Degrees of Engagement

Occasionally I get asked to speak at events about my drinking and sobriety story. Strangely it’s not something I get nervous about. Am always happy to share honestly so that normal drinkers can understand what it’s like for those of us who can’t control alcohol, and so that others who might be secretly locked in a boozy hell-hole can see that there is a way out.

I love talking up the wonders of recovery! I genuinely love being sober – even when I’m stressed and grumpy – and I try my best to explain in my talks why this is.

I also try to explain why online recovery is so genuine and transformative, by describing how writing my original blog (Mrs D Is Going Without) helped me, and how immensely powerful the community of support was that grew up around it. And of course I talk about our wonderful community here at Living Sober!

One of the best things about online recovery – I think – is that there are many degrees of engagement available, and all of us can choose to participate to the degree that suits us personally.

Some of us participate to the utmost degree. We write regular blogs or updates, sharing often about our thoughts and feelings. We leave many comments encouraging others along, we form one-on-one email relationships and sometimes even meet up with online buddies face-to-face.

Others interact but to a lesser degree. They might only occasionally share about their personal circumstances, they leave lovely comments for others only when they are particularly touched, they never seek to form one-on-one email connections and never arrange to meet online connections face-to face.

And there are others participating in online recovery who we never ‘see’ (except in website statistics). They read blogs and come into forums like the one here at Living Sober but never ‘show’ themselves by sharing or commenting, emailing or meeting face-to-face. These people are the lurkers.

Personally I love the lurkers. Lurkers rock! And I KNOW that lurking works to get you sober. I know this because occasionally I’ll receive an email from someone who says “I read your blog regularly and am in the Members Feed at Living Sober daily although I’ve never interacted – today I am celebrating 6-months of sobriety!”.

Each and every degree of engagement is TOTALLY FINE. Each and every degree of engagement works to help people get sober. You don’t have to interact online to get the full benefit of the blogging world and recovery forums (although articulating your thoughts and feelings is a very powerful thing to do, but you can do that in a private journal if you’d rather not share online).

Keeping yourself private is totally ok. No-one should feel bad or inadequate if they are keeping themselves hidden. No-one should feel guilty or worried if they’re not racing to attend meet-ups. Staying away and keeping yourself protected in a small sober bubble does not mean you are not a brave sober warrior! It just means you’re someone who is protecting yourself to a level that feels comfortable and safe. I have huge respect for that.

There are a million and one ways to get sober. Make your way work for you. Use the tools that suit your circumstances and personality. Don’t do anything you don’t want to do!

Just try and not touch alcohol because it will stifle your inner spark and slowly deaden your soul – that’s what it did to me anyway.

Love, Mrs D xxx

  1. Boom! 9 years ago

    Mrs D – been reading your blog for a year and it is fantastic. I have had several sober periods, and recently made it to over 100 days, then Boom!, holiday with friends and right back on it! Pathetic…… So, instead of just lurking have decided to ‘man up’ and see if by contributing I can go all the way. Feels possible. Thank you for sharing your experiences.
    Boozing over, objective mellowness (BOOM) x

  2. Temperance 9 years ago

    Wonderful post. Just what the doctor ordered.

  3. Momentsofgrace 9 years ago

    Just what I needed to read today @MrsD – thank-you once again xx

  4. aarw 9 years ago

    Thanks for posting that, I was a lurker for a little while and then I started posting I felt safe that I could post and not be attacked because I knew everyone was going though the same similar things that I was. Its been great to get feedback, its totally helped me and I’ve tried to be supportive and helpful to others. I totally LOVE this blog, its helping me to stay on track and know that I can reach out to others when I’m needing help. Love you guys xoxoxoxo Mitzi 😉

  5. RUNNINGIRL 9 years ago

    ” stifle your inner spark and slowly deaden your soul ” this is SOOO true! Feel like I’m getting a bit of that inner spark back that you mentioned! I have been sober 64 days now, still recovering from broken leg also, what a journey. Enjoy reading your posts. Thank you.

    • Dalboy 9 years ago

      64 days is a great achievement…be proud, set a goal…small to start with and smash it. Go you!

  6. justjane 9 years ago

    Thanks for that post @mrs-d I was a daily contributor to LS for the first year. I have been much less interactive for the past couple of months ( and feeling guilty about it) I check in every few days, but don’t post so much now. Good to know that’s normal/OK!

  7. amy 9 years ago

    full on lurker. 2 years sober tomorrow. mrs. d’s blog paved the way. forever grateful.

    • Tryingagain2505 9 years ago

      Congrats on your 2 years – amazing 🙂

  8. Jules 9 years ago

    Very well articulated Lotta, you have a great talent putting stuff into words. I’m sure there will be heaps of people feeling very relieved having read this.

  9. behind-the-sofa 9 years ago

    I’m a born again lurker.

  10. Felicity 9 years ago

    It’s nice to know that any degree of interaction is ok, I must admit when I first joined I was feeling a little confused about interaction etiquette haha! Was a little concerned that it may end up becoming a bit like bloody facebook having to constantly get round to sending replies, however I quickly realised that any amount of interaction was ok and we are all doing this journey in our own way and that every way is ok as long as it lead to the same goal (happy healthy sobriety). I know we’re not all there yet and some of us very new to all this (like me) but just being on here is a bloody good start and knowing the support s there if you need it is most reassuring especially when you don’t particularly want to broadcast to the rest of the world that you are an alcoholic. You are doing an awesome thing for the world Mrs D, we are lucky to have you, and this website is very well put together and easy to navigate for some of us technophobes! Thankyou for your gift x

  11. pinky 9 years ago

    I don’t know how you do it, but you seem to tap into exactly what I am thinking within short order of me thinking it! I lurked for a long time before contributing to the feed. And it was exactly what I needed to do at the time. I’m more comfortable now posting, and if I lived close enough, would absolutely travel to meet the group. But I’m in Canada and can’t make the trip this year. Sometimes I feel a little ‘out of it’, because I am so far away, but I still find tremendous value in reading your posts, and participating in the feed. You are a gem, Lotta Dann. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!!!

  12. elhall 9 years ago

    Thank you from the bottom of my heart for this post. Early sobriety is a wonderfully confusing thing. You’re just getting to know yourself again and it can be difficult to trust your own judgement when your still trying to understand your emotions. I often worry if I’m doing it “right”, and it’s so reassuring to read your words. I’m writing my own sobriety guide each day and that’s perfectly fine. Bless your sparkly heart!

  13. morgan 9 years ago

    Love this! That journey word arises in my mind – everyone is on their special journey, and need to do it their own way.
    Your last sentence is the best too, “stifle your inner spark & slowly deaden your soul’ – brilliant, so true.

    Now, I am looking for that ginger slice!! Nice to explore nooks & crannies on the site 🙂 XXXX

  14. Prudence 9 years ago

    Lovely post Lotta and will be very reassuring to many, I am sure.

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