pay it forward

This weekend I sent out an email about an audio. I do this sometimes, have a weekend audio available for download.

What I did differently this time, was I created three pricing categories, sort of like “pay what you can afford.”

As a result, there were several people who made larger donations (like, they paid more than the price of the audio). I originally thought the higher ones would help subsidize the less expensive copies.

What I did instead was I used the larger audio payments and turned that money around to pay for 7 free copies of the podcast which I gave away to people on the 100 day sober challenge waiting list.  All I asked for in return was a few kind words that I could pass on, to say thanks to the donors.

Here’s what I got ūüôā

K. “I would like to really thank the sponsors for their donation because having a drinking problem and hiding it from society is a big massive strain. On the outside all appears well, but on the inside it‚Äôs hell broken loose. The sponsors must surely know how you are helping people like me and countless others to take the steps required and provide the support system to keep us going.”

K.¬† “Many thanks for your generous donors that¬†will allow you to reach and support even more¬†people! The kindness is overwhelming and much¬†appreciated! I just joined this group yesterday and thoroughly¬†enjoyed the first set of blogs. ¬†Am beginning my¬†journey today white-knuckled and scared, but am already so thankful for this group!!”

C. “How wonderful of the few generous ones that could make that happen for us! I am sitting in a dermatology appt with my 94 year old godmother and thinking about how nice it is to get to spend time doing other things for her while she and I are around to enjoy each other. And being more present be a use I am over 1 month sober. Thank you for all that you have done to help me on this journey!”

A.¬† “I have a great amount of appreciation for those who share and support their experiences around a sober life. I am new to sobriety and need and want it more than words can express. I have 4 wonderful children and an amazing husband counting on me and I know I can do it!!!”

C. “I’d like to thank the people who made donations for others because quite honestly there is no better gift than helping someone attain sobriety – and you never know when something that someone hears may “click” and help them get to where they want to be. ¬†It’s very generous of those who made the donations for others, and much appreciated.”

L.¬† “In terms of thanking the donor, ¬†I cannot express my gratitude in any other way but thanks. I need every sort of help on this journey. It’s hard and I am struggling so much. This might be the shot I need to keep my sober car going.”


Update, here are a few more thanks yous:

T. “I am particularly thankful that donors have provided funding for this podcast because I am in the first 3 days of sobriety, and I raise chickens. ūüôā ¬†I have several little chicks at home at the moment, and I know how precious and fragile they are, and I also know that when they mature they will be gorgeous and lay beautiful fresh eggs.¬† Everyday they will¬†miraculously¬†make an egg from scratch, and they will never get the opportunity to live up to that potential if I don’t protect,¬†nurture¬†and love them now.¬† At the moment they are tiny and needy and cry all the time…but I have to feed them and keep them warm and protect what they will grow into – while remembering how much the work I do know will pay off ¬†in the future.¬† The exact same concepts apply to sobriety, and I am am so very delighted that this podcast exists and that I have the opportunity to be treated to it.¬† It’s¬†perfectly¬†suited to me!¬† It’s like someone out there is trying to help. :)”

M. “This is all so new to me – admitting I have a problem, seeking help, the blogs- Your blog! I have read all of your posts in one day, while laying in bed contemplating how in the hell I will go 100 days let alone one day! But your posts are like a big warm blanket surrounding me, your voice in the podcast are soothing and actually make the corners of my mouth turn up and attempt to smile, your donors and followers feel so comfortable and loving! Thank you seems trite at this lowest moment in time, but never the less – I am truly grateful, thankful and humble to have found the much needed help and support from all of you! Thank you Belle! Financially, I suppose someone “needs” it more than I do, and so I do hope that they can have the podcasts for free. But I still just wanted to say thank you! I think I finally found a way to some much needed time learning to live without a drink(s)!!! ¬†I have great hope to pay it forward, to be of help, to be me again…. someday here real soon!”

H. “I’m on day 8 and about to play with my band so I’m facing some serious triggers. Donors, your gift means so much to someone like me who just landed in this strange sober world. It means you know how important this carefully cultivated support community is, how comforting a friendly voice can be, and it means you have faith in me. That kind of backing gives me a boost as I angrily sweat and stew and focus on staying sober. Thanks.”

M. “For the donors: Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Just hatched, still wet, lacking fathers and cheeping for assistance to guide me through the fights against falling back in old patterns. Your donation will help me so so much to grow and to stick to a sober life. (I am sorry for my english, I am not a native speaker but my english gets better every day by reading yout mails ūüėČ thank you!. Hope I did not make too many mistakes in my words for the donors.)”


To purchase a copy of the podcast, Little Chick in the Grass, go here.
To sponsor someone else to receive a free copy, you can do that here.



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

  • To the gals who have sent emails saying “Belle, be free or be a shop” this is what I think. I think the issue is 1) we are so much in need of help and 2) we are trying to get that help from a blogger. But what we really want is someone who is a great parent/friend/therapist.
    So, its expectations that get people down. We seek permanence, beauty, and truth free from someone we do not know who is essentially writing a blog and making a little money on the side doing so. A therapist would charge more, but that is not what we want…we want someone to care enough to do it for free.
    It is not a natural relationship; we are seeking the relationship we never had with our parents from a blogger. We send the blogger (someone we do not know) personal, honest, intimate information about our lives. It is a sort of Father Confessor type thing except we are doing it with a blogger, not a priest.
    It is a matter of expectations and acceptance. This is what we chose. We chose Belle —she did not choose us. She has never said she was a therapist or any kind of psych professional.

  • You know what Belle…I think you’re frustated. You’re a part of the human race and humans are like that. If you give something, don’t wait for gratitude…Not good at all! Best wishes and hug xxxx Denise G.

    • sweetheart, the thanks are for the donors, not for me. perhaps you’ve misunderstood what’s happening in this post. hugs from me ūüôā

  • Chanin: You are so awesome. What a great thing you did. I’m so overwhelmed that my donation could be a small tiny fraction of the good that you are doing. It makes me feel great and connected.