Things to Avoid in Recovery Storytelling

Telling Your Recovery Story > What Makes a Good Story? > Things to Avoid in Recovery Storytelling

As a storyteller, you model how to tell an effective recovery story.

  • Avoid stigmatizing words like addict, druggie, clean, dirty, etc., and triggering or activating words and terms.
  • Avoid acronyms and jargon, too, to ensure your message is meaningful to your listeners.
  • Don’t overshare personal details or use overly graphic, explicit, or negative details.
  • Take responsibility—don’t blame others, make excuses, or glamorize or romanticize your past.
  • Model language choices by using “person with a substance use disorder” instead of substance abuse/abuser or addict/alcoholic.
  • Use “recurrence of use” instead of relapse, and medication-assisted recovery/pharmacotherapy instead of “medication-assisted treatment.”
  • Use positive, recovery-focused language like long-term or sustained recovery and unconditional supporter. Demonstrate that recovery is a reality, and say so!