i’m not perfect and don’t know it all

broadway (nashville). there is live music in probably 30 different places in a 4-block strip. some places with more than one band playing at a time. this photo is ‘outside’ – and this video link is ‘inside’ Ole Red where we had pulled pork quesadilla for lunch …

HonestJoy: “Belle, we touched on this in our coaching call (which I really appreciated and enjoyed the mini therapy:), by the way)…

Why am I emailing you every 4 hours? Because you recommended it, and I want to stop, and what I’ve been doing before obviously didn’t work. I want to give myself every chance to succeed. It’s a small thing, and easy, why would I be against it? Its not like you are asking me to wear a sign that says “I drink more than I want.” I decided to trust you.

Why is this working for me? I want to stop drinking. It’s a reminder to myself that I want to stop. It helps to reach out to someone outside myself and to hear back from you. It works with a bunch of other small things that add up.

Why don’t other people do it if it works? I can’t really know, but I think my unwillingness to do even simple things is partly laziness, and partly anger that I have this problem that might actually take some work to resolve. I might have to accept I’m not perfect and don’t know it all, that the way I’ve been doing things my whole life needs some adjusting in order for my life to continue “working” in a good way. What worked before doesn’t work now. So I have to change. I don’t (didn’t) want to. Thank you! honestjoy”

 


“I’m not lookin’ for a good time
I’m just lookin’ for the exit sign.”

www.artsober.com

eachdayitgetsalittleeasier

nashville takes footwear and music very seriously. sometimes combined in the same space.

 

email from Faith2019: “Hi Belle. Well when I went ice skating the other day I had a really bad fall and hurt my arm. Couldn’t move it and I thought it was broken. Went to ER. no broken bones thank god but still a lot of pain. I guess what I am comparing it to is stopping drinking. Each day it gets a little easier — and I said to myself when my arm is back to the way it was, I am going to appreciate it so much and treasure it and try to never hurt it again !!!!! Because this sucks.

So as not drinking gets easier everyday, I don’t want to go back and hurt myself again and start healing All over!!!! Just like this freakin arm.”

 

​Painting #406 has been posted for sale. 
Here’s how it looked on the wall at the Tennessee Art Show in Knoxville 🙂 (May 9-11). This photo was taken the day before, during set up, so D’s desk is still in the picture, and the garbage cans were later moved! But i wanted you to see how it looked with the others 🙂
artsober.com

does doing what’s right even matter?

from my inbox:

JK: “Hi Belle: I have a sister who is three years younger than me … She is very popular and social. I am ummmm — not that. I went to college; she did not. She married at 21; I married at 31. Although we are different, we are friends and quite close. Beth’s life is not as stable as my life. She and her husband do not make as much money; two of her three kids struggle in school; she and her husband do not have good financial skills — lots of phones being shut off, credit card debt, and they actually just left their house one day and moved somewhere else. I’m sure it ended up in foreclosure. My divorced parents continue to support her and her children financially, and they try to hide it from me. … They have paid for nothing for me ever in my life since I went to college at 18 (which they did not pay for). …

I try to be happy that our family is honest and independent and teaching our two children important and positive life lessons BUT I’m upset, and it’s not fair, and I’m 43, and my sister is 40, and it continues to happen over and over. My dad has been sober for 13 years, and he is actually one of the reasons that I thought quitting drinking would be good idea, and he has been so supportive. I texted him today and said Beth just shared that you were paying for their trip to Florida. Ten minutes later, he wrote: Shit happens.

I’m a little in shock and so upset, and I want to drink because it sucks, and why the hell am I even trying to do anything right because it doesn’t even matter. My sister has done some of the stupidest shit in her life, and she continues to get bailed out! Also, I know my dad would be disappointed if I started to drink again, and I kind of want to just to piss him off because really Fuck You…

I’m not going to drink, but I’m pissed that guzzling alcohol is my first thought. Then, I wonder: Does doing what’s right even matter? I guess I want some type of reward. Like here’s a vacation for consistently making good choices. I don’t even know what I want actually. Some type of sign that I’m doing what’s right.”

me: ok. you can delete this message from me after you read it and you can hate me. but here goes.

     There is no ‘fair’ with siblings. interpersonal relationships are complicated and there is no score card of ‘you get this and she gets that’. If your parents give your sister stuff it’s because (a) she’s got issues, and they’re worried about her and the grandkids and (b) they feel guilty that she’s got issues; they believe they did something wrong by her.

nothing to do with you.

someone gets a promotion, you don’t, nothing to do with you.

someone gets money, you don’t, nothing to do with you.

you don’t want their fucking money because it would come with strings and expectations and demands and implied criticism and control. if you were your sister, I’d be suggesting that you turn down their money and take care of yourself. which is what YOU are doing. you are taking care of you and what your sister does or doesn’t do has NOTHING to do with you and your husband. this is your family now. your family is the little cool one you built around you.

you don’t email your father and say ‘what about me’. instead, you feel sorry for your sister. she’s got stuff that’s fucked up and everyone knows it. including her. she’s probably super jealous of you. even if she’s loud and you’re not. you have your shit together. AND you’re sober 🙂 you fucking rock. is that enough swearing?
love 🙂 and hugs,  me

JK: “Hi Belle: I cried when I read this message; I’m going to print it out and carry it with me and read it all the time. You absolutely nailed it; are you sure that you don’t know me in person? I want to say more, but I don’t know how to say the words. Thank you; I felt validated, yet I also understood how it’s not about me. Also, on a drinking note: totally not drinking.

 


shameless commercial link. i don’t think these links work any more. no one clicks on them. nobody gives a shit about links or clicking or shameless shit. maybe these shameless commercial links should be shame-full commercial links. links to shameful stuff like porn. How about this link? you did it, right? you clicked on the porn link… ok, how about this one then.


lunch. toasted sesame bagel, fancy mustard, turkey that actually tastes like turkey, some kind of original pickle, and iced coffee 🙂 from paysan bread (bagel) and remedy coffee, two places located side by side, and you can eat your bagel in the coffee store. they’re nice like that.


(knoxville tennessee; thanks to Gem64 via the tiny gift fund)

it feels natural now

photo from nashville restaurant Ole Red, upstairs by the bathrooms.

from my inbox:

email from sohocat (day 246): “I am sober. I am using my toolkit. Sleep again to the rescue! Came home from work on Friday and slept three hours. Just wanted to put my head down for a minute but it was just what I needed …

My one Wolfie moment was between the [event] and the restaurant when our visiting friend said, “I need a margarita” and for a second, my old WINEWINEWINE reflex kicked in, but then I realized I was just tired and thirsty and the restaurant has sugary fruit mocktails and yummy fries, which is what I was really craving 🙂 It also felt good to just have that juice drink and Perrier at dinner when his daughter gave him a look when he ordered his second margarita. He told her he was “just celebrating” … But I was celebrating by being present and it feels natural now. No one questioned me. Not judging our friend, but I know what it’s like to be where he is and it just makes me feel compassion….

self care = being able to be present = needing alone time = self care = being able to be present. I like that math. It’s working. xo, sohocat”

me: this is so true. the ‘I’m celebrating’ – when really what he’s saying is ‘I’d like to celebrate you by being half (or totally) numb, not really here, not really listening, not really present, and then say things I won’t remember, and if I did I’d regret them.’ yeah, that sounds like FANTASTIC celebrating, doesn’t it.

[update: she’s on day 963 today]


NEW PAINTING POSTED

​This painting was selected to go to the Tennessee Art Show in Knoxville Tennessee (May 9-11, 2019) … 🙂

It’s now available on the site.

link > www.artsober.com


sober support paintings MAILED to Connecticut, England, New Jersey, & Texas
        

 

link > www.artsober.com

I went straight back to my old ways

email from L (sent on a monday): “Hi Belle, feeling very sad with myself today as on Thursday I celebrated getting to 100 days. I then decided and really believed that I could try moderation. On Thursday itself I had one glass of red poison and thought, yes I can do it.

But with no rules, no 100 days anymore, I was like a wild horse with devilment in me so by Saturday I was overexcited about my night out. I went STRAIGHT back to my old ways: 3 pints of beer, 2 massive wines, another beer, vodka, red wine then I even went more downhill and did another substance that was on offer … I would never have done that if I was sober. Thank fuck there were no random men issues this time. Went to sleep 6am Sunday morning. Still feel like shit tonight Monday 9:40 pm. My anxiety is sky high, I have had to cancel everything and lie to everyone that I have a migraine. I’m scared to go shopping.
So that was just great.

However, now I’m going to start again cos I know I can do it. But this time I’m doing until the end of this year, and beyond. If one good thing can come out of my terrible behaviour it’s that I’m more determined and certain that I don’t drink anymore. Not a little bit. None.

Do a lot of people make the decision to try moderation after the 100 days and then end up like me?”

 



videos:

two FB live videos from May 8th …  one about self-soothing with netflix, the other about misplaced gin at 11:30 a.m.

 


travelling. photo taken on the tiny 29 minute flight from atlanta to knoxville, TN. The clouds look very ‘close’ and free-standing.

 

shameless commercial link: bonus photo of Paris being mailed to podcast subscribers in May. you can go do that now. audiosober.com

 

 

time to change some shit

email from capt e (day 59):  
“I was talking to my karate instructor last night, told her I was having trouble getting the moves in the next kata I am learning, she said why are you trying to learn a new kata, you need to master the one before, it’s not about how many katas you know.  Stop, don’t do anything new, just practice, practice, practice your other katas until they are automatic, then learn just a small bit of the next kata and practice that.
Hmmmm. What does that sound like? I feel like the whole universe is giving me the same [sober] advice: Don’t do too much. Practice what you know so far, the things that are working, until they are automatic, then take on only small bits of new things.
Thank you Belle, domo arigato Shee-han, thank you Universe.”

~

www.artsober.com

anonymous confession booth: sex

step right up. for two days 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 type Anonymous as your name and put in a fake email (fakeemail123@gmail.com) 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.

 


 

this special edition painting #344, there is only one available. potential. your potential changes when you’re sober. link here > https://gumroad.com/l/Exit-344

I fully recognize that I cannot go on like this

email from MDC (day 17): “Yup, things crashing down around me but the sober momentum has me in a good place and able to handle – that’s the good news. Bad news, Im having a real bad time with eating well i know, i guess i let it ride for 30 days and not worry about that. Big Holiday weekend coming up … I will stay busy!! Thanks Belle!”

me checking in 3 weeks later: just wondering how you’re doing.

MDC: “So nice to see your email today … I did not want to email while i was struggling. I’d be good for a week or more, then horrible..Now I feel beaten down. I fully recognize that I cannot go on like this, but I still do not know how to maintain a good solid period of time. I know i have to get some therapy, but this task alone is incredibly daunting. How am i going to find a perfect stranger, who is the right fit, who can help? How will i afford that? I know i can’t go on like this though. I can drink normally for some time and then comes the binge, the panic attack, racing heart and 3 of 7 nights a week of complete + utterly horrific insomnia. Why would i do something that i know causes that condition??? When i get to that point, then i get scared, like oooh maybe this is a very serious problem. I wish i could do this with your program. If i sign up for more, what would that look like? Am i too far gone because I’ve done this sooo many times??? Does that automatically qualify me for “lost cause” 🙁 well probably a lot of questions here that you cannot answer. But today im thinking that it is day 1. Thanks for reaching out Belle. Hugs!”

me: sweet pea, sober support isn’t something you earn by being sober. you don’t have to be on a certain day to email. perhaps sober support is something that helps you to BE sober. if you’re able to go for a week, that’s good, you can build on that. you add in some more supports and tools. what you’re doing now is good but it’s not quite enough. you can set up some calls with me until you get a counsellor you like. you can see your doctor about a short trial of medication. you can email 4 times a day for the first 2 weeks. you can get away from day 1 and feel better.
you’re not a lost cause if you restart, and add new things each time you restart. but you can’t just declare a day 1 and have that be enough. the noise in our head is too loud. you have to declare day 1 AND add new things/change what you’re doing.
so maybe if what you’ve been doing isn’t quite enough yet, then you can do more things. that might mean meetings. medication. calls. audios. reading. writing. treats. sleep. and a lot more accountability. if you had calls set up with me once a week for 6 weeks, that might help get you going … I know you don’t WANT to do any of this. but you want to be sober. so you do some new things now. and get away from day one. hugs


below this line you will find shameless commercial links which you should completely ignore 🙂


A: “Here’s the thing. my “stay here” bracelet  keeps me going. May 2nd will be one year. I know it’s not the bracelet itself, but the visual reminder, or visual cheerleader, is what helps.” [in gold] [in brass]


video:
 there’s a nice 3-minute video here about global magnets.
https://www.facebook.com/tiredofdrinking/videos/1124757534394128/

 

kids screaming and yelling about needing breakfast

from Kelley (day 15):

“Hey Belle. So, it’s Saturday morning and I REALLY wish I would have drank last night. I so wish I would have gotten that half hour of a buzz that I think is the holy grail, followed by hours of empty calorie consumption, getting to the point that I don’t really care what I say or do (or text or Facebook), then getting into a fight with my husband because it’s 1 a.m. and I want to stay up and watch another movie and drink more. I sure wish I would have woken up on the couch with all my clothes on at 5 a.m. because my husband gave up trying to get me to come upstairs. I really missed out on that middle of the night parched mouth so I claw my way to the kitchen to gulp down 3 glasses of water like I will die if I don’t. Man, I wish I would have gotten to experience that shameful moment when I remember that I drank way too much even though I hadn’t planned on it. And oh, boy. This morning? I sure missed my kids coming in and screaming and yelling about needing breakfast, with a pounding head and an inability to get up, so I tell them to just scrounge up some cereal for themselves while I go back to “sleep,” which is really just closing my eyes for another hour while I wince in pain and berate myself for WHY I drank that much for the millionth time. I’m really going to be sad the rest of today that I’m not simultaneously feeling all physically horrible and mentally tortured by what a terrible mother I am, all the while wanting it to be 5:00 so I can do it again! WTF? It IS insanity. Note to self: Sober is better. Now if I can just get that tattooed onto my crazy brain, that would be awesome…Day 15.”

~

shameless commercial link. i have hand-selected a collection of audios to help you specifically with the idea of “why is this hard, why am i thinking about FOREVER, i don’t trust myself, I feel nervous, but I want to keep going.”  link here

 

 

[Audio] My Chat with Janey Lee Grace from “Alcohol Free Life”

​Last November when I was in London, Janey Lee Grace interviewed me for her 'not-yet-released' new podcast. Well now it's released 🙂 and I'm episode #13.

​We talk about ​sober coaching, what it's like to have a voice in your head that thinks that drinking is a good idea, and some tips on things that can help. 


​This podcast will also be sent out ​to podcast subscribers ​ as episode 302.


You can listen to the complete audio here.​ Our interview starts at about the 5 minute mark ...

​Sober Podcast 302. My Chat with ​Janey Lee Grace 

You can ​leave a comment below, anonymous is fine. If you've heard the entire audio, you can tell me if you heard anything new ​... To download the entire audio, you can use the link below.

Sign up for my ​podcast membership
(1-2 new full-length audios each ​week, you can cancel whenever you like ... but you won't. more sober tools = good)

​This is painting #373, Stay here, stay sober, stay focussed, stay here.