when i first quit drinking, i wrote on this blog every day. i needed to get the noise in my head out into the world, and i have always used writing as a way of figuring out what i think. I know that last sentence doesn’t make much sense, but only when i try to write something down, and have to organize my thoughts, do i even see that THIS goes with THIS. i often say that in writing TO YOU (as a penpal or whatever) that i’m really writing TO ME.
i also used to make lists of ‘here’s what i learned this week in terms of being sober’ – and so today i’m doing to do the same thing. about my sober life this week.
- i do better with a goal: When i started the new work thing at the beginning of the month, i counted out how many days i had to go onsite (48) and so by the end of the first week i’d done 5. like quitting drinking, when you’re close to day 1, the time elapsed seems small and ‘not worth it’. and then we keep going. as of today i’ve done 19 of 48 days. perhaps at some point i’ll stop counting, or i’ll miscount, or i’ll forget about counting. just like when i quit drinking.
- progress isn’t always sunshine and roses: I do fine so long as the comments at my new job are encouraging. yesterday I had a very good shift, turned out a great product, got good feedback, and then checked the online notes when i got home and the boss had written something unfavourable that wasn’t said to me directly. This was a different from the guy who loved me the day before. my lesson: I need to stop looking at my daily evaluations. There is no daily improvement 🙂 there’s a slow and steady improvement, but one individual day might suck, or a series of days might suck, and that doesn’t mean it’s not improving globally.
- I care about likes, just like you do. i care about hearts and likes and thumbs up and comments. and i realize now – just this week – that it’s distracting. i could write a sober post for Medium, or record a sober audio for the podcast, or record a live show, or do a Production week with 5 live shows. OR I can spend time moderating, replying, editing comments on the blog. i’ve watched other bloggers turn off the comments on certain posts, and i’ve never thought i’d try it, but now i’m gonna try it 🙂 In terms of feedback, i get lots of it by email, so i won’t be missing out on ideas. I share lots of emails in my daily micro-emails from other subscribers, so you won’t miss hearing from others. When I was getting 10 comments a day, i could keep up, but as the site is larger, the demands of moderating comments is surprisingly time-consuming. And then i care about not being liked (as would anyone), and then i end up focussing on the two people who think i’m an anus. which, as we know, isn’t terribly productive either. Here’s what i’ve learned: Since i’m not a girl who can just shrug and say “oh well” … I am going to proactively remove the feedback loop on blog posts as a trial for a few weeks, to see how things shift.
- it all shifts: this week i learned that if i make a pork jus, reduced forever, my husband will pour it out thinking that it’s the dirty water in the bottom of a pot. then i’ll cry and plan divorce in my head. then he’ll say “how could i have known?” and i’ll say “you could have asked.” then he’ll come to me with a cup that has a smidge of a drip of milk in the bottom, and he’ll say “can i throw this out, or are you saving it,” and then i’ll hate him. and then he’ll say something hilarious. and then i’ll laugh. and then it’ll stop. note to self. it all shifts. [as in, we don’t drink on a fuck-it moment, because the next minute we could be laughing, and then we’d have ruined our sobriety for ‘no reason’].
In yesterday’s micro-email about why i share things in the daily emails, i got a bunch of replies. here’s a sample of what’s in my inbox today.
H: “My life is full of people but I’m lonely. And almost no-one in my real life knows the horrible truth about my struggles with alcohol. This loneliness would lead me to drink again if it wasn’t for you – simple as that. Getting emails from you every day is absolutely key in my recovery, I wouldn’t have got this far without you.”
Sargent (day 34): “The best idea I see here is to turn off the comments! Post what you think is valuable with CONFIDENCE and let people take it or leave it. You don’t need to hear what they think about it … There are a lot of great things about the internet but “comments” are one of worst. They’re repetitive and boring and rarely contain anything valuable. They will exhaust you and you have better things to do with your energy. And I think it’s the same with the “commerce” part of this. You have every right to charge for the services you provide and to sell products that you think are helpful. Your time is worth something. You don’t have to apologize for that. Just put it out there with confidence. People can take it or leave it and keep their opinions to themselves!”
B: “Hello, I have been reading your blog for years. This is the first time I have emailed you. I’m sorry you are going through a tough time. Continuing to help others is the cornerstone of my sobriety. I am 17.5 years sober as of Feb. 1 … I would hate to see you quit anything that you are doing because it may be your own sobriety that you impact. Stand strong. The work you are doing is helping thousands of people and also helping you in the process.”
this last comment really struck me. i love having feedback from people who are WAY further along than i am 🙂