When You Become An Inspiration By Accident

My good friend maura and i

My good friend maura and i

Did you know that during the first four months of this blog's existence I was too scared to write a post about sobriety? You can go back to the beginning and see for yourself. Even though the name of this blog was always Sober Señorita, I wasn't sure how to go about addressing the "sober" part. For the first few months, I concentrated on the señorita part, talking about my life in Cancun, my experiences living as an American girl in Mexico, and how very different it all was. If I'm honest I didn't talk about my sobriety because, 1. I wasn't 100 percent positive I was going to stay sober and 2. I didn't know what to say about it. I wasn't sure how to go about telling the world I had quit alcohol and drugs. I was terrified because I was still ashamed and embarrassed about my struggles. I wasn't sure if I wanted to expose the darkest times of my life to the world. Then my one year free from drugs and alcohol rolled around. I was actually in shock when it did. I thought to myself, "holy shit, I can't believe I didn't drink or use for an entire year." It was unheard of for me and I thought people who knew me would have a hard time believing it. Frankly, I was proud of myself for getting to a year and I wanted to share with the world my new achievement. I felt different and I decided I would detail exactly how I felt in a blog post. That's how the viral post A Year Without Alcohol came to be. I'm sure many of you found me that way as it's been republished a billion times on many different websites and translated into 4 other languages.

When I pressed publish on May 7, 2014, I had no idea what was in store for me, that I would go viral, or that I would focus in on just writing about recovery after that. I had absolutely no idea that people were actually reading my blog, or that people wanted to hear about sobriety, or that anyone would be able to relate to my struggles. I didn't know Sober Señorita would take off and actually be a thing. I didn't know I would want to write a book and that my followers would be encouraging me to write one.

I am asked all the time how I did it. How did I get my Year Without Alcohol blog to go viral? The truth is I have no idea. I didn't do anything. I put my words out into the universe expecting nothing except an internal emotional release. What followed was nothing more than an accident of epic proportions. I quickly realized that the world really wanted to hear more about an average gal from the suburbs of Philadelphia who hadn't lost all, but had found sobriety. So I continued to write about my experiences. I became more and more open about my recovery.

Today one of my best friends from college celebrates her 2-year sober birthday, a girl I bonded with over alcohol and pot many years ago. I believe it takes a very special connection to meet and become friends with someone when intoxicated, get sober, and still remain close. As I congratulated her and she sent me a message that said, "You have been such an inspiration to me and I'm so happy to have you in my life!" As my eyes welled up with tears, I couldn't help but wonder, but what have I done, really?

She isn't the only one who has told me I inspired her. Another one of my best friends and bridesmaids, also got sober a year after me. I met her in college too and of course, we bonded over binge drinking and she taught me how to smoke cigarettes. Then she followed me down to Mexico and we became roommates. A year and two months after I got sober, she did too. We joke about it now. She says, "I used to look at your Facebook statuses and see that you went running at 6 a.m. and thought how does she do it?" She said she never thought sobriety could be for girls like us until I took the plunge. And today it's not unusual for me to receive comments, emails, and Facebook messages from strangers telling me how my writing or my example has helped them get or stay sober. I read and appreciate every single one.

But I never thought I would be here. I didn't ask for this. I certainly didn't ask to be sober. I always say sobriety found me, I didn't find it. I got sober because I was all out of options and the self-loathing and pain I was drowning in was killing me. I am happy to just be alive, to be living substance free, and in sharing my pain I have found an accidental purpose.

So, was it written in the stars? I don't know. Perhaps it will be one of the great mysteries of my life. What I do know is that I have had a lot of peculiar things happen to me in my life and it's ironic that sharing these things helps others. I never imagined my sobriety would have a ripple effect. I honestly never thought that my name and the word 'inspiration' would commonly find themselves in the same sentence.

I know that a scared, ashamed, and self-conscious girl who felt alone, wrote an honest thing about reaching one year of sobriety at the age of 28 years old and this is what has come of it. It's why I continuously encourage everyone to live their truths - whatever that looks like for you. Be authentic, be real, and let the chips fall where they may. Because in the end it's not up to you, the universe will guide you where you're supposed to go.