I thought I would have run out of shit to say by now. Yet, here I am, still talking…umm… typing away.

Something that has crossed my mind on many occasions is at what point are my thoughts and experiences no longer helpful to anyone.  Helpful is a better word than relevant I think.  Relevance makes it sound like I want to be relevant, and I don’t.  I want to be helpful.  I started out being helpful for my own sake. I found sharing my struggle, getting it off my chest, and putting it out there for others to see helped me tremendously. I also quickly found out that by doing this I was helping others as well. It shouldn’t have been surprising, after all reading others share their stories helped me greatly, so why wouldn’t I think the inverse to be true.  

And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.

-Nelson Mandela

Going back to why I thought I would have run out of things to type by now. It’s mostly because at this point, I’m done with a lot of firsts. First day, week, month, year, first party, holiday, camp out, and so on. They’ve all come and gone. A big first that has not happened yet is my first sober vacation but that will come eventually. So, I was worried after a year without alcohol that I would just end up rehashing a lot of the same old stuff and sound like a broken record. I guess I wasn’t thinking of the fact that we don’t live on a record, going around and replaying the same things over and over again. It might feel like that sometimes of course, but our experiences do change.

From January 2019 through April 2020, rarely did a day go by that I wasn’t journaling my thoughts, feelings, emotions, whatever came to me into an app on my phone or messaging my therapist. Slowly, as I’ve grown more and more open with things, Instagram has served as my journal a lot of the time. A post usually starts out as me just unloading into my journal and I quickly realize that I want, or is it I need, to share it.

Ultimately, I share because it helps me. Typing things out and getting thoughts out of my head (like this post as I questioned and processed these thoughts) creates breakthroughs for me. Sharing it hopefully can help others as well and it gives me a chance to see if what I’m thinking makes sense. It also continues to hold me accountable to this new life I’ve created where I don’t need to use alcohol to cover up thoughts and emotions that I may not like.

The alcohol-free, sober, recovery, whatever you want to call it, community on Instagram is nothing short of fantastic. Sure, you always have your trolls and those that want to preach their particular brand of recovery as gospel. Maybe that was redundant? But overall, regardless of where people are coming from or how they got to where they are now, there is overwhelming support there. Don’t be afraid to use it and give back to it.

And that’s just it.  No matter where we come from or how we got here, it’s all relevant.  It’s relevant to our story, but it can also be relevant to someone else.  It could be the missing piece they were looking for or something that just carries them through today.  

So don’t ever think something you have to share isn’t relevant or useful. I’ve thought this in the past about things I was about to share and almost didn’t at times. Those are usually the ones that people reach out and talk about the most. Sure, not everything will resonate with people, but you never know who’s watching? Likes are easy, but they don’t measure the impact of what you have to say. If someone reads something you shared and doesn’t drink, or they do that thing they’ve been avoiding, or they find some peace in your words, that’s the good stuff right there. That is what’s truly relevant in my opinion.

You never know who’s watching.

-Don Mattingly 

Share the good, the bad, the funny, the mundane. The selfie’s, the quotes, the stories, the shame. Let’s just never stop sharing the struggle, because as they say, “the struggle is real”… and it thrives in the dark. Keep shining a light on that shit. We all struggle, no sense in pretending otherwise.

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