I had read about Dry July and I’d tried not drinking before. I could usually do 3 or 4 or 7 or 9 days. i thought about doing dry july… i mean, surely i could quit for a month…
I was either travelling or on vacation for most of June last year. There was booze at all meals, lunch and dinner. The last night of vacation (june 27) we went out for dinner at a roast chicken ‘restaurant’ like Church’s Chicken/Swiss Chalet/St-Hubert. My husband had some nostalgic childhood thing he had to fulfill, it wasn’t my idea of a nice place for dinner. We ordered a bottle of wine, had our half-chicken-with-canned-sauce. We ordered more wine. Then we ordered more. It was our last night on vacation. We had purposely left the car behind. The bill came and i reached for the $80 that i had put in my shorts pocket. But the bill was for $130. For two people, two crappy half-chicken dinners, and some seriously overpriced, marked up, not even great wine (a lot of it). I didn’t have my wallet with me. the restaurant was closing. i didn’t have time to take the train back to our hotel room, get my bank card, and return. For whatever reason, all we had between us was my husband’s european driver’s license and $80. So we left his license with the minimum wage employee on the promise that we’d go to a bank in the morning and return before our flight to pay off the bill. and we did.
then we flew home to europe. we had wine on the plane. we had wine once we got home. and i knew i was done. I specifically remember June 30th when i had my last drink. I remember that i didn’t like it, it tasted like garbage, i was so sick and tired of the whole thing. I drank that night just to be finished with it, and so that i could begin Dry July the next day. And, well, if you’ve read the first part of my long story from last july, you know that i got to day 7 sober and then i knew i was in trouble and that i couldn’t do it alone.
fast forward. today i am one year sober.
Here’s what I know:
- it’s much much easier after 30 days. then it’s easier again after 90. then 6 months is rocking. then something happens at about 8.5 months and since then i’ve been riding a pretty big upswing. The first bit of being sober is the hardest, and then it’s an uphill ride of betterness. i cannot remember the last time i really craved wine. I know that i occasionally think that ‘wine would be a good idea right now’ but it never goes any further than that. it’s probably been 3 months since i’ve had a real craving. I tried to search my blog to find evidence, and all i can find is may 6th, so about 3 months ago: “some blah days it seems like ‘this would be a good time for wine’ is my go-to response to ‘cover up the day and hide from all of this, are we there yet, is this over yet’ feelings. Instead, I go to bed early, get up and go for a long run, make a new recipe.”
- sober help. i would not have gotten (or stayed) sober without help from other sober people. my help came in the form of sober blogging. your help might come from a sober penpal, or commenting on other sober blogs. i really believe now (and i didn’t think this before) that i could not have gotten sober alone. i needed help with the noise in my head. i had to learn it was wolfie. i had to learn to not listen…
- i am less grumpy. i don’t go to bed in tears over some misunderstanding. i think i’m more even tempered in general.
- i’ve lost 10 pounds since giving up booze even WITH large amounts of cake, without dieting.
- we’ve stopped spending ‘dumb’ money, probably about $10 a day, it’s just stopped. We actually went out for dinner this week, and two hamburgers and a large bottle of water = $20.
- my husband stopped drinking at home when i quit. when i was 9 months sober, he quit entirely (his idea).
- I made room for my passion/job #3 thingy (catering) to really bloom. I am not a morning person. i can only get up at 6 am to bake bread because i’m sober. this i know for sure.
- I’m more likely to follow through on a commitment now. I’m better at answering emails and keeping my inbox empty. I follow through on what I say. No more late night facebook posts, and no more (oh god) emailing clients with ideas on how to build their businesses with absolutely no follow-through.
- weirdly more patient. I hope that in another year I’ll be writing that i’ve got this patience thing even more ‘figured out’. But today, i’m thankfully MORE patient than i was a year ago. some of my rapid brain syndrome has eased, some of my ADD-like ‘wanting to start a bunch of things and not finish them’ has eased too. I’m more likely to have an idea for … well, for angel food cake. Nowadays i’ll look at a recipe or two, and then roll over and go back to sleep. Before… well, before I would email a bunch of clients, ask their opinions, not follow up, put the new cake on the menu without having really figured it out, and then lose sleep once people started to order it, then deliver something half-assed. (OK, i’m using cake as an example, right?) Now I’m more likely to have an idea, process it, and then file it away. No new actions taken until other bits are lined up. So what have i learned? I am better able to picture the outcomes of things before i begin, so that i can decide better what avenues to pursue. How’s that for being superbly unclear.
- as of today, i have 123 sober penpals. this fucking rocks 🙂 having a sober penpal is like sober insurance for me. Ever since the 100 day challenge started in March, i have known (at least on a subconscious level that now i know in a conscious way), that i will not drink again. When/if wolfie comes calling, i will sometimes say things to myself like “you can drink later” … but as later comes and goes, i think it’s spectacularly unlikely that i will drink again.
I’m writing this in the morning of July 1st, 9:45 am local time (3:45 am eastern). Later today there will be cake. And we’re going out for dinner. I will update this post later with a few photos. Happy Canada Day, happy sober birthday to me. Happy day #1 of Dry July to you.
Update: 3:22 pm local time
Thanks to the Tiny Gift Button
Today my first day sober (again). It’s nice to read your takeaways from making it through a year without drinking. I’ve tried many times to get sober and think it has partially to do with the fact that I don’t stay consistent with my sober supports. So I started a blog today to track my journey. I am commenting on blogs. I am reaching out. I am not going to try harder with this sober thing (cause white nuckling doesn’t work). I am going to try smarter. Thanks for the endless wealth of wisdom and sober insight Belle 🙂
Couldn’t be more proud of you and how far you’ve come!
I feel like an “old-timer” because I was there when you started and remember all of those rollercoaster days when your wolf was messing with your head. “You’ve grown so much!” — in my best crazy aunt voice while I pinch your cheeks and ruffle your hair. 🙂
Keep up all the marvelous work Belle,
I’m celebrating 1 year of being sober today. It was tough, but I am proud of myself. I knew that if I continued drinking I was in trouble. I drank every day for years. I can’t imagine the money that I spent and wasted on it. I was athletic, so blew it off as I’ll just work out and burn off all those calories. I knew that I would have to stop, but kept putting it off “until later”. The years kept going by. The later came with my wife telling me that she was pregnant with my first child. I stopped cold turkey. It was hard. I went through anxiety and stress for weeks and had the craving for months. I did this for my family and my daughter. I wanted to be a better man, husband and father. It was the birth of my amazing little daughter Grace that opened my eyes to see that my life was more than just my own. I knew my wife deserved better, and that my daughter deserves this. When I see her glowing little smile and hear her cooing it was all worth it.
Congratulations on your one year of sobriety! What a gift to be present for your family. Grace is a lucky girl.
Way to go!!!
High five, Belle! Thanks for sharing your journey with us. You’re the Grand Marshall in the dry-July parade with 123 sober cars following right behind. :-). -d
Big congratulations to you! Your list of things you’ve learned is both inspiring and something we can all learn from. Thank you for that. Congrats!
Fabulous, fabulous, FABULOUS!!!! You are a rock star! 🙂
Hey belle I’d like to belatedly wish you happy 1 year! Thanks for coming up with the 100 day challenge. It has give me and many others something to focus on and a way out of the drinking trap. And thanks for coining the phrase fuck you Wolfie. I love it! Xx
Congrats!! Thanks for sharing your journey
Happy Sober B-day Belle:) You are truly and inspiration to me and my journey in sobriety. xoxo b
Congratulations on one year! Great stuff! Love your sharing xxx
Happy soberversary! Well done Belle x x x
Happy happy happy one year sober to you Belle.
You are an inspiration and I am so grateful our paths have crossed on this road trip! What a year! You truly are a wonderful friend to so many of us here. Who’d have thought that giving up could be so rewarding…I am so glad you are here.
Hope you’ve had a fabulous day of treats and celebrating!
Thank you. Xxxxx
Beep Beep. 🙂 xoxoxoxo
Congratulations!!! What you have done here on this blog is so awesome & I want to thank you for all your blog posts & emails they have helped me get where I am today. I hope you have a fabulous day! All the best to you!
I’m interrupting my Monday morning pity party to congratulate you. You are such an inspiration to those of us struggling. You make sobriety seem attainable and even fun. I’m gonna join you on that journey soon, I swear. Thank you for all you do. This is your true purpose, I believe.
Amazing job! I am so happy for you!!!
Happy happy joy joy!!!!! One big fucking year!!!! Take that wolfie!
BTW – I think we all need to run over our wolfie’s with our sober cars. They won’t die but maybe they’ll take a really long time to recover.
Seriously Belle – huge congratulations. You do so much for so many others, I’m so happy for you.
So proud of you!!!! Your an inspiration to so many~
Enjoy your special day, dinner and cake!
Next up, your 2nd Dry July!
Congratulations, Belle – what a journey. You’ve helped so many women in their own journey – what a gift. And in return you’re one year sober. Amazing how that works, eh? Help others and we get something bigger in return. How awesome is that?
Blessings to you and congrats on one year – what a landmark!
Yay!! Congrats! Enjoy your day!
CONGRATS BELLE!!! You DID it!! “O~N~E Y~E~A~R” !!!
365 days, or
8,766.1536 hours, or
525,948.766 minutes, or
That’s a lot of days, hours, minutes or seconds to be damn proud of being sober!!! You have been a true inspiration to me and so many others! Thank you! I hope this special day is glorious!!! Big Hugs to you!!!
I remember finding your blog around the time I got sober (which was last June)–what a GREAT journey it’s been with you, and I’ve learned so much. You’ve helped me so much–and cracked me up! FUCK OFF, wolfie-boy! And, if you want, you can come over and take my unicorn out for a ride up and down the beach! xx
Congratulations! It is very inspiring to hear about your journey and all you have learned along the way. Thanks for being so generous and sharing your time and insights with us all. Love your list of how you have changed and your new approach to living.
Congrats and thanks for everything more than words can ever possibly express.
BELLE!!! Fabulous! You are an inspiration, queen of the sobersphere! So happy that you’re so happy. Enjoy and celebrate! 😀
Congratulations Belle! You are such an inspiration – YOU ROCK! 🙂
Oh happy day! So proud of you. Thank you for forging our sober trail. I will raise a plate of cake to celebrate you today!
Excellent ….. fuck you wolfie!
Congratulations on one year! It’s a huge accomplishment. I love your list, your big heart and the way you pay it forward. 🙂
Belle-You rock. Congratulations! So much of what you share is spot on for me. Thanks for being here. I am in for dry July.
Bravo! I hope you’re skipping around a bit to celebrate this BIG day. It all unfolds as it should, doesn’t it Belle?? Cake…. yum! Thanks for sharing your journey, and so happy to be on the sober road with you and Team 100. xo – hugs!
Congrats Belle!! You are an inspiration and vision!! I agree about the sober penpals – YOU ROCK!!
Belle! I’m so happy for you..and happy for all of us to be running on this journey with you! What a ride…Life is great, isn’t it? Trish
Awesome, lady. Just awesome….
Oh Belle! I’m new to this roller coaster ride (day 11) but have been so moved and grown so attached to you and your story in such a short amount of time. I feel like smiling much of the day knowing you’re here holding the big umbrella for us all, guiding us thru this unpredictable storm with your great insights, humor and optimism. You truly have a gift, and I’m so glad I found my way to your story. My life is changing and I thank you from the bottom of my very full heart! Congratulations my new friend!!!
Belle, happy 1 year!! So happy for you and so proud of you:-). Your journey is truly an inspiration, and your emails have given me the courage and determination to put the wine down and find a better life for myself. Enjoy your celebration today!
Happy!!!!! 😀 Yay!!!! Hugs and love to you!!!!!