anonymous confession booth: things we can’t control

step right up. for one day only, i’m creating an anonymous sober confession booth on the subject of “things we can’t control”.

I want to focus on things we need to let go of. Like crazy in-laws, compulsive behaviours, and those people you are forced to visit where you’re afraid to eat in their homes because you’re not sure if you’ll get food poisoning or not. “I just scraped off the mould, they say.”

This came to me because of a one-on-one call i had with a sober penpal this week. We are all carrying around this backpack of rocks of things we just need to let go of.

i personally hate dwelling in the past — unnecessarily. Yes, sometimes we have to excavate. But i don’t want to wallow. And there’s a very fine line between the two. And then there’s the shame. and the guilt. yeah.

So here’s the deal.

  1. Post a comment below.
  2. For this to work you MUST leave your name and your email and your website address BLANK in the comments form (if you forget, i’ll go in and delete that info manually). all comments are to be anonymous. one of the comments will be from me, you just won’t know which one.
  3. I have no way of personally knowing who posts what. Promise.
  4. In your comment, write two or three sentences (max.) about something that you’d like to stop in your life, some weight you’ve been carrying around, that being sober is going to help you let go of. For example, i’ll make one up: “I’d like to step out of the way of my crazy MIL and just recognize that she’s a flawed human and it’s my job to remove myself from her reach.” OR “I have been a compulsive laundry freak, the clothes I wore today must be clean and folded every night when I go to bed. Now that i’m sober I’m going to let that go. I don’t need to be in control of my laundry anymore. I’m going to let it go.”
  5. Then take a second and post an anonymous ‘reply’ to ONE of the other comments already posted, and say something comforting, consoling, forgiving, kind. Pick a comment where someone hasn’t replied to them yet.

i have a feeling that this will unfold in a lovely way. because you’re all lovely people. and we all have a backpack of rocks that we’d like to put down, right? What’s in your backpack?

PS. if your name/email automatically shows up when you start to enter a comment, you can manually delete them OR you can ‘log out’ of your blogging profile.

Monday Celebration Roundup

Happy Day 50 to LateTrier

Happy Day 50 to HatTrick!

Happy Day 50 to Jaded!

Happy Day 50 to SeeLizSkip!

Happy Day 50 to Lotus Lady!

Happy Day 50 to DaFroDoctor!

Happy Day 50 to Stargirl!

Happy Day 50 to MindfulMe!

Happy Day 50 to Janey!

Happy Day 50 to Ina!

Happy Day 50 to Ismael!

Happy Day 50 to Kay!

Happy Day 50 to Shel!

Happy Day 50 to Mamabird!

Happy Day 100 to Sobersusie!

Happy Day 100 to SG!

Happy Day 100 to Katrinka!

Happy Day 100 to Hidcote!

Happy Day 100 to J12!

Happy Day 100 to LiquidTracy!

Happy Day 100 to Bean7!

Happy Day 100 to Trigirl!

Happy Day 100 to Rehc!

Happy Day 100 to Sadie2015!

Happy Day 100 to vstuart!

Happy Day 100 to RainyPNW!

Happy Day 100 to NMD!

Happy Day 100 to Kathyb!

Happy Day 100 to Nell!

Happy Day 100 to Satnley!

Happy Day 100 to Leener!

Happy Day 100 to Smokey!

Happy Day 180 to LD4ME!

Happy Day 180 to Mlodius!

Happy Day 180 to Frog!

Happy Day 180 to MiMoMa!

Happy Day 180 to Lars!

Happy Day 200 to Flyaway!

Happy Day 200 to Dry Ace!

Happy Day 200 to Sober Tea!

Happy Day 200 to Mich2point0!

Happy Day 200 to Leila!

Happy Day 200 to Maggie Mo!

Happy Day 200 to Lmichel!

Happy Day 300 to Karebear!

Happy Day 300 to Myriam!

Happy Day 300 to Goldie!

Happy Day 300 to Newg!

Happy Day 300 to Leigh Ann!

Happy Day 300 to Alicat!

Happy Day 300 to RossFSU!

Happy Day 365 to RetiringPartyGirl!

Happy Day 365 to Stefanie!

Happy Day 365 to IngridandMac!

Happy Day 365 to Peewit!

Happy Day 365 to Lavender!

Happy Day 365 to Gina!

Happy Day 365 to Gomez!

Happy Day 365 to Mummabear!

Happy Day 365 to Wanda T!

Happy Day 365 to GK!

Happy Day 365 to Franci!

Happy Day 365 to Loz!

Happy Day 365 to Buttercup244!

Happy Day 365 to SoberinVA!

Happy Day 365 to Jaylee!

Happy Day 365 to MrsRoberts!

Happy Day 365 to Lizzytish!

Happy Day 365 to Peaceable J!

Happy Day 365 to Mindful Monica!

Happy Day 400 to SarahJune31!

Happy Day 400 to LimeTree!

Happy Day 400 to SophieStar!

Happy Day 400 to Jazzie!

Happy Day 400 to Missmeliss!

Happy Day 400 to Gem64!

Happy Day 400 to Bruna!

Happy Day 400 to Princess Buttercup!

Happy Day 400 to Nowinemom!

Happy Day 400 to SueW!

Happy Day 400 to Roadtosoberville!

Happy Day 400 to KiKi71!

Happy Day 400 to Honey Bear!

Happy Day 400 to Resilensea!

Happy Day 500 to Gene!

Happy Day 500 to Lola4126!

Happy Day 500 to TJS!

Happy Day 500 to Ruby Harper!

Happy Day 500 to Poppy!

Happy Day 500 to Topo Chico!

Happy Day 500 to Ruby!

Happy Day 500 to Hollm!

Happy Day 500 to Reg!

Happy Day 500 to Bemmy Girl!

Happy Day 500 to Battle Matt!

Happy Day 500 to Maverick!

Happy Day 500 to April!

Happy Day 600 to Rogueyogi!

Happy Day 600 to Dry Ginger!

Happy Day 600 to Miss Kell!

Happy Day 600 to Reenie!

Happy Day 600 to Imara!

Happy Day 600 to Conn!

Happy Day 700 to Auds!

Happy Day 700 to KaffyB!

Happy Day 700 to Debbie!

Happy Day 700 to KLC!

Happy Day 700 to Country pat!

Happy Day 700 to Lanza!

Happy Day 700 to Chell!

Happy Day 700 to Joziegurrl!

Happy Day 700 to Franny!

Happy Day 700 to Husband #1!

Happy Day 800 to KAB!

Happy Day 800 to Hughie!

Happy Day 800 to JP!

Happy Day 800 to Thirsty Iris!

Happy Day 800 to Gypsygirl!

Happy Day 900 to Cal!

Happy Day 900 to Gordon!

Happy Day 900 to Unwinedgal!

Happy Day 900 to Meraki!

Happy Day 1000 to Grateful Girl!

Happy Day 1000 to Jenuhful!

Happy Day 1000 to cheaton!

Happy Day 1000 to tk!

Happy Day 1100 to LJ63!

Happy Day 1100 to Sean!

Happy Day 1100 to Indian Lake!

Happy Day 1100 to Mel P!

Happy Day 1100 to Solstice Guy!

Happy Day 1100 to Summer Walking!

Happy Day 1100 to Turncotte!

Happy Day 1100 to Southern Magnola1013!

Happy Day 1200 to Canadian Girl!

Happy Day 1200 to GG!

Happy Day 1200 to Festie!

Happy Day 1200 to Graceb!

Happy Day 1200 to Paris!

Happy Day 1200 to Shout444!

Happy Day 1200 to Midwestveggie!

Happy Day 1200 to Rah!

Happy Day 1200 to RoseMarie!

Happy Day 1200 to Janna!

Happy Day 1200 to Jacqui!

Happy Day 1200 to Kelz!

Happy Day 1300 to Megan!

Happy Day 1300 to Lara!

Happy Day 1300 to Sharlotte!

Happy Day 1300 to Mizgabiz!

Happy Day 1300 to Sanfransober!

Happy Day 1300 to Sarah72!

Happy Day 1300 to CassieB!

Happy Day 1300 to Roisin!

Happy Day 1300 to Shelby!

Happy Day 1300 to Weenie!

Happy Day 1400 to OtherJosh!

Happy Day 1400 to RunnerMom!

Happy Day 1400 to Jlynn!

Happy Day 1400 to Julie-Joy’s Dad!

Happy Day 1400 to Jessi!

Happy Day 1400 to Heike!

Happy Day 1400 to Isabel!

Happy Day 1400 to Daybird!

Happy Day 1400 to Allison!

Happy Day 1400 to LolaB!

Happy Day 1400 to Connie!

Happy Day 1400 to Fich!

Happy Day 1400 to Hank!

Happy Day 1400 to Ashae!

Happy Day 1400 to Emery!

Happy Day 1500 to Nuchter Maya!

Happy Day 1500 to Janet!

Happy Day 1500 to Denise!

Happy Day 1500 to TheFun4!

Happy Day 1500 to Terence!

Happy Day 1500 to Clear Eyed Girl!

Happy Day 1500 to Hazleyes!

Happy Day 1500 to Case Study Tim!

Happy Day 1500 to Baby Girl Butterfly!

Happy Day 1500 to Primrose!

Happy Day 1500 to Sadie!

Happy Day 1500 to SignGurl!

Happy Day 1500 to Jeannie Yogini!

Happy Day 1600 to Jen is the soberist!

Happy Day 1600 to Sharon!

Happy Day 1600 to LD!

Happy Day 1600 to Laurie!

Happy Day 1700 to Original Beth!

Happy Day 1700 to Leah!

Happy Day 1800 to Amy!

Happy Day 2018 to me!

 

when i don’t drink, i feel better about me

written at 9:30 a.m. local time

today i’m proud of myself. it’s silent, early morning, up before most of the locals on a holiday. the upstairs neighbours are away. quiet. i can actually hear birds, it’s like the shortest day of the year has really passed, and we’re into something new.

it’s not raining. it’s warmer than seasonal which is a gift. my husband who has been sick since the day before the vacation started, is still in bed, still sick. man flu + coughing so much you throw out your back. yes, that’s him. but right now, he’s quiet too, and asleep. when i tell him he doesn’t cough when sleeping, he doesn’t find this curious. i do.

my emotions are in charge of everything i do. if i feel frisky, i make bread and do the dishes. if i feel slighted, i sulk and listen to business podcasts with both earphones in, sorry, can’t hear you. when i like my life, i make dinner. when i’m a slug, we have frozen meals from the frozen-meal-store, which is actually quite good, compared to north american standards. it’s not lean cuisine. it’s actual food. just frozen.

if i feel proud of myself, i keep doing the same things that make me feel good.

and as this new year unfolds, unspools, like a roll of film in front of me, i get to pick where i walk. i decide how many days i go outside (i work from home!). how many times i make dinner. how many times i drink juice. i get to decide whether i want to write a sober fiction book. i get to decide if i learn new things. if i play video games. if i sit in the bathtub.

you’re the writer of this new film, the one called “Me 2018.” you’re also the actor, the stage director, and the costumer. you get to decide what to wear, today i;m here in my plaid pj bottoms and my sober fuzzy socks. i get to choose between all-butter croissants or ‘croissants ordinaires‘ (never pick the latter).

i get to reach out for tools and supports that make me feel better about my life. i remember that how i think about things changes them. the rainy sidewalk becomes shiny with reflected light when i’m in the right mood, and can also be sludgy black and dark on another day. i pick the shiny. i pick the 80% that’s good. there’s something going on right now in your life, in mine, that sucks anus rocks. I’m not discounting my shittiness. i’m focussing on the good parts. and on the parts that i can control. starting with how i feel about me.

and when i don’t drink, i feel better about me. so i’m going to continue doing that.

happy new you 🙂

==

Comments from advance readers:

Jazzie (day 401): “And you inspire me!! … You’ve given me a new way to look at things and life though I’ve thought this was before, your way makes more sense to me. Thank you Belle. Happy New Year!!!”

Flyaway (day 192): “Before your blog I never thought about ‘changing perspectives’ or ‘reframing thoughts’. These tools have changed my life. I’m excited for this new year! Thank you for inspiring me!


~ and welcome to everyone who has found me through Catherine Gray … she’s penpal #270 and is on day 1570 today!


Would you like a sober penpal for a year?

Sober Jumpstart class re-opens today
with a limit of 11 available spots
Today
Monday January 1st
www.soberjumpstart.com

 

Photos: Christmas / Changing Seasons

Photography Assignment: Christmas

The goal for this assignment was to take a photo of something christmas-y OR a photo to indicate changing seasons.

Thanks to everyone who sent in pictures, this post is now closed to new submissions.

 

 

 This post is now closed to new submissions.

 

 

Audio: Community

Happy Merry HoHo.

I wanted to share this full-length episode from my sober podcast series. It’s called “Community” (SP231) and it’s about an hour long!

why does online sober support work? and how does it work … like, what is it about having a community of sober people that helps us to feel not so alone.

Well wrap yourself in a blanket, and come listen to this audio. I talk about community (on my site, and in general), and then we start talking about the politician Anthony Weiner and some difficulties he’s had with sexting.

What’s the relationship between sexting and over-drinking? He’s clearly a very smart guy. Funny, self-deprecating, with a voice in his head that says …

Well, you can listen to the audio and find out.

The reason for sharing this today, is so that over the next 48 hrs, if you need a bit sober community, you can dip in here for 10 minutes at a time, and soak up some support 🙂

[ link removed ]

HOMEWORK:

after you listen, post a comment and tell me what phrase from this audio is an a-ha moment for you. Something that you’ve maybe heard before, but today you REALLY heard it. Loud and clear.

 

Download the Community audio here

Sign up for the monthly podcast subscription
(1-2 new audios per week, you can cancel whenever you like … but you won’t. more sober tools = good)

(ps, my blog allows for anonymous comments – so you don’t have to fill in a name or an email address to post your comment below).

==

show notes / podcasts mentioned:

  • Orchids & Dandelions Part 1, and Part 2
  • Lindsay Lohan and Oprah, here
  • Link to be a podcast subscriber, here
  • Empathy for Addiction, here

 

==

comments from listeners:

T: “Sober Community, particularly the online kind, works for me because I don’t feel like I fit in the rooms of AA but I can’t do this on my own but people without a Wolfie voice can’t support me because they don’t get it. That is why I podcasts and websites like yours and the others I use are vital tools to help me have that sober community. Thank you so much Belle for all you do :)”

J: “I think you talking about how you run your thing explains why it works; another forum soberistas didn’t really work. I struggled with posting as I cared too much about replies and posts can be alienating.”

The power of the earth behind me

From Sober in Richmond (The Solstice Guy): “I started my 100 Day challenge on Winter Solstice [and is celebrating 3 years sober tomorrow] … If there is anyone out there who needs some motivation to start – perhaps they can do the Solstice to Solstice. It really helped me to have the power of the whole darn earth behind me rather than a day or date on a calendar. I like Winter to Summer because the days get longer, and each day brings about more promise and more hope. It’s an incredibly magical thing, the Solstice to Solstice!”

Imagine it’s the shortest day of the year (tomorrow in the northern hemisphere). Imagine you’re sober starting tomorrow, December 21st. It can be your Day 1 or maybe it’s your Day 50. Or 400. Doesn’t matter. Can you see yourself sober on June 21st? Summer Solstice. Stand here. Look ahead 180 days. Because if you think the view from day 100 is great, wait until you see 180 days.

  • If you’d like to be sober from Solstice to Solstice, you can put a comment below.
  • Audios to listen to for Solstice to Solstice? Receive one archived podcast every 2 days for 180 days. That’s 90 audios in total, starting with SP001 Accepting Help all the way to SP090 Magical Time. Audios discounted 40%

I like the idea of having the ‘whole darn earth behind me’ – how about you?

This year I will stop …

As part of your re-engage with sobriety campaign, today we’re going to talk about things to STOP doing.

you know that overwhelm is something to avoid. at the risk of being a pretentious shit, let me quote from my own book (says every pretentious shit, ever):

(page 88): Your job is to reduce overwhelm. All around you, there are lists of things to do and when you first quit drinking you are going to take it easy. You will shower once a day, try not to get fired, and skip everything else.
Thinking that you need to push or force yourself to do things is a holdover from your drinking time, when you were hungover and you made yourself do things to prove that you didn’t have a problem. You wanted to make yourself look normal. You took on more than you could reasonably do, so that you looked high-functioning, so that nobody knew how much you were drinking, and so no one could detect how you felt about yourself.

For today, I would like you to put a comment on this blog post of something that you are NOT going to do as part of your Christmas/Holiday celebrations this year. You’re going to make 3 kinds of cookies instead of 10. You’re going to skip midnight mass and go in the morning. You’ll do ‘christmas mugs’ instead of ‘stockings’. You’ll order chinese food on christmas eve (my mother used to do this!).

We’re always looking to ADD new traditions to our holiday season, but for today, i want you to consider what you can give up, in order to help you feel less overwhelmed. You don’t have to be clever or original, you just have to be real. If you can’t think of anything, then copy this: “to help myself avoid overwhelm – which is a boozer’s biggest trigger – i’m going to skip making Christmas Eve dinner and have pancakes instead.”

My blog allows anonymous comments, so you don’t have to fill in your name/email address if you don’t want to.

And to bribe you to participate, to support your sobriety, and encourage you to speak up, I will RANDOMLY select ONE comment from this blog post about 24 hrs from now, and that person will receive a sober toolkit bracelet bracelet for free.

hugs, me

Photos: Sober Breakfast

Photography Assignment: Sober Breakfast

The goal for this assignment was to take a photo of your sober breakfast.

Thanks to everyone who sent in pictures, this post is now closed to new submissions.

 

 

 This post is now closed to new submissions.

 

 

how would you answer? what do you think I would say?

this is a contest / writing assignment.

  1. read the question below, which is a real one from my inbox.
  2. then imagine you are me, and what MY reply might be. you can pretend to be me.
  3. Winning answer gets an audio bundle worth $150.

your assignment is to write out a 4-5 sentence reply for this email, from my point of view, what might i write as a reply to this.

post your comments below (or send to me in an email)

i have already written my reply. i think this is a cool experiment to not just look at this how YOU might reply, but to imagine how someone else (me) would, too.

even if you’re new to me, and you don’t know what i might do, try it anyway.

and the winner will get an audio bundle worth $150. 

deadline: tomorrow, thursday, around noon eastern.

isn’t this fun? i can’t wait 😉 the last time i did this, the response was fascinating.

hugs

 

HERE’S THE EMAIL:

Leener (day 88): “sometimes I feel like I’m just half-assing the sober thing, like I’m not really invested in it, or like I’m not thinking about alcohol ENOUGH. Instead I’m just head down about it. Keep my head down, ignore wolfie, go about my day, stay sober. Head down. Or, I’m just wafting along in a sea of sober momentum, pulling out the supports when the water gets a bit choppy. [we’re not even at the metaphor part yet.] Okay, here goes.

Imagine that I’m alone in a room with Wolfie. I think of a one-room mountain cabin. Isolated. Part of me (the perfectionist?) feels that to be really kick ass-this-is-gonna-stick sober, I should be in that room with Wolfie, staring him down, watching him wither away while I dehydrate him. I keep my eye on him, I know his every move, and I can see him getting weaker and weaker.

Most of the time, this is what I’m actually doing: I’m in the room with Wolfie, and I make sure to keep my back to him at all times. I can’t look him in the eyes, I’m too scared of him. I’m not going to let him win, but I’m also not going to peek at him. I’m constantly shuffling around the room to make sure my back is to him, so that I can’t see him. But I know he is there. Since I can’t see him I can’t tell if he is withering away. I can’t see him dehydrated and suffering. For all I know he is looming larger than before, right behind my back. But I keep shuffling around, not daring to look at him, hoping that what I’ve been told is actually true… that even though I can’t see it happening, he is actually getting smaller, and suffering behind my back. Maybe one day I will have the courage to turn about and look at him, but that day is not today.

What do you think? Is the latter version of sober still enough? Any sober is better than not sober, I suppose. We have a call scheduled for next Tuesday. Maybe we can talk about this then.”

 

What do you think i said to her?