Sharing all the highs and lows of your alcohol-free journey can be a powerful thing. And not just for others—for you, too.
Sure, sharing experience can be a daunting prospect. Will people judge you for sharing difficult experiences? Will it look like bragging to share positive ones? It’s hard to put yourself and the intimate details of your life out there. But these anxieties melt away when you share in a safe space, and you can begin to see the huge benefits of being open. That’s why we built OYNB around the cornerstone of community, and why we always encourage our members to harness the power of sharing stories with each other.
Each person’s WHYs, perspectives on the challenge, and ultimate goals will vary—but whatever the details, each story is inspiring. There’s always something that resonates with many others on the same journey, because we’re all human; we’re all here working towards personal growth. And you could argue that sharing experience is even more important to help those who haven’t yet taken the leap to their own alcohol-free challenge.
We are storytellers at heart
Storytelling is a fundamental part of human culture. Thousands of years ago, we used them to pass knowledge from person to person, community to community, and generation to generation. How else could we share experience, advice, and learnings, in a time before you could just look something up in a book or online?
Stories also have an emotional component, and that makes them easier for the brain to remember than straightforward facts. Humans are social creatures, so we’re fascinated by what’s going on with other people—we want to learn from it; to know what to do, and what not to do in life. (Think about the popularity of reality TV shows, for instance.)
But we’re not advocating sharing experience as some sort of spectator sport. Yes, other people can benefit from your experience, but you may be surprised to learn that there are benefits for the storyteller too.
Reflections of you
Whether you write it down by hand, type it from your keyboard, or tell people in person, sharing your experience gives you the opportunity to reinforce everything you’ve learned by relaying it to someone else.
We’ve talked about the benefits of reflection here on the blog before, and telling your story is a great way do exactly that. Going back to the beginning helps you see just how far you’ve come, in a way that may surprise you. Whether you’ve achieved your end-goal or are still working towards it, you’ll have made progress you can be proud of—and that helps spark motivation for your next goal, cement some of the lessons you’ve learned, or even simply identify new directions for personal growth.
Of course, telling your story to others also helps them to learn from your experience. Being open about the pitfalls and challenges that can come up is just as important as passing on any secrets to success you might have gathered—both give other people the chance to get their own strategies ready ahead of time.
But it doesn’t have to all be after the fact. Turning to the OYNB community as you go can be incredibly positive, even when you’re struggling. Sharing experience one snippet at a time helps you process your thoughts and feelings in the moment, and gives others a snapshot of a different perspective. Your successes show them what’s possible, and your difficulties show them they’re not alone—because someone else will always be feeling the same thing you are.
Maybe you think your alcohol-free story is pretty ordinary. But to someone else it could be extraordinary. Whether it’s your background, your personality, your obstacles or your goals (or even something else altogether), it may only take one resonating detail to inspire another person to make positive change in their own life. When we ask members why they joined OYNB, time and time again it’s the success stories and testimonials that have made the most impact. It’s a wonderful cycle of positive energy—people sharing their experience, their lives, their vulnerability is what helps others to start changing their own relationship with alcohol. They go on to share their stories, and the cycle continues. You never know who’s listening.
To paraphrase Johann Hari, the opposite of addiction is connection. When you’re part of the OYNB community, you’re part of a group of people that understand where you’re coming from. They’re all different people, but they all have one thing in common: they’re trying to change their behaviour around alcohol. So many of our members make ‘friends for life’ (their words!) on their alcohol-free challenge, as they discover parallels with other people's experience. Being able to identify with people on that kind of level, and validate one another—especially when sharing experiences with a lot of emotion—can create deep connections. And that kind of support network is so important for self-development.
Try it for yourself: share your experience!
There are tonnes of ways you can start sharing your experience with other people, and it’s not limited to OYNB.
- Chat to friends, family or workmates about what you want to achieve
- Share your daily highs and lows in our online communities
- Email our team to tell us how you’ve found your experience
- Offer to submit your own story to be published here on our site!
Whatever you choose, remember that it connects you with others in the most positive way. And that can only be a good thing.