October 14th, 2021
Over the past almost four years, I have received hundreds of messages about two big parts of my life: publishing books, and sobriety.
The more I thought about it, the more I realized how similar accomplishing those two things are for me.
So I made a list of what I’ve done, and how it applies to both how I publish books and how I stay sober.
– You Have To Want It
This seems obvious, but it’s true and it’s the number one reason I see people around me fail to accomplish what they set out to do. It’s not the only reason; things can stand in your way that are out of your control and make your life feel more difficult or unmanageable.
But there will always be moments when you ask yourself: “Do I really want this?” And instead of just answering yes or no, I have to remind myself of the reasons why.
– Focus on Each Day
It’s easy to be overwhelmed, whether it’s thinking about the 80,000 words you want to write to fill your novel (which is almost always too many words, in my opinion), or comparing yourself to the person who has decades of sobriety.
Each author who has written a book and each person who has remained sober, no matter how many books they have published or years they have decided to not take a drink, had to do it one day at a time.
So focus on writing 500 words today. Try to write any words at all. Focus on making choices that lead towards your goal, no matter how small the steps, and not away from it.
– Use Your Tools, and Learn New Ones
You don’t know what you don’t know, until you reach out and ask. Read books. Watch YouTube videos. Join groups. Speaking of…
– Talk To People Who Are Like You
I cannot stress this one enough, as being a writer and being a sober person can be incredibly lonely sometimes.
Once you discover that there is a multiverse of people just like you, the whole game changes. My existence broke, realigned itself, and grew back stronger than ever when I found communities and teams of people where I not only belonged, but I was wanted. I was able to get beyond surviving and finally begin to thrive.
– Mentor Others
Speaking of communities: they only get stronger as we grow together. I’m not able to help everybody or save anybody, but whenever I am asked to or allowed to share my experiences in the hope that it can help somebody else accomplish their goals, I try to. And I encourage anyone who has been through stuff to give that knowledge away to someone who might need it.
– Have Fun
Whenever I’m stressed (and I am stressed a lot), I remind myself of Spider-Man. No matter what is happening, even when it’s life or death, he’s cracking jokes. And my life is rarely so dramatic, so I can afford to have fun with it. I know laughing so you don’t cry is a cliché, but most clichés exist because they’re true.
I could probably come up another dozen steps I take to get closer to the person I want to be, but I feel like these are a good start, and the ones I think about and practice the most.
Sharing them is the least I can do, and could be the thing someone most needs to hear.