Audio: Thirty Years

This is an audio clip from Sober Podcast #220 sent to sober podcast members.

Sober in St. Pete asked me for a personalized message, to talk about the fact that she’s been trying to do this sober thing for a while.

“I’d love something about how LONG I have tried this. Remember I am 60 years old, and started around age 30 on this path to recovery, with three resets after 1.5 years. I need to know that this is possible. Guess I need some hope.”

There’s an interesting ‘undercurrent’ to my message to her. What do you hear me saying that is applicable to YOU, no matter what day you’re on? hugs from me

 

below i’ve posted a 3.5 minute clip from the longer audio, all i ask is that you leave a message in the comments. If you’d like to listen to the whole thing, you can use the link to download at the bottom of the post.

and update, Sober in St. Pete is on day 27 today 🙂

 

 

Download the entire podcast episode #220

Sign up for the monthly podcast membership
(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).

 

Audio: Dating

This is an audio clip from Sober Podcast #219 sent to sober podcast members.

Rehc asked for a personalized audio about dating, as a sober person, especially when you meet someone magical and think “holy, this is the one!” I have a mix of softy-softy and kick-ass in this audio, and am a bit more kick-ass-y than usual.

 

below i’ve posted a 2 minute clip from the longer audio, all i ask is that you leave a message in the comments. If you’d like to listen to the whole thing, you can use the link to download at the bottom of the post.

 

Feedback from listeners:

Fridgkit: “I liked the dating podcast. As a married person … married couples ‘date’ other couples. Like the pair my husband and I had dinner with that love wine-pairing tasting menus. It’s easy to let Wolfie trick you into ‘you have to be able to drink a little, or there won’t be anyone you can socialize with.’ Not true. Or if it is true, you need new friends.”

 

 

Download the entire podcast episode #219

Sign up for the monthly podcast membership
(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).

 

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

 

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

Audio: Social Worker

THIS IS CRITICAL.

Stop what you’re doing.

I want to share with you this full-length episode from my sober podcast series. It’s called “Social Worker” (SP217) and it’s about 40 minutes long.

I originally thought I’d interview a social worker who works as an addictions specialist. Sounds like a good idea, right? And our talk goes well … until it doesn’t. She says some things that I don’t agree with. And at one point it’s a little bit awkward. You need to listen all the way through, because this does NOT go how you think it will.

So below i’ve posted the entire 40 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.

 

[ link has been 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 Social Worker podcast 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).

==

Comments from listeners:

Ariel: “The social worker podcast. Just amazing. I cringed waiting for each response. My heart was full that your disclaimers and apologies were still followed with straight arrows and truths. I had so much appreciation that you were not swayed by respectable titles, licenses, and professional experience. You both were gracious and I felt so much one-ness with the reality of just how many of us need to be on this road together.”

C: “Addiction and rehabilitation counseling is, at times … a commercial business with boxes to check off that says “yup, talked about that.” Wolfie wasn’t on the list for today… It’s sad rally. And here are more gross overgeneralizations: some counselors can become qualified (at least in the states) with little training compared to that of others in the mental health professions. Even if a counselor has other (better) credentials, they may fall back to a lowest common denominator way of thinking when working with addiction.  Also, there is a lot of pressure to get counselors on staff who can sign off on rehab, probation, and court documents rather than spend time with client in a meaningful way …  You doing work with empathy is a foreign concept for a lot of folks. it is much more subtle, less valued, in this capitalism or other instant gratification things in our culture. It is even seen as weakness. You. The Beatles didn’t invent music, but their take on it changed the way music sounds. I enjoy very much your intuition, original prospective, and encourage you on the path; you help dry academics humanize their therapy — you have a burning question about life, a niche, you explore it with a unique lens.”

Dr. C: “Interview was tricky. You did well. So did your guest. Great listening … hugely polarising and depending on which side you sit you believe, you’re correct. Your guest talked about dialectical thinking (and being a Libra!) and the ability to hold two opposing beliefs at the same time (this is a well established therapeutic tool) but I wonder if in this case it’s like being a little bit pregnant. I can’t help but wonder if more health professionals took your line, if a lot of grief and morbidity would be short circuited. You stuck to your guns. Well done. Made us all proud x … Your voice. Your bluntness and calling bullshit. Your empathy.”

Audio: Lindsay Lohan

 

This is an audio clip from Sober Podcast #226 previously sent out to sober podcast members.

When Lindsay Lohan got out of rehab (for the 6th time?), Oprah made a reality series about her. When i watched Lindsay be interviewed, in a special clip to promote the new show, I wanted to leap through the screen and speak FOR her, to answer the questions Oprah was asking in a completely different way …

This podcast is me reading my original blog post about this, with interjections of what I think about it today.

And I nearly make myself cry at the end.

all i ask is that you put in a message below in the comments. 
If you’d like to listen to the whole 20 minute podcast, you can use the link to download at the bottom of the post.

Question:
If you were in Lindsay Lohan’s place, how would you have answered Oprah’s question? [I will not moderate posts that are shitty to either Oprah or Lindsay, that’s not the point of this … 🙂 please be kind.]

 

Download the entire podcast episode #226

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).

*Links: Extract of the Oprah interview on YouTube. The original blog post.

 

Audio: Bored

This is an audio clip from Sober Podcast #218 sent to sober podcast members.

K sent me an email, requesting a personalized audio: “I think what I need is something that will help keep me on track at around 3 pm when I’m contemplating the evening ahead and all the time I have to fill in between school pick-ups and dinner and kids’ bedtimes. And then there is 8 pm and I am sitting there twiddling my thumbs, BORED OUT OF MY BRAIN. I can’t always go out and I am yet to find a hobby that I enjoy as much as wine.”

 

below i’ve posted a 1.5 minute clip from the audio, all i ask is that you put in a message below in the comments. If you’d like to listen to the whole thing, you can use the link to download at the bottom of the post.

 

Question:
Is drinking a ‘hobby’? Is life without alcohol boring? What do you do with all this new time?

 

 

Download the entire podcast episode #218

Sign up for the monthly podcast membership
(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).

Comment from listener SamiM: “Just listened to audio 218 Bored, oh my goodness I loved it. Was contemplating drinking today, you know why bother trying not to drink its too hard, I am hopeless, lost cause, who am I kidding. After listening to this audio I thought no, I am going to push thru & get away from day 1 as you said!”

I loved him for the first hour [Julie-Joy’s Dad Part 3]

from me:

i received a long email from Julie-Joy’s Dad about his new sober life. it’s so fascinating that i want to share it all with you, but it’s long (i said that already) and so i’m going to split it into 3 parts. Part 1 was previously posted here, and Part 2 was posted here.

===

[May 2016]
email from Julie-Joy’s Dad (day 822): “Hi Belle, I wanted some insight with my drinking problem, which I thought really wasn’t that bad. So I sent my “girls” (girls includes my wife) an email and asked them to tell me about the before and after. I was surprised. Actually I was a little shocked! You will like the response from my wife. Enjoy.  This is my original email:  I need your help! I like to read the blogs of “Belle’s” website and I find them encouraging and in some cases sad. I am looking at my own journey and how content and happy I am right now and I would like to add a perspective to the blog (or whatever) from my family. Could you write a paragraph or two about the DAD (& husband) before the 100 day sober challenge, and the DAD after taking the challenge? Thanks and I love you. DAD (and your Mom’s hubby).”

Julie-Joy:

“Well, my dad before the challenge was interesting. Growing up I never remember my parents drinking at all. Either my dad was good at hiding it or I just never noticed … I almost feel like it is my fault my family started drinking at all. In 2006 I went through a divorce at a very young age, and the whole experience was super heart breaking.  But I went back to school and started serving at a restaurant and kind of got introduced to the whole drinking world.  I feel like I opened the alcohol door for my family.  But I know this isn’t entirely true at all, but I felt at that time we all started drinking pretty regularly. I didn’t really notice my dad’s drinking increasing all that much until about 5 years ago, I think. I loved my dad for the first like hour of his drinking. He loved chatting and playing music … he was so fun for about an hour or so.  But then, of course, you start chasing that initial buzz, drink too much.  Then he would get extremely hungry and very impatient. Honestly, he turned into a grumpy, impatient, selfish, asshole. My poor mother took the brunt of having to deal with him like this. Then he would eat, sit in front of the TV, and pass out. Not very fun at all.

One time when I was home visiting my dad had a bottle of alcohol in the freezer, so I knew how much he had of it, but he seemed WAY more drunk than that amount would allow, so I went into the garage and looked in this metal garbage can in the garage, and there were papers on top, but underneath were 6 empty bottles of hard alcohol in there. So that is where his refills were coming from …

Since my dad started the first 100 day challenge, he has never drank again.  And he is so different in that his true self has come out. My dad at the core is motivated, successful, out-going, determined, an athlete, and all these things got masked by his alcohol … Also, his editors in his brain are back on, so even though my dad still deals with anger and what have you, he now has reigns on it.  And thinks before he speaks.  I can see him processing and making different choices and he is able to do that because the alcohol hasn’t switched off his inhibitions.

My dad is now an athlete. He walks at least a marathon a week (26.2 miles) and trust me, he would be running those miles if it weren’t for a hip replacement he had years ago. He is in better shape than I am and I am 30 years younger than him. He has lost so much weight and looks so handsome! He is more self-confident. His business is going WAY better. He is more loving to my mom and kinder to her and appreciates her and shows her this. He helps her and loves on her. He communicates with us girls (his daughters) every day to tell us what day he is on.  He is more gracious, more kind, more content.  He is just plain flat out, happier! I feel like he is just more HIMSELF!  And when my dad is HIMSELF, he is like the sun that shines on everyone. I love him sooooooooo freaking much!!!!! I am so happy he does not drink anymore so that we can have the real him.”

[end part 3 of 3]