I didn’t choose to be happily sober. It seems to have found me on its own.

when i started writing this blog, it was an act of desperation. i knew i wanted to quit drinking on a trial basis for a month (dry july) and by day 7 i was really struggling. so on day 8 i started this blog.

i never intended for this blog to be anything other than a place where i could blurt my insides… and really, that’s because i find that blurting my insides makes me feel better, tells me something about myself, and i learn in the rereading. i also am easily amused, and i amuse myself. self-centred much?

i didn’t know that i’d find a squillion people also trying to be sober by conventional and unconventional means. i didn’t know that there’d be genius and support available. i didn’t know that i’d still be writing this 18 months later. i certainly didn’t know that when i started team 100 as a lark (“hey lilly, why don’t you quit for 100 days?”), that it would turn into a THING. i certainly never fucking counted on press (UK Guardian, Good Housekeeping). I’ve never gone looking for press. It just finds me.

i never imagined making jewelry for myself, to help me remember what i’m doing. i never imagined recording my fucking voice so that I could listen to myself later and calm myself down (the height of self-amusing/narcissism). i didn’t expect to teach a sober jumpstart class. i mean really. come on. who plans that?

i didn’t expect that i’d miss communicating over the christmas break, as i sank into a hotel bed feeling vomitous from my new cardiac medications (which i’ve since changed).

i didn’t plan any of this, not one bit. i certainly did NOT plan to be sober for a very long time (18 months on january 1st). really. i’m a girl who loves her wine. i really never intended to quit for good.

But what i didn’t count on, either, was that sobriety would SUIT me. that i’d actually like it (who expects that?). There are moments and days and hours and weeks where i hate my life, or i feel sick, or i think my husband is a turd. but i don’t think that drinking will fix any of it.

i didn’t expect to occasionally feel overwhelmed and trapped in a happy life … Yes, that’s right. Step right up folks and look at the happy sober chick who thinks it’s all a weird scam that’s about to end. I’ve been tricked, i say, i never intended to be here in happyville and yet here i am. i want to be an irresponsible boozer again.

no you don’t. you’d have to give all this up.

so i’m trapped being happy? is that what you’re saying?

yeah. that’s it. poor baby. you’re trapped being happy. get over it.

And most days i remember that, of course, it’s not a trap. I can exit at any time. I choose to be here because this is better. I have a lot of shit i want to do in my life and a diversion to boozeville would derail me, and be a waste of time. The time wasted might be a day or years. You never know what shiny new obstacles relapse will bring.

Anyway, what i have now is working. so i am not fucking with it. except theoretically. Cuz you know, I didn’t choose to be happily sober.  It seems to have found me on its own. I didn’t know i was on an adventure. it sure felt like a freefall into hell to begin. Now it feels normal. so normal that i occasionally want to smash it with a hammer.

Then i realize that if i want to feel bad, there are other ways of going about it that have fewer risks. i could always slam my hand in a car door for fun.

Or i can <le sigh> accept the fact that i feel better. that i’m happy. that this is good. it really is 🙂 i can just accept the goodness (why is that so foreign). I can be thankful that the Little Chick audio brought 1,894 views to that page and caused my online storage site to email me cuz they thought i’d been hacked.

I can be thankful that when i hold a live audio call, 10 or 20 souls show up (no matter what random time of day/week i say i’m going to do it, thanks for continuing to reward me for being random). i can be thankful that i have onion bagels in the oven, a husband who is less turdy, and an immigration lawyer who will not return my phone calls.

I can be thankful.

if i knew me, i’d give my left nut to have a life like this. oh wait, this IS me in this life. holy shit-ola batman. when the fuck did this happen?

** EDIT **

Note from Janet:

It’s a bit weird to pop between the daily real-time posts, and your second month posts. I’m glad the old ones are still archived and available, since that’s where I relate more to. Without knowing where you came from, I would have read today’s post and thought “ya but that’s her, not me.”


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

  • To each comes what he or she is meant to be and to have in this lifetime. I hope for all of us it is continued sobriety and learning to live with the calmness that sober living brings. It took double digit years to come to grips with a boring yet safe and sober life. Let it come more quickly to each of you. Bless you all and may 2014 be a year of healing and growing, finding love and sustaining relationships, being able to consistently say “No, Wolfie, I have my real life now.”

    Thank you Belle for bringing us together in community and solidarity and dare Is ay it? Love.

  • Loved the post Belle. Remembering what is happy for me is part of the journey the gift of sobriety for me. Thank you for being there for do many of us! Day 47. Denise

    • thanks for this denise – we are having trouble communicating with you by email, perhaps check your email online instead of your phone? or check your spam … thanks rebecca & belle : )

  • I’m back Belle and this was really helpful….interestingly someone wrote that she related more to your earlier posts (because she is at the beginning). I can understand that (I think it was Janet). I hope she rereads this one again and gets what I got out of this. There is hope, it does get better and that the struggle is worth it. I’m tired of feeling like shit too, and then making myself feel worse because I drank again. I’m done with that, that was yesterday and today I am going to be good to myself……I think I will go stock up on some candy 🙂

  • I think this touches on that whole “being comfortable feeling happy” thing. So many of us get uncomfortable if things are peachy and swell. And we get a little worried if there isn’t drama/agony/fear/misery. Some of this must go back to how we were raised and what the norm was for all of us, and how our parents modeled this behavior for us. Or at least that is how things sit for me.

    • i agree. and now that we’re adults, we’re in charge of taking care of ourselves, starting today – no matter what happened before in our lives. the person coming to rescue you is YOU. the person in charge of me is ME : )

  • Love this post, Belle!!! And love all the beautiful, heartfelt comments. Thank you all. I will come back to this thread when I get discouraged. So much hope and happiness here.

  • shiny happy people! i have been lurking on your site since day one or two for me. now on day 57 or so. wearing my “stay here” bracelet and generally feeling like myself again. like MYSELF, before alcohol. that’s a nice place to come back to. thank you, belle, for being the lighthouse helping us find our way home.

  • Amen to being a happy camper…no longer addicted to the crazy, feeding the black hole of negativity….now, marching into the sunlight with a sober, shit-eating grin and a back pocket full of peacefulness.
    Long live your amazing journey….and everyone’s.

  • I just found your blog and I love it! Thank you for your wisdom, your enthusiasm, your positivity, your humour and your hope Belle. Wishing you, and everyone, a happy and sober 2014 x

  • Love this too. Belle you are wonderful. I am happy you are happy. And I am very happy that you are helping all of us to be happy. Lets all be sober and happy!

  • Love this and triple ditto on what everyone else posted. Cravings are still there but getting easier to avert wolfie. Day 38.

  • Just love this post, Belle! I am in that happy place too and can’t remember loving my life as much as I do now. Too bad it took 60 years, but hey…life is a learning curve. My marriage is better, my attitude is better, and I have all of these new sober online friends. Who could ask for more. Happy 213 days to me!

    • I am in my late fifties, and am so inspired by your comment. I’m just getting started and needed to hear that it can be done, and that it’s never too late. Congratulations on 213 days, that is awesome!

  • I love this quote by Tony Robbins “It is in your moments of decision that your destiny is shaped.” How fitting for this post,

    In every little step of your journey, you’ve collected good karma (happiness), and are generously sharing it with others, with us. I relate to what you said about the ‘shiny new obstacles relapse will bring’. Yes, and YES! Brilliant. Stay in this place of happiness, it’s your home now.

  • What I love about this: there is no drama. All the time I tried to moderate/stop drinking it was about how very difficult it all is and what was wrong with me and how beiing an alcoholic is an uncurable disease. And about WHY I was an alcoholic. All the shame and panic and stress.. And now it suddenly is so -relatively- easy! Thanx again Belle, and all of you -team 100- out there!

  • Thanks for this post Belle. Hoping to get to that place myself. Sounds wonderful. Thanks for all you do. Day eight.

  • Great post Belle! I often think ‘crud, I can’t drink again cause I have learned too many reasons why I did drink and it was all bad and now I know how to self soothe in better ways’. All this wonderful support has wrecked ever drinking again! Lol That is a great thing really!
    How true that life can be so simple and I can be happy with it. Sometimes simple can feel so boring. But after feeling like I was spinning or on a roller coaster ride going up and then down with drinking…it is so nice to have gotten off that crazy ride. I’m no longer nauseous, dizzy, screaming, panicking, worrying about the next big hill. My feet are both safely on the ground and its so calm and peaceful. Now I watch others (mostly postings on facebook) on that crazy roller coaster ride of drinking. I think to myself ‘thank God I got off that crazy ass ride!’
    I’m thankful for the little things now and very thankful for bumping into you and other readers down here on the ground!

  • I love this post, cuz it SO describes this weird state we get into when we can no longer go back! That’s how I’ve been feeling lately, like, man, I wish I could go back to smashing my head in every night drinking…but I know better. And what do I know? That if I did that, I’d have to give up THIS, which is me, being happy (happier), being more productive, and in general, having a totally different and better life than I did when I was drinking. I have good days EVERY day; how boring is that??? Love this, love the audio stuff (I have recorded my voice, too, but when I was really hung over…just to show myself how shitty I felt after drinking–never listened to them, though), love the use of the word “turd.” HUGS from me. x

    • thanks! it’s like I’ve woken up in a new life and sometimes I can’t even believe I’m here … and words like turd and anus (and heinous) are really great …

    • I agree. Belle your line “Now it feels normal. so normal that i occasionally want to smash it with a hammer.” got to me. Why do we feel this?
      I just wrote about my sobriety and reading over it made me happy all over again. Something to look at, like your blog, on those days when I wonder what the hell is going on.

      • I think it’s just because we’re not used to normal. we’re used to chaos, depression, despair and feeling like shit. it takes awhile to get used to GOOD.

      • If I can piggyback onto Belle’s response…
        The life we led while we were drinking is so far from the reality of what we accomplish sober that like Janet said if the archives were unavailable we couldn’t be sure that what we’re going thru ToDay was going to look anything like what it does to ones with longer sober paths behind them. All that to say Thank You for making them easy to read.

        It is indeed an entirely new life in a world seen thru clear eyes and processed w a clearer head. It’s good here, it truly is.

  • Great post! You have every right to be happy and feel good about yourself. I am new to this site, but after skimming through your archives I have a sense of how many people you have helped over the past 18 months. Happy accident, right?

  • I get it…who knew I’d find you, Belle, and that your blog and understanding support would be the limb I grabbed onto that could help me pull myself out of the quicksand?! I think one of the best parts for me, aside from a booze free life, is that you reminded me that I have the ability/strength/choice to make positive changes in my life. That the hopeless drinking trap wasn’t hopeless after all. Thank you!!

  • I’m in a very happy place too, thanks to you, oh I have shitty days, but they are much less shitty in a happy place than in my old boozy place. Love the post. Made me aware of my happy place.