Audio: A Shitstorm of Treats

How good are you at giving yourself rewards? Do you suck at it? No, not YOU πŸ™‚

In this audio postcard, i try to talk about this idea of rewards. And in particular i talk about an email i received that began: “I can’t really reward myself because i’m trying to save money and lose weight.”

[this link has been removed]

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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

  • The 100 Day Challenge worked for me and changed my life. I am on day 126 now. I participated in the Sober Jump Start class and felt it really gave me strength in the early days of my sobriety. I LOVE knowing that if I need help on this journey I can schedule a call with Belle – this is priceless. I know that different things may work for different people but THIS worked for me and I am forever grateful.

  • Me too, Kirst, I’ve been here for a loooong time. Long before the donate discussion came up and I well remember Belle’s reticence at even taking a quarter for a newspaper and the insistence of some folks who have benefitted so seriously from her help that they wanted to pay something-most because they weren’t spending it on liquor so they felt led to give to one whose advice was helping. Some people were/are being aided and staying sober successfully by sheer virtue of checking in with Belle everyday.

    Undoubtedly there are those who are not in the headspace needed to use what Belle has to offer; in that case, be on your way, keep looking for help and I hope you find that which works for you. Being unhappy and airing it so vociferously indicates to me that you are looking for either kindred souls OR someone to help you understand why you are having such difficulty finding YOUR sober path. I cannot determine which yet…

    Belle, continue to do that which is working for so many. Hundreds, hear that, Kay, HUNDREDS of readers are on their path to a better life and loving how it is working for them. I hope that someday you too will find the correct method for maintaining your sober life. I did it thirty years ago…without AA, the Web, support groups, or a telephone buddy. Any of which would have helped but was not available in my location or time in space. Yet forge onward we do, for we know that what awaits us in sobriety is far superior to what we had in alcohol’s grip. I wish you luck, Kay.

    Belle, for you I wish a long, healthy, fulfilling journey doing what you love and what loves you back. If we’re not having fun working, perhaps it’s time to take a look around and you have shown that that is exactly what you do-rock on, woman of strength.

  • Gosh, I feel like an old timer because I have been hanging around this blog since before the Tiny Gift Button and before the paid Jump Start/phone session idea came about.
    I remember reading Belle’s post when she introduced the gift button. In it she explained that people, so happy to finally find a path that offered hope where many others didn’t, wanted to show their appreciation – a totally human response to being helped by someone. You could feel Belle’s discomfort when she wrote about the idea and how, although she didn’t expect anything from anyone, she understood people’s need to give in return for receiving.
    Perhaps Kay hasn’t been around for long enough to see the evolution of this side of Belle’s blog. Tired of Thinking About Drinking has evolved from being one person’s journal of their journey to a place where so many of us who are in the same boat come to read and share what works and what doesn’t. To support and be supported.
    Belle has hit on a few things which really work for her. Maybe they will work for you, maybe they won’t. In paying for courses and calls people are strengthening their position by adding to their toolbox and acknowledging the time and effort put into this by Belle. They are not paying for sobriety.
    Maybe finally realising that sobriety comes from within ourselves is one of the biggest hurdles we all have to jump over on this wacky path. In Kay’s comment I can see the pain that comes from feeling as though you are continually failing. My best advice would be to look within herself for the source of her dissatisfaction, not at Belle for failing to provide guaranteed sobriety.
    My own story is that I am around 34 days sober, have never paid for a course or a call but check in on this site every single day to read and learn and hopefully get a few a-ha moments. This is my fourth or fifth serious attempt at quitting forever. I keep coming back because this way of supporting my decision feels right.
    Despite being at this gig for nearly four years in total I still have a-ha moments. Today I listened to Belle’s podcast about gifts. The reason I was commenting in the first place was to say thanks! I do try and reward myself but not hard enough and not with the recognition that it is because I am sober. Drinking was a MASSIVE reward for me at the end of the day – my a-ha was that with no reward I am far more likely to relapse – so reward I will!!!
    Keep going Belle – you really do make a difference πŸ™‚

  • I am 66 days sober because of Belle. And I haven’t paid her one penny for it. I have received hundreds of emails from her which must equate to an enormous chunk of time, her time, that she has freely given. And I am just one of the 300+ people receiving support from her. Nothing, nobody else has ever changed my life as profoundly as Belle’s support has. All for free. It is the most extraordinary, selfless gift I’ve ever received. If it doesn’t work for you, then try something else that does. That’s our prerogative. If, in the process of trying to overcome an addiction, we feel anger and resentment, the cause does not belong with the source of support, but only with the problem itself.

  • i was also waiting each day for “wine o’clock” although i knew the following day would be yucky with hangover. that “reward” of escape (which is what i crave…an escape from all the hard things i do each day or struggle with ) was like a carrot on a stick. and i longed for it. so, to stay sober i’ve found rewarding myself extremely helpful. i realize now i’m substituting sugar, books, movies, coffee, naps, baths, target and other luxuries as my escape. i want to become that person who doesn’t NEED to escape. but maybe my brain works like that. i bought myself perfume for my 1 yr sober anniversary. the money i spent on alcohol was astronomical over the years. and treats don’t have to be purchased. a treat can be a hot bubble bath. a walk. a run. i gotta put on my tennies and hit the pavement for any lasting relief. however the effort it takes to motivate me to run a mile vs. buy a starbucks or take a nap sometimes overwhelms that specific treat for my mind and body. exercise is essential, i believe, for a healthy mind. it’s hard to congratulate myself but i think being sober is a life project too. i am doing something extraordinary. i need to cut myself some slack.

  • It’s all about free will Kay… no one is asking you to sign up for anything. I hope you find comfort somewhere. I for one think that Belle gives of her time freely and I have never paid a penny to anyone in this blogging world but that is my choice. If I wanted to sign up for any additional blog audios, then I would but it is my choice. Sending positive energy to you on your journey.

    • I too hope for a positive outcome for you Kay, and I’m sorry you are having such a hard time. But you are keeping at it and that’s important. So, regarding your comment: in my experience anything we are willing to try/learn from in early sobriety, whether for a fee or for free, enlightening or not our cup of tea, leads us closer to the potential of real and lasting change. However it won’t work until we are ready, and that’s the real challenge of the Team100 challenge. At the end of the day, it’s OUR sobriety and no one program, person, group, or call is going to make this work until we are ready to make this work. Best wishes for you, and when you’re ready (maybe you already are) it will happen.

      • Kay–first I’m sorry you are struggling and I hope you choose to keep trying. Our ability to make choices is what it comes down too–even if they are really really hard choices. First, we choose not to drink. Then we choose to find WHATEVER it takes in our particular situation to help us with that choice. Some of us need more support than others. Personally I’ve chosen to do a lot of things I never thought I would do in order to help me with my choice not to drink– including paying Belle-and others–sometimes for no other reason then to hear common sense thoughts that don’t come out of my own often screwed up Wolfie head. But guess what–so far it’s working– for ME–actually—it’s worked for five months for ME–i’ve used support from people who have the best training around–life experience. I think life is often our best teacher–I don’t need to see a string of initials next to anyone’s name to know if what they have to say resonates and is helpful TO ME. MY choice. I hope you find what YOU need to kick Wolfies ass once and for all. Wishing you the best.

  • It just isn’t that simple for all, and can this please be acknowledged?

    I have been trying the 100-day challenge for a few months now. I’ve had a number of difficult “Life” experiences, unexpected and not, and keep relapsing or failing at sobriety. No one — including my husband — thinks I have a “problem” and this includes a counselor I have paid to see several times and have been very honest with! So what… I think I do have an issue because my drinking bothers ME, and really, that is all that matters. I have no DUIs, no financial difficulties, no job issues (I’m at the highest rank in my profession and have received numerous awards locally and internationally), no family issues (a couple of teenage children), etc.

    I have read numerous blogs, books, etc. about this and have regular online pen-pals. I paid for and participated in the Sober Jumpstart program. I’m still struggling, and wonder if I am the only one out of 300+ in the program? Maybe, just maybe, sobriety isn’t so simple as joining a 100-day challenge? Maybe there are some real brain chemistry issues? Maybe other issues? Maybe this makes some of us feel hopeless if we can’t “get it” like others seem to be able to from what we read online? Hooray to those for whom this works! But for the rest of us, should we continue to feel hopeless?

    But what bothers me a little — and I’ve seen others post this — is what works? It’s different for all, I think. Maybe there are some commonalities? But for anyone to profit financially from helping desperate people — is this OK? I understand Belle needing money for her long-distance phone calls and time, but… don’t other sober folks give their time for free to strangers or not? Isn’t there a wide-spread program that states in order to keep it, you need to give it away for free? I’ve seen at least one post to Belle’s question address this. Do you have to give away for free what you were gifted to receive in order to continue to enjoy the gift?

    All this relates to Belle’s question weeks ago about requesting Divine intervention into this issue — should there be a charge for her help via phone calls and audio tapes to strangers?

    I participated and paid for the Sober Jumpstart program and it didn’t help me 100%. It helped a little but not significantly for me (there is a LOT of free help available, in person and online — but you have to go for it, reach for it, and be honest about it).

    So, my only points are that I have difficulty with charging desperate people (and desperate can be a key word) for help when the profit-er has no formal training in addiction counseling or education. This is not one’s way of making a living from years of education and experience, such as a police officer helping citizens calling for help because of bank robber. The officer has undergone years of training. Someone without training/certification — should they charge strangers for advice? Hmmm… why does this bother me?!??!

    I have NO issues with Belle helping folks out of her desire to help — the goodness of her heart, and this his where I desperately hope to be some day. But I would never charge a penny for my time or advice, because I understand the desperation and the seriousness of this affliction, having experienced it to a degree, and having one friend in a similar situation and two other friends who have been affected significantly, one who has had to go to in-patient rehab twice (at the cost of tens of thousands of dollars).

    I’m just bothered by receiving regular e-mails from Belle, saying there are a couple of 30-minute phone sessions available (at the rate of $45 per session) for anyone who wants to jump in for a private phone call. I feel there needs to be more compassion…when our local Food Bank asks for donations for needy families, do I ask for compensation? No, I am happy to give this food I am donating that I paid for to the bank for no compensation, and I hope it feeds a family for a day or two or a week. And not only do I bear the cost of providing the food, but it takes a fair amount of time to purchase what is need and then take the time to deliver it to the food bank.

    Just my thoughts that have been bothering me for awhile, and I fully admit not all will agree. But please help me to understand what we are all here for? Profit? To help others? Both? With or without expertise that cost years to obtain? Or no cost, but the luck to get a book published/blog going that desperate folks followed?

    What do your hearts — deep down — tell you? I’m sorry I paid for the Sober Jumpstart, as I feel I was somewhat taken advantage of in my desperate situation (and I have had no significant issues with drinking, but am aware enough to be concerned). If this works for you, I applaud you. But not everyone should feel like a failure because they cannot succeed (how many 100-day challenge names disappear?) — addiction is serious and there are biological and psychological causes…nothing that is simply due to “will power.” We all have that — it’s the “will NOT” power that we struggle with.

    Please, I do not want to start a debate (and will not read for weeks any responses and will never respond), but just give this some thought. This is a VERY serious issue.

    • Kay this is pretty bold of you to write…you could have wrote this in an email to Belle if you wanted your money back for Jump Start, so you must want ALL of us to read it and comment. Of course this 11 paragraphs of crap about Belle is going to start a debate!!!

      You sound SO angry with Belle and those of us who it’s working for, but it’s really YOU that you’re upset with. I remember that disappointment with myself and blaming others for my problems. You know…being the “victim” in all of this. It sucks to feel that way, so “hopeless and desperate” as you say. I’m confused though when you say that you are in a desperate situation, but that you don’t have any significant issues with drinking? Huh? That doesn’t make sense at all. Were you drinking when you wrote all this?

      I personally wouldn’t go on a support blog and blast the host and her followers. I regret doing a lot more while drinking, than purchasing some additional help from Belle. This is NOT a VERY serious issue….free will Kay!

      Ultimately the decision to drink or not is YOUR OWN. Belle and all other supporters are just that…good, healthy support. I hope you find the support your looking for.

      • Wow, I couldn’t have said it better myself than Anonymous on November 22, 2013 at 2:55 pm. It seems that Kay has an issue with Belle that could be resolved by email vs on Belle’s blog. Kay says, “No one β€” including my husband β€” thinks I have a β€œproblem” and this includes a counselor I have paid to see several times and have been very honest with! So what… I think I do have an issue because my drinking bothers ME, and really, that is all that matters.” Kay, do you think that perhaps you should find a new counselor? Is this counselor around you all the time? Otherwise, she/he only knows what you tell her/him. Doesn’t sound like you’re getting the help you want there. If you only post and state you won’t read for weeks any comments, it sounds like you have a lot of “will not” power. I would be looking for ANY comments every hour. Personally, I don’t mind giving Belle the money I would otherwise have spent on wine. Kay, I truly wish you success in resolving your problems with alcohol.

      • Yes it was bold- or maybe she was just bothered and wanted a discussion brought up which she would not get by just emailing Belle. I winced when you asked her if she were drinking while she wrote this. I find this very unkind.
        I agree that it is up to us but if we have an issue why not air it?
        The only thing I have to say to Kay is though- why do you feel like a failure?
        I don’t understand where that is coming from-

  • Belle, you are “some kind of wonderful”! (do you know that song?) You are exactly right about rewards!

    I remember feeling so full of guilt and remorse. So upset with myself when I first quit drinking that I couldn’t have possibly rewarded myself in a nice way, cause I wasn’t speaking or thinking very nice thoughts yet. I hadn’t forgiven myself yet. I felt like shit and believed I was a shit of a person.

    As I started to feel proud of my sobriety and forgave myself, then I treated myself to little special things. At my first sober music concert, I actually bought an overpriced t-shirt as my reward for not drinking. The t-shirt was still cheaper than all the drinks would have been that night!

    I love buying a new cooking magazine every once in awhile. I buy special tea’s and coffee’s to try. I love going to this craft store as a special reward, even to just look. Just giving myself permission each day for a little ‘me’ time is reward enough with a family and job!

    I ALWAYS have a little dessert at night. Life is too short to not have a nibble of something sinfully delicious! It’s not as bad as a bottle of wine! πŸ™‚

  • The audio was great! Belle’s voice put’s a smile on my face. Day 7 sober for me. I bought some new kitchen utinsels as a treat. I would have spent twice that amount on alcohol!

  • I am so thankful Belle suggested treats, they do help. It is getting colder where I live and I really enjoying trying all the flavored lattes etc. No whip and 2% milk b/c some of these have tons of calories. Today is my 30th day and I’m getting a massage after work! I can’t wait!

    Enjoy your treats sober friends!

  • I am at day 16 and can say without exaggeration that the treats have made all the difference in my journey of self love and sobriety. It’s a new day and a new way of loving myself and living my life. To Belle’s point, money is not the issue as the money we spent on booze was wayyyy more than a simple treat of coffee or flowers. In fact, each time I do treat myself I think about a) the money difference and b) the calorie difference. It’s win-win for me.

  • I am at Day 8 and I really look forward to my treat – just a Snickers bar for two days sober – but I anticipate it. I’m already planning a big treat for Day 30 and a huge treat for one year! I deserve it because this is not easy. Loved the audio and also love my Sober Jumpstart audios. It’s like getting together with Belle and having a cup of coffee while she tells me how to accomplish this.

  • Must admit, I was really skeptical of a ten minute (TEN MINUTES) audio thing. But I listened and I loved it! I have rarely treated myself, and if I did I felt guilty and had to hide it (can you say “emotionally abusive, controlling ex?)

    It’s high time I learned. I deserve it. Thanks for all you do to keep us on the path to the future πŸ™‚

  • Loved listening to this. While listening, I arranged for a big treat (pedicure appointment for noon today). I have been putting off getting a pedicure for a while but did a yoga class yesterday and got to look at my un-maintained toes longer than I wanted to. I get my daily $3.59 latte treat on my way to pick up my kids at school EVERY day.

    I agree – the whole self care and treat thing – gets pushed to the wayside as our world becomes more work 24/7 (thanks to technology). For those of us who didn’t have a good role model in our lives where we could see self care/taking time for the fun stuff in action – we’re a step behind. Have to learn it is ok and fun and nourishing to practice self care & self treating.

    Happy sober day. Meg

  • I can’t believe that I did not treat myself for reaching 100 days!
    Wow! early on when You suggested treating my self I did just once buy myself a magazine and only looked thru half of it. I bought myself flowers once and bought myself some raspberries one time and then ended the treats. so here I am now part of the team 180 and I will treat myself something fabulous today, not sure what but I will and post back to you when I have this evening.
    thank you so much for this pod cast. You are the best!