This post is part of a series to showcase the wide variety of talented bloggers using .blog domains. In each post, we’ll interview a site owner to explore their .blog and dive into an area of expertise, ranging from editing tips and tricks to how to build your following.
“The OAM” is where writer Jacqui shares her experiences with both living sober and as a nomad. She regularly uproots to explore the world, documenting her adventures all over the globe with her pen — or, rather, her keyboard. Her introspective and personal approach to blogging creates a sincere and touching documentation of her travels. “The OAM” is an excellent resource for those living a sober life or who are digging into the more spiritual side of what it means to be alive, be present, and be creative.
How would you describe “The OAM”? What is your mission?
“The OAM” documents my experience through sobriety. I write as I grow and travel physically around the world. By sharing what my life used to look like and what it looks like now, I am a voice on the other side of addiction. I think it is important for me to write out my thoughts, but I think it is just as important for other people to know that they are not alone.
When did you first start writing?
Writing has always been a part of my life. I’ve been filling up journals since I was five. I wrote a lot of poetry in high school for the newspaper and on my Xanga account.
I had a poetry blog until the first time I got sober in 2012. When I stopped drinking, I had trouble with creativity, so I stopped writing altogether.
This time, I got sober, and it actually sparked my creative side. This is when I started “The OAM”.
I’ve published a few articles on Elephant Journal. I really enjoy that community of ele-friends. They are good people. I hope to write more for them in the future.
It’s nice to write on different platforms sometimes.
A big part of your blog is about your travels, both literally, around the world, and figuratively, in terms of living the adventure of a sober life. How has “The OAM” changed you personally?
Writing on “The OAM” has grounded me when everything else in my world shifts and stirs. The physical journey and the sobriety journey ride alongside each other. “The OAM” is a meeting place for all of these sides.
I found a deeper form of expression by starting “The OAM”. It opened something wonderful inside of me to share with others.
Your posts are more than pure accounts of where you’re traveling and what you’ve seen, but they include so much internal reflection as well. What’s your writing process like?
My writing process depends on where I am living and what is going on with me internally. When I lived in Winnipeg, Manitoba, I took my laptop to the aquarium and sat with polar bears. When I lived in Edmonton, Alberta, I took a blanket to the park with a portable lap desk and wrote about what I saw in front of me. In Portland, Vancouver, and Tokyo I had a nice set up at home with tea and a little library.
It depends on where I am in all the ways. It is inconsistent. The only consistent part is that I continue writing. I write every day.
I also read a lot, so I try to combine what I am reading with what I am seeing and where I am in my sobriety.
One of the hardest parts of blogging isn’t in knowing the technical aspects of setting up a site, but actually feeling ready to press publish and share your thoughts with the world. What are your tips for moving past that?
Hitting publish is the best feeling in the world to me. There is always a sense of release.
The aftermath of following views and sharing my writing on social media is exciting, but it does not define me. This is important: standing by my words is something that took practice.
Knowing that what I said was what I felt in my deepest truth became enough for me, so hitting publish started to feel like enough. I stopped worrying about what happened after that.
It is always a little scary to hit publish, and this is how we know that we are doing something meaningful. It has oomf and pizazz to it because this is what the truth feels like. It is electric.
If you are scared to publish, ask yourself if you are telling the truth. Ask yourself if you are willing to stand by what you wrote. Then hit publish. This is enough.
What’s been the most rewarding part of running “The OAM” for you?
Looking back through my blog posts, I see how many times I’ve moved and how different I am now from when I first started. I think it is so important to include the whole process. The raw and unfinished sides of healing are what shape us.
The way that I wrote at three months sober was very different. Sometimes I shake my head at the way that I viewed life back then, but I leave it on the blog because it is important for someone who is three months sober now to know that what they are feeling is normal. This is what sobriety looks like. It is not linear.
I do not expect anything, but sometimes, I hear stories from readers about how reading “The OAM” has helped them. This is very rewarding. It is always a nice surprise.
What do you know now that you wish you knew when you first started blogging?
When I first started blogging, I was unprotected. There is a difference between writing with an open heart and recklessly parading your past around. I am more careful with my soul these days.
I was very reckless with my life in the beginning, and my writing is a reflection of that. As I learned to love myself, I started writing with more care. It is part of the healing journey. Now I know.