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As a boy I loved to learn. Mama would sit with me at the dining room table every night and help me with my studies. Daddy, always the avid reader, modeled the behaviors of a lifelong learner.
I am not sure where it changed. But after more than a decade of drug and alcohol abuse, my brain was not what it once was. Once a master of chemistry, I could notw string together coherent sentence.
In the year before getting sober, my body and my brain were falling apart. I spent thousands of dollars on all types of doctors trying to figure out what was wrong with me. I spent hours searching for articles on being inarticulate.
On Jan 1 2017 I wrote,
“I want to be more well spoken. I have felt less articulate than ever before. I will read more. Read something daily and dare I say 50 books this year?
I will dedicate time to write. I think this improves the brain and helps you find new words and thoughts. Dare I say I would write something daily. That may offer me little flexibility. Worth a try? And not just this copy quotes bullshit but actually reflect. I like quotes and new words, but I think I need to write about them.”
I decided to start writing publicly to hold myself accountable. Instead of starting a blog I decided to use social media. The character limit on Instagram is 2200 characters. Fitting what I wanted to say into 2220 characters made me a better writer. It’s made me restructure, simplify and stay on message.
The public accountability along with leveraging the notorious dopamine effect of social media keeps me reading week over week so I can digest, synthesize and share my thoughts and feelings.
But most importantly, this act has healed me in an unexpected way. Many people have reached out to me because they need or are curious about sobriety. Some reach out and berate me. They say sobriety should be anonymous, and I only do this for my ego and that one day I will relapse, and I will make a public fool of myself.
Maybe they are right, but I write anyway. I write because I want to write. I write for me. And this act of doing what is right for me has healed me as much as anything.