Humans are social creatures. When we are going through a hard time in life, it can help to talk to someone who understands our experiences. Their perspective and advice can give us hope and help us get through our difficult experiences. Alcohol addiction is no different. If you struggle with drinking, hearing from others who have been in the same position can be helpful and inspiring.
The “Original” Alcohol Addiction Story
In 1935, the recovered drinker Bill W. met several people who struggled with drinking. Bill W. was convinced that drinking was a disease of both the mind and the body. With other recovered drinkers, Bill W. set up groups in Akron OH, Cleveland OH, and New York NY to help others get sober. Over the next four years, 100 people were able to get sober using the techniques of the group, which was later named Alcoholics Anonymous (AA).
Bill W. wrote Alcoholics Anonymous, also known as the Big Book, in 1939. In it, he shared not only his story of addiction and recovery, but also the stories of nearly 30 other AA members. The success of the book was immediate. Within months, AA membership increased dramatically. By the end of 1939, the stories in the book had inspired 2000 people to join AA. By 1950, more than 100,000 people had entered recovery because of AA.
The book starts with Bill W.’s story. He describes his loneliness, his big ego, his falling out with his friends and his failed attempts to quit drinking. Through Bill W.’s eyes, the reader sees him steal from his wife, be hospitalized and hit rock bottom. The reader also sees Bill W inspired by a friend who quit drinking and sees how Bill W. harnesses that into inspiration to quit drinking himself.
Alcoholics Anonymous was the first addiction book of its kind. By having Bill W and others share their stories of addiction and recovery, the road was paved for others to share their stories as well.
Alcohol Addiction Personal Stories
Personal stories of recovery from drinking play many roles in creating a sense of community and hope among those with substance struggles. Sharing stories of addiction and recovery can:
- Connect with people on a personal level
- Erase negative stereotypes and stigma about substance use
- Promote self-reflection
- Inspire others to seek help
- Show others that they are not alone
- Share successful recovery strategies
- Give hope to those still struggling with drinking
- Show that treatment works and that people can recover
How Alcohol Recovery Stories Help
Studies show that hearing stories of mental courage can be helpful when people who struggle with substance use. By telling the stories of people who have succeeded despite fear, it can help others conquer their own fears. If someone who is living with addiction can identify with another person who struggled and succeeded, it can improve both their self-esteem and their self-image and give them the confidence they need to begin the recovery process.
Sharing stories of recovery can also help reduce stigma, which is often a serious barrier to people seeking help for their substance struggle. When people feel alienated because of stigma, it can harm all areas of their life.
Recovery stories can also help the person telling the story. For them, it can be an empowering experience that allows them to come to terms with their story and begin to heal. By approaching the topic from the point of view of someone in recovery, the person telling the story is in a position of strength.
Charles’s Alcohol Addiction Recovery Story
Charles went to an out-of-state Recovery Village rehab center for his struggle with alcohol use. His drinking had robbed him of everything important in his life. In an interview with The Recovery Village, he says that upon walking into the rehab center, he did not want to be there. However, his attitude soon changed. Charles saw that the rehab staff really cared about him and his recovery and that they were going to push him to work hard to get healthy. He is now alcohol-free and credits The Recovery Village with helping him.
Michael’s Alcohol Addiction Recovery Story
In an interview with The Recovery Village, Michael told the story of being just 13 years old the first time he got drunk. After ten years of drinking, his alcohol use began to spiral out of control, leading to a job loss, failing out of school and getting a DUI. Despite a family intervention that sent him to rehab, Michael continued to struggle with alcohol use until he hit rock bottom and decided his life needed to change. In his next attempt at rehab and aftercare, Michael learned tools to recover from alcohol use and realized that he wasn’t alone in his struggle with substances. Now sober for three years, Michael guides other people into recovery as a senior house manager at the Next Step Village aftercare center.
If you or someone you love struggles with drinking, help is here. We understand and want you to get healthy. Contact our experts at The Orlando Recovery Center to learn more. We will be with you every step of the way.
Di Maggio, Ilaria, et al. “Stories of Courage in a Group of Adults with Substance Use Disorder.” Addictive Behavior Reports, July 5, 2019. Accessed August 24, 2019.
Alcoholics Anonymous. “Historical Data: The Birth of A.A. and Its Growth in the U.S./Canada.” Accessed August 24, 2019.
Livingston, James D., et al. “The Effectiveness of Interventions for Reducing Stigma Related to Substance Use Disorders: a Systematic Review.” Addiction, January 2012. Accessed August 24, 2019.