i will never get it ‘right’, but i know my intent :)

this is my personal stop-drinking blog, which means sometimes i write stuff – about quitting drinking, about being sober – and sometimes i share stuff – positive stories from penpals, struggles, adventures and tragedies.

and if i was you, if i read something on a personal blog that rubbed me the wrong way, then i’d maybe brush it off as a misunderstanding. but if a second and third time i found it irritating, i might unsubscribe and move on 🙂 the world is full of humans. we don’t all click.

i started this blog as a way to document wanting to be sober, and it has grown into something else that was not my intention at all. i figured i’d keep doing this sober thing (audios, penpals, jewelry) so long as people liked it. i mean, if i had an idea for a bracelet, and nobody wanted one, then i’d have moved on to other things.

i am utterly without a marketing plan. i’m not trying to find a niche. there is no master plan of any kind at all 🙂 there’s the lovely randomness of being in contact with so many people, and trying to find the common threads, to weave some of them together, to create a hammock (see what i did there?) where you can rest for a bit.

sometimes i get really lovely supportive emails, and sometimes i get unhappy ones. i know i’m neither end – i’m not as great as the lovely ones and i’m not as shitty as the shitty ones. i’m somewhere in between.

well, the only way i know that, is i know my intent.

my intent is to follow (not lead) and to create community without hierarchy. my intent is to share, encourage, empathize. i didn’t want to ‘model’ anything, but i was told that’s what i do. i didn’t wake up one day and think – hey let me model problem solving once sober. i just wrote about my stuff.

if you read one of those older emails, i don’t even remember one specifically, maybe when my husband was looking for an office and i talked about how we found him one – or maybe if you are folloowing along with my sober fiction project, and you read some of the prewrites about how writing is like being sober, but if you read stuff like this about problem-solving, and it’s helpful, then i take those comments and do a bit more of it.

when i get “you’re selling too much” then i try to weigh that against “i wore my not today bracelet every day for 1000 days and never took it off even to sleep.”

i will never get it ‘right’.

and i guess it’ll never be perfect because i’m a human and not a brand. i don’t have a team of people saying “research shows that when you weigh more, people like you more.” i don;t have anyone measuring if my swearing turns off more than it attracts.

i’m just being me.

i’m not a brand. i’m not even a business. i mean, this sober coaching thing makes money but that’s not why i do it. (you can’t fake empathy and connection, and you can’t fake giving a shit, not even when paid. nobody would be penpals encouraging people to be sober only for the money. and if they did, it’d be super transparent and you can smell that kind of shit a mile away.)

i also am not building an empire, i mean i didn’t get sober, start to sell a class, quit my day job and tell you-all that i’m focussing on taking your money from now on. i’m sober, yes, in addition to my regular work. i’m not sober so that i can be a sober coach and take your money. i’m sober because it’s the foundation for everything else i have in my life, including catering, bread baking, and being up at 5:40 a.m.

there is no plan here 🙂 there is only intent. my idea to write sober fiction? came from a penpal. in fact, came from two different penpals – one who suggested fiction, the other who suggested serialized fiction.

behind the scenes, i’m a caterer and a text designer. i’m working offsite for 3 months and getting up at 5:40 a.m. which i loathe. i’ve been getting myself treats staring this week, finally, to help with the early mornings. i counted out how many days i would be at the new thing (48) and i’ve done 15 of them already. i also know that when it’s over, i’ll miss it, but right now i’m regretting the commitment (sounds familiar  – starting a new offsite job is just like early sobriety – want to quit, sure it’s a mistake, want to finish the goal and then never do it again, expect i’ll get to the end and want to keep going, etc.).

anyway 🙂 this is a long pre-amble before i share what’s in my inbox today. i am a real human, imperfect. doing some sober support stuff that suits some people and doesn’t suit others. i’m not trying to find more customers.  i’m not trying to get media, or be on panels, or get a tattoo, or go to a march. i’m not talking about yoga or green juice. i talk about being sober. how to do it, how i did it, how penpals do it. sometimes i talk about cake, but hey, who doesn’t like cake? #theworldneedsmorecake

my inbox today:

spring rabbit: “You post SO many notes in which people praise you. It makes your whole system feel cultish, like: if I want to have my email posted by Belle, I just have to go on and on about how amazing Belle is. It turns my stomach—you have people PAYING you to read other people’s adulation of you. How is that ethical? How is that about helping any of us? And now you’re posting people’s photographs of YOUR book? And getting free feedback on your book from people who’ve turned to you for help? It feels as if you’re using all of us for your own personal ego trip and benefit. I realize that many of these customers/clients/whatever you call them also offer words of support, which you share, and much of that is valuable to the rest of us. But I urge you to stop including the “Belle is so amazing” “Belle is a godsend” “Belle is my hero” stuff that you tack onto these shares. And stop forcing vulnerable people to shill your book for you. Among other things, it’s quite tacky.”

jacci2: “Yes, you’re right! I’ve definitely noticed some [cognitive behaviour] type stuff in your podcasts, OMMs, emails, and blog this time around! That’s probably why I turned to you for additional support when I relapsed, right after I enlisted the help of my therapist and my boyfriend. I feel like you get it, you get me, you get the process, and you speak my language. You know that shame doesn’t work. in my personal experience, AA is terribly shame based (I went for about a year in the past and never felt quite right about it), and I feel there is a sad desperation about living your life just trying to be sober each day. I feel there is more to life. I’d rather let drinking go, and focus on all I get to do, see, experience, and feel now that I’m NOT drinking! I know AA works for a lot of people and that’s grand, it’s just not for me.”

~

and i know i’m somewhere in between. i know my intent. do i have ego moments? sure. do i need to be called out on them? of course. do people pay me to read my emails? no. do i know what it’s like to have a voice in your head that thinks that drinking is a good idea? i do i do i do.

i know how i got the voice to stop. that’s what i hope to share.

huglets, me

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

55 thoughts to “i will never get it ‘right’, but i know my intent :)”

  1. It’s tempting to refute everything spring rabbit says. But that would mean giving credence to their point of view.

    And although I am normally welcoming of alternative viewpoints, spring rabbit does not seem want dialog. It’s one way rhetoric filled with judgment and criticism.

    In this context I’d have only a brief response:

    I’m sorry you feel that way. It is not my intent there are many sober resources available online. I hope you find on that better suits your needs.

  2. … Thank you, Belle, for caring enough about other people to share your story, tips, tricks, and sometimes a few tangible objects, with all of us. I do not and have not ever considered myself a follower in a cult. I would LOVE if there was a way to connect with other people that are successfully sober because of you sharing your experiences with us. I would not be sober without you!!! Please keep doing what you’re doing!!!

  3. … i can’t thank you enough for all of your e-mails, and one minute messages. I also LOVE the things that i’ve ordered….even paid it forward with my fuck you wolfie bracelet to a dear friend who needed it more than me and replaced it with a “stay here” bracelet. And i love my orchid necklace and sweet pea bracelet. Makes me happy when i wear them – i feel grounded and hear your voice instead of woflie’s. 220 days here…..thank you Belle! 🙂

  4. Your intentions are good and true. What more can one ask for? Your heart is big and warm. Your insights are delivered in a way that just hits home. You are self aware and a woman in the world going about her life, and offering something very special to others. A unique thing. Please keep doing your “brand less” thing, as it’s authentic and it reeks of honesty and your truth. Thank you friend for following your truth and inviting us along should we chose to be part of the community that you have created. We all benefit. It enriches us to share and be part of something bigger. Thank you

  5. People like spring rabbit are entitled to their opinion, of course. I was going to write that they should unsubscribe – not in a snarky way, just don’t expose yourself to something that disturbs you – but who knows, he/she/they might be in need.

    For me, I have a weird thing in me where self-praise or praise of any sort makes me a bit angry /threatened and I know it’s my own issue. So it was totally weird when you started congratulating me. At first, I felt like I was being baby’d and it was insincere. I’ve come to trust that it is sincere and I rely on it. If you want to spread whatever love you’re getting, I’m not threatened anymore.

    And yes, I wondered at first the selling of bracelets etc was a scam and felt a teensy bit pressured (never so much to act on it). But honestly, I used to feel pressured by everything, every suggestion because I couldn’t say no when I was drinking or newly sober. Now I’m like if want, I’ll buy it. If not, I won’t.

    For me, the praise and encouragement is the secret sauce – after medication, hypnotherapy, vitamin plans, AA twice, counselling, etc… it’s what got me sober. And spreading the postive messages directed to you are part of it.

    Do your thing, Belle. This isn’t a cult member talking, this is someone who got sober and who checks back in now and then for support because she’s super busy with the next phase of her life.

  6. … we can take tidbits (good & bad) from everyone & learn something about ourselves & them as well. … Very interesting. Hats off to you Belle. Spring rabbit should’ve been along for the ride as long as I’ve been. Watching you grow into this whatever you are!!! Sarita – day 1682

  7. So human. Thanks, Belle. I am all of that. Getting the voice in my head to be quiet is all of that. The push-me-pull-you of life is all of that. But there is intent. Benevolent intent. To help. To guide. To offer hope. And I will happily receive your messages because on the days something rubs me the wrong way, I need to be more vigilant against the wolf breathing down my neck. It’s a barometer. It’s a tool in my toolbox. I never had a toolbox before 🙂
    You do you. It’s working…. this non-planned thing.

  8. If not for you and what you offer, I would not have even tried. But I did. And now I’m over 1000 days. About 11 days or so from the three year mark. I have taken thr supports you helped me develop in early sobriety and employed them throughout my life. They work for all situations. So thank you. That’s all.
    And by the way. You rock

  9. I was interrupted from reading this post in the dark (early AM) by my two small kids, who both crawled into my lap at the same time. I had the thought, and shared it with them: “We have the best life.” I KNOW that I would not, could not, have said or felt that while drinking. Soberity IS the foundation. And no, Belle. YOU didn’t do it. I did it. But you already know that. You get it. And I know that I would not be where I am today, living my best life, if I had not found your community and your voice and your support.

    As for the stuff you shill, last week I knew I was going to have a monster terrible scary day. As I got dressed for the morning I put on my rock necklace (the proceeds for which were donated to a shelter) and packed my French breath mints, feeling like I was suiting up for battle. It was going to be a terrifying day, but I felt prepared and protected. You can’t put a price tag on that. Because, again, here I am today, still sober, and living my best life.

  10. Hi Belle, you definitely can’t fake empathy, which you provide in abundance, lt is true what you say that there is a unsubscribe button if it’s not for some people.
    I read everything on this blog and have paid for a few podcasts to help me, yet I am under no pressure to do so, Keep doing what your doing Belle, I hope your always there doing your stuff. X

  11. Your intent says it all. For those you support and help, your efforts are a good thing. For those that aren’t supported and helped by your posts, etc., they are free to look for something that does support and help them elsewhere. I appreciate and am supported by what you are doing – thank you.

  12. I am a dentist by trade. Let’s just say that a large percentage of the population hates the dentist. ???? I used to take it personally, and I would get so down on myself. I started hating my job (adding to my anesthetizing drinking). A few years ago, I had surgery that required me to miss 3 months of work. Unfortunately, I drank a shit load of wine during that time, but being laid up made me realize I loved my job and I missed it. I loved caring for my patients. I realized I was focusing on the negative aspects and forgetting about the positives. I’ve brought a lot of happiness to many by getting them out of pain, or giving them the smile they always dreamed of. I really listen to them and I always do my best to make their time in my chair as pleasant as possible. I am a kind and compassionate person. Even though I know I can’t always win and not everyone will like me, I know in my heart my intent is 100% good. That’s the best I can do, and I can totally live with that. You are doing the best you can do and that is enough. ????

  13. The only person you are required to ‘get it right’ for is you, yourself. Everyone else has the option to appreciate and stick around, or do the other thing.

    You are also modelling for us how to have good boundaries with other people…. thanks as ever for all you do. Four years and nearly 3 months sober and grateful here! Xxx

  14. Oh my. Spring Rabbit clearly has not explored all the other sober coach people out there, on Instagram in particular. The faithful readers of this blog have never seen a photograph of “Belle”. She is more anonymous than AA. Belle is more of a concept, an alternative voice in your head, than a real person seeking adulation or cult followers. The fact that Belle preserves her privacy in this overexposed online world testifies to her integrity.

  15. Not going to refute anything that anyone says- opinions are free. My question- if spring rabbit feels this way, why are they still subscribed? I have a feeling that wolfie wrote that message.

    I have never felt “pressured” to purchase anything. I have bought stuff: I bought the book (audio) because I read the blog and thought O cool, these thoughts in a logical sequence. I bought the FU wolfie bracelet because I wear silver bracelets and I wanted a talisman. I bought the jumpstart class so that I would be accountable that first 100 days. I have bought a couple of podcasts but I don’t subscribe. It was my personal choice to pay money or not.

    I like having your voice in my head. It helps me. Thank you for listening!

  16. Hi Belle – i feel like everyone is entitled to their opinion but it does sound a bit harsh. I follow people ( i have never met or know) on the web …things that seem interesting to me or hoping helpful to my life situation . I unsubscribe all the time …probably not giving most a chance at all but i really feel connected to you….i really feel you are that real.person out there that gets what I’m going through ….the tired of thinking about drinking..is spot on …i am tired of it …..but still can’t begin a sober journey …i hope you’ll still be there when I GET IT !
    Thanks for being out there
    Ps ..i also think the things you sell are symbols , tools to help you stay on track with sobriety …wouldn’t matter what it is as long as it works for you to stay sober .

  17. The broader your audience and reach the more you’ll have people that critique what you do. There are plenty of your emails that I feel are “for me” and I save them and go back to them. There are others that I assume are for someone else. I skim and throw them out. That is fine by me. I know this isn’t a “belle and me only” conversation.

    Feedback is like having someone throw you a ball – you can catch it and hold it or catch it and throw it back. It’s up to you to decide what you want to drop or keep. Btw- Elected officials are hoping the 1/2 the people “like” what they are doing on a given day. So being liked by everyone isn’t ever an option. Trying to please everyone will just make your stuff watered down and good for no one. …

    So be bold and take chances. Fail miserably. Follow your vison. Fuck all the noise. In this… and in everything.

  18. For me, activities like the sober photography projects, recording the new year’s greeting, and posting a photo of the book are things I can do to feel connected to a group of other sober human beings. I don’t attend AA meetings. My non-boozer husband and friends, while happy about my decision to live alcohol-free, don’t seem to hear the Wolfie voice and so can’t provide the support and cheerleading I need to help me find my way on this sober journey. I subscribe to a couple of (paid) online recovery resources that heavily market expensive products and services, and I can honestly say that your “shameless commercial links” pale in comparison. Regardless, I’m in the “take what you need and leave the rest” camp, so I stick with the resources that resonate with me at the moment and let go of the ones that don’t. Your down-to-earth, practical advice has been working for me for almost 4 years (!!) and I thank you for that. Keep moving forward, Belle. We’ll all have missteps along the way; just know that you’ll always have my sincere gratitude and appreciation.

  19. My response would be:

    I was drinking too much but I didn’t know how to stop.
    Belle offered coaching but made it clear that I was doing the work.
    I don’t drink anymore and life isn’t perfect but it is better.
    I paid for a service and some extras but didn’t feel pressure to do so.
    Belle and I have never met in person but she saved my life.
    That’s my experience. Go find your experience.

  20. Keep doing what you’ve been doing —supporting, encouraging, inspiring anyone who is concerned about their drinking habits. I love being involved in the book process and sometimes your treats are just the perfect potion. I never take off my Not Today bracelet and could care less about what I paid . You get it Belle. Xo

  21. Defiance is a trait that many of us share. When we look into the mirror of our shared experiences we sometimes get shaken up. We rebel…well, I rebel. I do the opposite, I fight kicking and screaming even when I’m up against the truth of it all. Acceptance can be difficult. Sometimes people need something to be angry at – maybe you were the scapegoat of the day. Maybe something resonated with him or her. Perhaps the mirror was like a circus mirror and was distorted and scary and that made the person react. It is all part of the journey.

    Putting on the teflon suit and not letting those comments overshadow the good feelings is hard. I’m glad you can look at it with perspective. Keep on doing what you do. I benefit from seeing how you try new things, I like how you model and parallel your experience with sobriety. It’s showing me a new path. Thank you 🙂

  22. We are all somewhere in between. Some people just focus and blow out of proportion one end of everyone’s spectrum. Or maybe that negative email was actually just from Wolfie. And we all know what an ass he is.

    I’ve never thought of you as narcissistic.

    I do think you appear to be marketing what you do, but I also think what you offer is extremely valuable. And I personally would be very upset if you stopped. 🙂

  23. I think what you do is fantastic. You have the best intention and pupose. Perhaps it is not for everyone. For me it is extremely useful to have these tools you provide: omm, podcasts, calls, emails, blog posts. And I plan to continue to use them. Thank you Belle.
    And thank you for your honest and candid explanation of what you do and why.

  24. I read and followed several blogs before I found yours. Also looked at other resources online. Your stuff just clicked with me, I think of you as the Mr. Spock of sobriety, logical. That is what I needed to get momentum and to keep that momentum. Your logic has helped to keep my sobriety grounded, which is what I needed/need.. We are all human and we all need different things, we just gotta figure out what it is we need.

  25. Spring Rabbit sounds very angry, here. At him/herself, at you, at the world. It’s sad that she/he doesn’t get the way you work, because you work wonders. I remember when I first contacted you. I sent you an e-mail and you responded. I decided to buy your book (it was my decision, based on the quality of your blog posts, based on your humanity that has always been transparent). I also bought a stone necklace because I thought it was a great cause you were defending. And it was pretty jewellery. I never did the Sober Jumpstart Class. I did’t give you tons of money. I just did what I felt like doing. And with your support, I did something huge. I’ve been sober for 600+ days, it sounds unreal, but it is. I’ll never thank you enough.

    1. Hello. I am not avoiding a discussion on this. I appreciate all your replies to my note. And I’m not angry.

      Here are a few follow-up thoughts: I spent a long time thinking about about my reaction to Belle, and to what struck me (me–I recognize that) as Belle-worship, before I sent that note (to her, not to everyone, and only excerpted by her, bravely, here). I’ve wondered, for example, if some of you who have been following her for a long, long time started doing so when this whole space felt more equal and less one-sided. Or if you didn’t also follow other, less-marketing-y sober podcasts. I wondered about a lot of this.

      There are many reasons why I didn’t just unsubscribe. For one thing, I, too, see a lot of good in what Belle does; I said so in my original note to her. For another, all help is good help–and whatever works for ANY of us is valuable. But mostly I didn’t unsubscribe because I paid for a sober pen-pal–paid what for me was a significant amount of money. And I was really disappointed by the aspect I described above of what I bought. The decision I came to was that, as a paying customer, I had a right to voice my disappointment with what i purchased. That’s all.

      1. You absolutely have a right to express your opinion. I think it is a really important part of the recovery process. Many of us have denied “the truth” for a long time and are so relieved to have this type of format to express ourselves anonymously. I once joined a support group for parents of kids w eating disorders and it was a really nice place – until it wasn’t…..I disagreed w one of the most popular contributors on something and other people began to chime in and it got to be so counterproductive and downright mean that I left the group. It was a painful experience – I felt attacked and hurt.
        When I was earlier into this program, I admit to feelings similar to yours. I wasn’t sure if I was jealous or if I felt left out or if I really just do not like people who are kiss asses.
        Belle has created something really special. Her advice and support have helped people – helped not really an adequate word – saved maybe would be more accurate. So, of course, she is going to be held in high esteem – as she should.
        Speak your thoughts. Be honest with yourself. Give credit where it is due. I like this quote from Psychology today in regards to skepticism, ” If we model skepticism instead of cynicism, our children would inherit a world that would be less dependent on power and authority and more dependent on critical thinking and good judgment. Adolescents and young adults would be capable of questioning the reliability of what they think or hear.”
        I would want to end my reply sharing my gratitude for this program and the woman who created it and all those who participate.

  26. I replied earlier today and just caught up with all the other responses. They have so much in common. Not one of us feels pressured to buy anything. In fact, I’ve purchased things just to provide “payback” for all the benefit I’ve taken from your writing. My “cost” for your services for over a year of almost daily support comes to about $30. Seems like a damn good deal to me. And I’ve got rocks, and books, and mints to boot. So I’ve gotten my money’s worth. No complaints.

  27. Belle,
    Tomorrow I will begin my fifth year of sobriety. I can honestly say that I couldn’t have done it without your advise and support. Thank you!

  28. … So many praise you because you have helped them to become sober and stay sober! I’m one of them! I have bought your book, a bracelet and signed to be a pen-pal. Money well spend as far as I’m concerned. I don’t feel that you boast about yourself at all and you are just a down to earth person trying to help others to keep on the sober track. I love your e-mails, messages – all that you do! You helped me to finally get and keep on the right track. Love you Belle!

  29. Here’s what I know…you have become a very important part of my life. This group, this story, this website, the blog. I too tried many things to get out of the bottom of my personal bottle. This worked for me. Belle was there for me. I can say things to her and here that I would never say at a meeting of any kind. Welcoming. That’s what this place is, that’s what Belle is.

  30. I just got through detox. Its been four days without a drink. Reading your blog and your pen pals comments, their experiences is what gave me the courage to detox and now Im commiting myself to the hard part of staying sobber . Your post and emails to me will be one of my tools in staying sobber.
    So thank you

  31. I must say that I am grateful to you Belle!

    Now, having just passed 3 years sober, i can say that your insights and support have been the ticket for my sober journey. Your style works for me.

    I am grateful that I found you – live – by chance, luck, or fate, at 3am one January eve when I had again blown off my attempt to quit drinking. You, being my penpal, got me past 30, 90, 120, 365 Days.

    Now on day 1108 it just keeps getting better.

    Thank you from the fullness of my heart.
    Kitkatpaddywack

  32. Belle, you really helped me get sober; I’m on Day 279 now and that wouldn’t have happened without the penpal emails and sober jump start audios. So thank you x

  33. Thanks Belle. I appreciate your podcasts and responses to my emails when I send them through ..and I’m not a sober pen pal but I do subscribe to the podcasts and I so loved the WORTH class was just what I needed. Thanks for your support of our sober journey

  34. I don’t care what anybody says… you’re awesome, Belle. You keep doing you. I know I don’t HAVE to buy anything and you put out great free sober content (that I read) every day. I’ve bought stuff before and I will again when I can – because you provide value. You’re a genuine, good person and the support I get from you and your site, even when I struggle, is immeasurable. Thanks again!

  35. Belle….you have always worked for me! You rock! I can’t even remember how many days sober…somewhere between 1300 and 1400? Anyhoo, I still love reading and listening to you, lots of huglets, Cocomak xxx

  36. Belle,
    I want to write more but don’t have time right now. Just want to say that I totally get your concerns. It is a bit of a high-wire act for you. You are on the receiving end of the needs, moods, judgments etc of the full range of people in the world … You spend so much of your time helping people, and you do help so many people, and you certainly deserve to make some money for all your effort and time. And I don’t begrudge the emails that thank you and praise you.
    I find them motivating in that they remind me of how important you were to my sober journey and that awful place where the journey began.
    I think you’re great, fantastic. And when you put yourself out there…there will always be critics.
    Still sober. Feel so strong. Frog

  37. I think describing the group as ‘cultish’ is a little extreme, having had experience of a friend being recruited into a Therapy Cult, I don’t see any similarities & my decision making here is very much independent. I do agree being a little skeptical of support groups & questioning people’s intentions is never a bad thing.
    I’m a newbie here, on day 29. I personally found the ‘Month 1’ pdf very useful in both understanding intentions & for helping me focus on becoming sober. The emails & free one minute audios have been great especially in the first few weeks to keep me focused on my own goals, I’ve appreciated Belle sharing the positive and also the pen-pal’s who are struggling, both discussions she shares are helpful for me. At first I found blog comments from the veterans of the group a little gushy, but on reflection, I know this sober thing is bloody tough & if you’ve found something or someone who’s support works for you then I’m happy for you & totally understand why your so thankful! I really appreciate the time & energy Belle puts into this blog. I don’t mind the occasional adverts at the end of emails, I personally know a bracelet won’t help me but for others it clearly does. I did purchase an audio at a time of need & it helped a great deal, but mostly just seeing an email appear reminds me I’m still here & I’m still sober. Thank you

  38. Hi Belle,

    I don’t think I have anything else to add to what so many have said above. I appreciate that you are real. You are a real person just like me. I’m thankful to have stumbled across your stuff on the internet, and to have connected with you. From my little corner in WA state to you in yours across the pond, the world somehow seems a little smaller. Keep going. xo

  39. Anyone who doesn’t personally/irl know you, and then emails you when you’ve fallen away to see how I am, is not someone who is in it for themselves.

  40. Someone once told me a long time ago (when I was grappling with whether I could accept a certain miniscule aspect of a pretty large philosophy) “If it’s for you, take it. If not, just leave it.” So deceptively simple and it applies to so many things (because everything is like everything). I thought I had to accept all of it to accept any of it. I don’t. If ANYTHING Belle (or anyone) says is for you, take it. If not, just leave it. If someone stumbles onto your blog and doesn’t think it resonates as genuine or helpful, move along. Keep looking for what resonates with you. If part of it resonates, just take that. It’s not all or nothing, black or white. You can like some things, and not like others. It doesn’t (or shouldn’t) invalidate what you keep, that speaks to your truth. Those little nuggets are true for YOU, and that’s really all that matters. The “cultish” comment is laughable. I think that those in tune with their own authenticity recognize it in others. I’ve never for one split second doubted yours, Belle.

  41. As with any coach/writer/support system/book, we (the consumer) need to take what works and leave the rest.
    But, I’ll also add that it can be VERY helpful to entry to evaluate why I feel the need to leave part of it. Why am I reacting so strongly to what is happening? Am I feeling threatened? Is this actually something I need to hear, but it hurts to hear it? Does the fact that Belle sells jewelry threaten me because I actually want it and can’t afford it? Or is it that I believe that jewelry has no place in recovery because I should “just get over myself already and stop drinking” without any of the extra (pro tip: I need support…I can’t just get over it)? Do I think the writer doesn’t have enough experience in the area they are writing about? Or is it something else?

    Anyway, all this to say: Belle is awesome. She provided what I needed when I needed it. I’m grateful for that.

    1. I agree with what you say here SobrietyUnlocked. When I first started reading Belle’s blog & listening to the odd audio here and there, a few things Belle said triggered me. I used those triggers to identify what was going on deep within me. Such a helpful, positive exercise. It is hard work and at times painful, but I take what I need from Belle’s approach and this has helped me enormously.

  42. I found Belle’s approach to be no nonsense or frills. She has the same wolfie voice in her head that I do. She helped me to recognize wolfie and start to dehydrate the voice. I didn’t have to fix my marriage, my finances, my home, my childhood traumas first. She just shined the light at wolfie and I started doing the work to shut him up. Wolfie had wormed his way into every area of my life. He is a sneaky little bastard and Belle knows it. She gets me and my brain. No nonsense, no frills. Me first, Sober first, everything else later.
    ❤️

    1. Belle does post a lot of emails she has received with people praising her and saying how much she helped them, how they couldn’t have gotten sober without her. I don’t see this as Belle wanting to be in the spotlight or trying to take advantage of anyone! She is giving proof that she can help you, yes even you, get sober. These are real-life testimonials. She’s trying to reach the people who need her. I know for a fact that I wouldn’t be more than two years sober today without Belle. I had several day ones, and at those times I often stopped writing to Belle, but she never gave up on me. Reading the email testimonials made me think, hey, these other people are sober because Belle helped them; Belle was there for them; I need to email Belle right now because she can help me too. And she has, she truly has. Belle is the Real Thing!

  43. I feel like Spring Rabbit was outed without permission but is too intimidated to say so in this public “Belle Forum”, so she responded with a plausible explanation that wouldn’t alienate Belle and Belle’s online blog followers. Spring Rabbit made comments to Belle in a private email conversation and Belle extracted and published select portions of that email thereby predictably garnering public cudos and support from her online community – at Spring Rabbit’s expense. If Belle hadn’t published those select portions of that private email, the 49 comments above wouldn’t have been generated. What’s the f’ing point, Belle?

    1. i often share positive and negative emails, i share emails when people are successful or struggling. i share a wide range of perspectives because in every comment, someone ELSE reading it may think “i thought that, too” or “i thought that and then i don’t any more” or “i feel like that sometimes, too”. Why share things? So that people don’t feel alone. I find this comment from you a bit harsh in its tone but I approved it anyway, because someone else out there is feeling equally harsh. When people email me, they know that i sometime share bits to help others relate. I always edit for kindness, remove anything identifying, and only quote the parts that are relevant to the discussion. If this doesn’t suit you, I”m fine with that. There are lots of other sober resources online, and nobody is required to be here, reading this, or approving of how i run my personal blog. hugs and hugs from me 🙂

    2. … when I first started the penpal thing I was expecting more from Belle, but the more I opened up the more Belle responded, the more effort you put into it the more you get out of it.

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