In meetings and in the recovery community, you hear a lot of people who say they want to stay in the solution and not hear the war stories. In most cases I understand the ‘stay in the solution’ policy; but I also believe that war stories can actually be good for people in recovery.
Why War Stories Can Actually Be Good: Reminds Us of How Far We’ve Come
Hearing war stories in meetings can be good for an addict or alcoholic because it reminds you of how far you’ve come in your sobriety. When I hear a war story it usually takes me back to things I did, tough times I went through, and keep it all fresh in my mind. In my case, it’s always good for me to remember why I got sober in the first place because at times I tend to forget what that pain was like. I never want to forget what my last day of being out there was like because I never want to feel that again.
Why War Stories Can Actually Be Good: Helps Relate to Newcomers
Honestly, in the beginning the only thing most newcomers can relate to is our war stories. When you first come into the rooms, a lot of people don’t have knowledge of recovery and what living a sober life is like. When I first went to a meeting, I remember hearing girls tell their stories and just thinking to myself how much I belonged there because their stories sounded and awful lot like mine. Hearing those war stories helped keep me hopeful and wanting to keep coming back. After all, in meetings the newcomer is always the most important person there.
Why War Stories Can Actually Be Good: Helps You to See the Change in Yourself and Others
Sometimes, we can’t see the change in ourselves so easily. When you tell your war stories to people and compare it all to your life today it helps show how much you’ve changed for yourself and for others to see. It really is an amazing thing to hear that change. In my case, I couldn’t go more than a week or two without getting a flat tire and treated my vehicle horribly in my active addiction. I even sold my car for about 12 pills! Now I have a nice car that I am financing and I pay my bills every month and always have a full tank of gas. Crazy how much your life and the way you are can change. The things you appreciate change a lot, too.
I totally get the whole ‘stay in the solution’ motto and don’t disagree with it because at some point hearing war stories can be negative, also. Some people start craving or are even triggered by people’s war stories so I think if you are going to tell your story, you should always include a lot about the solution, too. It’s great to relate and hear about the crazy things we did in active addiction but it really helps when we hear how you were able to change all of that and become a functioning member of society. If you or a loved one are struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll free 1-800-951-6135.