A few weeks back I celebrated my bloggerversary. It's been one year since I started the sober señorita, I still can't believe it. Obviously I've grown immensely as a person since I started my blog and my writing has changed as well. I started out writing about living as an expat abroad in Mexico and slowly transformed into being open about my sobriety and struggles with addiction. Throughout this time period I learned a lot about myself and about blogging. Here are some of the lessons I've learned:
1. Don't be afraid to blog about what you really want to blog about
I knew I wanted to write about my sobriety, but I didn't really know how at first or in what capacity I would dive into it. I made sobriety a part of my blog name because it was a part of me and I didn't want to be ashamed of it. The sober señorita would become my new identity. Even after making the name and putting together the blog, I hesitated to write about sobriety. Throughout my first posts I hinted at the fact that I didn't drink, but I never really explained why until my One Year Without Alcohol post. The reactions from that post gave me the courage to get honest with myself and start writing more about what I really wanted to write about.
2. One article can go viral for no particular reason at all
Well as most of you know this happened with my One Year Without Alcohol article, which was then labeled 7 Things I Learned From a Year Without Alcohol by the Huffington Post. I still don't really understand why this particular article went viral. I just know that I was silently counting the days and months of my sobriety and I needed to share about what I had learned. I wanted people to understand why I stopped drinking and how it had been such a great decision for my life. I still remember the email I received from the Huffington Post asking me if they could republish it and then the views, emails, comments, and reposts came pouring in. I've never experienced something so overwhelming and rewarding. Still today, almost 2 years sober, my article is STILL being circulated and talked about. I was hoping some people would be able to relate to my story when I wrote it, but I never dreamed that so many people actually would. I guess being honest and straightforward about your struggles goes a long way.
3. Sharing your story can change the world
I've said this before, but starting my blog was for me, and now writing is for all of you. I still get something out of it, but instead of trying to make myself feel better and speaking my mind, I now hope that I can reach out and help somebody with each post I write. I understand that sharing my experiences is for a greater good. I know that I am making a difference because of all of you who have taken the time to send me a message, an email, a comment, or a tweet telling me how my writing has affected your life or the lives of people you love. One of the best feelings in life is knowing you are not in this thing alone and I want every person who has ever struggled with alcohol to know they are not the only one. Sharing your story could help spark that change in someone else, and I'm so humbled to know I'm making this type of impact.
4. Forming a bond with your readers is awesome
I know one of my main objectives has been to let readers and people out there know that they aren't alone, but it's great knowing that I am not alone either. Over this past year of blogging it's been a real learning experience through writing and sobriety. I've also had the pleasure of connecting with several of my readers. My friend Beth from Minnesota who also published an article on the Huffington Post about sobriety around the same time as I did, shares my sobriety date. We have kept in contact and talk daily, even though we haven't met in person yet! But we hope to do that this year. She is one person that can understand several things about me: being young and sober, being a writer, and working a program. I am very grateful for her friendship and I find it amazing we found each other over the internet. I also met my friend Shannon after she sent me an email telling me she read my blog and lived in the same town as me. This is how I ended up going to AA for the first time and now because of that I have an even larger group of wonderful women in my life! The connections I've made through my blog are awesome and I love where it has taken me and I can't wait to see where it will bring me in the future.
5. Blogging keeps your memories safe and close
Most of all, blogging has allowed me to reflect on my journey over the last year. I love being able to look back at my posts and say Wow that was a great time, or, that was a really tough situation I went through. That's the beauty of documenting your life through blogging. You keep the memories safe and close by your side. It's also a reminder of how I've grown and how my writing style has changed. Going back and reading about Mexico makes me happy that I lived there, and now reading and writing about life in the USA and our new adventures keeps me in the present moment.
I couldn't be happier that I decided to start my blog just over one year ago. I didn't know it would develop into what it is today, but I'm so glad that it has. Blogging has helped me grow as a person and a writer and I'm lucky to be able to share my personal experiences with the world. Thank you all for reading!