There are stories and then there are stories. Sitting around and telling lies, you get one sort of story-- the adventures and parties, all the outrageous and sometimes funny stuff that happened. In court you hear another sort of story, all about how sorry someone is and how they've realized the errors of their ways. "It was all a mistake, your honor."
In NA meetings and counseling sessions you hear other stories, shorter versions that hit the highlights and the crashes. All of these tales are worth listening to.
Online, there are a few places you can find better stuff -- written from the heart and thought through before it went on the page. One is a site that simply asks users and those in recovery to share their tales. Another has videos where users talk about their lives. One of the best uses of the story method comes in a book written a few years ago by Steven J. Lee, a doctor who specializes in drug abuse. His book uses the tales of three meth addicts, Justin, Brian and Ana. Their real life experiences are analyzed in depth from a medical and emotional perspective as a teaching aid to show not just their paths but the damage meth does along the way to families and others.
They say our stories are important and that we earned them. I think this is so, but the real value comes when someone is moved enough by a powerful story that they don't have to rediscover what thousands learned the hard way.
The real tragedy is all those who have died without a chance to tell what they came to know. So, yes; some of these tales are rough and painful to hear. They can be shocking. The instinctive response can be, “I’d never get that bad.” But of course, every year and every month and every day someone is “getting that bad.”