In writing to my sober penpal, Amy, last week, i was telling her how i was out for dinner and someone was asking about my not-drinking. He’s a nice guy, someone who’s told my husband and i that he admires how we’ve constructed our lives… anyway he seemed like just the right place for me to practice telling my sober story differently.
cuz when i first quit, i didn’t want anyone to notice; then once i got my sea legs i was pissed off that no one noticed i wasn’t drinking. Now i seem to be in a new place. I’m not changing the facts, just how I talk about why i’m sober.
I told this nice guy that it started as a 30 day ‘experiment’ for Dry July, but that I found it harder to quit than I thought I would. We agreed that booze is everywhere – in ads/tv/associated with major events, at christmas, at new years, even at the dinner we were attending that very night. It’s assumed everyone will drink. Everyone drinks.
I told him that the longer I didn’t drink, and the more I got to stand outside of what everyone else does, I could really examine it, and try to figure out what worked best for ME. Everyone else just drinks (in different amounts, but most people drink) and they do so perhaps without ever really considering if that’s what’s best for them.
i told him that once I had quit, I realized I was better off without it. I sleep better, I get more done, and it has started a ball of self-improvement rolling downhill (i didn’t mention my sober car, but you know what i mean).
Now, what’s changed? All of this story is true. I don’t have to share with anyone, nor is it anyone’s business, as to how much I drank, or how many times i thought about quitting before I actually did.
I’m telling a TRUE story, but I get to decide HOW I tell it. and frankly, sober girls rock, and I felt GREAT after I framed my story like this … Amy and I agreed it was time for a new bumper sticker: sober girls rock… or … “when’s the last time you did something different from what everyone else was doing?” The great un-lemming-ing.
kinda like: Today I will do what others won’t, so tomorrow I can have a life that others can’t…
I love it. A great article for my head today – where can I get the sticker/fridge magnet?! 😉 ‘Today I will do’ etc is a great saying. Thank you.
Perfectly said and I needed that last statement. “Today I will do…..love this blog. Help me get though
day 5! Here I am Day 5. Looking forward to 9 and 16 and treats and sobriety and an abundant life that I am receiving!!!!
I think this is a perfect way to put it. And in reality I would hope that’s how most of us see it. That we actually were strong enough to make a choice and live a different life. A better life. I actually have to Be careful that I don’t say more than I need to?With certain family members it can make me feel like I am losing my power
This is a fabulous post for me to read… So well written!
My favorite lines….
~try to figure out what worked best for ME.
~ I don’t have to share with anyone, nor is it anyone’s business, as to how much I drank, or how many times i thought about quitting before I actually did
~I’m telling a TRUE story, but I get to decide HOW I tell it
~“when’s the last time you did something different from what everyone else was doing?”
SOBER GIRLS DO ROCK~ and I bet this will start a new “accepted” trend more and more!
Belle~ You sure you didn’t take journalism in college?? Your so damn good at expressing yourself!
Great post, Belle.
Excellent comments, all of you.
Today is a good day to be sober; tomorrow looks damn good too !~!
Great post. Just starting my journey (Day 4) and found you through Unpickled. The “lemming” factor you talk about I think is a reason I didn’t throw myself into quitting sooner and you make so much sense. Subscribed to you now and am feeling so positive about doing this, even though it will be the toughest thing I have ever done.
Welcome Doc. Glad you’re here : )
i love these kinds of stories! You’ve inspired me to write a blog about it myself!
Day 17…started 30 day sober challange with my two best friends….friend 1 caved day 3 friend 2 caved last night…..I feel really good…
i think that gloating and cheering yourself on, especially in the early days, is a total necessity! you should feel really really good. Sober Girls Rock : )
“Today I will do what others won’t, so tomorrow I can have a life that others can’t…” I love that. Because it says so many things, but mostly: I AM BRAVE.
Mine would be: “For today I will do what I never would’ve, so tomorrow I’ll have a life I never could’ve.” 🙂 I think you might have to say it in a pirate voice. Arrrrrrrr.
Seriously, sobriety is all about taking chances. Big uncomfortable out there in your underwear chances. How you tell that story makes all the difference- especially to yourself.
Great stuff. Thanks belle. I am going to write that quote down “Today I will do…” and stick it next to my computer at work.
You just made sobriety sound like the newest “in” thing, before you know it, everyone will be wanting to do it. It just makes too much sense. And I also love, love you line, “Today I will do what others won’t, so that tomorrow I can have a life that others can’t…
ah thanks KaryMay, you’re so sweet. “it just makes too much sense” is right. and since we get to decide the stories we tell about our lives, why not tell good ones : )
Hey, thanks so much Belle, that is awesomely kind and generous of you. I will take you up on that! (And, hopefully when I have more sobriety under my belt I will ‘pay it forward’.)
I am currently overworked to hell and getting sick – great – so if I don’t begin immediately that’s why but you will be hearing from me soon – thanks again.
It’s great time for you to make that offer too. As I’ll eventually get around to posting about, I’ve started reading ‘Unhooked’ – written by an experienced addiction counselor — and decided to try to follow some of his advice one bit at a time. One part is around finding ‘pillars of support’ be these friends, AA, therapist etc. Thanks for offering to be a much-needed pillar. I promise not to rely on you too much but it can only but help.
all you gotta to do is email once a day and say ‘i’m sober’ — you can do more, of course, but i think even just the act of a simple email is helpful… if you’re on day 1 or 2 or 3, just email and say “i’m underway, and i’ll write more later.” I truly believe that reaching out is the thing that i did that made me successful… whereas before i tried to do everything IN MY HEAD… and we all know, in my head is a dangerous over-thinking place!
Belle – you are working the 12th step whether you kn0w it or not :).
Service to others by writing your blog, reaching out to others. So a big thank you!
Sometimes I feel like I am alone and I’m thinking others feel that too. Reading your blog allows me to feel I’m not. I can’t rely on blogs only , but its one avenue or tool on my road to recovery.
I love this Belle and it is helpful to me in thinking about how I will talk about my not drinking – something I’ve struggled with too, as we all do. At one point I was expressing my frustration with people being weird about it to a good friend and said: “It’s actually not all that complicated. I was drinking too much – it was making me feel like shit. I’ve discovered I’m much happier and healthier when I don’t drink. End of story.”
If only it were that simple in actuality but, yes, I agree it’s important that we frame the story how WE want to tell it. However makes us feel comfortable and strong and good. Whether that’s what you said, or Mrs D’s no-holds-barred approach (which I respect, btw, Mrs D, because it needs to be easier to talk openly about this in society) or even if someone chooses to say they have an allergy or some other ‘excuse’.
In some ways it’s nobody’s business. But finding a healthy, comfortable way to express it is great, because people really can be so very weird about it and our society really has a fucked up black and white view of drinking problems.
Thanks as always for the insight. I wish I was a fly on the wall for you and Amy’s emails 🙂
Thanks for this Lilly, if you’d like a sober penpal, let me know… especially for those who are just starting out, it’s helpful to know that someone ‘out there’ is waiting to hear from you each day, and you get to email and say “i’m sober today” … my email is email@example.com …
And really, this sobriety thing, and how we talk about it, it’s as complicated or as easy as we make it. i want to tell powerful stories about myself. personally i’m less interested in fixing a ‘broken’ society than I am in figuring out how i can be a strong, confident person, who is courageous enough to make decisions that are the BEST for me, even when they run contrary to what everyone else is doing. at first I said “i’m giving up booze until i lose 20 pounds” but now i’m reframing it into something more positive. This is what’s working for me, and of course, everyone has their own story to tell. This just happens to be mine and i figured it would resonate with a few folks! Glad you’re here. ~hugs, Belle
Great post Belle. Explain how you are feeling ‘it’ at the moment.
It wasn’t working for me and I am so much more productive and have peace of mind. Not that I’d share the peace of mind thing w/ a drinker. Just not working :).
I don’t feel the need to explain all of me as I did before. Big change. W00t.
To another sober day and clear thoughts.
I love this! I am going to put this very awesome sentence on my refridge! “Today I will do what others won’t, so tomorrow I can have a life that other’s can’t…” That says it all !
Great post Belle, great writing. I bet there’s some awesome stuff flying between you and Amy. How we talk about our sobriety to others is important, very important, because it reflects our control over how we want to present ourselves, but it can also reflect how we are acknowledging our own truth. What you’re describing isn’t about hiding the truth from yourself, but controlling how you want to share and I think that’s very healthy. I’ve always gone for a complete mea culpa – I hide nothing because for some reason that’s what makes me feel better and more powerful (Mr D and I often joke about how he’ll talk at my funeral about how I kept lots of secrets, just because it would get the crowd laughing. Secrets and me aren’t the best of friends!). Hey thanks for your comment re the MA that was very timely and helpful and great to hear xxxxx
thanks mrs. d, there’s some stuff flying between me and Amy and a few other sober penpals who have reached out. i’m trying to share the general bits here on the blog when i think they’re useful for a wider audience, OR when i have something to figure out myself, or i want to share a new idea. We all tell stories about our lives and i want to begin to tell BETTER stories … if thoughts become things, then i want to curb my thoughts more and more to the positive! xoxo