a day looking for motivation

UPDATED, below

Today 8:53 am

Yesterday was a complete write-off. It’s one of those ‘lulls’ in sobriety. Sometimes I’m cheering hooray for the growth, the expansion, the ideas. Some days, from the moment I wake, i wonder: “is anything interesting going to happen today? no? not even any wine to look forward to? well, forget it then, i’m not going to bother.” Yesterday i didn’t eat lunch. just couldn’t be bothered. husband made dinner at 9 pm.

Wednesday. Today i wake, alone, and it’s a grey day. Today i think, fuck i can’t have another non-achieving, slothy day like yesterday. (I mean, yeah, there are vacation days but then there are sloth days where i can’t get out of my own way). today i decide i’m going to construct a better day.

Oh wait? that sound? pouring rain, just started as I type this. spectacular. going out for my run now in the pissing rain. harumph. where’s the sun from last week you bastards? who’s in charge of this fucking weather? why isn’t it done more efficiently? thunder? really? nice.

I’m waiting while a motivational podcast downloads to my little shuffle, and i’ll listen while i run. It will magically work. i will come back later and update this post with a shitload of genius that i fucking stole from someone else. hehe. like all genius, ‘liberally borrowed’.  stay tuned. genius coming up. fuck i hope so.

11:00 am

egg.bfastWent for a short run (16 minutes), it wasn’t really raining by the time i left, weather is weird. now it’s sunny. which is better.

Podcast is one with Timothy Ferriss and i don’t like it much. turns out i really don’t like TF very much, though i do try. repeatedly. i like his writing, i don’t like his person.

Shower, coffee (lovingly pre-measured tks to Mr. B, something he does in the morning before he goes to work).

What are the elements of a ‘good’ day for me? Moment by moment, trying to pick the things I know I like.

Breakfast with green stuff (asparagus, stir fried lettuce) and roughage.

Oh yes, and I always feel better when i do the morning pages (or single page). good. and I bring my book to the table so i can read that after bfast. Always feel better when i read when eating, instead of eating in front of the computer.  (yeah, the reading part lasted 45 minutes!).

12:30 pm

Responded to sober emails that came in overnight (118 messages = 61 minutes).

Email exchange with AmandaJ about whether we change behaviour and then feelings change, or if we change our thinking first and then change our behaviour …

me: I think there’s some of both … I’m a behaviourist at heart, so I do believe you change the behaviour first, and then the feelings/thinking will change. in early sobriety, I just quit, and didn’t know why or how or if I’d continue… and I just did it, and waited for it to make sense later. (it did.) but I know that as I go along in my own sobriety (after 1 year sober), there is now more of the thinking-and-then-changing as well.

~ this message from Ruby, so sweet:

“Thanks for the jump start, Belle. “I really appreciated having the podcasts to listen to start off my day and then again at night to reinforce my choice to stay sober. Looking back I see it as part of an excellent launch. I felt fragile and each podcast reminded me of my fragility and to respect it, to make a plan and  to be prepared to make sobriety a priority. I think I would have tried to barrel through those first weeks in an inappropriate “be tough and soldier on” willful kind of way and maybe expose myself to way too much and much too soon. That was often my MO before sobriety: over perform, max out my boundaries and hide my hurt. So, the podcasts reminded me to be careful and kind with myself.

My favorite jumpstart podcast was the one where you shared how you dealt with questions and comments about not drinking. I felt permitted to shamelessly invent and tailor my own reasons and responses depending upon how I felt. That audio helped me to grow some boundaries, perspective, and sense of humor to decline boozy beverages and probing personal questions any way that suited me. My personal favorite these days is,’That is a good question. Perhaps, once we know each other better I will unveil that mystery to you’.”


talk about looking for motivation, there’s this message from Isabel: “Me drinking is me not living, it’s me just waiting around to die, me just faking the shit out of everything I do.  Me not drinking is me, wonderful me, beautiful me, amazing me, I can do anything me, I can love completely me!!  Today I am so grateful to be sober.  Thanks for listening.”

3:13 pm

Things seem fine now. Really, is it as simple as exercising first thing, and reading instead of computer? from 1230 to 130 spent an hour reading and drinking tea, then had lunch and then … wait for it … i did (gasp) an hour of tax paperwork (thanks Tim) that i’ve been putting off for 5 months. I took pastry out of the freezer to defrost for tonight’s dinner. Load of laundry in the dryer. Sunny and then rainy and then sunny again.

motivation quote:

“It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare; it is because we do not dare that things are difficult.” (Seneca)

5:00 pm

Here’s what I know. When i do things in advance I feel better, and yet i don’t do it enough. For example, at 3:30 pm i made the filling for tonight’s pie dinner. i never do this mid-afternoon. ever.

Here’s what I know. When I have an unexpected week without catering or any client meals or any hosted events then i don’t like it very much. It’s vacation week here again. no one is around. I always have catering clients and this week = zero. Yesterday, sloth day, I was waiting for orders to come in and none did. I’m not very good at rolling with intermittent lulls. Instead of thinking “oh great a mini-vacation,” i start in with “no one wants my food any more, this is all a disaster.”

Note to self. A lull in catering is not a measurement of self-worth. god. belle. get a grip. honestly. when i write it out like this it seems ridiculously sad.

I guess that’s what today is about. finding the undercurrents, making adjustments, tweaking the operating system. In writing this out, as long and dull as it is, I think i’ve figured out some stuff.

Reaching for a glass of wine to dull the ‘angst’ wouldn’t leave me with any room for clarity. And with more clarity, i get to know ME better, and I can figure out what makes me TICK.


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 love this account….
    Me sitting in my bedroom feeling ill with Covid….and today I thought to myself that I would write a list of small tasks that I would try to complete when I was feeling alittle better. It took enormous effort ( the first being .,. Put clothes away from the huge pile on the chair at end of bed)…but after the first one…I felt some semblance of achievement….and I’ve ended up clearing the cobwebs from the chimney breast near my bed…
    Not great I know …but all the while I was thinking back to the “don’t overwhelm just do something”….it worked .
    Yes I still feel crap… but at least I’ve not sat for 12 hours on my bed doing nothing!
    As far as the behavioural thing goes…I used to think it was all a load of xxxx – now I think it’s probably pretty true….at least sometimes it works!

  • Wonderful post Belle and everyone else. I actually like these under-the-skin-we’re-really-all-just-so…human posts. What support! What wisdom! What love. I think this time spent with others working on sobriety, growth, and sloth-self acceptance is pretty cool. Day 13 and learning. Thanks all!

  • I had a sloth-day yesterday too. My husband left early on a trip out of state and won’t be back for five days. I thought I would accomplish tons in his absence – nope. One thing I did notice is apparently the house does not magically stay clean when he is not here- damn!
    Yesterday, every time that I started thinking that I needed to completely remodel and renovate this old house before husband’s return at the end of the week I would think of Belle saying:
    “Don’t do too much; sober first, everything else second.”
    SO by the end of my sloth-day yesterday I shrugged and thought:
    “Belle told me not to do jack-shit today – so I didn’t.”
    What a relief- I am not responsible for my own actions (or lack thereof) it’s all on Belle’s (broad) shoulders. Whew, I dodged accountability again.

    Isabel: “Me drinking is me not living, it’s me just waiting around to die…” EXACTLY EXACTLY my thoughts EXACTLY. I obsess about death when I am drinking.

  • Love the Seneca quote. My first waking thought this morning, I am 14 days shy of 300 days (who’s counting?) and I never, ever would have thought that possible. Look at me!!! You would think that Wolfie would have moved on but every once and awhile he shows up to check in…there is that brief moment, sense memory that always ends with “no more fuzzy edges….ever.” I am so much better today than I was 286 days ago. Grateful.

  • Good Morning Belle – Wow, Isabel’s response on your blog post this morning really hit home with me That is absolutely me as well! I want you to know that I’m still sober (Day 6). It’s funny, when you go through Day 1, whether it is for the first time or not, it feels like Day 2 is a million miles away. Here I am at Day 6 and it feels really good. I can’t wait to get to double digits and then ramp it up by 10 again. It really is the little victories in early sobriety. My husband made chocolate chip cookies last night and I ate 2 of them while they were still warm and chased them down with ice cold milk in one of my crystal cocktail glasses. Delish!Holly

  • I won my very first race in my age group in the rain. It was like running in the shower, it was awful, yet I got a medal for the first time ever.
    You never know what the rain will bring. 🙂

  • I spend a lot of time worrying about my lack of motivation and achievement – but really the achievement is that I bother to turn up at all really – sober – the rest can all go to hell in a hand cart it isn’t that important

  • Running in the rain. Sounds rubbish, always more fun in practice. Especially when it makes you feel like you’re in a movie 😉

    What podcast do you listen to? X x x

    • I agree, running in the rain is pretty great. it makes me feel quite self-righteous. and also there are fewer dogs getting in my way!