dear alcohol: you lied to me

from my inbox

email from TickleMeShelmo (day 26):

“Dear alcohol,

Firstly, this is the hardest decision I’ve ever made, but make it I must. It’s over. We are finished.

For years I thought we were amazing together. Life with you made the world seem more colourful. You made me feel whole, feel important and feel loved by those we met. You have me the strength to do things I’d never have done without you. 

There was a reason for that.

You lied to me, all of this time. Lie after lie after lie. You told me I was funny, but I wasn’t – I was attention seeking and shaming myself and others. I would share secrets and inappropriate and intimate details because you said it was ok. You told me I could do what I liked – but the casual sex, the flirting, the drug taking – it damaged me more than I’ll ever know. You told me that responsibilities were bullshit – and now I’m trying to sort out years of debt and irresponsible decision making.

The whole time I believed you were showing me real life. Life in glorious colour; busy; hectic; fucked up; hedonistic. But it was a lonely, sad life of hidden pain and selfishness.

The things you told me were just bullshit lies to keep me with you. There’s an odd feeling of achievement in the little things in life; clean washing, an early night, a monogamous relationship, a well cooked meal, holding hands with someone you love. Life without you is calm and peaceful. Don’t mix that up with boring – it isn’t. It’s fun. It’s reliable. It’s better.

So this is goodbye. It’s not me – it’s you.”

[update: she’s on day 618 today]



do i have to count days?

Here’s an extract from the  book

do i have to count days

from Clementine: “Why do you think it’s important to have continuous sober time? Why is it more valuable to have 60 days in a row, than to have 29 days, a week off drinking, and then 29 more days (like me)?”


I think day counting is important because each day represents a day when you said NO. You are building a wall between the ‘you’ back there, and the ‘new you’ over here, and so every sober day is a new brick in that wall. 

There are many forums and online communities that have pledges like “let’s plan to do 15 out of 30 days sober this month,” but they are not continuous days.

This doesn’t help us; we don’t get anywhere. On the days we’re not drinking, we are waiting to drink again. It’s like holding your breath and going underwater for a day. 

To me, the reason for a longer goal (100 days) is that you have to actually go forward and learn something. Once you remove the booze, you practise new things like self-soothing, treats, and learning to change the channel in your head. 

If you don’t pay attention to your sober momentum, then any day can be a drinking day or a sober day. By counting, you’re saying to Wolfie: “I’m not doing this. I’m getting the hell out of here. As far as I can, far away from you. One sober day at a time.”


Photos: Book Cover

Photo Assignment: Book Cover

The goal for this assignment was to take a photo of the cover of the book, in any creative way you like.

Thanks to everyone who sent in pictures. I’ll be doing another book cover challenge in May/June so you can start emailing your new photos now!

Three random winners of art/magnet/chocolate. They are #6 The Evangelist, #8 SDBKatz, and #17 Mountain Girl.  If you’re a winner, you can send me your mailing addresses so that I can send you your treats.


Monday Celebration Roundup

Happy Day 50 to JenJen!

Happy Day 50 to wafflehousemomma!

Happy Day 50 to Bug June!

Happy Day 50 to Cowboy!

Happy Day 50 to Goldie!

Happy Day 100 to NatureNancy!

Happy Day 100 to RedRedWine!

Happy Day 100 to Ninabear!

Happy Day 100 to Aimee!

Happy Day 100 to Kaycee!

Happy Day 100 to Lotus Lady!

Happy Day 100 to SandraS!

Happy Day 100 to La Sobria!

Happy Day 100 to Namaste25!

Happy Day 180 to KiKi71!

Happy Day 180 to Honey Bear!

Happy Day 180 to Maggie Mae!

Happy Day 180 to Resiliensea!

Happy Day 180 to Stillbridge!

Happy Day 200 to Jamie-Tampa!

Happy Day 200 to Capt. Unwined!

Happy Day 200 to Lerawk!

Happy Day 200 to Tiger2017!

Happy Day 200 to Lex!

Happy Day 200 to Honoring Grace!

Happy Day 300 to TT!

Happy Day 300 to Tierrazul!

Happy Day 300 to Nomobsing!

Happy Day 365 to Miss Kell!

Happy Day 365 to Reenie!

Happy Day 365 to Imara!

Happy Day 365 to Indigo50!

Happy Day 500 to Fern!

Happy Day 500 to Coco!

Happy Day 600 to Ami!

Happy Day 700 to Whitbell25!

Happy Day 700 to Beck!

Happy Day 700 to Ginette!

Happy Day 700 to Lilac!

Happy Day 800 to mythreesons!

Happy Day 800 to Honner!

Happy Day 800 to Gingerade!

Happy Day 800 to SophieSomething!

Happy Day 900 to Joannie!

Happy Day 900 to Chace!

Happy Day 1100 to Battersea Park!

Happy Day 1100 to Welles!

Happy Day 1100 to Gra!

Happy Day 1100 to SusieQ!

Happy Day 1100 to IrishDee!

Happy Day 1200 to DeeN!

Happy Day 1200 to FitFatFood!

Happy Day 1200 to Moore!

Happy Day 1200 to Crispy!

Happy Day 1300 to InNeedOfGrace!

Happy Day 1500 to Rebecca!

Happy Day 1500 to Digs!

Happy Day 1600 to Amy!


Friday Celebration Roundup

Happy Day 50 to TimShel

Happy Day 50 to MsM!

Happy Day 50 to Julianne!

Happy Day 50 to AverageJoe!

Happy Day 50 to Toby!

Happy Day 50 to Springer!

Happy Day 50 to I.T.!

Happy Day 50 to DMcBee!

Happy Day 50 to Newg!

Happy Day 50 to Brisgal!

Happy Day 50 to BG!

Happy Day 100 to Bridget!

Happy Day 100 to Blou!

Happy Day 100 to KRD!

Happy Day 100 to Jazzhands70!

Happy Day 100 to RetiringPartyGirl!

Happy Day 100 to Stefanie!

Happy Day 100 to Norma!

Happy Day 100 to Kelley!

Happy Day 100 to Ingridandmac!

Happy Day 100 to Peewit!

Happy Day 100 to Steph!

Happy Day 100 to Lavender!

Happy Day 100 to Itssue!

Happy Day 100 to Sheree!

Happy Day 100 to Normajean1215!

Happy Day 100 to Gina!

Happy Day 100 to Helen!

Happy Day 100 to Staying Present!

Happy Day 100 to Johnny!

Happy Day 100 to AnnieO!

Happy Day 100 to Still Breathing!

Happy Day 100 to LunaBlu!

Happy Day 100 to Gomez!

Happy Day 100 to Sings!

Happy Day 100 to Ararebird!

Happy Day 100 to Glitter!

Happy Day 100 to Mummabear!

Happy Day 100 to Jule!

Happy Day 180 to True.d.true!

Happy Day 180 to Elyn Jones!

Happy Day 180 to Becca1978!

Happy Day 180 to LD4ME!

Happy Day 180 to Jamie-Tampa!

Happy Day 180 to Capt. Unwined!

Happy Day 180 to Honoring Grace!

Happy Day 200 to A_Sober_Cannibal!

Happy Day 200 to Shannon A!

Happy Day 200 to Sisty!

Happy Day 200 to SohoCat!

Happy Day 200 to Ashley!

Happy Day 200 to Georgie Girl!

Happy Day 200 to Grace514!

Happy Day 200 to Indy!

Happy Day 200 to Pwhims!

Happy Day 200 to Rahcele!

Happy Day 300 to Sabrina!

Happy Day 300 to Bladerboy!

Happy Day 300 to Steffispud!

Happy Day 300 to Raspberrikiss!

Happy Day 365 to Conn!

Happy Day 400 to Patten!

Happy Day 400 to KT Web!

Happy Day 500 to ShellMN!

Happy Day 500 to SarahBee!

Happy Day 500 to NSRunner!

Happy Day 500 to Mamafergs!

Happy Day 500 to Case Study Michelle!

Happy Day 600 to Sooz!

Happy Day 600 to EMJ001!

Happy Day 600 to Lavendarzone!

Happy Day 600 to TickleMeShelmo!

Happy Day 700 to ElizabethDC!

Happy Day 700 to Silver Birch!

Happy Day 700 to Mil!

Happy Day 700 to Seekingpeace!

Happy Day 700 to Yoda!

Happy Day 700 to VTgirl!

Happy Day 700 to MJP!

Happy Day 700 to Jobo!

Happy Day 800 to Rache B!

Happy Day 800 to Yogayamagirl!

Happy Day 800 to Jock!

Happy Day 800 to Sea Turtle!

Happy Day 900 to Marbear!

Happy Day 900 to Junebug!

Happy Day 900 to Frenchie!

Happy Day 1000 to Fleur!

Happy Day 1000 to Chatsworth!

Happy Day 1000 to Cricket!

Happy Day 1000 to Shar!

Happy Day 1100 to GW!

Happy Day 1100 to JustHadToHaveIt!

Happy Day 1100 to Apprentice Annie!

Happy Day 1100 to ParisienneKnitter!

Happy Day 1100 to Run Dontwine!

Happy Day 1200 to Jacques!

Happy Day 1200 to Rose!

Happy Day 1200 to Santa Cruz!

Happy Day 1200 to Phoebe!

Happy Day 1200 to Doll Face!

Happy Day 1200 to Telling The Words!

Happy Day 1200 to Sherri!

Happy Day 1200 to Lurking with Intent!

Happy Day 1200 to Libby!

Happy Day 1200 to Traci!

Happy Day 1200 to Winkle!

Happy Day 1300 to Jeroen!

Happy Day 1300 to Lucy!

Happy Day 1300 to TipTree!

Happy Day 1400 to Kristi Coulter!

Happy Day 1400 to C How!

Happy Day 1400 to Sarita!

Happy Day 1400 to Ingrid!

Happy Day 1400 to Trish!

Happy Day 1500 to Carrie!


Friday Celebration Roundup

Happy Day 50 to Leigh!

Happy Day 50 to WineFreeMe!

Happy Day 50 to NancyJo!

Happy Day 50 to Sargent!

Happy Day 50 to Alicat!

Happy Day 50 to StayingAlive!

Happy Day 100 to Dazzzor!

Happy Day 100 to Mamabird!

Happy Day 100 to LOL!

Happy Day 100 to Raspberry!

Happy Day 100 to Tewks!

Happy Day 100 to WandaT!

Happy Day 100 to Rambling Rose!

Happy Day 100 to IC Momentum!

Happy Day 100 to Loz!

Happy Day 100 to Buttercup244!

Happy Day 100 to Melanie!

Happy Day 100 to MoutainGirl!

Happy Day 180 to Lerawk!

Happy Day 180 to anjoma8801!

Happy Day 180 to Lex!

Happy Day 180 to Boozy Betty!

Happy Day 180 to A_Sober_Cannibal!

Happy Day 200 to Inspired!

Happy Day 200 to FlightPlan!

Happy Day 200 to Tweet!

Happy Day 200 to Calypso!

Happy Day 300 to HollyKate!

Happy Day 365 to KatieMay!

Happy Day 365 to Clearlee!

Happy Day 400 to SouthernSunshine!

Happy Day 500 to TruLeah!

Happy Day 700 to MJP!

Happy Day 700 to Jobo!

Happy Day 800 to Miss M!

Happy Day 800 to Trixie!

Happy Day 900 to GabbyGirl37!

Happy Day 900 to 19Cathleen!

Happy Day 900 to TheMaddnessStopsNow!

Happy Day 1000 to Kenney!

Happy Day 1100 to IrishGirl!

Happy Day 1200 to Challenges!

Happy Day 1300 to CatGirl!

Happy Day 1300 to Carolyne!

Happy Day 1700 to Katherine!


Thursday Celebration Roundup

Happy Day 50 to Char S

Happy Day 50 to SDBKatz

Happy Day 50 to Take 2

Happy Day 50 to Kacey

Happy Day 50 to Kris

Happy Day 50 to 35&changing

Happy Day 100 to Sober Tea

Happy Day 100 to Undrunken Dan

Happy Day 100 to SoberinVA

Happy Day 100 to Jaylee

Happy Day 100 to Mrs Roberts

Happy Day 180 to Shannon A

Happy Day 180 to Sisty

Happy Day 180 to SohoCat

Happy Day 180 to Ashley

Happy Day 180 to Georgia Girl

Happy Day 180 to Grace514

Happy Day 180 to Soprano

Happy Day 180 to Indy

Happy Day 200 to Bunnie

Happy Day 200 to Liz

Happy Day 200 to Girl Named Sam

Happy Day 200 to Meadowmuffins

Happy Day 300 to Edi

Happy Day 300 to Leftcoastgirl

Happy Day 300 to Cindyb

Happy Day 400 to MessyJessy

Happy Day 500 to Phoenix

Happy Day 600 to Suzan

Happy Day 700 to CoffeeCupHead

Happy Day 700 to Kitkatpaddywack

Happy Day 900 to Elly

Happy Day 1000 to Paulita

Happy Day 1100 Janett

Happy Day 1200 to OneDayAtATime

Happy Day 1200 to KateF

Happy Day 1200 to Margy

Thursday Celebration Roundup

Happy Day 50 to Doodle!

Happy Day 50 to Hernoodlyness!

Happy Day 50 to Jacci2!

Happy Day 50 to Honeybadger!

Happy Day 50 to Martha C!

Happy Day 50 to SoberSparkles!

Happy Day 50 to MrsWooly!

Happy Day 100 to PeaceableJ!

Happy Day 100 to Mindful Monica!

Happy Day 180 to Rachele!

Happy Day 180 to Pwhims!

Happy Day 180 to RoseStar!

Happy Day 180 to FlightPlan!

Happy Day 180 to Inspired!

Happy Day 200 to Jeans!

Happy Day 200 to Carly!

Happy Day 200 to AmandaJ!

Happy Day 200 to Jjm14!

Happy Day 300 to CindiB!

Happy Day 365 to Patten!

Happy Day 365 to KT Web!

Happy Day 400 to CaseyM!

Happy Day 400 to Surfrider11!

Happy Day 400 to Runnergirl!

Happy Day 600 to NicholasCharles!

Happy Day 600 to Linley!

Happy Day 700 to Graceful!

Happy Day 800 to 1035!

Happy Day 800 to Jayda!

Happy Day 800 to Frankie!

Happy Day 900 to Rexytime!

Happy Day 900 to Cocomac!

Happy Day 900 to NewChris!

Happy Day 900 to Jas!

Happy Day 1000 to Ish!

Happy Day 1000 to Bekki!

Happy Day 1100 to tlecompte!

Happy Day 1100 to hcasstevens!

Happy Day 1200 to Wanting to be a Sober Mom!

Happy Day 1200 to Tammi!

Happy Day 1200 to Shell Bell!

Happy Day 1200 to Tuomas!

Happy Day 1300 to DianeLouise!

Happy Day 1400 to KristinRecovering! 

are you following me on Medium? new One Minute Message transcript posted this morning . not drinking today . the booze elevator . only goes down . and then there’s resentment


Tuesday Celebration Roundup

Happy Day 50 to Captain E!

Happy Day 50 to Donohuli!

Happy Day 50 to Nickie!

Happy Day 50 to Turtle!

Happy Day 50 to Nature Nancy!

Happy Day 50 to RedRedWine!

Happy Day 50 to Ninabear!

Happy Day 50 to Aimee!

Happy Day 50 to Kaycee!

Happy Day 50 to macbender1!

Happy Day 50 to Lotus Lady!

Happy Day 50 to SandraS!

Happy Day 50 to La Sobria!

Happy Day 50 to RunLily!

Happy Day 50 to Manaste25!

Happy Day 50 to Bridget!

Happy Day 50 to Blou!

Happy Day 100 to SarahJune31!

Happy Day 100 to Erinie!

Happy Day 100 to LimeTree!

Happy Day 100 to MelMel!

Happy Day 100 to Wynn!

Happy Day 100 to Sophiestar!

Happy Day 100 to Mamahope!

Happy Day 100 to Dusty!

Happy Day 100 to Chalee!

Happy Day 100 to Jazzie!

Happy Day 180 to Tweet!

Happy Day 180 to Calypso!

Happy Day 180 to Bunnie!

Happy Day 180 to Liz!

Happy Day 180 to Girl Named Sam!

Happy Day 180 to Meadowmuffins!

Happy Day 180 to Jeans!

Happy Day 180 to Carly!

Happy Day 200 to 2BLimber!

Happy Day 200 to Gene!

Happy Day 200 to Lola4126!

Happy Day 200 to TJS!

Happy Day 200 to RubyHarper!

Happy Day 200 to Poppy!

Happy Day 300 to Cindyb!

Happy Day 365 to waggintail!

Happy Day 400 to Auds!

Happy Day 400 to KaffyB!!

Happy Day 400 to Debbie!

Happy Day 500 to ChellyBelly!

Happy Day 500 to KAB!

Happy Day 500 to StonewallPDS!

Happy Day 500 to Hughie!

Happy Day 700 to Grateful Girl!

Happy Day 700 to Jenuhful!

Happy Day 800 to LJ63!

Happy Day 800 to Sean!

Happy Day 800 to Funcar13!

Happy Day 800 to Indian Lake!

Happy Day 800 to Mahatma jojo!

Happy Day 800 to MelP!

Happy Day 900 to Canadian Girl!

Happy Day 900 to Cxx!

Happy Day 900 to GG!

Happy Day 900 to Festie!

Happy Day 900 to Graceb!

Happy Day 1000 to Megan!

Happy Day 1000 to Haggismcbaggis!

Happy Day 1000 to Sharlotte!

Happy Day 1000 to Mizgabz!

Happy Day 1000 to Sanfransober!

Happy Day 1100 to Otherjosh!

Happy Day 1100 to RunnerMom!

Happy Day 1100 to Jlynn!

Happy Day 1100 to Fernie Sobertina!

Happy Day 1100 to Julie-Joy’s Dad!

Happy Day 1200 to Nuchter Maya!

Happy Day 1200 to Janet!

Happy Day 1200 to Beach_Girl!

Happy Day 1200 to Terry!

Happy Day 1200 to Denise!

Happy Day 1300 to Jenisthesoberist!

Happy Day 1400 to Original Beth!

Happy Day 1400 to Leah!

Happy Day 1500 to Erika!

Happy Day 1500 to Debra!


married to the beer man

Email from Sunny:

“I’d like to begin the 100 Day Challenge, but my situation is a bit odd. I’m wondering if you think it’s too much to overcome.

My husband is fairly prominent in the beer world. Because of his line of work our lives are very focused on alcohol. It pays our bills, it’s how we socialize with friends and family …. My husband says if I want to quit drinking that’s fine, but he will not change how he lives his life. He will continue to drink at home. I will have to attend beer related events with him

Is this an impossible situation? I need to quit drinking, but I’m worried that in my current situation its not possible. Any info or thoughts are welcome. Maybe you know someone in a similar situation? I hope I’m not the only one!”

me: it is possible. I am a caterer and often host large events where I buy, pour, and serve alcohol to my guests and I make homemade cocktails. I just don’t drink any myself. Booze is not good for me. It doesn’t improve my life. But I know that my clients like it and my job is to be of service, and to take their money 🙂

So if you approach alcohol as a tool that helps you earn income, that’s completely different from needing to drink it yourself.

Imagine you’re a vegetarian who’s a chef. You cook meat for the President because that’s what he’s paying you to do. Then you go home and eat lentils and chick peas and couscous and homemade lemonade with tonic and rosemary…

how’s that? hugs belle xo


And hooray! Sunny is on day 4 today 🙂

You may not agree with my advice. You may think her husband should quit his job, or that she should leave him (!) (she has young kids). Or you might think she can’t get sober without her husband’s support.

But really, the only person we’re in charge of is ourselves (well, and the babies we have around us). Sunny can do what’s best for her. I know that lots of people cannot have any alcohol in the house at all. And I respect that 100%. For others (or at least for me), I seem to be able to shelve booze in my mind as “not for me.”

What would you tell Sunny? Is it too much to overcome? Me, I don’t think so… You?

love, me


some of the comments received:

freedom (day 153): “I’d tell Sunny it is possible to do it with alcohol in the house and a husband who still drinks. I have both and I’m on day 153 today. It might be sensible to stay away from the boozy events in the early days..I couldn’t have managed them at that point. And I’ve found going to bed early with a good book can help on the days when I struggle with him drinking. Those are usually days when I’m tired, stressed or struggling with overwhelm and it’s been a real learning curve for me to start to recognise when I’m feeling like that and take steps to look after/protect myself from Wolfie. And remember you’re not alone! Belle is always on the end of an email and has been an incredible support, especially in the tough times…and I have to remember to reach out before Wolfie gets too loud. It gets easier the longer you do it. Keep the faith :)”

Rambling Rose (day 76):
“I think it is up to Sunny as to whether or not she can stay on the sober path and still attend these events/have booze in the home. My roommate has a liquor cabinet full of alcohol, and it doesn’t bother me because I never touched his booze anyway. So it’s not so unusual to stay sober while loved ones have the occasional drink. However, what does bug me a bit is her husband’s attitude (must go to these events? I’m going to drink anyway…). I sense some general resentment between the two of them… and that may make it harder (not impossible) to reconcile while focusing on recovery … I sure as hell would resent being told I have to attend alcohol related events, even if my livelihood was connected to it, because health is more important than people pleasing. Just depends on the person – and the situation. Belle, I think your feedback is good. It’s up to Sunny to decide on her own boundaries.”

Wanda T (day 76): “I am a vegetarian and I know you use this analogy sometimes but it’s not a good analogy because it’s not a valid comparison. Vegetarianism is usually an ethical commitment. So chefs who are vegetarians don’t cook meat. I bake & cook – I wouldn’t even know how to cook meat. I don’t know how the President got worked into the analogy. Sunny is in a very tough spot. If it’s possible for her to go to an in-patient rehab to get the booze out of her system, that would help her I think. She would at least have a running start. Her husband sounds beyond selfish. Going to work-related events where there is alcohol is not the same thing as him drinking at home. There is more going on in this relationship than her husband simply having a social & professional commitment to the Beer Industry. There is also an extreme power imbalance in the relationship if he’s demanding that she attend drinking events while she’s trying to get sober. Sunny could announce at a drinking event that she’s an alcoholic who is trying to quit drinking ….maybe some people there would support her and she’d find out she really & truly is not alone. Good luck Sunny!”

Elyn Jones (Day 143):
“Belle, I think your advice was spot on. We rarely get the ideal environment, so we have to adjust. I’ll bet that most of start out in a less than ideal environment cuz we created it with booze at the center. Doesn’t mean things can’t shift. They can, and thankfully, they do.”

D (not yet a penpal): “Let’s assume for the moment that her husband is not a complete asshole. That may be a stretch, but let’s give the benefit of the doubt. I agree with your statement that the only thing we are in charge of is ourselves … You’re advice was good: put alcohol in the context of a produce / service that provides a livelihood. Separate it from her life. Livelihood on one land, life on the other.”