[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)

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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."


wolfie is a cockroach

From my inbox, this message from L:

“I woke up feeling MUCH better after emailing you. is there a connection? probably so. and also i had a bit of a revelation.

remember my email where i talked about feeling like wolfie was behind me, and i was scared to turn around to check to see if he was getting smaller, blah blah blah? …

i realized something. i didn’t feel like i was doing the sober thing properly, not because i was stuffing my mouth with cake, but because i wasn’t getting “better.” i wasn’t being cured of my wino-ism. at the end of the 100 day challenge i wanted to keep going because i still didn’t know what i thought about it all. but that was probably code for, “i’m not cured yet, so i need to keep going.”

THERE’S NO FUCKING CURE!!

and its taken me this long to accept that. wolfie wasn’t going away because he’s a fucking cockroach, and those motherfuckers do not die. they would survive a nuclear war, and so would wolfie. fuuuuuuuuck wolfie.

cockroaches are fucking disgusting creatures and i fucking hate them (can you tell)? but i’ve also over time accepted that they are here to stay. and so what do i do? i make sure that an exterminator comes regularly to spray. and as soon as i see one around, if maybe i’ve forgotten to call the bug man, i sure as hell call the bug man then. i don’t let them infiltrate and set up shop. first sign of them and i take action. because i fucking hate cockroaches.

and i hate wolfie too.

now my next bit of work is to really truly accept that wolfie is here to stay. and get to work on keeping him away.”

Resentment

from my inbox

P:  “I’ve had some moments the past couple days but I’m determined to make it through … I’m still angry at my friends [about my birthday] and the world. I’m still hurt about their thoughtlessness. Oh and another thing that’s bugging me – I sent out like 50+ Xmas cards in the mail. I love getting some back in the mail and guess how many I got in return? Like 8. People just don’t care. Not like I care it seems. Makes me want to hate everyone right now. That’s how I feel.”

me: the thing about holding resentments (birthday/ Christmas cards) is that it’s wolfie winding you up so that drinking will seem like a good idea. as if hoiday cards mean anything. they don’t. you send them because you like sending them. you don’t send them so that you’ll get some in return. if you want a lovely birthday, you do it for yourself. that’s why being sober is about learning self-care.
when you outsource your self-care and count on other people to make things good for you, you will always be ‘disappointed’ and that’s wolfie territory right there. you’re learning now how to do this for yourself. that’s what being sober IS. it’s self-care. and it’s new. and it’s hard. and if you don’t like sending out cards, then don’t send them. but to drink because people like me get cards but don’t send them, is outsourcing your well-being to people like me who just don’t’ think about cards. 🙂 and don’t let wolfie tell you otherwise.

P:  “Omg, I never thought of it that way?! Like ever! Holy shit, this reasoning could change my whole perspective on things! YES! Now I feel sheepishly stupid about how I felt about my birthday and Christmas cards. Cause yes, I DO send them out expecting them in return (which never happens and then I feel shitty) and I DO expect others to make my birthday memorable (which is illogical thinking cause they have their own life and problems, they needn’t be responsible for my happiness). My husband has truthfully told me before (in exasperation I’m sure) that it’s so hard to make me happy, that I’m usually never happy, or that nothing anyone does ever lives up to my expectations. WOW truth!!!! OK, my mind is blown here. Thank you Belle for your honesty 🙂 I needed to hear that.”

how to travel (audio)

How do you stay sober when you're dealing with family, extra people, chaos, lack of sleep, and travel.

The advice I have for sober travelling will apply to you whether you are travelling or not, because you always have to be creating a space where you’re safe to be sober. 

And you know what? You need a lot more alone time than you think, so build it in. More in the full audio that is going out today to podcast subscribers.

Here's a clip where you can listen to a bit of the audio.

extract from Sober Podcast 254. How to Travel (You need more alone time than you think)

You can leave a comment below, anonymous is fine. Tell me the part that seems true for your experience ... To download the entire audio, you can use the link below.

Download SP254. How to Travel

Sign up for the ​podcast membership
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dry july (happy soberversary)

today is canada day. first day of july. it’s moving day in Quebec. it’s a day for fireworks and corn on the cob and watermelon (let me know if you’re having all three). you will have strawberries still in canada, in france we’re into peaches now. today is also my soberversary, not because i wanted my day 1 to coincide with canada day (though i like it!), but because of something called Dry July, a cancer fundraiser based in australia. technically you’re supposed to sign up on their site, let your friends and family know so they can sponsor you, and you give up drinking for a month to raise money. i didn’t do that part. to be fair, i didn’t do any of it except the sober part. I didn’t tell friends, i didn’t even tell my husband. I was too terrified, because my previous longest was 9 days, so going for a whole month seemed impossible. sure, i could have raised a few bucks from my facebook friends, and my generous uncle if i had shared what i was doing … but you know what? i couldn’t share. I couldn’t fundraise. i couldn’t deal with any questions, because i was barely holding on — going to work, not getting fired. that’s it. that’s all i could do to begin. any mild joking on my FB page? i wouldn’t have been able to handle it. i did ask for support online but only from other sober people, and before that moment where i reached out for support i had no faith that it’d even work. i just knew i was stuck. It was day 9 of dry july, when i realized i was going to fail if i didn’t try something else. so here’s my message for today. try different. if today is your day 1, and maybe you’d like to do dry july and we can be soberversary twins, then try different. if what you’ve been trying ins’t working, try something else. if you’ve been ‘waiting for a few clear days on my schedule’ you can try something else. if you’ve been ‘waiting until the vacation and the funeral are over’ then try some else. if you’ve been waiting (for anything), then you begin now and add in new supports. new things. try different. oh and p.s., it’s entirely possible to quit drinking, tell no one, say ‘no thanks it was giving me headaches,’ and go on your way without large declarations. sometimes people like announcements — and you should do you. but me, i liked doing it under the radar. I still do. #dryjuly – that means today is day 1 if you’re not already underway. you’re ready. today’s the same as any other day. it’s a day you don’t drink. hugs xo

send me a picture of your summer fruit – whatever you’re eating today. strawberries, peaches, watermelon? if you’re in tasmania, send me a picture of your lovely root vegetables 🙂 I’ll share some of your photos in my long-weekend emails, today and tomorrow.

 


my favourite canadian breakfast, photo taken last year when i was in canada having cheerios and fruit from the market. today i’ll be having french granola and peaches 🙂 well, as soon as i drag my lardy ass out to get some peaches! my husband just left for a walk, i gave him cow eyes, but i don’t think he’s buying any for me…

Solstice to Solstice 2018

From Sober in Richmond (The Solstice Guy): “I started my 100 Day challenge on the Solstice [and am celebrating 3.5 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 … It’s an incredibly magical thing, the Solstice to Solstice!”

Imagine it’s the longest day of the year (tomorrow in the northern hemisphere). Imagine you’re sober starting tomorrow, June 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 December 21st? Winter 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?

Let’s see how this goes

from me: do you quit drinking 'forever' or is it an experiment? what are the advantages of framing it as an experiment? I asked, you answered:

J: "If you can say ‘I choose not to drink’ it’s easier than saying ‘I can’t drink’ which can then start feelings of deprivation and the Wolfie voice. Framing it as an experiment should make it more achievable mentally than forever, your explanation of running as an example made sense, if you said that you were going to run x amount every day for the rest of your life ... what would happen? :)"

Flo (Day 47): "Hi Belle. I think framing it as an experiment an making it a choice. 'I'm choosing to go 100 days sober' is a whole lot less confronting than 'I'm going to give up alcohol forever', which frankly seems kind of unreal. I think if I say i'm giving up forever, i feel a fear in my solar plexus area and sick or maybe that's the hole i think needs filling up with something (alcohol). Saying that i'm choosing to do this for 100 days feels like i'm easing myself into this whole concept of finding out how my life will be sober, and will it be better? Let's just see how this goes and make a decision later. So less confronting."

~
Question: what do you think about quitting drinking as a choice ... you know, a choice that supports you to be your best you (this is a trick question)​.


New Podcast Series (FREE! FREE!)

Need to catch up on episodes 1-3? Click Here

umr004.gratitude > i know that the idea of gratitude is talked about a lot. but what does it mean, in a practical sense. like HOW can you have an attitude of gratitude? i think i stumbled on an idea that works for me when I was doing a catering job this past weekend. 

Show Notes:

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Music: “Ibiza Dream,” thanks to Chris Haugen

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Feedback from the ​meditation audio series: 

enroute: “​Thank you for that Belle, this meditation worked for me, and I have listened to a lot of teachers, a lot of silence, a lot of endless thoughts in my head, a lot of perspectives on meditation. For me, I know that whatever practice suits you, it lights the path to consciousness which lights the path to sobriety, creativity and more and more...​” ​Subscribe here.

[free audios] – Urban Meditation Starts Today

Today begins a new 10-part audio series called Urban Meditations (Regret)

Recorded in different urban environments, this series of mindfulness exercises will tie in with meditation, being still, and sobriety -- with a focus on the theme of regret. Yes, I'll be talking, but there is also quiet time for reflection too.

This 10-part podcast is free, hosted on gumroad and itunes. supported only by donations. it works out every time. no sponsorship. just you pitching in where you can.

And as promised, I have the preliminary 'intro' audio and episode 1 ready today.

umr000.intro > This is the first official audio in the new 10-part Urban Meditation series focussing on regret. Today I am recording in a park, complete with a visit from two dogs, and a rat. Never a dull moment. Time for a pause, are you ready?

umr001.cute > You are as cute as you’re ever going to be. Today. Right now. OK, if not, you’re definitely as YOUNG as you’re going to be.

Show Notes:

Get these messages on iTunes (apple podcast) > link

Get them on Stitcher > link

Get them on Gumroad > link

Music: “Ibiza Dream,” thanks to Chris Haugen

Donations to support these audios and keep them free.
On Gumroad > link
By Paypal (no VAT) > link

Interview with Kristi Coulter (2016)

There was a time when Kristi Coulter and I were sober penpals, and we both said "oh you used to be a writer? me too. before drinking. did you also study writing at school and then not really use it? me too."

I'm sure you've done something like this. You were a person before, and then booze soaked into the fabric of your life and you lost some of the old person, some of the fresh-ideas person, some of the adventurous person.

Then you remove the booze, and the real you starts to shine again. (Really, it is exactly like drowning the little orchid with bottles of wine—it doesn't bloom—and then you stop pouring alcohol on it and it brightens up again.)

OK, so time has passed and now KC is here (book writing and widely-shared-viral-article writing) and i'm here (one book done, sober fiction book underway). 

KC is sober penpal #128 and she's on day 1786 today (Saturday). 

And way back, before she was well and truly famous, I interviewed her on my podcast. I've pulled that audio out of the archives and am sharing it as my weekend audio.

Here is a three-minute sample starting at about the 11 minute mark. This was recorded in July 2016 and it's so cool that we mention the Medium article that would then go on to become the viral piece...


If you would like to hear the entire one-hour interview, you can click the red link below. The price is ZERO and then you get the entire MP3 file of our podcast.

Download the entire podcast episode
#150: Kristi Coulter (FREE)

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try new things

I don't know how to say this so that you can hear me.

It's not just about starting again on day 1.

It's not just about saying "today is my new day 1."

It's about changing something.

Because if what you've been doing up to now isn't working, then you need to do something different.

It's not just 'try harder'. It's 'try different'.

If we are penpals, and you email me and say "today's my new day 1," I'm going to thunk you and say...

What are you changing?

Because you don't want to hang around day 1 anymore. And you want things to be different. And you're emailing a sober coach, so you want her opinion, because if you didn't, you'd just not tell me! 

So when you tell me "I'm on day 1," it would be incredibly bad form—and not fair—if I support you having a new day 1  without changing anything. That wouldn't be fair to you. It'd probably be irresponsible on my part, too. 

​Because this booze thing can get worse and worse.

We don't want that to be you and we don't want that to happen to you. 

It's not just having a new day 1 ... having a new day 1 is fabulous, don't get me wrong.

You need a new day 1 AND you need to add some new things because what you've been doing up to now hasn't been enough. 

And you want to move away from here, so you're going to do some new things now. 

~

If you would like some ideas on what you can add, so that you stop repeating the day 1 cycle, send me an email ​and i'll send you some links to things. hugs from me



I have transcribed this text from the (FREE) one minute audio message #168: New Things. ​ 

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