In early recovery, so many of us realize that we lack an identity outside of using and drinking. It can often be painful or humiliating to acknowledge that so much of our personal history is wrapped up in the behaviors associated with active addiction. Rather than tap into those uncomfortable feelings, many in early recovery fall into the habit of “telling war stories,” trying to one-up our peers with tales of our bad behavior and questionable decision making. And war stories aren’t all bad – sometimes we can erupt in laughter when we reflect on a really terrible decision. But frequently, it leaves us in a place where we glorify “the good old days,” which really weren’t so great. If they were, we probably wouldn’t be considering recovery, right?!
One of the great rewards of recovery is that we can write our own sober history. We can make decisions, have adventures, and build relationships that change our future and improve the world around us. For many in early recovery, it’s hard to imagine that a person could find us “interesting” if we weren’t getting into trouble. In fact, it was hard to even imagine we’d be interested in other people who weren’t creating chaos! But as we start to build a new life in recovery, we find that we are impressive people. We can lay the foundation that allows us to be leaders, entrepreneurs, artists, athletes, politicians, and more. If we can walk through the discomfort of building a new life, we will create a life worth living.
So often we’re terrified of letting go of what we know, believing the enemy we know is safer than the enemy we don’t. We struggle to connect with people beyond a surface level, often believing the lie that deep down, we are uninteresting and unlikeable. How do we break that cycle? Say yes to something new today. Go for a run. Try a new hobby. Invite someone to join you. Enroll for that class you’ve been thinking about. Take action. Don’t wait. Eventually, you’ll look back on this moment in your sober history and feel immense gratitude.
If you or a loved one are ready to start creating a sober history, please don’t hesitate to reach out.