Unlike most modern bloggers, I’m not writing to sell you something.
At least, not yet.
Admittedly, there is an ad on the site and if I had something to sell you in the future I probably will because at this juncture I don’t feel like I possess any skills other than the ability to tell you my story (and I can’t stay on benefits forever).
So, you know, don’t hold it against me if I do one day try to sell you something. A girl’s gotta make a living.
At present, I write because I need to.
Practically speaking it’s a good way to kill an hour or two, but that’s the least of its benefits.
You may have noticed that I often answer my own question in a blog post (see I’m Sober. Now What?).
That’s not some clever writing style that I’ve consciously adopted. It’s one of the very reasons why I write.
There is something about forming complete sentences on a screen that is much, much different from simply thinking about whatever problem it is I’m contemplating.
Sure, I write expecting to be read. Not like “I am the greatest wordsmith since Shakespeare” levels of expected readers. But Google Analytics tells me people do come to check out this blog and I know I’ve only told a handful of people about it – none of them are my mother – so there’s a good number of randoms showing up.
HELLO YOU LOVELY PEOPLE AND THANKS FOR VISITING!
So I do care about what I’m writing, and if I notice gaps of thought in my words I try to fill them in.
Usually that indicates a gap in my own thinking, which forces my mind to wander down neural pathways I would’ve otherwise overlooked.
So writing answers my own questions sometimes, and that’s extremely helpful. It’s a bonus if it helps someone else.
Writing also frees certain thoughts from being trapped in my mind.
I am currently a little short in the “friendship” department and generally hate talking on the phone so I don’t have many opportunities to vent. Thoughts and feelings start to accumulate in my already overcrowded brain as a result, and that has a massive effect on my sanity.
Writing gives my brain permission to let those thoughts go; like it knows that they’ve been recorded so there’s no sense in hanging on to them.
Poof! I have freed some mental space.
I have always been an avid keeper of journals ever since I was a teenager, and my notebooks were – and still are – precious to me.
Unfortunately, the whole journaling thing backfired horribly on me one day when I was 16 years old and my mom discovered said notebooks.
It was a traumatic journaling incident. Seriously. I still talk about it in therapy.
That incident (which I’ll probably write about one day because that was 20 years ago and I need to let that shit go) put me right off of ever writing again, and for a long time I stopped.
That’s also roughly when I started drinking. I’m not saying the two are necessarily related, but keeping feelings trapped plus the discovery of a new form of ‘release’ was not a great combo.
So now my old unhealthy liquid release is gone, but the feelings are still there. And then some. So I write.
Side note: My mom is a total technophobe so the chances of her finding this blog are pretty slim. Sure, I am sharing private thoughts very publicly but bizarrely I am much more comfortable doing that then talking to someone in a one on one situation.
Why? I dunno. I probably have intimacy issues. Does it matter? Nope. Not one bit. All that matters to me is that I keep the pressure gauge on my emotional release valve under the red line.
(I am not mechanically inclined so I hope the above metaphor makes sense. If it doesn’t, just nod like you understand.)
I should probably address my chosen quote for this post. Other than I’m lazy and don’t fancy taking more than two minutes to find a suitable quote, I kinda like the parallels you can draw from it to how people stereotype alcoholics/addicts.
I’ve heard many folks sharing in AA meetings that they thought they couldn’t possibly be an alcoholic because they weren’t old men begging for money or sleeping on park benches.
That stereotype is pretty common. It’s also not pretty, or realistic. You might say that lots of people see alcoholics as “villains”.
Some of us are victims in the literal sense of the word: of abuse, trauma, circumstance, life…whatever. I’m not saying that justifies addiction, but it’s hardly surprising that people who have suffered terribly end up finding comfort in a drink or drug.
Many of us didn’t have anything “bad” happen in our lives, but in a sense we’re also victims. Of faulty genes? Some kind of hormone deficiency? Wonky neurotransmitters? Bad gut biome?
I don’t claim to know what separates me from the person who can drink “normally”, but something does and at a stretch that does make us addicts victims. Kinda like diabetics are victims of a fucked up pancreas.
I know, I know, there are a million holes to poke in that metaphor. I am not on my top metaphor game today, alright?
Forget about whether or not you agree with the “victim” thing. The point is that my third and final reason for writing is to dispel the myth that anyone with addiction issues is a “villain”. It’s simply not true.
I’m not a bad person. I didn’t choose this for myself. YES it’s taken me awhile to stop, but that’s because this isn’t fucking easy and not because I am lacking in morals or whatever other bullshit stereotypes exist out there.
I have yet to meet anyone who has enjoyed their period of active addiction. I didn’t. I was deeply ashamed of myself and completely baffled as to why I couldn’t just stop on my own. I was ashamed to ask for help. So I kept it hidden.
A lot of us did. Or still do. It keeps us from getting help. That’s not good.
So I’m owning up to the shit I did, and purging myself of that shame (free therapy!). If my story helps someone down the line, brilliant. If it smashes someone’s stereotypical idea of who an alcoholic is, fantastic.
As long as it keeps me sober, I’m going to keep writing.