A valuable lesson I learned in recovery is sharing based on my experience, strength, and hope. When speaking with someone struggling with addiction there is a huge difference between saying “you should . . . ” and “when x happens in my life, I have learned to . . . ”
The immediate difference is that the fellow addict feels less lectured at and more in conversation with another addict about solutions.
But another aspect of this approach that is of particular value is that reflecting on my experience requires me to look within and at my path in life. This approach keeps my recovery process fresh in my mind. As I encounter similar situations today in life, the solutions that worked in the past are more fresh in my present thoughts.
The understanding that I need only share my experience, strength, and hope, is something I enjoy about recovery meetings. My natural inclination is not to speak at such meetings, yet if called on I rarely pass. But as the discussion goes around, I listen intently to what others have to say to compare with my experiences, seek the common thread, or how my story compliments that of others. This process is a fantastic opportunity for self-reflection whether in a formal recovery meeting or informal conversation.
Like so much in recovery, the more we give, the more we get back!