“People need to hear your story.”
“What do you mean, bud?”
“People need to hear your story. I think it’s inspirational. I mean you used to be a guy who didn’t do much besides go to bars and get drunk. Now, you do cool things. You love your wife, spend time with your son. You run. You hike. You bike. People need to hear your story.”
“Well, bud, some do. They hear it on my blog. They hear it at meetings. It’s why I have so many followers on Twitter.”
“Dad, you’re semi-viral on Twitter. Anyone with more than 1000 followers is semi-viral.”
“Well, that’s why people follow me on Twitter, bud. Because they get to hear my experience, strength, and hope there. And that’s why they follow me.”
I had this conversation with my son on Saturday as we finished a run that I’d made him go on. Not a long run. Not a fast run. An easy walk/run exercise to try to get him interested in running.
He fought me when I suggested it. He’s 12. He doesn’t want to run with his father. He doesn’t want to run at all. But I know it will be good to help him develop a habit of exercise. No one ever taught me this important life skill. I’m trying to break that cycle in the family.
He’s right. People do need to hear my story. People need to hear all our stories. And telling our stories is important. It’s cathartic. It helps us process the pain that caused us to drink or drug in the first place.
Sharing our stories helps others who may be struggling with similar challenges. As I’ve learned to get vulnerable and share from the heart in meetings, I’ve had many people tell me that my story gives them hope. Hope that they too can get sober. Hope that they can stay sober when the going gets tough.
I have heard enough stories in my recovery community that are like mine to know that I’m not unique. There are thousands, no millions, even hundreds of millions like me, who have given up the drink or the drug and are living extraordinary lives. We are the lucky ones.
But, in the eyes of my son I am extraordinary. That’s all I can ask for. Small recognitions from my son that I’m living up to my Higher Purpose, being a good husband and father. Doing the next right thing.
In the eyes of a 12 year old having thousands of followers is important.
Here’s to being semi-viral.