less. I’m experimenting with doing less.

{this was also sent out as a micro-email today; sorry for cross-posting but i wanted to collect comments here}

less. I’m experimenting with doing less.

as boozers, we are (continuously) drawn to doing too much. we overcompensate (me). we try too hard (me). we feel like imposters (me). we worry about being overwhelmed because it can be a trigger.

anytime i hear “this is all too hard” in my head, I know i’ve got trouble brewing. I’m pretty good now at reaching out for support when i start to hear that. So two weeks ago i emailed my coach (after a 2 year absence). and while i knew i wasn’t going to drink (i wasn’t having a sober crisis) i was having more of a ‘career’ crisis. and she’s my career coach mixed with money stuff and sober stuff.

one of the things she wants me to do is to start taking more time off. hahaha. so funny i forgot to laugh. catering can be any day or night or weekend. It can fall right in the middle of a planned vacation (then the vacation is moved). i don’t have a 9-5 job. it’s one of the joys (and the challenges) of being self-employed.

and yet. i keep saying things like “i need to learn this thing about getting enough sleep once and for all,” and i email people and say “take good care of you”… and i’m not taking my own advice very well. I mean, i know. we’re not perfect. but i’m feeling ready for an ‘evolve’ right now. doesn’t always happen. sometimes i’m in a rut and i’m happy to be there. apparently – now – i’m not.

one of the things i was reading this weekend in my coaching book was about push/pull. We can push ourselves to do all kinds of things. to work harder. to appear high functioning. to get up no matter what kind of nonsense we were up to the night before.  As my penpal Tim says, we boozers have a masochist streak a mile wide.

So i’m saying to my coach “i don’t have much time off. But blah blah money blah blah husband’s career.”

and she says something and then i remember push/pull.

here’s the idea (her suggestion combined with the reading i was doing): we REMOVE things from the table, we say NO to things. We create a vacuum. We stop pushing the truck uphill. and then we have freedom (and a bit of boredom) and then we start to move again on our own.

(we remove booze, we say no more drinking, we create a space, and we see what fills the space.)

so i cancelled a catering event this past weekend (too small) and this week i have no catering scheduled, just by accident, which never happens. I was in bed at 9:30 pm on Sun & Mon. That also never happens.

And with days ahead of me, no catering (no booze), not sure what to do next? I am busy.

Running, reading, lounging in the tub. And i’m busy doing stuff just because I WANT to. For example I recorded two audios back-to-back for the sober podcast series and I never do that. Usually i’m looking at my calendar trying to fit things in. Now i have space to fill. Does that even make sense? it’s nice to be drawn to doing things instead of pushing myself.

remove the booze, ladies and gentlemen, and shit changes. holy.

and on a positive note, my micro-email from yesterday was originally written in April 2014. A year later, things are much better. we have a small bit of money in the bank, my husband’s career is much more stable (after a pretty rocky year). and i’m making some money from this sober thing which is allowing me to reduce my work on Job #1. Lots can change in a year. Can’t imagine what the next year will bring.

Note to self: speak to my coach more often. Work less. Experience more pull and less push. Take time off. Go to bed. Buy new sheets. And for god’s sake get a haircut.


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

  • This is really helpful. This is something I must do because wolfie gets me right when I need to be doing things because I’ve pushed too hard at something.

  • “It’s nice to be drawn to doing things instead of pushing myself.” I’m going to remember that! I realize sometimes if I am just relaxing and enjoying myself I feel very quilty, even if it is doing a hobby I enjoy which is still productive!

  • This is such an unfamiliar concept to me. I have 2 speeds: hyper drive, and shut down. I have to intentionally stop and just be. The more I practice this, the better I will become.
    I wish you could come to my shop, it would be my pleasure to cut your hair! 🙂

  • Yesterdays and today’s blog posts both help me remember I have to tell myself every day that sober living has to come first…especially in these early days and especially ahead of work or overwork. I am cancelling a meeting I had planned for tomorrow…to give myself space to go for a walk and just have quiet time.. Thanks for the inspiration, Belle…

  • Dear Belle,
    This is exactly what I needed to read today!
    I think I need to except being a little bored in order to see things clearly.
    Almost like having an empty shelf will help you put just the right vase on it.

    • I think I had a hard time accepting boredom, too. And so the universe gave me a broken arm. And my shelf remains empty. (I love your analogy…) but its empty. And I do love the modern look, you know? ^_~ (think positive think positive…ha) I think I am so afraid of clean spaces being sober. Its too white. I need color but i am unsure what goes together; what compliments. When i was a drinker, it didnt matter. Plaids and stripes went together. But i put no thought in it. Plaids and stripes placed just right could definitely work. But now i have a mind to make it work if i am mindful, which is possible with a clear sober mind. Trying to stay underwhelmed for me means I only add one or two things at a time to see how well they work together before adding something else. And I LOVE what Belle shared…gravitate to what pulls you instead of being pushed to do something because we have to. I know there is a balance to that. But I dont think we have to worry about that so much if we are doing what we love….what pulls us; compels us; defines us….. And I absolutely DO NOT have this all figured out. I just ramble and dream. Remember, my shelf is empty, too. And I am just trying to enjoy that modern look and think about what color might look pretty in-between thinking about ‘my arm hurts! My arm hurts.’. And honestly? There is not much between time these days. But I am sober. And that’s ok for now. Thanks for sharing!
      Lovelove, alescha

  • I think we should ask ourselves this powerful question (from Leo Babauta) over and over again: If your life were an empty container, with limited space, what would you put in it?