anonymous confession booth: sex

step right up. for one day only, i’m creating an anonymous sober confession booth about SEX. Yes, i’ve got something running through my head and i thought, OK, let’s blog about it. and really, it’s amazingly hard to talk about sex even when we’re quasi-anonymous online. And so then i thought, OK, let’s make it 100% anonymous, me included.

So here’s the deal.

  1. Post a comment below.
  2. For this to work you MUST leave your name and your email and your website address BLANK in the comments form (if you forget, i’ll go in and delete that info manually). all comments are to be anonymous. one of the comments will be from me, you just won’t know which one.
  3. I have no way of personally knowing who posts what.
  4. In your comment, write two or three sentences (max.) about something about sex that you think is ONLY your problem and that probably no one else has the same problem as you do. For example, i’ll make one up: “I can’t initiate sex when sober but i used to be able to when drinking” … OR … “i worry that i’m the only person who has x problem now that i’m sober.”
  5. Then post ONE anonymous ‘reply’ to one of the other comments already posted, and say something comforting, consoling, forgiving, kind. In fact, it would simply help if you said “i have this problem, too.”

i have a feeling that this will unfold in a lovely way. because you’re all lovely people. and we all have sex shit that we can’t talk about.

PS. if your name/email automatically shows up when you start to enter a comment, you can manually delete them OR you can ‘log out’ of your blogging profile.

 

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.

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#150: Kristi Coulter (FREE)

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inside your head [one minute message #300]

inside your head

omm300.inside.your.head

when people give you advice, it’s often not helpful. mostly, that’s because the person offering the opinion doesn’t know the WHOLE story. if you walk around asking everyone what to do, if you solicit the opinions from 60 people on whether you should quit drinking, you’ll hear a variety of things. none of them have to do with the truth, which is that you know it’s the right thing to do. you don’t need anyone to agree. 

happy sober friday. if you’ve been trying to get people to agree with you, that you need to quit drinking, you can stop that poll-taking now. I agree with you 🙂 I have a list of ideas that I can send you, with 20 things you can do, read, and listen to, to get your sobriety going (and to keep it going). send me an email and ask for the 20 things list. i sent some out yesterday, but if you didn’t get one yet, you can ask now… le hugs from me. xo

  • Get these free one-minute messages on iTunes (apple podcast) > link 
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    “I choose not to do that”

    I will say that probably the Number 1 determining feature of the probability of success in being sober, is an openness to try things that go against what your brain is suggesting is a good idea. 

    Because you’ve got a brain that thinks that drinking is a good idea, so frankly anything I suggest—like if I say to you, when we’re sober penpals: “I think you should email 3-4 times a day.”

    I don't need to do that

    Wolfie comes right in there with, “I don’t need to do that. I’m too busy to do that. I’m too busy to send a one-word email that says ‘sober’.” (Nice.)

    You: I’m going to be offline so I can’t email for 6 weeks, 3 weeks, 4 days.

    I have an answer for that.

    Still send a message every 4 hours, and they sit in your outbox and then as soon as you have a wifi connection, I’ll get them all at once.

    Number of times someone has actually done that, and I’ve gotten a whole bunch of check-ins all at once? Zero.

    It’s an option. But we don’t want to do it.

    Why don’t we want to do it? ...

    ... because we want to keep drinking.

    Well, we don’t WANT to keep drinking, but we have a voice that thinks that drinking is a good idea, so it’s going to fight against things that could actually help. Which is this whole thing about compliance.

    Example:

    You: I broke my ankle, and I want to walk without crutches.

    Well, that’s sort of impacts its ability to heal. Might make it that you need surgery down the road. Instead you might need to take time off right now …

    You: I don’t want that.

    No shit, nobody wants it [laughs]. Who wants to email me 4 times a day?

    but don’t tell me you can’t. 

    Don’t tell me you can’t. Because it’s one word. And you set a timer on your phone that goes off at 9 am, 1 pm, 5 pm, 9 pm—and you send a one-word email every time the alarm goes off.

    Don’t say that you can’t.

    say that you won’t.

    But don’t say that you can’t. Not fair.

    And don’t say that you can’t get a sober treat every two days when you’re sober. You’re going to say something wolfie-like, such as I don’t really deserve it; I shouldn’t get a treat for something that everybody else can do without treats; or I don’t have money …

    Don’t tell me that you don’t want to get treats. Tell me that wolfie is telling you not to get treats. Because you might as well call it what it is.

    Wolfie will say: No treats, not worthy.

    Wolfie will say: Too hard, no one will understand.

    I’m saying—I’m yelling—Please, please, please …

    You: Yea, I don’t want to do that. I choose not to do that.


    I have transcribed this text from archived Sober Podcast #213: Compliance. If you'd like to hear this extract as an audio, go here.


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    #213: Compliance

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    Audio: My Situation is Different

    This is an audio clip from Sober Podcast #228 sent to sober podcast members.

    This audio is a personalized response to someone who asked me “but what about these circumstances, my life is hard, these things and these things.”

    And no matter what day you’re on today, there’s a message in here for you.

    I received this from J: after she heard my personalized reply:

    “It’s really interesting to me that you said (and of course this is true) that I would have ended up overdrinking whether I married my widower or not … I see that you are of course right – I’d be an overdrinker with an overdrinker’s brain whether I had this particular job or these particular kids as my responsibility or not. So. That’s the truth. Wolfie will tell my very receptive brain that drinking anaesthetic would be a good idea. NO MATTER WHAT”

    ==

    Question: How tempting is it to think that our situation is different? (this is a trick question; wolfie is an anus).

    ==

    hugs, me

    below i’ve posted a 3 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.

     

     

    Download the entire podcast episode #228

    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).

     

    I want to be sober. Should I try vitamins? A French class?

    (Update of a post originally published february 2017)

    OK, if you don't have a lot of time, I'll cut to the chase: Stop fucking around by building your house out of straw.

    ~

    M (day 1) sent me this email: Belle, I keep trying all these things to help me be sober and nothing works. I just spent $100 on vitamins. I’ve been to a one-day, quit-drinking workshop. I signed up for a French class. You see, I’ve always wanted to go to Paris and with all the money I’m not spending on booze, I could buy a plane ticket.

    ~

    You can hear her thinking, and you can absolutely see what she’s saying.

    It seems logical, doesn’t it.

    My reply to her would be: “If you are continuously sober, then yes, whatever you’re doing is working. Keep doing it.”

    But if you are NOT continuously sober —if you reset after 2 days, or 20 days, or 200 days — then what you’re doing isn’t quite enough to keep you sober. So you add more sober tools.

    Argh, I’m on Day 1 again. I’m enrolled in French class. Why isn’t that enough?

    French class is something you can hang in the space that booze used to occupy.

    But taking a French class is not a sober tool.

    Sober tools are things that help you to BE sober.

    Imagine this.

    You are a little piggie, of the Three Little piggies, and you build your sober house, and wolfie repeatedly comes and blows your sober house down.

    We'll note that you've built your sober house out of straw or sticks or tarps, but wolfie blows it over. Maybe not right away, maybe not tomorrow, but as soon as there’s a strong wind, or a celebration, or a death, or a runaway teenager, or Sheila in accounting pulls her shit and refuses to do the cheque run before end of day on Friday.

    It doesn’t take much, when your house is built of straw. Wolfie is at the door, blowing.

    Your sober house falls down.

    But let’s be real, wolfie only has to barely knock on the door of your house made of straw to knock it over. To the house of wood, he’ll knock once or twice, and when that doesn’t work, he’ll add in lung full of hot air and a bit of whining. Doesn’t take long.

    (And really, you built a sober house out of straw? You were wishing. You’re were hoping you could do the minimum. You knew it wasn’t going to be enough.)

    To the house built out of sober stones, set careful on a sober cement foundation — yeah, that house — well, wolfie will knock on your door and when that doesn’t work, he’ll try to blow you over with convincing arguments as to why you need to Drink Right Now.

    You will add in a bit more cement and wave to him through the window. He’ll look for cracks, but you’ve got double-paned glass and a bug screen.

    This isn't a stone house. This is your life.

    Your life is worth more than the minimum. It’s worth more than straw and tarps.

    The soul of you, the essence of you, the real you that isn’t anesthetized, the real you that is empathetic and helpful and has good boundaries —THAT you deserves to be guarded in a solid stone structure.

    What helps to build a wolfie-proof, stone sober house?

    Advice from an architect. Talking to the girl at Home Depot about the length of the nails and what has worked on similar projects.

    Pouring a cement foundation.

    Going as slowly as required to NOT have to pour the foundation, dig it up, pour it again, and dig it up again. What a waste of time that is. You need a sober foundation, sure, but if you do it too quickly, or too rashly, or try to do it with inadequate cement, or do it while doing too many other things at the same time — well, you know what happens.

    You can see this example clearly when I'm talking about cement.

    The colour of the paint, and the carefully selected flowers, and the breeding fruit trees do not build a strong house. The French classes and spin classes and yoga classes and pottery classes and vitamins don’t help you change your behaviour. They’re wonderful (and necessary and lovely) things to add to your life. They are.

    But they are not sober tools.

    A sober tool is something that helps you to be sober. Not paint colour.

    I know you want to paint the room, but you haven’t built the room yet. You want to choose the light fixture, but the wiring hasn't been installed.

    You want to focus on the details all around THE THING.

    The THING you want is to be sober.

    And you’re online spending hours choosing the right French class? You just spent $100 on multivitamins because that should help you be sober?

    What if you’d spent that time and that $100 on actual sober supports.

    [You don’t though, because wolfie is a sly fucker, taunting perfectly nice people with bullshit logic like vitamins and French classes.]

    OK. Sober tools. They are things that help you be sober. That would include anything that directly makes it more likely that you (a) remember that being sober is a good idea, (b) soothes irritation, (c) helps you be accountable, (d) checks in on you, (e) reminds you what you’re doing when you forget, (f) reinforces the idea of the sober foundation and why you need it because you forgot again, (g) makes it possible for you to not drink.

    A French class isn’t a sober tool.

    It's not just a book. A book about being sober is awesome. But you can stop re-reading the book, waiting for something to click. It doesn't work like that.

    (Do you think you can read books about pouring cement foundations, and have the book be enough? Is a one-day workshop on cement-pouring enough? How about a forum of other people on day 1 of cement installation?]

    You are probably walking around THIS THING, acting like you don’t know what to do.

    You know what to do.

    You know that if you ask for support from people who can actually support you, then you have a higher chance of actually getting this done.

    You know that if you turn and face the resources and education and accountability that sober support provides, that you’ll learn from people who’ve done it 2,778 times, that you’ll save time, feel better, and have your cement poured sooner.

    If you have built a house out of straw AND IT’S WORKING FOR YOU then keep doing what you’re doing.

    But if the wind keeps blowing you over, you’ve got to look at having some new tools. Things to read AND accountabilty AND support AND cheerleading AND treats AND audios AND going to bed as early as possible...

    Paint isn’t a tool.

    Neither is a French class.

     

    Duck Ponderings 009 – Vision

    In this Duck Ponderings episode I talk about my ‘vision’. ha. as if i have one. Mostly i talk about logistics: how I track penpals, my excel spreadsheet, screen names, marketing, and a (not so) funny story about advertising on Facebook. During this audio, I also record a video which is below. This is literally the busiest day at the park I have ever seen. Ever.

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    I also recorded a video near the beginning, just to show the numbers of people at the park … video here [click to begin!]:

     

    Music: “Acoustic Blues,” thanks to Jason Shaw, https://bit.ly/2pZvbyu

    Donations to support these audios and keep them free 🙂 https://gum.co/DuckPonderingsaudios

    Audio: All The Stuff

    This is an audio clip from Sober Podcast #222 sent to sober podcast members.

    When J sent me an email that said this: “I use all the supports, I do it all. But then a switch flips and I’m drinking…” I just had to reply.

    The difference between what our brain says we’re doing, versus what we’re doing… that’s what I talk about here.

    Can you see how this audio applies to something in your life? lemme know.

    P.S., here’s the response from J after she listened: “Thank you. Wow. Awesome. I listened once and will listen again and take notes and email you and make lists. You are right on all accounts … My head is spinning now. I’m going to work up a plan and I will email it to you. Thank you so much for this. I needed to hear it.”

     

    below i’ve posted a 3 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.

     

     

    Download the entire podcast episode #222

    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).

     

    Duck Ponderings 007 – The Bracelets

    Duck Ponderings 007 – The Bracelets. It started with me wanting a bracelet that I could wear (and that I did wear), and the second one came about because I heard a voice while flying (no shit). And there’s a video I filmed at the end, with the man and his yellow bucket, bailing out the boats.

     

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    video here [click to begin!]:

     

     

    Links mentioned:

    • Elle Schoenberger podcast episodes 71-74 and 96-99 > link
    • All bracelets — Fuck You Wolfie in both aluminium and silver, the Stay Here bracelet in brass and silver, and the Not Today bracelet with the good capital “O” > link
    • The Stay Here original story which WAS just after my one year soberversary > link
    • Stones fundraising page (with all proceeds going to a homeless shelter that accepts, men, women, gay, straight, transgender, and their dogs  > link

    Music: “Acoustic Blues,” thanks to Jason Shaw, https://bit.ly/2pZvbyu

    Donations to support these audios and keep them free 🙂 https://gum.co/DuckPonderingsaudios

    Duck Ponderings 005 – The Husband

    In this Duck Ponderings episode I talk about husbands. Why don’t i talk about the contents of my marriage, does he resent how much time i spend on the sober things, does he read my sober writing every day as i complete it … and what happens when you don’t have children in terms of the ‘projects’ you create to fill the space.

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    I also mention a video that i filmed on sunday morning… video here [click to begin!]:

     

    To see the fiction project that I talk about in this episode, go here: bit.ly/sober-fiction

    Music: “Acoustic Blues,” thanks to Jason Shaw, https://bit.ly/2pZvbyu

    Donations to support these audios and keep them free 🙂 https://gum.co/DuckPonderingsaudios