i know this about me

i just wrote this to a sober penpal:

“I’m big on giving up stuff that doesn’t serve me…”

i’m pretty aware of subtle ups and downs in my day. My motivation and energy levels fluctuate some days more than I’d like. I get the work done, but some days I enjoy it, other days it’s a grind. Even within a couple of hours i can flip and feel like something is grindy. So i’m always on the lookout for ways to ensure that i’m happy more often than not.


I know this about me. If i run, i feel better. Therefore, i try to run as often as i can, for very short distances, just enough to get the ‘bump’. 10 minutes is enough. I usually try to go for 20 minutes. But 10 minutes is enough to change my mood.

I know this about me. i know that i’m shit worthless on less than 8 hrs sleep. I accept this about myself. I will never just crash on your floor or in your van. I will always go home and get into my own bed and have a good night’s sleep. Always.

I know this about me. ice cream makes my guts feel funny. so i have sorbet.

I know this about me. i don’t go *home* for christmas, i skip family events where the drama is high. summer is better. at least we can sit outside.

I know this about me. i feel better if i’ve set out something for tomorrow, something symbolic like putting the folder by the front door. something that means that when i get up, my behaviour will be intentional instead of just being adrift.

I know this about me. i feel better without the news. I don’t read the paper except when on vacation, and then i read the arts/food/family/travel sections.

I know this about me. Because i don’t have a tv, i don’t repeatedly watch shitty things in other parts of the world that have nothing to do with me (sinkholes, tornadoes, plane crashes, etc.). I did not see Hurricane Katrina on CNN. I didn’t see the olympics either. shocking, i know.

I know this about me. I have stopped writing fiction but it wasn’t really a decision. I just stopped. I never ‘had time’, I was always ‘busy with other things,’ and that’s it.  years went by.  then more years. now I realize that I wrote fiction to make other people happy. i had a talent that they insisted i use.  For me, it’s too solitary. For me, I’m not compulsive enough (i.e. I don’t get up every day just dying to write fiction). I do get up thinking about pie, though. Turns out I had to get sober and be 46 to figure out what I’m really called to do.  I’m CALLED to and dream about cinnamon buns. And pie. And today I made sour cream coffee cake and bagels and lamb pot pies.

I know this about me. I’m also (apparently) called to be sober penpal with a squillion people although this is a recent event and i’m not sure what it means yet. I seem to have fallen into it without really examining the ‘whys’ of it.  I expect the meaning will be clearer later, maybe much later. This sober thing is part of a story, but i’m not sure what the story is yet.

I know this about me. I avoid crazy situations, even when they’re called Family. I stayed home from the funeral because y’all were fighting about who was going to inherit the bed.

I know this about me. i don’t have anyone in my life anymore who makes me feel small. If you make me cry, i’ll think very seriously about having anything to do with you again even if you apologize.  if you think it’s OK to corner me, and to push even when i’ve said what’s best for me, then I’ll act silent. And then I’ll turn and walk away and never come back.

I know this about me. I do what’s best for me. even if you think i’m an idiot. or wrong. or that i’m selfish. or not brave enough. or whatever you’d like to project onto me.  I do what’s best for me.

I know this about me. if you make me feel shitty because i got married and you’re single, and you liked me better when i was single, then please understand that i’ll pick my husband every day and twice on sundays. he’s adorable.

And really, Wolfie, if you think that listening to you is entertaining, then you’ve got another thing coming. i’m so fucking done with you, Wolfie. the empty space in my head and life now is filled with connections, and people, and cake. And bakeries and catering and sober friends and running.  Fuck you wolfie. With sugar on top.

Durfee (day 97) sent me this photo a while ago, and i’ve been saving it for the perfect time. this is it.

just like that


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

  • Thanks Belle – what a great thing to do! I’m going to make my own list which will include lots of things you have said. Very powerful when you actually write it all down 🤗

  • I find that such an adorable comment “I do wake up thinking about pie” 🥰
    I can’t relate to waking up and wanting to write fiction ; in fact I can’t relate to wanting to write at all…. I could relate to wanting to learn loads of equations and formulas and to solve them and to work out routes on Strava that I can run ….
    I can totally relate to not wanting to do things because others think I’m “gifted “ ….
    I also relate to the “I’m going to withdraw from you if you really hurt me and it’ll take a long time for me to trust you again” (that’s me btw)
    Love reading your blog btw too

  • Thank you for this input!
    Lots of things changed for me since being sober, because alcohol covered up so very much. I discovered so much new aspects of my personality… I will write my own “I know this about me” – List tonight, just to catch up 😀

  • I know this about me:
    I’m tired of being a people pleaser when it doesn’t suit my best interests and there’s no point in trying to make me feel guilty/pour drink on my head because that doesn’t suit you!

  • I fucking love this post. Amazing how much we can learn about ourselves when we put down the poison. You have inspired me to make the same assessment of what I know about me. Have never really done that before.

  • I sold out many things I should have been able to say about myself to alcohol. I’ve recovered quite a few on my journey so far and always discovering some new things in the process! Love this post!

  • Never read this post before. It’s great! Thanks for the link. I’m going to make my list too. I know a lot more things about myself now.

  • This is such an awesome post and what a great thing to write. I needed to read this today. A things I know about me list is such a great idea. It really cements getting to know the sober me

  • I love this, too, but Birch Girl said it the way I wanted to! Thank you so much for posting the link to it today.

  • Thank you so much for your words! You truly have a gift. I am on Day 10! Tonight I have been battling Wolfie in my head. I have to admit I was starting to feel weak…and then…your email came! Feeling much stronger now and ready to finish the evening sober.

  • I’m new. On 100 day wait list, which is fine because I’m drinking again. Hate it. But still reading y’all’s words helps. Made it to 43 days early Summer, 35 days last Spring, about 8 until a few weeks ago when we lost both my Dad & brother. So over being scared of dying from drinking & smoking…want to live a new life and hoping I can find the strength along with others.

  • I just reread this too, Belle. I love it…you are so strong. I want to be like you. I want to do things that are good for me and stay away from people, situations, and things that are not. I FEEL stronger after reading this. Thanks! ~Jen

  • Perfect timing Belle. Again. I really needed to read this at this moment, you made me get a tea. A beautiful hot cup of tea. Thank you so much xoxo