It's been a while since I did a shameless begging post, but I can't continue to do this on my own, as much as I'd like to, and I need your help.
I'm in the process of incorporating a non-profit called Shining Strong - named in memory of my father, Jon Strong, who (along with my Mom, Sonja) taught me that giving back to your community is the most important thing you can do in your life.
Shining Strong will be an umbrella organization that encompasses the work I do in the recovery community, including the site Crying Out Now, the podcast/internet radio show The Bubble Hour and even One Crafty Mother.
Here is a short video that explains Shining Strong's mission:
I'm becoming a non-profit so I can, down the road, get sponsorship and/or grant funds to continue to build these projects and reach more women who are struggling with alcoholism, or who are in recovery and looking for community to help them stay that way.
The best part is that these sites are growing, bit by bit, so I know the mission is working. The Bubble Hour has passed 30,000 downloads in a mere 16 episodes. Crying Out Now reaches an average of 10,000 page views per month. The responses I get from women these sites have helped blows me away. It's not just people who are struggling, either, but their loved ones as well.
Usually I have a hard time with promotion; it feels so self-serving. I know I could be doing more to grow these sites, but fear of rejection (even though it is SO not about me) and not wanting to "bother" people holds me back.
I need to stop that. The mission is much bigger than me, taking on a momentum of it's own, and I want to honor that by spreading the word. I have brought fabulous sober women on board to help me run these sites: Lisa, Amanda and Michele I am indebted to your grace, creativity, intelligence and determination. They are donating their time out of their belief in the mission and they are helping countless women. COUNTLESS.
If you can help in any way, I would appreciate it very much. There are several ways to do this, and they don't all involve money.
Spreading the word about Shining Strong, The Bubble Hour and Crying Out Now helps a ton. I guaranty you know someone who is silently struggling. Just by putting this post on your FB page or tweeting about it you are helping a LOT. You will almost certainly help someone you know (even if you don't know they have a problem with alcohol) and equally importantly you are helping to break down the shame and stigma that surrounds addiction. We HAVE to keep the discourse going about this disease.
You can donate to the cause, too. I have set up a We Pay account to receive donations, and ANY amount helps. The costs associated with running these sites is growing, and until I can get official sponsors or grants (likely not until at least a year from now) I'm relying on the support of people who support our cause or have been helped by them. If you can spare a donation, please do. Below is a widget where you can donate directly:
If You Like Our Site, Please Consider A Contribution
You can also purchase my book, Let Me Get This Straight - all proceeds from the sale of the book go directly to funding these endeavors. You can purchase the paperback for $29.00, or a pdf version (for PCs only!) or an eBook version (for MAC products ONLY!) for $9.99. Please click here for a link to my bookstore. Just please be sure to purchase the correct electronic version for your device (eBooks do NOT work on PCs - you need the pdf version for that).
Click HERE for testimonies about how these sites have helped people (then click "comments" to view testimonies). You can leave a testimony here, too, if you have been helped from our services.
Here's a sample testimony:
"I found out about Crying Out Now while I
was still actively drinking. I read an article about it in Redbook, and
went to the site. Reading the posts from other women, made me realize
how bad my drinking had gotten. That I was not alone...or even unique.
There were tons of other women out there suffering in shame, just like
me. It took multiple attempts over a year and a half for me to finally
find my road to recovery. Today I am 147 days sober :) I have my life
back! When I started, I couldn't imagine going the rest of my life
without drinking...it seemed impossible. Now I know I can have an
amazing life, AS LONG AS I DON"T DRINK. All of the problems I thought it
helped me deal with, were actually being caused by the drinking. I
never would have made it to this point without Crying Out Now! Thank you
so much for giving me my life back!"
The bottom line, sadly, is that I am unable to support these sites on my own anymore. Donations received last year carried me this far, and so I need to ask again. It's hard to ask. I know none of us is floating in money, and there are so many important causes out there. If you can't donate, I understand, but will you please share this post and help spread the word?
And if you can spare any amount - either to donate or purchase the book, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Addiction lives in the dark. Together? Together we're bringing the light.