sober jumpstart

If you have taken the sober jumpstart class and had me as your penpal, can you share a comment here to help people understand how the class might help them. you can share a bit about why you took the class, and what parts you found most useful. happy you do the jumpstart class? post a comment here.

hugs, me



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

32 thoughts to “sober jumpstart”

  1. SJ was a guiding light.

    Provided a beacon to set my sights on everyday… something to look forward to in the beginning when I was establishing sober supports and when it could have been so easy to give in to wolfie.

    I felt supported and that I found a tribe and a voice that understood the intense thing I took on. It gave weight to the committment I made to build sober momentum.

  2. For me it was the routine I needed as much as the content. The class arrived and I had to find time out that day to listen to it. Me time (usually in bed), self-care time. I still had to do the work of turning up, of dropping all ego and truly believing that it all applied to me and I wasn’t immune, but Belle took care of everything else. I made the decision to trust everything that was said and follow all the instructions, it was my way of taking care of myself whilst feeling like someone else was taking care of me. And of course having Belle as a pen pal to email every day is the best thing of all. That and being part of this community xx

  3. So you sit there night after night (day after day), thinking about drinking. Stopping drinking, how to drink more so no one notices, do I have enough to drink, I shouldn’t be drinking, only losers drink this much, why can’t you stop drinking, I am not drinking today, ok, I will only have one drink, where can I put the bottles from the wine I drink?

    In the morning, oh boy, I don’t have to describe it, you live it.

    AA??? I couldn’t even think about such a thing… so public so… out there. Besides I have a problem… I don’t think I am an alcoholic. I am drinking (of course) and trolling through Facebook and find a post from Belle’s page. And the title… “TiredofThinkingAboutDrinking” said it all… exactly…. I didn’t even know that was the problem until I read that and thought…. Yup.

    Belle does not think you are broken…. That is so important because you feel broken and bad and no one can make you feel worse about yourself than yourself. That is for sure. But Belle offers a light… a tiny little light to be sure. It’s there. You can see it…. and then she helps you find your way there. Along the way, changes happen, and you feel better. Much, much better. A little later on, you are driving to work, cooking dinner, whatever, and you feel … happy. I know it seems impossible, it really does, but it happens.

    You gather tools… your own personal tools…. In AA you must use their tools. Life is not a one size fits all type of thing. So you gather these tools, and you use them. Time just moves along…. Before you know it you are coming up on your two-year sober date.

    Instead of hating myself now… I like myself (not all the time, but most of the time). Those sober tools… they work for every part of life. My life is different. Don’t get me wrong, everyday is not sunshine and happiness, I have a real life. But now I have the tools to deal with my life in a positive and constructive way. It works. Good luck. I wish for you what I have now.


  4. Do it! This class got me through the tough first week and set me up for continued success with the other tools/book/podcasts available. The pen pal emails were monumentally helpful. Just celebrated my one year anniversary and the Jumpstart Class was a great beginning for this amazing journey.

  5. The sober jump start class was like a security blanket. I had Belle at my finger tips by pressing play on the audios, but I also had homework to figure out how I would put pieces in place to support my sobriety. The sober jumpstart class face me the tools to feel solid in being in a world with alcohol, while not consuming it!

  6. Day 110 here. A number that sounds pretty small to me now, but was HUGE to me before I began. I’d quit drinking before…many times…is that an oxymoron? I could always reduce drinking, take a few days off, even string a couple of days or weeks of non-drinking together, but something always drew me back. “Just one” glass of wine at a celebration, that special bottle that someone was saving, a personal crisis…whatever. And not long thereafter, there would be a morning of regret: “Did I really finish that whole bottle of wine myself?” The last glass on the bedside table sitting accusingly from the night before. Waking up in the middle of the night, thirsty, slightly spin-y, and stumbling to the bathroom with regrets & self loathing.
    I signed up for the 100-day challenge seemingly on a whim. A friend I hadn’t seen in years visited, and after turning down my offer of wine, said “I’m not drinking these days,” and told me about this website. Just randomly one morning, a few days after discovering the website, I emailed Belle and pronounced my own ‘Day One.’ It wasn’t quite that casual, of course. If I were honest deep inside my core, it was something I’d hoped and desired for a long long time. But I refused to think I was an ‘alcoholic,’ and to be fair, my drinking wasn’t causing anyone any problems except my inner guilt (or so I liked to believe). I would never go to an AA meeting and I didn’t think there was anything in-between.
    As casual as my start was, it got real quickly. My first ten days were a breeze…I was super-motivated, but then it got tough. That’s when the beauty of Belle shines through. She’s been there, done that…(didn’t buy the t-shirt because she just doesn’t like clutter in her house or spending money…she’s kinda frugal). 😉 She’s a character, and a real live breathing French pastry-eating, slow-running, funny Canadian woman.
    And you really really do email with her and an apprentice. And they really really do respond. Quickly, and personally. They get to know you and vice-versa. It’s anonymous, but it’s personal and real.
    And that gives you accountability. Whether you tell anyone else in your life, there is someone in the world who knows and who cares and who attends the situation. So for me at least, I dug in my heels, did ALL the things Belle suggested, and it worked. It’s working. I have never felt better. After 30 years of too-much drinking and too-much thinking about drinking, I am free.
    Freedom is exhilarating. Not only am I free of alcohol and its affects, I feel like I can do anything. I’m happier, thinner, sleep better, more productive, take better care of myself…and did I say happier? If I can do this, anyone can. Good luck to you all. It’s a great way to begin the new year. Start today.

  7. For me SJ became and still is a part of my everyday life. Wake up, meditate, listen to today’s sober podcast. Write in my journal about the benefits of sobriety and think about any possible stumbling blocks during the upcoming day.

    Then get ready for the day, and during the day have a few small sober treats lined up to make me feel good if I need it (nothing huge, a nice coffee, a cuddle with the cats, 10 mins to read a book or do some crochet, just a bit of me time)

    At the end of the day I listen to the days sober podcast again, maybe catch up on the sober blogs, aways write in my journal the great (and maybe not so great) things about the day and also usually email Belle. The first 50 or so days I emailed her a lot! I’ve always been impressed with all my emails that I get a reply remarkably quickly, considering how many emails Belle must get a day 🙂

    All this has helped me to be on day 99 today despite the most dreadful stress and illness and stuff, all of which would have had me drinking again on previous attempts to be sober.

    Having Belle to email and have her reply has helped so much when things got really bad.The SJ lessons and podcasts have been so helpful as well.

    I’ve also realised in the last 100 days I’m actually lovable and not broken. Bad things were done to me in the past, which was not my fault and does not make me the bad person.

    Thanks to Belle and the SJ class this is the longest I’ve been sober for a very long time. And the best I’ve felt about myself for 40 odd years.

  8. This was my introduction to signing up for the 100 day challenge.
    I was on vacation and decided not to drink for the first time on this island ever !!!! I needed inspiration so I signed up for the jump start program
    I loved it !!!!
    I highly recommend it to anyone who needs that extra support. The Audios gave so many good tools. They were comforting and entertaining and informative. I don’t think I would have been able to maintain my sobriety that first week without it.

  9. I’m on day 87 but thought I could comment on the sober jump start class because I’m 100% sure I’ll complete the 100 days. For me, most of the value of the course was for the first 60 days. That’s because I think a lot of us in this situation live in our heads too much, so to have outside support that was focused on sobriety was key.

    Belle is great! If you’re worried about reaching out, I can assure you that Belle makes it easy. Her emails are encouraging and on point. The calls follow a sort of comforting, low-pressure script at first because she’s made many calls and she can anticipate our questions and concerns based on where we are on our number of days, but she’s also willing to let the conversation go where it’s going to go based on if you want to talk about things specific to your situation.

    The first 30 days were really intense. I limited myself to work and home for the most part and emailing Belle every day was my lifeline. Then the next 30 days (up to 60 days) were all about stepping out back into the world and I leaned on Belle and the community through Belle’s blog to help me keep my focus on my new confidence in sobriety.

    These next 30 days (up to 90 days) are all about keeping the self care I put in place of drinking on track by actively using all of the tools in my sober toolbox. The value now is that Belle and the commenters on the blog help me to remember why I started this challenge in the first place.

  10. Learn from me. I started the jumpstart class. I didn’t listen well enough. Sometimes I didn’t listen at all. So I failed. I had a few painful day 1’s. I truly believe that if you faithfully listen carefully, you will succeed. I am beyond day 1 now. Go for it with true intent and vision!

  11. I’m still at the beginning of all of this: Day 13 of the 100-day challenge. This is my third try at going the distance, and this time, I decided I needed some support. Belle’s class has been an important part of that. Very practical advice, and she breaks a big endeavor into smaller, manageable parts. This time, it does not seem so overwhelming or isolating, and I’m actually getting a sense of momentum, which I didn’t have before. I finished the first seven lessons and ordered the podcasts, which I listen to as a drive to and from work. It has been incredibly helpful.

  12. What makes these so unique is that they serve as a “how to”‘, a DIY to sobriety, a recipe, a project plan. It is not a bunch a pie-in-the-sky ideals….it is boots-on-the-ground stuff. (Could I use any more catch phrases?)

  13. Belle is the real deal folks. 100 percent worth it! I know I wouldn’t be 18 months sober without her. In class, you will learn how to navigate sobriety in a very supportive, practical way. You will learn about corn on the cob and Wolfie bullshit and keeping momentum in your sober car. You can listen to the audios and check in by email as much as you like. Don’t think twice, just do it.

  14. I found the podcasts to be a huge part of my daily routine especially the first few weeks- I also read Belle’s book and the support via emails really kept me accountable and wanting to stay on the sober path- well worth it too sign up and start today!

  15. I started with lovely 50, bought all the podcasts, signed-up for calls with Belle but did not make it the first time. Now, I am on day 41 and feel more confidence. I really am listening to Belle this time. Really doing what she says and using ALL the tools. I think drinking and deciding to quit are lonely experiences. So, to quit, you need company, support and above all: inspiration. I think if you want to accomplish something, you look for people that have done it succesfully and do the same. As simple as that. Do not improvise, it is a recipe for failure..follow the lead of someone that has been through it. Belle is more than 4 years sober. She has helped and guided thousands of people through this, she has written a book, she has recorded almost 200 podcasts, more than 80 one minute messages, done emergency audios for the really really hard days..and, in my case, I find her personality and style of talking and writing refreshing, hopeful, non-dramatic. Profound insights said simply and honestly. What she says about alcohol and boozers is true. Everything. You will, in fact, find that the voice in your head saying “drink,drink,drink”..DOES get less insistant as you get farther away from day 1 and you realize: yes, I am becoming a “sober rockstar” no?”..(as Belle describes us..).

  16. All I can say is that Belle has worked for me! I have been to mandated AA meetings and voluntary SMART meetings, but the way I have gotten to Day 70 is the down to earth tools Belle has given me. ONE realization that has really resonated in me, is that “nobody gives a shit if I don’t drink”. I needed this for social situations. So, the advice and tools Belle “teaches” you are really things you probably know already. Belle puts these tools in very succinct audios that are sometimes better than reading. Her sweet-sounding, real world (some swearing) voice and real world, to the point, messages are what I think make the course so successful.
    Thanks Belle!
    LD4ME (who is a boy, just so you don’t think all everyone on here is a girl!)

  17. I was always going to get it under control. That’s ALWAYS the case–isn’t it? We think, God I used to be able to handle this. I used to be able to party or just “decide” to have a glass….truth is we don’t ever handle it–booze handles US. We have different life circumstances we flow up and down thru the river. BUT with us boozers, in the end it’s always grim. Doesn’t have to be the lowest low. That’s one thing I’ve learned from this class and from Belle. Don’t get me wrong—I have had some damn low,low,low’s. I’ve been to the bottom of the bottle and back. Then I thought…i kind of have this drinking thing under control. I can drink a little now and then. I can control it. I can have a binge night every so often…right? Wrong. It just snowballs. For us it’s never ever enough….we just keep going back. And when you have to plan to moderate, or have your spouse help you moderate….well it’s not really moderation. And who wants to live like that anyway? What’s the point? Is it that important to us that we have to come up with all kinds of ways to make it happen? No, it’s not. That’s the true answer. Our brain is wired unlike most folks to think that if we don’t “get” to drink we are missing something. We don’t want to be different! I’ve got a million reasons why that it’s just not the right time. Proof that I’m really not as bad as—-that person, right now. GOD!

    SO—I had a friend that told me about this website. “Tired of Thinking about Drinking” said, that it was interesting and that she thought I’d like it. I was set on continuing to moderate. I wasn’t going to have anymore binges. Plus no one really understood ME. 🙂 OMG! When I came here and started reading, when I started to “know” Belle.., it was like a light came on. These people were just like me! It was like I wrote every entry. I had the same thoughts. How was this possible?? So, I reached out to Belle…told her I wanted to do the Sober Jumpstart but, was going to wait on the 100 pledge because we had a guest coming for a week and we had a wedding also but, I was going to start right after those……BELLE emailed me back and said, well I’m pretty sure you can have a house guest without drinking and there will be tons of weddings in the future that you can drink at. Why not try this see how you feel? It’s only 100 days….
    I was like—damn it she’s right. I’m going to try it. I’m going to see what happens when I put my faith in someone and in myself. I turned it over to Belle and the SJ class. They were my lifeline. I looked forward to every lesson. I checked (and still do) my “sober” email everyday to see what words of wisdom she has sent. She was/is so kind. And I could tell her anything and she always knew/knows just what to say. So—I took the class it’s the first time I’ve ever finished anything like it–EVER! I bought her book, I am a podcast subscriber. I proudly wear my Sober is the new black necklace. AND–I don’t want to let the group or Belle down. The SJ and this site will change you for the better. It will, I promise.

  18. The podcasts, in particular, have been a huge help. I generally listen to one (or four!) when I’m walking my dog in the mornings. Sets the tone for the day. There are some I have listened to over and over and over because what Belle has to say resonates so so much. I’ve struggled for sure, but when I climb back on that horse, those podcasts and the recorded “classes” have been and continue to be absolute lifesavers.

  19. I am so grateful to you Belle and my sober pen pal. This is a place where you can be yourself and never feel alone. We even laugh sometimes??
    I think you might even consider a scholarship fund at some point and we could make little contributions to share the love?

  20. Sorry for the late response. I did not check my email over the weekend with the Christmas Holiday and family in town. All I can say is I would not be on Sober Day 800 if I had not taken the Sober Jumpstart class. It and Belle saved my life! When you first stop drinking it is all you can do to survive the day. So step one for me was telling Wolfie to F off. My witching hour/most challenging time was happy hour (4-7). I had to change the way I existed. I have 5 special needs children and they (like all children) can “suck the life out of you”. We ordered a lot of carryout because some days I just crawled into my bed early. Listening to the podcasts saved me, going to bed early saved me, emailing Belle saved me, Belle’s sober jumpstart class saved me, sober treats saved me, reading sober books saved me (Belle’s had not come out yet)… there are plenty to choose from. The one thing that helped me the most was knowing that Belle was there (via email) if I needed her. My sober car started moving VERY slowly. I can tell you if you can get through those first 2 weeks each day gets easier and easier. If you want to stop BOOZE you can do this. There is an entire sober online community here to root you on. We want to help you. We want you to feel fantastic just like we do. I remember my girlfriend from Arizona telling me that each day gets better and better. I thought she was crazy. Well she was 100% right. Thank you Belle from the bottom of my heart! YOU ARE A ROCKSTAR!!!!

  21. My jumpstart email arrived at 11.38 each morning and I pounced on it as soon as it arrived. It was an absolute life saver in that first week. I had something to listen to (more than once when I wanted to/needed to) and homework to do to keep me busy. The sober treats were as invaluable as the audios and I still listen to the audios now.

    The best bit was that I felt I wasn’t alone. The first couple of weeks can be a lonely place and having Belle on the other end of my email box was incredible.

    I can’t recommend it highly enough. It was, and continues to be, the best support I could have found. If you’re dithering then just go for it. You won’t regret it. And you’re not alone. We’re ALL in it with you.

    1. Freedom —
      That was a very kind message. Loneliness and depression are what sabotaged me. This morning I have been trying to understand why after 6 months sober I made the decision to drink. The holidays have been wretched and lonely for me. I’m starting Day 1 again today. Drinking thru Xmas only oferred me temporary relief. I’m going to search my old computer for the JS program I bought. I think I have the 2014 JS edition.

      1. Go you Wanda 🙂 You can do it! I lean heavily on Belle and SoberP (Belle’s apprentice who is also amazing) when I feel lonely, scared and down. I find emailing them and getting their replies really helps me when Wolfie gets loud and I start to feel like I’m the only one doing this. You’re not on your own. There is a whole community of us doing this and you’re part of it. xx

  22. I’m happy to say that I’m a “graduate” of the Sober Jumpstart class. I have not drank anything alcoholic in over 3 years. I tried so many times to stop on my own but finally did it with Belle. During my weak moments and trying times she was there for me with a quick response. I looked forward to hearing from her in response to my daily “I’m sober” messages. Talking to her on the phone was like chatting with a friend about a problem you’re having. She understood me. She got it. Take the class – you will not regret it.

  23. from wynn: “Belle! : ) I had to tell you! feel so relieved! It was such a fight every dang day to just keep breathing and walking and living. And then on top of that the cravings and denying every single thought about drinking that would come up. I’m sure my soul was bleeding. The pain of those first few days sober was excruciating at times. And I just had to keep praying and keep fighting and keep believing other people like you in recovery who are a lot further along then me. You said it gets better. You said just hang in there. You said keep going. Thank you for being here and getting my sobriety kicked off with the sober jumpstart class! Something has definitely shifted and I love it. Day 24!!!!”

  24. from VMD Free: “About the sober jumpstart class: I would highly recommend the class. The audios lend a structure the first 7 days when you are just beginning and really boost you in the right direction. The audios really last longer than 7 days anyway because it is so helpful to re-listen. And the pen pal concept is so simple and so unique. Belle answers emails like a good friend who tells you what you need to hear, not what you want to hear. The support is much stronger and more personal than I ever expected from the Internet.”

  25. I agree with a lot of the above. The classes are like having a friend on hand. It’s like the name says, a real jumpstart. We all cannot be mistaken! It’s one of the best things I’ve ever spent money on! The classes are yours to keep. You own them. You can go back to them. They are gold. They offer such a depth of support.

  26. I took the Sober Jumpstart Class. It opened my eyes to what my struggles with alcohol were really about. I had a hard time seeing the truth in myself, but somehow Belle was able to see it, and I’ve never even met her. The class also introduced me to the myriad ways that I could cope with the ups and downs of life, instead finding the cure in a bottle. Booze is snake oil. Belle’s class reinforces that idea. It’s a crucial part of my tool kit.

    1. he does not. he quit drinking about 9 months after I quit. he’s a ‘normie’ so it’s not been a real struggle for him, so i suspect he’s quit out of support for me. he’s had 3 single drinks in the last 6 months, but prior to that none, and since then none again. how frustrating he is … what’s with these normies anyway

      1. Hello Belle, I know I need to stop drinking. I rarely get drunk, but I drink pretty much every night, at least half a bottle of wine, sometimes more. And at social events I drink more. My problem is that my husband drinks and doesn’t want to stop, though he is happy to cut down, have an alcohol free night or 2 a week. That doesn’t really work well for me. He isn’t that supportive of me stopping, and drinking is something we’ve done together ever since we met, over 30 years ago! He has even joked that he considers it grounds for divorce, a change in terms and conditions etc. I am worried what me stopping will do to our relationship, which is generally quite good. Also, having booze in the house doesn’t make it any easier to stop. I know your husband was not a drinker, I.e. had a normal relationship with alcohol, so I don’t know if you have any suggestions for this situation. I am very much in the contemplation stage at the moment. I know I have to do it, but the time needs to be right, and I may be making excuses here…

  27. Hey! I have just realised that I am doing the “is it worth it” and I’m at day 83. It gives me comfort to remember that you went through the same thing. It is 11am and I want to skull a bottle of red wine.

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