A few weeks ago I changed my username on Twitter. It had been a long time coming. When I got sober and started interacting with people on Twitter I felt that I needed an anonymous handle and in the fog of the time I simply changed my handle from @ddeville to @soberboots to go along with the name of this blog. Shortly thereafter I felt that I needed to separate my other interests into a second handle and thus began the struggle of trying to maintain two handles on Twitter. Invariably, I neglected one of them. I spent time trying to get the followers that I’d had on @ddeville to migrate to my non sobriety handle, that didn’t work so well. I spent tome trying to only post certain things on one of the two handles and invariably ended up posting something about sobriety on the wrong handle.
I told myself that I needed to maintain the other handle for professional reasons. But if you’re never posting on a handle, or if your not posting with authenticity on that handle (I.e. only posting tweets related to your job) it’s not that interesting. Still, I felt like keeping them separate made sense, because I thought that I needed anonymity.
But a lot has changed in the past few years. I’ve grown comfortable in my own skin. I’ve learned that nobody gives a shit what’s in my glass at a party or a work happy hour. They just want me to be there. And more importantly, I’ve learned not to give a shit about it. I’ve gotten comfortable with my status as a person in long term recovery. Most of my professional contacts know that I no longer drink, and the ones who don’t will find out eventually and not care. I’ve learned that I don’t have to hide. And so, the need to have a separate “business” handle seemed to be fading.
At the same time, I began to feel constrained by my @soberboots handle. I felt like I couldn’t tweet about anything that wasn’t “on message.” I felt like I might lose followers if I did. I also felt like the word “sober” was attracting more and more rehabs and mental health providers. And there’s nothing wrong with that but my life is more than my recovery.
I’ve always strived to make my recovery the center of my life while being careful not to make my life my recovery. There’s more to life than recovery. Certainly in the early days it was very important for it to take priority — and it still is a priority, but it’s not all consuming.
So, I decided that there was no good reason to maintain the separation and I changed my handle to @onetruedamien.
I’ve felt much more at ease with this. I’m not sure that it makes any sense but I feel less burdened. I feel freer to be myself on Twitter. I followed all the people I was following on my “professional” account and some of them have followed me back, others haven’t. And that’s cool. I am not concerned about who is following and who is not.
This probably sounds insane to most people, but it doesn’t to me. It’s all part of the journey.