written december 30th:

home from trip to australia, all seems well on re-entry thus far. though i do have a full inbox that’ll take 1-2 days to fully answer 🙂 it’s also very cold here (like below freezing) while sydney is having a heat wave.

sober travel. here’s what it means: remember everything. no missed afternoons. no hungover mornings. spend less money (more money for treats; more money for vacations!).

travelling sober means we sleep better, even in strange beds. travelling sober means that even with a spontaneous head cold developed hrs before the flight, even with head/ear pain, you still don’t drink. you sleep instead — you know, that thing you said you never did (sleep on flights), yeah that thing. that’s what you do.

and you eat the food they give you (thumbs down for qantas, hooray for emirates). you take pictures from the window while flying near zurich (no kidding!).

you come home, nap for a few hours, get up and have a regular evening, then you — wait for it — go to bed and sleep all night and are spontaneously adjusted to the time change. yes. sober travelling. no booze to slam me into neutral. no booze to ‘make the time pass’. no booze to ‘celebrate’ or ‘soothe’ the ear ache (which ended as soon as the plane began its descent).

true, i’m home now to 4 loads of laundry (must my husband wash everything in his suitcase? i mean, we did laundry in melbourne and sydney along the way …). i’m home to pledge to eat better (ha. croissants + the best ham/cheese baguette last night). i’m home to sleep in  my own bed (there may not be any better reward for a 25 hr flight than your own bed. the king-sized one. with the right pillow.).

it’s cold outside. the christmas decorations shine and remind us that we weren’t here for christmas. well, we had christmas on the beach, does that count? we had an alternate-reality christmas complete with corn on the cob (hey, i know the last time i had corn on the cob now! it was christmas day).

my husband has (literally) put the map for Portugal into the bathroom as of last night, so he can scope out ideas while in the tubbie for a trip in the spring…

sober travel means that re-entry, transitions are just plain easier.

cuz really, life is plain easier when sober. all of it. the sleep is easier, the travelling, the flying, the thinking.

it’s just easier to be sober. who knew.
love and hugs from me 🙂

p.s. obligatory link you click to indicate engagement (the linked blog post was written april 2013 and is the 3rd most popular on the blog). (i will one day learn to write without parentheticals. (perhaps.))

it’s time now.

if what you’ve been trying isn’t working, you might find that you do better with more support, more tools. being sober is not about willpower. it’s not about declaring that this is (really and totally) your last day 1 ever. being sober is about doing something different(ly). It’s not try harder, it’s try different. that list of things that you’ve not wanted to do – that list of things that could support your sobriety – that list of things you’ve said “i’m not doing this and this and this but i still want to be sober but i won’t do this and this and this …”
it’s time now. it’s time do some of those things on the list.
you want to be sober.
don’t get so hung up on the HOW.

how to have fun getting sober

blog post comment from D:

[posted October, 2013]: “Re: AA being the only game in town and the whole stigma around alcohol–ugh!! People often need help to quit smoking (or lose weight etc), and it doesn’t mean that forever and always they’re this “stigma thing.” Personally, I think that hugely contributes to the problem …

I would love to see you create a ‘manual’ based on what you’ve been doing: Getting Sober: Your First 100 Days or How to Have Fun Getting Sober or How to Get Sober and Get Happy. It could include how to create the desire to become so (getting over the hurdle of I just can’t or it’s not that bad), maybe how to get ready for it, how to think about slips. It could also include your experiences as well as others you’ve spoken to (I’m sure you’d have to get permission but I’m also quite sure people would be happy to contribute their stories/journey in that way and have them excerpted for the greater good). It could include tips and mantras/meditations (I love the whole sobriety feels like clean sheets idea!), what you can look forward to, what to watch out for etc. You could self-publish if you couldn’t find a publisher, but I bet you could (maybe the same one that published the Soberistas book, which is good, but all the stories are pretty extreme). I think there’s a complete dearth of books on getting sober for people who ‘aren’t that bad’ (seemingly so) and definitely all the memoirs focus on the how bad it was. Way too little out there on sensible tools and what to expect. Later, (because I’m thinking it might be harder), you could create audios … that way people can get them online “anonymously.” I think all this would appeal to the same people who like the Jason Vale book and things like that.”

[note from me. i saved this email from october 2013 because i thought: “well she has an idea, but i’m only just over a year sober, so what do i know.” i had 123 penpals on the anniversary of my one year soberversary (today it’s 2400+). back then, i couldn’t see the patterns coherently enough to write about them. Today, i just found this email in my TO WRITE ABOUT folder … i haven’t seen it since 2013, but D was right-on about what i would go on to write about … i certainly didn’t know i was going to write a book when i saved this email. i didn’t realize that being sober would be a foundation for change in other parts of my life. i didn’t realize that being sober would teach me about resilience and agency and self-worth. i just thought i was ‘quitting drinking’. i had no idea how much larger it would really be.]

pre-order the new BOOK

three versions:
print, e-book & audio

Your print book will be mailed to you May 17, 2016
e-books will be distributed May 17, 2016
(so yes, the e-book will reach you faster than the print book.
Want to read sooner?
Then get the e-book / audio version / bundle)

advance feedback from readers:

Pam (day 992): “I just finished!!! I LOVED it. What an AMAZING accomplishment! I am sure your book is going to be a HUGE success! It was great to read as a refresher and to reinforce continued sobriety, even almost 3 years out (cause Wolfie still pokes his head up every now and then).”

avoidance and worth and struggle and emptiness are the same

[Late last night I sent the full book manuscript to the ‘big’ editor in the UK. Looking back on this earlier writing, i can see now that it took a LOT longer than i thought it would. and i discovered that writing is like early sobriety: shit is hard, then it gets easier, then we don’t know what we’re doing, then we figure some things out, and then we make daily, small progress.

Over the next couple of days, i’m going to post some of the writing that i did over the last year that ‘helped’ me figure out the sober writing thing. Because the parallels with sobriety are huge and many.]


June 28, 2015

you should be sober, i email to her. you should. you’ll feel so much better, you’ll sleep better, spend less, and you’re vain right? let me tell you you’ll have nicer skin. yeah, you be sober.

while I continue to NOT write anything because it’s too hard. The resistance. the voice. you won’t do a good job (you’ll fail at writing / at being sober), you suck, maybe you should stop dreaming and just settle (for being a non-writer / for being a drinker), your life is already pretty good. better than others. why be sober at all. high firm bottom means i didn’t have to quit. i don’t have to write a book either. i’ve written 847 blog posts, and sent and received a total of 138,723 emails in 3 years.

you’ll separate yourself by being different (writer, sober). you won’t fit in, too hard to explain. So what have you been up to? oh actually i’m writing a book. about what? well it’s based on my three years of being sober and being a sober penpal to 2198 people. <crickets>

This is just like that. every day i want to be someone else…

so today i put my yellow pad in a bag, put on a law of attraction audio (well, a girl’s gotta try everything), walk in the heat, the sun, the bustle, for over half an hour, just walking. arrive at restaurant. decide that writing can happen here as well as any place. it feels different here. i don’t know what i’m writing or where it’s going. i just begin (parallels to early sobriety much?). I try to remember what worked for me before. do all that i was doing before AND add different. if i have to have lunch in a different cafe everyday will it still be worth it? yes. is it like being sober? no of course not.

but avoidance and worth and struggle and emptiness are the same. is feeling resistance to writing a first-world problem? yes. and yet the sense of hopeless – where do i start, how do i keep going, can someone do this for me, i wish i could wake up in 100 days with it done – is that the same? i think it is. and it sucks rocks.


If you are looking for explicit permission, I will state the obvious in case you’ve missed it:

You don’t need anyone around you to join you. You do what’s best for you. You don’t need anyone’s permission. You do what’s best for you.

You have done plenty of alcohol research. You have tried making drinking rules. You’ve tried moderation. You’ve tried drinking. You know the results.

What you haven’t tried is a longer period of sobriety research, to see if you like it, to see if you feel better (you will).

It’s OK to not drink. Nobody needs to consume alcohol. Drinking is not required. You feel better without the booze. You can give it up.

that won’t work for me

from me:

We’re prickly, you and I. We’re a difficult bunch. We make up our minds – I do – without enough information. We stick to decisions long past the time when they’re useful. We over-invest in anus colleagues. We bristle at playing the ‘reindeer’ games at the office but then resent when we’re not included in said games.

We’re prickly, you and me. If you offer to help me but you don’t ask me the ‘right’ way, I’ll say no. Automatically. I’ll prance around saying look at me, right up until you do look, and then I’ll retreat. Prickly. If I smell that you don’t need me as much as I need you, I’ll sulk.

It’s hard to be prickly and also want to be sober, because our natural gut-instinct, first-response, default answer is “that won’t work for me.” No matter what’s being presented. We didn’t think of it ourselves, therefore it won’t work.

I’ll do it my way, we say. I say.

We try to be sober our way. It doesn’t really work. And since we’re invested in reading about sobriety, then our drinking isn’t a problem (says wolfie). Because ‘real’ problem drinkers probably aren’t even aware of it.

And we are. So we’re better. Than ‘them’.

We lurk on sober blogs (read without engaging; follow without investing; consume without paying) because – if you’re like me – you’re not sure you want to really invest. Yourself, your energy, your time, your money. Wolfie insists that you read with only one eye, that you keep one foot in the “maybe I’ll drink later” camp.

You think I can’t see you there, and I can. Lurking. You don’t think about carrots. You don’t over-carrotize. You’re here because you do think about drinking. You do over-drink.

Time to step up.

 [originally sent as a micro-email november 5, 2015]