i want prizes. i want parades and fireworks.

i’m not gone yet. i leave for vacation tomorrow. the sober-blog-o-sphere is quiet this morning.

i will stir up some shit.

i continue to be surprised at how no one cares that i’m not drinking.

last night, I hosted a client dinner, just me and four guests. There was plenty of booze (champagne to start, wine with dinner, a 10-year tawny port that i selected to go with desserts). i had tonic water and cranberry juice.

In the beginning everyone has their champagne glasses, we’re standing around in the kitchen, talking.  my glass clearly contains something red/pinky. i’m different. no one cares. seated around the table at dinner, everyone is having red wine. my glass has more pinky liquid. no one cares.

right around dessert time, i get frustrated, like i want someone to notice. i want to have a conversation about not drinking (i guess this happens when you hit 60+ days, because i certainly wasn’t feeling like talking about it before). in my frustration at the end of the night, i stop filling my glass in the kitchen and instead bring the bottle of cranberry juice and the bottle of tonic water out and set them on the dining room table. then i mixed myself another drink.

still nothing. no one cares.

I can hear you.  and yes, i know. i know. i’m doing this for me (blah), they’re all too drunk to take much notice of me (blah blah), stop looking for the adoration society to kick in because no one cares about your alcohol consumption as much as YOU care … (blah blah fucking blah).

let me say this.  i’ll only say it once and then i’ll stop.

i want prizes. i want parades and fireworks.

in the absence of disco balls and streamers, i at least want someone to notice.

nothing. really, nothing. crickets-chirping-silence nothing.

<le sigh> all those worries that i’d stand out, be different, on the edges of society if i quit drinking … were all bogus.

no one cares.


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

  • Funny, I’m on day 4 and I’d like a big, loud, amazing band too. I’ve had some other sober stints, but never with the access to daily inspiration from real people who seem to ‘get it’. So grateful for your blog Belle and the others that are around too. I am in Ontario, Canada screaming and yelling ( with my morning coffee), ‘ CONGRATULATIONS BELLE!!!!’

  • Belle, this is one amazing post. I don’t remember reading it before altho I must have at some point. Yeah, the bells, whistles, cheers, love, confetti… just didn’t happen for me either. When I quit, on the airplane home to Key West, no one was there to appreciate it, I was traveling alone, the airline steward only commented that he was unable to refund the $2 for my unopened bottle of vodka when I gave it back to him as my very first gesture of sobriety. I returned to the community where I had done the worst of my drinking deeds and still I quit without help. Others were more interested in watching “Speedo” fail at this “latest bullshit she’s trying on for size” than helping me succeed. I heard a LOT of ‘one won’t hurt you’ and ‘I’ll look out for you’ and ‘come on, Speedo, party with us, you’re so fun when you drink!’ Well, I stayed tough, found new friends (didn’t have many ever again), got a new kind of work that took me out of downtown and into the day working world, roomed with a sober guy who loved me enough to help me stay that way.

    No parades, no cheering, no ‘we’re happy for you’ at all. Mostly ‘bummer, we liked you drunk’. Yeah I know, I was an easy mark in those days before AIDS when the worst that happened wasn’t death, just unfamiliar men in my bed.

    Anyway now that I’ve lost my train of thought in reminiscences I’ll wrap this comment with–I’m really glad that despite no fanfare you’ve stayed sober and continued to write your blog. I get a lot out of it and I know lots of others do as well. Happy Sunday, Belle, may 2014 be as good as the latter half of ’13 was. Thanks for everything.

  • Belle, your blog has made me laugh and cry. Reading your last few posts has been like reaching the end of a really really good book. I could relate on so many levels. My journey has only just started (one week today), but reading your whole blog in 7 days has me excited and confident that it will get easier. This is life. Fireworks please. All of us in this boat deserve them. Even for just realising we are here. Thank you. Suzanne.

    • Suzanne, i’m so glad you took the time to leave me a note here : ) How exciting that you’re at 7 days (must be 10 days by now!). it does get easier — a lot easier — but some days still suck rocks. Apparently, that’s life! Who knew! Please keep in touch and let us know how you’re doing. ~ Belle

  • i think i drank for the fireworks and the parades and then found myself knee deep in elephant shit and everything exploding in my hands. i remember my 60 days well (i’ve been sober for 19 months) and how much i wanted to talk to everyone about how great i felt to be in recovery. Sometimes i did, even if they didn’t ask, lol. Anyway, i think you’ll see that you don’t really need the fireworks or the parades, because the happiness recovery brings is way better. : -)

    • yes, Al, i think you’re right. I mean, when i started running i tried to tell everyone about that, too, and no one gives a shit. i haven’t done the same with being sober (i.e. i haven’t been telling everyone) but i continue to be surprised at how little anyone pays attention. everyone is too busy consuming themselves, probably, to even look around…

  • Well we notice here. The drinking world doesn’t seem to notice or know what to make of it, but we can’t do much about that but lead satisfying new sober lives. My drinking affects others too, but the main reason I stopped was for myself. Give yourself a parade and enjoy your holiday.

  • Funny they dont all know – I saw your 60 days achiemement on CNN news! 🙂 :)) I know what you mean about the surprise that nobody notices. on balance I would prefer it that way. I am getting way to much attention – and I never know whether its slighty bitchy or not – and I hate it. The “wow dont you miss it /wow I wish I could/ wow I could never/etc”

    have a wonderful wonderful hols. come back rested and refreshed

  • You won’t get it, the parades and fireworks. Or sometimes you will and then you’ll end up feeling weirdly uncomfortable because they’ll be going ‘wow you’re amazing’ while supping their champagne and you’ll be left feeling kind of hollow with your tonic and cranberry (which sounds nice by the way). Navigating through Magical Sober World is tricky, always tricky I think. And it will change depending on your mood (another night you would have wanted their silence) and the crowd you’re with. I like to think of my sobriety as an invisible cloak of self-care. No-one else really ever gets it or sees it, it’s your special warm secret .. and ultimately is about your relationship with yourself and no-one else. To be honest, I like that. Maybe I’m self-centered, but I like my invisible blanket.

    • yes, this makes sense, because for now it seems like a private joke that only I get. I can be smiling to myself, proud Cheshire cat, at how I’m not drinking, and nobody really cares / notices / gives a shit / is interested. and you’re right, I haven’t had the “oh wow you’re amazing” and that’s not really what I want either. Thanks for the reality check. I’ll go curl up with my blankie now.

  • oh i love montreal, i’ve spent lots of time there! you should have a burger at La Paryse, and breakfast at Bagels & Co. and spend some time in Old Montreal around the old port. i’ll be on a beach in france, so i can’t be jealous of you, but montreal is a pretty amazing place : )

    • We love it too but haven’t been in quite awhile. Will be a different experience without the alcohol. Will sitting in an outdoor cafe people watching with tea and coffee be the same? Is this your first trip without? We will have to compare notes next week…….But the energy bonus will be awesome……

      • this is my first trip without … 4 days of beach, sun (or not), movies, bad TV (we don’t have a TV so this is a treat), and a swimming pool. can’t wait! I’ve spent sooo much time in montreal completely drunk, that it’d be a relief to go there now and just “BE”… navigating that city’s traffic and metro half-hammered isn’t pleasant at all.

      • I will toast you with club soda and cranberry juice tomorrow night at dinner!! Have a wonderful trip. I truly believe it will be an incredible experience for both of us. The clarity, the energy, the extra hours, the wonderful taste of the foods, oh I could go on and on……..until next week…..

  • What a hoot!! We will throw you a BIG PARADE with a BIG BAND!! You certainly deserve it.

    I hope in time my experience is the same. I am skipping out of my first small dinner party at my best friends, the only one that knows other then DH, because I just don’t feel ready.

    Bonus….talked DH into going away for the weekend instead…..heading to Montreal tonight.

    Have a wonderful, wonderful vacation. I will miss your posts and can’t wait for your return next Tuesday. You help me start each day with resolve to stay on this path…..