Honoring the small moments along big journeys in order to connect and heal our community.
Intention: Why are we gathering these stories?
The purpose of this School for Recovery Class is to bring Café and community members together through both the telling and the listening of others’ life stories. The intent of these classes is to help people recognize and develop a story about their recovery journey with the option to present to an audience in the Café in September for National Recovery Month. We believe everyone is in recovery from something. We will honor the small moments that make a person whole.
Through “The Power of Storytelling” school for recovery classes, we will facilitate story circles with questions to stir up special memories that help participants get to know each other and themselves better. These story circles will also help facilitators gauge who may be interested in presenting their stories publicly. In later months, we will shift the focus toward teaching the storytelling format including setting, description, motivating desire, the struggle/problem, rising actions, climax, and realization/ resolution. In a “Rite of Passage” story workshop, participants will tell a five-minute story about an obstacle they have overcome. Next, facilitators will help participants fine-tune and/or expand on this story before either putting the story in writing or presenting publicly.
Who benefits most from this story project and why?
By telling stories of struggles and resilience, people in recovery will benefit from realizing their own strengths and being seen by others as a human worthy of love and support. The storytellers will not be seen as one-dimensional survivors or heroes but instead challenge implicit biases, resist simplicity, and use strength-based framing. We will help participants showcase joy, wonder, strength, and humor in addition to any potential trauma or hardship (Voice of Witness, 2022).
How can this project benefit all involved?
Our hope is to encourage our community to get to know each other on a deeper level. For those unfamiliar with recovery, this story project will open their eyes to the intricacies of people and their experiences. We believe that vulnerability and human connections are inspirational through the act of storytelling. It presents a self-examination of bias and stereotypes toward people in recovery which contributes to humanization and healing.
What will happen to stories once they have been shared/recorded?
Option for recording, social media, creating a storybook, and pieces of artwork.
How will we care for storytellers? How do we ensure that sharing stories won’t bring harm to storytellers?
“Voice of Witness” authors suggest that while this process can be healing; recounting traumatizing experiences can also be painful and lead to retraumatization. It’s vital to be supportive and responsive, avoiding potential triggers, soliciting ongoing input, and respecting narrators’ self-determination and right to opt-out (Ethical Storytelling Principles, 2022). We will prioritize emotional well-being above all and come equipped with referrals to professional support systems such as Mental Health Partners.
Ask participants: “If you had a meaningful story to share what would you need in order to be able to share it openly and honestly?” At Recovery Café Longmont, we foster a space where vulnerability is met with compassion, understanding, love, and respect.
Principles to be followed by facilitators and participants
Respect, curiosity, collaboration, confidentiality, non-judgment, patient listening, self-care, and giving storytellers agency.
May 19, 2023, 4 – 5 pm Introduction. Explanation of intent. Naomi expands on her joy of storytelling and experience with the Hearth. Naomi, Chris, & Elyssa give an example of 1-minute storytelling.
May 26, 2023, 4-5 pm Story Groups.
Jun 15, 2023, 2-3 pm Story Groups.
Jun 22, 2023, 2-3 pm Story Groups.
Jul 14, 2023, 4-5 pm Story Groups.
Jul 21, 2023, 4-5 pm Story Groups/Introduce format of Rite of Passage
Aug 11, 2023, 4-5 pm Rite of Passage/ decide who will present
Aug 18, 2023, 4-5 pm Rite of Passage/ fine tuning stories/ writing stories
Aug 25, 2023, 4-5 pm Prepare stories for presentation
Sep 22, 2023, 4-7 pm Story Presentation/ Q & A
Sep 29, 2023, 4-7 pm Story Presentation/ Q & A