Why I Sober Blog


Yours truly working on his latest oeuvre.

Yours truly working on his latest oeuvre.

I imagine if you asked everyone in the sober blogging community why it is that they started their journey in the blogosphere, you would get answers as varied and as revealing as their own blogs are.  It is clear that the sober blogging community is a small and yet ever changing body.  It’s something that I enjoy, as I get to know a healthy amount of fantastic people, but it’s not that I get lost in a sea of faces and 12-pt font.  It’s sort of reminds me of where I currently work – it’s large enough that there are many departments to interact with and deal with, but not large enough where we are all just employee numbers and HR stats.  There is a sense of a greater good, with everyone pulling their cog-like weight if you will, each an intrinsic part of the collective conscious.  Every time the “publish” button is pushed, another strand in the tapestry gets threaded where it needs to be placed.  The big picture continues to expand, to grow in colour and contrast, to gain a richer texture.

This is the kind of stuff I stand back and poke at now and then, let the Universe show it’s hand as it’s needed and see where I stand in the big scheme when I am floating through blogs.  I half-jokingly refer to this blog my “little corner of the world”, and to me that’s really what it is – a part of, not apart from.  And yet, it’s a stand alone thing that gets better when interlaced with everyone else.  It’s sort of a reflection of my recovery – I was the lone wolf, in my den, alone until I learned that getting out there and interacting with others would make me feel better, act better, think better.  Just be better, in many ways.  Being in self-imposed exile didn’t do me any good, other than succumb to the inner Level Six Black Lower Level Demons that seemed to swirl around me and the bottle.  Like they say, the problem with being isolated is that you get bad advice out there.   And bad advice I got.    So getting on board with a recovery program that encourages and finds results with working with others, sharing with others and opening up to others was a frightening venture for me.  And my blog has reflected that, to some extent.

Everyone needs a posse - even ol' Higgy Baby has some merit.

Everyone needs a posse – even ol’ Higgy Baby has some merit.

Like many folks in the blogosphere, I started my blog with the intent of just venting, blowing off steam, getting stuff out that I didn’t want to bother anyone else with.  I kept it all in, and yet put it all into the universe at the same time.  I didn’t put myself out there, never ventured past the confines of my tiny little planet, never showed an interest in what others were doing.  How apt for this type of alcoholic – selfish and self-centered.  I was just interested in what was going on with me.  (And I don’t mean to say that anyone that starts their blog in the same way is of the same mindset).  For me, I just didn’t want to do much with the blog in the first place.  I was still struggling in being interested in others in real life, and so I certainly wasn’t interested in others in the Interweb Fantastico.  I just wanted to start writing anything to get some relief.  My motivations weren’t as noble as I wanted them to be, but it served me well.

I was reading Running on Sober’s post on blogging a while back, and I thought it was quite groovy and brilliant.  It must have sat with me subconsciously, as it has come up more as of late – what is the point of all this?  Why do I sober blog?  Or perhaps the question should be “Why do I continue to sober blog?”  I mean, I am not planning on shutting down the factory here quite yet.  I think I still have a few more posts I have in me to painfully grind out.  But then what?  This seems like a very common things amongst the blogging community in general – this general questioning of where, how often, why.  It brought me back to thinking of Sherry shutting down her old blog and starting up Maintaining the Zen – a breaking out of the restraining “sober only” mandate and getting into life in general, through the lens of a sober person.  It also reminded me of when Mrs. D almost retired her blog and the outcry against it that followed her short-lived retirement.  She too has scaled back and has spread her wings, so to speak, making her presence known more on Twitter-form than in blog form.

why-arent-you-blogging

And in observing the sober blogs out there, you get a quick cross-section of the range of where everyone is in their journey.  There are some wonderful new blogs from some women and men who are new on the path to sobriety.  Their trials and tribulations are more visceral, more immanent, more face-to-the-mirror type of raw material that brings home to me what it was like when I was there.  It reminds me of how it used to be, and how it could be again if I am not vigilant and self-aware and consistently working at things.  The posts from newcomers are striking in their similarities, as we all come from a common place, and follow a certain script.  But what I really enjoy is the individuality, the elan, the vigor, the fight and freedom that present themselves in those blogs.  On the flip side is the tangible sorrow, withdrawal pains, edginess, personal relationship and work issues.  It’s part and parcel of recovery, as once we start to open up our feelings, released from the fog of alcohol, we get all emotions back – the highs and lows.  One doesn’t present itself without the other.

And to those bloggers, I am ever grateful for their grit and for showing me where it all starts.

There are those with more time, of course.  A couple of years perhaps, even longer, past the days of white knuckles and ducking social events.  Those who are more comfortable in their skins, who have done the work (and continuing to do so), who are jazzing into life’s problem’s head on and learning to take the lumps while serving up the grace of one who has traveled through hell and back.  Some have even written books on the topic, or in other genres. What strikes me in reading these awesome, inspiring folks is their dedication to helping others, in shining the light on what needs to be illuminated, to showing others where the booby traps lay in the path.  I always see things in a new way when I sift my way through these blogs.  I also see that I am not alone in my weird thinking sometimes, and just taking in what others are doing and experiencing helps me in ways I don’t even consciously know.

And to those bloggers, I am ever grateful for lighting the path for those of us behind you.

blogging-life-cycle

Blogs come and go, as I have seen.  Some are started with vigor and later left abandoned by the side of the road like a spent jalopy. Some have had a few random posts and given up on early.  Some have run their course and are retired.  Others start strong and continue strong.  It’s what it’s worth for the time, at the time.  The only rule is that it’s the blogger’s rules.  Whatever you want, go for it.  And I love that freedom, and seeing people express themselves in the most creative ways.  The humanness and reality of the writing is what is both grounding and uplifting.  The one thing I read over and over again is how people are most themselves when writing in their corners of the world.  No one to impress.  No one to hide from.  Just pure being.

As for the original question – why do I sober blog?

Because it’s in my path right now.  It’s what I need to be doing right now.  It’s what I feel guided and navigated towards.  I blog because I need to communicate and transmit what I have found in recovery and in my journey.  Not in a righteous way, but in the spirit of giving back.  And in giving back and working with others, it helps me as well.  It’s a win-win situation.  I know that we all have different ways of approaching recovery.  Some are AA, some aren’t, some come at it in a more spiritual way, others in a more intellectual way, some through support and encouragement.  What is remarkable is the respect that everyone has for each other’s path.  The commonality is the disease of alcoholism and the effects it has on us.  The communal thread is where we are now with things, and how are we improving ourselves.  The idea of reaching out to someone on the other side of the planet, or even across the street, is fundamental to our growth, as recovering alcoholics (and addicts) and as fallible, yet strong human beings.    We bring joy, enthusiasm, experience, love, compassion and serenity to the table, share it with others, and pray that they take some of it home in a doggie bag.  We bring hope.

And that’s what it boils down to – hope.  Where there is hope, there is a chance.  There is room for change.  There is a place to recover and be the best people we were created to be.

Hope trumps all.

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22 responses to “Why I Sober Blog

  1. Paul, this is just wonderful, as always. I am so glad you’re out here in your little corner as I have learned so much from your posts. I am typing on iPad so restricted but will try and pick up on this theme later as I’d love to hear from other bloggers too about why they blog and what they get from it. I, for one, have gotten way more than I expected and I genuinely don’t know if I’d still be here trying if I hadn’t entered our little safe sober world. I can come here and read and be reminded about why I’m doing this and feel safe and understood. I am grateful to all of you for being here.

    Lilly x

    • Thanks Lilly! Certainly there is something about reading something that either has happened to your or something that you are feeling or went through before. The feeling of not being alone is a powerful one, and that’s what I get out of meetings, and being here with y’all. Thank you for sharing of yourself too – love the blog 🙂

      Paul

  2. Great post… from one of those newbie bloggers on this side of the fence. I blog on the other side – where I am more motivational – one I’ve been doing for many years now. I’m enjoying this one because I’m allowing myself to just put the raw deal of emotions I’m handling in the moment – and venting I guess as you say. Being single, living with two teens – this is the world I turn to in order to vent. Thank YOU for your blog! I am grateful too!

    • very cool – I would love to read your other blog (or would that break your anonymity?) The rawness of the newer blogs is what I really enjoy, and yours certainly does not hold back :). And that’s the groovy part of it – we are not there to impress or try and hold back for any one or reason. Thank you for being here 🙂

      Paul

      • My other blog has a different focus and perhaps not as ‘raw’ as this as I try to make it more focused on health and dealing with issues while trying to get to a healthy weight. If you’re interested I could send you the link.

  3. Great post. I think I started my blog because I thought it would make me more accountable to myself. I also liked the idea of seeing my thoughts written down properly, because when things are swirling round your head you can forget how great you felt the day before. But I hadn’t realised how much support I’d get from other people – that is amazing. This is the longest I’ve been sober and the sober blogosphere has played a huge part in that. Reading other people’s blogs is also a huge help. The first blog i ever read from start to finish was unpickled’s – I immediately thought ‘yes! someone who gets where I’m coming from!’ Brilliant stuff.

    • That’s the great thing about having such a diversity in the blog world – someone eventually will tell your story. That is, you will find someone that you can say “aha! that’s exactly how I used to drink! That’s exactly how I used to feel!”. That’s your story. And sometimes it takes time to hear it. Took me a long time before I heard someone tell their story and I finally said “ah yes, that’s me”. It’s a great feeling. But what you say about just getting it out of our heads – I can agree with that. That was the motivation for doing this.

      congrats on your sober time!

      Paul

  4. It’s funny, so many “mom blogs” talk about unwinding with wine at the end if the day or even at nap time. I’m grateful for the recovery “mom blogs” that get that that just isn’t what all moms do!

    • I will take your word on the mom blogs…lol. But I have heard other sober bloggers saying they did the same thing – wine at the end of the day, wine at lunch, wine on the weekends, wine when a friend drops by, etc. Sometimes motivated by boredom, or stress, or as you mentioned, the idea of “unwinding” and having that alone time. And that is the overwhelming message sent by commercials and other ads. If it were whiskey, people wouldn’t be so cozy with the idea, but doll up a bottle of wine (“crisp! refreshing!”) and suddenly it’s ok to gulp while little Timmy is counting sheep. I totally agree with what you say, Rachel. And I know lots of moms who don’t reach for the bottle to unwine-d (sorry)…they jog, they take classes, they watch a fave TV show, garden, etc.

      Thank you so much Rachel for the great comments – it’s a post in itself!!

      Blessings,
      Paul

  5. Thanks for the shout out my friend. I love the idea that its about hope. Hope just feels good on my tongue and coming out of my face…it’s one of those words.

    Thanks for giving me hope to describe the blogging process. It works.

    You rock.

    Sherry

    • Always glad to have the shoutouts – you know me…I love them!

      And certainly hope does have a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?

      So glad you’re with us…and so glad to have finally “met” you and your awesome family on your blog 🙂

      Namaste,
      Paul

  6. There is light at the end of the darkness. For some it is only 12 steps and a heap of inner searching away. Finding release is essential. Blogging provides the release, the community of bloggers supplies the support needed after the release. Thanks Paul. More truth and reminders of why I maintain sobriety.

    • Thanks G2BG – you are bang on about that, of the heap of inner searching. That is why I like to refer to myself as a seeker. Continuing to unfold that onion, to keep at it…even if I balk or deny or find it painful. I am often slow to getting to things…but I get there eventually. The release is part of that process, as I find out things as I go through the process of actually typing and putting it out there.

      Thanks for the groovy comments, kind sir 🙂

      Paul

  7. Awesome post. I’m a fairly new “sober blogger” (although have kept a separate blog for over 12 years.) and I am finding so, so much value in this. It holds me accountable, and I feel through all of you, that I have so much support from people who truly understand how difficult it is to quit drinking. Thank you for your blog Paul ! I always look forward to your posts.

    • Hey Chelsie – I think you’re right about the accountability. There is something tangible and ready and just available that puts us on point sometimes, yes? And in the name of honesty, I do my best to make sure that I keep thing up and up here. I mean, if I can’t be fully honest here, then I might not have the greatest chance out there! So in that regard, it helps with accountability. Great point!

      Cheers,
      Paul

  8. i’m not sure why you decided to sober blog, but i’m i’m thankful you did, brother. Whatever the impetus, the result is that you inspire your readers immensely.

    • Thanks Al – I can say the same thing for you. It was lurking in blogs like yours (I think yours was one of the first I found…and certainly the first from a dude!) that inspired me to do this. I figured if y’all could do it…

      It’s a reciprocal thing – I couldn’t do it without anyone else showing me the way, and hopefully I can help show others the way. Sobriety, blogging, expression of self. What a wonderful thing. Thank you for being here.

      Love and light,
      Paul

  9. I love that illustration!!! It’s so perfect!!!! I went all angst-y about what I was doing with my blog, what was it, what should it be, it started for me, became for others, me, others, me, stopped!, started again, me, others, should I aim higher?, should I stop again… well now I have to say that I’ve settled in a place where my blog is like my third finger on my right hand. Just there. Necessary, a part of me, for others to see, useful, not entirely unattractive, but just there. And it will always be. I love my blog just the way it is and I don’t think I’m going to stop it or aim higher… just keep on blogging. You’re amazing by the way… who are you? Email me a photo I want to see what you look like! xxxx

  10. oh Mrs. D….lol

    If there is anyone who has gone through the milling process in regards to their blog and what it means to them, it’s you. I love the visual of your blog being like that essential but non glaring third finger on the hand. It’s there in a comfortable but vital way. And I see that in your blog. Sometimes we just need to keep doing what we need to do, without setting lofty goals or shutting it down. We plow through. It’s an important thing for me, as I was a person to give up on something entirely rather than stick it out.

    A photo? I will send you my avatar in the form of my daschund. LOL

    I might post a pic of yours truly here soon….nothing special. Been thinking about it, as it’s in the context of the sober blogging community, which is like a group to me. And in AA, we are not anonymous at group level.

    Thank you, Mrs. Amazing D. 🙂

    Paul

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