the passion project (sample video #2)

in a previous post, i mentioned that I have an art wolfie. he comes out when i want to create something new, telling me that i’m not good enough.

So in preparing a new workshop about pursuing Sober Passions, i’ve been asking Mr. Belle if he’d let me record him. You see, my darling husband has a different wolfie voice than I do, and I wanted to see if i could get him to share his ideas of what he does when confronted with negative thoughts.

We recorded the first video slideshow a few weeks ago (17 minutes long!).  With some encouragement, i may be able to get him to do more. But i’ll probably need some help because he’s super shy, and was nervous about his lack of english… All going well, i’ll get him to do some more audios/videos and i’ll put them into the Sober Passion workshop 🙂 hooray.

For now, i wanted to share with you a tiny extract from our first video (you only see one photo in this short clip, but there are others!).

I corner him and ask him how he can be so brave ALL THE TIME.

>>>> Click here to WATCH a 2+ minute extract of video #2

oh, and if you missed the first video, it’s here.


stop assuming the new thing will suck

As this day goes on, i find myself asking pretty typical questions: what do i want my life to be like? since i’m driving this sober car, where am i going? am i driving or just coasting along enjoying the scenery. is there a difference and who cares?

I had a super great series of coaching calls today, where some themes repeated throughout: yes it gets better, you can’t tell how much yet because it’s too early. yes, you can be fun, have fun, see fun, create fun if you’re sober. yes, there will be tragedy, chemo, suicide attempts, and kids going to college. Yes you will put the dog to sleep, or get bad news about your mother, or sell your home. you don’t have to drink about it, and it’s probably better if you don’t.

yes it’s ok to have feelings and not automatically try to numb them, to escape, to hide. yes, being angry is a perfectly normal response in that situation. so is crying.

and fear. i heard fear in today’s calls. but i heard hope, too. a lot of hope. a lot of ‘this time i’m doing things differently so that i’ll have a different outcome.’

and yeah really … what is fear? (she asks herself, then answers the question as if someone else has asked…)

Fear is looking into the unknown (and the unknowable) and assuming it will suck. ha ha ha ha. we NEVER think it’ll be better in the new life, we just automatically assume it’s going to be rotten.

Thankfully we don’t have to live the scary ‘rest of our lives’ all at once. we get to eat the elephant one bite at a time. i am clearly writing this entire blog post to myself. i can hear my business coach now. it’s like i can channel you, kathleen. when i call you tomorrow, you will say “why do you assume that growth will be bad? why does it have to upend your balance? Who says that if you publish a book you can’t still have mid-day baths? Why is it EITHER / OR with you?”

and i’ll say hahahaha because i’m a boozer, and black and white thinking is how we roll.

so now that i know all this, it’s my job to begin to think differently.

note to self:

stop assuming the new thing will suck.

100 Day Challenge celebrates …

Exactly one year ago today the 100 Day Sober Challenge was born on this site.  March 14, 2013. Holy long time batman. Since then I’ve emailed — at least once — 908 people. It’s been pretty amazing to sit on this side of the computer screen. I’ve gotten to know lots of people, i’ve read heart breaking emails. I’ve heard from you, then lost touch, then you pop back up again. I’ve had some people on the challenge since the first days who are now a year sober, and others who have had good success but got tricked by wolfie into trying some alcohol research. Some join the challenge when they’re already well along (100+ days) and others email in advance to say *this future date will be my day 1*.

i try not to think too much about what the future will bring. as i wrote to cat girl today, I don’t have any idea what happens if I suddenly get a lot of press or if things change dramatically in terms of numbers. I’ve sort of been kind of ostrich-y about it (no long-term planning at all).

Did i plan for any of this? No. I’ve been ‘stay here’-ing and just doing today’s work and not worrying about the future. This is a new me compared to how i was before. patience. waiting for the right thing to present itself. trusting that it unfolds nicely, as it should.

Part of the reason why i don’t plan for anything BIG to happen, is because I like my life (my sobriety) so much now that I don’t want to fuck with it 🙂 if i write a book, which does sound cool cuz I’d love to do some cross-country/continent speaking tours, and have events and stuff. but would I like that more than daily correspondence with real sober peeps (de girls and de boys)?

I’m probably guilty of thinking small, or of trying to remain small as a virtue. I’m sure that’s fucked up childhood shit because I’ve had it my whole life. I’ve always felt that quality of life is paramount even if I’m not wealthy. I agree that when I write it like that, it sounds so fucking noble and everyone is bound to agree, but I think a psychiatrist might suggest to me that I’m doing it on purpose to remain small, unjudged, protected. Which again, may not be a bad thing necessarily…

today I’m baking bacon (so that it stays flat), doing some phone answering for Job #1, and managing an auction for my husband’s job. i have a good mix of my 3 jobs. and i wrote two blogs posts, answered some sober emails, and did some mid-month billing. I remitted my payroll deductions. I also slept late, had a bath mid-day.  Perhaps fear of success makes me stay small, but I do like mid-day baths with mint tea 🙂

maybe i like this life where I don’t have to rely on anyone else, it’s just me and my empire and my staff of one. there we go. I should send my old psychiatrist from 1991 a cheque.

Here’s to another year of Team 100.  And here’s to whatever that may bring.

“it’s like playing on the edge of a cliff”

from my inbox:

Tiny Dancer (day 1): “It is so hard for me to trust that if I give it 100 days, i’ll feel mentally better.  Intellectually, I can understand it. Emotionally, it’s hard to process because i haven’t felt mentally ok in a long time.  But I think it is time that I listen to someone else. Because I have done such a good job messing things up by listening to the voices in my own head.  I need to just trust that yes it is possible for me if I just put one foot in front of the other and LISTEN to someone other than myself.  You so describe me – the three days on three days off.  I have no momentum. At all.  In fact, it’s like playing on the edge of a cliff.”

me: you don’t have to believe in the 100 days, you just have to do it. you don’t have to feel it yourself yet, and you can’t — it’s just too soon. I remember exactly where you are now. I guess the only thing you really need right this second is to have some faith that those of us who’ve done this sober thing aren’t lying 🙂 And by reaching out, you sorta ‘borrow’ someone else’s thoughts until the time when your own brain is thinking more clearly. hugs and more hugs, me


Happy Day 50 to marge96!

Happy Day 50 to Trinity!

Happy Day 50 to Dana!

Happy Day 50 to Nikki!

Happy Day 50 to Be!

Happy Day 50 to Kevin!

Happy Day 50 to Frances!

Happy Day 50 to Kit-Kathy!

Happy Day 50 to JS!

Happy Day 50 to ZB78!

Happy Day 50 to Sandy!

Happy Day 50 to SereneRunner!

Happy Day 100 to Steph!

Happy Day 100 to Caitlin!

Happy Day 100 to Shell Bell!

Happy Day 100 to Tuomas!

Happy Day 100 to RM!

Happy Day 100 to Cindy Becoming Human!

Happy Day 180 to Carolyn!

Happy Day 180 to Martha C!

Happy Day 200 to Jo!

Happy One Year to Carrie!

Happy Day 600 to Sober Malarky!

this audio needs a clever title

i think i need a pep-talk. like, seriously. so i thought i’d give myself one. didn’t turn out quite like i had planned.

This audio is about you driving along in your sober car, and what happens when you turn down a small road and get lost. What happens when you’re hesitant to make plans because you’re used to your boozing brain that says “i can’t count on myself.” Yeah, like — once you’re sober, and you CAN rely on yourself — then what?

The full length podcast is 10 minutes; here’s a 2.5 minute extract from part way through. Once you listen, you can post a comment below…

When this audio begins, I’m talking about you driving along in your sober car, and what happens next …


click here to try a podcast subscription (1 month trial) – and of course, when you get bored of me, you can cancel whenever you want

i told her the story of the wolfie voice

from my inbox (get your tissues ready):

Joyce (day 92):

I wanted to share a bit of magic with you. Today I went to an AA meeting, and there was a woman with 5 x 20-something women who reside with her in her sober living home.

One of those young women began sharing her thoughts on anger.  She told the group that in the past she had broken her sobriety numerous times believing that because she was young she had plenty of time to straighten up later.

As she sat there sharing the hope that her now 4 months of sobriety would “stick”, my heart went out to her.  I looked down at my lovely Fuck You Wolfie bracelet with its magical sobriety powers.

After the meeting I approached her and gave her a hug then told her the story of the Wolfie voice.  She told me she knew about that voice.  I took off my bracelet and showed her the inscription.  Her eyes widened and then she burst out laughing.  She was obviously surprised that some silver haired lady would have a bracelet inscribed with “Fuck You Wolfie” but she was clearly loving it.

I put the bracelet on her wrist and told her how much it had helped me to have this reminder of my promise to myself.  I told her that it would protect her from Wolfie just as it had protected me if she would only just believe.  Every time I saw her for the rest of the day, she gave me a huge grin and flashed that bracelet at me.  I hope with my whole heart this lovely young woman will remain sober.  I just ordered a new one for me.  It is, after all, magical.”


Happy Day 50 to DeeN!

Happy Day 50 to Amos!

Happy Day 50 to Angela!

Happy Day 100 to Liza!

Happy Day 100 to Janet!

Happy Day 100 to Beach_Gurl!

Happy Day 300 to Elle!

Happy Day 300 to Leah!

no dogma, just self-care and treats

From CatGirl (day 81):

Oh hi there! I forgot to say to you. I was talking to my addiction counsellor t’other day and telling him about my crazy patchwork quilt of recovery, AA meetings … doing your team 100 challenge, emailing you, reading you, devouring recovery books like Caroline Knapp, Ann Dowsett Johnson … exercise, listening to bubble hour, etc, etc.

Anyhoo, my point. I was saying that it had really helped me having the 100 days to shoot for. He was saying, bearing in mind he’s an expert, that alcoholics like me, who have a high bottom, often need more than ‘one day at a time’ to strive for. They need medium level goals.

At first, I could only handle one day at a time, but after about two weeks, that seemed too easy. … Anyway, he was very interested in your 100 day challenge and wholeheartedly approved of it, so that’s interesting.

I was also telling him about your ‘all you have to do is stay sober’ podcast and how much that spoke to me. As soon as I came out as an alcoholic, it felt like I was suddenly given all these tasks, get a sponsor, read the big book every night, do the steps. I know I keep banging on about this, but it really was so off-putting.

And the fact that you have shoved no dogma in my face, trotted out no to-do, other than practising some self-care and staying sober…. well, it was a total breath of fresh air.   …

So, a WIN for you. This is a step in the right direction, non? Getting addiction counsellors interested. Hopefully he will chat to his colleagues about it and recommend to other recoverees with high bottoms like me. x”

Hooray for Cat Girl, she’s on day 174 today!

my world is all about food

i’m baking Fuck You Wolfie cookies today: cinnamon molasses spice. I’m mixing, rolling, dipping in cinnamon sugar, baking. It’s pretty quiet here with Mr. B gone to his new office. I even liked him yesterday when he came home from ‘work’… That’s good news.

I’m baking cookies today in preparation for a new sober treat care package. You know, the treats you’re supposed to buy for yourself but sometimes you forget, or are busy, or are uninspired.

I got this lovely email about the last treat box:

So, I just got the care package yesterday, awesome, thanks. I can’t tell you how much fun it was to get that package 🙂 I did eat the ginger cookies.  Holy Mother of God they were good! I did manage to not eat them all, in order to save for later… thank you so much!”

and this one

Nom, nom – that’s the sound of me eating the delicious treats from my treat box!  I especially love the ginger cookies and the FUW tea.  Thanks so much, Belle.  I’m glad you decided to definitely do the treat boxes.  To me it’s just a little tangible “pat on the back” for a job well done.  I also loved the handwritten note.”

I bought the pink and purple socks for myself but then figured I should get 10 pairs and put them in the treat box too. Just cuz.


I am happily sober today. And my world is all about food.  The sober treat box cookies, the podcast i recorded yesterday about mashed potatoes. I’m doing coaching calls tomorrow and my ‘treat’ for dinner will be a trip to Chipotle’s. when you live far from home, i can assure you that a beef taco is a pretty wonderful treat. i’m also going get myself a copy of the sunday new york times this weekend. for a treat. and i’ll eat the cinnamon cookies and wear my fuzzy socks and read the paper.


Happy Day 50 to KitKat!

Happy Day 50 to Duckie!

Happy Day 50 to Angela!

Happy Day 50 to MaryDean!

Happy Day 50 to Nora!

Happy Day 50 to Katie!

Happy Day 50 to Betsy!

Happy Day 50 to Ry!

Happy Day 50 to FitFatFood!

Happy Day 50 to Alicia!

Happy Day 100 to Monica!

Happy Day 100 to!

Happy Day 180 to Terry!

Happy Day 180 to Fiona!

Happy Day 180 to Jan K!

Happy Day 200 to Azure Sky!

Happy One Year  to Sunny Sue!

Happy Day 400 to Erika!

mashed potatoes

i recorded a podcast this morning and I have Oprah to thank for the idea.

Here’s how i know i’m a boozer. if something happened, my first reflex was that drinking would be a good idea. I never thought “mashed potatoes would be a good idea right now” (which apparently was oprah’s first thought).

This podcast is about the boozer brain, the reasons why we drink (happy, mad, sad, glad, tuesday), and how i know that drinking is not a good idea for me.

The full length podcast is 15 minutes; here’s a 2 minute extract from the beginning. Once you listen, you can post a comment below…


click here to try a podcast subscription (1 month trial) – and of course, when you get bored of me, you can cancel whenever you want

* New music intro used with permission, (c) Chris Haugen.

expectations = resentment

so the boy came home this morning, ate leftover spaghetti from last night, had a shower, and went to bed after his overnight flight.

he took the garbage out before he went to bed, and i thought “for 9 days that’s been me, doing everything, i’ve been on garbage duty.” it’s nice to share the work.

but i’m going to (try to) remember the independent girl i’ve been for the past 9 days and i’m going to continue to do for myself and not EXPECT him to do things, because as we all fucking know (and i cannot seem to remember), is that expectations is how we prepare ourselves to be disappointed.

It’s like we plan to be disappointed, and then working backwards we realize we need failed expectations to be in place to get our desired result.

you’ve heard this before, right? this isn’t new, oui?

we utilize unfulfilled expectations as justification for righteous indignation.  except we’re the one who created the wacky expectations in the first place.

this must be a trait of boozers. it must be something we share… Like, have you ever done this, been in a crappy mood and pretty much looked around to FIND something to be snarky about? yeah. me too.

So while he has slept most of the day while i worked (he’s on nap #2 now), and while he continues to be unable to say “what can i do to help” but instead waits to be asked and then happily will help, i am – for today – remembering that i’m capable of doing all of this alone. i can focus on being relieved and happy for any and all help. but i must remember that i don’t require help. i’m not a dependent child. and i can’t demand help. (to be fair, the catering – unlike child rearing – is my project, not a shared effort… and the ways that kid-less couples share household work is completely different from couples with kids, though resentments can grow in either case).

i’m not saying that Mr. B doesn’t help. I’m saying that i’m in charge of how miserable i make myself when it comes to failed unrealistically ridiculous expectations.


Happy Day 50 to Maria-Anne!

Happy Day 50 to Roxanne!

Happy Day 50 to Kelly!

Happy Day 50 to Anna-Lisa!

Happy Day 50 to Kzee!

Happy Day 50 to abwalsh!

Happy Day 50 to Rx!

Happy Day 50 to Dieter!

Happy Day 50 to Kassie!

Happy Day 50 to Robyn !

Happy Day 50 to Ellie !

Happy Day 50 to Tom !

Happy Day 50 to heidistar!

Happy Day 50 to Jewels!

Happy Day 50 to Shawn !

Happy Day 50 to Lindsey!

Happy Day 50 to Flamingoman!

Happy Day 50 to JI!

Happy Day 100 to Susan!

Happy Day 100 to Denise!

Happy Day 100 to healthappiness!

Happy Day 100 to Changingmylifeat60!

Happy Day 100 to K!

Happy Day 100 to Scone!

Happy Day 200 to SoberMom!

Happy Day 200 to jenisthesoberist!

Happy Day 200 to Carol!

Happy Day 200 to Dawn D!

Happy Day 300 to Erika!

Happy Day 400 to Jen!

Happy Day 400 to Debra!