Welcome To Tell Better Stories

Well hi there. This is a long time in coming. I'm glad you are here.

Welcome to Tell Better Stories.

I'm Erin Shaw Street, a writer, editor, collector of vintage clothes, student of Pilates, and traveler. I'm also a woman in recovery. 

As of this writing, I've been sober for two years. I've worked in an around the media for 20. Entering into recovery gave me an entire new worldview, one I hadn't seen before. I became one of the more than 20 million Americans with some kind of substance abuse issue. 

At the same time I was getting sober, I noticed more people writing about messaging surrounding alcohol, particularly as it relates to women. We're bombarded with messages that tell us everyone drinks, drinking is a good way to cope with life, and that drinking equates with freedom, rebellion, empowerment, even health and wellness.

I'm not a prohibitionist; everyone has a right to make his or her own decisions: drink or don't. But I do think we need to be more thoughtful creators and consumers, taking a more strategic and thoughtful look at how we tell stories about alcohol.

The truth is not everyone can or does drink. Also true: we are a nation in the middle of a public health crisis of addiction. We're in a lot of pain, and when humans get in pain they look for ways out.

What does this have to do with "mommy needs wine?" What does it have to do with beer yoga? Maybe nothing. But we think there's a connection. And we know that countless others are waking up and re-examining the notion that alcohol has to be part of a big life.

On Jan. 1  of this year, I began gathering examples of alcohol-as-lifestyle examples in media and marketing. I launched an Instagram account (@tellbetterstories2018), and have shared these images along with constructive criticism designed to encourage dialogue. Those images are now displayed on this site, under "Examples. It's important to gather and acknowledge these images, as many as possible, to show the volume and nature of what we're dealing with.

I'll be writing about specific examples and issues here on this blog. Sources are and will be sited under "Resources." Also to come: occasional interviews, reviews, and roundups. 

In the coming months I'll be creating resources that readers can use to express their concern when a publication or brand creates questionable content. I believe it's important to use our words, our buying power, and our networks to create change. 

My work is a continuation of what many others have started. I believe in creating meaningful collaborations, and reference others who have gone before and are currently working to create change in sobriety, recovery, addiction, media and marketing. (Check out the list of "Sober Influencers & Allies.)

Many are writing about these issues, and that is so, so needed. Even as I write, I think about the women who are struggling with alcohol, wondering why they can't drink like "everyone else." Ultimately I want those women -- women who are considering making a decision to save their lives -- and ones who have bravely done so -- to know that there are safe spaces for them. In real life and online. To all those women: I see you. There is hope. 

They are us. We are them. 

That's why we need to tell better stories.