Silhouette of a woman jumping a chasm

Blog Fearlessly

Personal Diary

For as long as I’ve been a blogger, there has always been one rule that I doggedly stuck to: Never focus on personal experience. Avoid disclosing what I’m feeling, thinking, doing, or what my childhood was like, because nobody is interested in reading about that.

Honestly, in the past I would avoid referring to myself at all. It was broader trends and concepts that were important, not me. I was simply the messenger.

For some reason, I always saw personal journals as a cardinal sin I needed to avoid. They were absolutely fine for other people, but not for me. Every post, every article, needed a purpose. Every line was to be crafted with the reader in mind. To focus on myself was egotistical and unnecessary.

And really, in the context of political discourse, or analyses of topical matters relating to my profession, I do think that’s appropriate. If the purpose of a blog post is to convince someone of something, clearly articulating objective facts and logical analyses are the best means of achieving this. Relying on personal opinions isn’t going to help.

However, this blog has an entirely different purpose. It’s a space for me to work things through. If anyone derives benefit from that, I’m overjoyed, but that’s not why I post. This fundamental difference is hitting home for me this morning, which is leading me to completely rethink what I share, and how.

It stands to reason then, if I write for my own benefit, then I need to be fearless and thorough about it. Half measures will avail me nothing.

In some ways I appreciate the fact no one reads this blog. If they did, I’d probably start self-censoring out of fear of losing face, or offending people.

I don’t plan on ever sharing information about other people though; not family nor close friends. That feels inappropriate, and not my right to do. I will, however, aim to be as open and honest with myself through this space as I possibly can. I want to learn and grow as a person, and lying to myself will hardly achieve that.

Art faces masks

Lenses

General

This is not a sobriety blog. There are many people in that category on the internet today, with a lot of fantastic things to say about recovery, the sober-curious movement, 12-step programs and the like, and I am truly glad they are here, tirelessly helping others and sharing their experience, strength and hope. It’s a really important role. I may write posts on sobriety every once in a while, but that is not the broad intent behind this site.

The way I see it, I am more than my sobriety. This is not to say that my sobriety isn’t important to me, because it definitely is. It’s given me so much joy, opportunity and freedom over the last 20 years, but it is just one aspect of my identity. And I find when I try to compartmentalise my life into neat, self-contained categories, it feels limiting.

I had a sobriety blog for a while. I started it with the best of intentions, but slowly began to feel boxed in. Perhaps inevitably, I ran out of things to say and the site began to lay fallow. Eventually, my web host account was hacked, a bunch of nasty malware was installed, and I had to pull everything down – and I mean everything.

In an instant, my sobriety blog and several of my other sites, amounting to a decade and a half of web content, vanished from existence. Further still, I systematically deleted all instances of the username I’d used for years in order to mitigate the fallout that had occurred. In the end, for the first time in nearly two decades, I had no personal web presence whatsoever.

In the beginning it actually felt relieving to have a blank slate, but slowly the urge to express myself online began to rise to the surface again. “I blog, therefore I am” was a mantra of mine for many years, and I’ve grown to realise the statement “once a blogger, always a blogger” holds very true for me.

So rather than re-establish a number of different sites, each covering a different topic, or series of topics, I’m going to back to basics, as I did with my first personal blog on Blogspot many years ago, and have one site that discusses whatever I’m thinking at the time. This will give me the flexibility to express myself – my whole self – in one place for anyone who cares to read it.

In the end though, I write to think. The act of articulating my thoughts in print forces me to structure and sequence ideas into meaningful language, and in doing so helps me come to conclusions I had not previously recognised. Even if this site never receives a single visitor, the act of writing is its own reward and I will continue to engage in the practice regardless.