I wish I could drink as much as I want and not suffer any consequences

from my daily micro-email sent September 12, 2018

if booze is an elevator that only goes down, you can step off now. find the exit. get off and stay off. (sortie is ‘exit’ in french)
original painting #93 here today.

from me:
this is wednesday. we are home after 20 days of working ‘off-site’ while visiting in-laws, and travelling (mostly being lost) in the US. on the way home from the airport yesterday, as I sipped espresso and ate a power bar to try to wake myself up, mr.B says, “I didn’t tell you this before, but there’s a hurricane warning, a million people on standby for evacuation.” He didn’t use these words, of course, because he doesn’t speak english with words like ‘standby’. the reason he hadn’t told me, is because of my long-standing agitation about flying, and the self-imposed blackout on news that i have, but even MORE SO right before a flight. something bad happened in a plane yesterday? i don’t want to know. doesn’t change me having to get on the plane…
i’m easily wound up, so i have to filter the ‘news’ so i don’t get overwhelmed. and i guess husband knows me well enough to not tell me things that’ll exacerbate my shaking with fear, which i did only 3 times the plane yesterday, grabbing his arm. the rest of the time i happily worked on my laptop and unhappily did not eat the profoundly bad food (thanks air canada).
flying, for me, is like being sober. i do my best to keep my head attached even if it means doing things differently from other people. i reach out and bruise my husband’s arm when required, not often, but i do. when the anxiety stops, i go back to my shitty meal or my laptop. i don’t dwell. though why they continue to serve the shitty meal while it’s bumping around, i have no idea — oh wait, it’s because the bumping around is trivial — it doesn’t mean anything. the flight crew are bored with it. they keep pouring coffee…
i want to share more of the ‘stay here’ philosophy that developed on a bumpy flight in the next email, but also i’ve got some new mantras that i now say during times of anxiety…

some notes from my inbox:

pippa: “just want to say thank you for your emails. They make me feel like I’m in a posse of people who are doing this amazing thing. When I feel on the periphery of the world — cos it looks like everyone else is merrily drinking (even though I know logically this is not the case) — knowing that there are other women [and men] who have made the same excuses, wondered if they were making a mistake going AF (because, you know, I’m not THAT bad), and who go from feeling on top of the world about their decision to feeling shit and weird — makes the difference. Something has shifted for me fundamentally so I’m 10% conflicted but 90% happy and that part of me keeps getting bigger and more certain.  It used to be the other way round. I feel like I’m in a cool gang now.”


sobriety shingles: “I’m so glad mr b is enjoying doing this, I love them. Does he know how much the the little exit sign helps us? What it communicates to us? How evocative it is? I’d like to order more, I hope he doesn’t tire of this theme yet, I sure haven’t! Thank you, Belle, for everything.  Et merci monsieur b.”


S: “Hi Bella, I don’t normally reply to your emails … the main reason I am a lurker is because I don’t yet fully believe I have an issue with alcohol (although maybe I do since I am here!). I’m more of a binge drinker 2-3 times a week rather than a every day drinker. Which I know is just as bad but I have been reading your emails and I feel that I am starting to see the light …  it’s now Thursday (here in New Zealand) and I have yet to drink again since last Saturday, not because I have stopped myself but because I just don’t want to! seriously this is such a new feeling for me and a lot to take on board especially since I am actively working to manage my anxiety and depression (meds and psychologist).”


DaniZ: “honestly, i just feel angry tonight. At the end of the lesson, you have the ‘take a moment and imagine day 140’. I can’t. I DO feel broken, although I liked the part about when you stop drinking, the craving goes away. I know that to be true, but right now, that experience was too long ago, and so the ‘knowing’ is an in my head knowing, not a head AND heart knowing. So yeah, I’m just fucking pissed off right now, and feeling sorry for myself. I have a million and one things to be happy about and grateful for, and I am just heavy in the pout mode. I seriously wish that I could drink as much as I want and not have to suffer any consequences. How fucking childish is that? I’m 48 for god’s sake! Sorry. Totally crappy email, and rather than put it in my journal, I am sending it to you. Which hardly seems like a nice choice, but I am hoping that being honest with my feelings might help.”


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

  • As of today, I am 9 days sober — I am sure that makes some of you giggle, but, for me, it is the BIGGEST accomplishment and LONGEST AF time in years! I am experiencing all, or most, of the happiness echoed by so many being AF 🙂 BUT, I am SO STRUGGLING with my trigger time — when I get home from work (usually WINE TIME!) and I am so afraid that these tempting hours are going to destroy (my short, but admirable) sober streak. Any advice?
    Thank you!

  • I thought i’d share a new sober tool i have – i have been watching on YouTube an American show called “Intervention” where each show follows 1 person (sometimes 2) in their struggle with their addictions and the impact on their family. At the end an intervention is held, and if they agree to get help (most do), then a follow up is done 3 months later. Most are successful. While some of the people are into hard drugs, the majority are severe alcoholics. It is very “sobering” to watch these people in an absolute mess and to see the despair of their families. It has helped me look at the effects of alcohol in a more objective way as when you watch someone else and think “what an idiot when they have so much other great stuff going for them” it is scarily like holding up a mirror. Uncomfortable viewing but helps me to not reach for a glass of wine.

    • I used to watch that program too- certainly easy to see how the addiction was destroying their life and those around them.
      I could always come up with a reason why I wasn’t “ that bad” though which isn’t a particularly helpful way of looking at it is it?
      Maybe now I’m sober I might have a different take on it who knows…

  • I love that idea of sortie being “ sorted”!! But I don’t think I’ll get to that place. Maybe more accepting of the fact that I don’t have everything sorted…
    I guess I also wanted to say that it is good to know there are others “doing this thing” . Especially good when I see familiar names pop up and I’m like “ oh they’re still here doing this” . It’s very encouraging.
    I can do remember those times of feeling very angry and ungrateful for everything even though I had much to be thankful for. Those early days of stopping are so difficult and confusing- just hang in there DaniZ, it does get so much better and way easier not to drink….

  • I tell people that I want to drink as much as I like without actually falling over. Obviously this indicates a problem ;-). That’s why I had to stop, totally.

    I’m LOVING the snippets of emails you’ve been sending the last 3 weeks or so Belle – SO helpful to see my exact thoughts being voiced by someone else, and your wise and thoughtful responses to them. Feel like I’m learning alot, just from that. I’d LOVE more of that 🙂

    Happy to be here and 612 days sober 🙂

  • Don’t you feel like being on a plane is somehow a ‘nowhere’ land with ‘nowhere rules’… always a dodgy place for me. I think no-one will know if I drink when I’m hundreds of feet up in the sky… very dangerous. I have four flights coming up over the next ten days… maybe this time I’ll manage to fly sober… lovely paintings btw. I love the ‘sortie’ one because it also looks like ‘sorted’. Which I’m not. Yet. But I aspire…

  • I totally understand S. and not being sure if I have a problem with drinking…., there is a 100 day challenge you can try and at the end, when your head is clear, then you can decide.