We are so fortunate in today's world that we can do all manner of research, investigation and exploration from the comfort of our own homes. In the past if we wanted to find out what others are doing to get sober we'd have to front up to meeting rooms in our communities, or take books out from the public library.
A lot of people still do those things and gain great benefit from it.. but nowadays we have this further option which is to stay at home and safely and anonymously from behind the security of our computer screens tap into a vast array of information being shared around the internet.
And we have a choice when we do this. We can choose to share our own thoughts and feelings and communicate with others doing the same online, or we can choose to just lurk, read what others are sharing, and watch their conversations without taking part.
Our choices; we can participate, or we can lurk.
The Urban Dictionary describes lurking as 'spying on people online, while you remain invisible'. They also list out words that relate to lurker and they include; creep, stalker, spy, and weirdo.
I think lurkers who are hanging around the sober blogging and online recovery communities are actually incredibly brave individuals who are feeling a drive to better themselves while also being mindful of protecting themselves.
They're not creepy, stalkers, spies or weirdos. They're just ordinary people with an inkling that their drinking might be a problem. And they're taking tentative steps towards fixing that problem.
They're not living in denial. Someone living in denial would never navigate their way to a recovery blog or sobriety website, they'd just be boozing away merrily (or not so merrily as the case may be).
They're certainly not cowards. Simply typing 'how to quit drinking' into an internet browser can be terrifying. Every click beyond that point a scary step into an unknown world.
They are not to be frowned upon, discredited or judged. No way!
Lurking is an incredibly powerful first step for people using the internet to get sober. Some lurkers might develop into active participants. Others might never 'show' themselves by interacting but remain lurkers forever. That doesn't make their involvement in online recovery null and void. Far from it.
Some people can get sober only by lurking in the online recovery world. I know this because every now and then I receive emails from people telling me they have done just that. They write privately to me and reveal they've been lurking for ages and have just reached their 6-month or 1 year sobriety milestone. Living proof that lurking works!
Other lurkers find that after a while they feel comfortable to take the step to 'out' themselves and type out an online communication of their own. That's always an exciting day because they then get to experience the warmth and camaraderie of the online recovery community first hand.
But if you're lurking and reading this right now.. and you still don't feel like you want to 'show' yourself and interact.. and doubt you ever will...don't despair. You are still on the right track and you can absolutely still become the lovely, calm, sober person you were meant to be.
Here at Living Sober we love our lurkers, you are welcome to read and soak up all the information you can, we encourage you to stick around and follow our conversations inside the Members Feed. There is no pressure for you to speak out or 'show' yourself ever. Although if you do you will be met with warmth and understanding, because that's how we roll.....
Love, Mrs D xxx