The Problem with “War Stories”

There is nothing wrong with discussing one’s past during treatment and recovery. The problem arises when our discussions turn from a frank and honest examination of our past to romanticizing our addiction. Often, addiction has consumed our lives to such a degree that we have little else to talk about. When we begin telling “war stories” about our drug use, we run the risk of comparing our addiction to someone else’s and diminishing their problem while also ignoring the pain and suffering that occurred during our time in active addiction.
“War stories” are the romanticized stories we tell others about our addiction. We find that the greatest commonality we have with others in treatment is our mutual addiction. When we tell these types of stories, we are entering into a sort of one-upmanship about the severity of our addiction. We run the risk of making the other person feel that they don’t have as serious a problem as we did, and they have yet to reach a severe enough “rock bottom” to want to recover. Conversely, we may hear stories of another person’s struggled and think that our problem isn’t as bad as theirs, causing us to question whether we really need treatment.
Recovery is a unique journey for every individual. For some, “rock bottom” may mean facing jail time, major health problems, overdose, or homelessness. For others, “rock bottom” is a spiritual experience. We may have a good job, house, or family, but our addiction has affected us so greatly in a spiritual sense that we need sobriety to live a happy and healthy life. When we tell war stories, we are turning the focus toward the external consequences and dangerous situations that we dealt with during our time in active addiction. The stories inherently draw a comparison between one’s addiction and another’s addiction.
War stories may also tend to focus on the fun of life in addiction. They romanticize what life in addiction is, rather than recognizing the reality of the pain and suffering that were present. By focusing on the good times, we are repressing the bad times. Ignoring the pain of addiction can be a major impediment to recovery. Instead, we should do our best to take an honest and objective look at how our addiction affected us. War stories get in the way of frank introspection and keep us from developing the necessary honesty, open-mindedness, and willingness to overcome our addiction.

Your story can become one of honesty and serenity in sobriety. You can make the courageous decision to seek help now and embark upon the rewarding journey of recovery. Oceanfront Recovery, a treatment facility in beautiful Laguna Beach, offers a fluid and innovative approach to treatment that is tailored to the individual needs and unique challenges faced by each client. For more information about individualized treatment options, please call today: (877) 279-177