how to have fun getting sober

blog post comment from D:

[posted October, 2013]: “Re: AA being the only game in town and the whole stigma around alcohol–ugh!! People often need help to quit smoking (or lose weight etc), and it doesn’t mean that forever and always they’re this “stigma thing.” Personally, I think that hugely contributes to the problem …

I would love to see you create a ‘manual’ based on what you’ve been doing: Getting Sober: Your First 100 Days or How to Have Fun Getting Sober or How to Get Sober and Get Happy. It could include how to create the desire to become so (getting over the hurdle of I just can’t or it’s not that bad), maybe how to get ready for it, how to think about slips. It could also include your experiences as well as others you’ve spoken to (I’m sure you’d have to get permission but I’m also quite sure people would be happy to contribute their stories/journey in that way and have them excerpted for the greater good). It could include tips and mantras/meditations (I love the whole sobriety feels like clean sheets idea!), what you can look forward to, what to watch out for etc. You could self-publish if you couldn’t find a publisher, but I bet you could (maybe the same one that published the Soberistas book, which is good, but all the stories are pretty extreme). I think there’s a complete dearth of books on getting sober for people who ‘aren’t that bad’ (seemingly so) and definitely all the memoirs focus on the how bad it was. Way too little out there on sensible tools and what to expect. Later, (because I’m thinking it might be harder), you could create audios … that way people can get them online “anonymously.” I think all this would appeal to the same people who like the Jason Vale book and things like that.”

[note from me. i saved this email from october 2013 because i thought: “well she has an idea, but i’m only just over a year sober, so what do i know.” i had 123 penpals on the anniversary of my one year soberversary (today it’s 2400+). back then, i couldn’t see the patterns coherently enough to write about them. Today, i just found this email in my TO WRITE ABOUT folder … i haven’t seen it since 2013, but D was right-on about what i would go on to write about … i certainly didn’t know i was going to write a book when i saved this email. i didn’t realize that being sober would be a foundation for change in other parts of my life. i didn’t realize that being sober would teach me about resilience and agency and self-worth. i just thought i was ‘quitting drinking’. i had no idea how much larger it would really be.]

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advance feedback from readers:

Pam (day 992): “I just finished!!! I LOVED it. What an AMAZING accomplishment! I am sure your book is going to be a HUGE success! It was great to read as a refresher and to reinforce continued sobriety, even almost 3 years out (cause Wolfie still pokes his head up every now and then).”


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

  • I love this post. I am on Day 46 and already stopping drinking had brought me so much. I am not sure about resilience yet but definitely self-worth. I never did anything for myself before – wine was my “treat” and it was making me feel shit. Now I read, exercise, take long baths, spend real time with my children and husband and enjoy just being. Thanks for sharing Belle. The book looks great. Tori x

  • Well it seems to me that D got it absolutely right, and I’m so glad you saved that email – and that you took the action and that you found it again and then shared it with us.

    What I thought I was doing was stopping drinking in order to save the most important relationship I’ve ever had. It turns out what I was actually doing was turning my life around. I had no idea what drinking was doing to me, none, and I just considered myself as someone who drank a bit too much and sometimes got ansty.

    I used to travel a lot. It was my ‘thing,’ the adventure that made life interesting. This, not drinking, living alocohol-free is much, much more exciting and revelatory and without your penpalling (new word?) commitement to my sobriety it wouldn’t have happened.

  • It is LARGE. Very LARGE. Instead of focusing on the bad bad shit and being scared and hearing and reading about pissy dramas all the time–(these things do have their place)–but the delicious benefits of being sober plus the ease of it after the 100 days or so is way more helpful to me. When I taught school, I went to a classroom behavior control workshop. The message was that children respond better and happier to rewards for doing what has been asked of them rather than punishing the negative behavior. It was amazingly true!!

    So write that benefits book/manual.

  • I have almost 20 months and have found that the changes that happen, for the better, do take time – but they continue to happen. I don’t think most of us got sucked into the world of wolfie overnight. And yes, stopping drinking is the most important thing – but you also need to be patient with yourself and others. It takes time to rebuild self-confidence and trust. But I can promise you that life gets so much better once you shut wolfie up.

  • I love love love this post. Did I mention that I love it? “I didn’t realize that being sober would teach me about resilience and agency and self worth.” Brilliant.

  • That phrase is going to stay with me: ‘sobriety taught me resilience and agency and self-worth.’ Amazing that it has taught you such great things. Hmmm, what has it taught me? It’s given me all of the things I wanted when I drank: calmness, confidence, and general ease within myself. And great skin! Best to all, xx

  • I love this post. So inspiring– thanks for sharing! Your journey is a beautiful example of what Austin Kleon talks about in his excellent book, “Show Your Work.

  • Great post…especially the thought of “just quitting drinking’. It’s so much more than that, now that the fog is beginning to clear. Working on so many aspects of “me” that I just drowned in wine before.

  • It IS a big deal…to address the “I’m not that bad” 🙂 people. Because we are that bad, but don’t want the stigma.