Lessons From Blogging My First Year of Sobriety.

I started Elliott in Recovery to share my experience as a transgender alcoholic. I view the world through a unique lens. I hoped to help other alcoholics and addicts, transgender or otherwise, seek sobriety. I wanted to educate curious people through my own understanding of being transgender and in recovery.

What began as an honest attempt to help quickly unraveled. Through a lack of discipline, dedication, and consistency, Elliott in Recovery fell apart. My blog migrated away from raw and honest to surface level and self-indulgent.

I littered Elliott in Recovery with a series of empty to-do lists and an apologetic lack of follow-through. If you sift through the chaff of recent months you can find grains of insight and honesty towards the beginning of the blog.

I recently realized I lacked a distinct voice. Something to separate my writing from the endless online chatter I now find myself contributing to. Something that readers can connect with. Something that provides a reason to return.

Jeff Goins is an author who began his path to publication by blogging. He suggests asking a few close friends how they would describe you as a voice discovery exercise.

I needed a direction to head in so I sent off a few messages. Many responded, providing lists of adjectives that outlined a framework the my personality. One description in particular stuck out to me.

One of my closest friends said, “Friendly, hesitant, and loving. You’re very open but still a bit shy about being confident. Does that sound like you?”

Hesitant.

That one word blasted away the roadblock I found myself running into repeatedly. I worry about sharing myself and my experience. That hesitation translates into each to-do list I post.

She continued, “You’re hesitant in throwing everything out there so you don’t look, I don’t know, stupid or embarrassed or exposed. I’m not sure what keeps you from pulling back the curtain in your writing. You can be you without the excuses.”

What lies at the root of that hesitation?

Fear.

Fear that I will write irresponsibly.
Fear that something I post will offend someone.
Fear that the wrong person will read the wrong thing and my life will explode again.
Fear that you will find out who I really am inside: an insecure little boy, terrified of his own shadow.

My friend asked, “When you’ve read other things online that you identify with, is it surface level bullshit or inner real fear shit?”

It’s inner real fear shit. And that’s exactly what I’m not writing.

Other alcoholics, addicts, and transgender individuals can benefit from hearing the voice of that scared little boy. From walking alongside him as he navigates his journey.

That’s where the real writing is. It’s in sharing my story and in bringing you along with me. I have a long way to go in this journey, so much left to learn, and you can learn with me.

I planned to launch an eBook today detailing my experience during my first year of sobriety but after this conversation I realized I riddled the writing with apprehension. It is filled to the brim with unanswered questions. Holding back in places that should have pressed forward full-force. Rather than releasing a half-hearted documentation of a pivotal period of my life, I prefer to crack myself open and spill out every truth I have. I apologize for not following through but I also owe you more than that.

I have plenty to explore within my own experience: being transgender, addiction and alcoholism, staying sober, mental health, eating disorders. Much also exists outside my scope of understanding which I can start to learn about: privilege, transgender rights, politics, and the rights of other marginalized groups.

Fear controls my life and that reflects in my blogging. There is so much I can do with Elliott in Recovery if I stop hesitating. If I drop the fear of sharing myself with the world. If I focus on the one person I can help rather than the dozens I can offend.

Faith is the antidote to fear.

Faith in myself, my journey, and my higher power. Faith that things work out the way they are supposed to, whether or not it’s convenient for me.

Faith without works is dead. If I want to cultivate self-esteem, I need to do esteemable acts. That can start by sharing openly and honestly with you here on Elliott in Recovery.

Welcome to the next year of the blog.