By Aaron Lebold
As far back as I can remember, I have always enjoyed writing. I used to look forward to assignments in school that involved creative stories. There was one assignment I recall that tasked us to write a story from the viewpoint of an inanimate object, this was perfect for me. I had a strange way of viewing material items, almost as if they had feelings, and I struggled to part with things.
The object I chose was a Kleenex, I remember going into detail about how it was afraid of being picked out of the box, and how it had witnessed its predecessor being used to stop a bleeding nose. I got a pretty good mark on the assignment, which was rewarding as I typically did poorly at school. There were a few other stories I came up with, I found one amongst my old school work titled, “The time I beat up 300 guys at once,” which I wrote in Junior High.
I did have a very poor attention span and was diagnosed with Petit Mal Epilepsy at a young age. I struggled a lot with reading, I would try to get into a book and something would provoke my imagination, I would continue reading but not absorb anything. Often times I would have to go back a long ways in the book and re-read it because I had gotten completely lost.
In my teenage years, music inspired me to want to help people. I became fixated on the idea of being a musician, but I really didn’t know anything about it, and also found I was too introverted to be able to project my voice much past a whisper. Where I did feel confident was in the song lyrics I was constantly writing.
Nearly every day I would write the lyrics to a new song, and began feeling that the value of my insight would outweigh the fact that I had no musical talent. I pressed on, feeling like it would work itself out. In my twenties, I would find myself recording a CD in a studio near my apartment. Again, I am still happy with the lyrics but the rest of it is pretty embarrassing.
After sending my CD to as many record labels as I could with no result, I pressed on and made a second CD with fewer songs, and home-made sleeve art. Again I sent it to all the record companies I could find with no result. I was sure it was my purpose to send a message of hope, but I began to second-guess everything after the realization struck that I was not a good musician.
After a few years, I decided to make some changes in my life and went back to school to be an addictions counselor. In this, I found a new way to spread a message of hope, and in the process, I learned a great deal about myself. After doing this job for over seven years I began feeling like I needed something different and was feeling a great deal of stress at work.
I took a leave of absence from work to deal with the way I was feeling. Over those five months, I engaged in regular counseling appointments and even saw a Psychiatrist. In one of my counseling sessions, it was discussed that I should be tracking my feelings, or keeping a journal. I had been working with my friend Brad to help him as best as I could. Brad worked with me at the treatment center and made the decision to try to help people online. He created Brad Mcleod Recovery, and I wanted to help him gain some traction on Social Media.
I had never done any kind of treatment program myself, despite being an active drug addict for over ten years. I always felt I missed out on something and may have still been missing some pieces in my own life. At the treatment center, we always encouraged our clients to share their life story with each other. A few times I was asked to share mine, but I found the idea overwhelming as I had never really shared it before in its entirety.
When my counselor suggested journaling, I decided that instead of tracking my thoughts on paper, I would begin an online account and share my life story a little bit each day. I figured that if I were to get my story out there it may also help contribute to the work Brad was doing if I attached the name of his business to it in some way.
I created a profile on a site that Brad had suggested called Medium. My username became Aaron Lebold BMR (BMR is an acronym for Brad Mcleod Recovery) and began to write my story each day and share them in a few recovery groups. It didn’t take long before I developed a great passion for this, I would look forward to writing each day, and it motivated me to get out of bed and be productive.
The more I wrote my story, the more interested I became in writing about the different elements of recovery. Brad encouraged me to reach out and look into doing some guest blogs for established recovery writers. I had seen work from a site called fromaddict2advocate that I really enjoyed and reached out to its creator, Marilyn Davis.
Marilyn gave me all the information I needed to submit an article, and I put one together on challenging your thoughts and submitted it. Marilyn made a few edits, which helped me see areas I could improve on as a new writer, and once I agreed to the small changes, my article was published. I felt a sense of accomplishment and began to put a bit more focus on writing.
Still working on my life story, I found myself starting to develop a bit of my own style, and I had received some positive feedback. I also found support from an old friend named Mike. We had been close when I was younger, and through Facebook, I noticed he was doing regular blogs about his experience working at a CD store for many years. He called it “Record store Tales” and posted it on WordPress.
The more I wrote, the more I began to feel a new sense of purpose, and with continued encouragement, I created my own WordPress site and Facebook page. I began writing recovery blogs, blogs about people who have inspired me, and blogs about my personal opinions on current events. I also have continued working on my life story, and have completed over 50 contributions on Medium.
I have since returned to my job, but remain committed to trying to spread a message of hope through my writing. In my time off, I stumbled upon what I believe is the next chapter of my life. The feeling I have discovered through writing has helped me hit the reset button on my life and has presented liberation and optimism I haven’t felt for a long time.
I have been in the recovery field for over seven years, I find a great deal of purpose by helping others, and I have a great passion for recovery. I currently work as a Recovery Coach with Brad Mcleod Recovery and do my best to support people struggling with addiction over the internet.
If you would like to learn more about me, I have been writing out my life story on Medium (https://medium.com/@aaronleboldbmr) I am really enjoying the experience, and reflecting on my past has been very beneficial for me, even after nearly nine years of recovery.
I want to personally thank all the people who have been following my work, and all the people who have encouraged me to keep pushing forward. I plan to keep going, even though I am not sure yet where it will take me.
Marilyn Davis – http://fromaddict2advocate.com/
Mike Ladano – https://mikeladano.com/
Brad McLeod – https://www.facebook.com/BradMcLeodRecovery/
To see my writing please check out my site:
My Life story at https://medium.com/@aaronleboldbmr
My other blogs at https://wordpress.com/stats/day/aaronleboldblogs.wordpress.com
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