Tonight was my first time handing out chips at my Wednesday Warriors meeting, and it was wonderful. There were several newcomers (I still qualify as one), one guy with 6 months, and a woman with a 2 year birthday. I was so grateful to be of service to my club and I can't wait to do it again next week.
Then I shared about some of the miracles I've experienced since surrendering my self-will and allowing my Higher Power to help me. Everyone was just as amazed as I to hear about the alcoholic bartender, my commitments after praying to be of service, and the small (yet paid!) writing gig I just accepted.
In my second AA meeting called Not Taking a Trip, I chose to keep silent and listen to the other members share their stories. Occasionally a meeting leader will choose a discussion topic, and tonight it was "choices."
As I listened, I started thinking about this blog and its content.
I started writing here (in earnest) in 2008 and continued with little interruption until 2011. Those early posts (and some vlogs) were frequently about my love affair with alcohol. While often satirical and exaggerated, I know that I was already struggling with an addiction. It simply hadn't gotten completely out of control yet.
I was choosing to self-medicate with alcohol for any number of reasons, from the loss of my pregnancy in 2008 to the stress of planning a wedding in 2010.
Things began to spiral out of control in 2011, and the blog posts mostly stopped. At the time, I told myself that I wasn't writing because I'd lost interest (a life-long interest, I should add) and that I had nothing to blog about.
In hindsight, the truth was that I was out of control and embarrassed to write about my dangerous interactions with men, my abuse of alcohol, quitting my job so I could drink more, entering a co-dependent relationship with another alcoholic, my divorce from Gray, and any other number of unhealthy choices I made.
In the past, I've written about shitting my pants and 100 different embarrassing things I've done in my life, but some part of me knew that those were funny and forgivable occurrences.
What I was doing in 2011 was so bad that I was ashamed to write about it here.
Part of my current recovery plan involves blogging about my journey to mental health and sobriety. It gives me an outlet, as well as providing another layer of accountability with regards to my choices and behaviors. I made the choice NOT to filter this information, but to lay it all on the line in the hopes that it might help me, you, someone you know. The internet is full of "trolls", and I was terrified of the judgment that would come my way.
It turns out that my choice to write about my disease has been such a blessing - while not many are leaving comments on this site, I've gotten countless emails, Facebook messages, and text messages of support from current friends and family, to classmates I haven't seen in over a decade, to blog followers I've "known" for years, to complete strangers.
The overwhelming response has been that they are happy I'm sharing my journey to sobriety and that they are rooting for me. That I should keep writing.
There have been NO (not even one) negative remarks about my character or my lifestyle.
I've had people say they believe I'm meant to reach so many people; That my words are showing people how to be kind to others. One old friend (a boyfriend from sixth grade for about 3 days) said my writing is causing him to consider his actions and to be more considerate of others because he doesn't know what demons a person may be battling at any time.
They've said "hang in there" and "keep fighting" and "don't give up" and "you can do it"!
And today, I'm very grateful for those words of support because I'm starting to believe that they are true.