I’m in control of my energy, how much i have, and how much fun I have in my life.

I’ve just done catering for 7 hrs straight, finally finished, need to shower, I smell like a bagel.  a very good toasty bagel with cream cheese.  but a bagel nonetheless. That’s what happens when you have a convection fan oven. You open the door and “poof” you’re enveloped in a cloud of BAGEL. My skin literally smells like food.

I was just looking through my learning log and found this from 2 years ago.  It seems somehow appropriate for me to post this today.  It’s me talking to me.  And maybe I need to hear it again today. You?

August 20, 2011
(I had just spent the entire month of August learning to make bread.  The next month (Sept 2011) I started doing paid catering, so this was written just before I started.)

…I’m able now to create lovely loaves of bread with North American flour using NA recipes, and with foreign flour using foreign recipes. … Soon I’ll learn how to make bagels and cinnamon rolls with foreign ingredients.  But one thing at a time.

This lovely success set off a thought pattern of “what if i sold lots of bread? What do i need to know about doing some kind of catering thing ” — the thoughts of which i found very exciting! I spent a few hours yesterday online doing research, looking at recipes, brainstorming an “office-delivery-sandwich” business … then the next time I looked up it was 2 pm.

I realized i was getting spinny, too excited … and then it QUICKLY turned into overwhelm “there’s so much to learn, i could never do this, there are too many details, what about the health regulations, oh my language skills here aren’t good enough to do this …”

Then i heard a voice. Unfortunately it was my voice (hate it when that happens). And my voice said: that’s enough for now.

So i turned off the computer, showered (at 2 pm!), went out for a walk to the library, got a bunch of mindless reading, sat outside for an hour and read in the sun, came home and did the dishes, made supper, folded laundry.

The catering research will be there again tomorrow, and the next day.

If i get burnt out now, i won’t keep going, and i’ll take a good idea and i’ll literally kill it with too much attention, i’ll turn it into ‘work’ instead of fun.

[NOTE: this is like in early sobriety when we try to achieve too many things at the same time (like losing 30 pounds) … and then we get overwhelmed and say ‘fuck it’.]

With the catering, I’m more enthusiastic now to “save” my excitement — to think about the bread / sandwich making for only a little bit of time each day. [To plan for the future, but realize that the planning is most of the fun, and so i don’t want to get tired of it! Plan for the future but don’t get so hung up on trying to achieve it all right now.]

I get to spread out the exciting parts of this adventure (like making Christmas morning last for weeks and months instead of being over in 90 minutes).

I improve my chances that I’ll succeed by not burning out [and trying to do too much at the same time] and I’ll improve my chances of ‘keeping going’ because i’ll just deal with little bits of problems at a time, not trying to solve all of life’s problems in one-go.

I’m in charge of overdoing it, and I’m in charge of getting the help I need to remove roadblocks. I’m in charge of whether I choose to follow the advice of those who’ve been there before me. [gee, parallels with sobriety aren’t hard to spot here.]

Time to run, listen to NPR podcasts, and get home in time for Mr. B to make me bfast.

anyway, as I’m on the 2-year anniversary of starting the catering business today, this seemed like a good thing for me to read.  I’m still in charge of me.  I’m driving my own sober car. I get to do everything I want to do —– just not all at once!

[so if you’re a bit frustrated about progress, or timing, or why does this part take so long, maybe also be kind to yourself. And look that you’re not trying to do too much at the same time. You know what I mean?]

How’s that for a long post about almost nothing?



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

  • I love this, Belle! I’m 80-something-ish days sober and a week ago offered to join a friend in being sugar-free AND flour-free for the month of September. And yes, one of the reasons I agreed to join in is because I’m frustrated over not having lost much weight despite removing literally thousands of calories from my diet. WTFF is up with that? (The second ‘F’ is intentional–What the Fucking Fuck? Seriously, why am I not fashionably gaunt by now?!)

    Anyway, I realized yesterday what a mistake that was. It wasn’t that I was craving a drink–that’s not really an issue much anymore, knock wood–but the all-or-nothing thinking felt dangerous, and I also just realized I need to be gentler with myself these days. So while I’m still joining my friend in the challenge, I’ve modified it to a gentler *reduction* in sugar and white flour, which is all my body and I really need anyway.

    And Bridget, I agree that having something to do is really important, especially in those first weeks! I am a big reader but I found it hard to concentrate on books in my first 30 days–needed projects more along the lines of what you described. (Because I got sober in the middle of summer, in week 2 I had myself almost convinced I needed to go out and buy lots of expensive canning and pickling equipment. I’m now kind of glad I didn’t do that, but hey, whatever works. 🙂 )

    • Hi KC, happy day 80 today! glad you realized your ‘stacking’ mistake early… it’s so tempting to want to try to eat the whale in one big mouthful instead of in little bites… hugs from me…

      • Woohoo, happy Day 80 to me! Around the world in 80 days, holy cow. Couldn’t have started without all these wonderful blogs to read to give me a vision of how good sobriety could feel. Hugs back, and I owe you an email with mystery-writer talk. 🙂

  • This is my 2nd attempt at sobriety. Prior to now, I was sober a little over two years. My mistake was one a lot of us probably made: we cannot drink, and it’s the first drink that gets you drunk. Someone once asked me how much I drank/drink, and my answer is the same as Stephen King (also in recovery) gave in an interview, “All of it.” While I agree 100% with not trying to do too much, I do think that being busy is helpful. One of the things that does not work for me – ESPECIALLY when I am bored, sad, anxious – is having nothing to do. I white-knuckled it last night due to a work-related trigger that dials into one of my personal hang-ups. So…I edited photos from Labor Day weekend (all 300+) and worked on a decorative sign. I needed to sleep because of the lost sleep from traveling over the weekend…..but working myself into exhaustion was more important. Having “something to do” is SO important!

  • Wow, thanks Belle! I was JUST thinking (and writing) about this a few minutes ago! I am 20 days sober and want to do SO MANY THINGS, but I know I need to just calm down and focus on my sobriety. Congratulations on 2 years of catering- that’s a big accomplishment! Peace, Jen

  • Great post. When I was early sober, I tried to give up anti-depressants and smoking and lose weight. A voice in my head (not mine!) told me to stop messing with my meds so I could concentrate on getting sober first and following a program.

  • Yep! Once I put on the brakes and decided it was ok to JUST focus on learning to be sober my anxiety level was reduced. My mind would start to go into overdrive and I’d have to say, ” Noooooooooo, just focus on staying sober.”

  • It’s so true how we try to do too much all at once when we decide to be sober – and what happens with me is I tired out and revert to saying fuck it and cave. I honestly don’t want to be that person anymore and have finally come to terms that I need to quit drinking … 100 days … maybe the rest of my life. I can’t keep fooling myself in thinking I can be moderate (I’m not moderate in anything – it’s all or nothing and that’s some of my own internal work I have to do). When I read about how you started your catering, your thoughts, and now watching you launching what looks like some successful coaching classes – well lady Belle… You ROCK!! I have dabbled in my head about different ventures I could add to my life to earn more money (I love my day job). It’s all about finding something we’re passionate about and success follows naturally I think.

    • I think success ‘can’ follow naturally, if we can manage our energy and our spinny thinking… it’s too easy to go off in 100 directions. it’s much harder as a boozer to learn to do one thing at a time, and do it well. I’ve learned the hard way about doing too much too soon. and I’ve learned from business shit that didn’t work the way I wanted to, that if you try to grow too fast (or be everything to everyone) then you just end up doing everything badly. which leads to a case of the fuck-its. which leads to booze. Once the booze is gone, yeah, we’ve got to learn better coping strategies. one of them is to DO everything, but more slowly and methodically and more successfully …just like sobriety. one day, one bit at a time.