Why Share Our Personal Recovery Narratives? A Tool for Respect!

Found this excellent article on the “vocationalvoice” blog. You can find the blog at http://vocationalvoice.com 

For recovery narratives posted on our Peer Support & On Our Way Recovery News site, check out “My 360 Degree Story“, “How Metacognitive Therapy Helped Me”,To Give a Life Back” and “I had Insight into My Recovery”.


vocationalvoice: the integrated employment institute

I am grateful of a gentleman who shared his recovery story at a partial care program that I was attending in December of 1989. He traveled out of county working for Collaborative Support Programs of New Jersey, (CSPNJ) Inc. The guest speaker spoke of his challenges and the inspirational moments that gave him hope. He valued natural supports, acceptance of living with mental illness, achieving goals despite clinical diagnostic labeling, working full-time and more. Furthermore, I admired his courage to thoughtfully and intimately self-disclose his story with both peers and staff. His hopeful, genuine, and balanced narrative was exceedingly important to me.

I was submerged in lifeless depressive feelings, such as anxiety, stress, listlessness, apathy, isolation, invisibility, helplessness, hopelessness, worthlessness, anger, guilt, societal stigma, labeling, suicidal ideation, and more. I was a month shy of my 28th birthday when listening to my first personal recovery narrative/ lived experience presentation. I began to develop

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3 responses to “Why Share Our Personal Recovery Narratives? A Tool for Respect!

  1. I do love this title: “Why Share Our Personal Recovery Narratives? A Tool for Respect.”
    I am 58 years old. My personal recovery narrative is quite long and involves years and years of living with anxiety, fear, panic while also holding within my psyche the deep shame and fear of having emotions, needs, feelings and perceptions. I have been a body- centered somatic Creative Arts Therapist for the past 35 years.. I was guided to be in recovery for co-dependency in 1992. My image of being a grounded, centered professional was more important than being me, Laurie.. grounded and centered in my body, emotions, sensations, thoughts and feelings. I must admit that I still do have some shame and fear in telling my story.. and yet, I do long and yearn for a place and a space to be honest, authentic, emotionally open and real. I worry that what I have to say and what I have lived through would make people run or hide from me. That is what took place in my family of origin.. and also when I was in training as a therapist I also noticed that my story often left people without any response. Without an emotional or mental response I was often left feeling more isolated, alone, ashamed and feeling like a burden.
    I wonder when and where I will be able to tell my story.. and feel safe, grounded, alive and out of trauma states of being.
    If anyone has any advice/suggestions for me I am open. I have been in talk therapy and I have also trained in trauma and recovery.. and still there’s a block that I have which I am eager to release and heal.
    I realize that my unmet need is to be able to share my narrative.. with people who would like to listen and/or people who might benefit or feel safe and able to also speak up.
    It was Diana T Marsh who wrote the book “Serious Mental Illness in the Family” who did suggest that I write and tell my story so that other folks who are frozen in fear or shame might also speak out.

    I find it a challenge to be in the realm of 12 step recovery as well as in recovery for.. the adaptive strategy.. of growing up in a family with mental illness in 1961-1971.. and afterwards.

    Thank you for listening. to me.

    • Hi Laurie,

      I want to thank you for your thoughtful comment and commend you on your courage. It isn’t easy to share our personal struggles and yet if no one does, these things remain in the shadows. There is also so much positive learning that can come from these stories and there is the potential to inspire hope in others and let people know they are not alone.

      Thank you for sharing.


      • Dear Renea,

        I do appreciate your response. I am feeling gratitude for your presence. When I speak from the shadows many people turn away and they are angry, bored, annoyed and frustrated. For me, the way to return to safety, love, self-attunement and self-regulation is to have time and space to speak my journey and to have people like you who extend time, presence and compassion.. Otherwise.. I remain alone, isolated in states of shame and stigma..

        Thank you for your response.


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