anonymous confession booth: things we can’t control

step right up. for one day only, i’m creating an anonymous sober confession booth on the subject of “things we can’t control”.

I want to focus on things we need to let go of. Like crazy in-laws, compulsive behaviours, and those people you are forced to visit where you’re afraid to eat in their homes because you’re not sure if you’ll get food poisoning or not. “I just scraped off the mould, they say.”

This came to me because of a one-on-one call i had with a sober penpal this week. We are all carrying around this backpack of rocks of things we just need to let go of.

i personally hate dwelling in the past — unnecessarily. Yes, sometimes we have to excavate. But i don’t want to wallow. And there’s a very fine line between the two. And then there’s the shame. and the guilt. yeah.

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. Promise.
  4. In your comment, write two or three sentences (max.) about something that you’d like to stop in your life, some weight you’ve been carrying around, that being sober is going to help you let go of. For example, i’ll make one up: “I’d like to step out of the way of my crazy MIL and just recognize that she’s a flawed human and it’s my job to remove myself from her reach.” OR “I have been a compulsive laundry freak, the clothes I wore today must be clean and folded every night when I go to bed. Now that i’m sober I’m going to let that go. I don’t need to be in control of my laundry anymore. I’m going to let it go.”
  5. Then take a second and post an anonymous ‘reply’ to ONE of the other comments already posted, and say something comforting, consoling, forgiving, kind. Pick a comment where someone hasn’t replied to them yet.

i have a feeling that this will unfold in a lovely way. because you’re all lovely people. and we all have a backpack of rocks that we’d like to put down, right? What’s in your backpack?

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.

Audio: Dating

This is an audio clip from Sober Podcast #219 sent to sober podcast members.

Rehc asked for a personalized audio about dating, as a sober person, especially when you meet someone magical and think “holy, this is the one!” I have a mix of softy-softy and kick-ass in this audio, and am a bit more kick-ass-y than usual.

 

below i’ve posted a 2 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.

 

Feedback from listeners:

Fridgkit: “I liked the dating podcast. As a married person … married couples ‘date’ other couples. Like the pair my husband and I had dinner with that love wine-pairing tasting menus. It’s easy to let Wolfie trick you into ‘you have to be able to drink a little, or there won’t be anyone you can socialize with.’ Not true. Or if it is true, you need new friends.”

 

 

Download the entire podcast episode #219

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).

 

when i don’t drink, i feel better about me

written at 9:30 a.m. local time

today i’m proud of myself. it’s silent, early morning, up before most of the locals on a holiday. the upstairs neighbours are away. quiet. i can actually hear birds, it’s like the shortest day of the year has really passed, and we’re into something new.

it’s not raining. it’s warmer than seasonal which is a gift. my husband who has been sick since the day before the vacation started, is still in bed, still sick. man flu + coughing so much you throw out your back. yes, that’s him. but right now, he’s quiet too, and asleep. when i tell him he doesn’t cough when sleeping, he doesn’t find this curious. i do.

my emotions are in charge of everything i do. if i feel frisky, i make bread and do the dishes. if i feel slighted, i sulk and listen to business podcasts with both earphones in, sorry, can’t hear you. when i like my life, i make dinner. when i’m a slug, we have frozen meals from the frozen-meal-store, which is actually quite good, compared to north american standards. it’s not lean cuisine. it’s actual food. just frozen.

if i feel proud of myself, i keep doing the same things that make me feel good.

and as this new year unfolds, unspools, like a roll of film in front of me, i get to pick where i walk. i decide how many days i go outside (i work from home!). how many times i make dinner. how many times i drink juice. i get to decide whether i want to write a sober fiction book. i get to decide if i learn new things. if i play video games. if i sit in the bathtub.

you’re the writer of this new film, the one called “Me 2018.” you’re also the actor, the stage director, and the costumer. you get to decide what to wear, today i;m here in my plaid pj bottoms and my sober fuzzy socks. i get to choose between all-butter croissants or ‘croissants ordinaires‘ (never pick the latter).

i get to reach out for tools and supports that make me feel better about my life. i remember that how i think about things changes them. the rainy sidewalk becomes shiny with reflected light when i’m in the right mood, and can also be sludgy black and dark on another day. i pick the shiny. i pick the 80% that’s good. there’s something going on right now in your life, in mine, that sucks anus rocks. I’m not discounting my shittiness. i’m focussing on the good parts. and on the parts that i can control. starting with how i feel about me.

and when i don’t drink, i feel better about me. so i’m going to continue doing that.

happy new you 🙂

==

Comments from advance readers:

Jazzie (day 401): “And you inspire me!! … You’ve given me a new way to look at things and life though I’ve thought this was before, your way makes more sense to me. Thank you Belle. Happy New Year!!!”

Flyaway (day 192): “Before your blog I never thought about ‘changing perspectives’ or ‘reframing thoughts’. These tools have changed my life. I’m excited for this new year! Thank you for inspiring me!


~ and welcome to everyone who has found me through Catherine Gray … she’s penpal #270 and is on day 1570 today!


Would you like a sober penpal for a year?

Sober Jumpstart class re-opens today
with a limit of 11 available spots
Today
Monday January 1st
www.soberjumpstart.com

 

Audio: Community

Happy Merry HoHo.

I wanted to share this full-length episode from my sober podcast series. It’s called “Community” (SP231) and it’s about an hour long!

why does online sober support work? and how does it work … like, what is it about having a community of sober people that helps us to feel not so alone.

Well wrap yourself in a blanket, and come listen to this audio. I talk about community (on my site, and in general), and then we start talking about the politician Anthony Weiner and some difficulties he’s had with sexting.

What’s the relationship between sexting and over-drinking? He’s clearly a very smart guy. Funny, self-deprecating, with a voice in his head that says …

Well, you can listen to the audio and find out.

The reason for sharing this today, is so that over the next 48 hrs, if you need a bit sober community, you can dip in here for 10 minutes at a time, and soak up some support 🙂

[ link removed ]

HOMEWORK:

after you listen, post a comment and tell me what phrase from this audio is an a-ha moment for you. Something that you’ve maybe heard before, but today you REALLY heard it. Loud and clear.

 

Download the Community audio here

Sign up for the monthly podcast subscription
(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).

==

show notes / podcasts mentioned:

  • Orchids & Dandelions Part 1, and Part 2
  • Lindsay Lohan and Oprah, here
  • Link to be a podcast subscriber, here
  • Empathy for Addiction, here

 

==

comments from listeners:

T: “Sober Community, particularly the online kind, works for me because I don’t feel like I fit in the rooms of AA but I can’t do this on my own but people without a Wolfie voice can’t support me because they don’t get it. That is why I podcasts and websites like yours and the others I use are vital tools to help me have that sober community. Thank you so much Belle for all you do :)”

J: “I think you talking about how you run your thing explains why it works; another forum soberistas didn’t really work. I struggled with posting as I cared too much about replies and posts can be alienating.”

The power of the earth behind me

From Sober in Richmond (The Solstice Guy): “I started my 100 Day challenge on Winter Solstice [and is celebrating 3 years sober tomorrow] … If there is anyone out there who needs some motivation to start – perhaps they can do the Solstice to Solstice. It really helped me to have the power of the whole darn earth behind me rather than a day or date on a calendar. I like Winter to Summer because the days get longer, and each day brings about more promise and more hope. It’s an incredibly magical thing, the Solstice to Solstice!”

Imagine it’s the shortest day of the year (tomorrow in the northern hemisphere). Imagine you’re sober starting tomorrow, December 21st. It can be your Day 1 or maybe it’s your Day 50. Or 400. Doesn’t matter. Can you see yourself sober on June 21st? Summer Solstice. Stand here. Look ahead 180 days. Because if you think the view from day 100 is great, wait until you see 180 days.

  • If you’d like to be sober from Solstice to Solstice, you can put a comment below.
  • Audios to listen to for Solstice to Solstice? Receive one archived podcast every 2 days for 180 days. That’s 90 audios in total, starting with SP001 Accepting Help all the way to SP090 Magical Time. Audios discounted 40%

I like the idea of having the ‘whole darn earth behind me’ – how about you?

This year I will stop …

As part of your re-engage with sobriety campaign, today we’re going to talk about things to STOP doing.

you know that overwhelm is something to avoid. at the risk of being a pretentious shit, let me quote from my own book (says every pretentious shit, ever):

(page 88): Your job is to reduce overwhelm. All around you, there are lists of things to do and when you first quit drinking you are going to take it easy. You will shower once a day, try not to get fired, and skip everything else.
Thinking that you need to push or force yourself to do things is a holdover from your drinking time, when you were hungover and you made yourself do things to prove that you didn’t have a problem. You wanted to make yourself look normal. You took on more than you could reasonably do, so that you looked high-functioning, so that nobody knew how much you were drinking, and so no one could detect how you felt about yourself.

For today, I would like you to put a comment on this blog post of something that you are NOT going to do as part of your Christmas/Holiday celebrations this year. You’re going to make 3 kinds of cookies instead of 10. You’re going to skip midnight mass and go in the morning. You’ll do ‘christmas mugs’ instead of ‘stockings’. You’ll order chinese food on christmas eve (my mother used to do this!).

We’re always looking to ADD new traditions to our holiday season, but for today, i want you to consider what you can give up, in order to help you feel less overwhelmed. You don’t have to be clever or original, you just have to be real. If you can’t think of anything, then copy this: “to help myself avoid overwhelm – which is a boozer’s biggest trigger – i’m going to skip making Christmas Eve dinner and have pancakes instead.”

My blog allows anonymous comments, so you don’t have to fill in your name/email address if you don’t want to.

And to bribe you to participate, to support your sobriety, and encourage you to speak up, I will RANDOMLY select ONE comment from this blog post about 24 hrs from now, and that person will receive a sober toolkit bracelet bracelet for free.

hugs, me

Audio: Social Worker

THIS IS CRITICAL.

Stop what you’re doing.

I want to share with you this full-length episode from my sober podcast series. It’s called “Social Worker” (SP217) and it’s about 40 minutes long.

I originally thought I’d interview a social worker who works as an addictions specialist. Sounds like a good idea, right? And our talk goes well … until it doesn’t. She says some things that I don’t agree with. And at one point it’s a little bit awkward. You need to listen all the way through, because this does NOT go how you think it will.

So below i’ve posted the entire 40 minute podcast. usually i just post a clip but today, thanks to some really lovely donations to the Sober Good Works fund (thanks!), i’m posting this audio for everyone to listen to – even if you’re not a paying podcast subscriber.

 

[ link has been removed ]

 

HOMEWORK:

after you listen, post a comment and tell me what phrase from this audio is an a-ha moment for you. Something that you’ve maybe heard before, but today you REALLY heard it. Loud and clear.

 

Download the Social Worker podcast here

Sign up for the monthly podcast subscription
(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).

==

Comments from listeners:

Ariel: “The social worker podcast. Just amazing. I cringed waiting for each response. My heart was full that your disclaimers and apologies were still followed with straight arrows and truths. I had so much appreciation that you were not swayed by respectable titles, licenses, and professional experience. You both were gracious and I felt so much one-ness with the reality of just how many of us need to be on this road together.”

C: “Addiction and rehabilitation counseling is, at times … a commercial business with boxes to check off that says “yup, talked about that.” Wolfie wasn’t on the list for today… It’s sad rally. And here are more gross overgeneralizations: some counselors can become qualified (at least in the states) with little training compared to that of others in the mental health professions. Even if a counselor has other (better) credentials, they may fall back to a lowest common denominator way of thinking when working with addiction.  Also, there is a lot of pressure to get counselors on staff who can sign off on rehab, probation, and court documents rather than spend time with client in a meaningful way …  You doing work with empathy is a foreign concept for a lot of folks. it is much more subtle, less valued, in this capitalism or other instant gratification things in our culture. It is even seen as weakness. You. The Beatles didn’t invent music, but their take on it changed the way music sounds. I enjoy very much your intuition, original prospective, and encourage you on the path; you help dry academics humanize their therapy — you have a burning question about life, a niche, you explore it with a unique lens.”

Dr. C: “Interview was tricky. You did well. So did your guest. Great listening … hugely polarising and depending on which side you sit you believe, you’re correct. Your guest talked about dialectical thinking (and being a Libra!) and the ability to hold two opposing beliefs at the same time (this is a well established therapeutic tool) but I wonder if in this case it’s like being a little bit pregnant. I can’t help but wonder if more health professionals took your line, if a lot of grief and morbidity would be short circuited. You stuck to your guns. Well done. Made us all proud x … Your voice. Your bluntness and calling bullshit. Your empathy.”

Audio: Lindsay Lohan

This is an audio clip from Sober Podcast #226 sent out yesterday to sober podcast members.

When Lindsay Lohan got out of rehab (for the 6th time?), Oprah made a reality series about her. When i watched Lindsay be interviewed, in a special clip to promote the new show, I wanted to leap through the screen and speak FOR her, to answer the questions Oprah was asking in a completely different way …

This podcast is me reading my original blog post about this, with interjections of what I think about it today.

And I nearly make myself cry at the end.

 

below you can listen to a 2 minute clip from the 20 minute audio, all i ask is that you put in a message below in the comments. If you’d like to listen to the whole 20 minute podcast, you can use the link to download at the bottom of the post.

 

Question:
If you were in Lindsay Lohan’s, how would you have answered Oprah’s question? [I will not moderate posts that are shitty to either Oprah or Lindsay, that’s not the point of this …]

 

 

Download the entire podcast episode #226

Sign up for the monthly podcast subscription
(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).

*Links: Extract of the Oprah interview on YouTube. The original blog post.

 

Audio: Bored

This is an audio clip from Sober Podcast #218 sent to sober podcast members.

K sent me an email, requesting a personalized audio: “I think what I need is something that will help keep me on track at around 3 pm when I’m contemplating the evening ahead and all the time I have to fill in between school pick-ups and dinner and kids’ bedtimes. And then there is 8 pm and I am sitting there twiddling my thumbs, BORED OUT OF MY BRAIN. I can’t always go out and I am yet to find a hobby that I enjoy as much as wine.”

 

below i’ve posted a 1.5 minute clip from the audio, all i ask is that you put in a message below 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.

 

Question:
Is drinking a ‘hobby’? Is life without alcohol boring? What do you do with all this new time?

 

 

Download the entire podcast episode #218

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).

Comment from listener SamiM: “Just listened to audio 218 Bored, oh my goodness I loved it. Was contemplating drinking today, you know why bother trying not to drink its too hard, I am hopeless, lost cause, who am I kidding. After listening to this audio I thought no, I am going to push thru & get away from day 1 as you said!”