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Make Your Voice Heard: How Your Story of Recovery Can Change Hearts & Minds


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In this session at RISE19, organized by the National Association of Drug Court Professionals (NADCP), Ami Neiberger-Miller talked with treatment court graduates about how to structure their stories of recovery. She discusses how to select aspects of your story to share, prepare for an audience, and structure your story for maximum impact. She also talks about providing privacy for your family and special considerations treatment court graduates should consider.

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Make Your Voice Heard: How Your Story of Recovery Can Change Hearts & Minds

  2. 2. WHY SHARE YOUR STORY • Stories are powerful. • Stories can change minds. • Stories can inspire others to go into treatment. • Stories can offer hope to families of those coping with substance use disorders. • Stories can call for action and trigger it.
  3. 3. WHERE TO SHARE YOUR STORY • Recovery group • Graduation ceremony for a treatment court • News media • School or college • Community organization
  4. 4. ARE YOU READY? • Only you can know if you are ready. Listen to your gut. • Do you feel “ready/”? • Are you still working through key aspects of your recovery? • Do you want the public attention/intrusion that attention can bring?
  5. 5. WHAT DO I WANT THE AUDIENCE TO TAKE AWAY FROM MY TALK? • Do I want for them to understand treatment courts better? What do they need to know? • Do I want for them to take action? • Do I want for them to support treatment courts in some way? How? • Do I want for them to encourage someone to go into treatment? Or to feel encouraged knowing that treatment can work?
  6. 6. THINGS TO CONSIDER BEFORE SHARING • Are there other people in my life who will be impacted if I choose to share my story? • Will there be other repercussions to me? • Am I sharing information that is appropriate for the audience?
  7. 7. STORY OUTLINE Start from a place of strength. • I am a mother, a child, a son, a hard worker… Main story structure • How you came to treatment court • What happened to you in treatment court • Your life now in recovery after graduating from treatment court
  8. 8. HOW CAN I END STRONG? Reach an endpoint by answering one of these questions at the end: • What are you most proud of in your life? • What is your biggest dream for your future? • Is there someone in your life who keeps you grounded? How so? What is your relationship? • How did treatment court change your life?
  9. 9. MESSAGING NUANCES • Be careful with your phrasing. Sometimes fewer details can get the point across while avoiding calling out anyone specific. Instead of saying, “I used to steal money from my grandmother’s purse,” say, “I used to steal money from people who loved me.” This subtle change prevents unnecessary attention from being brought to your grandmother while accurately highlighting the challenges you faced.
  10. 10. MESSAGING NUANCES • Pick one great detail and help the audience visualize it. Describe an ordinary object, a smell, a feeling, a sight, a taste, or a sound. For example, comparing the silence of coming home to an empty house during the height of addiction to the sound of your child’s excited footsteps greeting you after achieving sobriety
  11. 11. GET MORE SUPPORT – READ OUR PUBLICATION! http://www.nadcpconferen content/uploads/2018/05/ E-22.pdf
  12. 12. PREPARING TO SHARE YOUR STORY ADVICE FROM A TREATMENT COURT GRADUATE • Only share when you are ready and what you are comfortable sharing • Know your audience, i.e. recovery group, media, civic group • Practice- write it down, review it, share it for feedback • Be easy on yourself, this is your story, no perfection is required
  13. 13. UNDERSTAND THE IMPACT • How is sharing your story going to impact others? • How is sharing your story going to impact you (work, community, family)? • What is the main purpose of sharing, i.e. evoke hope, advocate for change, inspire others, break stigma, support recovery and justice reform services?
  14. 14. STORY OUTLINE • I am a ______________ (start from strength) • What led you to treatment court? • What happened while in treatment court? [be concrete] • What happened after leaving treatment court? • Summation (pick 1): Service is part of my recovery because… Treatment court made a difference in my life because… If I had never gotten the opportunity to participate in treatment court, I would…
  15. 15. TALK TO US • Chris Deutsch, NADCP Communications • Ami Neiberger-Miller