One thing that people in recovery from addiction tend to struggle with is the urge to “preach” sobriety to other people. Most of us have met this person at some point in our lives. This is the person who is really doing well and feeling good being sober and naturally wants to share this experience with other people who are struggling. That said, many of us have had personal experiences, or at least heard about, times when this went wrong. So how does this happen? Like I stated earlier, this urge to share comes from a very good place and can be helpful when done appropriately. That said, like anything else, this desire to help can be taken to the point where it feels really pushy instead of helpful to others around us.
So how do we balance this desire to share our experience with those around us who are struggling but not come across as overbearing/pushy? (And ending up alienating people instead of helping get them to the help they need)? The biggest rule of thumb is to share your experiences and knowledge with those who are asking for it and/or seem genuinely interested. Telling Bob who has no desire to quit drinking how AA saved your life is probably going to fall on deaf ears at best. That said, having a conversation with Suzy who is asking about your recovery, is likely going to be much better received. Another important question to ask yourself is can I share this in a way that does not put pressure on the other person?
Many people find the best way to do this is to talk about their sobriety in terms of “hey this is something that is really working for me personally”. If we can shift the conversation from you must stop drinking/using and get sober to hey I’ve struggled with this to and here are the things I’m doing that seem to be really helping me as an individual, the other person we be more likely to take that information in without hearing it as an attack.
Questions about sharing about your sobriety or anything else addiction/recovery related? Feel free to get in touch!