One year ago, I launched Crying Out Now, with little more than an idea and a whole lot of hope.
I didn't know whether women would come and share their stories of addiction and recovery; I wasn't sure if people would feel comfortable sharing their truths, even anonymously. I didn't know if the world was ready to come with open minds and hearts to offer support to people actively struggling with alcoholism or drug addiction.
All I knew was I wanted, somehow, to spread some of the comfort, hope and inspiration I felt when I heard other people bravely telling their truth and found myself nodding along, thinking: I'm not alone.
I wasn't sure if it would work, but I thought it was worth a try. I never dreamed Crying Out Now would get the response it has, and I am so grateful.
Some women who post here are opening up and telling their truth for the very first time. I am always humbled and inspired by the courage and grace it takes to chip away at darkness and denial and write.
To all of you who have told your truths here over the past year, thank you. I wish I could share all the emails I get from women who are out there quietly reading, drawing inspiration and hope from your words. You are reaching thousands of people, some of whom will never comment or post, but who are feeling comfort and kinship, sometimes for the very first time.
To all of you who comment, offer your words of comfort and empathy, thank you. Women who post here are brave, to be certain, but they are also vulnerable, and your supportive comments mean so very much.
And to everyone who helps spread the word through your Tweets, Facebook pages and sidebars - thank you, thank you, thank you.
Crying Out Now isn't about telling someone they need to get sober. We aren't about telling anyone how to stay sober. Our mission is to share our stories; to create an open, supportive community that shines a beacon of light in the darkness and isolation of addiction, hopelessness and shame.
Every meaningful journey into self-love and freedom begins with one simple thing: the truth. Shame hates the truth.
And so, with gratitude in my heart, I made a video honoring the power of our hearts and voices.
This is for all of you:
You can also watch the video on YouTube by clicking here (larger screen, no logo imposed over the video).
***A big thank you to Maggie, whose amazing work at Violence Unsilenced inspired me to start Crying Out Now. And make a video.