yes, these things are true

Yes.

Yes. it does suck that you don’t lose weight when you first quit drinking. Yes i agree. It’s unfair.

Yes, it’s totally OK to stay home instead of socializing on your FIRST weekend sober. Yes. You’re taking care of you.

Yes, you can quit drinking without telling everyone you have a PROBLEM. you don’t have to tell your husband yet. You will find a way of explaining what you’re doing that feels good to you.

Yes, i talk about who to tell, and what to say, and what else to drink instead, and what to expect in the sober jumpstart class. you can even hear my voice. and maybe you’ll find it a tiny bit funny and entertaining when i swear on the audios. maybe.

Yes, you will feel tired when you first quit drinking. Your poor body needs to rest and reset. Sleep as much as you can for the first 30+ days. Take naps, order take-out.

Yes, it’s entirely possible to quit drinking if your husband works in a brewery, or if he drinks the contents of the brewery, or if he thinks that online sober support is a scam/cult. Yes, what you’re doing is for YOU. He’s on his own journey. Look away.

Yes, you can argue that treats aren’t necessary for you. And i’ll probably make some suggestions for treats you might like. that said, you will figure out your own way through. what you’ve been doing before hasn’t been successful. so you know, it can’t hurt to have some tea or a breakfast sandwich now and then as a treat

Yes, your kids do notice when you’re drinking, and yes they notice when you stop. They notice a lot. They notice in ways that they’ll never be able to explain with words. cuz something like ‘trust’ doesn’t have easy words to describe it. They notice. they will not use words to tell you how they notice.

Yes, you will feel gigantically shitty if you drink for 2 days, be sober for 1 or 2, drink for 5 days, quit again. It’s so true, but hanging around day 1 is probably the hardest place to be. you have none of the benefits of drinking (are there any benefits?), and you have none of the benefits of sobriety (there are many). Day 1 is too close to the sewer. It’s time to step out into the light.

Yes, the Fuck You Wolfie bracelet does help. but you have to wear it. you look down at the bracelet, and you think “OK i’m doing this. This sober thing? this is me. doing it.” and then you yell at wolfie. alone in your car, under your breath in the grocery store.

YES, you can try to quit all of your vices at the same time with a juice cleanse or a raw vegan diet thrown in for good measure. I’ll probably suggest that it’s not a terribly fun or wise to do it all at once.

YES, repeatedly relapsing does mean something. it means that whatever you’re doing so far is good, but it’s not enough. you need to add more supports. if each time you begin again you add more supports, then eventually your sober tool kit will be big enough to get you through .. sometimes the support you need will be rehab. sometimes the support you’re missing is more connection.  sometimes the support you need will be AA. sometimes the support you need will be listening to sober podcasts. it’s not really about ‘trying harder’ … what else could you add?

and YES, i do believe you can do it, even when you don’t believe it yet. I have been on day 1 and day 7 and day 37 and day 287. I remember exactly how i felt. I felt like there were two versions of me: The ‘real’ version of me was the drinker … and the ‘new/shadow’ version of me walking alongside was the sober me.  it took a LONG time until i really really really felt that the new sober me was the ‘real’ me. But thankfully, while i was going along, it didn’t matter. I continued to drive along in my sober car, with both versions of me still present, and I just kept going until the fake drinking me faded entirely. That you can see both versions doesn’t mean you’re doing anything wrong. just keep going.

 

Belle

I want to put this online, to hold myself accountable. I want to document the noise in my head. I'm tired of thinking about drinking. date of last drink: june 30, 2012

  • Great post and so true. I am on day 26 and feeling good about it. I have to continue forward and remember that I still have ways to go.

  • Tomorrow is day 21 for me. The kids DO notice. I’m more present, more engaged, *I’m* there. Thank you so much! And I can relate to the ghost self so much. I always felt the sober version of me got carjacked somewhere along the way, but now she’s coming back. I think she needs to come back and then do an accountability check on the innocent pedestrians she may have run over along the way!

  • This is a good thing to read. I woke up this morning and realized that in my early sobriety (day 20) I’ve been also trying way way too hard to lose weight. I have been, cause that’s one thing I can do, but I think the extra attention and grasp at perfectionism is a trap that may mess up my sobriety right now – which is something I value more than the extra 10 pounds. It’s shocking to me in reading sober blogs of women how much drinking is about weight. I was bulimic for the better part of my young adulthood, and while I love not having a puffy face – I don’t want to turn not drinking into another excuse to exercise my compulsive tendencies. I know it will get me caught.

  • I’ve just completed one week of no drinking. Sure hope I don’t feel too confident and cocky and let my guard down. I’m not yet sleeping better but I am relieved when I get up in the morning.

    • Belle, or whoever!

      I have to send my comments here since I’ve been on Day 1 for months. Wtf. When does get easier? !? Seriously. I don’t have a clue.

      • It does get better. if you’re having a hard time getting going, it probably means that you need to do some things differently. it’s not about trying harder each time. it’s trying different… does that make sense?

  • At 500+ days along in my sober journey, I can attest to the power of treats. I still use treats every day, and they’ve evolved over time, so that making time for meditation or yoga or a walk feels just as treat-like as buying cake or a latte or fresh flowers. Two big treats early on were the sober jumpstart class and a “not today” bracelet. I still wear my bracelet every day. I think that bracelet really does help my magical super power, Sobriety, grow stronger each time I put it on! Thanks, Belle, for helping me learn that taking care of myself is just as important as taking care of other people. 🙂
    P.S. You’re so right — kids do notice, a lot. And mine are tremendously happy to have their mom back.

  • Day 8. The fog is still lifting for me but everyday feels like a victory. When my lizard brain starts begging for a drink, I shut it down with “talk to me on Dec.21”. Since I did so much of my drinking in secret, I’m keeping my recovery pretty secret as well. I told my husband that I’ve given up beer for the summer in order to lose some weight. I am not bothered by his occasional beer.
    Thank you for the wonderful post.

  • Amazing Belle! It is exactly like that is only ONE real me, is the sober one, the other one is fake, we really forget how nice and everything good we always been without drinking, was too many years doing the same shitty, been on the dark.
    But there is hope and a permanent solution, thank you, all my love♡

  • So true. Wolfie tells me my true self is a shitty person and that is my secret from the world. When I drink it is almost like embracing my ‘true self’. But, you know what, I think Wolfie lies. Imperfect, yes. Shitty, no. Sober – thanks to this post – today, definitely. Thanks Belle. x

  • Love this post. So much useful, important info here.

    I have sent you a couple of emails, but have not heard back (which has not happened before), so I was just wondering if you got them.

    On day 4 and so pumped about it!! Thanks for your support and encouragement.
    Nurse Traci 🙂

  • This is a great post, thanks for sharing. i am so glad you are giving it another chance, I spent a long time trying and I though I I was just not able to do it! But the important thing was that I kept trying and it finally happened. You too can do it, I believe it wholeheartedly! You can do this!

  • Yes, Yes, and Yes! Still amazed at husband having ONE drink (how do they do it?) I’m okay with it but I do stare at the glass sometimes – a stone, hard, cold stare like get out of my sight. I really don’t want it and sleep like a baby now. 100+ and working it. Sober and needing braided leather FU wolfie bracelet! I could not be where I am without you Belle. Many thanks. TF4

  • Wow… this is all so true. It’s funny.. I’ve been thinking all that and more in the last two weeks. Nice to see I’m not alone. Day 15 for me. Finally got here!

  • Belle, Belle, Belle… Ahhh.. To read what we all were thinking, but only you know how to form the sentences… I need to remember treating myself is very important.. I have skimped on that in my past attempts.. Now I’m seriously ignoring the scale for a bit, having a carb/sugar frenzy… Sleeping a redic amount and I’m fucking sober… WoooooooHoooooo! Xo
    Thanks girl!!

  • Reblogged this on momma bee and commented:
    I so needed to re-read this today as I am back on Day 1. I feel it all today~ the guilt, shame, remorse, anger and its all directed at myself.

    Today I will not drink and then tomorrow I will not drink.

    • I was on day one more times than I can count. Make this your last day one. If I did it after 25 years and maybe 30 false starts….you can to! You CAN do this. You DO have it in you. Trust yourself and just stay in the moment. I am thinking of you and sending good karma your way 🙂 (on day 112 today! Still can’t believe I am doing this)
      Nancy

  • Belle, thank you so much for this post. I am sure sometimes it’s difficult for you to receive the same e-mails and the same stories over and over from all of us trying to get to where you are – back to our true selves. I can imagine you feel like I do – like sometimes I am just beating my head against a brick wall, for no reason at all. I am so tried of the Day 1s, and the most important message I received from this post is this: just keep going. Keep driving your sober car. Stop thinking and just drive, and things will work themselves out. Keep driving Belle!

    Brett

  • Um, has anyone else actually *gained* weight when they got sober? One of the reasons I quit–though in hindsight it’s turned out to be one of the most trivial, almost like a decoy that made my problem safe to look at–was to take off the 20 extra pounds that 1000+ bottles of wine (at least a bottle a night x 3 years) put on me. But I may have been a bit too devil-may-care with the treats in my first 250 days (today is 251) since I learned at a doctor’s appointment last week that I’ve actually gained another 7 in the past year! Granted, some of that could have been from *before* I quit–I’ve been avoiding scales, though that ended yesterday. Still, I was surprised, especially as my fitness routine has really ramped up and if anything I *look* a bit thinner. I’d love to blame it on my thyroid or being 43 or whatever, but I think that hoovering up ice cream for six months probably had some impact too.

    The silver lining is that somehow I don’t feel I need to run from the scary number on the scale anymore–I was able to say to myself ‘well, there’s some information you have now that you didn’t before’ and also to remember that I’m the same attractive, strong, weight-lifting, cardio-nuts person I was just before I saw that number. I can bring it out into the light and look at it now in a way I couldn’t have done pre-sobriety (or in very early sobriety), which feels like a major step forward for an avoider like me. That said, IT’S STILL NOT FAIR that I’m not skinnier yet :-).

    Kristi

    • Dear Kristi,
      Cheer up! When you do more fitness some fat will have turned to muscle. Muscle is heavier than fat so this can explain some of the weight gain. It’s not only how much you weight; more important is how you look and feel. Your body will be stronger and a bit more steamlined; and when you think you look a bit skinnier I’m sure you ARE. Am on day 90+ and also overdid the treat thing a bit, and feel ready now to tackle this. Also have to lose some 30 p, and am 43. We can do this! Hey, and we’re sober after all 🙂
      Love, N. Maya

  • great post regarding how it took a long time until you felt 100% you as a sober person, I really needed to hear that. I know that I feel better. Yet sometimes I feel as if I’m just “faking” it – since the shadowy non sober me lingers.. To see you have such honesty and success is more than inspiring, it is relatable and is truly a tool in my sober belt. thank you Belle.

  • Excellent and useful post. Do whatever it takes to stay sane and sober. Sobriety without sanity wouldn’t be much good. What works for me might be different than you. All suggestions are welcome.

  • Love the ghost analogy – at 130(ish) days I am thinking a lot about the ‘real me’ right now and I am loving that I can tap into what I feel, what I want, what I know at any given time and it’s actually ME.

    It’s subtle but it seems that for so long drinking me was behind the wheel of that sober car with sober me the passenger. Now I feel like there has been a shift. Sober me is driving – in control and responsible (both for all the good and all the bad). Drinking me is still there (maybe she will never leave) but she is the passenger, the ghost. Often she puts her two cents worth in but I have learned to let her negativity wash over me.

    Sober me is so much more together and way, way cooler.
    Oh, and a MUCH better driver, lol

    🙂

  • it is totally possible to get sober with a drinking husband. it is pain, to say the least, to be around the booze, but watching a drinker stagger around whilst you are clear headed helps with the resolve. i had v. little tolerance for it. stayed the course and he joined me 2.5 months later. tough slog but worth it. and yes there are kids and they notice. hell yeah – way less screaming and yelling now. poisonous fucking %$#

  • Excellent! You were speaking to me in many ways.. The shadow, the children knowing what I think I try and deny..they notice drinking and not. Thanks Belle for putting it so plainly but so depthful at the same time.

  • Thanks for posting this, I read everything and all the links. I had been wondering why I have not lost at least 7 pounds since I stopped drinking (again) 4-5 days ago. But then I was distracted by the giant blister forming on my lower lip due to biting down on it during those first two days of sobriety (again). I am thinking of amputating (the blister-not the lower lip)……waiting patiently for my wolfie bracelet.

  • Belle I also love the fake version and the real me. I always felt that the real me was the not drinking version, I just didn’t have the tools to let the real me out. Now I feel like I am developing them.
    I am at 4 months and I feel like that is a personal milestone for me. I know I have to keep using my toolbox and chugging along day by day on this journey.

  • YES! to a great post. For someone who has no children, you really nailed that one on kids and how they notice, REALLY NOTICE when you are NOT drinking. That is enough to make it to day 1000.

  • Love the last one–so, so true. Exactly how I felt. I would have said “fraud” instead of shadow version…like, I felt (feel?) like a sober fraud (I don’t really want to be sober, do I? I’m so going to drink at the end of xxx days!) for a long time. But now, the two ARE starting to sync up, and it’s b/c like you said, I just kept driving along in my sober car, ignoring the “problem” of the two “me’s.” Wonderful, lovely belle–thanks for being here!

  • Even close to 300 days now I still need to regs a lot, still buying treats (I have other shit that has come up in wake of my sobriety tho, but even so…) and it’s ok, and it’s better than blacking out. If you have to cling to that place for longer than you thought, oh well, at least you’re clinging.

  • Omg–brilliant. This posting is a keeper. I loved the picture of the “real” me and the “shadow” me walking alongside. Thanks for this. Am on Day 22.

  • Wow. Um it’s like you could read my mind and said exactly what I needed to hear this morning. Than you. Thank you. You are a life line in this very difficult journey. Big hug! Denise

  • I am just over 50 days sober and still surfing the sober blogs to stay in check. Belle always keep me grounded and real. Thank you for this, “and YES, i do believe you can do it, even when you don’t believe it yet.”

  • Ah…just the thing I needed for this morning. Woke up feeling rather under prepared for the day and this (along with 3 cups of coffee) made the rest of the day seem more possible. Hugs!!

  • I love the analogy of the new/shadow version and the fake drinking one fading. It’s like living with a ghost. Mine is still next to me but getting more transparent every day.
    Sharon