My Opening Up Project
Letting others see in, so I could see out.
When I started sobering up and getting into recovery, I was sitting in the darkest corner of every room I met in, including my counselor's office. It was more comfortable and hidden away. The problem was, I was hidden. I needed a way to open up and to speak to people, to "let others see in, so I could see out," as I was told.
I didn't communicate verbally as well as I did in writing. This had been the case for me for as long as I can remember. But I was told over and over that I needed to express, or I couldn't heal. It was very difficult for me to do, so my counselor suggested I write. I didn't feel like writing would help, but I did it anyway. Eventually, I decided that if no one could actually read/hear what I was saying or understand what I was going through, then it was pointless — who was it going to help?! I still didn't see my self worth. So she came up with a brilliant plan: she suggested that I send my writings to her.
So I did.
I began writing many, many long emails to my counselor, so much so that she couldn't keep up with them. I began to feel like I was becoming burdensome to her, so I began to rethink writing anything at all!
But, the miracle was working, the writing was helping...
Still, I began to doubt that I had anything to really say. I felt like all I was doing was complaining and being bothersome, not to mention that I was too embarrassed to let people know who I was, what I'd been through, or why and how. So if I was going to start "letting others see in," I would have to be able to express while hiding in the dark — it was the only way I could do it; it was the only way I knew how.
I started a secondary Facebook account completely separate from my own, and created a secret, simple page. It was a tool for me to anonymously talk. Anonymously. The one, big factor that I needed so I could open up; the key was not shutting down because of embarrassment or fear. Anonymity in writing provided this. Soon, blogging became my daily, therapeutic outlet. It was a place I could slow down and think, work through ideas and troubles, and makes sense of my argumentative, racing mind. The suicidal thoughts diminished in those moments, and a freedom I never knew before began to light my path. I could see what I was trying to say, and then -- it clicked.
It occurred to me that maybe, just maybe, someone else could benefit from my writings. If they saw an ordinary guy going through daily life, the ups and downs, the questions and wonders and thought processes, maybe they could relate. If they could relate, maybe they could find some hope. If they could find just a smidgen of hope, then maybe they could decide to live, even if just for that day -- or better, longer.
In October of 2015, Drunkless was born, and it became my Opening-Up Project. I began anonymously on Facebook, with a completely new user name, where I blogged about my life for a short minute. And then...
Januray 1, 2016, I officially launched Drunkless as a world-wide website... anonymously, of course.
Since I first began Drunkless, my Recovery through creating this site has greatly improved my ability to open up and talk -- even verbally; though I still find writing is my greatest way to release and process my thoughts, ideas, and problems. It has become my greatest asset in this respect, and I couldn't keep it to myself any longer.
I knew of a couple of people who'd expressed enthusiasm for wanting to blog. So I began to come out of the dark corner, and I shared with them. We became a group of writers, podcasters, artists, musicians, and creativists that are experiencing Recovery through Sobriety. We each have a passion for living a healthy, sober life, which includes physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and social life. The topics ranged widely, so there was a great mix of subjects, feelings, and life. The rules were quite simple. We'd do it because it is important to us. We'd do it because it works, it would help us process, and help us grow. We'd do it because we care. We'd do it because we were (and still are) passionate about expressing our experience, strength, and most importantly -- our hope. We'd do it because just maybe, someone else would see it can be done, and then hopefully they could find a way out of their Hell, too.
Alcoholism/addiction and mental health doesn't have to kill us... but first, we had to know that. So we shared it.
A single candle can light a thousand more and never diminish its own brilliance.
To partially quote Marianne Williamson:
We were born to make manifest the glory of
God that is within us.
It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine,
we unconsciously give other people
permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear,
Our presence automatically liberates others."
Marianne Williamson - Our Greatest Fear
Where we stand now:
Where our initial intention was to come out of hybernation in January of 2019 and dive right back in, it has proven very difficult to do so. Many things in my life have changed, and a lot of priorities have had to shift. So here we are: Drunkless has fullfilled it's initial purpose -- and several others -- many times over. Life is repurposing and reusing things all the time -- Life is a cycle, after all -- and right now, Drunkless is being shifted as deemed necessary. As painful as it can be going through these seasons, recognition is an extremely important part of my growth, where previously I simply tried to ignore everthing and in hope that it would "just go away" and/or "do what I want" it to. Sometimes, I really hate to see the season change, but it's an absolute must in our lives -- or at tleast, sometimes we have no choice in the change, except to accept and sit with the changes that ARE out of our control, be still, and sit with them until it's time to act accordingly.
Today, Drunkless is being set to rest indefinately. It may come back at some unknown future time, and I certainly hope to see it so. But today is not the time. There are many factors for this decision, and it saddens me greatly, but it is time right now for more rest. If/when it is time to bring it back, whether in part, in whole, or in an entirly new form, then I will. Until then, I want say thank you to all that have supported us and contributed to Drunkless. For those who've looked to us for inspiration and suggested direction, we are not, nor have we ever been, the only source for inspiration. Many, many people have as much desire as we here at Drunkless do; to sharea our Hope so that the hopeless might find just one more day. We've been blessed to have reached across the globe, and we've been touched by Drunkless not only by what we've personally accomplished, but by what others have generously given to us in the form of stories, time to create podcasts, and other volunteer work involved in supporting Drunkless.
I also want to thank each and everyone of the Drunkless crew who've contributed to Drunkless in some way. While the list extends on beyond the one below, these folks were the most instramental in the growth of Drunkless (listed chronologically):
- Drinkless Sakyong
- Alan P.
- Tami Winn
- Adrienne D.
- Matt Anonymous
- Dawayne P.
- K. J. W.
- Abbie W.
- Brian K
- Rose L.
- O. R. Marv
- John C.
- Steve Anonymous
- Kade H.
And all of the contributors to the blogs and podcast series, and the most important of all: Our viewers and listeners. With out you, we would have never grown.
There are many folks who've contributed to Drunkless and made it such a success, which was far above and beyond what I had ever intended it to be. Again, this is indefinate; one day I hope to bring all this back -- only Time will tell.
Again, thank you all for following us and sharing in the desire to spread hope. We'll still occasionally be on social medias, so keep an eye out for us. Until then:
May you all find the peace and serenity that you crave in your life. Be Positive. Be Compassionate. Be Love. Be Spiritual. Be Life. Just BE.