Note to Self: Stop Telling People How to Recover

Over the past couple of months, I’ve had a few people reach to out to me for help getting started in recovery.  First off all, the fact that someone would seek me out for direction on an important life matter seems strange.  I’m used to being the one that needs direction, so it’s still a bit uncomfortable to be in this position.  Second, since I’m going to school to for addiction counseling and plan to go into the field professionally someday, I am hesitant to give out advice.  It probably shouldn’t make a difference, but it does.  I guess I feel that since I’m just beginning the journey of becoming a licensed counselor, I don’t feel qualified to help in a meaningful way.
When talking it over today with my therapist, we got on the topic of how I want to protect myself from disappointment if I can’t “save” someone.  She said that only about 1 in 10 of her clients are as successful as I have been in recovery and this work is about planting a seed.  That seed may not sprout right away but that’s not fully in my control.  And that’s right, I can’t take on that responsibility.  Not at this point in my own recovery, not ever.  It’s not that I ever think I have to save someone, but when you are trying to help someone you can’t help but to get a little attachment to the cause.  That’s going to happen, especially early on in this career.
This made me think about how I’ve been approaching the situation all wrong.  I’m not a licensed professional yet.  I have no obligation, and really no right, to be a “counselor” to anyone.  Even more so, I have no responsibility for how people recover.  All I can do is stick to what I do know.  That’s telling my story and what has worked for me.  Nothing more.
I know I over analyzed this like I do everything, but I needed that reminder.  As my confidence has grown in my sobriety, my approach to helping others has started to change from sharing my story to telling people what works and what doesn’t.  I hate when people do that to me so I’m not going to do that to anyone else.  I especially don’t want to be like that as a counselor.  The point of entering this field is to bring a more modern approach, like my counselor has been open to with me.  So I’m breaking that habit before it goes too far.
I think that if we all stick to telling our own stories and what has worked us, instead of telling people how to recover there’d be less of a stigma and even less of a failure rate of recovery.  No one wants to be told how to do something.  Saying my that my path to recovery is the only way to recover or that I have the answer for everyone is irresponsible.  This industry needs more transparency.  From now on, I’m doubling down and sticking to the belief that if people are presented with options, they will be more successful at finding a path that works for them.  We need to support, not preach.  I can’t tell others to do that until I’m fully doing it myself.
That’s what this blog is about, sharing my story and what has worked for me.  Showing others that there are many different things that one can do to get and maintain sobriety.  I think this post is more for me than it is for anyone who reads it.  With everything I’ve had going on the past couple of months…starting school and launching the Sober Friends Club…I’ve neglected blogging and being an advocate.  I lost some sight of the purpose.  So let’s get this thing back on track.  Comment, like, share…let me know what y’all think.  I promise to get back to more regular updates.
Love y’all,
Mike