small notes about hurricanes and other things (#7 and #8)

during the hurricane last week, I sent a series of small notes to subscribers – and some of these ideas, of course, apply to the world beyond the weather.

small notes about hurricanes and other things #7
(from my inbox)

CSM (in North Carolina, day 1024): “Sober & Today Would Be The Sort of Day I’d Drink. Thanks again for your ‘small notes’. Days like this (weather/cooped up inside) are certainly triggering. Luckily, I have a couple of things on my side: 1. Stores are closed, 2. I’ve grown a healthy fear of regret, 3. The knowledge that the weather/isolation will be over in 48 hours, but the disappointment of being back at Day 1 will last and last, 4. Based upon history, it will take me months if not years to get any sober momentum again.”

~

KeysKathy (day 116): “Thank you for the hurricane posts. They are good reminders and are help calming my PTSD-like reminders of a year ago when Hurricane Irma, a category 4 storm dumped 5.5 feet of yucky water in my one story ground house. I wasn’t drinking during the whole packing up and evacuation but drank again on Sept 21 2017, upon reentry and seeing my house up close … It took me almost 8 months to the day to quit again. Drinking made everything harder and half the time it did not even taste good. It was just what I was programmed to do when dealing with REALLY BAD weather or any other unpleasantness…

~

C: “Yeah, I’ve got to start day one again. I love you are referring to hurricanes. It reminds me how I almost probably died during hurricane Harvey because I was drunk. After that experience, I swore I would never drink again, and I didn’t for a while. Now here I am again a year later drinking. I hate Wolfie, he’s going to kill me if I don’t stand up to him. I know I can do this. I have overcome so much, he’s a thorn in my side. I deserve so much better, I feel so much better. I will overcome this! Thank you for your wisdom. It really does help. I will start over on day one tomorrow, hopefully this time will be the last time.”

~

K: “Belle – THANK YOU for all of your hurricane emails. I’m in Raleigh, NC on day 52 and STRUGGLING against this ridiculous want / need / craving. I view your emails that the universe/God/otherworld is trying to keep me on my path – by sending these reminders through you, my messenger. Thank you for being my messenger. (On a side note: I just woke from a nap and ate an orange, which has satisfied me. For now, at least.)”

~

TJS (day 33): “So last night we had a cemetery service for the time between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. When you have the Jewish New Year and ask for a good year you also want to visit the dead and make sure they know you are remembering them. So we do a prayer at each grave. The Rabbi had a little talk for everyone at the first part of the service. I love his talks and his way of thinking. He talked about how this is our chance to look forward. To see the positive in every situation. To pick up a stone and instead of throw it at someone, take it and build a bridge. That the power of positive. I get that from you. I thought of you while he was speaking. To see the good in all folks to see the good in every situation. To find the power in the positive. Happy New Year to you and Mr. B! This new year on the Jewish calendar is 5779 it’s the beginning of the end of a decade. It’s a new beginning in so many ways! And this 5779 — the double 7’s are lucky as the new year always begins on the 7th sun. So 7’s! We believe you have a clean slate on the new year. A clean beginning with  G*d! L’shana Tova — may your name be inscribed in the book of life. 🙂 Hugs!”

~

small notes about hurricanes and other things #8

when you’re dealing with big things (hurricanes, weddings, travelling, mothers-in-law), there’s a spike of adrenaline during. we often say we’re ‘good in a crisis’.
what an over-drinker needs to watch for is what happens afterwards. the decline of adrenaline can feel so weird, that we want to medicate it with alcohol.
wolfie uses these slack, unwinding times to say “well you did the hard thing — the hurricane, the wedding catering, the complete garden overhaul — now where’s your reward?”
and the reward is — yes, you do need one — the reward is important. it’s often in the AFTER time that people crash. so you get something today, even if it’s small, even if it’s a take-out sandwich or a cup of green tea with honey in a nice mug, and you say to yourself: “this is my treat for doing hard stuff. because i’m sober, and this shit is hard, and i rock.”

~

This is Exit painting #65.
Exit the booze elevator. Get off and stay off.

small notes about hurricanes and other things (#5 and #6)

during the hurricane last week, I sent a series of small notes to subscribers – and some of these ideas, of course, apply to the world beyond the weather.

small notes about hurricanes and other things #5

there will come a time when more-tv-watching makes things worse. there’s a place of overwhelm, and you want to avoid it. you turn off the stimulus. you do something else. baths are good. sleep is also good. resting and chatting with people who get it are good. reading is good. organic gummy bears are apparently excellent. you don’t drink. to drink would be to add a level of complexity that you don’t need. you need ease. there is no ease in a drink. there is only starting again on day 1. you’ve done that before. this time you’re keeping going. sober. onwards. if there’s a way out, then you’ve found it and you’re staying out.

~

small notes about hurricanes and other things #6

now that the storm has come onto land, the video footage will be shocking. and you will feel compelled to watch (even me, on twitter). and then after 15 minutes I have to look away. not because i don’t care. but because me watching and fretting doesn’t change the event. i want to be informed (and text will do that), but video is windy-uppy. so this can just be a gentle, general warning: turn away from things that wind you up. wolfie wants you to be agitated so that drinking will seem like a good idea. it isn’t. solitaire is a good idea. listening to an audio is a good idea. dancing in the kitchen is good. staying inside if the storm (of whatever sort) is near you. protecting you is always a good idea. no matter if your storm is literal or mother-in-law-ical.

~

This is Exit painting #132. Exit in German.
Exit the booze elevator. Get off and stay off.

small notes about hurricanes and other things (#3 and #4)

during the hurricane last week, I sent a series of small notes to subscribers – and some of these ideas, of course, apply to the world beyond the weather.

small notes about hurricanes and other things #3

anxiety about things that might happen but haven’t happened yet is ‘anticipatory’ anxiety. we think we won’t be able to deal with whatever it is. we’re convinced that if we pre-think it all through, in advance, that that’ll help us. we believe that to worry in advance is insurance. doesn’t work that way. worrying in advance makes you sick, tired, spinny, and less able to cope. you can do what’s here, now, right this minute. The only time you can impact what you do is in the now. To be sober, you’re not drinking now. to plan for a hurricane, you’re standing in line to buy plywood now. That’s what you’re doing now. Then you do the next thing. And remember to ask for help. There is a lots around you, for all the things. The person with water will share. Maybe not beforehand, while they’re panicked about later. But when it’s later, and you need water, they’ll share. The person with 6 years sober will share. Keep reaching out.

~

small notes about hurricanes and other things #4

the thing is, you’ve tried drinking. it doesn’t suit you. you’ve tried finding answers in a bottle. they aren’t there. you’ve tried drinking all day during a snowstorm, a hurricane, a sunny day. you feel like death when you do that. what you maybe haven’t tried is the experiment of doing this life thing – sober. all sober. be aware and awake and present for whatever it is. hear the thing leaking, instead of sleeping through it. hear the child calling. hear the dog whining. hear your partner making coffee in the other room. hear the wind and the rushing sounds. be present for it all. you’ve tried drinking. it doesn’t actually work. if it worked i wouldn’t be here. i’d be off drinking somewhere. but the fact is booze took me to a place, and i don’t want to go back there. i’d rather be here and sober. whatever here means. whatever ‘storm’ is coming. whatever sunshine on the other side.

~

This is Exit painting #114.
Exit the booze elevator. Get off and stay off.

small notes about hurricanes and other things (#1 and #2)

during the hurricane last week, I sent a series of small notes to subscribers – and some of these ideas, of course, apply to the world beyond the weather.

small notes about hurricanes and other things #1

we don’t drink because of weather. not even unusual weather. if it snows in September (alberta) or floods in NC, we don’t drink.
you need to be sober to deal with the random things that happen in life. it could be bad weather, but it could be sick mother, or your fan belt splitting in half. it could be a faulty insulin pump. it could be a tenant’s overdose. you have to be sober to deal with the things.

to mix drinking with dangerous weather just seems like a bad idea.
you’ll agree with me.
if ever you needed to keep your wits about you, it’d be now.  

today’s exit-the-booze-down-elevator painting might be about exiting the shitty thinking, or it might be about exiting the dangerous situation, or it might be about finding the exit on the highway as you leave town, windows boarded up. an exit is about you taking care of you.
it’s you, making plans.

~

small notes about hurricanes and other things #2

unexpected things, large and small, are happening around us all the time. this is one of those things. they tell you that X will happen, but it’ll be something like X-2+Y-7. Which means you’re flexible. No black and white. It’s grey. You go where you need to go, soberly, eyes open. You do the next right thing in front of you. You do the basic self-care things every day (sleep, eat, rest, avoid overwhelm). you text your parents and friends and sober coach when you feel wacky. you don’t do this alone – hurricanes or sobriety. we do these things together.

~

This is Exit painting #114.
Exit the booze elevator. Get off and stay off.

calm within

from me:
on the flight home from canada, i had my usual truly-agitated moments. to be fair, flying sober is WAY better than it used to be. before i’d be sick with worry before, during and after, EVEN WHEN things were calm (anticipatory anxiety). now when i fly, i’m temporarily jiggled, ONLY to do with something that is specifically currently happening in the present, and then i reset back to zero as soon as it’s over.
but during, i have some routine things i say to myself. one is Stay Here. and then that has over time morphed into Calm Within.

the cool thing about ‘calm within’ is the double meaning. it’s ‘let’s feel calm on the inside, shall we?’ but it’s also about finding some calm within the agitation. so i count to 10 and then i force myself to be calm for a few seconds. then i jitter and wiggle for a count of 10, then i force myself to stop. of course, it can be done. the calmness isn’t my natural state but i can do it.

so while mr.B sat eating his steamed chicken and frozen vegetables, i was counting. and untensing.

the other thing about ‘calm within’ is finding the calm patches and relaxing when they happen. it’s not 24/7 tense. it’s tense, then oh look it’s smooth for a second, so then you can relax. then it starts up and then it stops again. the goal being to find the calm within the event.
this sort of reminds me of the experience of being in the palliative care ward when Mr. Cinnamon Toast was there. It was shitty. obviously. and there were moments of real sunshine, of laughter, of lobster dinner, of poop jokes.

the other mantra i have is about under-promising. but this is long so i’ll save that one for later today maybe? or tomorrow. Depends on how this hurricane thing goes. calm within. within you. within the event itself. find the tiny breaks.

 



some notes from my inbox:

leener (day 382): “I’m not an ‘art person.’ but i have *some* art in my house. Stuff i see that i like. usually colorful things that speak to me. i don’t know squat about skill or technique or meaning or whatever. so my (not very) snooty assessment of Mr. B’s art is this: i like it. i like to look at it. i like the colors. i like that it means something to me. i like that sometimes, the Exit is hard to find. But it’s there, you just have to keep looking. that’s some deep sober shit. but its also just a pretty thing to look at, and that’s cool too.”

~

amazon sister (day 82): “I had a great day yesterday, met with lovely friends, felt positive about so much. I’m back to feeling some uncertainty today and that may be due to how many life ups and downs I’ve had over the last few years, lots of uncertainty and financial insecurity, etc. and I covered the fear with almost nightly drinks. I’m getting better at feeling these things even though I don’t know what to do about them. I do hold a lot in, maybe checking in more and writing about me feelings will help. I put your duck pond photo on my bathroom mirror tonight and I have 2 of the cards in my current journal that is ready for me to write in. I so appreciate the services you offer, it is truly a special and a wonderful gift, creating better sober lives all over the planet. And what a great compliment Mr. B’s art is to the work! I also really appreciate your email updates, reading how you have everyday struggles is helpful in seeing my own. I hope you are rested and settled back in to being home!”

~

emsyface (day 260): “… I was at the centre, and one of the girls was talking about putting things on the walls to encourage. I imagined one of these paintings — a message to say ‘there is a way through somehow — an exit does exist’ Sometimes it’s about holding that belief for someone when they can’t themselves? Can you tell your hubby how much I like his art ?! xx”

~

W (day 123): “So, shitty news, cancer is growing again. I’m tired of fighting it. Wolfie says cancer is going to kill you anyways, why are you sober? I say I don’t know. Wolfie says why would you go on this epic family vacation with your aunts and uncles to Ireland and not drink with them? I say I don’t know. Wolfie says what’s the point of being alcohol-free? Especially when you know that wine will take the edge off the pain? I say I don’t know.
Sitting in my car crying. I just don’t know anymore. about anything, what’s the freaking point?
i guess when I get too busy and don’t appreciate the life I have the Lord, or the universe, or whoever or whatever’s out there slaps me down to make me appreciate what I have.
and when I tell people in my family that my cancer is growing again, I have to f****** comfort them. Because I’m the caretaker, I’m the mama, I’m the matriarch. Who comforts me? Wolfie? Wine? F*** that.
I actually feel a little better having emailed you because generally I can’t say things like that to people. Thank you for listening, or (as the case may be) reading.”

~

[What do you think I replied to W? Add your ideas below, and then tomorrow I’ll pick the comment that seems closest to what I said (in tone, in content) and that person will get a $20 podcast bundle.]


the artist: Mr. Belle
Acrylic & Ink on paper, unframed, mailed flat
30 x 42 cm (11.75″ x 16.75″)
if booze is an elevator that only goes down,
you can step off now. find the exit.
get off and stay off

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.”

drinking is like shaking your mind

from me:
when i posted the ‘thank you’ message, i didn’t really expect people to say thank you, again, in return. and now when i share too many of these it’ll seem self-serving. so i’ll mix in a bit of what my inbox looks like today. the ups and the downs. 

andpops: “Your emails were great!! Im sure that I would not be where I am now without you!  You’re welcome but thank you right back at ya again. PS. It’s also fun to have you in the same time zone. I want to tell you again how psyched I am for Mr. Belles painting and to hang it in my office at work. I’ll send you a pic when it arrives and I hang it!  I even enjoy seeing all the new ones that get posted. It makes me happy that he feels inspired. He should also feel appreciated!”

A: “I’ve read the thank you message several times and wanted to reply but not known how. When you sent the other replies, I felt even more inadequate to respond but just wanted to say how lovely it sounded for you and Mr B.  I have to be honest I’m a philistine regarding art but I admire his talent and am ridiculously pleased for both of you that it’s working. Enough rambling, just really pleased for you both and of course envious.  I need to get out, off and into the sunshine.”

C: “I don’t expect a response, just wanted to vent. I love your husbands art and the theme has hit home. Big time. I have been looking for my Exit door for some time. I haven’t found it yet. Of course I equate that to yet another fault of mine. I think of the person that used to be on the other side of that door and I miss that version of me. But I’m exhausted, all the time. Why is it so much easier to “self medicate” than lace up the running shoes? I used to take such pride in my athletics but can’t even imagine having that discipline now. I am so tired. Tired of trying, working crazy hours, the stress and being alone. That being said, I am blessed with two wonderful kids but they are growing up and have lives of their own. I keep making promises to myself (and silently to you) to be better tomorrow, finally start being that perfect version of myself. And it’s like groundhog day. Without the benefit of positive progression. Anyway, not great at expressing myself and thanks for reading. Does Mr. B create any paintings that include directions to the Exit door? … Take care Belle and thanks for all you do! I still carry around one of your hand written letters with me. Took me weeks before I opened it and read it. Not sure what that’s about.”

pilates queenie: “Your husband’s art has become a minor obsession. I have purchased four and need to stop now. I can only afford so much — but it is worth more to me than you can imagine. I hope he does a showing — maybe some bigger pieces too. Thank him and tell him that his pieces move me in a way that I can’t explain. I may have told you I have many fine artists in my family including my sister and a couple of brothers and my mom who passed away 20 years ago. I think his art is reminiscent of how she made use of color and form. Clearly, he is hitting the mark with many, many people as they have all sold so quickly. Thank you to you too!!  You continue to inspire me to be a healthier person in mind, body and spirit.  Hope you keep doing what you are doing for a long time. 💜❤️💚”

Bean7: “I’m having a grumpy day. Even going to yoga this morning didn’t help. Maybe it did help, and I’d be even worse had I not gone? Laughs. I’m in my room watching NetFLIX AND TAkING cARE oF some tASKS. ONE of MY ANNOYances is my computeR. As you can see itS FUCKED UP … I’ve got mY SOBRIETY TODAY> THAT IS A POSITIve> BEAn7”

jenwithoutwine: “So beautiful. I read this with a soft smile and dampening eyes. And I am a girl who does. not. cry. (mostly) I feel lucky to witness this, so thanks for sharing. Beautiful things happening to beautiful people. It doesn’t get much better.”

Auntie Briggy: “… He clearly loves you so much because his concept of EXIT is so filled with compassion and love. Thank you again for being there. I know some day you will be too famous to email with me – so now I must really get sober for 30 days so I can still have you :)”

magitinto (day 2): “another thing I discovered, I drink to quiet my mind, or at least that is what I thought, however reality is that when drinking the opposite happens, my mind wont stop spinning around a 1000 topics and making everything so dramatic and so intense and so tiring, at the end is worse it is like shaking the mind. What I am really looking for is calm, silence, quite time with my mind focused, something I will never achieve drinking.”

broken plumbing, family squabbles, existential crises

from me:
after i sent my earlier message to say thank you I got some really lovely responses, so now i get to say thank you again 🙂

~

doug: “Wow. Humbly, I say you’re welcome. You thanking us.  I wasn’t expecting that. God, thank YOU so  much for everything.
Gratitude, true gratitude is precious. I try to recognize when I am grateful and stop and appreciate it. I realized recently that I felt like I was missing something. I thought about it. I realized that the feeling of gratitude had been absent lately. Not because I had anything less to be grateful for. I’d simply been too busy to appreciate my life. I love this email.  Thank you again. For giving me a reason to pause and give thanks. ~big hugs”

fatgit: “Well, that’s nice, if entirely redundant. Thank you too for giving me a life worth living. X Da”

emsyface: “That’s so good to hear (about mr.B). Makes such a difference when the other person is feeling good about themselves.”

honeybadger: “Just purchased the latest Mr. B work of art. I would have liked to pay more but have been on maternity leave (without getting paid) and daycare expenses start soon so money is tight right now. Didn’t want Mr. B to think it was a reflection on its value. I anticipate going back to work will be hard on many fronts so I plan on keeping the painting at work as a reminder of how far I’ve come. Playing it forward and remembering life in the sewer is always helpful when shit gets rough.”

peewit: “This is really lovely. A bit of a glimpse into belle-world, which I know you share plenty of but this is different, more like the doors opened a bit wider and we can see a bit more of you because this is you in relationship. And of course you don’t spill the guts of your relationship with us generally but as humans are relational beings – whether we like it or not 😉 – seeing how someone else ‘does’ relating is basically a teaching aid. And the way you’re willing to try to support each other, even when there’s struggles and differences and shit going on, that’s a door opening on to a lesson for most of us (most of us being people who do NOT like reaching for our own door handle even when we know we’re trapped). … Thanks so much for sharing belle, bless you and mr belle, xxxxx”

sobersusie: “I somehow missed that these are Mr. B’s creations. Well done! How exciting. Good for him.  May he continue creating! Thank you Belle for your presence in our lives. I hope you go to bed each night and feel you’ve made a difference in people’s lives because you have.”

happygal: “Overjoyed to read this. So happy you and Mr B are feeling fulfilled. We all love you Belle. Thank YOU for the seismic shift you’ve created in the sober world ”

LVL: “You are so special!! Blessed to have heard about you and you help make this struggle and climb easier!! Without Mr B, Mrs B would be different I guess. So in a sense the thanks goes to him for supporting you as well. Wanting to make you proud (like a verrrry young mom in a different country).  Hugs and lots of love from a sober and level LVL x”

fridgkit: “Thank you, Belle, for getting me to Day 36. For make my me believe that each day can be different and better. Thanks for your fiction and Mr. B’s art. And thanks for starting all this yourself, all those years ago. Broken plumbing, family squabbles, existential crises—I’ve weathered them all this week. Knowing you are there has been a big help!”


Exit painting

If booze is an elevator that only goes down, you can exit now. Find the door. Get out. Exit.

These are original EXIT paintings, done by MrBelle. each one is an original, they’re not prints. so there’s only one of each available. to see today’s new painting, go here.

thanks

from my daily micro-email sent August 28, 2018

 

thanks. 
let me start by saying thank you. for all the things.
you know those knots you carry around inside forEVER and then they slowly start to unwind? those knots. sure, you know about them.
that’s how i feel right this minute. un-knotted. (long may it continue!)

i want to say thanks for:
your support while i do this sober thing. you think that i’m doing something for you, but you’re doing something for me — in my coaching calls, in my montreal sober meetup, in my daily emails. i wake up each morning and scroll through my inbox, to see how you’re doing, to see if you have news. to see if you’ve written the song in the sand yet, or cleaned up the cat vomit, or if you’ve travelling home safely from vacation.

i also want to say thanks for the support on the newest addition to the site, the original art from Mr. Belle (who wants to sign his name now as: mr.B).

i don’t share a lot about his life (cuz it’s his life) but let me say this to you and you can read between the lines: he’s painting. evenings and weekends. he’s up and down the stairs to his office (when we’re at home), and now that we’re on vacation, he BROUGHT some of his art stuff in his suitcase to continue here in Canada.

to see him working on vacation is actually lovely. he’s had a slow, hard time with his career for the past 7 years so it’s really been a great thing to see him inspired.
and when THAT happens, it changes the inside of my marriage.
and when THAT happens, i feel ‘relieved’ but also supported. by you. so thank you. from both of us.

i’ll also say thank you to the agent who has asked to read the second draft of the sober fiction book. i’ll say thanks to the Everything list for your support in getting that book done. I’m planning (yes, still) to begin writing a new fiction book in September and i will let you know how you can follow along, too, when the time comes.

if you’re on a booze superhighway, it might be time to exit. if you’re on a booze elevator that only goes down, you can get off now. if you’re in the booze sewer, i promise you it’s better in the sunshine.

if you’re stuck in weird thinking, you can stop drinking and see how you feel.

exit the booze things.
all of them.
alcohol doesn’t suit you.
you’ve tried it.
it’s not for you.

hugs from me


link to original art – Exit 036
exit the sewer, exit the booze elevator.
original art, paintings – not prints – so only one of each available.

[Audio] Interview with Kristi Coulter 2018

It's been 2 years since I spoke with sober penpal #128, Kristi Coulter. She has a new book coming out on Tuesday, August 7th called Nothing Good Can Come From This. 

But the story of how she got here has a lot to teach us sober folks.

Like, how do you deal with people telling you that you just don't get it, or that you're shit?

I sent out this audio today (episode SP260) to podcast subscribers ... 

BUT I am going to make this full podcast available for 48 hours, even if you are not a podcast subscriber.

You'll want to hear this. Start now, just for a few minutes. 

Sober Podcast 260. Kristi Coulter (2018)

If you could leave a comment after you listen, that'd be great. Anonymous is fine. To download the entire audio, you can use the link below.

Download SP260. Kristi Coulter (2018)

Sign up for the ​podcast membership
(1-2 new full-length audios each ​week, you can cancel whenever you like ... but you won't. more sober tools = good)

Feedback from listeners:

Lena: Love that part about it not being about willpower. Because I guess, that’s what works ... slowly getting to know a perspective of things to be great and even greater! And particularly inspiring awesome to getting to know real people who are showing up, and what is possible if you just go through that tough stuff. 'cause grass IS greener on the other (sober) side! Love for that <3"

Emsyface: "I found this a really useful and there were some parts that stuck out:

Before she quit she felt like she was just fulfilling everyone else’s needs and that her writing/pure creativity was “not essential”. This I think is important because it shows how alcohol makes us just focus on getting through and we deny ourselves any sense of pleasure or frivolity.

The part when she got negative feedback for expressing anger and that meant she was a “dry drunk” and would relapse...

The part where she talks about reading your blog and you “liking” being sober. Catherine Gray in her book talks about sobriety having such a negative image whereas the reality is anything but. That was so worth hearing again.

I found it affirming to hear from someone who didn’t have underlying mental health issues that if one did, one might need more support.

Other little nuggets were “drinking doesn’t change reality” (but changes how you process it); and that feelings don’t kill you. ... Thanks for this- one of the best I’ve heard in a while."