One year ago today I plunked down in front of my computer and Googled "how to start a blog". Several people had suggested I start a blog to support my jewelry business. So I stumbled my way to Blogger, set up an account, and thought - quite literally - here goes nothing.
I thought I was going to post about new pieces of jewelry, promotions in my shop, maybe a word or two about creativity, and a couple of cute vignettes about the kids. I never thought I'd write about me. I certainly never thought anyone would ever read it. Maybe because I thought nobody would ever see it, I felt comfortable flexing my muscles a bit, exploring unchartered waters.
I started writing about recovery, and I realized something quickly: I felt better. Purging my thoughts onto the page was therapeutic, cathartic. Just shy of two years sober, it helped me sort through my fledging thoughts and feelings.
A few months into it, I questioned myself. I wondered: is blogging just an over-inflated ego run rampant? Do I think too much of myself? Who am I to think anyone would ever care about anything I have to say? As more readers showed up, I became fearful; I felt vulnerable, exposed. I was questioned, sometimes criticized outright, about balancing writing about my addiction and recovery and maintaining humility. Several times in the first four or five months I came close to shutting it down.
I am so very glad I didn't. Not because of me, though.
What I never could have anticipated was the unbelievable community I would find here in the blogosphere. The very real friendships I would make. Total strangers reaching out to each other through the pixilated world of the internet, offering virtual hugs, shoulders to cry on, and resounding cheers.
It is hard for me to believe that one year ago I didn't know Heather, Maggie, Stefanie, Hope, Angelynn, Robin or Corinne. They are kindred spirits in recovery, loving mothers, brave souls and incredible writers. I stand in awe of their courage, their honesty and their gorgeous words.
One year ago I didn't know the brave women on the Booze Free Brigade, started by Stefanie and Sweet Jane. The overpowering love and support on this board props me up, helps to keep me afloat. I witness real, live miracles there every single day. Stay strong, sisters.
One year ago there was no Crying Out Now, where women come and share their experience, strength and hope in the fight against addiction - a fight we come closer to winning with each and every story. One year ago Robin and Val, my co-moderators, weren't a part of my life. Now I can't imagine what my life would be like without them.
Blogging has changed the way I metabolize my world. When I started out, I would keep lists of cute things the kids said, things I thought were newsworthy or unusually poignant. Now I just find a quiet moment and sit, stare at the blank page, and let the thoughts and feelings come. I start typing, and I see where it takes me. I find myself remembering moments that otherwise would have slipped away, unnoticed, trampled underfoot with the swift passage of time.
I am uncomfortable with the term "readers", because all of you who comment here mean so much more to me than that. Your words of support and wisdom never cease to astound me. I learn from you every day, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for coming into my world, taking a moment or two to offer your insight and advice, and for sharing a bit of yourself along the way.
I thought I would get caught up in needing approval, and to some degree that is inevitable, I think. There have been more than a few times when, after hitting "publish", I wanted to go hide under a table, afraid. I brace myself for criticism, cynicism, or mean-spiritedness. But blogging has also taught me how to find my inner voice, the one that speaks from the heart and doesn't worry about what the world will think. Coming from an alcoholic who only sought external approval for most of her life, this is an immeasurable blessing. I'm learning how to be okay with people not being okay with everything I say or do. I'm growing a backbone.
Thank you to my family for supporting me, especially to you, Mom and Dad, for standing shoulder to shoulder with me as I put myself out there in the world.
And an extra special thank you to my good friend Damomma. Your friendship, support, and honesty mean the world to me.
Thank you, all of you, for enriching my life, making me cry, laugh, and cheer. I am so very grateful.