Hi! I’m Claire, the new Editor in Chief for AddictionUnscripted.com. I lead the staff who’s been reading the hundreds of incredible, powerful, moving stories that you submit to the website. For the past month, I’ve had the privilege of reading, editing, and publishing your work. I am beyond excited to be part of the digital community at AddictionUnscripted.com, and thought I should take a moment to introduce myself.
Who the Heck is Claire?
The short version: I got sober on July 6, 2007. It was not easy—I started drinking and abusing drugs at a young age, and by the time that summer rolled around, I’d had my ass kicked by alcohol and heroin a few times. I detoxed alone in a studio apartment in Portland, Oregon. I didn’t go to treatment or get outside help until I had been clean for almost three years. I’m so glad I finally asked for help, because I know I couldn’t have kept sober by myself. Now, at almost 10 years sober, I use tools from the 12 Step programs, as well as therapy, meditation, and distance running to stay sane, sober, and of service to others.
One of the things that I love most about AddictionUnscripted.com is the courage of the people who contribute their stories. People like you helped me stay sober when I was sure I was alone, and when I was too afraid to reach out. I’m not the only one who feels that way, either. When you submit your story to AddictionUnscripted.com, you really are helping other people—you are throwing a life line to someone who desperately needs to know that they’re not alone.
What I’m Looking For
Sometimes, it’s hard to choose which stories to feature. AddictionUnscripted.com has some incredibly talented writers. From motivational pieces, to personal stories, to innovative poets and creators in recovery, everyone has something valuable to add. However, sometimes I read a submission and it just sticks in my mind for a few days, as though the writer’s words rang a little bell in my brain and the echo of it is still pinging slowly through me. When I read a story like that, I know it will resonate with other people too.
I love reading stories by self aware writers who have something to say about recovery. I like reading work by writers who remember that the things they take for granted—the facts of your day to day life—are miraculous to someone who’s struggling. Your life isn’t boring. Some of the stories I’ve enjoyed most are the ones that give me a look into how other people live, sober. Coffee dates with friends, getting a cat, finally getting married. The “normal” days, to me, are just as meaningful as the horror stories of drug deals gone wrong and detox.
What’s Taking So Long?
You may have noticed that there’s more of a delay with your submission being posted to the website than before. That’s because, well, I read them all. All. I check each submission for spelling, formatting, images, and content. That does take time, and since we’re a small team, it’s a little slow at times. However, it means that when your story is published, it will touch a lot of people—and that’s the whole point of AddictionUnscripted.com.
In order to help move your story through the submissions queue faster, please make sure that you’ve run spell check, corrected any errors, and made sure to add a banner image to your story. You can do all this by logging in to your profile, then clicking on your story’s title. If you think your story got lost in the shuffle, or if you have any questions, please send me an email and I will do my best to help you. Your story will be published—sometimes, it just takes a minute.
How to Write a Totally Awesome Story
What would you have told your not-sober self? What message do you have for the addict who still suffers, or the desperate father who doesn’t understand why his daughter can’t stop drinking? What was your low point, and what was your best moment? What brings you joy? How do you stay sober every day? I want to hear those stories. Don’t worry about impressing anyone—just tell the truth. You’d be amazed by how powerful your story can be, even if it doesn’t seem like a big deal to you.
Every time I read a submission, I’m reminded of the incredible courage we share in our recovery community. Sharing a little bit of that courage with another person makes us all stronger. I rely on the hope I find here, and I do my best to share the message that recovery is possible, even in the darkest days of addiction and pain. We will get there together.
Got questions? Drop me a line via email, or leave me a comment. I’m also on Facebook and Twitter. If you want to talk about your writing, or if you’ve got an unbelievable recovery story, I want to hear from you!
Much love, and keep writing.