gentle gifts from strangers

i had ‘drinks’ with some friends on Sunday. No, I didn’t drink. I had tea. But I did realized that only 2 of 4 people at the table had alcohol, and those who did only finished 3/4 of their drinks. If that was me, i would have had 2 glasses of wine during that same time period.

I kept watching the friend across from me. Her wine came, and she didn’t sip from the glass for what seemed like ages (at least 15 minutes). and that one glass lasted her the entire 2 hours. Shocking. I just don’t do that.

What I did instead of guzzling two glasses of wine, was i actually listened to what people were saying, and i said nice and kind things in return. There was one woman i hadn’t met before, and i said something like “nice to meet you, hope to see you again soon” as we were parting, and she responded with “gee, i sure hope so.”

that struck me. When was the last time someone was that happy to meet me? like genuinely happy. I used to say, sarcastically, “people either love me or hate me” – meaning i wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea.

And while that may still be true, i’m not everyone’s cup of tea, i now see that reflexive sarcastic, in-your-face-ness “take me or leave me” as just another bunch of bullshit from a chick who drinks too much.

“You don’t like that I get louder and talk more when I drink? Well, some people like me and some people don’t.”


Well, stuff is CHANGING brothers and sisters! For the better!

This no-booze thing is giving all kinds of cool gifts in return.  Now that i’m not drinking, i’m quite touched by the number of people who LIKE me.  God this sounds so sucky and narcissistic as i’m writing it, sorry sorry sorry.  i guess what i’m trying to say is that i’m noticing that i’m no longer such an “acquired taste” like olives or horseradish. I’m a bit more like chocolate now. I got this email last week:

“I had a lovely time, surrounded by lovely people, and a charming great host (Belle). Thank you very, very much for making my first [trip to your company] a really memorable and soothing moment. Thank you Belle.”

I can assure you that i used to drink through these events, even if i was ‘hosting’, and i never got feedback like that before. never.

what’s different? the sarcasm is gone. Like, 100% gone. Where did it go? When did it leave? Why was it here? No idea. But i like this new me. And thankfully people are kind enough to give me feedback that they notice.

I bet someone is telling you that you’re doing the right thing, and they’re cheerleading in their own, quiet ways.

now that i’ve stopped the bullshit, i can HEAR my cheerleaders better, and i realize that there’s positive feedback out there. I don’t have to bang on my chest saying “see how great I am” – (well, you might argue this blog is doing just that!) – i’m now getting unsolicited lovelies by email, each one gentle and kind. the sarcastic shit-haters just aren’t there. or they’re finding new company. As am I.

[who knows what i am trying to say here, this is just so all over the place. i guess i’m trying to say “YIPPEE” for me, and “check out who’s cheerleading you” to you … OK, i’ll stop now.]

Bring on Abstinence in August, or August Rush, or Whatever We’re Calling It… cheers to another 31 days sober.


I want to put this online, to hold myself accountable. I want to document the noise in my head. I'm tired of thinking about drinking. date of last drink: june 30, 2012

  • You can add me to the people who LIKE you! I have had similar experiences – I think ones senses are not dulled and one is so much more switched on to people. We hear them better, see them better and feel them better. So we are more in tune and they notice it and they like it. Its like going from a black and white world to full HD colour! Cleo xx

    • cleo i remember when you wrote about being a better friend. i’m realizing now how i’m being perceived by people who are just meeting me (those who never knew me with a big mouth and a drink in my hand). it’s quite fascinating, and rewarding.

  • Awwww…I like this : ) I can relate, too. I would never put myself in the Black Belt Sarcastic Camp, but I could definitely have an edge. And OMG I was a gossip. As the drinking continued and my circle of friends got smaller, it was hard to ignore.

    Good stuff, sister. Here’s to another month : )

    • thanks SinO. you’re right, i was a gossip too. i hadn’t really considered it, but you’re sooo right. i loved nothing more than to triangulate a perfectly good friendship into a competition of “do you like me more?” … here’s to putting an end to that, too…

      • Thanks Belle, you’re book was a great comfort. I’m 120 days in and now enjoying it. Thanks xx

  • Being more comfortable in our own skin is another one of those unexpected and inexplicable gifts in sobriety. p.s. I can’t imagine you were ever an acquired taste, but I love horseradish.

  • There is nothing wrong with noticing and sharing your blessings, it’s not bragging so don’t apologize. AA has a saying, “Wait for the miracles” which was a big incentive for me to get sober even though I’m not a member of AA. Miracles do happen everyday and now we’re actually sober enough to recognize and appreciate them and make some of our own by being kinder and, ultimately, more likable.