How Bestselling Author Glennon Doyle Melton Is Healing Others By Healing Herself

Bestselling author Glennon Doyle Melton spent 20 years of her life battling bulimia, alcoholism, and drug addiction. In 2002, she became pregnant, and she decided to get sober. Since then, Melton has started an award-winning blog and written two New York Times bestsellers, including her newest book, Love Warrior, a memoir about her journey of self-discovery after the breakdown of her marriage. She’s passionate about healing others by inspiring them to speak honestly about their experiences and their fears—and she leads by example, always ready to share her own story.

Melton’s latest endeavor is the Together Live tour, an event that’s all about inspiring and empowering women around the country. Melton co-created the tour with William Morris Endeavor Entertainment board member Jennifer Rudolph Walsh, yoga teacher and activist Seane Corn, and community organizer and filmmaker Valarie Kaur—all with the mission of uniting women through honesty (look out for Kaur’s moving essay in our November issue, on newsstands later this month). The national tour is stopping in six cities, and features appearances from celebrities like Sophia Bush and Alicia Keys.

Here, Melton shares her advice for young women and reveals what inspired her to get involved with Together Live.

On why she started writing.

“I was trying to stay sober. I started going to recovery meetings and fell in love with the brutal honesty that was happening. I thought, ‘If this is how people stay sober and survive, why can’t we do this everywhere?’ So I decided to start blogging, and it grew organically from there.”

On why honesty matters.

“One of the reasons we stay so alone in our lives is because we’re ashamed to talk about the hard stuff. It’s as simple as that. We’re all in pain in different ways, and we don’t get the help we need because we’re too ashamed to talk about the pain. It’s not the pain that takes us out of the game—it’s the shame. I was lucky enough to know from recovery that talking about hard stuff in respectful ways works. So I’m using the same strategy to heal the world that I did to heal myself: truth telling.”

On what it’s like to be a bestselling author.

“It’s really busy, and it’s confusing sometimes. I keep reminding myself of something my dad says: ‘When you get to the party, you dance with the one who brought you.’ So I’m focusing on truth telling and service. You go on the road, you tell the truth, and you serve the ones you see.”

On finding time for self-care.

“This is the busiest I’ve ever been. But the one thing that heals me is water. Whether it’s a glass of water, sweat from the elliptical, a good cry (which I do about every other day), or the Gulf of Mexico—I get some water involved in my life whenever I need a break.”

On her advice for women everywhere.

“Figure out what breaks your heart. We all have this misunderstanding about heartbreak, which is we think we should avoid it. But what I think is that heartache is a clue toward the work we’re supposed to be doing in the world. What breaks each person’s heart is different—be it racial injustice, war, or animals. And when you figure out what it is that breaks yours, go toward it. That’s where you’ll find the people doing world healing work. I really think all we’re here for is purpose and connection, so follow your heartbreak.”

On the Together Live tour.

“I’m taking my own advice about following heartbreak. Book tours are super hard for me as a raging introvert. I love humanity, but actual humans are hard for me. So something like a book tour—where I’m constantly on the road—scares the hell out of me. But I decided to use this time to do good work—that’s how I’d survive. Jennifer and I got together and thought, ‘What does the world need right now?’ And we decided that in this heated, divisive time in our country, we needed a movement of women who were leading with love and strength. We want to celebrate differences. What I’ve learned is that if you want peace, all you really have to do is introduce people to each other. The closer you get to people who are different than you, the more you learn that we’re all same.”

Hear from Melton and several other incredible women on the Together Live tour this October. The tour has already traveled to Portland, and is heading to Los Angeles, Chicago, Brooklyn, Atlanta, and Denver in the coming weeks.

SELF – Culture