Belle is off-duty. Ask someone else.
When I was trying to quit drinking, i did some unusual things.
I’d drink the better part of a bottle of wine while watching downloaded episodes of A&E’s TV show “Intervention” (about drug and alcohol intervention and recovery). And I’d cry. Other nights I’d inhale champagne, compulsively eat peanut butter cookies, and watch “Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew” online. And I’d cry.
Very late in the game, like two months ago, I found the sober blog Unpickled, but only after someone else directed me to it (a guy i know is 5 months sober, doing it all on his own, white knuckling it really, and not entirely successfully and he offered up the Unpickled blog as an example of what wouldn’t work for him).
Right before I began Dry July, i read the entire Unpickled blog from start to finish, a few pages at a time, and i thought “hey, here’s someone like me. no big bottom, probably not a ‘real’ alcoholic, but drinks more than she wants to. watching the clock until it’s Miller Time. That sounds like me. maybe i can (happily) quit drinking, too.”
When I started this blog, i didn’t have any idea that there was a sober blogging community out there. Like i said, i never put “quit drinking” into Google. i wasn’t lurking on a half-dozen sites waiting for motivation (god, i wish i’d thought of that, i could have sped this whole process up by a couple of months at least by starting earlier!).
I started this blog because I was stuck and scared. I wanted to do 30 days sober and i KNEW that i was just about to fail. so i started writing, in the faint hope that someone would find the site by accident. Since Unpickled hadn’t posted in months, i knew it wouldn’t be her.
well i got “welcome” comments right away (how shocking) and i slowly started to fill up my blogroll with people who reached out.
I’m still in baby steps here (day 33) and i’m super hesitant to offer any advice or approach that i haven’t already tried myself. I didn’t start this site, as some people do, with the intent to “help myself and help others” … honestly, i was only thinking of myself. don’t get me wrong, i think it’s great to help others. and i think it’s probably necessary to stay sober, but i just never thought of it like that. i was in a selfish and desperate place, and i was thinking only of me.me.me.
Anyway, 33 days later, it’s super very cool when someone who has one or two days sober emails me (who knows nothing) to say thanks for being their motivation. or i realize that i’ve been linked, without even realizing it, to someone’s blog who has never actually posted on my site, but is following me quietly.
And it makes me nervous.
In my real life, i have an unusual career that other people consider glamorous, i get to vacation a lot, and I live in Europe. i have a couple of university degrees, run a business, and (usually) have 9 plates spinning at the same time. i teach and lead and motivate a team. i have clients who pay me well for my advice.
And in my real life, I don’t have a peer group. not really. i have a few friends from school that i’ve had for ages. and everyone else is an employee, previous employee, client, or previous client. or potential client.
maybe everyone feels that they ‘don’t quite fit in’ in one way or another, but this has been my experience most of my life.
NEWS FLASH: This sober blogging thing is the first time in forever that I feel like i have a peer group of people “just like me.” Careers don’t matter, our ages barely matter, and to some extent our length of sobriety doesn’t matter either. There is love and support here.
And I don’t have to act like I have it together 24/7.
Best of all, i’m not in charge here (the host, the leader, the manager, “go ask Belle, she knows”). And I’m not trying to teach anybody anything. I don’t have to put on a good face, my business face, my I’ve-got-it-together face.
it’s such a relief.
so while i might occasionally slip into teaching mode and say: “Let this be a lesson to you and you and you, do this, and you’ll feel better,” i’ve tried very hard to resist that aspect of my personality in this blog, even though it’s sooo engrained. and i gotta tell you, I adore this new way of being, where i’m under the radar.
[side note: I found this blog yesterday and thought “shit I could be her, i should turn this sober thing into a business, i should come “out” to my clients and i should turn this sober THING into a platform.” OK, i am jealous of Nicole, and the way she gets to be a successful business chick AND an amazing writer AND she can swear in public AND talk openly about giving up booze and sugar. My public face is quite a bit different …]
I guess what i’m saying is I don’t want to bring my public face IN HERE and act like i know what i’m talking about (cuz i don’t). and i don’t want to take this sober life OUT THERE and share it with the world. i like being in here, in the sober blogging world. and i’m glad that the two worlds are separate. If i’m helpful to Rigorous Honesty, then that is a delicious side-bonus. but this is the first time in forever that i’m doing something just for me. not trying to help anyone, not trying to make a business out of it. not trying to drum up clients. I’m hiding here, safely, until i get my sober sea legs.
Belle is off-duty. Ask someone else. god, isn’t it great when someone else is in charge. In here, i’m a participant, struggling, just like everyone else. i’m not an example of anything other than ‘robust honesty’ as Mrs D puts it : ) Some other day i’ll write about the feeling of being in charge, and when it started (i was 9 yrs old) and how it makes me feel. for now, let me say that i’m off duty. saving the world is someone else’s responsibility.