Glennon Doyle Melton remembers the first time she attended an AA meeting.
“I thought, ‘This is the first group of honest people I’ve ever met. Yes! These are my people.’ And I thought, maybe I could be sober if I could be honest.”
Thus began a way of life for the author and blogger, who was the featured guest at Oaklawn’s 17th annual Spring Spectacular on Friday, May 20, at the Lerner Theatre. The event drew about 1,100 people and raised more than $60,000 for Oaklawn’s mission.
Despite the often-serious subject matter, the audience laughed again and again as Glennon shared her personal story of recovery. Glennon became bulimic at the age of 10, “hiding in addiction,” as she called it, until she was 25. That was when she learned she was pregnant. She stopped drinking, got married and started copying people who were “adult-ing well,” she said.
But she still wanted to be honest.
Glennon recounted one of her first “playdates” when her son was a baby. Her friend asked how she was and she answered, honestly, that she felt like a dormant volcano about to explode and kill everyone around her. At her friend’s horrified reaction, she recounted — “I mean, fulfilled. If I only had one word to describe what I’m feeling, it would be really, really fulfilled.” She learned playdates were not like AA meetings.
Next, she tried church. They weren’t quite ready for her honesty, either.
Then, Facebook. There was a popular post, “25 Things About Me.” Glennon wrote hers and posted it. Her No. 6 was: “I’m a recovering alcoholic and bulimic, but I still miss excess booze and food in the same indescribable way you can miss someone who abused you and repeatedly left you for dead.”
A half hour later, she had six voicemails from her sister. “[Expletive].”
It wasn’t until then that she read her friend’s “25 Things” list. Her friend’s No. 6: “My favorite snack food is hummus.”
She learned Facebook isn’t like AA meetings, either.
But her honesty struck a chord. Her post went viral, and she continued writing: sharing on her blog, Momastery.com, and in her New York Times bestseller, “Carry On, Warrior.”
Since then, she’s faced new hardships, including her husband’s infidelity — which is also the subject of her upcoming book, “Love Warrior” — as well as the same old hardships she has since she was 10.
“Every single day I wake up and face the exact same fears, the exact same struggles and … I will until the day I die. What’s always left over for me after the dust settles is my faith and my hope and my love,” Glennon said. “The only things you need are the only things that can’t be taken away from you.”