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Holding Our Stories Lightly

Nov 30, 2020

Timothy Mayer, LMHC, QS, Primary Therapist

Our stories are not us.

At the most basic level, we are owners of reflexive consciousness, which means we can have thoughts about the thoughts we think. We can also make ourselves the subject and observer of those thoughts. We are the only known critters with this remarkable ability.

This reflexive consciousness allows us to create a story about ourselves. Depending on our mood, motivation, experience, and intention, this tale can change and evolve. Our story is the narrative we want to be told, at any one time, depending on many changing causes and conditions. Let’s face it. It’s hard to get through a treatment program without hearing some statistics. Some of them are grim, and some of them are more hopeful. From day one in the recovery movement, we found that the most important statistic is the statistic of “one.”

If you or a loved one need help, call our admissions team today at 561-270-1753.

One person. One life. One story.

These stories, the products of our reflexive consciousness, express more accurately, and cut deeper than all the scatter graphs, pie charts, and infographics ever could. From the beginning of this recovery movement, people sharing their stories have been the vehicle of change. Combined with the Big Book’s stated purpose, “to find a power greater than yourself” via the Twelve Steps, this has been the bedrock upon which the movement was founded.

Know, write, and tell your story.

However, never hold your story too tightly. It is told for a reason and based on many variables, many of which you can and will change. When we tell our stories, it’s best to hold them lightly and leave room and space for change, growth, revision, and perspective. When we do this, we have affirmed who we are now and have not anchored ourselves to that point. We have left the reality-based option open so that our story can change as we change.

Keep in mind that your suffering is already understood when you tell your story at a 12-Step meeting. A recounting of your self-destructive behaviors is less risky than a vulnerable admission of the courage it took to walk into the meeting in the first place.

Likewise, it’s relatively easy to tell the story of your substance use. But as you develop your conscious contact with God, can you tell your compassion story as you understand God? Can you tell your courage story? Can you tell your shame story without being ashamed?

Can you tell all your stories and not hold them too tightly? Can you let them grow, evolve, and in some cases, release them? Can you give them to others to tell, lightly hold, and eventually release their own stories?


Headwaters is a well-known care provider offering a range of treatment programs targeting the recovery from substance use, mental health issues, and beyond. Our primary mission is to provide a clear path to a life of healing and restoration. We offer renowned clinical care for addiction and have the compassion and professional expertise to guide you toward lasting sobriety. For information on our programs, call us today: 561-270-1753.

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