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The Importance of Vulnerability in Recovery

Jan 5, 2022

A person with a substance use disorder may have spent a lot of time with their defenses up. The desire to protect themselves from criticism and getting hurt is a natural response. Stepping into recovery with that “protective layer” can be a problem, though. Today, we’re going to talk about how to let your guard down and use vulnerability as a powerful tool in your recovery.

Vulnerability may be perceived as a weakness by many people, but it serves as a valuable tool for people in treatment. The ability to look at yourself truthfully allows you to see how drinking or drug use has affected you and your relationships. Being vulnerable in recovery can enlighten people about how their own feelings of shame, fear, resentment, and anger can contribute to a substance use disorder. Creating authentic connections with peers in recovery and discovering new strategies for staying sober are other benefits of allowing yourself to be vulnerable.

If you or a loved one need help, call our admissions team today at 561-841-1033.

Four Reasons to Embrace Vulnerability in Recovery

1. Vulnerability enables you to look honestly at yourself.

Vulnerability often gets confused for weakness. In the context of recovery, being vulnerable is a big part of seeing and accepting your true self. Sobriety doesn’t come from continuing to believe falsehoods about yourself. It relies on your ability to acknowledge what’s going on in your life, no matter how difficult your circumstances might be right now.

Prepare yourself. You may not like what you see when you allow yourself to be vulnerable. Many of the qualities that get attention at first might seem negative. This is merely a starting point. An authentic view of yourself and what challenges you face is something that can help shape how you move through treatment for a substance use disorder.

2. Vulnerability in recovery allows you to address the feelings that exacerbate your substance use.

Denial of a substance use disorder can come from years of masking or minimizing a substance use disorder. You’ve practiced hiding it or trying to convince others that it’s not really a problem. During that time, drug or alcohol misuse has only grown and become more troubling for you.

Painful feelings may be tied to your substance use and have gotten ignored. Addressing these feelings relies on your ability to recognize how you’ve behaved in response to shame, anger, resentment, fear, and other feelings. Making this connection is a valuable part of the healing process for someone in recovery.

3. Vulnerability creates authentic connection and relationships.

Being vulnerable is openly letting someone know what you want and need. In doing so, you’re inviting people to see the real you and giving them someone they can understand and relate to. This kind of sharing helps create a connection between people, especially people who require are in need of recovery as well.

Relationships built on truth and openness can grow into significant support systems. These can be individuals you meet in treatment or people who’ve been in your life for years. Either way, the connection becomes an opportunity to trust and be trusted because of your ability to be vulnerable.

4. Vulnerability in recovery offers a path to new solutions and strategies.

No recovery is flawless, no matter how hard someone works or how committed they are to sobriety. Vulnerability allows you to share the ways in which you struggle to stay sober. The goal is never painting a perfect picture but an accurate one.

By sharing your challenges with your support system members, you’re remaining open to opportunities to take new paths to sobriety. These options may show up as different forms of treatment, a variety of healthy activities, a new resource for mental health support, and much more. A lifetime dedication to sobriety will demand new solutions and strategies along the way, and being vulnerable with yourself and others can open the doors to the help you need tomorrow, next month, and next year.


Hanley Center is a well-known care provider offering a range of treatment programs targeting the recovery from substance use, mental health issues, and beyond. Our primary mission is to provide a clear path to a life of healing and restoration. We offer renowned clinical care for mental illnesses and have the compassion and professional expertise to guide you toward lasting wellness. For information on our programs, call us today: 561-841-1033.

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