i pick sober

please don’t think that my life is rosy sunshine. i am sober, yes. there’s a checkmark in that one box.

i still have crappy family relationships, i still live far from my family (mostly on purpose). we are debt free but have no savings. we are happy and have friends. we are not rich. we don’t own a car.  I am probably the only person i know who doesn’t own a cell phone. Yes, we’re lucky to live in europe.

Don’t be tempted to gaze into my sober life and think that mine is dreamy and that yours is dreary.

You have kids or a yard or a home. you have a dog or a beach or a savings account. you can play piano or sew or speak italian.  you live near your best friend or you can grow your fingernails. you have straight hair or you have a tight butt.

i don’t have any of these things.

and really … it’s not about those things.

What i have is sunshine on the inside, even when it’s pouring rain (i know that sounds totally cheesy).  I have relatively even moods.  I have reassurance that i’m doing something hard (being sober) and that it’s a dramatic and vast improvement on where i was before.

and that’s it.

i have 6 talents, and so do you. i have a great husband, and maybe you do too, or you have a great sister or a great mother or a great gramma. i’ve paid for counselling in the past, maybe you have too. i’ve always relied on the help of others (mentors) to improve my life faster. i’m impatient. i try very very hard not to bumble around in the dark figuring things out for myself. If i need to ice a cake, i’m on youtube for 25 minutes, then i ice the cake, then i watch youtube some more, then the second iced cake is good enough.

before … when i consumed larger quantities of wine, I used to buy groceries and not make the meals. I used to have fridges full of dead or dying food. I knew myself well enough to know that i had to have dinner made before the first glass of wine, otherwise i would just abandon the meal part way. leave stuff on the stove. just give up.

and now, it’s so fun to see who we turn out to be once we take the booze away… i became an early morning baker (and i can ASSURE you this is not who i was when drinking). i routinely set my alarm for (fuckers) 6:30 am to bake. really. i promise you i am not an early morning person. but it turns out i like being a baker MORE than i like red wine.

yes, i’m married, i run, i have a husband and i make bread. i’m still the same fucked up chick i was before. Except now i’m sober. i’m slowly making improvements on the rest of my life. it’s like an amusement park, life. full of cool rides and things to do and places i want go and things i want to see. I don’t want to hide in a bottle anymore. i want to get shit done 🙂

i pick 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

  • What an incredible post, Belle.. Yes, I have many of the things you don’t have… Things that pale in comparison to what you have found.. and what I still struggle to find: peace through sobriety.. What was the turning point for you? Any words of wisdom that you can share? You are very special, Belle.. Thanks for making a difference to people you have never even met!

  • great post Belle.. I love how you’re opening up a little more and letting youself be a little more vulnerable.. we’re only as bad as our hidden shit and sometimes that hidden shit is just tons of ‘am I good enough?’.. we’re all good enough is the answer. Fantastic. Also loving how your outlook has shifted to a long term one. Very inspiring xxxx

  • Well, this describes me perfectly. I can’t finish a damn thing. I have a creative dinner plan but end up eating crackers and dip. The house is a wreck and the laundry is days behind. I hate myself for living this way but I can’t seem to put down the wine. I’m gonna try again today…

    • Hi ND, there is lots of support for you in the sober blogging world. whenever you’re ready to begin, check back again esp. if you’d like to have a sober penpal. Hugs, Belle xo

  • I really like hearing concrete benefits of sobriety (like being able to cook a whole meal). I’ve lamented to Belle about this via email with much sturm und drang; I haven’t yet gotten to a point where I feel like sobriety is making my life better (though it’s certainly not making it worse). And somehow, it’s easier to believe in a future with things like “I can wake up early on purpose and not because the cat stepped on my head and I couldn’t get back to sleep and I want to murder everyone in a nine mile radius” than more nebulous benefits like “I feel better in my own skin” or “I feel more honest” or whatever. I’m sure those are true; I just like hearing about the more tangible ones!

    • Quill, there are lots of tangible things: finishing meals, following through on plans, getting up to exercise and being happy about it, going to bed and actually sleeping through the night without wacky dreams or 4 am terrors…

  • I love this post, especially the party about how I might be thinking your life is dreamy and mine is dreary. I remember a few months ago I was walking through the grocery store and spotted a couple who were similar in age to me and my husband. I remember thinking “why can’t we be like them and be happy?” I didn’t know those people. Maybe the guy was cheating on his woman but she stayed to keep up appearances. This is my life – I own it. I choose to fill it with things that are great.

    • “I choose to fill my life with things that are great.” if that’s not a good enough reason to be sober, i don’t know what is!

  • YES YES YES. I love that line about doing something hard (being sober) and that that alone is just enough. And, huge improvement, no matter all the other little details (life). I sometimes feel like there was an earthquake, and my building totally collapsed. Now, I’m rebuilding it, and it is awesome and super-reinforced, and can withstand all kinds of natural disasters. And, that no matter what happens outside my building, it doesn’t really matter because my building is the best thing ever. Awesome. Stronger than any force of nature. A work of art, almost. And, mine. No big deal, no one’s going to come over and tear my building down. It just stands there, and I can go inside and watch my unicorn parade when life and competing and comparing starts to look real. My building is the real deal! xxx

    • yes, that’s it exactly. dismantling your ‘house’ and recreating it from the ground up. and it’s always better, stronger, more interesting, better view in the remodel : )

  • I love your honesty Belle! You are the most genuine person I’ve ever ‘not’ met! lol You are an inspiration to me. I think to myself, ‘if Belle can do it, so can I’. No pressure though! lol Your blogs are always so timely for me that I think ‘how did she know I was struggling with that or just thinking about that?’ I have shared my love of your blog with my husband and so at times all I have to say to him is ‘damn wolfie’ and he knows exactly how I’m feeling. You make me feel ‘not alone’ on this sober journey, as well as the other 110+ followers. This is the only place I can say ‘I.’ M. S. O. B. E. R!”
    I too have ‘shit to get done’. Being sober makes nearly anything possible to try. Although ‘change’ and ‘risk’ is scary to me, anything is possible sober. I feel very comfortable driving behind you by a month in my sober car! Sometimes I want to pull over and quit the drive or I feel like I’m running out of sober gas and then I read you blog and get back on the road and keep going! Very soon your sober car will cross the ONE YEAR line and that will be so exciting!!! 🙂 So thank you for being YOU! xo

    • wow, you are so very kind, thank you for this. really. on this blog and with my husband is the only place i’m truly ‘me all the time’ and it’s a relief. for me, an eternal manager, boss, and happy hostess, it’s hard to just let my hair down and BE. that’s what blogging has given me. a place where i can drop all the shit. and where we can meet on a common playing field — the playing the field of boozers, trying to figure out a (better) way to have a (sober) life. and truly, next to getting married, i think that being sober is the coolest thing i’ve ever done…

  • I love this post Belle. – just love it. All of us struggle. Alcohol addiction does not add to life. It subtracts and that is from wherever you are. No one really can tell what is going on in someone’s life. I am struggling again with sober or not (addict or not)and I needed to read this! The question is not better than someone else anyway but better off without it. Thanks for you thoughts. They are of great value.

  • You have so many incredible talents and we appreciate you more than you’ll ever know! In addition to your soberlicious life, you have organized a challenge that has over *110* people who are not drinking! We are all cheerleading each other along the way and we give thanks to our fearless leader! You have also initiated an uber cool photography challenge. Me who has NEVER in a million years even cared about photos (except for does this one make me look fat?) had FUN trying to get my turtle to smile for the bubbles picture. Yep – pretty much Bubba the turtle does NOT smile – as a matter of fact, he looks like a mean mother fuckah! I love your phrase “I want to get shit done”. Yep – you and me both sistah. I am giggling that it is now 8:10 AM and I am on VACATION and I have been up for over an hour and 1/2. Why? Because I want to get shit done. This is my time to do MY shit before anyone else wakes up…and then we will all do shit together and I will actually be making memories and not having lapses of memory. Yep – this post made me count up my blessings and to recognize my talents. I also realize that I like living my life and GETTING SHIT DONE more than I like wine. And that is something I never thought I would say. Huge hugs across the oceans Belle 😉 MG