Characteristics of a Good Story

Telling Your Recovery Story > What Makes a Good Story? > Characteristics of a Good Story


When telling your personal story, it’s important to be genuine and true to yourself. Share your experiences, thoughts, and emotions honestly, without trying to sugarcoat or exaggerate them. Authenticity allows others to connect with your story on a deeper level.​


Ensure that your story is clear and easy to follow. Use concise and descriptive language to paint a vivid picture of your experiences, setting, and characters. Avoid jargon, acronyms, or overly complex language that may confuse or alienate your audience.


Determine the main theme or message you want to convey through your personal story. Keep your narrative focused on that central idea, avoiding unnecessary tangents or unrelated details. A clear focus helps your story stay coherent and impactful. Focus on recovery.

Emotional resonance​

Share the emotions you felt during the events of your story. Be open about how certain situations made you feel, whether it was joy, sadness, fear, or any other emotion. Emotions help your audience connect with your story on a deeper level and make it more relatable. Avoid parts of your story that can activate/trigger negative emotions that may cause someone to get lost in the horrid details of your story. This is a recovery story not an active addiction story: Shoot for 80% recovery, 20% active addiction.


Being vulnerable in sharing your personal story can create a powerful connection with your audience. It takes courage to reveal your struggles, failures, and insecurities. Sharing your vulnerabilities can inspire empathy and convey a sense of authenticity.

Reflection and growth​

Reflect on the lessons, insights, or personal growth that you gained from your experiences. Show how these experiences have shaped you as a person and influenced your perspective on life. Sharing your personal growth can inspire and motivate others.​

Engaging storytelling techniques​

Use storytelling techniques such as vivid descriptions, dialogue, and narrative arc to make your personal story engaging and captivating. Create suspense, build tension, and use narrative devices to keep your audience interested and invested in your story.​


Consider the relevance of your personal recovery story to your audience. Find ways to connect your experiences and lessons to broader themes or universal truths that others can relate to. Make your story relatable and applicable to the lives of your listeners or readers.

Honesty and self-reflection​

Be honest with yourself and your audience about your strengths, weaknesses, and mistakes. Reflect on how these aspects have influenced your personal journey and the decisions you’ve made. Honesty and self-reflection add depth and authenticity to your personal story.​

Respect for privacy

While sharing your personal story, be mindful of the privacy and feelings of others who may be involved. Avoid sharing details that could harm or embarrass others without their consent. Respect boundaries and only share what feels appropriate and necessary for the story you are telling.​