Share Your Story: Write For Monument

THE OPPORTUNITY

We’re looking to highlight diverse perspectives about navigating sobriety or moderation by sharing first-person stories from folks who are passionate about opening up the conversation about changing your relationship with alcohol. As our community expands, we want to hand the mic to you. We want to cultivate an inclusive platform, one where anyone can find connection, safety, and belonging. Sound interesting? Here are next steps:

  • Contact us via email (submissions@joinmonument.com) to share your story idea. Your story can be (though not limited to) a personal narrative, reflection on current trends and events related to alcohol use, a resource for our community, and any other out of the box idea that both excites you and adds value to the Monument platform. If you already have a draft, great! Include it in the body of your email. (A draft is not required!)
  • Include a 2–3 sentence bio in the body of your email, including any relevant social media handles, expertise, and/or previous writing experience.
  • Include 1–2 sentences about why you want to contribute to Monument, and what you hope for our community to learn or understand from your piece.
  • Share a writing sample in either a separate document or in the body of the email — published or not.
  • If your story is a good fit for us at this time, we will align on compensation based on the length of the piece. You will then provide an original draft, work closely with our editors on revisions, and sign off on the final product.

Upon publication, Monument will share your content on our Medium page (here!), in our community, on @joinmonument social media (tagging you, of course!), and in other Monument marketing materials.

Sound up your alley? Send us an email at submissions@joinmonument.com

Looking forward to hearing from you!

Disclaimer: Our articles and resources do not constitute clinical or licensed therapy or other health care services. If you need counseling or therapy services please contact a licensed provider. If this is a medical emergency, call 911.

How To Navigate The Early Recovery Identity Crisis

Imagine your identity as a pizza pie 🍕. The slices are what make you a full-fledged, complex, and unique human-being: your beliefs, relationships, knowledge, lived experiences, and characteristics. And your toppings are your habits that bind the slices together.

If you’re confronted with a loss of sense-of-self while navigating the early days of moderation or sobriety, ask yourself this: is this a slice issue or a topping issue? It can be challenging to differentiate what we do from who we are, but it’s an important distinction to make to gain a stronger grasp on our identity.

A huge aspect of an early recovery identity crisis is the fact that alcohol can hijack the very systems that help us build our sense of who we are, leaving us to assume our alcohol use defines us.

Distinguishing Character vs. Habits

‘What we do’ is ever-changing. Our habits can feel defining at times, but they can evolve and adapt to align with what makes you, you. When we match our habits and practices to our character, we can achieve more harmony and a stronger sense of self. That’s a big part of this journey. Changing your behaviors to match your character, and becoming the best version of you.

Even if this concept makes sense, it can be hard to conceptualize our character and identity. What would you say if you were asked to finish the sentence “I am a…?” Chances are you would identify your roles, your appearance, your affiliations, or your job titles. These just skim the surface of you.

A deep dive into self-exploration will come with its own set of challenges. Some may call it an identity crisis. Deep breath. I know the idea of an ‘identity crisis’ sounds terrifying, so I’ve laid out two techniques you can use to reclaim your sense of self and help define your character as you navigate this new chapter.

Cognitive Reframing & Re-Attribution (Excuse me, what?)

Let’s break this one down. Cognitive reframing means changing the way we view situations, experiences, events, ideas, and emotions. This practice can help us ‘take back’ the things we used to associate with drinking.

Then comes the “Reattribution” part. Reattribution is a fancy therapy word for finding new explanations for why things happen and challenging some of our deeply ingrained ideas by considering alternatives.

Let’s use an example.

Say, for example, you associate socializing with drinking, so your instinct is to believe that your new sobriety means you can’t be social anymore. Suppose you take a look at the other moments, memories, and experiences in life that are both social and sober. Think about how you can integrate these experiences into your new life without alcohol. Re-associate what socializing means to you, because it doesn’t have to mean drinking. It can mean intimate conversations with friends, clarity in relationships, high-energy, clear-headed parties, and more.

Challenging our thoughts and associations can be uncomfortable, but by changing our perspective we can build new associations and get to know ourselves better without alcohol.

Meeting Fear With Curiosity

Another reframing technique is to meet fear with curiosity. Can you be intrigued by the things that you are unsure about in your life? Are there ways to observe these unknowns as possibly delicious toppings?

A huge aspect of an early recovery identity crisis is the fact that alcohol can hijack the very systems that help us build our sense of who we are, leaving us to assume our alcohol use defines us. (Spoiler alert: it doesn’t!) In deciding to drink less or stop altogether, you will have to reconnect with what it means to hold space for yourself and your recollections. This can be very unsettling, particularly for those experiences that you would rather avoid thinking about. That’s where coping skills like mindfulness, self-soothing, and cognitive reframing come in. These practices can help regulate the intensity of these emotions as you find new ways to write your narrative.

Things are changing, so it’s natural to feel unsettled and unsure. But this change is good. I hope you take this time to reconnect with the beautiful things that make you, you with newfound clarity, perspective, and self-appreciation. If you want to stay in touch along the way, join us in the Monument Community, come check out our online alcohol support groups, and explore Personalized Treatment options. You can do this!

Disclaimer: Our articles and resources do not constitute clinical or licensed therapy or other health care services. If you need counseling or therapy services please contact a licensed provider. If this is a medical emergency, call 911.

How To Ask Your Partner For Support In Your Recovery

So, you’re looking to get your significant other involved in your journey to change your drinking? That’s a great idea. And if you’re not sure how to approach it, you are not alone. This is an incredibly common question that I hear in the therapy world. Here, I’ll lay out a few tips for how to approach asking for the support you need and deserve from your inner circle — specifically, your partner.

First, I often ask my clients, what are the ways you feel cared for, no matter what hurdle you’re facing? Take a minute to think about it. What do you come up with?

If you’re having some trouble, don’t worry. This can be an eye-opener into how little we pay attention to what we actually need to feel cared for. If we don’t know what we’re looking for, how can we accurately communicate our needs to our partner? I recommend Dr. Chapman’s Five Love Languages as a framework for figuring out which signals of love are the top priorities for you.

Whether you know you could use some encouraging words or an act of service to make changing your drinking more attainable, understanding how you want to receive love and support is the first step in ultimately sharing that information with your partner.

Another helpful exercise is to ask yourself, what’s holding me back from discussing my goals with my partner? What would I say if I wasn’t worried about their response?

No matter how your relationship with alcohol has influenced the relationship between you and your partner, two emotions frequently surface in talking about it — shame and fear. If you’re feeling that way, it doesn’t mean you don’t have a strong relationship with your partner. This is a complex conversation, and those feelings are extremely common.

If you would want your partner to trust you and share an important decision with you, you can do the same.

On the flip side, there are many feelings your partner could experience when you approach this conversation. There is no way to predict how they’ll respond. With this in mind, take a moment to remind yourself that however your partner reacts, it’s out of your hands. All we can control is how we show up. Bring out your toolbox of self-reflective work you’ve been doing. Think about those love languages. What are my needs? What are my hopes? What steps can my partner take to support me? Make that ask of your partner.

If getting that conversation started in especially challenging, you may want to give this visual simulation a try.

Imagine your partner is sitting across from you and appears as though they need to tell you something but don’t know how to say it. You encourage them to speak their mind, and they let you know their plan to make a significant lifestyle change. What would you say? How would you show them you want to help? Wouldn’t you want them to feel that they could come to you with any challenge or goals they face? So, why wouldn’t they feel the same way about yours?

Remind yourself that this is a partnership. You show up for each other. If you would want your partner to trust you and share an important decision with you, you can do the same.

And for my final tip, I keep it simple. Gratitude.

It’s important to let your partner know that you appreciate who they are and what they have done thus far to make you feel loved. Let them know that you have faith in their ability to keep supporting you in this next phase of life. Not only does this empower your partner to see their capability and capacity to support you, but you start to believe they can too.

I hope these tips give you the motivation and tools you need to ask for what you deserve. If you’re looking for additional support as you change your relationship with alcohol, join us in the Monument Community. I lead online alcohol support groups, and also provide personalized video therapy. Regardless of your path forward, you can do this!

Disclaimer: Our articles and resources do not constitute clinical or licensed therapy or other health care services. If you need counseling or therapy services please contact a licensed provider. If this is a medical emergency, call 911.

Why Experts Recommend Therapy To Stop Drinking

Hi, I’m Mike, and I’m the CEO & Co-Founder of Monument, an online alcohol treatment platform for anyone looking to change their relationship with alcohol. I built Monument based on the tools I wish I knew about when I first decided I wanted to change my drinking habits. (You can read more about my personal experience here.)

The most challenging part of my journey thus far wasn’t actually getting sober— once I found a prescription medication that worked for me, I felt much more in control of my drinking habits. What’s been harder for me to manage are the emotions and behavioral changes that have surfaced in my sobriety.

We need to learn to sit with our emotions, whether they are negative, positive, neither or both.

No one told me about the anxiety, anger, and impulses that might come with getting sober, and now I work through that with therapy. And no one told me how common this is … research has shown that approximately 50% of people receiving treatment for problematic drinking also had one or more anxiety-related condition. You are not alone.

Counseling has helped me develop coping mechanisms and better understand those negative emotions. I wish I had been told that I might feel this way and why when I first decided to change my drinking, and am hoping to save at least one other person from those feelings of isolation and confusion.

So, I asked Monument advisor Laura Diamond to help explain why therapy can be so important in the treatment journey. Laura is the Counseling Supervisor of the dual-diagnosis inpatient detox and rehabilitation unit at The Addiction Institute of Mount Sinai West Hospital. She is also a licensed psychotherapist in New York. Here’s what she had to say: Alcohol use disorder is complex and is often accompanied by co-occurring disorders, such as anxiety or depression, and is intensified by trauma, stressors and societal impact. Each of these aspects cannot be treated solely by one treatment method, but the right combination of treatment tailored to your specific needs can alleviate and resolve multiple issues simultaneously.The psychotherapeutic aspect of the treatment (therapy) is essential, with a combination of therapeutic methods such as cognitive behavioral therapy, motivational interviewing and contingency management yielding promising results for alcohol use disorder. These evidence-based interventions provide safe spaces to assess an individual’s readiness for change, foster emotion regulation, process experiences and restructure negative thought patterns.

Therapy also provides a platform to work on modifying self-destructive behaviors, obtaining healthier coping responses, building relapse prevention skills, establishing boundaries, improving communication skills, and increasing self-efficacy.

It also helps individuals gain the skills to be mindful and to focus on the here and now. It is hard enough to be present and to identify what we are feeling in any particular moment. This is impacted even further by substance use, as habits are formed by using a substance any time an individual does not feel like they can tolerate feeling “uncomfortable.”

Distress tolerance, a perception of someone’s capacity to manage negative or uncomfortable emotions, is one of the fundamental components of recovery. We need to learn to sit with our emotions, whether they are negative, positive, neither or both. Many times, the only way to do this is by implementing some form of mindfulness and learning to self-regulate.

One of the most useful steps to take during your recovery process is committing to a therapy program that is specifically tailored to you and your needs.

For me, medication was a great entry point into changing my drinking. Now, I continue to put in the work with therapy to build healthier habits in all aspects of my life.

At Monument, with the expert insights of Laura and our other medical advisors, we’ve put together holistic treatment plans that provide options for therapy, medication, and peer support such as online alcohol support groups. We connect you to licensed therapists specialized in helping people change their drinking. You can meet every week or every two weeks depending on your preferences. If you’re interested in alcohol therapy to change your drinking, you can learn more about your options here. For more expert resources about how to stop drinking, explore our complete library at https://joinmonument.com/resources/.

Regardless of your path forward, I hope you know that you are not alone in this journey, and that it is rarely linear. Your emotions are justified, and most likely, are pretty common. I am rooting for you, and am honored to be on this journey together.