I’ll make potato salad for YOU but I won’t make it for myself

did you notice those crickets? yeah, that was me. silent. ha. hardly ever happens. interesting. i’m happily emailing my sober people, just not writing as much here. busy with sloth followed by catering this week. and my job #1 was busier than it has been.

At the end of the night, last night, when Mr. B and i relate the best part of our days, and the parts we’d like to change, I said that i’d had a good day because I’m a much happier person when i have enough to do — not too much, not pressurized — but when i have projects that are beyond my own self-generated ones like ‘clean the fridge’. I told him i just ‘feel better’ when i’m doing more things (job #1 was busy yesterday + catering = a nicely full day).

What this really means is I feel better when I’m productive.  Not just busy for no reason. Not stressed and overtired. Better When Happily Puttering Away at Things That Please Me.

Then as i write this, i realize that the same tasks on a different day could have made me irritated. It’s probably not the tasks, it’s probably me. Yesterday I was quite happy to make potato salad. But i really like the client, and she’s so happy with all the food she gets.  If it’s just me making potato salad for ME, I’m all like meh, boil potatoes, boil eggs, make mayonnaise, chop pickles, chop celery. who cares.

oh god, am i so transparent that i’ve just written the truth that is me? I’ll make potato salad for YOU but I won’t make it for myself. yeah. there we go.

do i really really love a clean house? yes. do i give that to myself? no. do i resent when my husband doesn’t give it to me? yes. do i think of paying someone to do it for me? sometimes. Have you heard my audio about cinnamon toast? oh. god. this is the same thing.

This is the ‘self-care’ thing that we boozers suck at. Before my epic drinking began, I used to make dinner for myself, single girl, i planned my meals and made grocery lists and everything. When i was single girl, i made potato salad. I didn’t see it as ‘too much work’.

then the drinking became ‘daily’, and then Every Fucking Thing was too much work, because it kept me from drinking. Clean the fridge or drink? Wolfie would win that one quite easily.  Make dinner with all the lovely ingredients I’ve just purchased that are now sitting on the counter, or drink? Wolfie would win that one too. Shove the food back into the back of the fridge and call for pizza.

I had only one way of administering self-care. it was to pour a bottle of wine on my head.

for one day, today, for right now, for this minute, i’m going to try to figure out what I can do that would make me feel good. like, really good.

And even if i have to mechanically go through a list of things, i’m going to find something. If the first treat/reward doesn’t work, it doesn’t mean that my sober toolbox/treatbox is broken. It just means I need to use a different treat.

First up. OK. I have some really nice freshly squeezed OJ. Yes, it’s true, i did make it for a client, but there’s some left over for me.

What? That doesn’t count? I have to ‘do something FOR me?’ fuck, you’re tough.


By Me. For Me. 

OK, i’ll windex my glass desk. It’s been months. and I’ll make some nice little piles of receipts and tax things. and i’ll put the old newspapers into recycling. and i’ll se the timer. I think it’ll take me about 12 minutes. Go.


Happy Day 50 to Pastor K!

Happy Day 50 to Jaden!

Happy Day 50 to Dubby!

Happy Day 50 to AngieG!

Happy Day 50 to Liam!

Happy Day 100 to Lo!

Happy Day 100 to Isabel!

Happy Day 100 to Cyndy!

Happy Day 100 to Rich!

Happy Day 180 to Tammi!

Happy Day 180 to Shay!

Happy Day 180 to Shell Bell!

Happy Day 180 to Tuomas!

Happy Day 180 to RM!

Happy Day 200 to SarahinSurrey!

Happy Day 200 to Mack!

Happy Day 200 to RF!

Happy Day 300 to Victoria!

Happy Day 300 to JennyGardenGirl!

Happy Day 300 to Tami!

Happy Day 600 Sober Kat!

Happy Day 700 to 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

  • Wow, this all sooooo resonates with me. I can always find a gift for someone else: clothes for my daughter, a pair of earrings for my office-mate, something nice for a client. I shop for myself, wander around for an hour or so, and usually leave without buying anything. I feel a change happening though. Last night I gave in to the need to sit in a comfy chair and watch a recorded episode of Mad Men after work. Everyone fended nicely and happily for themselves for dinner, and me, I served up a great big bowl of strawberry shortcake with vanilla ice cream and called it good. Progress.

  • Wow, funny I stumbled upon this just today. Just this past weekend I was thinking back to that single girl that made elaborate meals for myself from time to time. Full on steak dinners, complete with creamed spinach and some sort of dark chocolate desert. And yes, a glass of wine while cooking. And a glass with dinner. 2 glasses, that’s it. For reals. And then up early the next morning for a long run, and then a hot shower, some more productiveness, and maybe settling in with a glass of wine and a book to round out the weekend.

    Now that alcohol has taken over, I do sometimes trick myself into actually grocery shopping, but by the time I finish the bottle I had bought in order to have “1 glass while I cook” I”m all “F* it. What’s the point?” Thanks for reminding me of that girl, I hope she’s still there.

    • She’s still there, Lola. I too used to drink occasionally, and over time there was a shift. There became a full-fledged battle in my head about when, how much, and of course purposely not making plans so I could keep my drinking time open. My teenage daughter thought I had early onset Alzheimers because I nodded and smiled and said all the right things, making promises and plans, and then couldn’t remember a thing the next day. How sad is that. Keep reading the blogs and talk to Belle. This group is so powerful, like something I have never found before in my search for inspiration to stop drinking and un-numb myself. It really works. Stay connected and you will find your inspiration!

  • 700 frigging days…. you ROCK!! That’s almost two years of authentic living!! Very proud to know you and to share this journey with you Belle!

  • Happy 700 plus 2! I love his post. Why is it so difficult to do something for yourself when in a heartbeat you would do it for someone else. I am learning though and those fresh clean sheets last night felt sooooo good!!

  • Dear Belle, your insights are so real and I relate to so many of them, your thoughts really connect with me. You have a way of expressing things that makes be stop, re read and I find my eyebrows shoot up and my head starts nodding and I’m like yeah, yes I know, me too. So, thank you and I’m so glad to be here.
    And congratulations on the big 7-0-0! And a bees dick from 2 years!! Xx

  • Laurie Lynn This last month or so has been mostly all about self-care or really getting back to the person I was before wine became my life. I have always been very big on nutrition and health. love love love studying up on different new diets and how to eat for health as well as prevent certain diseases’. endlessly fascinating to me. any way this is the one of the biggest reasons I quit drinking and smoking. I WANTED TO FEEL GOOD AGAIN. Well that didn’t just happen like I thought it would. So did a bunch of research. And started fallowing a diet to aide my thyroid. And WOW is all I can say. I feel so much better. brain fog gone, energy is back, I can now sleep most nights. I feel amazingly so much better. I had to give up wheat and all processed food. But so worth it. So my treat everyday is to watch lectures on youtube about health and nutrition. Oh and I love buying myself inexpensive little trinkets on ebay. almost everyday there something waiting for me in my mail box. Today there was cute little silver earrings that I payed around 2 dollars for and free shipping. Sorry this was so long. And p.s. I’m almost to 5 whole months.

    • I am on day 36 and its hard. I don’t see how people make it …..without being locked up in rehab.

      • Wanda,
        I’m right behind you on day 32! Hang in there and think of the positive stuff; no hangover, headache, ect. I can drive to a restaurant AND drive home (lol), we can do anything anyone else can do except drink, that’s all! I wish you the best.

      • Thanks Beach Girl and Kerry. I took a boiling hot bath for a long time and went to bed. Whew.

  • Making Healthy Meals for Me:

    Level 1: Eat rice cakes from bag while standing in front of cupboard.

    Level 2: Get knife, slice open avocado, eat while standing over sink.

    Level 3 (the all-out-for-me level): Boil water, add soy sauce and chopped cabbage. Eat at table with spoon.

    Making Healthy Meals for YOU:

    Egg white and Parmesan asparagus Frittata with fresh dill from garden; served with salad of avocado, scallions, and fresh herbs from garden; accompanied by homemade organic apple cider dressing. Chilled, cubed melon for dessert with fresh lemon and fresh mint infused iced tea to drink. Serve at table with cloth napkins, silverware, and condiments.

  • I keep thinking of self care as idleness. Never looked at it this way. And I so relate to the “too much work” mindset! Time to examine some of my default thinking patterns. The drinking has stopped and the real work begins.

    Congrats to all today and happy 700 Belle!

    • idleness. imagine seeing clean sheets and a warm bed as idleness 🙂 and pie. shit, there’s nothing more ‘productive’ than pie!

  • Really love this post and Ginger D’s comments. See so much of myself here. Just don’t comment very much…I’m reading, just not commenting;-). My rewards lately have gotten pretty BO-RING. Iced Coffee sometimes in the afternoons. That’s been it for the last week or two I made cakes for others. Bought gifts for others. Really went above and way beyond what I would do for myself FOR OTHERS. Today…I’m going to do something for myself. That run I did yesterday evening for myself was nice, but maybe…just maybe I deserve a little more than 35 minutes to myself. Today is day 41 for me…it’s an odd number, sure, but I’m going to make that odd number happy today by finding some way to celebrate. My pre-sober self used to celebrate daily by doing all of the things you mention, Belle. I’d make big plans, but my drinking plans always metastasized and ate up all of my good, healthy, productive, and FUN plans. I’ve been crazy busy except for that little vacation last weekend (which was still kinda busy because we were also entertaining friends); I need a mini-vacation for me today. Even if it’s just 41 minutes in honor of 41 days. I’ll find the time.

    Ginger D, when I make potato salad my maternal grandmother is always with me; I’m certain of it. I never knew her, but it’s her recipe and I feel close to her in a spiritual way when I make it. Love that you mention that connection.


  • love this post, belle. i think about self-care a lot and how it relates to getting sober. i, too, had one method for self-care: drinking wine. this act, ironically, produced effects that were the complete opposite of actual self-care. now i get rest (or at least am working on it), wash my face, eat good food, say no to things, go to spin class, work on house and personal organization projects, wander the farmers market aimlessly, buy flowers, read sober blogs with a gigantic mug of delicious coffee before the family wakes up and more. i’m learning! day 65. xo

  • I listened to Cinnamon Toast yesterday! So bizarre that the same theme is in your post today. My thoughts yesterday were pretty profound because of your observations and language. Thank you for your insight. My mind was curious, “Why do I think that making cinnamon toast “correctly” for me is somehow less soothing than if my husband makes it for me “incorrectly”?” In other words: why is my default position one that judges self care that actually feeds my soul less effective than care that doesn’t feed my soul? Or, in other words (yes, I am trying to get there ….): why am I not enough for me? ….

    On this journey, I am beginning to wonder if only I can (and frankly should) be enough for me? Not in a selfish, narcissistic (sp?) way but in a letting go of attachment to outcome way; in a recognition that I cannot control others way; in an understanding that unmet expectations make me miserable way.

    Yes, make yourself potato salad. You are worthy of all the chopping, dicing, blending, boiling, peeling, mixing, just for you. And, maybe, just maybe, there is more than just you doing all that work for you. Is your favorite aunt present in your mind? Your favorite grandmother? Your mentor? Your inspirational figure? An unknown person who was kind to you yesterday? Are they there in your head while you work? If so, then maybe others are also helping you care for you. ……