imagine a 3 year old throwing a tantrum in the grocery store

R: “Is it wrong to think ‘I can’t seem to get more than 3 days in a row, yet I’ve had more sober days in the past 6 months than I have had in 6 years’?”

The only thing I’ll say about percentage of sober days, is that individual sober days are HARD and we’re just *waiting* to drink again.  part of how you get wolfie to shut the fuck up is to say “no not today, not tomorrow, see you again in 100 days.”  Then he backs off and leaves you alone.

I certainly found that “drink one day, be sober one day” was just too hard.  I tried it. It took too much energy.  It made me feel bad on the days I was drinking AND white knuckling tense feeling bad on the days I was not drinking.  Frankly, being sober for a longer period of time is just plain easier OK, we can argue that it sucks temporarily for the first few days, but that’s only for a VERY short period of time.  Then it gets easier. Wolfie acts up, you ignore him, and then he comes around less and less…

And I wrote this to MG, who also mentioned the idea of making ‘progress’ with her drinking:

Every time you drink, you wake up wolfie, and have to – to some extent – start again. OK, we can argue that it’s not all the way back to square 1 starting again, but it’s probably at least 50% starting over. Wolfie is awake, and he has learned that if he tortures you, you will give in. You have to shut the fucker up. Dehydrate the wolf.

imagine a 3 year old throwing a tantrum in the grocery store. if you give that child candy … well, good luck ever going for groceries again without having candy on hand. sure it can be done, but it’s waaay harder than avoiding the situation entirely)

no more candy for the screaming child in the grocery store.  Anyway, that’s the goal with the 100 challenge.  just to see what 100 days continuous feels like. THEN you can make decisions going forward from there.

Fuck you wolfie.


sober inspired art, thanks to mr.belle
this is painting #784. if alcohol is a dark room, it’s time to exit.

link >


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

  • Hi Belle. Don’t know if you remember me. I was one of your first batch of penpals. I finally did it. I’ve not touched a drink since June 18, 2021. I just stopped wanting it. I have had a silver chain linked to silver wire encasing a rock hanging from my rearview mirror of every car for the past 10 years? A silver bracelet whispers “not today.” Leather on my keychain also for a decade, FUW. Un sortie, one exit. You have always been there with me every day no matter where I go and you’ve still been with me when it finally clicked. Hugs. ( make funny videos about it sometimes and people are upset at me when I argue alcohol should be at least a schedule II drug.) Love to you, Ms. $5k! If you want to say hello sometime, I love you, but I am not going to pay the bill. 😉

  • Hi Belle,

    I’ve been getting your emails for probably 2 years now but I have finally hit rock bottom. I’ve used your emails to help me not to become a total alcoholic but sadly I think I have been for a very long time but just kept Wolfie at bay. My wife is 20 weeks pregnant with our second child, our first is coming up to her 3rd birthday and I’m drinking more and more because I can’t handle the anxiety. Covid put my xx business on hold when my daughter was born and I drank a lot at home. I always was a drinker but it escalated so much because she was born 2 weeks into lockdown and I became a home drinker which was never a thing for me. Wolfie crept in and took over my life. My business should have come back on stream but I have no real confidence anymore. Ok drink so much I have major anxiety and I’m afraid. Serious thoughts of suicide have become more the norm. I know it’s just thoughts but it’s getting scary. I’ve decided to tell my wife tomorrow and admit how I feel. I feel like I know you even though I don’t. I don’t want to scare her so have you any advice on how to approach it?
    I’ve avoided counsellors for a long time. I don’t know why. I used one 10 years ago when I turned 30 and I gave up drinking for a whole year but know I’m 40 and for whatever reason (fear maybe) I haven’t approached one.
    My wife is 20 weeks pregnant and I am at breaking point with alcohol. I need to tell her but I don’t know how to tell her without freaking her out. She’s very patient and understanding but she’s too kind. It could make her very stressed so I don’t know where to go.

    Thank you,


    • hi ron, i’ve replied to your comment in a new podcast recorded today. let me know if you’re not a podcast subscriber so that i can send a copy to you directly. it will be episode 503 “Asking For Help”
      hugs, belle

    • Our thoughts go dark so quickly in this situation. I went fully remote and it was fun until it wasn’t. Then you are locked in an echo chamber of reinforcing thoughts telling you mean things and they strengthen those neural pathways and keep us there. I went on a bender and almost hospitalized myself so I understand those thoughts. They are scary and they feel like you want them to manifest. Your brain is clever and very rude like that. It’s literally playing tricks on you and keeping the shame bottled up inside is making them stronger and then the cycle of hiding and shame repeat. Speaking it aloud makes it real. Looking at my three wrecked credit reports made them a real problem I knew I could not run from and then it felt BETTER. I knew the damage now and it wasn’t a black cloud of unknown hanging over my head but something difficult but I’m going to get through it and no that it’s out my brain says “crap, now she knows.” The tricks start to go away when you look into the dark and speak it. It is scary at first, very much so. But then you work through it with a loved one or a counselor who cares and it loses its power. Promise. I have gone through similar periods and then I decided to go study the brain and why we are like this. Our brains play tricks but they are also plastic and they can change and if you say FUW and say and think and do new things that feel good more you feel the dark melt as the new pathways strengthen (with time) and bring you back to life.

  • I knew it but I never thought that it would be SO HARD to get back on track once I’ve been sober for a longer time. The good thing is that all the positive experiences of being sober are still alive in my head so I absolutely know why I am trying to get my sober car rolling again. I think the shorter the relapse period is, the easier it is to get back on track (though, it is not easy at all).

  • So much truth in this. As someone with multiple day ones, they are definitely harder than me just staying sober. Wolfie definitely wakes up with one drink and it’s hard to get that momentum back!!!

  • Totally agree. Abstinence is the only way to keep Wolfie from the door! One drink and the mofo will be all over you like a rash. Two and a half years I had and then one glass of wine, which I didn’t finish, one evening in August 2017 led to 13 months of secret bottles, on again, off again. I’ll be 90 days tomorrow. That’s the furthest I’ve got since that fateful night in August 2017. I’m so grateful to be here, but my anxiety is calling Wolfie back as I wait for the tablets to work. I’m not going to let him in because I know what the cost will be. I can’t do another 13 secret months, I want an honest and open life <3 <3 <3

  • I’ve been telling family and friends that I’m doing a sober 2017. My family drinks a ton at get together so by reiterating it they offer me fewer and fewer drinks. And they’be stopped asking me about why because my answer of “If I continue on the way I am I’m going to wake up a raging alcoholic in 10 years” isn’t something they like…they probably relate to it more than they care to admit to me or more importantly themselves

  • Even though I have 190 days of sobriety I can still hear Wolfie’s voice telling me that I suck. He is the monkey on my back. I am doing so much to support myself and, on paper, it looks good. Why don’t I feel good?? I have good sober momentum, I just don’t know why I feel so blue. I finally signed up to be a pen pal with Belle, maybe that will be the missing link I need.

    • I’m getting up the nerve to commit to Belles 100 day challenge. These correspondences are helping me decide it’s the right thing to do. Do Not Give the Screaming baby tantrum its candy ( booze) in the grocery store or it reinforces its “ok behavior rewarding bad behavior- reinforcing it- ( it’s the wolfie you feed that Gets its strength!!)
      Hugs all, Hope

  • Yep – I learnt that once you awaken Wolfie – even with a sip – that fucker starts up his howling and it’s another day1 xx

    • You’re right there, that sucker tries it on.
      Best to starve the wolf completely. It can take a few restarts to finally say ‘No More’

  • the post was reassuring, it’s logic and simplicity helped me to remember why I started this and why I want to complete these 100 days. I hate breaking promises to myself because it makes my self-respect plummet, yet I used to do it all the time around drinking. But I can feel this challenge repairing some of that injury to my self-esteem. day 60 here and feeling calm

  • You nailed it on the head with “we’re just waiting to drink again,” when we try some sober days, some not. Now, don’t get me wrong, I think a lot of people try sobriety and end up drinking again, in the beginning, so if it’s part of the beginning of one’s journey, at least it’s a start. Now, just keep that sober momentum going. But long-term sobriety is really the only thing that works for me- and you’re right, it’s the only thing I’ve found to get Wolfie to shut the fuck up. And, even though every once in awhile he rears his ugly head and starts to talk, his voice is weak and I am stronger.

  • Waiting to drink again–that’s exactly what happens when you aren’t serious about getting sober and you just go a few days then drink again, go a few days and drink again. The longer you go, you get momentum and you crave less, you find out about how to use sober tools and you start being thankful that you are not wasting time worrying about where your next drink is coming from.

  • Continuous days are so much easier! I know because like a teenager I had to see for myself and learn the hard way. Wolfie got me at 28 days and it was not fun, not worth it. Horrible! Started my 100 days again and at day 18.!
    Continuous days are so much easier!!
    Listen to mother Belle.

  • So true Belle, easier to not drink at all – no candy at all for 3yr old because it is just way harder to do drink one day don’t drink 3 days, etc – too stressful – been there and it doesn’t work for me! No real progress, no quitening wolfie for good and no time for true healing in mind, body or soul. Or relationships with self and others. Definitely quiter without candy!

  • Hmm. Note to self..Don’t risk reawakening the Wolf. Especially when I’ve spent so long trying to get him to STFU.

  • I’m kind of thinking about it like pregnancy. You’re pregnant for 9 months, and you give up all kinds of things to have a healthy baby. So if I could that TWICE, then I should be able to knock this one out. If that makes any sense. Plus, I’m looking forward to my next credit card bill and seeing how much lower it is (as will be my recycle bin).

    • This resonates so strongly with me. I like the idea of making the decision once… I am not drinking. Then it’s done. We don’t have to revisit the angst over and over again as we have made the decision. If our mind wanders, we remind it that we have already made that decision so it’s done! May be simplistic but it sure worked for me! Thanks Belle.

  • It sure was easier for me to string together a lot of sober days if I didn’t try to drink moderately some of the time. the moderation game just did not work for me. I’m one of those who as long as I completely leave it alone then we’re good. There’s no such thing as One Drink for Lynda….

    I support you all so much. I wish there were stronger words for the way I feel about how all you wonderfully creative and inventive women are staying sober with each others’ help. I love you all.

  • THANK YOU! This is perfect for me right now! I thought to myself the other day…. It won’t kill you to go 100 days sober IN A ROW!!!! Really what am I going to miss? Calories, headaches, hangovers, black outs, saying or doing stupid things, arguments, feeling bad about myself, missing workouts? 100 days… JUST DO IT! WE CAN ALL DO IT!

    • Just starting , 1 day so far & reading your post made me smile….because it’s scary. I couldn’t figure out why…besides failing. But your post is so true & simple!!

  • You are so right in that it’s just plain easier to stay sober than to try to balance between sober days and days of drinks. For now Wolfie can shut the fuck up for the 100 day challenge as you say … and after that, well we’ll cross that bridge when I get to it 🙂