More about blogging in Recovery.
It has been a couple of years since I launched the blog www.recoveringfromrecovery.com here. I had run a short lived forum on this domain some years before, but I chose to close it after problems with online trolling, by some of the more unsavory characters in the recovery community, which is something that has happened on similar sites. I was inspired to start again after meeting up with Monica Richardson, who campaigns about the lack of safety in some 12 step environments, when I was in Beverly Hills for few weeks. This was around the time that she was starting to get serious about making the 13th Step film, which is now on sale on DVD for a limited period. http://www.the13thstepfilm.com and is well worth looking at. It got a good reception when she showed it earlier this year in London, both from those who are fans of AA and those who have moved on to use other solutions.
Blogging has been good for me, and has brought me into contact with many new people who I probably would not have met without being online. The original idea of the site was simply to let people know that there are some great alternatives to AA, and that if the 12 step solution does not sit well with your own ideas, then there are other ways to beat addiction. It has expanded a bit since then.
I am lucky to have some great contacts, who run huge websites, and who showed me how enhance my own site’s visibility and helped me to discover which posts are being read more that others. I also get a lot of feedback via email and most of it has been good. I discovered there are a lot of people searching google and other search engines for information about leaving AA. These people did not want to bash AA and were put off by some of the repellant, inaccurate, one sided sites out there. They just wanted to move on from AA and do something else and were frightened to do so as they did not know about alternative support solutions. I decided to put pages on the site about Smart Recovery and the Sinclair Method etc and made category links in the sidebar. This has worked, as most visitors to the site, view about five pages when they visit and then often follow a link to a more specialist site. I am glad to be able to tell people about these other solutions.
I have also learnt a lot from other people and one of these is Gary Bell. Gary is one of the many people who had to try many methods of stopping drinking before he found a solution that worked for him. In his case it is the Sinclair Method, which is the solution that I regret not researching, when I was looking to stop drinking a decade ago. Gary has totally turned his life around and helps publicise the Sinclair Method whenever he can. He appeared in the excellent film by Claudia Christian called “One Little Pill”. He also introduced me to Dr Roy Eskapa who wrote the excellent “Cure for Alcoholism” and who I hope to complete a new site about the Sinclair Method with, in the next few months. Gary appeared in the video below about TSM on YouTube with Dr Roy Eskapa, in which he talks about how his life has been changed by this treatment. He has recently started his own blog, which will be quite broad based, rather than a simple recovery blog, but I’m sure it will contain many pieces about the Sinclair Method and beating alcoholism. You can read it here. http://freepigeonpress.com/
I have also written some pieces for www.addiction.com which is currently being restructured, and then decided to try doing podcasts as I felt I could reach a new audience this way. I decided to use the soundcloud platform as it offers good quality and allows me to control the data in the feeds much more than I would if I was using one of the alternatives. The podcasts are available in ITunes as well and I decided to group them together in a site called www.alcoholism-recovery-radio.com as I felt this described what I wanted to do better than www.recovering-from-recovery.com . Most of the podcasts that I have done so far feature fellow blogger Jon from https://jonsleeper.wordpress.com/ . He does a lot of great talks about recovery as well as the good and bad side of AA around the country, and we seem to be getting a strong following already, so I hope this continues. Now that we have more listeners I will probably attempt to talk to more people about recovery. I am also happy to put pages on the blog by other people if they wish to write something. At the moment I have a really limited amount of time to spend on the sites, so it will be great if others can contribute. Lifering are hopefully going to do something soon, as well as St Judes Retreats who have been in contact in the past week.
As I mentioned earlier, I went to see Monica’s film the 13th Step in London, and it was great to meet up with people in person, for the first time who I had met online over the years. Many were from the www.stinkin-thinkin.com which was an amazing blog when it was running. The writers were amusing and found so many great stories. There has not been an online community, that has taken its place since then, which is shame. It was unfortunate that the site attracted some complete lunatics (mainly from the “Anti AA” side) who caused problems, and who tend to do this on any forum that gives this small number of people access. Some people do feel empowered to behave in a poor fashion, when they are behind a computer and are best ignored. Thankfully it is pretty easy to remove them from a debate, with the WordPress tools which I use to run this site. I only have four people whose posts are instantly sent to moderation (which I don’t bother reading!) and they are all people who have caused unpleasantness elsewhere and who have no interest in a civilized debate. I can see why many are reluctant to set up community based recovery sites, as they can be hard to moderate, but technology may make this easier in the future.
Blogging has been a great way to aid my recovery and it is great to see so many sites springing up. I feel the wordpress platform is by far the best, if you want to run your own site, but if you do not fancy that, you can join a site such as www.soberistas.com which is a great online community, and use the blogging facilities there. I would advise people that setting up a separate blogging identity can be a good idea, especially as employers often do online searches these days, and there are also those who do not respect other people’s privacy. Trolling is a sad part of the internet but if you apply some common sense it is not too much of a problem. I run Cloudflare on the front of all my websites and that can cause problems for people trying to hide there identities to cause trouble and for spammers. It is a free service unless you need more options. I host the site on www.Siteground.com and have found them to be really good, compared to others I have used. I have great peace of mind, thanks to the way the site is backed up daily!
The internet is something that will continue to evolve and can help bring people together who would otherwise not have met. I think it can really help people make up their minds on what the best option is, for their own circumstances in recovery. In the past the 12 step world has dominated, but it is looking increasingly old fashioned compared to more modern solutions. 12 step is still the most established support group and many people feel that being a member helps them and that is a great thing, but it is important to realise that this method of support, has limitations. I felt that it was important to share with others, the things that have helped me, which is one of the main ideas behind AA. I think a lot of people have moved on from AA, but do not have much of a voice and that is a shame. We can learn a lot from the experience of others, and although my blog may not have as many pieces being added to it in the future, as I want to do more podcasts for a while, I will certainly keep it going and take an interest in what other people are doing online.Google+