it was a baseball bat

from my inbox:

this is from B (day 299).

“I used to think that booze was medicine, that it would help me with life’s ills. I was compelled to drink because if I didn’t then something terrible would happen – I would have to face real life sober.  Even if I didn’t feel like drinking, I would still drink because I had to take my medicine or I would get sick from the full force of my life.

I was terrified of getting sober, of how I would cope with the world without my medicine, and it has been really really hard sometimes because the full force of life can be harsh. But fucking hell it can be amazing too, this sober life!  … and of course I have realised that booze wasn’t a medicine at all, it was a baseball bat that I would hit myself over the head with, over and over again until I fell unconscious. As I enjoy the real privilege of a sober life, of being fully present and being able to work on myself to become the best version of me that I can, that suddenly seems like the saddest thing in the world. I don’t do that any more. I have learned to take care of me.

Recently I’ve been passing through a time when I’m far enough away from day one to have forgotten what it was really like. The hangovers, the shame, the health fears, the isolation, struggling through a work day, struggling through any time that I wasn’t drinking, worrying about how much I was drinking, whether people could tell how much I was drinking, which shop to get today’s booze from so I wasn’t rumbled as a boozer, hiding the recycling, hiding my drinking, hiding my best self. I’ve been going through a phase where I have been remembering ‘the good times’, like a relationship break up where you start to remember the fun you had, conveniently forgetting all of the stuff that led to the break up.

Well that’s all bollocks. If there ever was a time when booze and I got along, that time passed a long time ago and won’t ever come back again. But I don’t think there ever was a time when it was ok – it’s all just stupid Wolfie lies.  I am through with believing that bastard Wolfie, if I hadn’t clung to my sober supports I know I would have been sucked in, and I would be sat here now all alone, without you, without my self esteem, right back to where I was, feeling shit about myself and my life.

Emailing you, Belle, every day has been my number one sober support. Knowing that you genuinely care and getting your replies and suggestions (which are always right of course because you are a genius) has been the thing that worked where nothing else did before. And looking at the stuff you produced in your early days and the stuff you produce now and seeing how far you have come gives me real proper hope. And hearing about you having difficult things happen helps makes it all feel real and doable.  Imperfection is required – booze is not.

Love to you Belle, and all the gratitude in the world to you for standing by my side while I go through this amazing transformation. Your virtual hugs keep me going 🙂 ~ B”

 

Audio: BBC Radio 5 Live with Emma Barnett (May 3, 2017)

This is Sober Podcast Episode #192 for my longer sober podcast series.

This was my first experience ‘explaining’ sober coaching and quitting drinking to someone in the media who doesn’t know anything about it, is perhaps skeptical, and wonders why we quit. I didn’t realize, of course, that asking provocative and slightly confrontational questions makes for better radio. I think I was expecting something more touchy-lovely 🙂

i have to say thanks (again!) to Bemmy Girl and Sarah for coming on the show with me. brave souls you are. braver than i would have been if the roles were reversed.

Below i’ve posted the entire 17 minute podcast. usually i just post a clip but today, thanks to some really lovely donations to the Sober Good Works fund (thanks!), i’m posting this audio for everyone to listen to – even if you’re not a paying podcast subscriber.

HOMEWORK:

after you listen, post a comment and tell me how you would have addressed Emma’s concern about whether it’s ‘ethical or not’ to be a sober coach for people who could be ‘in denial’ (her words) and who should see ‘a professional’ … so tell me, what would you like Emma to know?
after 48 hrs, I’ll pick one comment and that person will get a present. 

 

 

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).

Over the next 48 hrs, I’ll select a blog comment and that person will receive a present funded by the Sober Good Works donations.

Audio: BBC Radio London with Eddie Nestor (May 3, 2017)

turns out i was on the radio twice yesterday (yeah, that never happens). for the second one, my cell phone rings, and it’s: “can you talk for 5 minutes about being a sober coach, and can you get a penpal from London to come on too?” turns out the answer was YES.

what you will hear in this audio is a recording from BEHIND THE SCENES. You hear the show going on, you hear the producer saying “Belle, we’ll have you on in just a second” and you can hear what it sounded like from my side of the microphone (I was on skype in Paris while they’re recording in London). Then at the end, when they’re ‘done’ with me, you can hear penpal Tom continue onward.

Total length is about 7 minutes from start to finish, though my voice doesn’t begin until 2 minutes in, so be patient 🙂

(this audio was also sent out for free as an MP3 file to podcast subscribers and to daily one-minute message subscribers)

 

 

3 May 2017 – BBC Radio London – presenter Eddie Nestor

 

dear alcohol: you lied to me

from my inbox

email from TickleMeShelmo (day 26):

“Dear alcohol,

Firstly, this is the hardest decision I’ve ever made, but make it I must. It’s over. We are finished.

For years I thought we were amazing together. Life with you made the world seem more colourful. You made me feel whole, feel important and feel loved by those we met. You have me the strength to do things I’d never have done without you. 

There was a reason for that.

You lied to me, all of this time. Lie after lie after lie. You told me I was funny, but I wasn’t – I was attention seeking and shaming myself and others. I would share secrets and inappropriate and intimate details because you said it was ok. You told me I could do what I liked – but the casual sex, the flirting, the drug taking – it damaged me more than I’ll ever know. You told me that responsibilities were bullshit – and now I’m trying to sort out years of debt and irresponsible decision making.

The whole time I believed you were showing me real life. Life in glorious colour; busy; hectic; fucked up; hedonistic. But it was a lonely, sad life of hidden pain and selfishness.

The things you told me were just bullshit lies to keep me with you. There’s an odd feeling of achievement in the little things in life; clean washing, an early night, a monogamous relationship, a well cooked meal, holding hands with someone you love. Life without you is calm and peaceful. Don’t mix that up with boring – it isn’t. It’s fun. It’s reliable. It’s better.

So this is goodbye. It’s not me – it’s you.”

[update: she’s on day 618 today]


 

links:

Audio: “I’ll Take the Stairs”

This is Sober Podcast Episode #185 for my weekly sober podcast series.

What do you say to someone, who believes that while the booze elevator may only go down, “if it does reach bottom and the elevator door won’t open, and I’m stuck there – then I’ll take the stairs.” What do you say to that? Are there stairs?

Why does wolfie think that going down further before we quit is a ‘good idea’? I talk about bravado, not using your supports, and the voice that is (always) trying to convince us “to keep on drinking, it’ll be fine,” no matter what.  and really, if it’s hard to quit now, what’ll it be like to quit later?

Below i’ve posted the entire 21 minute podcast. usually i just post a clip but today, thanks to some really lovely donations to the Sober Good Works fund (thanks!), i’m posting this audio for everyone to listen to – even if you’re not a paying podcast subscriber. I’ll leave this link up for 48 hrs, so have a listen now.

HOMEWORK:

after you listen, post a comment and tell me how long did you know you were over-drinking to the point where you knew you were going to need to do something about it, and then how much longer AFTER that point did you keep on drinking, cuz wolfie said “quit later…”
Yeah, me too.
after 48 hrs, I’ll pick one comment and that person will get a present. 

[ link has been removed ]

 

Download the audio podcast episode 185

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).

Over the next 48 hrs, I’ll select a blog comment and that person will receive a present funded by the Sober Good Works donations.

Audio: Empathy for Addiction

This is Sober Podcast Episode #184 for my weekly sober podcast series.

TrixeeK sent me an audio question … what do you say to friends who want to quit drinking but don’t listen to your advice? How do you deal with frustration when people relapse? What do you do when you’re tempted to say “try harder”?

Recorded with a live audience, this longer podcast (28 mins) talks about empathy, how to be helpful, and the tricky question of boundaries.

Below i’ve posted a 6 minute extract from this longer audio, and this clip starts at the very beginning of the podcast.

You can listen to this extract now 🙂 And leave a comment  … have you had an experience like TrixeeK explains in her audio question? what would you do differently now that you know what being sober is like?

 

Download the audio podcast episode 184

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).

Over the next 24 hrs, I’ll select a blog comment and that person will receive a Sterling Silver “Stay Here” Bracelet (value $52), funded by the Sober Good Works donations.

Audio: Magic Potion (part 1)

This is Sober Podcast Episode #182 for my weekly sober podcast series.

There is no magic potion. you can spend $100 on vitamins if you like. You can read one book and then be disappointed that it doesn’t solve all of your problems.

To be sober, we need to apply an attitude of ‘layers of support’ … adding in things, to find the right combination that works. And to learn to resist the “this program solves all problems,” and to do more than one thing at a time, because perhaps it’s the overlapping combination of things that works.

This was recorded as a live broadcast, and so it was long enough to split into two parts and make two separate podcasts.

Below i’ve posted a short extract from Part 1 of this longer audio.

You can listen to this extract now 🙂 And leave a comment – what do you hear in this audio? Can you rephrase it in your own words? hugs from me

 

Download the audio podcast episode 182

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).

Over the next 24 hrs, I’ll select a blog comment and that person will receive a copy of month #1 of my blog, read by me, for free (audio is 2.5 hrs long; value $39).

Audio: Irritation

Sometime in the next 24 hours you’re going to feel frustrated or irritated. It’s right then that i want you to come and listen to this message. This is an emergency audio to help when when you’re irritated or annoyed.

It’s a 2-minute timeout, to help you refocus, to remind you that wolfie is an anus.

So here’s the homework: sometime in the next 24 hrs, you experience irritation or frustration with someone or something (construction noise, windshield wipers that don’t work, a zipper that separates, an egg that isn’t fully cooked). and right at that second, i want you to listen to this audio. Right when you’re agitated. In fact, you can go around all day WAITING to be frustrated or irritated, just so you can come and listen to this audio.

Then you listen.

Then you post a comment below.

And then i pick one comment and that person will receive a brass Stay Here bracelet (value $33, donated thanks to the Sober Good Works fund).

 

(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).

Over the next 24 hrs, I’ll select a blog comment and that person will receive a brass Stay Here bracelet for free (value $33).