To the Commenter Who Shamed Me

I have some thoughts on making money and “the principle of service” in the recovery space.

Dana Leigh Lyons
11 min readMar 29, 2024

Note: This is a lightly edited version of an essay that originally appeared in my Substack newsletter: Sober Soulful. Find me there for weekly posts, the Early Sobriety series, the Financial Sobriety series, and the Eating & Body series (I only stop by Medium once a month.)

If this essay interests you, I encourage you to head over to the original for the spirited conversation underway in the comment section.

Recently, a subscriber dropped by SoberStack (my annotated directory of Substack newsletters dedicated to addiction recovery) and left a comment: “Apparently the principle of service is lost upon you Dana Leigh Lyons.”

Most comments on Sober Soulful are warm, generous, and kind. The tone of this one made my stomach drop and filled me with dread.

He led with the following quote — which, from what I’ve gathered, comes from Narcotics Anonymous but also applies to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and sponsors: “we have no initiation fees or dues, no pledges to sign, no promises to make to anyone.”

While the SoberStack directory is in fact free, he then explained that he was compelled to share his perspective upon seeing that I offer premium content to paying subscribers. Because I’m in recovery and write about recovery, he seems to take issue with me charging for subscriptions.