The written word is still as powerful as it was centuries ago. People used to sit around campfires telling stories. They still do to this day, but they are losing ground to electronics, computers, typewritten words, and engagement with audiovisual storytelling. Digital storytelling is one piece of a larger framework of historical storytelling that began long ago. When people sat around the fire at home or in pubs and in other spaces, they told stores that helped them heal, revealed pieces of their cultural narrative, or communicated important information. To track stories online is healing in a new way, including ways for women to engage in storytelling and healing from addiction.
Healing from Trauma
The best way to heal from trauma is to talk about it. This does not mean talk about the trauma so as to re-traumatizing way, but to focus on what would be most healing. To be heard is the greatest form of healing there is. That is why people that harbor secrets or do not talk about shame and fears they have or hide addiction from loved ones often struggle for a long time. Stories are a way to share struggles and find others who share the journey. Women can develop a space to tell stories, share experiences, and connect with others who understand what they are going through. They also can affirm their journey and where they are today. A digital story is defined as ‘short, first-person narratives’ which are created to help tell stories of healing, addiction, trauma, positive life experiences and more. Producing those stories can empower women especially to feel they have more control over their stories. Women who feel in control of their stories often feel more in control of their own healing journeys.
Power of Story
Part of the power of telling a woman’s own story is her ability to practice self-representation. Women are under-represented in many areas of society from workplaces to even their own homes where they do a lot of caretaking for others. There are many ways women can feel they are not empowered, which can also be part of their addiction stories. However they ended up in addiction, their past can begin to heal when they take ownership of their stories. Empowerment is a huge piece of digital storytelling. The practice in workshops is to give the power back to women who can tell their stories in their own words. Every person can speak about their experiences and share them with like-minded people. This helps them process the story and begin to see they are not alone.
To begin storytelling, a participant will be in a circle with others working on her story. The participants will all write down their stories and read them aloud. They can be digitally recorded or written up online. This is a way for the stories to take on a life of their own with permission by the women themselves. In a therapeutic setting, this can be the start of healing stories. In a personal way, women can do this on their own just by using their mobile phones and videotaping or recording audio that helps them share those stories.
Stories that are not always heard can be recorded and digitized for others to hear. It may just be for the woman herself to hear and nobody else. Depending on the type of setting it is used in, digital storytelling can have a profound impact on a woman’s life. Self-representation of survivors of trauma and addiction often gives them more ownership of their recovery. Personal experiences get a place to reach more people if they are shared widely. Even if it is just a personal diary, it helps to be able to control the narrative and tell the story women want to hear. It is less about other people and just about their own personal story.
Owning the Story
Women who are given the opportunity to own their stories often find they are more open and vulnerable. In a shared setting with other women, their stories take on new life and have been breathed into by those who understand better the experiences they faced. The people who learn to use technology also help them regain control of their story. Participants also learn to use technology to rework their stories, put it online, use video technology or vlogging, and take back a sense of control. These experiences last long after the workshop ends and helps encourage women to stand up for what they want. This brings equality and justice to the process.
When women are able to work on their own stories, even in journaling, they begin to see patterns and notice places where they can work on bringing healing into their past stories. Addiction is all about looking at the whole narrative but not getting stuck on moments from the past. They can work out important details while also being in a setting where others help them walk through the difficult challenges and face them with a new perspective.
Casa Capri is designed for women who are struggling with addiction to find hope and a purpose. Storytelling is only one part of the therapeutic process women experience at Casa Capri. We help women be more vulnerable and share their stories and struggles without feeling shame or guilt. We help them with programs, services, and more to serve their needs in recovery. If you or a loved one need help, call us: 844-593-8020
Melissa Holmes Goodmon is the founder and CEO of Casa Capri Recovery, a leading California addiction treatment center created just for women—by women. Melissa is a licensed clinician and has stayed on the cutting edge of women’s treatment since 2006. Because of her own beautiful recovery story, she is proud to be among a small group of trailblazers since founding Casa Capri Recovery for Women in 2011, leading the way for other women to join them in this otherwise male-dominated industry. She is considered an advocate for the recovery community in the truest sense, standing up to discrimination and legally fighting for the rights of sober people in recovery to live in peace. To learn more about advocacy or if you’ve experienced discrimination, you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out casacaprirecovery.com for more information on our program, or please give us a call at 844-207-4880.