“You should be a recovery speaker”

My treatment program brings in recovery speakers who typically are former patients doing well in recovery. The line that people from program (ranging from my treatment team to other patients who received help at the same time as me) say when they hear about my recent progress is, “You should be a recovery speaker.” One of my guys who was in treatment with me called yesterday to check in and said exactly that.

The old me that sought external approval for everything really appreciates when others think I am doing well enough to unlock the achievement of being a recovery speaker. But, then my self-critical voice is triggered, reminding me that  I’m not perfectly recovered so how could I ever be a role model of recovery? Whoops and then that kind of perfectionist thinking is part of the disorder, which feeds back into the unproductive loop of me feeling like I’m not ready to stand up as a recovery speaker.

Then, there’s part of me that’s frustrated it is not just good enough for me to be plugging along in recovery. I do not want the pressure of trying to be recovered enough to be a recovery speaker.

I find myself frustrated at people for suggesting I fit in the box of being a recovery speaker, but are they the ones adding the pressure on me or am I the one who creates superfluous stress for myself? It can be a mix of both, but there is usually more of my self-induced stress that surfaces.

I’m going to say now for myself that it’s ok to be human and to still slip up a little even if I do eventually become a recovery speaker. My story can still be helpful, even if it is not perfect, even if I am not perfect. No one is asking me to be perfect when they ask me to share my journey.

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