There is an online addiction and recovery world that has been a support to me during my recovery. Many wonderful men and women share their daily experiences, their tips, their wins, and their struggles online. For me I find this resource a source of comfort, information, and validation on a daily basis; I was so inspired by the support I found in the community that I joined with these blogs.
This community is important because the process of identifying addiction at any stage, admitting an issue with addiction, and overcoming the sense of failure and shame associated with addiction and the need for recovery feels very personal. It feels like you are the only one who has ever been in addiction and recovery even though logically you know that can’t be true. So to find a group of courageous people sharing their thoughts and experiences online allows for instant awareness that there are others; for me this meant I would instantly stop any sort of spiral my addiction initiated under the guise of “I am all alone…let’s drink.”
When I started my blogging I was very nervous. I weighed two points of concern – sharing my real identity and wondering if my experience really could contribute anything to another person or if I was just putting myself out there in a way that would end badly (ok, a way that would bite me in the ass).
With regard to using my name I decided to just do it and be brave. I hid my issues with drinking and in that aloneness I created a very destructive world for myself and others. However, anonymity is a part of the addiction and recovery world for a number of reasons. Many experienced in recovery have chosen to remain anonymous for good reasons and I didn’t want to ignore that wisdom. If I were to use my name I ran the risk of people finding me (they have) and knowing that I had an issue with alcohol (they do now). I ran the possibility of past or future employers having a doubt of how I did or could handle job stress – did she drink here, did it affect her job, will she drink here, will it affect her job? I ran the possibility of my family reading my blogs and feeling concern that I was sharing too much and could be harmed now or later by my openness or by hurting them for not sharing more with them directly about my process.
As for if it meant anything to another person I had this recent experience that clarified that question for me more than I ever could have on my own. Recently I read another online “sober blog” and the author was responding to a comment that was posted on her blog. A person had anonymously posted a comment criticizing the blogger for thinking that their 2 years of sobriety gave them any right to discuss or comment on addiction or recovery. It implied that their length of sobriety was not enough to have knowledge worth sharing. Really?
Addiction and recovery are tinged with shame and fear of judgement. And here it was in the purest form. Someone saying your experiences aren’t worthy of sharing. Seriously what is wrong with that person commenting? It makes me sad to think of where they must be in their own world to make that comment. Every person’s addiction and recovery story is valuable to at least one person – themselves. Maybe we get lucky and have ways that our story helps others; that is what I hope with my own story.
So if you are one minute sober or 100 years sober, what you have to say be it on the internet, in a meeting, or over coffee with a friend, is valuable. Every story I have heard or read has helped me with my decisions on my drinking and on my recovery, and I thank every person who has shared them with me. Thank you. And I hope that someone is inspired by my blog from time to time too.