Audio: Thirty Years

This is an audio clip from Sober Podcast #220 sent to sober podcast members.

Sober in St. Pete asked me for a personalized message, to talk about the fact that she’s been trying to do this sober thing for a while.

“I’d love something about how LONG I have tried this. Remember I am 60 years old, and started around age 30 on this path to recovery, with three resets after 1.5 years. I need to know that this is possible. Guess I need some hope.”

There’s an interesting ‘undercurrent’ to my message to her. What do you hear me saying that is applicable to YOU, no matter what day you’re on? hugs from me

 

below i’ve posted a 3.5 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.

and update, Sober in St. Pete is on day 27 today 🙂

 

 

Download the entire podcast episode #220

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).

 

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...

i will never get it ‘right’, but i know my intent :)

this is my personal stop-drinking blog, which means sometimes i write stuff – about quitting drinking, about being sober – and sometimes i share stuff – positive stories from penpals, struggles, adventures and tragedies.

and if i was you, if i read something on a personal blog that rubbed me the wrong way, then i’d maybe brush it off as a misunderstanding. but if a second and third time i found it irritating, i might unsubscribe and move on 🙂 the world is full of humans. we don’t all click.

i started this blog as a way to document wanting to be sober, and it has grown into something else that was not my intention at all. i figured i’d keep doing this sober thing (audios, penpals, jewelry) so long as people liked it. i mean, if i had an idea for a bracelet, and nobody wanted one, then i’d have moved on to other things.

i am utterly without a marketing plan. i’m not trying to find a niche. there is no master plan of any kind at all 🙂 there’s the lovely randomness of being in contact with so many people, and trying to find the common threads, to weave some of them together, to create a hammock (see what i did there?) where you can rest for a bit.

sometimes i get really lovely supportive emails, and sometimes i get unhappy ones. i know i’m neither end – i’m not as great as the lovely ones and i’m not as shitty as the shitty ones. i’m somewhere in between.

well, the only way i know that, is i know my intent.

my intent is to follow (not lead) and to create community without hierarchy. my intent is to share, encourage, empathize. i didn’t want to ‘model’ anything, but i was told that’s what i do. i didn’t wake up one day and think – hey let me model problem solving once sober. i just wrote about my stuff.

if you read one of those older emails, i don’t even remember one specifically, maybe when my husband was looking for an office and i talked about how we found him one – or maybe if you are folloowing along with my sober fiction project, and you read some of the prewrites about how writing is like being sober, but if you read stuff like this about problem-solving, and it’s helpful, then i take those comments and do a bit more of it.

when i get “you’re selling too much” then i try to weigh that against “i wore my not today bracelet every day for 1000 days and never took it off even to sleep.”

i will never get it ‘right’.

and i guess it’ll never be perfect because i’m a human and not a brand. i don’t have a team of people saying “research shows that when you weigh more, people like you more.” i don;t have anyone measuring if my swearing turns off more than it attracts.

i’m just being me.

i’m not a brand. i’m not even a business. i mean, this sober coaching thing makes money but that’s not why i do it. (you can’t fake empathy and connection, and you can’t fake giving a shit, not even when paid. nobody would be penpals encouraging people to be sober only for the money. and if they did, it’d be super transparent and you can smell that kind of shit a mile away.)

i also am not building an empire, i mean i didn’t get sober, start to sell a class, quit my day job and tell you-all that i’m focussing on taking your money from now on. i’m sober, yes, in addition to my regular work. i’m not sober so that i can be a sober coach and take your money. i’m sober because it’s the foundation for everything else i have in my life, including catering, bread baking, and being up at 5:40 a.m.

there is no plan here 🙂 there is only intent. my idea to write sober fiction? came from a penpal. in fact, came from two different penpals – one who suggested fiction, the other who suggested serialized fiction.

behind the scenes, i’m a caterer and a text designer. i’m working offsite for 3 months and getting up at 5:40 a.m. which i loathe. i’ve been getting myself treats staring this week, finally, to help with the early mornings. i counted out how many days i would be at the new thing (48) and i’ve done 15 of them already. i also know that when it’s over, i’ll miss it, but right now i’m regretting the commitment (sounds familiar  – starting a new offsite job is just like early sobriety – want to quit, sure it’s a mistake, want to finish the goal and then never do it again, expect i’ll get to the end and want to keep going, etc.).

anyway 🙂 this is a long pre-amble before i share what’s in my inbox today. i am a real human, imperfect. doing some sober support stuff that suits some people and doesn’t suit others. i’m not trying to find more customers.  i’m not trying to get media, or be on panels, or get a tattoo, or go to a march. i’m not talking about yoga or green juice. i talk about being sober. how to do it, how i did it, how penpals do it. sometimes i talk about cake, but hey, who doesn’t like cake? #theworldneedsmorecake

my inbox today:

spring rabbit: “You post SO many notes in which people praise you. It makes your whole system feel cultish, like: if I want to have my email posted by Belle, I just have to go on and on about how amazing Belle is. It turns my stomach—you have people PAYING you to read other people’s adulation of you. How is that ethical? How is that about helping any of us? And now you’re posting people’s photographs of YOUR book? And getting free feedback on your book from people who’ve turned to you for help? It feels as if you’re using all of us for your own personal ego trip and benefit. I realize that many of these customers/clients/whatever you call them also offer words of support, which you share, and much of that is valuable to the rest of us. But I urge you to stop including the “Belle is so amazing” “Belle is a godsend” “Belle is my hero” stuff that you tack onto these shares. And stop forcing vulnerable people to shill your book for you. Among other things, it’s quite tacky.”

jacci2: “Yes, you’re right! I’ve definitely noticed some [cognitive behaviour] type stuff in your podcasts, OMMs, emails, and blog this time around! That’s probably why I turned to you for additional support when I relapsed, right after I enlisted the help of my therapist and my boyfriend. I feel like you get it, you get me, you get the process, and you speak my language. You know that shame doesn’t work. in my personal experience, AA is terribly shame based (I went for about a year in the past and never felt quite right about it), and I feel there is a sad desperation about living your life just trying to be sober each day. I feel there is more to life. I’d rather let drinking go, and focus on all I get to do, see, experience, and feel now that I’m NOT drinking! I know AA works for a lot of people and that’s grand, it’s just not for me.”

~

and i know i’m somewhere in between. i know my intent. do i have ego moments? sure. do i need to be called out on them? of course. do people pay me to read my emails? no. do i know what it’s like to have a voice in your head that thinks that drinking is a good idea? i do i do i do.

i know how i got the voice to stop. that’s what i hope to share.

huglets, me

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).

 

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.”

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 previously sent out 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.

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 place, 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 … 🙂 please be kind.]

 

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!”

I loved him for the first hour [Julie-Joy’s Dad Part 3]

from me:

i received a long email from Julie-Joy’s Dad about his new sober life. it’s so fascinating that i want to share it all with you, but it’s long (i said that already) and so i’m going to split it into 3 parts. Part 1 was previously posted here, and Part 2 was posted here.

===

[May 2016]
email from Julie-Joy’s Dad (day 822): “Hi Belle, I wanted some insight with my drinking problem, which I thought really wasn’t that bad. So I sent my “girls” (girls includes my wife) an email and asked them to tell me about the before and after. I was surprised. Actually I was a little shocked! You will like the response from my wife. Enjoy.  This is my original email:  I need your help! I like to read the blogs of “Belle’s” website and I find them encouraging and in some cases sad. I am looking at my own journey and how content and happy I am right now and I would like to add a perspective to the blog (or whatever) from my family. Could you write a paragraph or two about the DAD (& husband) before the 100 day sober challenge, and the DAD after taking the challenge? Thanks and I love you. DAD (and your Mom’s hubby).”

Julie-Joy:

“Well, my dad before the challenge was interesting. Growing up I never remember my parents drinking at all. Either my dad was good at hiding it or I just never noticed … I almost feel like it is my fault my family started drinking at all. In 2006 I went through a divorce at a very young age, and the whole experience was super heart breaking.  But I went back to school and started serving at a restaurant and kind of got introduced to the whole drinking world.  I feel like I opened the alcohol door for my family.  But I know this isn’t entirely true at all, but I felt at that time we all started drinking pretty regularly. I didn’t really notice my dad’s drinking increasing all that much until about 5 years ago, I think. I loved my dad for the first like hour of his drinking. He loved chatting and playing music … he was so fun for about an hour or so.  But then, of course, you start chasing that initial buzz, drink too much.  Then he would get extremely hungry and very impatient. Honestly, he turned into a grumpy, impatient, selfish, asshole. My poor mother took the brunt of having to deal with him like this. Then he would eat, sit in front of the TV, and pass out. Not very fun at all.

One time when I was home visiting my dad had a bottle of alcohol in the freezer, so I knew how much he had of it, but he seemed WAY more drunk than that amount would allow, so I went into the garage and looked in this metal garbage can in the garage, and there were papers on top, but underneath were 6 empty bottles of hard alcohol in there. So that is where his refills were coming from …

Since my dad started the first 100 day challenge, he has never drank again.  And he is so different in that his true self has come out. My dad at the core is motivated, successful, out-going, determined, an athlete, and all these things got masked by his alcohol … Also, his editors in his brain are back on, so even though my dad still deals with anger and what have you, he now has reigns on it.  And thinks before he speaks.  I can see him processing and making different choices and he is able to do that because the alcohol hasn’t switched off his inhibitions.

My dad is now an athlete. He walks at least a marathon a week (26.2 miles) and trust me, he would be running those miles if it weren’t for a hip replacement he had years ago. He is in better shape than I am and I am 30 years younger than him. He has lost so much weight and looks so handsome! He is more self-confident. His business is going WAY better. He is more loving to my mom and kinder to her and appreciates her and shows her this. He helps her and loves on her. He communicates with us girls (his daughters) every day to tell us what day he is on.  He is more gracious, more kind, more content.  He is just plain flat out, happier! I feel like he is just more HIMSELF!  And when my dad is HIMSELF, he is like the sun that shines on everyone. I love him sooooooooo freaking much!!!!! I am so happy he does not drink anymore so that we can have the real him.”

[end part 3 of 3]