We are who we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be. -Kurt Vonnegut
There is a level at which our personal identities develop and are reinforced by feedback loops created by the stories we tell about ourselves and the world in which we live. To some extent, these stories can be retold and our identities changed. This is an important part of the recovery process. When we find ourselves deep within an addiction, we start to tell ourselves stories that reinforce this apparent truth. So, too, does the world around us. This is especially true of longstanding substance abuse problems. So an important part of the recovery process is to develop a new story about ourselves. But it isn’t enough to simply tell a story, we must learn to create changes in our lives that support this new identity—that provide us evidence of our evolving selves. In the long-run, our personal identities are actually ever-shifting and never solid, but we can still use the mechanics of identity in our favor as we learn to recover from our addictions. At this level, we are all pretending a bit, so let’s use this pretending to our advantage.