calm within

from me:
on the flight home from canada, i had my usual truly-agitated moments. to be fair, flying sober is WAY better than it used to be. before i’d be sick with worry before, during and after, EVEN WHEN things were calm (anticipatory anxiety). now when i fly, i’m temporarily jiggled, ONLY to do with something that is specifically currently happening in the present, and then i reset back to zero as soon as it’s over.
but during, i have some routine things i say to myself. one is Stay Here. and then that has over time morphed into Calm Within.

the cool thing about ‘calm within’ is the double meaning. it’s ‘let’s feel calm on the inside, shall we?’ but it’s also about finding some calm within the agitation. so i count to 10 and then i force myself to be calm for a few seconds. then i jitter and wiggle for a count of 10, then i force myself to stop. of course, it can be done. the calmness isn’t my natural state but i can do it.

so while mr.B sat eating his steamed chicken and frozen vegetables, i was counting. and untensing.

the other thing about ‘calm within’ is finding the calm patches and relaxing when they happen. it’s not 24/7 tense. it’s tense, then oh look it’s smooth for a second, so then you can relax. then it starts up and then it stops again. the goal being to find the calm within the event.
this sort of reminds me of the experience of being in the palliative care ward when Mr. Cinnamon Toast was there. It was shitty. obviously. and there were moments of real sunshine, of laughter, of lobster dinner, of poop jokes.

the other mantra i have is about under-promising. but this is long so i’ll save that one for later today maybe? or tomorrow. Depends on how this hurricane thing goes. calm within. within you. within the event itself. find the tiny breaks.

 



some notes from my inbox:

leener (day 382): “I’m not an ‘art person.’ but i have *some* art in my house. Stuff i see that i like. usually colorful things that speak to me. i don’t know squat about skill or technique or meaning or whatever. so my (not very) snooty assessment of Mr. B’s art is this: i like it. i like to look at it. i like the colors. i like that it means something to me. i like that sometimes, the Exit is hard to find. But it’s there, you just have to keep looking. that’s some deep sober shit. but its also just a pretty thing to look at, and that’s cool too.”

~

amazon sister (day 82): “I had a great day yesterday, met with lovely friends, felt positive about so much. I’m back to feeling some uncertainty today and that may be due to how many life ups and downs I’ve had over the last few years, lots of uncertainty and financial insecurity, etc. and I covered the fear with almost nightly drinks. I’m getting better at feeling these things even though I don’t know what to do about them. I do hold a lot in, maybe checking in more and writing about me feelings will help. I put your duck pond photo on my bathroom mirror tonight and I have 2 of the cards in my current journal that is ready for me to write in. I so appreciate the services you offer, it is truly a special and a wonderful gift, creating better sober lives all over the planet. And what a great compliment Mr. B’s art is to the work! I also really appreciate your email updates, reading how you have everyday struggles is helpful in seeing my own. I hope you are rested and settled back in to being home!”

~

emsyface (day 260): “… I was at the centre, and one of the girls was talking about putting things on the walls to encourage. I imagined one of these paintings — a message to say ‘there is a way through somehow — an exit does exist’ Sometimes it’s about holding that belief for someone when they can’t themselves? Can you tell your hubby how much I like his art ?! xx”

~

W (day 123): “So, shitty news, cancer is growing again. I’m tired of fighting it. Wolfie says cancer is going to kill you anyways, why are you sober? I say I don’t know. Wolfie says why would you go on this epic family vacation with your aunts and uncles to Ireland and not drink with them? I say I don’t know. Wolfie says what’s the point of being alcohol-free? Especially when you know that wine will take the edge off the pain? I say I don’t know.
Sitting in my car crying. I just don’t know anymore. about anything, what’s the freaking point?
i guess when I get too busy and don’t appreciate the life I have the Lord, or the universe, or whoever or whatever’s out there slaps me down to make me appreciate what I have.
and when I tell people in my family that my cancer is growing again, I have to f****** comfort them. Because I’m the caretaker, I’m the mama, I’m the matriarch. Who comforts me? Wolfie? Wine? F*** that.
I actually feel a little better having emailed you because generally I can’t say things like that to people. Thank you for listening, or (as the case may be) reading.”

~

[What do you think I replied to W? Add your ideas below, and then tomorrow I’ll pick the comment that seems closest to what I said (in tone, in content) and that person will get a $20 podcast bundle.]


the artist: Mr. Belle
Acrylic & Ink on paper, unframed, mailed flat
30 x 42 cm (11.75″ x 16.75″)
if booze is an elevator that only goes down,
you can step off now. find the exit.
get off and stay off

Summer Rescue Audios

One new audio each day for 5 days in a row.

Each audio will be 3-5 minutes long. Perfect for a reset, when your brain is running all over the place.

Topics: alternative drinks, how to deal with a fuck-it moment, ‘my sober summer is awesome because …’, dealing with cravings that come out of nowhere triggered by a song/situation/memory, and dealing with triggers books and TV where people are drinking a lot…

Hugs, Belle xo

P.S. If you’re a monthly podcast subscriber,you’ll get a copy of these audios automatically. Not a podcast subscriber? You can do that here if you like. Or just take this one week of audios as a stand-alone thingy.

Sober Summer Rescue Audios … go here 🙂
https://gum.co/SP-Summer-1

[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

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Music: “Ibiza Dream,” thanks to Chris Haugen

Donations to support these audios and keep them free.
On Gumroad > link
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Duck Ponderings 010 – Small Goals

What happens when we try to fix everything at once? I talk about how I use this in other parts of life (sober + writing + running very slowly). And about how I’m bad with endings, and so this won’t be the last episode. I probably have one or two more to go…

 

 

 

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

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

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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)

Sign up for the monthly podcast membership
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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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  • or search for 'Belle Sober Message' on whatever podcast platform you use

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    Sign up for the ​podcast membership
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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).

     

    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 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