Happy New Year / You

happy new you 🙂 really. Best part of being sober? Feeling better about myself.

This was my micro email yesterday and while i don’t usually repost the micro emails here, this one bears repeating:

Let’s learn how to take better care of ourselves”

from ‘Just Had to Have It’ (day 19):

I appreciate you both (Belle & Rebecca) more than words can say.  You know, the way I got sober originally was with the help of AA.  When I relapsed … this time, I just couldn’t face going to the damn meetings again.

I like the approach you take, Belle. First of all, it IS meaningful to be accountable to someone I’ve never met, but who has experienced the same unhealthy attachment to alcohol that I have.

And more importantly, you replace the dogma and endless psycho-self-flagellation with a simple, “let’s learn how to take better care of ourselves.”  OK, I can do THAT!  It’s probably because my brain can only retain one directive at a time. 🙂 But who cares why…I just know that the 100 day pledge has helped me start back on the sober path that makes it possible for me to begin to take care of myself again.

And for that, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. XOXOXO.”

then i got this message from Lurking With Intent:

This is so true! I had the same reaction to AA. It’s dogmatic and didactic and not always kind even when it tries to be. This is a whole new paradigm with women leading the way. It’s wonderful. Contrary to what the Big Book says; there is a kinder way. Giving up alcohol is hard but you don’t have to be beaten about the head in addition to knocks that alcohol gave you. “Let’s learn to take care of ourselves.” Such a wonderfully feminine way of looking at it rather than the typical masculine way of no pain, no gain. Brava!”


and to that, let me add this:

Relapse happens.

As Paul wisely put it (the gospel according to Paul?),

Relapse is part of alcoholism, not a part of recovery.”

Can relapse be avoided? I don’t really know. I only know what i see from the emails i get from 512 people… if you’re asking me my opinion, i’ll say this: feeling crappy about your sobriety doesn’t mean you’re going to relapse, it means you’re feeling crappy and that your go-to thought for feeling crappy is still (mentally) booze. you can bypass that with some of your sober tools – reaching out is huge. You alone in your head is not a solution 🙂 Reach out, ask for help, talk to someone, email someone, read sober blogs, make a deal to ‘drink again in some future time but not now’ … yes, it’s fucking hard. yes. yes it is. Does relapse happen? yes, of course it does.

but just because someone else relapses doesn’t mean that you will, or are going to.  when i was newly sober, I used to feel terrified when someone around me in the sober world relapsed … i still have twinges now, when people with longer term sobriety relapse my fucking wolfie brain will kick in with “see, it’s all fucked, might as well drink now.” But i know that it’s not me, i know that’s wolfie.

I do not have to listen to wolfie. i just don’t. he can make me cry and i do not have to give in. i’ll go to bed and have tea instead.  he can taunt and torment me with absolute fucking nonsense. and i can make naan-naan noises and stick out my tongue. I can cancel new year’s eve plans and go to bed at 10:30 pm (that’s me!). I can TAKE GOOD CARE OF ME.

I believe that counting days does matter, at least to begin. Cuz every single day sober is a big gift to yourself. If you don’t want to count, that’s fine, i’ll count for you or your phone app will count for you, but you’re adding bricks to a wall, adding tools to a toolbox, and adding achievements and milestones. And they’re worthy of note. They’re worth being celebrated. YOU ARE WORTH BEING CELEBRATED. do you need to obsessively fret about whether you’re on day 36 or 37? prolly not 🙂 but is day 100 a big deal? yes. is it the end of big deals? no it’s the first of big deals. It’s the first big deal, soon to be followed by big deal day 180 and big deal day 200 and big deal 365.

New Year’s Eve. New You. That you don’t know who you want to be when you grow up (don’t know why you’re sober, don’t know what the point is) … that you don’t know doesn’t mean you get to hide. It just means you figure it out a bit at a time. you’re going to be sober a long time. you will figure shit out 🙂

And yes, I am writing this for you, if you’re wondering. Yes, you.


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

  • Love the woman centered angle to recovery. Love the support from Belle and all of you sober bloggers. And I have to say what others have said too… WOW, over 500 people emailing you!? You are truly amazing and a life-changing gift for so many people. I am so glad I found this blog and have started this journey. Thank you for using your experience to touch others. xoxo

  • Happy 2014 Belle, hope you have a wonderful 2014. You’re a wonderful person for all of us looking for support in our road to sobriety
    . Thank you so much for all you do. XOXO Stella

  • Happy New You to all of you!! More than 500 of us now.. Wow. Sober happy New We. Such a relief to have found you all, to know I don’t have to struggle alone. Thanx Belle.
    Happy sober 2014 team 100!!

  • I am celebrating having found the sober blogging community this week and the symmetry of being on Day 58 at the age of 58 as this year comes to a close. (And I’m always in bed before midnight on NYE so no worries there!) There were many changes in life this year (first grandchild, part-time care of her, spousal retirement) but none with more impact than my decision to stop drinking. I am VERY grateful for the celebration because my every-day-happy-dance is muffled by circumstances. Thank you, Belle, for letting me dance online.

  • Happy NewYear to the New You from the New Me! Trish turned me on to the song by Alicia Keys “Brand New Me”. It’s worth a listen. I got Happier hooked on it too. It’s my new theme song. Here’s to a sober 2014!

  • In times of feeling crappy alcohol is our “goto” comfort zone…how succinct! It’s so true. Alcohol is not the solution – it’s the problem…why then do we reach for it? Because that is what Wolfie has programmed us/me to do for years.

    But now Belle, because of you, I no longer go that route. I am stronger than that. I am smarter than that. I have learned to breathe through the tough moments. To have a cup of tea, or a hot bath. This too shall pass has become my new mantra.

    No matter how low I feel, I now know that alcohol will only take me lower and I just won’t allow that to happen…ever!! YOU have made me whole again!! Bless you….and may your New Year be filled with peace.

  • “I believe that counting days does matter, at least to begin. Cuz every single day sober is a big gift to yourself.” So, so true for me — this blog and our almost daily check-in has been my life line — AA was never for me, this “fits” perfectly! Thank you, thank you … day 64!

  • Dearest Belle.. More than 500???? Only someone with such inner strength and beauty can captivate such e a sober cyber revolution… You have stuck with me since May and my building blocks have taken a few tumbles.. I am so humbled and grateful for all the love and support you give me and all the other lovely sober sisters and brothers.. Relapse and Wolfie can seriously go walk the plank.. I am ready for the whole new year new you movement.. Lets all take care of ourselves.. *cyber hugs to you and yours on this New Years Eve! Xo

  • Hi Belle,

    Just wanted to shout out a Happy New You!!! Being a time zone ahead means that I have arrived safely into 2014 without having had a drink. Fucking fabulous! I am sure it is the first time since I was a teenager and I only just realised that now. It’s wonderful.

    I really like the post from Lurking with Intent – I love how it touches on the feminine aspect of becoming sober this way. I get uncomfortable getting into the Male vs Female politics but I will be pondering this idea for a while. AA can seem quite rigid, perhaps dominating and dogmatic. This blog and those which are similar (or Soberistas for example) are definitely female-led. As such they feel very nurturing, more accepting, more interested in finding ways to heal as a whole – not just fix the addictive part.

    Thanks Belle – not only for providing this thought provoking, supportive blog but also for giving me something to ponder over the next few days 🙂

    xx Kirst

    • yes I also don’t generally engage in male/female stuff, either. I think we’re just people. but maybe something kinder is useful. at least for some. hugs from me.

  • ‘Let’s learn to take better care of ourselves’: absolutely. The bit that made me cry in your Christmas audio was when you said that, then added, “It’s about time.”

    Taking better care of ourselves in 2014. Because it’s about time.

  • Love this post and concept “Let’s Learn How to Take Better Care of Ourselves.” and “New Year’s Eve. New You. That you don’t know who you want to be when you grow up (don’t know why you’re sober, don’t know what the point is) … that you don’t know doesn’t mean you get to hide. It just means you figure it out a bit at a time. you’re going to be sober a long time. you will figure shit out 🙂 “–perfecto.

    I hadn’t even been looking at the New Year as a great opportunity to have my first ever sober New Years Day, etc. I still have a lot of “firsts” to look forward to. Guess that means I’m allowed to still be figuring shit out. Thanks for helping to turn my perspective around.