A comment yesterday got me thinking. The commenter said, amongst other things, ‘I’m really not sure what your blog is about because you’re not helping these people [in early sobriety] or yourself’.
It made me wonder: why was I writing the blog? And does a blog need to be about something? Well, I started it as a daily record of a sobriety attempt, a suggestion given to me by a friend, and once I’d started, I enjoyed airing my thoughts, the frustrations and successes, and getting comments and feedback from people. The blog felt like a safe place to document my progress, and lack of progress.
No one has to read my blog. No one has to do what I do, or even believe what I say. I’m just a person writing down my thoughts. I am pleased if people say they are encouraged by what I write, and I guess I am sad if I think people are frustrated by what I write. I imagine that all kinds of people read sober blogs, and for different reasons: they might be looking for solidarity in the early stages of sobriety, inspiration if they’ve hit a rut, friendship if they feel lonely, or they might just be curious about sober blogging in general. But as I have no influence over who chooses to read my blog, I can’t be responsible for people’s actions. If someone reads that I have started drinking after a few sober days, and then that person decides that this gives them permission to drink, I can’t really do anything about this. I do not think that I glorify drinking, or that I make it ‘ok’ to drink. I am not suggesting that other people do what I do, that they follow the same path, because everyone’s story is unique. But if anything, I hope that reading about my journey, about my successes and failures, shows people that this is not easy, that there isn’t one route, that my sobriety story is not a fairytale and that I may struggle and fail, time and time again, before I eventually succeed. And I may not eventually succeed. But that is what is happening; so that is what I write.
I have always tried to be completely honest here. I write frequently, and I don’t choose my words particularly carefully. My posts aren’t finely crafted, it’s more a sort of online diary, jottings if you like, charting my sober attempts. I don’t know if I’m helping anyone – I hope I am, but I can’t know this – but my blog really does help me, however imperfect its story.
27 thoughts on “Why blog?”
Blog away. I’m stuck in that horrible stop start cycle myself. I NEED to know I’m not the only one. I need to see what’s working or not or how a relapse is being set up so that maybe I can take that knowledge and apply it. The person who posted yesterday, I believe, has good intentions and some valid points. The path to sobriety is not perfect and smooth for some of us.
I agree with you. You blog for yourself. everyone else is free to turn away if it doesn’t suit them.
So well said Annie! And I agree within Belle. I admire your honesty. And your writing style is amazing. It puts into words so well what you are feeling and thinking in a way that many of us can relate very often. So I think you are helping people. But please continue to do this mostly for yourself to process your feelings and thoughts on this journey. People can choose to read or not. Via
“with Belle” – not sure how the word within appeared 🙂
Very well said soberinny, your comment nicely sums it up. If I wrote previously that it gave me permission to drink when I read someone’s failing at staying sober, it’s because I was obviously looking for excuses to drink, and I jumped on the first post to serve my addiction. I really appreciate your blog Annie, otherwise I wouldn’t read it, I can relate to what you’re going through, which makes me feel less lonely. I am sure as mentioned above that if we keep on sharing knowledge and learning from it, we’ll eventually succeed.
You are helping me. Thanks for writing about the struggle.
I wanted to comment on yesterday’s blog and your mention of your upcoming holiday with boozy friends. I have a method of coping that worked for me. I went away a few months ago with friends who knew me really well, and who knew that I liked a drink. I made up a medical condition which meant that I couldn’t drink, and I pretended that I was really annoyed about it. Little did they know that I had already made the decision to stop drinking and was on about day 20 or so. I used the holiday to get used to being a non drinker. Again, I knew it was forever whilst my friends thought it was just because of the medical condition (and so they felt sorry for me and the fact I couldn’t drink with them). Then, the next time they saw me – a month or so later- they assumed I would be drinking again. I was then able to say to them that I had really unexpectedly loved my few weeks without booze and that I actually preferred socialising without it, and that, infact, I thought I may well continue to abstain indefinately ! It really worked for me.
The other thing I have said (it was suggested by someone on the Living Sober website, and I think it is genius) is “I’ve stopped drinking alcohol, I feel so much better for it AND it’s amazing how absolutely no one has made a big deal about it !” Stops therm in their tracks !!
Please don ‘t discontinue your blog. It helps me enormously to see how you tackle this undulating path that many of us, including myself, are following. You are eloquent, witty and brutally honest and I can identify with many of your emotions and personal struggles. As Diane mentioned, it makes me realise that I am not alone and that in itself is hugely helpful. Thank you.
You got in Annie. Do what feels right for you and let the rest go.
Take both positive and negative comments for what they are. Opinions.
But know you have lots of love here. We all understand.
Here, Here, Annie!! This is your blog and you need to feel safe to say what you want. It is just the writing of it that helps so much. Get it out there!! I vacillate back and forth as well. This is hard! I do know though, that I wake up every morning feeling grateful that I am not hungover and and am clearheaded. I love your writing. You are genuine and honest. Keep it up.
Please keep blogging Annie. You and ‘the sober girl.,,.’ were my two best sources of inspiration last year, and this time (after failing too many times to mention) I’ve actually made it to day 79! That doesn’t mean I won’t fall on my arse at any point, but I’m just going to keep trying, just as you are. I truly believe you want this and that your husband probably wants it for you too, but we can only get there when the time is right. This time could be your time 🙂 just keep trying. If I’d had the support of a blogging world twenty odd years ago, it might not have taken me so long, but hey, here I am after another sober weekend with boozy friends, and not feeling as though I missed out on anything at all! We’re all here for you x
I agree, blogging is for you. people can take it or leave it.
keep at it Annie.
Agree with everyone above! You ARE helping others, but most of all you’re helping yourself! KEEP BLOGGING ANNIE! 👏👏👏
Your blog has helped me to realise I am not alone. That in itself is incredibly valuable. Please don’t ever censor yourself because someone was having a bad day on the Internet.
Here here! Don’t stop or change the way you blog, please! And please, DON’T give more power to that one comment over all of these (and past) positive comments! If they don’t like it, they don’t have to read it. I love your blog!
Some of the best blogs are the ones where people relapse.
The blog I started with was Elle from One Crafty Mother. She’s relapsed a few times…… she’s also bought great things into the sober blogging community with Crying Out Now and Bubble Hour.
Not everyone can sail through. Some bloggers like Mrs D and Belle don’t resonate because it seems like their journey has been “easy” (though we all know it’s not)
I miss bloggers like Lily from One Too Many who has gone quiet after being chastised for being on again, off again. My life has more parallels to the on again, off again drinkers than to the stopped forever on the first attempt bloggers.
There’s a style of blogger for everyone.
i agree with this. any chastising for someone not being sober is counterproductive. it makes people hide…
Such a great comment, Jo.
I think this post indicates that you are growing and getting stronger, because a few months ago it might have really set you back but here you are standing up for yourself.
I think many of us bloggers would agree that we can get 100 encouraging comments (which we love and enjoy) but then one negative comment packs a wallop. Especially true for recovery bloggers, since we are making ourselves vulnerable by talking about our own personal lives and striving to be honest about our shortcomings. It is okay for readers to disagree or become frustrated with us, but in the end the blog is our own journey.
BTW I just went and read the comment thread you are referring to, and there is a lot of wisdom there – even though it was framed in a way that was hard to hear just now. A suggestion: Give yourself some time to get over the emotion it created (a week or even two) and go back and read it for information. Maybe even meditate first to focus on processing the information separate from emotions, and then jot down anything you see there that might be helpful in the absence of feeling. Know that it was said with good intentions from someone who is on this journey, and not just some random troll. Then if you feel like there is a lesson in it, please share it with us readers.
Writing can be healing.
By blogging, and re-reading my posts, I can see and learn things about myself.
I don’t usually comment – I just take in others’ stories. The stories all give me something – even if they are different from my own. I was stung by the words: ‘I’m really not sure what your blog is about because you’re not helping these people [in early sobriety] or yourself’. Amazing that a complete stranger who knows absolutely nothing about me can say what is helping me – or not. I don’t want to be a negative voice in the mix – I think everyone is working to stay respectful – but I’m saddened by those words. A big and beautiful world is turned very small and limited by one person’s experience. Even with the best of intentions – judgement stings. For me at least. Especially when there is no connection to my story – my experience. Or yours. I think what I will say is that I agree with Unpickled – you’re voice sounds strong – you sound grounded in who you are, even if your sobriety journey isn’t where you want it to be right now. It’s amazing really.
I don’t know where this journey will take me . . . or you. But your honesty and vulnerability are needed. We are in this together – the ups and downs in this hard, scary and painful fight. Keep writing – I have no expectations of you but so value your sharing – every single day.
I’ve been hard on you once or twice and felt badly for it later when I realized it impacted you more than I intended. I think readers can often lose sight of the fragile nature of a struggling sober blogger or just a struggling newly sober person. You are obviously a talented, intelligent and gifted woman. It shows in your writing which is very good! And also shows when you talk about your music and family. You have so much going for you and a major wallop going against you! I’ve mentioned before that alcohol is a thief. You must find a why to lock the doors with your sobriety safe inside!
I agree with an earlier post. Put Liz’s comments to the side for a bit but revisit them without emotion at a later date. There are some good comments within. Wishing you more tools, more support and most of all more Belle!! And please keep blogging for yourself. Much love and encouragement. Shelby.
I agree with soberninny, I need to know that I am not the only one. Thank you for sharing. You are helping by sharing who you are.
Annie…this addiction stuff is tough…very tough. When I read the post that you are talking about, I felt conflicted. I feel for you because I know what it feels like to stop and start and it’s awful…I never needed anyone to tell me it was awful when I was stopping and starting because I felt it. No matter how many positive comments I got on my blog, I felt like shit for failing every time I drank. It helped to know I wasn’t alone.
At the same time, I understand the blogger too because when I read your blog and I see that you’ve drank…I’m not angry or sad or disappointed…quite honestly, I get scared at how easy it is to go drink and how hard we have to work to attain some measure of peace and distance from alcohol. It scares us because we see ourselves in you. It scares us because we are all only one drink away from disaster.
I wish I could scoop you up and put you in a sobriety bubble so you could get some distance from the drink and see this crap more clearly..but this is YOUR journey, and you have to find your way on your terms. I love reading your blog and I am in your corner. Keep trying, keep going.
Lots of love,
Annie, I have not logged into my account much in the last 2 weeks because I, too, have been having some issues and I have felt shame and regret. I SO appreciate who you are, coming on here and documenting your thoughts. Yes, I think it is VERY brave and very good for you.
Reading your journey and the comments help me. Both of them help, just as they help you grow. I try really hard to take advice from people that have longer sobriety that have been through this, but sometimes it’s hard to relate to people that don’t seem to have similar struggles in life.
If anything, your blog gives me courage to keep writing in my own, even when I keep falling. It doesn’t give me permission at all. It makes me feel as if I have someone walking beside me.
I wish you peace and sobriety. I do hope you talk with your husband. Sometimes, there is nothing I wish for more than to have a witness to my life, my struggles, my triumphs….
Love and hope to you, my friend. Walking beside you:) xo