try harder vs. try different

from my inbox:

Nost (2 days ago): “Done. Day 1 today.”

Nost (today): “I feel like a loser. Like I just fail all the time and I don’t know why.”

me: wolfie can be very loud. what you’re doing now is good but it’s not enough. you might really like some more support until you get going… do you have ideas on what ‘more support’ might look like for you? doctor, therapist, counsellor, meeting, audio, call, read, reach out, transplant yourself temporarily, etc? it’s really not a matter of trying ‘harder’ – it’s about trying ‘different’ …

Nost: “Yeah maybe I should. I do also have to try harder though. Once I got through the first two weeks its going to be a bit easier. The start is usually painful.”

me:  so what can you do to help make the start easier. is there somewhere you can go, is there someone who can come stay with you, is there some support you can ask for, is there an audio or podcasts that you feel better when you listen? can you take time off work … what can you do to get your two weeks going? It’s good that you know you’ll feel better quickly.  You just need to be transported to day 14 …

 Nost: “Haha yeah. Maybe I just have to try harder. I don’t really know what else to do. Eventually I have to just do it.”


So how do YOU feel about this idea of ‘trying harder’ versus ‘trying different’?  What did you do that was ‘different’ that made the first two weeks easier for you? Did you email every day, listen to audios, have calls, get sober treats, hide in bed, cry at 7:30 pm every night… did you go to your parents’, did you work a lot of overtime, did you run every night at suppertime, did you have pancakes for dinner so that you wouldn’t crave booze…



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

  • Yoga and jacuzzi at the gym, sleeping lots, sober blogs, calling sober friend, Egyptian licorice hot tea (doesn’t taste like licorice), transcribing handwritten notes from Buddhism teachings I attended to computer (gives me an easy and nice task to burn time), watched every episode of Intervention.

  • Today is day 2 (again) and after reading through your blog I feel like I am changing things up this time. I now have a name to go with that annoying voice in my head. I love that I say “fuck you, wolfie” and feel instantly better. Still annoyed, but better. I have found my special 5 pm drink. I will be kinder to myself. I am on the Sober 100 waiting list. My next change is a biggie. I need to tell someone. I think it would take a little of the load off. I’m just not sure who or when. Thank you Belle for making me try different.

  • I love all of your tips, but does anyone have suggestions for those of us with kids who can’t watch TV programs, take a nap or treat ourselves to other such escapes at witchimg hour when not only wolfie is whining but the kids are too?! I know there are sober mommie blogs but this one works for me. My replacement drink is good but not always enough.

  • Wow to all the comments. I need to read them a few more times i think, but thank you all, so much, for making an effort to think about this and reply.

    I agree with the change. And it feels I’m more ready for it than before. The amount of times being on day 1 just started to depress me…

    Sometimes i still wonder how this became a problem, but I noticed the more I let thoughts like that control me, the unhappier I get. So I’m turning that around too.

    All i can do is believe in myself. You have to walk hand in hand with yourself in this life and realize you’re human and its ok to feel you messed up. So that’s what I’m trying to do and I finally feel so much more ok. Jesus, why did it take all this agony?

    On a lighter note: are we all breaking bad fans here? 😉

    Thank you all. It feels like a journey, and I feel a lot better this time. And Belle has been incredibly supportive and never judged me and I’m grateful for that. Thanks for posting and the tips. Let’s put it this way, if you ever see me posting a picture look muscled its because instead I’m getting addicted to the gym.

    Much love to all of you. Xx

  • I joined a yoga class on a Friday night that started at 6pm so I wouldn’t be persuaded to go for drinks. I also immersed myself in sober blogs. Being January / early Feb, I was able to hibernate in the evenings and watch Breaking Bad!! 🙂

  • Belle has been a Godsend to me. I have had quite a few Day ones since last November. Started with a 42 day booze free period and then felt too good. The lure of “moderation” pulled me and its been a hard year since. Many Day ones and many days where I didn’t even try. I am now on day 22 (I think!) and I am in a much better place. Am I trying harder, absolutely but I am also doing different things. It is better for me to not think too much about what day I am on – plays with my head too much, and trust me Belle knows!! At the start I also tried to keep busy out of the house around the wine o’clock hour – that helped tremendously, even if I was running tedious errands. If I’m home I pour myself a nice glass of flavored sparkling water and it satisfies my need for a “wind down” drink. I also check in with the sober blogs at least once a day and try and exercise four out of five days. Its not the easy road, but I am sure feeling a whole lot more like this path is the right one for me.

  • To me, trying harder didn’t work. I just kept trying the same things, failing, then beating myself up because I couldn’t quit. When I finally tried different – emailing Belle, signing up for the 100 Day Challenge, sober treats, reading sober blogs & books, going to bed at 7:30 or 8 pm – it worked!!

  • For me this time, I am saying fuck you WOLFIE whenever alcohol comes into my mind. I think that is really working for me. Thanks Belle!

  • Trying harder, I did that for years and it never worked out. Actually I was afraid to change my life. Changing your life sounds so big. But trying different… wow that was an eyeopener! I try to be aware of giving my self a lot of selfcare. I try to live in the present and if I do something what gives me stress, I try to quit it immediately. I write TRY because for years I had to do so much from myself, this nasty habit is a kind of Wolfie and sometimes it still can seduce me. I started quilting again and I bought a lot of new fabrics although it wasn’t necessary as well. I try to focus on the fact(?) that this is not suffering but a new adventure. I try to see the whole road to sobriety as an adventure. And for me it is 🙂 . I treasure the new discoveries… I try to make it myself easy, e.g. no fuss with cooking if I don’t like to cook and a lot of fuss if it relaxes me. Watching television, reading food, quilting, sobriety blogs and trying to take life not so seriously. Love and good luck to you all! Anne-Marie

  • I got sober three years ago and it took me LITERALLY LEAVING MY LIFE. I had to leave my apartment, move to another town to live with my parents for a while, and go to AA every day for the first three months or so…..

    So maybe you can’t do that first part, but inserting something into that time period of your previous routine that was spent thinking about alcohol, finding alcohol, drinking alcohol, and being drunk, is necessary.

    AA is a great way to start – you can go to a meeting in the early evening, wait to eat dinner afterwards, and then get full and lay down on your couch and veg out on tv until you go to sleep.

    Also – sugarfree chewing gum in every flavor, diet tonic water (just like a G & T without the G!!), and icecream. Oh, and hot baths. Just sayin’ 🙂

  • ice cream, Belle, sleep
    ice cream, Belle, sleep, meds, Smart Recovery,
    ice cream, Belle, sleep, meds, Smart Recovery, sober coaching
    ice cream, Belle, sleep, meds, sober coaching, counseling,
    ice cream, Belle, Sleep, meds, sober coaching, counseling, WFS.
    ice cream, Belle, sleep, meds, sober coaching, counseling, WFS, other blogs.

    Rinse and repeat.

  • I downloaded an audio of the book “Alcohol Lied to Me.” It made everything make sense to me and the author’s voice was soothing, believable, and very sexy! Truly…it really helped! Good luck sweetie…we’re all pulling for you. It is worth the effort.

  • Listening to sober podcasts is definitely a HUGE help, as is reading blogs and books. I’m fairly open minded so I was listening to the Bubble Hour – 12 step focused but also listening to Monica Richardson Safe recovery on blog talk radio – anti AA. It’s good to get different perspectives and take what you need. Also books like ‘Her best kept secret’, ‘The sophisticated alcoholic’, ‘The sober revolution’, ‘high sobriety’, ‘Smashed: growing up a drink girl’ are good reads. Like others have said, I had the guilt and shame and near-death experience of the last time I drank to keep me going. I’m four months sober and it does get easier, wolfie learns his place as long as you show him who’s boss x

  • I think being on holiday from work helped me a lot initially. So much less stress for the first few weeks – fewer triggers. More treats. Being able to do what I wanted and when. But I also made sure to add some routine here and there. Emailing Belle, catching up with sober blogs. Actually, REPLACEMENT DRINK was probably the single biggest tip that worked – kept the whole show on the road for other tools to then be added on!! No lying in bed in the morning. But then, I let myself have naps when I needed them, too. So in a nutshell, having some stuff in place, some structure and tools – and _being kind to myself_ really helped.

    Go for it, Nost 🙂

  • oh yeah – I watch box sets during wine o’clock. So far, all of Breaking Bad, The Game of Thrones, The Good Wife and now The House of Cards.

    It’s my switch off time for relaxation with a sober nice drink.

    Did I mention ice-cream??

  • I need LOADS of tools. Trying harder didn’t work at all for me.
    I’m fast approaching Day 90 and what works for me is sober rewards. Planning big ones for e.g. Day 50, Day 90 and having lots of little rewards too.

    Listening to sober podcasts, emailing Belle every day, reading sober blogs all help hugely. Reading sober books – I buy ebooks when I’m having a hard time.
    Going for a walk when I’m in the grip of a craving. Bringing sober drinks to social occasions. I’m always on the look-out for new tools.

    Best part of being sober is being nice to myself 🙂

  • From -L.: “This was the impossible part for me. From Belle I learned what to different to retrain my reward trigger during witching hour. So prepared for it each day.

    I listened to Belle’s podcasts and during the later part of the day, lunchtime-ish and maybe Bubble Hour at 2-4pm or blogs linked here while working. I made a list of things I had to do for the week and only did 1-2 things each day to avoid overwhelm.

    I planned on whatever I wanted for dinner. . . . this really made me go home and get in bed and relax and eat. If I was very full, I would not have any urge to drink. I found myself looking forward to the food, not the booze. So like, dinner saved my life.

    I read sober bios on my Kindle, or watched mindless tv. I also took something help me sleep, and I turned off the phone so no one could ask me for help or put their drama in my way, I was too tired to care at that point I was so worn out.

    All of this was necessary, all of it. Plus taking a weekend away to the country with sober friend. I piled it on because I wanted it so bad. I had the will but that wasn’t working, for years I kept failing miserably.

    That’s how I got to day 7 and beyond. Belle made me realize it is really a matter of retraining the brain which I knew, but did not know HOW. She also emphasized that it was ok to just go to bed – that I was worthy of taking time just for ME and it was essential and I felt that I had personal support thru the sober blogs, I wasn’t alone and they did it so I could too.

    And this, this email is part of my homework as part of my Sober Jumpstart 100 class — i’m not just reading, but replying.

    Hope it helps. I still had mess ups after a week too, then it kept going. Actually, it helped me to let Belle count.

  • This is my real first attempt at this. Have made it to day 17. Lots of prayer, hit a few AA meetings, reading every blog I can, and working overtime too. Signed up to get blog posts in my email which is great because the pop up at various times of the day– kind of like an all day reinforcement. When I was drinking I had my own “rule” that I couldn’t drink in my pajamas….that just seemed “wrong”, so pajamas may be on at 5 pm!!! Whatever it takes

  • SO interesting to me how we are all so similar yet different in so many ways. The first two weeks are always the easiest for me. I still have all of the feelings of guilt remorse and shame freshly on my brain. It’s after the first two weeks when I really start to feel better that wolfie tells me it will be different this time. It’s never different and most times it gets worse. I think many of the tools we can use are the same, it’s just a matter of when we need to pull them out of the chest.

    • I agree with Holly, we are all the same, but different – do whatever it takes, whenever its needed and know that you do have options and choices. I’d add too, try and be kinder to yourself Nost. Take away that pressure you are placing on yourself and know that it is a Wolfie LIE that you are not good enough, can’t even try hard enough – do not give that lie thought oxygen!! You are here and as Belle says, just stay here. Little drops eventually become an ocean. xxxx

  • I changed my diet to not have cravings: 1 spoon of sesame seeds, a few handfull of unroasted nuts, Celtic Salt iso table salt, 1 1/2 pint of fresly juiced vegetable juice including 1 lemon, 4-5 celery sticks, 4 carrots, 1/2 inch of fresh ginger, 1 apple. Next to that loads of omega 3 so 1-2 avocados a day, cold kidney bean salad with a lot of parsley, tomato, peppers, garlic, onions, avocado and feta. And cod liver, loads of eco pork meat for al kinds of vitamin B and additional Vitamin B complex, multivitamin pills. 2 Bags of potato chips :-). Sunlight.

    No caffeine. I should have done no sugar but I did eat 1 bar of dark dark chocolat (for the magnesium :-)). Sugar, caffeine and smoking create cravings. Lack of nutrients stimulate dark thoughts and cravings.

    I als did continuous sober reading about alcohol and nutrients and how addiction works. And writing, getting things of my chest, letting the dark out, make some place for happiness to settle. It worked so far. 🙂

    Happy that I quit, proud of it and I wish that for Nost too. 🙂

  • I remember eating lots of sweets. I remember trying to sleep a lot. I emailed often, and spent A LOT of time reading sober blogs. Of course, I had a legal issue hanging over me, and that was kind of motivating…