Blogging And Social Media; Do Exclusions Apply?

SoberMommies.com Blogging Exclusions Apply Post

Some of us missed BlogHer ’13 for many different reasons. Perhaps we could not afford it or we have far too many kids or responsibilities to be flying off to a blogging conference. Some of us wish SO badly this was not the case and that we could have been there. Especially in the wake of reports that it was a blast and the opportunity to see pictures of all of our friends embracing our favorite bloggers on facebook. I for one wish I was squished in between all of you.

I was not there.

It was expensive, for sure. It was in Chicago and would have required both travel and child care arrangements. These are reasons that could have kept me from attending this wonderful event, but they did not.

The fact that I have NO business at a conference known for it’s partying kept me away. I wanted to be there for the fellowship, the seminars, and the networking, but feared the after-party portion.

I have never been to a conference, nor have I been to much outside of dinner with fellow bloggers. I would LOVE to spend days on end picking at your brains and laughing with you. I have heard stories from other people that it’s a wonderful time, but also a little “Bloggers Gone Wild” after dark.

This frightens me even after thirteen years of sobriety. I cannot put into words all of the variables, but it’s serious and similar to that which keeps me out of bars on Saturday nights. I have no justifiable reason to be there. The benefits of attending do not outweigh the dangers or possible urges to join you in some much needed relief. I struggle with depression and I’m in the shit lately. It’s not a great time to be hanging out in a barber shop if I’m not looking for a haircut…. ya know? So, I stayed home…no biggie.

Some other bloggers that did not attend BlogHer had a Twitter party to celebrate not going. I thought this was an amazing idea and looked forward to getting my tweet on…until I logged on. The constant and immediate references to alcohol served as a fast acting deterrent.

Is alcoholism trending?

I guess I just don’t understand the need to talk about drinking all the time. Yes, being a mother is stressful. Good for you, you get to drown out your day with a box of wine or some fruity vodka throat punch. Why is that more socially acceptable to talk about than the fact that I choose not to? Why are you making that my business? Yes, perhaps I’m a little jealous, not because I want to drink, but because I miss the instant gratification I got the first one. It now takes much more time and effort to get relief and sometimes I just wish it could be easier. Sobriety is TOTALLY worth the effort, don’t get me wrong. I just miss the exhale sometimes.  I can pray and meditate today and get a sense of ease and comfort far beyond what a drink ever gave me, but it takes time. Time which I do not always have or take.

I get frustrated with you, it’s true. It especially gets to me when you all get together in groups like #wineparty etc. I’d love to come and chat with you, but again, I have NO business there. I don’t drink wine and the hashtag is enough warning for me to stay away. I just can’t help but feel like we’re missing out on each other.

This is not just just an issue in the blogging community, but also all over the social media front.

I just wanted you to know how much I think it sucks.

About Julie

Julie has been sober since May 2, 2000. She is forever grateful for the sober mommies who helped her in her early days of recovery, and the women who continue to inspire her every day.

33 Thoughts on “Blogging And Social Media; Do Exclusions Apply?

  1. ChrisE219 on July 30, 2013 at 3:31 pm said:

    Well said! It seems like drinking permeates all social media and “real life” functions, glamorizing it and forgetting about the consequences. I, too, feel like I am missing something at times, but I roll those tapes and figure it out pretty damn quick that the giggling over a glass of wine and sharing stories over a martini was never a part of my story, or only for the briefest few minutes. Then party Chris kicked in and I was lucky to remember what jewelry I purchased before it showed up on the doorstep. You are right, bottom line, it sucks. PS, so happy that a friend of mine directed me to this site, I have to get some actual work done today, but I can’t seem to step away!

    • Julie on July 30, 2013 at 4:34 pm said:

      Thanks Chris,

      I’m so happy you’re here too!! Work shmurk… :) I’ve been in a super funk lately an your earlier comment snapped me right out of it…AND made me cry. You reminded me of the reason I put this whole site together, and I thank you a zillion.

      Thank goodness we can play the tape all the way through today. It was NEVER just one glass of anything for me no matter how much I try to convince myself it was sometimes. I too remember that the buzz was short lived. Even Party Julie quickly turned into WWF Julie and/or Sloppy Julie. It’s all fun and games until you find yourself grateful to be stuck to a dirty bathroom floor because it’s cold. No thank you.

  2. It used to be smoking earlier on..all the smokers getting together for their own private chat session; they were the ones who were ‘with it’! You’re right that every party has to have a reference to alcohol in order to be trendy!
    I do know of many bloggers who went to Blogher to attend just the seminars and listen to the speakers. So, it doesn’t have to be all or none, I guess. But, then again, I’m not in the position you are in so I can’t judge.

    • Julie on July 30, 2013 at 4:37 pm said:

      Thanks Roshni,

      I know not everyone was partying the whole time and totally appreciate you saying so. I’m just feeling sad and wanted to vent a little. Maybe next year I’ll go and plan to hang with you!! :)

  3. Dana on July 30, 2013 at 6:23 pm said:

    Julie, this is a really important post. I’ve been guilty of talking about alcohol in an off-handed way – but I need to rethink that. In reality I am not a big drinker, and I don’t like the idea that I may be perceived that way just because I’m trying to be funny. I was at the Twitter party in my pj’s and no drink – the references lessened once the party got underway but I totally understand why it would be a turn off or a reason to avoid it.

    So while it’s not only important that other recovering moms read this and feel like they are not alone, it’s also important that other bloggers read this too. Honestly, I never gave a second thought to alcohol references or attending events with partying – It’s not an issue for me. But it’s an issue for many bloggers, and I would never want to put a friend in a position that was uncomfortable or unhealthy. Thank you for being so honest – I’d go to a dry conference with you any time!

    • I missed the twitter party because it was too late for me – but I have been guilty in the past of throwing out a random comment about drinking more than I actually do. I just can’t handle it anymore – especially the after-effects. I still have a drink now and then, but I can NOT hang with the kind of partying that went on at BlogHer (from what I could tell from other bloggers stories).
      I would totally go to a dry conference with you guys!

    • Thanks Dana! I appreciate your support. I was really nervous posting this because I didn’t want to offend anyone, but I also wanted to vent about it. It’s everywhere I look and sometimes it wears on me. I’m certain I’m not the only one and so I hit Publish. I’m glad I did. Thanks for YOUR honesty…and email. You’re the best. <3

  4. This is very thought provoking, and not a side to BlogHer (or HomeCon) that I’d considered. Thank you for making me aware. I appreciate you writing so eloquently on such a difficult topic.

    • Thank you Lizzi. I realize that many people don’t even think about this because alcohol is not a problem for them. I’m sure it stands out to me because I’m an alcoholic, but I know I’m not alone in my frustration. I appreciate your kind words and support!

  5. This is a great post and definitely made me think. Like Roshni said, I am not in your position, but there were lots of bloggers who stayed sober. The evenings weren’t all about drinking. In fact, some people simply went to bed early to enjoy a quiet hotel room without kiddos! I also agree how unfortunate it is that we always assume that parties and celebrations need alcohol. I don’t really drink much due to medications I take, and I had a great time drinking mainly water at the parties. Thanks for sharing your perspective.

    • Thank you Sarah,

      A quiet hotel room without kids sounds wonderful! I’m glad to hear that there was fun without drinking. Perhaps I’ll give it a shot next year!

  6. mamarabia on July 30, 2013 at 8:01 pm said:

    You are very brave to use your voice this way. I am not much of a drinker myself and I often feel left out in social situations for choosing mot to drink. I have a very low tolerance and one drink makes me so tired I can barely stand. Where’s the fun in that?!

    • Ha! That doesn’t sound like much fun. :) I’m both sad and glad that you could identify with the social stigma attached to choosing not to drink. I hope after reading this and the comments you feel better and know you’re not alone. Let me know if you’re attending any conferences in the future and maybe we can hang out!

  7. I totally hear what you’re saying — and agree with a lot of it — but I don’t drink at all and still had an amazing time at BlogHer. I think the blogging conferences have gotten a bad rap as “party” events and, although there’s certainly as much of that as you want, there’s also as little of that as you want and I never felt left out. Come hang out with us next year!

    • Thanks Lois,

      I think you’re right. I wonder if BlogHer has that reputation because people don’t share their stories about sober evening fun as much? I don’t know. I’m so glad to hear of the opportunity to go, not drink, and have a great time. Thanks again!!

  8. I totes agree with you, I’m not much of a drinker, and don’t really like to party, and have been at other similar type events where everything that everyone’s doing is not as funny when you’re not drinking like they all are. Don’t know if the blogging conf are like that-I’d be more into attending it seriously than as a letoffyoursteam kinda thing.

    • I totes appreciate your comment!! :) Thanks you so much for sharing that. SO true. I have been out with folks that are drinking and have found too that what’s funny to them at the moment doesn’t always make sense to me. Also, quite often my mother bird instinct kicks in and I find myself making sure no one’s driving, talking to strange men that look like rapists etc. and it becomes extra work instead of fun.

      I would attend blogging conferences for the same reasons you would. Maybe I’ll meet you at one some day!! :)

  9. Omg!!! Yes! Yes! YES! I completely agree. It’s not the drinking that is the problem, but the perception. I’m not looking to promote my blog entry on your blog, BUT this is exactly what I posted about yesterday. It’s the way that ‘fun,’ ‘relaxation’, ‘celebration’ etc have all been rebranded to imply that alcohol must be involved. This Twitter messages #wineparty were just code for #relaxing and having a good time. BUT we have created a culture where we now believe that alcohol must be involved in order to have fun.
    Great point. I would love to know what you think of my post as it was exactly the same message. And yes, I too wish I could have gone to BlogHer.
    here’s my post: http://veronicavalli.com

  10. JennSomethingClever on July 31, 2013 at 6:30 pm said:

    You know, it didn’t occur to me at all that we were being exclusive. And it should have. I’m so sorry.

    I don’t know anyone in recovery in real life, so when I think “party,” I think “alcohol.” That needs to change. I’m going to make a sincere effort to stop making references to alcohol on Twitter parties. It’s NOT necessary, and I should have realized how it might affect my friends in recovery- or even just the pregnant attendees who couldn’t drink.

    I think you should start a regular sober Twitter party. I’m sure you’re not the only one out there who’d appreciate it. I’ll help, if you like. And I promise I’ll leave the sauce behind.

    • You don’t need to apologize Jenn. I know that it’s not the responsibility of the world to sensor themselves to make me more comfortable. I know that your intention in setting that up was to be light and fun. I really wanted to be there, but I suppose had just reached my limit for the week.

      I’ve thought about starting a sober party, but feel like that would be exclusive to people that aren’t sober. I really don’t want to miss out on the chance to chat with cool people and I don’t care if they drink. I just don’t really want to hear about it…ya know? :)

      I totally appreciate you….for realzies. <3

  11. I completely understand what you’re saying and as I no longer drink wondered how much I would enjoy the after party as well. I wasn’t there this year. I am totally guilty of the drink talk and because its the accepted social norm but I honestly never thought about how it affects others. The most ridiculous part… I DONT DRINK. Thank you for kicking me about this. It’s unfair and I won’t do it any more.

    • Thank you Molley. I didn’t know that you don’t drink. It IS the social norm to talk about drinking and I would love to know why that is. Why do you think that is?

  12. I’ll be honest, it’s a dilemma. The other day I instagrammed a liquor I’d been looking for and finally found. I also know and visit a lot of wonderful bars, restaurants, pubs and liquor stores. Talking to them is part of my social media presence.

    I do mention occasionally that I’m having a glass of wine or if I’m out getting a fancy cocktail. I have friends who are sober and I try to keep that in mind, but it’s definitely something that’s infiltrated the culture because I’ve been one of those people who makes an off-handed drinking comment without thinking it through. I’ve made a few that are worth apologizing for. But I think many of them are just part of life.

    I don’t want to have to censor myself but I don’t know where the line is, really.

    • Thanks for commenting Jessica. I don’t know if this will make sense, but the kind of mention you’re talking about doesn’t bother me. I understand that the bars and liquor stores are not going to close just because I’m sober (although that really bothered me when I first quit drinking :) ).

      Casually mentioning that you’re heading out to have a drink with a friend isn’t overkill. It’s the constant mention of wine and booze and beer in tweets and status updates that kills me. It’s things like #wineparty where I’m obviously not included and feel left out that bother me more. I know that it’s not intentional, but it’s not welcoming to those of us that don’t drink.

      You don’t have to censor yourself and you’re NO WHERE near the line. :)

  13. First, you should check out Bloggy Boot Camp. It is smaller scale but you get the commarderie and more, without the wine. They do have a cocktail hour but it is such a shadow to the rest of it that you wouldnt even know it was happening. You don’t deserve to miss out on all of the good stuff!!

    Second, I am going to Type A in Atlanta this fall. There are lots of parties planned for post 9pm during the conference. I don’t plan to attend any of them. I’m taking time away from ky kids to improve my blogging and it is a serious investment for me. Sure, I will miss out on a lot of the stories and photo ops, but I don’t do late night. I’m taking time away from my kids and family. I don’t need to come back a waste. I need to do what I came to do, and return to my family.

    There is room in the blogosphere for all of us. You stay where you need and want to be, and you will still find your way.

    • Wow! I will absolutely check those out. I’ve actually been looking into Bloggy Boot Camp. I would love to attend Type A, but I have a wedding :( Booo. I appreciate your support and also your commitment to getting the most out of these conferences. Thank you SO much.

  14. The last think any of us fellow bloggers would ever want to purposely do is make you or anyone else feel left out or unable to participate. I feel awful that this kept you away (although I completely understand why) because I know you would have had a lot of great things to contribute. Sometimes it’s a good thing to give everyone a reminder that there are in fact other things to talk about and still be funny.

    • I know it’s not intentional, but it’s there. Don’t feel awful. Honestly, I felt better as soon as I wrote this. I know that the world continues to turn even though I quit drinking and that it’s no one’s duty to make me feel warm and fuzzy all the time. I suppose it just got to me because I missed BlogHer and thought to attend the other and then was met with booze chatter there too. It just felt overwhelmingly shitty and so I wrote about it. I know you support me and I would never exclude me on purpose. xo

  15. I have never been much of a drinker, and I myself was kind of surprised at how many times wine/ etc is mentioned at parties, in posts, and even all over blog titles. I just figured it was a “thing” I was out of the loop on. I love that you wrote this, and had the courage to stand up and say it. I too felt extra disconnected from the I-didn’t-go-to-BlogHer Twitter Party, because I wasn’t drinking (my initial round of disconnection comes from my status as a clueless tweeter.) Anyways, just wanted to send you some support from someone who is a non-recoverer but still just kind of likes it when alcohol plays a very small part. Thanks for sharing.

    • Ha Stacy!! I’m a clueless Tweeter too! I get way lost in those parties to begin with with where to respond and whatnot. I can TOTALLY appreciate that! I’m sorry that you felt that disconnect too because of not drinking. It is the “thing” and I really wish it wasn’t.

      I appreciate your support and will keep an eye out for you at the next Twitter party so we can fumble around together!! ;)

  16. Oh, I so get this, Julie. Last year was my first BlogHer and I was only a few months into my recovery, so I was incredibly uncomfortable a lot of the time. This year was a lot easier for me. I feel like I’ve really found my tribe and was able to make connections with other non-drinkers so I always had a buddy wherever I went. It surprised me this year how many non-drinkers there are. And also, I never once saw anyone who was smashed or behaving like “bloggers-gone-wild.” So I do think it is possible to go to these events safely. As for Twitter/Social Media, that’s tough. I do find myself unfollowing or avoiding people who are a little too boozy for my taste or constantly posting pictures of their happy hours, but other than that, I just try to hang with like minded people and avoid the triggers. Thanks for writing this!! I love this kind of honesty in blogging.

  17. Pingback: #BlogHer14 – An Alcoholic Perspective | Sober Mommies

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