Addiction Narratives and REcovery
Addiction recovery is a very personal topic for me as it has taken me 20 years of work to understand how narrative impacted my own addiction and also led to my recovery from alcoholism. I know that when suffering from an alcohol or other addictions, we can get stuck in our own narratives around the problem. We will ask ourselves the same questions over and over and repeat our same stories about why we don't need help or beat ourselves up for not being able to do it on our own.
In my own story, my own relationship to alcoholism was complicated by my family history. I learned from a young age certain things about "alcoholism." Because my father was abused by an alcoholic grandfather, I learned that an alcoholic is mean, unloving, and out of control. It was very much a common story and stereotype of the alcoholic; an unemployed, useless, and miserable on a park bench.
Kicking in was my own self-narrative. This was not me. I was driven to succeed, I had a friends, I was a straight A student, I got a scholarship to law school, and in my own mind, I was going places. My outward appearances and how I presented was such a far cry from the idea I had of alcoholism that I used it to protect myself from the truth. The truth was that I used my exterior successes to cover up how empty and scared I really felt. I hid the fact that I was a binge drinker, all the pain that alcohol had caused in my life, and the reality that I could not control my drinking.
How can I help you?
My goal in working on addiction narratives is to help you understand what stories, inferences, and histories might be blocking your ability to recover. As a trained narrative therapist, my work is helping you unpack any stories and ideas you have about yourself in relation to your addiction, to separate your identity from your addiction, to consider how your addiction impacts your life, to create an honest depiction of your addiction, and to collaborate in helping you establish agency and a personalized approach to confront any struggles you are having with alcohol, drugs, food or other compulsive behavior.
One of the most challenging aspects of addiction recovery is admitting there is a problem and reaching out for help. Maybe you have tried traditional therapy and it was unhelpful or you are not ready or interested in 12-step recovery. I will work with you specifically on your addiction narratives and help you consider what underlying narratives, presumptions, and blocks you might have established for yourself. I am not a licensed psychologist or a psychiatrist and I will refer anyone who needs medical assistance. My personal work is not medical, rather related to personal storytelling and narrative only. My experience is in alcohol addiction recovery, but I am also able to help clients confront their narratives related to disordered eating or food addictions, sex addictions, or other manifestations of these escape forms.
How Narrative Helped me get sober
There are a couple ways in which healing my narrative helped me get sober. First of all, I had to name my problem. It took me 20 years to identify as an alcoholic, but once I could name the addiction and the problem, it gave me space to take it on. From this naming, came the ability to name what had been going on in my life was a huge step in moving forward. I think this applies to a lot of things. We avoid labels because we don’t want to be associated with them, or we mislabel because one is more comfortable than the other.
I also believe strongly in the power of shared narrative, and for me why 12-step is particularly successful in helping addicts recover. Full disclosure, this was a primary source of my recovery, as well as podcasts, and reaching out to others who had shared experiences. By continuing to listen to other recovery narratives, I was able to reshape my own history around addiction, see other alcoholics in hopeful and positive lens, and see the possibility and strength of a recovered person. I will strongly recommend anyone in addiction recovery to seek outside narrative support either through groups, online communities, podcasts, and other shared story initiatives.
Addiction Recovery for Lawyers
As a lawyer who has gone through recovery, I would like to extend special services and counseling to members of the legal profession seeking highly discretionary counseling related to addiction narrative. For more information about my work with lawyers and legal professionals in addiction or recovery click here.