dear lurker

Belle, what do you tell a young divorced mom of two kids, who knows inside her drinking is not normal?  The mom who has been reading your blog for a while now, after finding your blog from reading other blogs about woman and their drive to stay sober. Who knows a 100 day challenge will be, in fact a challenge? The past few years have been getting worse, she never drank daily.  Now its 1-2 bottles a day, most often passing out and not remembering going to bed.  Who has hidden bottles in the trash, cabinets, and finds glasses in strange places the next day. Tell her she will survive and still have fun at parties, gatherings without drinking when everyone else is?  Tell her that her relationship with her bf won’t change b/c he will be drinking and she will not.  Who is a daughter of an alcoholic mom who quit drinking more than 30 years ago. Who no longer can get up and workout daily @ 5am b/c she is hungover.  Who is scared to tell the world she has a problem or to tell her kids she is a failure b/c she can’t handle her alcohol consumption.  How do you tell her that it isn’t just a phase she is going thru? So what do you tell a lurker of your blog to convince her it’s time to sign up for the challenge when I am already thinking I will fail and never make it 100 days???? ~ thanks, lurker.

i have to say first that i love the way Lurker refers to herself in third-person: “what would you tell a woman who …” cuz don’t we all do that – consciously or unconsciously? We distance ourselves, talk about ‘someone else’.  it’s the stereotype of going to the doctor and saying “i have a friend who has a problem…”  But frankly, it’s a safer way to ask a question. Imagine how brave Lurker is to even ask this question, to type it up and email it to a complete stranger, and say “can i be helped or am i beyond helping” (which is what i think she’s really asking).

here’s my answer:

my dear, I would tell her that she is much stronger than she thinks she is, and that the booze itself can make her feel like she can’t do it. and that once the booze is removed, the self-esteem and the will and the determination come back, too.  and why would I lie about that 🙂  us sober girls are not some secret club. we have removed the booze and found something really cool inside.

of course you feel like you might fail. but some things would be different this time. you’d have some sober penpals to talk to. me and others if you want them.  you’ll have blogs to read and comment on. you’ll have support.

and man-oh-man I think we can move mountains with support 🙂  alone? you’ve tried that already … with support? a whole new adventure 🙂

but really, I’d tell her that if she has tried other shit that hasn’t worked, it might be a time to try some new shit – like some continuous days of sobriety – to see how she feels when the booze is gone 🙂  She’s going to like it.  double your money back 🙂

love, belle xo

ps/ there’s a woman in the group who’s been in and out of treatment, marriage in jeopardy, who found it hard to commit to 4 hrs at a time, let alone days.  she emailed me every 4 hours during her first days. Today she emailed me this: “10 days, double digits!  Holy shit. Well, I have been here before. Here in the sense of 10 days sober (not many times). But I’ve never been HERE. Never with this strength and energy. Never with the resolve I feel.” Another woman, once she got about 14 days sober, turned a corner and emails every now and then to say she’s fine, but isn’t feeling scared anymore.  Someone else is on day 118.  And me, personally, i’m in no way permanently ‘safe’ but I am on day 3xx today.

edit: here’s her response:

Reading your email, I cried b/c a complete stranger has faith in me when I don’t myself. THANK YOU for responding. Everything I have done worthwhile or excelled at, I had support.  I often can’t make big or sometimes even small decisions (which I never noticed until recently) without support. I’m thinking it’s time to ask for a little support.  Funny, my oldest son who is almost 14 said to me last week, “Mom, why not let someone help you once in a while”  and that was about something so little, taking up an offer [for a drive] b/c I had to go into work early. Even my son knows I am not one to ask for help. Thanks, Lurker.

Team 100 update: 90 members, welcome to Rebecca (65), Sara (9), and Suzanne (2).  Happy days to Jen & Debra (5 months today!), Lynda (and Mr. Lynda) (70), Ellen (40 yesterday), DDG (70), Brandy (20), Lane (50 yesterday), Mr. Belle (40), Katie (7), Debbie (14), Allison (30 yesterday), Allie (7), Chelsie, Anna & Erika (21 yesterday), Helene, Mae, Leah & Elle (14 yesterday), Sam (10), Mel & Zenmeg (7 yesterday).


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

  • It is Jan 2014. I have been a lurker for about two weeks. I found your blog as it was referred to in a magazine article. I am on my 11th day sober but I haven’t up for the 100 day challenge. I have decided I need to read every blog from the beginning (o.c.d.?) so that I had a good feel for dear Belle and the group. “Lurker’ s post left m weeping and so touched. I am going to get caught up on the blogs and sign up for the challenge. I feel as though I FINALLY have a safe place.

  • I woke this am, checked my emails and saw the headline of today’s blog and closed it. I wasn’t ready to read it. I passed it by all day. Now laying in bed, alone in a quiet house I read it all plus the comments. This lurker THANKS all of you for your kind words and encouragement. Tomorrow is my Day 1 again. The one response about waking up not hungover after an event I normally would of been drunk and hungover, accomplishing nothing the next day and eating crappy food to try and feel better… me, quite often. Plus you had a great time. I look and feel like shit. I don’t like it. Belle and friends thank you. Day 1 or 300, your guidance and experience is and will be my lifeline.

    Good Night!
    Cyber Hugs,

    • Excellent news! Come join us over here in happy Soberville. The weather is sunny, it’s a great place to vacation for your health, you’ll save a fortune AND you even get to spot the odd glittery unicorn.

  • Do it, do it, do it! Tiny baby steps at first with support are possible and worthwhile. Don’t plan for anymore than that. It is never going to get any easier to stop. But once you stop, it is never as bad as it is now…

  • Dear Lurker,
    You “will survive” if you quit drinking! Your whole life will transform! No more guilt for drinking too much, no more shame, no more hangovers, no more forgetting, no more sneaking and lying, no more expense, just freedom from the bottle!
    One day at a time, things get easier and life gets sunnier and you start to love yourself again! That’s how it was for me and I am so damn proud of myself for loving myself this much to quit (almost 10 fricken months!)! My kids got their mom back and my husband got his wife back and I got ME back! I relied on the support of many women’s sober blogs and while reading them I saw myself in them. I started to feel ‘not so alone’ in my addiction. Not every day or moment was rosy or easy, but most days were amazing sober! We are here for you…welcome! Hugs!

  • Update…that girl you mentioned that felt she couldn’t commit to 4 hours but eventually got to 10 days? Well, the girl who couldn’t imagine being sober for a couple days is now 38 days sober! At least, that’s what I have heard : ) Dear Lurker – you CAN do this. One step at a time. Even if you only committ to today. Take a chance and take advantage of all of us out here that understand how you feel.

    • I’m soooo glad for your update and isn’t it amazing to be 38 days : ) You’re a tough chick! I like your advice, “take a chance” … it really is a chance. but it has good odds. and the alternatives are crappy at best.

  • p.s. As for never enjoying any social event again sober… I went to a semi regular dinner party event last night that is always booze saturated. There was a time I would have thought I couldn’t have gone to it, let alone enjoyed it, without drinking. I had a great time. Yes, I had minor niggles at the start of the night when the wine began flowing. But by the end of the night I was fully comfortable, happy and relaxed and felt wine wouldn’t have added much to the night except the inevitable hangover and angst and loss of productivity today.

    Today I did a bunch of work and tried out a new exercise regime. Once I would have done nothing much today except feel sorry for myself and eat crap food because I would have been too hungover.

  • I would tell her to dive in… that it is never going to be any easier than today. That if this is how she is feeling then NOW is the time to quit.

    And if quitting for 100 days seems too hard, how about trying for one week to start? She will feel better even after a week booze free – I promise. And 10-14 days? Shit starts to get good! Then maybe 30 days. But focus on that first week for now. Or even a few days. Whatever does it for her.

    Journal. Start a blog. Reach out. Join a gym. Sleep more. Buy yourself a small treat every day you don’t drink. Glue yourself to sober blogs. Stock up your house before you begin with healthy snacks and magazines and trash TV and yummy non-alcoholic drinks. Reach out.

    We can help you. But YOU have to do this. But the great thing is that you CAN do this. I know because so many here, myself included, have done things sober and spent more time sober than they once ever thought they could.