I always feel bereft when somebody decides to stop blogging. I feel that the conversation is impoverished by a voice fallen silent, that I have one less friend to write for, one less friend to read. I get that little hollow in the pit of my stomach that echoes abandonment and the shrinking of my world, the loss of a unique and valued voice. It feels like a little death, to not know what is going to happen to that friend the next day or the next week, to be excluded from family news and the flow of ideas and insights and shared dreams. It feels as if somebody has politely but firmly shut the door in my face.
Standing back a little, I can understand and respect the decision to stop blogging. People change, they move on, they lose interest, they want to write other things in other places, they feel constrained or unfree or simply bored. To stop blogging may be a personally liberating decision. Real life may be calling the blogger to do something more pertinent or vital.
But sometimes I know that bloggers stop because they feel unheard, unsafe or invalidated. That makes me wonder about the kinds of online community we are able to build as AA members online. It makes me wonder about how much support we offer one another in our comments and feedback. How well or badly we handle criticism or conflict in the cyber world of blogging. I wonder too about predatory stalkers on the Internet and how we can protect ourselves from intrusive or unwanted readers without using password protection or closing down our blogs.
When I was 11 years old I began keeping a personal diary in the back of a battered but unused notebook I had found in the school library.. I hid it behind dusty encyclopedias in a dim corner of the spare bedroom in my family home. I did not feel safe enough to write many secrets there, but I wrote cryptic entries in that cheap Crossley exercise book every day, usually in the afternoon when I was alone and had finished my homework. I was my own first reader and for a long, long time my only reader. This is my letter to the world that never wrote to me.
I still have a paper-and-ink moleskine diary I keep beside my bed. I write in it several times a week. Every now and again I read back through entries and notice things I was not aware of at the time of writing. I write what I like and I write freely ans spontaneously. Keeping a diary is as natural and necessary to me as brushing my teeth. Blogging is not as natural or spontaneous, but it feels as necessary.
Some of us blog in different voices. Tucked away on the Internet I have a closed and password-protected diary blog. Only one other person has access to that. I write mostly for myself and a little for her. It is a place where I can scribble down half-formed thoughts, feelings and jottings without having to reread or censor myself. The entries bristle with typos and unfinished sentences. There are scraps of fiction, drafts of letters, fragments of dream. I like the freedom to stop and start and not ever have to explain myself or worry about misunderstandings.
And I have another blog for exploring alternative spiritualities, politics, poetry and all kinds of quirkiness. That blog has a large readership but for the most part I have no idea who reads that blog or why. I have only the most tenuous sense of community there, so it feels quite solitary and as if anything might happen, a blog free to go in any direction, a place where I can be outrageous or thoughtful or zany, at whim.
This recovery blog is my strongest link to those who are like me and who stay sober one day at a time and share with me how they do it, one blog entry at a time. I write primarily for alcoholics like me who want to get and stay sober. I am not sure that this blog is a service to anyone but me – it may encourage one or two people once in a while to get to a meeting or phone the AA number in the directory – but it does help me to stay present and accountable. I would love to think that my blog gave anyone even a fraction of the support and inspiration I have received from other recovery bloggers.
And I feel bereft when somebody chooses to stop blogging. But all I can say is: I will miss you. Take care. I hope you resume blogging some day. Thanks for letting me into your life for a few months or years. I hope someday we get to meet face to face as we trudge the road of happy destiny. Until then stay sober and keep passing on the message.