how strong to make the tea. served in which cup.

After a ‘really’ long week of catering, baking, cheesecakes, and two private dinners (Tuesday and Friday), today is finally a day off 🙂 OK, technically i am doing some coaching calls today, but that hardly seems like work!

As I go along being sober, i realize that catering is continuing to teach me things – about sobriety, about myself. This started a long time ago, and yesterday again i had one of those ‘oh-god’ realizations.

Friday’s dinner was something I was hosting for out-of-town family who were passing through on their way elsewhere. So yesterday morning, I was supposed to be cooking. I couldn’t get myself organized. I didn’t ‘feel’ like it, and I was quite irritated. My husband had said he’d come home early to help, but he didn’t say when.

“Should I do the carrots now? No Mr. B. can do those. What about the potatoes? He can do those too. What should I do? wait until he comes home and then we can do it together. when is coming home? don’t know.”

“Why am I always doing this alone. Why is there so much to do and only me to do it. Why does he get to walk in at 6:30 pm and dinner is ready. Why isn’t anybody helping me.”

Stop and try to think.

“OK, self, why today are you being weird about this, when just a few days ago you catered a bigger dinner, alone, without husband’s help?” (Mr. B., in fact, went straight from work on Tuesday to a show and was gone for 16 hrs straight that day).

And on Tuesday’s marathon cooking day, did this happen? no. I puttered all day, then hosted the dinner and then went for a walk at 11:30 pm just to bask in the successfulness of the day.

So what was different about yesterday?

Mr. B was going to be at the dinner. He was going to be eating the food.

And i didn’t want to be the person doing all the work if husband was going to benefit from the food.


So i tried to dissect this further.

You’re irritated because he is going to eat dinner in his own home?

You’re irritated because you have to do it ‘alone’ but it was your idea to host the family dinner as the gang passed through town.

You’re OK busting your hump for paying clients, but if your husband is going to be at the table then you think that he should be ‘helping’ more than he does already. (To be fair, he does a lot of my dishes, daily, morning and night, and he does a lot of the shopping, morning and night, when i discover i’m out of eggs, etc.).

I just wanted to resent someone. Mr. B. is closest. He bears the brunt of my resentment.

Now imagine he comes home from work. I’m grumpy and give him the cold shoulder. And I have every right: you see, I’ve been working myself into a resentful lather all day.

When he did come home yesterday, with the bag of missed ingredients, I looked at him and think “OK, this mood thing, belle? It’s entirely by choice. You can do the same work and like it, or you can do the same work and hate it. That part is up to you. Why would you choose to be shitty about it?”

And then i fucking looked at the fucking picture icon thingy that i fucking posted yesterday. no one is coming to do it for you. your life is (thankfully, hooray great news) up to you.

No one is coming to get sober for you. YOU will do the work (not alone, of course, with support, but it’s you doing it). no one is coming to ‘take care’ of you, you’re going to take care of yourself.

And frankly you’ll do a better job of it than anyone else can, because you know what you need. when you need it, how you want it, how strong to make the tea. served in which cup.

and you’re going to stop shitting all over your husband for imagined, perceived slights, that just do NOT exist. he walks in and he has NO IDEA what kind of nonsense is going on in my head. He must be nervous to come into the house some nights, not sure which version of me he’s going to find.

(ps. whipping ourselves into a frenzy (over NOTHING) is sometimes done intentionally by wolfie so that we can work ourselves into a state where we ‘deserve’ a drink. just saying. in my case, most whipped-frenzies are self-induced. have virtually nothing to do with reality. Thanks wolfie. you can blow me.)

And really, the family dinner was a success. Husband helped a lot. And the new coffee cheesecakes were really quite good. Maybe an 8/10 😉


Now i’m going to make MYSELF a cup of tea, smoky tea, in my favourite green cup.

just the way i like it.


Happy Day 50 to pavethewhales!

Happy Day 50 to Saphire!

Happy Day 50 to tlecompte!

Happy Day 50 to kezza!

Happy Day 50 to carolynnerobin!

Happy Day 100 to Mel P!

Happy Day 180 to Primrose!

Happy Day 180 to Sadie!

Happy Day 200 to Erin Elisabeth!

Happy Day 300 to Erinup!


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 think we are sensitive to whether we feel valued or taken for granted. In the case of paying customers, our subconscious rests easy: we are valued, our labors are valued. But in general, with husbands, it is easy to feel taken for granted, so I am not surprised that you started building resentment in advance, almost like bracing yourself for the fact that if he didn’t help enough and yet ate the fruit of your labor, you would feel taken for granted by him.

    (I might be projecting too much of me on you; I’m sorry, if that’s the case.)

    I NEED to know I am valued by others. On my better days, I’m more comfortable with an internal sense of self-worth that holds steady regardless of others demonstrating whether they value me or not. But I am human, sometimes I burn out, sometimes I need others to show me that they value me, too. Especially those folks who are prone to taking me for granted.
    If I don’t notice and admit this need, I find myself starting to keep tally of who is showing who more effort and contribution, etc…. trying to figure out whether I am justified in feeling burnt out and resentful. I analyze dynamics and look for who is more right and who is more wrong.
    (If I find out that the tally is not coming out in my favor, and I try to tell myself to shape up my emotions, then I’m just squashing what is a valid need– and smothering it in self-directed animosity. Not a good scenario for me.)

    Things go better when I put down that tally card and try to figure out a way to express my need for my husband to show he values me (who I really am, the real me, not the me that wants help around the house, etc. The real me is usually the one needing to be seen and appreciated.) Or if my husband is not good at that (which he isn’t, at all), then my best bet is seeking out the attention of a friend who gets me.

    Okay, that’s the end of my personal therapy session in your comment section 🙂
    I’ve got to close this window before I go eat my weight in something as delicious as coffee cheesecake. Well done. Wish I could cook!

    • this is sooo true. feeling taken for granted. and who better to dump that on than my husband 🙂 I’ll ask him to let me know more often that he appreciates my efforts. but also, I know that he does. appreciate me. I can know it without demanding that he tell me every 8 minutes… hmm. I have more to think about here!

  • I think I had something insightful to say but then I saw the cheesecakes. OMG, those look amazing!

    • Same here. The cheesecake brought a big smile to my face. At day 3 (again) a need reasons to smile.

  • Lovely post. You are smart to go through the dissection of your thoughts before throwing them at poor Mr. belle. I’m thinking you might add a new tab to your website. Sober Recipes by Belle. I want that cheesecake recipe. And I need to know how to make a proper cup of tea. Mine tastes like shit.

    • poor mr. belle still gets a shitload of weirdness from me. but somehow he can tell when it’s really something he’s done, or if I’m just having a ‘moment’ … and how to make a good cup of tea? are you “serious” that you’d like me to describe how to make tea for me? it can be done!

  • Was there going to be wine / alcohol served at the dinner? Did that have anything to do with the mood? The idea that while you were in the act of preparing sustenance for others you were at the same time setting up to be deprived by virtue of the defaults in the menu.

    • wanda, i’m thankfully not affected by the wine served at dinner. as a caterer, i’m always preparing alcohol for others, and it doesn’t bother me any more … i don’t taste it and i don’t smell it. i just pour. But i do think i was worried that my family might question my not drinking. But in true format, no one noticed, and 3/6 of them weren’t drinking …

  • Belle, this sounds so familiar that I have to laugh, especially the part about husband coming home and wondering which “me” he’s going to get! Thankfully, it happens less frequently without booze in my life. Great point about choosing resentment. And I want one of those cheesecakes! 🙂

  • Cheesecakes do look AMAZING! And, coffee too! Very cool.
    I have been catching myself in that very same behavior only I get stuck on why, why, why. why am I feeling this resentment? And, the answer is never clear. And, forget about trying to grab it out of my locked jaw. I hold on to this anger like grim death and all the while my head screams…whywhywhy. And then there is the chorus of, it’s your choice, you are choosing this, stop choosing this, why are you choosing this….ahhh haa! Maybe, I get some perverse satisfaction out of feeling this shit…like I deserve to feel like shit…I’m addicted to feeling like shit…it is a familiar place for me. I can take a few personal affronts and turn it into a shit storm of operatic proportion…and there goes a perfectly fine evening. That might be the time to just say no and go to bed. No anger, no alcohol, no noise in head, no kicking oneself endlessly. yes, sleep and rest.
    Thanks again, Belle for helping to get to the ahhh haa.

  • Thanks Belle, great post! This insight is so timely; I too have been dissecting my response/reaction to certain events that seem to be truly disconnected. Your post helps put things into perspective. It also helps to understand when I am the brunt of some seemingly displaced anger/resentment that I “have No IDEA what kind of nonsense is going on in the head” of the person doling out the emotion.

    And those cheesecakes look AMAZING!!