the tempest and the grocery store

a truly brain-squishing day today. busy getting thing ready for Mr. Belle to move to his new office on monday. I got all the way to the big grocery store which i put off doing (three trains to get there!) and it was closed for renovations. for two weeks. came home to complain. said to Mr. B “I’m in a bad place right now.”

then he looks at me. what’s so bad about today?

well, nothing.

i could see him looking at me. i said “i’ll make a list of the good things. I ran today and yesterday. it’s sunny. i’m tired … no wait, a positive list. i have an empty inbox. i am caught up with job #1. i’m ready for a nap …”

i think i’m going through some weirdness.  we’ve been living and working together in a very small space for 2.5 years, and on Monday he’s leaving. I am craving the silence and grieving his absence. i am anticipating getting a lot more focussed work done, and i’m sure i’ll watch the clock all day waiting for him to come home.

and just like everything in sobriety, all of my worries or fears are worse in anticipation than they are in reality. Flying sober? easier than i thought. sober vacations? quite delightful actually. time away from my husband every day so that i can actually miss him? priceless.


somewhere swirling in this mess of weirdness this afternoon, right when i returned from the closed grocery store, i had a feeling like “emailing people about their sobriety doesn’t actually help them. it looks like help, but really it’s smoke and mirrors and attention seeking behaviour and narcissism.” some nice “fuck-it” thinking for good measure. why not. it’s friday.

But then i get an email like this from C: “Thanks Belle. These emails are a beacon.”

and i think… are they? I mean, are they really? i cannot imagine (any more) what it’s like to be on the other end of this. i can only see what it’s like to be me. i seem to have (temporarily?) lost the ability to see this from any other perspective.  this isn’t a plea for “we love you” type comments, it’s more a reflection of how i can lose the plot, have a weird afternoon, then go to bed and (certainly) reset tomorrow. it’s nothing to drink over. it’s just a reset. like my compass started to spin round-and-round. and i need a north star to align with.

(really? dramatic much? all this because the grocery store was closed? well, here’s why i care. i wanted to do a big grocery order today (not saturday) so that i have food to make lunches for Mr. B for next week. Now, instead, i fear he may be eating pb+j … of course he doesn’t care … oh fuck, i can see now, i’ve self-created this tempest, and there isn’t one. There is in fact no problem here at all. Give him $5 and tell him to buy lunch. Oh fuck, now i see it. this really this is about my perfectionism and the NERVE of the fucking store to be closed when i was counting on it, and it ruined my day. Yeah nice. I clearly need to get a grip. holy.).

<rant finished> and only as i was typing that last paragraph did i figure out what my problem is.

the world didn’t go the way i wanted it to go today. a store was closed. i feel like it ruined my day. yeah. nice self-centred attitude!

so i will prescribe a bath. and some chocolate. and to sleep 12 hrs.

coming right up.

Mr. B? while you’re still here, can you fetch me a treat? i promise to be really sweet afterwards… i might even share.


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

  • We all have days like this but I totally get what you mean about finding the truth of it all midway or at the end of a rant. And it’s usually something smaller than we think. Hugs. By the way, you do good work here.

  • Never, ever think that your emails don’t help! I am very close to bedtime on what will be my first sober Saturday in as long as I can remember thanks to the email you sent me this morning, and the fact that I don’t want to disappoint you as much as I don’t want to disappoint myself!

    🙂 Jezebelle

  • Thank you for your honesty Belle. I was wondering what happens when you have a shit day. I hope you had a good rest with nice treats, soft pillows and fluffy blankets. Thank you for being you! Day 24 and I’m sober. Day 600++ for you and you are too! {hugs}

  • Aww Belle – we all have less than stellar days and change (even good, wanted change) is hard! It’s interesting in your post how you wind around the problem and look for the root cause, which is internal (change) and external (grocery store, multiple trains). And then you realize you need to just take care of yourself, and you reach out! It’s all very healthy even if it’s hard. I’m not sure if this the same for you, but being sober can make frustrating days insightful little windows into our stuff. Instead of blaming the day going wrong on drinking, or deciding that drinking will help tune it out, you’re just awake and aware. It’s a challenging place to be sometimes, even with all the endless and obvious benefits. I have a feeling sleep and a treat will help a lot! As for your impact on the sober world, well I think the proof is in the pudding, you are helping so many people in immeasurable ways!! And the fact that it’s helping/serving you too? Well I should certainly hope so!! Big hugs to you and congrats to Mr Belle on getting a new office – Hana

  • You underestimate yourself! I know you don’t want a Lovefest but I have been helped by you for only five days and you are my lucky charm. We only get what we need from you, no more, no less. Thank you.

  • My sweetie and I have worked at home together for over 4 years. Now I’m retired and she’s still at it. It’s a stressful job and sometimes it comes out sideways at me. Then we take a little break and it’s all better. I do almost 100% of all the household chores, including cooking. I have the time and enjoy domesticity. I also build furniture for us; whatever she asks for and for clients. All relationships, ARGHH, marriages come with stress and expectations. I just think everyday how lucky I am to have someone who loves me mostly unconditionally everyday. It’s even better without chemicals, er alcohol. I appreciate it more.

    • Lurking, you said it perfectly. How lucky am I to have a husband who, as we speak literally, is turning the bathroom door AROUND for MY convenience. Sitting his 73 year old self on the floor to get at the hinge–this is why I love the guy. He should be out scootering around on this gloriously sunny day here in San Francisco, but NO<, he'd rather do something for me while I sit and play internet bloggess !~! Unbelievable that we are so lucky to have found these partner, aren't we ?~!

  • maybe your ‘make Mr Belle a lovely lunch’ was how you were dealing with him going, then when the store was shut that coping route was suddenly unavailable so you went into a tailspin? because it is hardly ever ABOUT THE THING, is it?

    so, possibly not so much about perfectionism as about working things out as you go along, turning round and retracing your steps in the maze if it turns out it’s a dead end, maybe finding a short cut to the middle just when you least expect it?

    have a good night’s sleep, press that re-set button, stick your head up above the hedge line and see where you think you’ll go next. I do sometimes wish that my life had a nice man on a ladder with a loud hailer to suggest which path to take when I feel completely lost… no, wait – that would be YOU!

    (sorry couldn’t resist a WLY comment!) xx

    • i think you may be right! it’s never about the thing. this grocery store thing was about want to do it all ‘right’ to perhaps minimize the grief. like if he has the right lunch, he won’t feel like i kicked him out of the living room … and i’m worried he’s going to be lonely in the new space… but really, i’m worried that I’m going to be lonely… yeah, it’s not about his lunch, is it … sniff.

  • We all run to you when we’re having a bad day. Who do you get to turn to? Just wondering. Hope you feel better after your bath and chocolate and good night’s sleep. You could always turn up at Mr B.s new office with a surprise picnic when you get the groceries sorted out.

  • awww Belle- Have a good night’s sleep. Maybe every once in awhile Mr. Belle can come home for lunch- he can bring you a treat and make you tea and you can make him lunch.