I wish I could drink as much as I want and not suffer any consequences

from my daily micro-email sent September 12, 2018

if booze is an elevator that only goes down, you can step off now. find the exit. get off and stay off. (sortie is ‘exit’ in french)
original painting #93 here today.

from me:
this is wednesday. we are home after 20 days of working ‘off-site’ while visiting in-laws, and travelling (mostly being lost) in the US. on the way home from the airport yesterday, as I sipped espresso and ate a power bar to try to wake myself up, mr.B says, “I didn’t tell you this before, but there’s a hurricane warning, a million people on standby for evacuation.” He didn’t use these words, of course, because he doesn’t speak english with words like ‘standby’. the reason he hadn’t told me, is because of my long-standing agitation about flying, and the self-imposed blackout on news that i have, but even MORE SO right before a flight. something bad happened in a plane yesterday? i don’t want to know. doesn’t change me having to get on the plane…
i’m easily wound up, so i have to filter the ‘news’ so i don’t get overwhelmed. and i guess husband knows me well enough to not tell me things that’ll exacerbate my shaking with fear, which i did only 3 times the plane yesterday, grabbing his arm. the rest of the time i happily worked on my laptop and unhappily did not eat the profoundly bad food (thanks air canada).
flying, for me, is like being sober. i do my best to keep my head attached even if it means doing things differently from other people. i reach out and bruise my husband’s arm when required, not often, but i do. when the anxiety stops, i go back to my shitty meal or my laptop. i don’t dwell. though why they continue to serve the shitty meal while it’s bumping around, i have no idea — oh wait, it’s because the bumping around is trivial — it doesn’t mean anything. the flight crew are bored with it. they keep pouring coffee…
i want to share more of the ‘stay here’ philosophy that developed on a bumpy flight in the next email, but also i’ve got some new mantras that i now say during times of anxiety…

some notes from my inbox:

pippa: “just want to say thank you for your emails. They make me feel like I’m in a posse of people who are doing this amazing thing. When I feel on the periphery of the world — cos it looks like everyone else is merrily drinking (even though I know logically this is not the case) — knowing that there are other women [and men] who have made the same excuses, wondered if they were making a mistake going AF (because, you know, I’m not THAT bad), and who go from feeling on top of the world about their decision to feeling shit and weird — makes the difference. Something has shifted for me fundamentally so I’m 10% conflicted but 90% happy and that part of me keeps getting bigger and more certain.  It used to be the other way round. I feel like I’m in a cool gang now.”

~

sobriety shingles: “I’m so glad mr b is enjoying doing this, I love them. Does he know how much the the little exit sign helps us? What it communicates to us? How evocative it is? I’d like to order more, I hope he doesn’t tire of this theme yet, I sure haven’t! Thank you, Belle, for everything.  Et merci monsieur b.”

~

S: “Hi Bella, I don’t normally reply to your emails … the main reason I am a lurker is because I don’t yet fully believe I have an issue with alcohol (although maybe I do since I am here!). I’m more of a binge drinker 2-3 times a week rather than a every day drinker. Which I know is just as bad but I have been reading your emails and I feel that I am starting to see the light …  it’s now Thursday (here in New Zealand) and I have yet to drink again since last Saturday, not because I have stopped myself but because I just don’t want to! seriously this is such a new feeling for me and a lot to take on board especially since I am actively working to manage my anxiety and depression (meds and psychologist).”

~

DaniZ: “honestly, i just feel angry tonight. At the end of the lesson, you have the ‘take a moment and imagine day 140’. I can’t. I DO feel broken, although I liked the part about when you stop drinking, the craving goes away. I know that to be true, but right now, that experience was too long ago, and so the ‘knowing’ is an in my head knowing, not a head AND heart knowing. So yeah, I’m just fucking pissed off right now, and feeling sorry for myself. I have a million and one things to be happy about and grateful for, and I am just heavy in the pout mode. I seriously wish that I could drink as much as I want and not have to suffer any consequences. How fucking childish is that? I’m 48 for god’s sake! Sorry. Totally crappy email, and rather than put it in my journal, I am sending it to you. Which hardly seems like a nice choice, but I am hoping that being honest with my feelings might help.”

broken plumbing, family squabbles, existential crises

from me:
after i sent my earlier message to say thank you I got some really lovely responses, so now i get to say thank you again 🙂

~

doug: “Wow. Humbly, I say you’re welcome. You thanking us.  I wasn’t expecting that. God, thank YOU so  much for everything.
Gratitude, true gratitude is precious. I try to recognize when I am grateful and stop and appreciate it. I realized recently that I felt like I was missing something. I thought about it. I realized that the feeling of gratitude had been absent lately. Not because I had anything less to be grateful for. I’d simply been too busy to appreciate my life. I love this email.  Thank you again. For giving me a reason to pause and give thanks. ~big hugs”

fatgit: “Well, that’s nice, if entirely redundant. Thank you too for giving me a life worth living. X Da”

emsyface: “That’s so good to hear (about mr.B). Makes such a difference when the other person is feeling good about themselves.”

honeybadger: “Just purchased the latest Mr. B work of art. I would have liked to pay more but have been on maternity leave (without getting paid) and daycare expenses start soon so money is tight right now. Didn’t want Mr. B to think it was a reflection on its value. I anticipate going back to work will be hard on many fronts so I plan on keeping the painting at work as a reminder of how far I’ve come. Playing it forward and remembering life in the sewer is always helpful when shit gets rough.”

peewit: “This is really lovely. A bit of a glimpse into belle-world, which I know you share plenty of but this is different, more like the doors opened a bit wider and we can see a bit more of you because this is you in relationship. And of course you don’t spill the guts of your relationship with us generally but as humans are relational beings – whether we like it or not 😉 – seeing how someone else ‘does’ relating is basically a teaching aid. And the way you’re willing to try to support each other, even when there’s struggles and differences and shit going on, that’s a door opening on to a lesson for most of us (most of us being people who do NOT like reaching for our own door handle even when we know we’re trapped). … Thanks so much for sharing belle, bless you and mr belle, xxxxx”

sobersusie: “I somehow missed that these are Mr. B’s creations. Well done! How exciting. Good for him.  May he continue creating! Thank you Belle for your presence in our lives. I hope you go to bed each night and feel you’ve made a difference in people’s lives because you have.”

happygal: “Overjoyed to read this. So happy you and Mr B are feeling fulfilled. We all love you Belle. Thank YOU for the seismic shift you’ve created in the sober world ”

LVL: “You are so special!! Blessed to have heard about you and you help make this struggle and climb easier!! Without Mr B, Mrs B would be different I guess. So in a sense the thanks goes to him for supporting you as well. Wanting to make you proud (like a verrrry young mom in a different country).  Hugs and lots of love from a sober and level LVL x”

fridgkit: “Thank you, Belle, for getting me to Day 36. For make my me believe that each day can be different and better. Thanks for your fiction and Mr. B’s art. And thanks for starting all this yourself, all those years ago. Broken plumbing, family squabbles, existential crises—I’ve weathered them all this week. Knowing you are there has been a big help!”


Exit painting

If booze is an elevator that only goes down, you can exit now. Find the door. Get out. Exit.

These are original EXIT paintings, done by MrBelle. each one is an original, they’re not prints. so there’s only one of each available. to see today’s new painting, go here.

thanks

from my daily micro-email sent August 28, 2018

 

thanks. 
let me start by saying thank you. for all the things.
you know those knots you carry around inside forEVER and then they slowly start to unwind? those knots. sure, you know about them.
that’s how i feel right this minute. un-knotted. (long may it continue!)

i want to say thanks for:
your support while i do this sober thing. you think that i’m doing something for you, but you’re doing something for me — in my coaching calls, in my montreal sober meetup, in my daily emails. i wake up each morning and scroll through my inbox, to see how you’re doing, to see if you have news. to see if you’ve written the song in the sand yet, or cleaned up the cat vomit, or if you’ve travelling home safely from vacation.

i also want to say thanks for the support on the newest addition to the site, the original art from Mr. Belle (who wants to sign his name now as: mr.B).

i don’t share a lot about his life (cuz it’s his life) but let me say this to you and you can read between the lines: he’s painting. evenings and weekends. he’s up and down the stairs to his office (when we’re at home), and now that we’re on vacation, he BROUGHT some of his art stuff in his suitcase to continue here in Canada.

to see him working on vacation is actually lovely. he’s had a slow, hard time with his career for the past 7 years so it’s really been a great thing to see him inspired.
and when THAT happens, it changes the inside of my marriage.
and when THAT happens, i feel ‘relieved’ but also supported. by you. so thank you. from both of us.

i’ll also say thank you to the agent who has asked to read the second draft of the sober fiction book. i’ll say thanks to the Everything list for your support in getting that book done. I’m planning (yes, still) to begin writing a new fiction book in September and i will let you know how you can follow along, too, when the time comes.

if you’re on a booze superhighway, it might be time to exit. if you’re on a booze elevator that only goes down, you can get off now. if you’re in the booze sewer, i promise you it’s better in the sunshine.

if you’re stuck in weird thinking, you can stop drinking and see how you feel.

exit the booze things.
all of them.
alcohol doesn’t suit you.
you’ve tried it.
it’s not for you.

hugs from me


link to original art – Exit 036
exit the sewer, exit the booze elevator.
original art, paintings – not prints – so only one of each available.