our addiction.  We pick apart those experiences and recreate them to our liking due to our need to be accepted by others.  Part of the reason many of us engaged in the destructive and addictive behaviors was due to the need to fit in somewhere.  We are now faced with the same feelings and desires to be accepted; in the recovery process.  
Some may say “If I tell the truth of myself, I be looked down upon and not fit it.”  As a result of this thinking, we sit back and watch others before opening up. We want to be sure we are accepted and we modify our stories so we are.  This hinders our personal recovery because it’s inevitable that the very truths we try to bury or purposely leave out of our story, will surface at a time when we may not be ready to deal with the fallout. 
It’s like the ex-spouse, you felt you’ve gotten over and haven’t seen in a while.  The feelings you had for this person were true and intense.  One day you’re in the supermarket and you come face-to-face with this person.  Despite the time you’ve been apart, a host of emotions and feelings emerge.  
You are totally vulnerable and unprepared for this encounter. 
This may mean you didn’t work through the issues surround the break-up. You may have buried the experience and created the “script” as if all is well. We are well aware of our experiences in the world. 

When the Script is Embarrassing

Some of us may be ashamed of the things that we’ve engaged in but we must come to a point of resolve if we are to sustain.  There are those who need professional help, as previously stated.  However, we must have solid supports around us consisting of people who genuinely want to help us; without judgment.  I’m aware of the difficulty of connecting with people when you are new to the process, but it’s essential.  Just as easily as we spoke to the bartender, liquor store owner or drug dealer, we must have the same drive and commitment to recovery and to life.
The things we’ve done in the past do not manifest who we are as people.  We are resourceful, creative and imaginative people who should use these qualities to continue to improve our lives.   
We can always tear up the old “script” and rewrite it with more substance and conviction to the process.
Writing, and recovery heals the heart

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