Whew! Looking Back on a Month of Daily Posts

After 30 posts in 30 days, I am please to say I have successfully completed NaBloPoMo 2014.

My goals were to develop a more structured writing discipline and grow my blog. Check and check.

A daily writing session has been slotted neatly into my schedule and I plan to keep it there. Going forward this time allotment will be divided between UnPickled posts and other projects – a possible book series, two new blogs (TBA), and ongoing script development for The Bubble Hour. (In case “slotted neatly” gives you images of professional perfection, let me say I often write wearing pajamas before my morning shower, and my morning shower can easily be delayed until 1 pm if necessary.) This month of writing has been therapeutic, easing my transition from workaholic to semi-retired business owner. Participating in NaBloPoMo has helped me to look forward into the uncertain future and see exciting possibilities.

As for the goal of growing UnPickled’s reach, the daily stats have doubled and so have the numbers of subscribers. (Welcome all!) It appears that many of the new subscribers are educators, researchers, or industry professionals and it is exciting to think that our conversations about recovery are beginning to resonate further.  I do not benefit financially from this blog (oh, how I loathe “donation buttons” on personal blogs, no matter how apologetic or demure) but writing UnPickled supports my recovery through interaction with others, exposure to new ideas, and the challenge of creating meaningful posts.

Two “musts” for me during this project were to retain my point of view (recovery advocacy supporting various pathways) and to produce relevant content – no cat pictures or breakfast recaps (unless supportive of a sobriety-related message).  I like to think an idea through before writing it, and many days this month I sat down to the keyboard with nothing particular in mind but thankfully produced a good post nevertheless.

A few surprises came of this project, too.  The Nov 4th post “Are You a Recovery Hero” was featured by WordPress on  “Freshly Pressed”  – an honour some call “the holy grail of blogging”. That post was reblogged 22 times by other sites and the graphic has gone a little crazy on my Facebook page.  This is not my Sally-Field-You-really-like-me moment but a reflection of pure gratitude to have shared an old theory with a new twist in a way that is helping others understand recovery differently. I’m staying in gratitude, not ego. (Imagine how dreadful it would be if I posted a half-assed musing with detrimental mixed messages and THAT became widespread! Yikes.)

The survey experiment was fun and the results were powerful. Thank you to all who participated. Watch for more anonymous surveys in the future because clearly we all find it helpful to know more about our similarities and differences.

The best outcome of this month of blogging has been to hear from readers who have found my daily posts useful. I am humbled, honoured, and blessed to share this conversation with you. I am not an expert, but I am good at telling my story in a way that shows our shared truths. I learn so much from your feedback, and this is the beauty of blogging. A post merely presents a story or thought, and then the real magic happens as readers engage and explore further thoughts and possibilities. The comments are the best part of this blog.

Thank you for joining me on this 25,000 word adventure.

I’ll be back soon, although maybe not tomorrow.


  1. I’m thrilled to have found this blog. I’ve decided that today will mark Day Zero for me. Perhaps someday I’ll write a blog about my journey, but for now this is enough: a post here, to let whoever reads this know that I’ve put my stake in the ground. December 4 is Day Zero. I hope I’ll be able to report that tomorrow is Day One. We’ll see.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s official: today is Day One. I made it. I got home from work last night and, instead of reaching for the martini shaker, poured myself a tonic water on ice. Done.

      I had a great dinner at home with my wife and son, gave my son a bath and put him to bed, watched a little TV with the wife, and went to bed clear-headed. I slept like a baby, got up at 6 am and went to the gym. Man, it sure is easier to blow through 30 minutes on the elliptical when your head isn’t pounding!

      Tonight might be tougher; it is Friday, after all. But I’ll do the same when I get home: reach in the fridge for the tonic water. The payoff? Waking up tomorrow morning clear-headed and feeling good. We plan to get our Christmas tree tomorrow and decorate the house. I hope I’ll be able to say that we did all of that without me having to pretend my head wasn’t throbbing. I’ll report back.

      I told myself that if I made it to Day One I’d allow myself to start a blog as well. Jean, I hope you and the others here won’t mind if I provide a link to it. I’m not looking to rack up followers, but an encouraging word or two from some like-minded folks would probably go a long way toward keeping me on track. When I get the blog established I’ll provide the link in the comments section here.


      • Please do share your blog link and let us follow along as you go. There is so much strength and wisdom shared amongst the readers of this blog and throughout the sober blogging community. Soak it up and add your views.


        • Thanks, and to the other commenters and well-wishers as well. All is going well so far. I had a…diversion from my goal last weekend (I won’t call it a slip, it was oddly intentional and perhaps I’ll try to describe what I mean when I finally get that blog going), but have been happily sober since. That makes today the fifth sequential day without a drink and I am enjoying the sleep, peace, productivity, and lack of headaches. More to come later.


  2. Jean, I found your blog yesterday when I was in the depths of despair from almost five months (actually more) of trying to quit drinking wine to excess. I can string together days or abstinence but I can’t seem to get the big picture down. So yesterday, I woke up scared, frustrated, angry, humiliated, and exhausted. I have done so many things to stop: therapy, EMDR, runes, crystals, support programs, writing…but nothing has changed. I read your post about recovery heroes and something rung a bell with me. I am always looking outside myself for the answer and I need to look inside myself. I think I have the tools and the solution…I need to let it happen. I don’t want to feel desperate anymore. I don’t want to be ashamed of my behavior. I don’t want to miss any more time with my sweet husband, my friends, my kids because I was too drunk to pay attention. The hero’s Journey makes so much sense to me. Today, I am looking at Scene Two: I need to sweat it out alone, hide myself away for a few days, think about what I want my life to be. I know it isn’t this. Thank you for your honesty. I have a blog, too, and have have written for almost 8 years on my life, my struggles with cancer, depression, retirement, but I cannot bring myself to be open about my struggles with alcohol. I wonder what that says about it and about me.


    • I just wanted you to know that your thoughts did not disappear into the void of the Internet; I read them, and I feel for you. We’re rooting for you. Good luck!


    • Shame and denial keep a lot of us silent. Thankfully we were lucky enough to come to a point where we were no longer willing to hide. Some people are never so fortunate and the alcohol eventually consumes everything. I don’t know what your former silence about alcohol says about you, but the post above shouts COURAGE to me. Be patient, persistent, and fiercely protective of yourself. Don’t give up. Sending you strength and encouragement.


  3. Thank you! Each day I would type in “unpickled”, and get soooo excited. Like a kid reaching into a cookie jar…when another post was in front of my eyes. Thanks again!


  4. I just wanted to say thank you. I quit drinking three months ago (with no particular program) and am muddling my way through this process. Your blog has been something that I REALLY look forward to reading: it’s funny, insightful, humble and very thought/feeling provoking. You really have helped me – thank you! Xo. (Don’t stay away too long!) 😉


  5. Congratulations on the dual accomplishments and I hope everything continues to grow exponentially for you. And most of all, congrats on the recovery journey, because after all, that is what it’s all about, right? Take care, stay healthy, and enjoy the break. Congratulations once again.


  6. As I’ve commented before, your blog is the first one I found when I finally turned to the Internet to find others like me: privately admitting I had a problem with alcohol and looking to recover in private. Your blog is the hallmark and beacon for me, and has led me to many other supportive bloggers. I look forward to hearing more from you. Thank you for the work you’ve done and the insights you’ve shared. 226 days going strong and I keep holding on knowing it will get even better. I don’t know you, but I feel I could give you a hug. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thanks for the month of daily posts. I’ve been really enjoying your regular columns here, and I’ll look forward to your less frequent but no doubt equally interesting thoughts! xo


  8. Congratulations Jean. Writing is ambitious, terrifying and miraculous. Thank you for your contributions. Rest up. We need you. 🙂


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