yes, these things are true

Yes.

Yes. it does suck that you don’t lose weight when you first quit drinking. Yes i agree. It’s unfair.

Yes, it’s totally OK to stay home instead of socializing on your FIRST weekend sober. Yes. You’re taking care of you.

Yes, you can quit drinking without telling everyone you have a PROBLEM. you don’t have to tell your husband yet. You will find a way of explaining what you’re doing that feels good to you.

Yes, i talk about who to tell, and what to say, and what else to drink instead, and what to expect in the sober jumpstart class. you can even hear my voice. and maybe you’ll find it a tiny bit funny and entertaining when i swear on the audios. maybe.

Yes, you will feel tired when you first quit drinking. Your poor body needs to rest and reset. Sleep as much as you can for the first 30+ days. Take naps, order take-out.

Yes, it’s entirely possible to quit drinking if your husband works in a brewery, or if he drinks the contents of the brewery, or if he thinks that online sober support is a scam/cult. Yes, what you’re doing is for YOU. He’s on his own journey. Look away.

Yes, you can argue that treats aren’t necessary for you. And i’ll probably make some suggestions for treats you might like. that said, you will figure out your own way through. what you’ve been doing before hasn’t been successful. so you know, it can’t hurt to have some tea or a breakfast sandwich now and then as a treat

Yes, your kids do notice when you’re drinking, and yes they notice when you stop. They notice a lot. They notice in ways that they’ll never be able to explain with words. cuz something like ‘trust’ doesn’t have easy words to describe it. They notice. they will not use words to tell you how they notice.

Yes, you will feel gigantically shitty if you drink for 2 days, be sober for 1 or 2, drink for 5 days, quit again. It’s so true, but hanging around day 1 is probably the hardest place to be. you have none of the benefits of drinking (are there any benefits?), and you have none of the benefits of sobriety (there are many). Day 1 is too close to the sewer. It’s time to step out into the light.

Yes, the Fuck You Wolfie bracelet does help. but you have to wear it. you look down at the bracelet, and you think “OK i’m doing this. This sober thing? this is me. doing it.” and then you yell at wolfie. alone in your car, under your breath in the grocery store.

YES, you can try to quit all of your vices at the same time with a juice cleanse or a raw vegan diet thrown in for good measure. I’ll probably suggest that it’s not a terribly fun or wise to do it all at once.

YES, repeatedly relapsing does mean something. it means that whatever you’re doing so far is good, but it’s not enough. you need to add more supports. if each time you begin again you add more supports, then eventually your sober tool kit will be big enough to get you through .. sometimes the support you need will be rehab. sometimes the support you’re missing is more connection.  sometimes the support you need will be AA. sometimes the support you need will be listening to sober podcasts. it’s not really about ‘trying harder’ … what else could you add?

and YES, i do believe you can do it, even when you don’t believe it yet. I have been on day 1 and day 7 and day 37 and day 287. I remember exactly how i felt. I felt like there were two versions of me: The ‘real’ version of me was the drinker … and the ‘new/shadow’ version of me walking alongside was the sober me.  it took a LONG time until i really really really felt that the new sober me was the ‘real’ me. But thankfully, while i was going along, it didn’t matter. I continued to drive along in my sober car, with both versions of me still present, and I just kept going until the fake drinking me faded entirely. That you can see both versions doesn’t mean you’re doing anything wrong. just keep going.

 

the rules? they’ve gotta go.

i am a blamer. i see that now that i’m on my own. when my husband is here, he does most of the housekeeping. i like the dishes done after supper. i like them all done, pots and everything. he does them. hahaha that’s so hilarious. because as soon as i’m on my own, i have been doing the dishes while I make dinner, which means that the dinner dishes themselves don’t get done. they wait on the counter till the next day.

i could nearly cry. this is so heartbreaking to see up close. i want him to do things that i won’t (and don’t) do myself. sometimes after we do laundry, i fold the laundry or he does. mostly it’s him. i suggest that if he folds the laundry we could put away the drying rack and it wouldn’t take up so much room in the already small bedroom. he does it sometimes, but mostly not. me neither it turns out. there is laundry on the rack right now. i don’t fold the laundry and put away the rack either.

i could nearly cry. i remember very clearly that when i was drinking, i would get into quite a snit about the state of the apartment. I’d feel so overwhelmed with mess and stuff. i would announce very judgmentally, with a glass of wine in hand, that surfing the internet should be a reward for AFTER the chores are done, not before. Then what happens? As soon as i’m alone, i surf the internet, hang out on facebook, and finally get shit done at 11 pm.

ok.  so there’s a remnant or two from my drinking personality that i’m still carrying over. i’ll be 20 months sober in 3 days. This realization about my crappiness wouldn’t have made much sense to me when i was on day 30.  But here, now, i can see that the patterns of communication, expectations, implied standards, and RULES that i had when drinking… well, it’s time to dismantle them. oh my god the rules i had. rules about cleaning that would somehow keep my over-boozing from showing.

and now? the rules? they’ve gotta go. i mean the booze is gone. it’s time for the rest of it to go too.

note: kindness welcome. no comments about me being controlling. (how controlling is that!). i’m just too tired and teary for much of that. here, let me control how i want this to go. my blog, my rules. i declare it. jesus a girl has to have some place where things are controllable! so here goes: no comments about me being controlling (!) or being codependent (!) or anything else crappy. just not for today, OK? I’ll be better prepared to take crap tomorrow. If you can’t relate to this post, or if you can’t think of anything nice to say, or you think i’m plain wacko, you can just write “pat, pat”  🙂

~

Happy Day 50 to Jessica!

Happy Day 50 to JackM!

Happy Day 50 to Kimf!

Happy Day 50 to LizzieJones!

Happy Day 50 to Robin Anne!

Happy Day 50 to Jacques!

Happy Day 50 to Sober Second Half!

Happy Day 50 to Laurie Lynn!

Happy Day 50 to BetterThisWay

Happy Day 100 to Miss Lynn!

Happy Day 100 to Shannon A!

Happy Day 100 to Bridget!

Happy Day 100 to Sober Senior Lady!

Happy Day 100 to Em Anne!

Happy Day 180 to JacksterT!

Happy Day 180 to ErinS!

treats + sleep = happy sober girl

i am well. i slept until 11 a.m. this morning 🙂 Mr. B. is happily settled in with his family, and he got to eat at his favourite north american breakfast place this morning. Me, I went shopping at the international market, as i wanted to research ideas for a new savoury treat box. the caramelized nuts were DIVINE (i ate the entire thing in one go) but that little jar was 6,20€ so about $8.70 USD… but holy they were great.

savoury-test-treats

Thanks to the Tiny Gift Button.

From L to R: Crackers with goat cheese and rosemary, caramelized nuts,
seedy crackers, duck paté in a little can in the little box, really great italian
tomato sauce with capers, and orange gaspacho soup
in a can (apparently you drink it like juice)…

And hey, thanks to everyone who has been sending me ‘worried’ emails today. i’m really doing great. i (gulp) kinda like being on my own. i’m really content to have my tentacles retracted. and it’s school vacation here so it’s QUIET – any neighbours with kids are all away, the streets are empty. and man it was 14C today. i could be gloating. ok, i think i will. i’m GREAT! Mr. B. called twice today on the toll free office phone (including while i was recording today’s podcast). all. is. well. and. then. some.

~

Happy Day 50 to Niki!

Happy Day 50 to Shelly!

Happy Day 50 to Mandy!

Happy Day 50 to Kave!

Happy Day 50 to Rose!

Happy Day 50 to Maddie!

Happy Day 100 to Ellena!

Happy Day 200 to Pam!

we’re comfortable with things not being finished … (audio)

i recorded a podcast this morning about getting shit done. Or really, it’s about why we often do something to about 89% completion and then stop … OK, so maybe it’s an audio about why we don’t finish stuff. As boozers we’re used to things being wacky, a bit chaotic … so what do you do once you get sober?

The full length podcast is 17.5 minutes long; here’s a 2 minute extract from part-way through. Once you listen, you can post a comment below…

listen-here

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’ve drawn all of my 8 tentacles back into myself

i have some typical characteristics of over drinkers. I’m sensitive — to people, to emotions, to noise, to stuff. I’m an over-thinker. I’m sucky at self-care. I crave treats. I’m not unfamiliar with chaos.

All of these things become really evident once I’m alone. I was crying when Mr. B left this morning, and then minutes after the door closed, I was in bed under the covers, reading my book. I went for a run, bought treats, and settled into a really nice and easy day. I watched a hockey game, ate, rested, watched half of a movie, some cooking shows, enjoyed the sunshine, and generally i’ve felt at ease.

It’s like i’ve drawn all of my 8 tentacles back into myself.

source

and now i’m just doing what I want, when I want to.

When Mr. B. is here, which is always, i’m sensitive to what he’s doing. I hear him. I pay attention to him. I realize that we’re both online too much. I plan whether to eat now or later based on what he’s doing. I know it’s time for bed and he wants to stay up longer… or he wants to go to bed earlier.  then once we’re in bed, I hear him sleeping (!).

now that he’s gone, it’s like i’m not responsible to or for anyone. for anything. to be clear, mr. b makes no demands on me. it’s not that he likes dinner at 7 pm or anything like that. in fact, he’s just the opposite. and i feel like i wait for him to give me signs. eat now or later? he’s actually fine with both. it’s me who does all the dancing around him.

right before he left this morning, i told him that the last time we’d spent any time apart, i was still drinking, and i used to plan to fill my evenings with wine. Now, in the absence of wine, i was going to — instead — push the reset button and see if i can just focus on doing what i want. can i really feel myself on the inside, just take care of me. can i just focus on me, and not worry about him.

i told him i was going to spend the next 9 days alone EITHER working or cleaning or reading or doing nothing.

I’m going to see if i can actually find out what i FEEL like doing. can i be still long enough for the next right action to present itself. apparently i felt like writing this 🙂 now i feel like a bath. it’s 8:23 pm local time. I feel like watching Remains of the Day and then going to bed. I feel like sleeping 10 hrs. I feel like mr. b’s flight should land just as i go to bed, and then i can turn off the phone and just sleep …

there’s a co-dependent, critical, enmeshed word for people like me. It’s really easy to be critical. Today I call it being honest.

source

~

Happy Day 50 to Toni

Happy Day 50 to Jill

Happy Day 50 to Robin

Happy Day 50 to CindyW

Happy Day 50 to NRT

Happy Day 50 to Teri

Happy Day 50 to Shamrockleah

Happy Day 50 to Phoebe

Happy Day 50 to Mark Twain

Happy Day 50 to Graceful

Happy Day 50 to Santa Cruz

Happy Day 50 to Claire

Happy Day 50 to Bonnie

Happy Day 50 to Doll Face!

Happy Day 50 to Irish eileen

Happy Day 50 to S

Happy Day 50 to Carolyn V

Happy Day 50 to Wilky

Happy Day 50 to confusedliberal

Happy Day 60 to Missmeliss

Happy Day 100 to Mack!

Happy Day 100 to Josh

Happy Day 100 to TheFun4

Happy Day 100 to Laurel

Happy Day 100 to Helen

Happy Day 100 to Hazeleyes

Happy Day 100 to Tim

Happy Day 180 to Nic

Happy Day 180 to Jules

Happy Day 180 DianeLouise

Happy Day 200 to Victoria

Happy Day 300 to KT

the tempest and the grocery store

a truly brain-squishing day today. busy getting thing ready for Mr. Belle to move to his new office on monday. I got all the way to the big grocery store which i put off doing (three trains to get there!) and it was closed for renovations. for two weeks. came home to complain. said to Mr. B “I’m in a bad place right now.”

then he looks at me. what’s so bad about today?

well, nothing.

i could see him looking at me. i said “i’ll make a list of the good things. I ran today and yesterday. it’s sunny. i’m tired … no wait, a positive list. i have an empty inbox. i am caught up with job #1. i’m ready for a nap …”

i think i’m going through some weirdness.  we’ve been living and working together in a very small space for 2.5 years, and on Monday he’s leaving. I am craving the silence and grieving his absence. i am anticipating getting a lot more focussed work done, and i’m sure i’ll watch the clock all day waiting for him to come home.

and just like everything in sobriety, all of my worries or fears are worse in anticipation than they are in reality. Flying sober? easier than i thought. sober vacations? quite delightful actually. time away from my husband every day so that i can actually miss him? priceless.

<sigh>

somewhere swirling in this mess of weirdness this afternoon, right when i returned from the closed grocery store, i had a feeling like “emailing people about their sobriety doesn’t actually help them. it looks like help, but really it’s smoke and mirrors and attention seeking behaviour and narcissism.” some nice “fuck-it” thinking for good measure. why not. it’s friday.

But then i get an email like this from C: “Thanks Belle. These emails are a beacon.”

and i think… are they? I mean, are they really? i cannot imagine (any more) what it’s like to be on the other end of this. i can only see what it’s like to be me. i seem to have (temporarily?) lost the ability to see this from any other perspective.  this isn’t a plea for “we love you” type comments, it’s more a reflection of how i can lose the plot, have a weird afternoon, then go to bed and (certainly) reset tomorrow. it’s nothing to drink over. it’s just a reset. like my compass started to spin round-and-round. and i need a north star to align with.

(really? dramatic much? all this because the grocery store was closed? well, here’s why i care. i wanted to do a big grocery order today (not saturday) so that i have food to make lunches for Mr. B for next week. Now, instead, i fear he may be eating pb+j … of course he doesn’t care … oh fuck, i can see now, i’ve self-created this tempest, and there isn’t one. There is in fact no problem here at all. Give him $5 and tell him to buy lunch. Oh fuck, now i see it. this really this is about my perfectionism and the NERVE of the fucking store to be closed when i was counting on it, and it ruined my day. Yeah nice. I clearly need to get a grip. holy.).

<rant finished> and only as i was typing that last paragraph did i figure out what my problem is.

the world didn’t go the way i wanted it to go today. a store was closed. i feel like it ruined my day. yeah. nice self-centred attitude!

so i will prescribe a bath. and some chocolate. and to sleep 12 hrs.

coming right up.

Mr. B? while you’re still here, can you fetch me a treat? i promise to be really sweet afterwards… i might even share.

cake maths

from my inbox:

Nic: “You know what – you have pretty much restored my faith in humankind. I really did believe that there is no such thing as a free lunch and that most people have a motive for being as nice as you are. I am so glad that I found you, you are a genuinely lovely person. Thank you.”

Primrose: “Can I just say that the whole reward thing is SUCH a genius concept. It is working amazingly for me because it works in (at least!) two ways. Firstly doing a nice thing for yourself makes you incrementally happier. Here are some equations to prove it 😉 Me without cake = 62% happy. Me + cake = 79% happy. BUT me after having had cake and done a nice thing for myself THINKING I AM WORTH IT = me after cake = 63% happy on an ongoing basis.  Then I add more cake, a day or so later, and so it goes on… although possibly ‘running shoes > cake’ must hold true in the long term as well! love cake maths!”

Rlynn: “You have good ideas. I think you should write a book and include recipes and insight about being cozy sober.”

Sharon: “I was 8 days sober when the audio class started.  The advice was so valuable to me.  The topics, the suggestions and the tools to put in my toolbox will stay with me on my way to sobriety.  I think that’s why I failed in the past, no toolbox and no support.  Belle explained how necessary these things are to continue the journey.  I think for me the best part of the class was understanding how important small rewards are along the way, they make you smile and appreciate the hard work you’re doing. I am truly sorry it ended, maybe a two week course would be even more beneficial and the phone call was great, like talking to an old friend, one I can bare my soul to, I don’t have anyone else like that in my life right now. If you’re newly sober or still on the fence, this class can give you the tools to continue being sober or to take that leap off the fence.” And Sharon is on day 207 today 🙂

600 bottles of wine not consumed

so i’m calculating all of the happy 50 day and happy 100 day notices for today. and i scroll down and there’s someone on day 599 and a half.

oh. it’s me.

then i started laughing. like laugh-out-loud-guffaw laughing. 600 days? jesus, who manages to NOT have a glass of wine for 600 days? No one. Oh wait. Me. I’ve done that.  Fuckers. Do you know how long 600 days is? Yeah, it’s a long time. I am still chuckling, literally. Like, really. That’s 600 times I have not consumed alcohol after supper. Add to that the 100-ish times I’ve not had day-time alcohol (weekends, vacations). So probably it would come out to 700 individual times when I “could” have been drinking, that instead I’ve been sober. 700 times?

Did I say have to say “no” 600-700 times? Certainly not. when i’m at home working or baking or reading, i never think about drinking and i just do my thing.  when i serve alcohol to clients, i recognize that booze exists, but i am not internally struggling. I just pour myself tonic water. How many times have I had to explain why i’m not drinking since i quit drinking 600 days ago? i can’t think of one single time since last July. which means that mostly only in the first year of my sobriety did anyone ever have a question, and since i’ve crossed the one year mark, i have explained my soberness exactly zero times.

how much money have i saved? $10 a day so that’s … yes, that’s $6000! good god. how many evenings would i have spent doing nothing?  600. how many days would i have been waiting for “wine o’clock”? all 600. every single one of them.

instead.

instead i have 800 sober penpals. instead (this week) i made bagels. instead (Saturday and Sunday) i got 12 hrs sleep each night.

instead I choose me, put me first. do things for me. take care of me. not always in the most active way, but at least i’m taking care of me by NOT doing something destructive, wasteful, and soul-destroying. I haven’t been drowning ‘me’ in wine. I still have crappy moods and shitty days and irritating moments. and then they fade and i move on. i get treats (mostly) when i need them. i could take better care of me i suppose. more time off, more baths, more talcum powder. I read a lot more than i used to. I still forget and have sugar mid-morning and then crash. I still forget and stay up too late watching the Great British Bake Off. I still forget and tell my husband that he’s acting like a 6 year old (he swears he’s at least 7).

but i will never forget the evening i started this blog. i remember i was sitting in the tub, deciding to drink, to quit, to drink, to quit. i felt like a person possessed.

for me, wolfie is mostly tamed now. he’s been tamed for awhile. i see him stick his nose out occasionally, but i swiftly (and harshly) slap him silly. I give him a kick up the anus. and i say “fuck you wolfie. you’re not longer in charge of ME.”

oh wait, that means i’m in charge of me? hahaha. ok then. time to get some real lunch (not cookies) and time to clean off my desk and do accounting (fun). well, just let me finish this episode of the bake off… oh and then there’s the canada/us hockey game. it’s the olympics. i haven’t seen anything else, just this one game.

ok. i’ll be a grown-up tomorrow. or the next day. i’ll start soon i promise.

anyway, this is me reporting in for today.

sober.

hugs from me,
belle xo

ps. oh my god. 600 bottles of wine not consumed. 600. imagine what that looks like in your grocery cart. 600. it’s a stupidly large number. holy.

~

Happy Day 50 to Laura67!

Happy Day 50 to jgrh!

Happy Day 50 to Wine Monster!

Happy Day 50 to Telling The Words!

Happy Day 50 to Me-alcohol=?!

Happy Day 50 to Kennedy!

Happy Day 50 to Spell It Out Loud!

Happy Day 100 SarahinSurrey!

Happy Day 500 to SoberKat!

Happy Day 600 to me 🙂

happy day 50 to …

If the date of your last drink was New Year’s Eve, then you’re on day 50 today. Welcome to the biggest cohort yet:

Happy Day 50 to TJ!

Happy Day 50 to Kristi!

Happy Day 50 to Dolly!

Happy Day 50 to London!

Happy Day 50 to Rae!

Happy Day 50 to KathrynClare!

Happy Day 50 to Pugpink!

Happy Day 50 to Nutmeg!

Happy Day 50 to StonewallPDS

Happy Day 50 to Carbell!

Happy Day 50 to Sherri!

Happy Day 50 to Jenn!

Happy Day 50 to SoberGal!

Happy Day 50 to Lurking with Intent!

Happy Day 50 to Maureen!

Happy Day 50 to Smokey!

Happy Day 50 to Who?Jill!

Happy Day 50 to Nowinemom!

Happy Day 50 to MDL!

Happy Day 50 to Kaye!

Happy Day 50 to Damian!

Happy Day 50 to RC!

Happy Day 50 to Carole!

Happy Day 50 to Layla!

Happy Day 50 to Libby!

and from yesterday:

Happy Day 50 to Tessa!

Happy Day 50 to Zentient!

Happy Day 50 to Justme!

Happy Day 50 to Kristen!

~

Happy Day 100 to RF!

Happy Day 100 to Mack!

Happy Day 200 to JennyGardenGirl!

Happy Day 200 to Tami!

~

and news from me, Mr. Belle has found a new office and moves in on Monday. <sniff> i could nearly be sad. except he’s excited. and i’m sure i’ll adjust. i was the one who wanted him to move out of our living room and now i’m sad that he won’t be here to do dishes for me or to make me tea 🙂 what a big baby i am.