The experience of storytelling is magical, and when you’ve got your pen in hand, a kaleidoscope of possibility is open to you. We invite you to join us on a journey to discover the impact of story, imagination and narrative power on your personal growth.
You can escape into any story
Have you ever become so immersed in a film, album, or book that you forget you’re simply a visitor in a fictional world? The power of storytelling (in any form) to help you get outside your own head and feel from a space beyond your own experience is unique and consuming.
When your life story is colored by addiction and trauma, you may wonder if any form of escapism can be healthy. For many people, the only way beyond trauma is to find a way to recount what happened and process the event from a safe distance, psychologically. Evidence based trauma therapy techniques like EMDR function from a similar philosophy.
As a treatment method, you can use the power of story to help you escape from your own mind when you become stuck. This kind of healthy escapism can allow you to reframe the emotions you’re experiencing by creating a new framework that’s removed from your experience, but one that allows you to get closer to it. Escapism alone isn’t a healthy way to heal long-term but it can be the coping mechanism you need to draw a full breath and gather your energy to keep moving forward.
Storytelling can help in many ways
Your story continues to happen within you, even when you are taking a break from processing the story so far. That story, your life, and your experiences are the narrative you tell yourself and others about what you’ve experienced. You can harness the power of your memories and emotions by viewing them through a creative lens and, according to research, doing so can help you to heal too.
When you tell your story, you have the opportunity to reclaim those moments with the power of perspective we often gain in hindsight. Let’s talk about a couple of those benefits in more detail!
You can create safety through storytelling
When you tell yourself the story of an experience you’ve had, you may find opportunities to explore the reactions and emotions you felt through an abstract detachment. Doing this through a story where you are the narrator and author of what’s happened, can empower you to explore more deeply without the inhibition of time or pressure.
You can write another ending
Trauma can create blockages that prevent healing or true exploration of your own emotional scope. It’s difficult to move past these moments when you can’t process them without reliving the pain they caused. Through storytelling, you can rewrite that ending and explore the story in a new way.
While doing so won’t allow you to actually change the way things played out, it can create a sense of peace or escapism within your truth that helps you to process the pain you felt.
Self-talk and unconditional positive regard
Story doesn’t just happen through creative or exploratory means. You are telling the story of your safety daily with the way that you talk to yourself. When you read a particularly intense thriller or a spicy scene in a novel, do you feel the press of adrenaline and the emotional risk? The same thing happens with the way you speak to yourself.
When you hear words of judgment and criticism alongside your thoughts, you’ll begin to feel defensive before you’ve even seen the end of that thought story.
Through unconditional positive regard, your internal narrative can become a space of unrelenting acceptance for your experiences. Rewriting the tone and words you use to speak to yourself can help you to reframe every story you’ve been a part of, and all the stories you’ve yet to live, from the foundation of your thoughts.
Does the way I talk to myself really matter?
The way you speak to yourself will be the lens through which you view the stories of the rest of the world. With that in mind, how could it not matter?
Use thoughtful words with deliberately neutral language when you are feeling emotionally fragile in order to head off a spiral of thought that will take your story to much darker spaces than you need. Likewise, you can use encouraging words when you feel confident to validate your experiences and increase the availability of power and curiosity to continue to explore those feelings.
Your power is infinite in your story
At the heart of it all, amid the tapestry of story that makes up each of our lives, you are the pillar of power in your story. You are more than the story of pain, fear, or trauma that may root you to a moment or reaction that feels unsafe. You are more than one victory or one regret. You are an infinite storybook, and you hold the incredible possibility presented with the knowledge that brings.
If you are ready to explore the story of substance abuse in your life in order to create a holistic story of healing, reach out to us today.