I created events out of construction paper and tape

L (day 111): “I do know that all my life I have felt lonely and sad, deep unendingly sad. I know that I was never enough:  I never had enough parental attention, I never felt smart or pretty enough, I never felt content and at peace.  In relationships, I craved total devotion and adoration, nothing less.  And when I drank, I always wanted more.  If there was only one glass of wine in a bottle, I often would not even touch it, knowing it was not enough to satisfy.”

holy god, when i got this message from L, i thought “yes. that’s me. that’s me too. all of it.”

me too, i craved total devotion. I used to joke and say “I need to be in a relationship with a man who adores me. I know what i need. that’s just who i am.” except it’s not a joke, and i never really ever stopped to think about WHY i was like that.

Lack of parental attention, sure. I certainly was never pretty enough. i did feel smart enough but that often swung to smug arrogance.

I certainly wasn’t rich enough. While the girl at school had new nike sneakers, i had zellers store brand. She lived in a big house with more than one floor that had intercoms. We lived in government subsidized housing. She had an actual canopy bed like on television. I had mice in my bedroom. She got a car for her 16th birthday. We didn’t own even one car, we took the bus. She went to florida for vacation, and to Montreal to see the olympics (1976). we rode the bus to the library with money taken from coat pockets. I created events out of construction paper and tape.

fuck. no wonder. I mean no fucking wonder. of course that person, that little girl who was me, grows up “emotionally self-sufficient’ (to quote cat girl). no wonder that little girl doesn’t easily ask for help. no wonder she sees what real help looks like once she begins to get sober and find this whole world of sober blogging help available.

no wonder sobriety turns this girl’s life upside down. no wonder this girl’s life is dramatically improved by being sober. she’s unearthed a whole support system that has — up until now — simply not been available to her. not ever. not once.

And she’s learned to be her own lighthouse. and she’s figured out that asking for help (and getting it, and accepting it) might be the key to life.

No wonder sober is the new black for this girl (to quote carrie).

I’m finally figuring out who i am, in this new world, where I am enough, i have enough love and support.

so … what’s next? Take over the world, of course! well it’s about time….


Team 100 update: 334 members, welcome to Primrose (7), Ozgal (2), KG (3), Curly (4), Bad (1).  Happy day 100 to Tami!   Happy days to Meka (90), Jo (80), Carolyne (60), TipTree (50), Anne T (50), Lou (50), Mo (40), Kathleen (40), Kris (10). And me, i’m on day 498. holy that’s a big number. i guess i’ll have to have cake on day 500.


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 had my last drink at Olive Garden. It was a 9oz glass of their house Chardonnay and it tasted like lighter fluid.

  • Oh this makes me really sad for some reason. Sad that it takes something as drastic as addiction to make us realise the complexity and depth of our unmet needs.
    Although maybe I should be thankful that we get given the opportunity to address this when we are sober.
    It is the loneliness that got ( and still gets) me …. now I’m trying to live a sober life.
    I think that being with others on this journey does help to meet this. Ultimately I know no one person can meet my needs but the sadness of how little I expected from others in any relationship is stark. Almost like I was willing to give and give until I fell over and disappeared.
    It’s harder now to start saying I matter to those people who
    I’ve never felt like I did …. And to expect anything back. Indeed I do notice how little I get back sometimes.
    But I also notice the nuggets of what I do receive and this mostly comes from other sober people.
    It makes me sad that my marriage offers little and I don’t quite know how this will change.
    Oh well ; I can only do me…..
    At least I no longer expect anyone else to do it for me!
    Thanks for the opportunity to speak here Belle

  • I woke up this morning and realized that nothing in my life is ever made better by drinking wine. In fact, every shitty thing that I have ever done was when I was drunk. I used to take ambien, and some bad stuff happened. Now, I am scared to death to take ambien. What will make me scared to death to drink wine?

    • What will make me scared to drink wine? Surviving driving while blacked out-not remembering any of it countless times. The night I drove straight thru a concrete wall and don’t even remember leaving the bar where I had been shooting tequila chasing that with margaritas. That was still not enough. Took another four years til I could gather my wits about me to quit successfully.

      Look around and see what the sober people are doing for fun and entertainment and try to emulate them. It’s a truly better life without the Wolf at the door and after a month or two of sober, the Wolf becomes less strident.

  • So many parallels in all our lives. I had almost the same childhood, I turned to books, buried myself in them to avoid a bad home situation, low income, mentally ill parent, alcohol abuse in the house. When I went off to college I never went back. I try not to look back too often. Now, today, I’d much rather ROAR.

  • yes we need as much ammo as necessary to ward off the wolfie.
    Thinking about traveling up north to the family and how hard that will be for christmas. maybe we should make it a short trip.
    Don’t know….

  • Wonderful post Belle and I’m so glad that the heart stuff is ok and under control. Good for you for making sure to look after yourself as you need to.

    I love this post as I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the amazing support network we’ve created here – it really kind of blows my mind.

    Also, I am feeling quite anxious about Christmas so I would love to hear the podcast or part thereof. Early Christmas present to us all?

    Your comment about ‘anticipatory anxiety’ helped me put it in perspective though; while I need to make sure I have some tools, resources and a plan in place before I go (trip home for wedding/Christmas = multiple triggers and stressors all at once), there is no point working myself up in knots about it a month in advance. I will get through it. Maybe it will even be much nicer than I fear? (Though I think low expectations are a good idea too.) Certainly it can actually only be easier with booze.

    On which note, I had an insight talking to Carrie yesterday about it – stress with my crappy emotionally neglectful/abusive family is part of my fear as in the past I have absolutely used booze to cope with dealing with them. What I realised was – it still sucked. Booze didn’t make it all ok; it only made me more numb. So booze won’t help now. It would only make it crappier now, actually.

    Lilly x

  • Me too, me too! Poverty, self sufficient. Having to be like an adult when I was just a kid.
    And criticism, can’t take that!!That’s why everything had to be just perfect ! And perfect was friggin ‘ hard work, only to be followed by checking out with wine at the end of every exhausting day!

  • Great post–we get to see so much once sober, uncover all that shizzle. For me, I never thought I deserved anything resembling devotion; I took the opposite path, growing up poor and neglected and emotionally abused, and then thinking deep down that well, I guess I don’t deserve more (not the poor, I have always been good at earning $). I still have to tell myself every day that yes, I deserve this guy who treats me with respect, love, even possibly devotion. Hurray for us. HURRAY. *roar*

  • I feel like I have always wanted to jump into everything, totally submerge myself in life, love and wine. I want to feel snug and secure and important. I tried to literally drown myself in all that I was craving. But the truth is that wine is deceptive and ends up leaving you felling more alone and empty than before. There are other avenues to self-fulfillment, which I am discovering in sobriety.

    • thanks for this. I’ll keep excavating in public if it’s helpful (ha). I feel like I know what my shit is. Until I come around a corner and find a new patch of it that I haven’t seen before with sober eyes …

  • I feel like you just posted a page from my high school journal. I mean, right down to subsidized housing! It is interesting these things that shape us and the commonality. Right now I watch my daughter stuff her feelings, act strong and never ask for help. I try to talk to her about sharing her feelings and asking for help, but she refuses. It breaks my heart that I haven’t yet been able to teach her this lesson. Her circumstances growing up are much different than mine, but this attitude is the same. Of all the lessons I teach her in life I hope this one gets through!

    • I think that being a young adult is pretty tough, and being a vulnerable open honest one is nearly impossible. so many insecurities, and no space feels safe enough. I think maybe the only thing to do is to model what being honest and open looks like. admit mistakes, cry, share plans for self-improvement. just live your life out loud, in front of her, and model what it should look like. she’ll act like she isn’t paying attention, but she is. a lot.

  • I think we all have turned to the alcohol as a filler in our lives. For me it was past abuse, loneliness, lack of true love in my life. The booze was my friend – or so it tricked me into believing. Working through this is really hard shit but reading how well others are doing is keeping me going! 500 is a BIG number!! Congrats on your continued success!