This blogging world is something. It’s such an outlet and a huge world of help, compassion, support and sharing. For those of us that stay anonymous, there’s a freedom to express ourselves without anyone knowing who we are in our day to day lives. It’s safe. Following blogs allows us to have a peek into someone else’s life and their pshyche. At times, while reading a post, I can actually imagine that persons’ living space-their family, their pets. There are posts that make me laugh out loud. (these are mostly from Sober Mummy-compliment!) There are posts that make me sad and make me wish I could give the blogger a real-life hug. Some posts make me angry and some frustrate me. No matter my reaction to a post or whether or not I choose to comment, I know that while there may be vast distances between the bloggers that I follow-whether mentally or spiritually or locationally, I know that we all have one thing in common. That is addressing and exploring our relationship with alcohol. Learning to deal with something that has become a problem in our lives. Trying to learn how to give it up or cut back. Trying to live differently. Better. Fuller. And of course, not hungover.
I also notice a strength in my fellow bloggers. Because, even with anonymity, putting something out there in cyber space that others will see and possibly comment on requires an honesty about ones self. A positioning of vulnurability. There are some posts that I read that are so tangible to me, the pain of the blogger reaches out through my screen. Or their joy. Or their ambivalence.
What an outlet this is! And what a gift to not only be able to share my experience for whatever it’s worth, but to share someone elses. And while the blogger may not realize it, it is so easy for the reader to see the progress they’re making. So easy for me, the reader to see the struggle of a fellow blogger. To feel their disappointment when, even though they have made incredible progress in giving up alcohol, other parts their lives seem to be even more topsy turvy than while drinking. (of course we know that their lives aren’t more topsy turvy, it’s just that they aren’t disconnected like they were before.) It’s inspirational to see someone in such pain plodding on with what they know will, in the long run, give them a better life. Trying to do the right thing-knowing what the right thing is-in spite of the pain in the process. There are bloggers that decide, after not drinking for a time, to try moderation. There are bloggers that make me wonder if they actually want to quit. Or I read about a blogger’s, yet again, Day One. They write about it, knowing they will get some stern comments. But, they keep putting themselves out there, hoping that there will be just one comment that will make it all click. Of course it doesn’t actually work that way for most of us.
Why? Because there’s work to be done. Deep, internal, soul searching work. And so, while we may put our struggles and successes out there for all to read, it’s a personal journey. And, it takes courage. We all want to get to the same place-the place where we are not spending the greater part of our days and lives with alcohol as the premier focus. There are many ways to get there. However, what is kind of nagging at me is that many think that THEIR way is the only way. And they are extremely and strongly vocal (or verbal in this case) about their views. I don’t think there is only one way. What may work for you may not work for others. For example, I am not a fan of AA. The idea of having to carry around a belief that I will always be “sick” and that I am powerless does not sit well with me. In fact, I refuse to believe that I am powerless over alcohol. Yes in the sense that if I decide to drink and I drink too much, I will become drunk-thereby giving my power to wine or vodka or whatever. But I will not live my life avoiding situations where there is alcohol. This won’t and will not work for me. I have found a way that works for me. A support system and a way of being. BUT, if AA works for YOU and that’s the only way you can get and stay sober, then by all means, that’s what you need to do. I have even suggested it to a fellow blogger or two who seem to never make any progress on their own. The same is true of rehab. I believe at times, it’s the only thing that can remove a person from alcohol.
Some people need something that is black and white and regimented. Others-like me- work better when they can create their own “program”. Combining several schools of thought to personalize the process.
The point is, that there is no one way to get and to stay sober. For me, it’s having a strong spiritual belief system. It’s about eating properly, exercising regularly. Blogging and reading blogs. Ordering a Mocktail when everyone else is ordering a Cocktail. Being aware of triggers and not allowing myself to “buy into them”. Knowing what situations to avoid and to leave early if necessary. Reminding myself on a regular basis what it’s like for the 24 hours after drinking that bottle of wine. Knowing that my body is healing after years of abuse. Continuing to look deep inside-with a therapist if necessary-to connect with myself. To heal myself. To go past the fear. To have a Sober Toolkit.
I also realize that there are some things that cross over no matter what path someone takes to sobriety. Things that should be done and work across the board. I think it’s important to respect everyone’s journey. To remember that we are not all made the same way.