"Don't Read the Reviews!!"
"Don't read the reviews," they say. Especially the negative ones. There will be trolls. There will be people who bring the negativity. You cannot win over everyone. I knew that going into this process, and I continue to understand that still to this day. But it doesn't make it any easier when you read something that is very hurtful or that undermines everything you believe your book stands for. I need to remind myself of my mission though. And maybe I need to listen to that advice and stop reading the reviews!
For every tiny, unhappy comment though - I receive dozens of positive, grateful reviews from readers who relate to what I have written. There are women and men who understand my story and what I have been through in this world. Recently, I received a message from someone who told me she has read dozens of quit-lit books, looking for inspiration, and my book has been the first one to really resonate with her. That meant something to me. Our stories were so similar - even down to our parents relationships and her father being gay. It is women like that - that fuels the fire in my belly. That is why I wrote this book.
Even though it is easy to get bogged down by the reviewers who tell me I am self-indulgent and can't help but tell everyone about my privilege, I know I need to keep moving forward and ignore them. But I keep thinking about some of the comments. They say I don't know real suffering. I blame others for my problems... I have to take a step back and show compassion towards those who feel this way towards me.
Just like the friends who have stopped answering my texts or walking past me on the street in Needham like I am a stranger to them - simply for publishing this book, I have to remember that it is not about me. These people have their own struggles inside that they must confront and work through. By telling my story, it shines a light on people's own personal inner demons.
Ultimately, by reading my story, I hope that people are able to recognize that alcohol does not discriminate. Having more advantages in life can't stop this insidious disorder. Yes - I was able to stay home with my children and take care of them everyday, live in a beautiful home outside of Boston. I represented the picture perfect life from the outside looking in to so many people, but none of that mattered in the end. Because alcohol still got ahold of me. Privilege does not make you immune from the pain of drinking.
I do not write my story to blame anyone. When you become sober, that is not what the journey is about. You never assign blame to people who "caused your drinking," like some may accuse me of doing with my memoir. That is not what my book is for nor what my blogging is about. I own my past decisions. I chose to drink. I chose to turn to alcohol to cope for many, many years. I know now that is what I was doing to soothe my pain. I don't point the finger at my parents, husband, friends or anyone else in my life and say "This is your fault!"
Again, to those readers who see it that way - that speaks more to how you feel on the inside and the personal guilt you may feel regarding something in your own life. I invite you to do some inner work. Being the search for self-compassion. Start showing compassion for others, because you otherwise you will spend your life being miserable. That is one of the biggest lessons I have learned in sobriety - is to understand the hurt and pain of others and to let go of the anger and resentment of my past. Only then could I truly begin my own journey of forgiveness.
Oh and if you have a review of any kind - feel free to post it on Amazon!! The more the merrier!!