i’m a girl writing emails and cheerleading
Some days are like this. i haven’t gotten dressed yet and it’s 11:16 pm here. I may not get dressed after all. I am sober, and I don’t hear wolfie saying anything at all. But yes, i’d like a big blanket to come up over my head and blank out this day, and perhaps tomorrow. i haven’t been sleeping well for about a week. I have a design client who is very disappointed in my decision to retire one of my businesses. she’s writing long emails outlining what i can do to please her. then I remind her that i’m closing the business, not doing any new work on the project, and have already refunded her money. Then she sends me another email …
and not everyone in Team 100 is always thrilled with me. Yes, I get lots of happy emails every day, a metric tonne of emails. But i also know that some people are irritated with me.
I am not a perfect human. Team 100 isn’t a perfect challenge. It’s not really even really a team, to be fair. It’s a collection of people trying to be sober. Some succeeding, some not. Statistically, about 25% of people who sign up for the challenge disappear at some point. Some return later to begin again. Others disappear and don’t return. Maybe about 50% of team members restart to day 1 at least once. Joining an internet challenge to get sober isn’t a magic solution. I’m not offering magic to anyone. Some people do not get sober, even with help. I know not to own that, because really i’m just a girl writing emails and cheerleading and back-patting. You’re the one who gets sober. I just offer encouragement, ideas, things to try.
As of today, i have 392 people signed up in the challenge. I get about 150 emails a day. I get out of bed and the first thing I do is check my emails to see how everyone is doing. It’s really the best part of my day by far. Some people just email to say ‘sober’, others email and ask questions or share success stories. Some are chatty, others are not. Some share disaster stories (cancer, death, divorce, pet death, accidents, messy relapse). it’s weird, but I look forward to all of the emails, because i look forward to hearing from you and knowing how you’re doing — whether you’re good or bad i still want to know how you are 🙂
i feel like i have a very good life. I have a full-time job that doesn’t require much of my time, and my catering work is usually only 2 or 3 days a week. I help my husband with his work a bit each day. and since about March of this year, i’ve been spending the rest of my time on sober stuff.
emailing 392 people helps me stay sober. when i record a podcast, it’s like i’m talking about what i need to hear, so it’s like i’m sending a message to myself.
I spend about 4 hrs a day on sober stuff now, which includes emails, writing, recording audios, talking to people on the phone.
I’m very aware and careful and vigilant that i do not become overwhelmed. Sometimes I’ll answer 40 or 50 emails in a row, but other times i’ll be watching a BBC baking show. sometimes i’m at my computer when you email, and other times it takes me a couple of days to answer (not often, but it happens).
i don’t know why offering to be a sober penpal back in March has led me to this exact place, to where I am today. I don’t always (often) know what i’m doing and there is no grand plan. Sometimes I imagine a future life where this sober thing is my full-time job (hey let’s have a meetup in Seattle!). I also imagine a future life where the sober stuff maybe supports the opening of my sober bakery.
and to be fair, I also imagine a life where I drink a bottle of wine and say fuck it all, why bother.
but i won’t drink. sure, relapse is possible for everybody. but it’s not happening to me, at least not today (!).
there’s no way to write this post without it looking like a big “do you love me” plea. it isn’t. This is really just an expression of where i’m at today. I’m a real human with real feelings. i’m doing my best and yes, sometimes my best is NOT ENOUGH. I get it. And when my best isn’t enough, it’s super disappointing, I get that too. I’m a regular human and I fuck up and underdeliver sometimes. Yes.
And yes, when i gloat about my sobriety you may think “i’d like that too” OR you may think “i can’t seem to have that, i wish she’d shut up about it.”
i get it. I’m ok with truth. I’m sober 510 days today and i know that i’m not a perfect human. i do need to be reminded not to gloat. it’s not all positive and rosy in sober land all the time. it’s fucking hard work, especially in early sobriety.
But being sober, and staying sober is worth it. to me anyway. So yeah, i deal with some flat days. And then i eat chocolate and have a bath. i write a message to myself. and then i watch some more baking shows. and the latest episode of Parenthood which makes me cry every time.