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.


Audio: Research and statistics

​This is an audio clip from Sober Podcast #247 sent to sober podcast members.

​Now that we know that the alcohol industry has been funding some of the booze-related research, it just makes me wonder about studies and research in general.

and how most of us (me included) aren't able to determine whether a news article that claims to be based on a study, is actually ​fact, if it's been skewed, who paid for it, and what is the underlying agenda of the news media writer, or the original researcher.

in this audio, i start off ranting about booze research, and then I think that before i get myself into too much trouble, i will share some of my own biases, thought process, and numbers. how many people had i been penpals with before it was a paid thing? how many people did i interact with, see patterns, offer cheerleading to, before i started talking about what i saw? listen to this and find out.

see if there's something in here that rings true to you. other than the visual of me standing on my balcony with cold feet, wearing my pyjama bottoms and sweater, holding a clip-on microphone to my mouth. I also tell you about the little girl with the yellow raincoat that I see from the window.

​I have posted below the ENTIRE 22 minute audio for this podcast, and I will leave this link available for ​24 hrs only. ​Have a listen now. all i ask in return is that you post an anonymous message in the comments. If you’d like to be able to hear this again, ​you can use the link to sign up at the bottom of the post.

​Comments from subscribers:

Inspired (day 606): "​I feel the same way about research, critical thinking, agenda behind it and bias. Years ago, wolfie loved hearing research that wine was heart healthy and resveratrol in red wine was good for me. BRING IT ON, he said, we will just moderate drink. This topic reminds me of an interview with Katie Couric, a news anchor, I read a few days ago in the airplane magazine on a flight. She speaks about the difference in reporting on information versus affirmation. Are we only looking to affirm our beliefs in order to empower or strengthen them, or can we allow information in when we may not agree with it completely? Critical thinking and continuing to ask the questions around agendas and bias is important ..."

Jacci2 (day 82; medical professional): "​... as a general rule, I ALWAYS take research cited by any journalist with a huge lump of salt. If I really want to know something, I'll go look up the research article myself and read it to discern whether or not it was a good study, whether or not it is generalizable to the public (they often are not, the journalist just extrapolates the data to apply to everyone even though the study group is limited and very specific), and who funded it. This drives me crazy. Journalists are not scientists and they make their own assumptions from the research and feed it to a gullible public. RANT ALERT! I had to do this recently for my boyfriend. His mom was all concerned about some article in a magazine about one of the meds he was taking for heartburn, saying it was going to give him kidney failure. I pulled up the original article, and it turns out the findings were only relevant if you are over the age of 65, are obese, have diabetes, and are already showing signs of kidney failure ​..."

If you sign up for the monthly podcast subscription, this audio will be the FIRST one you get, if you sign up today (Tuesday). ​Then you can listen again. Save the MP3 file. Listen on repeat.

Sign up for the monthly podcast membership here
 (1-2 new audios per week, you can cancel whenever you like ... but you won't. more sober tools = good)

inside your head [one minute message #300]

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 
  • Get them on Stitcher > link
  • or search for 'Belle Sober Message' on whatever podcast platform you use

  • Are you looking for longer sober podcasts?

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

    try new things

    I don't know how to say this so that you can hear me.

    It's not just about starting again on day 1.

    It's not just about saying "today is my new day 1."

    It's about changing something.

    Because if what you've been doing up to now isn't working, then you need to do something different.

    It's not just 'try harder'. It's 'try different'.

    If we are penpals, and you email me and say "today's my new day 1," I'm going to thunk you and say...

    What are you changing?

    Because you don't want to hang around day 1 anymore. And you want things to be different. And you're emailing a sober coach, so you want her opinion, because if you didn't, you'd just not tell me! 

    So when you tell me "I'm on day 1," it would be incredibly bad form—and not fair—if I support you having a new day 1  without changing anything. That wouldn't be fair to you. It'd probably be irresponsible on my part, too. 

    ​Because this booze thing can get worse and worse.

    We don't want that to be you and we don't want that to happen to you. 

    It's not just having a new day 1 ... having a new day 1 is fabulous, don't get me wrong.

    You need a new day 1 AND you need to add some new things because what you've been doing up to now hasn't been enough. 

    And you want to move away from here, so you're going to do some new things now. 


    If you would like some ideas on what you can add, so that you stop repeating the day 1 cycle, send me an email ​and i'll send you some links to things. hugs from me

    I have transcribed this text from the (FREE) one minute audio message #168: New Things. ​ 

    • Get these ​one-minute messages on Gumroad > link
    • Get these one-minute messages on iTunes (apple podcast) > link 
    • Get them on Stitcher > link
    • or search for 'Belle Sober Message' on whatever podcast platform you use

    Are you looking for longer sober podcasts?

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

    “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.


    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.

    Download the entire podcast episode 
    #213: Compliance

    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)

    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.



    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,

    Donations to support these audios and keep them free 🙂

    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.




    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,

    Donations to support these audios and keep them free 🙂

    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.



    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:

    Music: “Acoustic Blues,” thanks to Jason Shaw,

    Donations to support these audios and keep them free 🙂

    sock feet

    resistance. wolfie voice. ‘don’t want to, can’t make me’.

    i feel this way all the time, especially when starting something new. you’ll be able to relate. it’s exactly like the period of time before (and just after) day 1.

    i don’t want to do this, i don’t care if it’ll change me, i don’t care if i’ll ‘evolve’, i just want to sit here and do this, no movement, no growth. fuck that growth thing, who needs to evolve? lots of people are happy with nothing, doing nothing, i can be one of those people.

    oh i can be one of those people. i can aspire to a night of reruns and bottles. i can roll out of bed to begin drinking again. who wants to go move into something new – no matter what it is.

    i can pour alcohol on my head so that i don’t aspire to be anything more than someone who sits in front of the computer, with just one glass, with just one bottle, ok open the second one but don’t let me have more than a glass. or two. i can pour alcohol on my head SO THAT i don’t remember that i wanted to evolve, to grow, to do new things.

    you know this feeling:

    sunday morning, day off, leisure time, free from concern. and then you remember that you have something planned at 2 pm. argh, right in the middle of the day. can you cancel? well it’s a think you’ve really wanted to do for a long time, and you know once you get there you’ll be totally excited. what you can’t tell from home, still in your sock feet, is that at that 2 pm thing, there’s a door that opens into something else new, that you can’t even foresee. what you CAN see is your feet and your socks and your living room. but there’s a big world OUT there. and it takes a bit of a push to get to the 2 pm thing.

    now you’re going to argue (wolfie) that maybe the 2 pm thing is dumb and who cares, and you’ll just do it next weekend.

    and i say: you know that you want this because you’ve been online reading about it. you’ve been listening to audios. you know that this is the thing. you know it. you’ve tried other things. you’re afraid of something new AND you’re in a place of inertia AND you think that staring at your socked feet is an activity.

    it isn’t.

    evolving into a better version of you?

    um, yeah. that trumps reruns and bottles. it does.

    it does.

    it does.

    it does.

    and you know it.

    or you wouldn’t be here 🙂


    from me: I'm working on writing a sober fiction book, and i think i'm going to work this INTO the novel...