My First Blog Post: Goals, Goals, Goals

The goal of this blog is to get myself back into writing, as I’d started to do in high school back in the 90s. Actually I started journaling at the age of eight, but when I got into high school I started drinking, and that took precedence over my dreams. Although I was able to get a diploma, then a bachelor’s degree (barely), by the time I graduated from undergrad my drinking had escalated to every night after work where I’d gotten a job in a law firm as a receptionist. You don’t need a bachelor’s to become a receptionist, but I didn’t know how to be a writer and make money. I thought I’d work at some office job and spend my nights writing. But I didn’t. Unless you count the drunken, self-pitying scrawling in my journal, which I don’t. Instead I picked up a bottle or two of wine and drank that while sitting on my couch and listening to sad songs or watching TV. After nearly five years of doing that, I decided I’d had enough, and that I should try to find a career in writing. I’d gone to a seminar led by a copywriter who’d said you could make six figures as a copywriter writing marketing materials, and although I hated marketing because it reminded me of sales, I decided to go for it. A marketing agency hired me to write healthcare newsletters for an insurance company whose goal was to encourage diabetes and lung disease patients to take better care of themselves so that they’d go to the doctor less often, therefore costing the insurance company less money. It went against my principles but I liked the idea of encouraging people to become healthier, even if at the time I spent my nights eating pretzels and guzzling massive quantities of wine. A month later they fired me, saying my writing was too negative, and that the client did not like it. My boyfriend at the time had a start-up marketing agency, so he hired me to write online ads for Google, and I learned the ins and outs of online marketing, and ever since then that’s what I’ve been doing–up until last June when I just up and quit a job making a handsome salary at a Baltimore marketing agency. By October my savings had depleted, and it was time to get another job. But I just could not go back to the marketing world. A locally-owned organic grocery store that I frequented was hiring, so I put in my application and voila. Here I am.

That is what happened in a nutshell. A lot happened in between: I married that boyfriend who owned the marketing agency, then we divorced, then I went to graduate school and got a master’s in creative writing at Queen’s University of Charlotte in North Carolina. I met husband #2 there, and worked as an adjunct English professor at a community college while working full time in the marketing department of an online education organization. It was exhausting and didn’t pay well enough so I gave it up. At the end of my time at Queens, I came to terms with the fact that I had a drinking problem, and I got sober. That was in 2010, five years ago, and I just quit writing completely.

Why did I just quit writing, now that I had all this free time not drinking that I could spend writing? If drinking had been the reason I quit writing, then why was sobriety the reason I quit again, after three years of graduate school? The reason was because for one, I did not have any free time. I started working the twelve steps of AA, going to meetings, I’d gotten engaged to my second husband, so I was planning the wedding, and then I got a job as an adjunct professor with no knowledge or instruction of how to teach, all while working full time during the day. But another reason is because I realized my writing was negative, self-deprecating, lacking in perspective, and I felt that I couldn’t write about the one thing I was going through, the most important aspect of my life, which was my sobriety. In AA, the eleventh tradition is to remain anonymous at the level of press, radio, and films, which can be extended to the internet, hence the reason why I remain anonymous on this blog. The way AA works is through attraction rather than promotion; ie, if you want to get sober, go to AA—it’s not going to come to you. No one could’ve made me quit drinking—I had to want it for myself. Anyway, I could’ve started an anonymous blog back then when I first got sober, but I just wasn’t ready.

So that is how it all started. Now I’m making up for lost time living in the third bedroom of a friend’s house with her and her husband, their three dogs, two cats, and my dog. It’s a far cry from my four-bedroom, fenced-in yard house of two marriages ago back in Atlanta, and it’s not as private as my three-bedroom townhouse on the other side of DC that I gave up to downsize my life, but there’s a lot of love in this house, and for that I am grateful.