welcome to disappointment (continued)

This was originally sent out as a micro-email.

On Wednesday I sent out an email about the new book writing project I am working on, and I had the highest number of unsubscribes ever.

Like, i’ve never irritated more people at one time than I did that one day 🙂 It’s my new personal best!

at first i was disappointed. you know, typical boozer thinking (what’s the point, this isn’t going to work, you’re bored with me, fuck I’m bored with me, why am i so tired, my shoulder still hurts, is that hail outside my window?)

so today I thought i’d write a post about disappointment. started to look for the right photo. found this:

and then i thought, well I don’t want to stay too long in disappointment, about the weather, about my shoulder, about not enough sleep, about unsubscribes.

Then i saw this:

and i thought no no no, that’s not what i believe at all. Expect nothing? no no no. I’ve got to dream and hope. This being sober thing is work, sure, but it’s worthwhile work. Expect nothing? no no no.

And finally, there was this image on the same ‘disappointment image’ search page:

and i thought yes, yes, yes, that’s it. it’s a choice. How i respond is a choice. There’s continuing on this ‘road’ or doing something else. I pick something else.

So while wednesday may have been a personal best for unsubscribes, today is a new personal best, too. Friday was day 1000 for me. Today is day 1001. I have a new ‘slow’ juicer to celebrate my mornings. let there be carrot/orange/ginger juice with turmeric 🙂

belle xo



Note: the comments that i received by email on this post were pretty wide-ranging, and great, so i’ve reposted this micro-email here so that i can now share the comments with you – and so that you can add your own below.




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

  • Thank you for taking the time to care about each of us by caring for yourself. You have made a difference in my life xo

  • Belle, happy 1000:). My husband is a mechanic, and owns his own repair shop. It always galls me when someone brings their own car parts to him and asks him to fix the car. And then gets offended when he charges them labor. As if his time and investment in tools, technology, and training is worth nothing. Those are the same people who just unsubscribed. Hell with them! They will never, no matter how hard you try to educate them, understand that your time is worth something. I commend you for what you’re doing – and I will be front and center when your book is published, ready to buy a copy.

  • Mamahope: maybe people unsubscribed because they don’t want to do anything to change. They don’t want a relationship. That email felt like you really liked your subscribers. That you were looking to us to hold you accountable. You are counting on us to encourage you along the way in your own journey…it didn’t feel commercially or anything. Those kind of days may be tougher than we’d like to admit, but I think it’s a moment of challenge for you to keep the course. Weed out the creeps. You do this for you too… (1000 days!!) and negative energy is not needed. Thank you for your constant support and encouragement, and the moments you show us you are a real, live person living a sober life.

  • Gra: I dunno who the unsubscribing audience are, or what their profile is, I do know for me, you’ve never seemed more relatable: My life, my dreams and aspirations won’t just happen. I have to choose to make them happen, sketch down a ropey plan, commit myself to it, tell someone I am doing it, and do it. Easy huh?

    When you drink, choice disappears and a lot of shit just happens.

    Perhaps the reality of life and the fact that because we we are sober, and it is all about choice, and choice means choosing, actively choosing what we want in our lives, maybe that is scary for some people.

    You laid it out there, that you are grown up, accountable, making decisions. You are ambitious for you. What the fuck is wrong with that? I applaud you.

  • Dear Belle, Congratulations on 1001 days!!! What an amazing accomplishment! Being fairly newly sober, to be honest with you, I was a little confused by the email, other than you were setting goals for yourself to write and wanted to be accountable for it…I just sort of let it pass because I didn’t really know what I could do to help anyway. I’m just so very grateful for all that you do and amazed that you can keep it all straight and give as you do. I’m very thankful because I don’t believe I’d be successful at 40 days unless I had you to give me understanding and strength. Blessings and hugs, and don’t worry about unsubscribers. Maybe they just didn’t get it. 🙂

  • J: (reminder) now it’s 18 days until your deadline ….

    and reading this blog post today really made me acutely aware of how many people you are in communication with and supporting. I remain amazed by your ability to keep it all straight, and to carry on in your everyday life, let alone write a book.

    thanks for being out there … keep on keeping on with what works for YOU

  • jenniferkay: PS…I love everything you do regarding books and writing and what you have to purchase or not and blogs and micro-blogs and art and unlimited inspiration.

  • Congrats on 1000 days Belle. I wouldn’t be sober without you. No way! I had many wobbles and emailed you and you emailed me back within an hour. Now, how did you do that?? I had a big wobble after 100 days and saw the signs of a relapse. And i arranged a call with you. I chatted with you and it was lovely and I felt steady afterwards. I subscribed to your audios for a long time too. And I found links to all these other sober blogs on your site which i still read daily.
    I don’t email you so much now at 267 days but i know you’re there if I need you. I hope to meet you some day at one of your meet-ups. My own personal preference is that you blog more instead of sending the micro mails (it’s all about ME 🙂 ) cos I like to read the comments. Maybe don’t apologise too much for the commercial bit ? I didn’t know you had an 80% free 20% fee thing going on and it seems much clearer to me now. It makes perfect sense. Enjoy your juicer, your sobriety, the lovely appreciation here. You deserve it. Hugs

  • I have an email drafted to you but got distracted, so I’ll just write it here instead.

    Ouch on the unsubscribes. That has to hurt, especially when you’re sharing such a personal goal. The money thing is tricky. I think you provide a wonderful service—the inspiration I’ve gotten has truly changed my life for the better—and I’m glad you’re getting some perks as a result. I’ve bought a few things and always pounce when you discount a new audio.

    Sometimes it is a smidge disappointing to click on something and see there’s a charge, because I don’t have infinite funds and I’m a normal person who likes free stuff. 🙂 I’ve mostly figured out what’s free vs. fee, and I am also thankful for all the free resources I’ve discovered through your blog.

    Not everything clicks for everyone. You’re a wonderful free help to so many, but even at free, some people aren’t into your approach. It stands to reason that even more will balk at paying. No biggie. May we all find what works for us and continue on happily.

    Congratulations on 1000+ days. That’s huge. Hugs and high fives to you, my dear!

  • Lara: Belle, don’t sweat the unsubscribes. You are the beacon for so many and you have a formidable advisary in Wolfie. Don’t take it personally. YOU are part of the solution NOT the problem. Love your work xx

  • alescha: When I began, I was momentarily put off with the cost of audios and the various other things you have to offer. And we are talking minutia momentary minute, here, because immediately these thoughts came…

    Getting sober is hard and if all the tools were free or at a lower cost that would be too easy to stop and start again: everything’s free. But when I buy it, I OWN it. It’s mine. It’s my investment in ME. And I’m worth it.

    Thanks for charging. Thanks also for throwing in ‘almost freebies’ every once in a while. You deserve way more than anything you charge. Your value to me, personally, is beyond what I could even price. You are priceless.

    And lets not forget the ‘time’ you invest in everone who signs up for the challenge.

    Not so easy but attainable; you have got the balance perfect.

    And your book; another item for the repertoire of sober tools. I cant wait to lay my hands on it.

    Thank you for sharing your journey. I’m almost to day 100 because of it…..(tears….). ‘huglets’, alescha

  • I love you!
    You are one reason why I am still sober!!!
    1001 Days is so cool!
    I am so glad you are writing!
    You are helping a bunch of people!!
    Big Hugs,

  • You can’t please all the people all of the time. Trying to will forever disappoint you.

    You have a lot of followers. If s few wish to go elsewhere because you are looking to find some way to make a living doing what is obviously your calling, so be it.

    Congrats on the 1001 days. Sober is definitely better!


  • You can’t please everyone all the time! I have a little constructive criticism, if you don’t mind hearing it…I wish you would be more confident when you talk about your new projects…don’t downplay your efforts by saying “podcast thingy” or “secret book thingy…” OWN your work, don’t slight it. They are more than “thingys.” They’re a culmination of your years of hard work that you are offering to people who need help. The people who aren’t interested may unsubscribe, but you may find a whole new group of people who are totally into the new things you’re doing. Keep following your gut and be proud of what you’re offering the world 🙂

  • I remember wjhen everyone was harping on you to write a book, and you were like – no – I’m just doing this blog thing. Being sober is a great adventure. Remember the angst over the tiny gift button?! There was no way to comprehend 1000 days back then. Keep rocking your great ideas! … Lori…

  • Ina: and don’t be disappointed about people dropping out from your emails, it’s their loss right? I am sure you’ll think of some Belle quote about that soon (which you already did) and you probably have your fair share of fans anyway 🙂 You should just spell it out “shit Belle says it’s a choice” I love those quotes ha!

  • anichole: Day 1000?! That’s incredible. I really liked your post about disappointment, your desire to write and hold yourself accountable to deadlines. Life is one choice after another. Glad I’ve found this blog and choose to read every email I receive from you. I choose to be sober and healthy. It’s good for me to surround myself around like minded people, even if its virtually! Congratulations on day 1000. Keep on keepin’ on!

  • jensep: Still sober. What on earth about your email yesterday would have caused people to unsubscribe?!?! Maybe they all just want to keep drinking and not be reminded that some people conquered it?

  • Forgive my ignorance but isn’t the book about the struggle of sobriety? Aren’t we all on that “struggle spectrum”? Makes no sense to me to unsubscribe…
    Congrats on 1000 days.

  • Tree: Congrats on day 1,000! That is huge. So great. I’m wrapping up day 38. Feeling good … sorry about the unsubscribers. Don’t take it too personally. There’s a multitude of reasons that are not your writing project. What you do is life saving but may get too real for some perhaps. And don’t apologize for the commercial end of it. You deserve to be compensated. Just look at the time you give us in the 100 day challenge! And every blog or website I know whether it’s health or diet or workout or lifestyle, they all charge for goods and services, all of them. And what you do saves lives. I know I owe you a lot. Don’t be too disappointed. Like the blooming Dogwood in my backyard, it will pass soon.

  • A: Just read your email regarding folks unsubscribing to your service. I read the “micro” message about the book and was not offended. I have felt guilt that I have not had money that I could purchase one of your sober programs, or even send a treat. (As you know, sometimes those of us that drink have gotten ourselves in a financial bind.) But, the day is coming soon when I can participate. Or send a treat. The service you have provided me is priceless, and karma is going to treat you well.

  • two: Unsubscribe? How does someone break up with a safe, trusted, ever-present friend? I don’t get it! thank you for everything, all the time 🙂

  • PMD (Whack Job): When I saw the book email I thought, well maybe she can get published and actually make some money off of all this work she’s doing, shit you deserve it.

    Too bad you couldn’t measure who unsubscribed (maybe you can, not sure). Meaning, if someone unsubscribed because they are 13 months sober (like me) and don’t feel they need the daily emails, that would be a win. You got them through it and now they are off on their own in the big world enjoying their new life which you helped give them.

    Or if it’s newbies who gave up. Losses? I guess so, if you want to look at it like that. Either way you should do what you feel is right, it has seemed to work for a shit-load of people so far.

    If I were to offer a suggestion it would be to keep the newbies top of mind. If I think back a year, when I heard someone talking about how effin’ long (months, years) they were sober I couldn’t relate. 2 years, are you fuckin’ kidding me? I can’t go a week!

    The thing that hooked me to your blog was reading through your initial months at the same time I was at. I related to that. Which is why I thought your idea of writing a book based on your first 12 months was a good idea. Maybe it goes viral and you make some real money off of it.

  • Jeanne d’Arc: OK, and I actually kept and starred** that email after I read it, because I thought I might want to refer to it again! First, I’m a book editor (textbooks) and I thought it was a nicely laid out plan. Second, I wanted to try to remind myself to check in with you on your progress (accountability). And third, I liked the way you identified which parts of the plan were like which parts of sobriety. (The way we do one thing is the way we do everything.)

    If I could subscribe a 2nd time, I would. Wait, I do have a second gmail account now.

    How you respond is a choice. I can’t hear that enough. Similarly, you choose what to pay attention to. And what you pay attention to makes up your days. Hugs, and SERIOUSLY, day 1000??????????????????????????? You rock!

  • I have not received your e-mail since I don’t do the challenge but I know from a bussiness perspective that there are A LOT of people out there who sort of think that writing, or spreading knowledge is something that can be gotten for free. Take a book, it can contain a year of writing and 20 years of experience of a specialist who in daily life is paid 100 dollars per hour. And if they ask 50 dollar for it everybody goes ‘Ooooooh! Expensive!!!’ (Not that you ask 50 dollars, I don’t know the price.)

    ‘You think that is expensive? Yes, you must, because it is 5 to 10 days of drinking for you….’ 🙁 Hmmm, guessing I am currently biting some sour grapes myself. 😀
    / 🙁 And turning anger into shaming others. Well done. :-/

    As a consultant I used to helped starting companies to get to a point where they would actually be able to sell product. Before selling I would charge half of my fee. After selling full fee. Everybody thought that was Wonderful, and then ALL of them stopped using services when they got to the full fee. Don’t worry about them unsubscribing, they were not the once who were going to value your efforts with grease for the mechanics of the wheel of life (money / gifts).

    Not sure what it is, but I think that’s just how it works. People who get things for free generally do not know the value of it. If you doubt your own writing maybe you want to go 1 step deeper and put the mail out here to discuss it. Writing commercial e-mails is Very Tricky. The tone is very important since people read every intention; commerciality, shame, hesitation, hurry, neccessity, loudness, it only takes one word to twist a story. Trés difficile.

    PS: tumeric is taken up way better in the body when combined with fat, black pepper and I believe protein. Which is why the Ayurveda makes ‘golden milk’ which contains all of that. Youtube is your friend. 🙂

    Congrats on day 1000! Bellissima!

    xx, Feeling

  • DR: All those unsubscribes must have at least read the email. Maybe they thought that you might make them change. We will never know whether they were boozers but I guess they were. And if they weren’t they wouldn’t have benefitted from your advice. They lose either way.

  • IrishDee: Honey we still love you. You cheer me up every day, just knowing you’re guaranteed positivity in my life. But of course you can’t be all things to all people. So shed them like unwanted pounds and move on. Stronger than ever xxx

  • Mich: Wow, I find this so amazingly ungrateful, people really can be resentful of others successes and wins. I’m sorry to hear it. I really don’t know how you deal with us wolfie types sometimes but then again, that’s what makes you so unique and special. Congratulations on your 1000!

  • Liesel: All i can say is that some people feel threatened by others moving forward and by their success. Sadly you deal with many many people at lows that i guess can’t cater for those who are getting their shit together or doing really well. I still think its inexcusable and want you to know you rock!!!! The universe is strange. Maybe this shift will sift and jumble people around in your life to open doors to some more positive folk.

  • D: Congrats on being at day 1000 Belle! Wow, that is amazing. I hope to be there one day too – actually I KNOW I will be there one day – actually in 918 days exactly 😉 Thanks for this email – perfect for me right now. Cause I have been SO down and negative lately. I have a choice to stay in this funk or move on out of it.

  • Begoodgramma: I ready everything you send but almost never email you. I am many many days without drinking because of you … hundreds or thousands have been helped by you. You are a rock star and to those who u subscribed … fuck ’em. They will be back when they need your wisdom.
    You got this. Keep doing what u are doing and don’t change a blessed thing. The world needs your book.

  • Jen43: It’s human nature to disappoint, to distance ourselves when we feel someone might be asking us to take a step towards a stronger commitment. With a group of reformed boozers who escape in wine or whatever. we are probably the worst demographic to seek a deeper commitment from, some of us (well me certainly) have probably created a life for ourselves with disappointment everywhere. On the positive, from disappointments come reflection and recalibration, good things I would say.

  • Bink: so your choice is supporting me to remember I have a choice. who knows who else needed to have that message – that needed you to write that needed you to have all those unsubscribers to write!!!

  • tf4: I WILL NEVER UNSUBSCRIBE – those biatches (not really, but I wanted to write that as I never have). I LOVE the choice visual. I am borrowing it forever. Stay with me!!! HUGS

  • Shelby: Who unsubscribes from Belle of a 1000 days? Those people are totally missing the boat! Morons! Congratulations on a 1000 days. Just amazing. I thought you were getting a haircut for your treat!

  • SueW: Dear friend, You listen to all of us…our fears, our joys, our ramblings, our crash and burns and sometimes our successes! I would like to think that each and everyone one of us would return the favor. I suck at disappointment and to know that someone I care about is feeling disappointment makes me wish I was there to sit with you and just listen. Please continue to be real and honest tell us how you feel. It’s what makes you so amazing and makes so many of us love you. ❤️❤️❤️ Congratulations on 1000 days! Hugs and hugs and more hugs.

  • B: From a person who is still drinking (with a low bottom, who envisages a time when she is not), I think your post today was incredibly brave, and completely the right choice to make. I should imagine many of the people who unsubscribed will resubscribe, although wolfie is winning, (today) you, (and your micro blogs) are what I look for on waking, and right before sleeping, and that is super important to me.. I may not be there yet, but there is another path.
    And you pave the way. Thank you

  • Miss M: Belle I love this post you are brave and vulnerable and I really love you! I am well, sober and healthy. I for one, really am excited about your book!! Xoxo miss M

  • ScrubJay: Why are they unsubscribing? Are they upset because you’re going to be selling something? Or do they think the book writing project is boring? Or…?

    To be honest, I preferred the daily blog entries to the micro-emails. I looked forward to reading them and also reading the comments of others. I think it helped a lot with creating a community of support. The micro-emails don’t seem to achieve that, at least not that I can see.

    Don’t worry, I’m not going to unsubscribe! I hope your book writing project goes well! I just liked reading the blog better.

  • BlackoutBetty: Keep on truckin. It’s spring, remember? People are unsubscribing because they are needing changes of all sorts. Some want to give up on the not drinking idea because they feel like a total failure that they haven’t been able to do it. They’ll likely be back. Some have mastered the sobriety thing and just want less emails, which in itself can remind them they are still vulnerable.
    I’m still fucking up but also drinking much less and with longer dry spells and still reading for pep club support. And I thank you for spending time doing this. Happy juicing. Share good blends with us who need non alchy recipes badly.

  • Topazgirl: Day 17 done. I thought your news [about the book] was good! It takes a lot of guts and thick skin to put yourself out there and share your experiences. And your message about disappointment was even better and very inspiring. Well done and congrats to you on day 1000!!

  • Ka kite ano: Congrats on 1000! Here’s some feedback, if you want it. Otherwise just delete now.

    Perhaps the email was a little more spammy than interesting? I’m not sure what 999 days feels like, but If you remember back to when you first stopped drinking, it’s instantly reading others stories, and relating that helps. It’s hearing of struggles followed by success. Clicking on link that takes you to another good link helps. Your links take you to PayPal ( which I don’t even have), so your page gets closed and a quick internet search provides the needed resources immediately.

    Maybe you should charge people for doing the 100day challenge (which is awesome), so you get paid for the support you provide? This would seem more straight up, rather than offering a free service, but coming across as quite full on with buy buy buy other products

    Hey again, congrats on 1000. And congrats for helping all the peeps you have helped xx

    • I agree that this is complicated. there are different ‘business models’ – mine is give 80% away for free, have 20% paid but optional. and the people who pay support the rest. it’s sort of like [Facebook, where there is advertising that supports those who use it for free]. And for many many people, the free that I offer is fine. for many others, they want additional tools and supports and so they pay for them.

      I know it’s not the model that everyone follows. if I charged to do the challenge, what happens when someone relapses on day 2, do they get a refund? what happens if someone is on day 400 do they pay more?

      I think in the case of this email that i sent about the book project, the idea that people can’t relate to someone who’s on 1000 days is probably true. some have emailed me to say that it’s like ‘hope’ for them, that if I did it then they can. others, who are in a darker place, will see success as unattainable (as wolfie still has control of their thoughts, and see everything as negative, even someone else’s success).

      I’m sorry that it seems like I’m full on with buy buy. I feel like I do so much for free (4-5 hrs a day) that a paypal link seems small to me. but I’m not on the receiving end of the emails and of course you on that side don’t see me doing the emails and blogs and micro emails and podcasts for hours a day 🙂 hugs from me

      • Didn’t you start all this as volunteer and a way for you to stay sober by being accountable to your readers? Or did you have a business in mind when you began it all?

      • oh god, i had no business in mind. i was writing to save myself. to keep my head above water. i never imagined being penpals with 2000 people (who wakes up and decides to do that!). and i have a job or two already 🙂 i get encouraged to make the sober thing my full-time gig, but i have to say i kind of like the weird balance i have now (at least, i like it so far…)

  • CB: Hell yeah, Belle! You’re making an impact, you’re putting waves out there and that’s the most important thing. You are affecting people with your message and your story and that’s kinda the whole purpose of all this. I have a feeling some of those unsubscribers will be back, and if not, fuck it, that’s fine too.

  • Doggie Mama: I’m sorry Belle. People expect you to spend all your time helping them with no compensation. How selfish. Well, more Belle for us! I am back to day one, but I am feeling a confident, powerful feeling that I have not felt before. I don’t feel that I am giving up what I am gaining, my life!

  • TRarium: I want to resubscribe 1000 times today. For that one person, and I know there are many, many more, who you help daily, who you never hear from (haven’t heard from yet), please accept our sincere GRATITUDE. WE NEED YOU and APPRECIATE YOU!!!!!!!!!