BEFORE you need them

we collect sober tools. and then don’t use the sober tools. we forget to use them. then can’t figure out what happened, and then we drink.

like buying vitamins and then not taking them. not sure they’ll work anyway so what’s the point.

so here’s a new idea (if what you’ve been doing hasn’t been working, and now it’s time to try different instead of trying harder) – new idea. ok, are you ready?

how about you use the sober tools BEFORE you need them. how about you set up calls, listen to audios day and night, email your sober penpal, read sober blogs, have treats, go to bed early.

how about you do all those things BEFORE you need them.

you’ve tried it this way already: your craving to drink reaches some point that the noise in your head is really loud, and your brain is saying: fuck it, might as well drink, don’t feel better anyway, nothing is really improving, I probably could moderate I never really tried (ha!).

but what if – I know this is a radical thought – but what if you did things BEFORE you needed them.  what if you loaded on the supports, the co-pilot, the WHATEVER, and you kept your sober car firmly in the middle of the lane.

you can email your sober penpal every 4 hours, right? if you say you can’t, that’s wolfie saying “I don’t need to do that. I’ll wait to see how i feel. I might not need that. It won’t work anyway.”

and hey look, if you’re continuously sober, we’ll agree that what you’re doing is working. and if you’re not continuously sober, then we’ll agree that you can do some new things now. you’ve tried it the other way. now you want to try some new things. including things you haven’t done before. including things that get at the desire to drink BEFORE it blossoms into something heinous.

what would it mean if you were successful at this sober thing? if you listened to audios morning and night. if you emailed your sober penpal every 4 hrs for the first 16 days. If you set up calls even though you don’t want them, don’t need them, don’t like talking to people.  what if you checked with your doctor to make sure that you don’t have something else going on. (and you’ll say – but I don’t like to take my medication, I haven’t told the doctor about the drinking, I haven’t told the doctor about my anxiety/depression, or about my brain that keeps hijacking me – and I’ll say: “are you continuously sober? if you are, then what you’re doing is working. if you’re not, then …. well you know.”)

yes. I’m writing this to you. and to you. and to her. and to you, too. to all y’all. this is an open letter to you-not-continuously-sober. I say this: try different. do things BEFORE you need them. get your sober car firmly in the middle of the lane.

feel better.


FOR BOOK OWNERS: I’m creating a special, BONUS group conference call on Saturday January 21st and it’s just for book owners. Details coming. e-book, paperback or audio versions all qualify. free call. free call. you can speak or you can just listen. free call 🙂 just for you.


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’m on day 126 today and have not felt any need to reach for the sober tools I have compiled. I’m not sure if that is a good thing or not. But I’m here so maybe I am using them unknownigly

  • I’m fast approaching 3 years sober (thanks Belle!) and I need to remind myself every few days that sober tools are a good thing and using them doesn’t make you weak. They are always with me, whether it be in the foreground or way over there in the sober tool shed.

  • I like the use it before you need it thought! Just like in the audio—if we had high blood pressure and we got it under control would we stop the meds? Maybe—to see what happens? OK—probably NOT! Why do we do that with drinking? We’ve tried moderation and we know how that turns out. There really is no moderating. It;’s either you are a normie or one of us here. Who wants to be a normie anyway? I like us here. And I love being sober. Yay Belle! Sober girls (and guys) ROCK!

  • Sometimes its hard to use sober tools…because that means change. And sometimes its easier to just keep doing what you are doing because you know the outcome. Be BOLD! Make the change! That’s what I tell myself.

  • Yep that’s what I’m going to do is load up on supports today. It’s day 6 for me and Thursday. The weekend is fast approaching. I’m going to spend today building up more defenses, more artilerary. This is war and I plan on winning!! Fuck you wolfie!! Bring it on, I’m going to be ready.

  • Hardest part of recovery I think. It’s like next level sobriety. I wrote about it too (called my recoverys constant crossroads) I’m more of a screw up and make amends later kind of perso. Rather than stop it before it starts kind of person. I related to this a lot!!

  • very true. what exactly ARE sober tools? guess they are different for everyone. sober sparkles has 43! nice! I’m thinking sleep, healthy food, fresh air, nature, reading, praying, journaling, friends, self care, treats, maybe AA meetings…maybe remembering how physically and mentally God awful retched I feel after a night of drinking…

    • there’s a list of 60 sober tools in the back of the new book. and yes, they include anything that helps you to be sober – that makes it easier for you to keep your sober car in the middle of the lane …

  • Yes, I need to use the tools. I have them, I forget to use them. Im doing fine and then I’m not. Your book arrived today, that’s my tool for now!

  • I’m not sure any post has felt quite like this…like you were reaching through the screen and tapping me on the shoulder. Guilty on all counts. ?

  • This is a novel idea that I have never tried! I tend to think that when I am not drinking, I am “cured.” This has never been the case. I don’t have any sober tools once wolfie comes knocking. I am going to actually try to THINK AHEAD! And even plan! None of this was possible while drinking, needless to say. Day 57 and counting!

  • Hi Belle, As I get a little farther up the sobriety road I know that tools not only help to shut off the Wolfie voice but also tools planned ahead give me a sharp focus of what my day can look like.
    A big one for me is eating on time and eating well. I have a very strong HANGRY. I mean I have totally spun out of control with HANGRY. Hangry sucks. I think hangry has been a strong reason I stayed stuck.

  • This is so it, and once I grasped that I needed to use most of the sober tools all the time, and not just when I had a problem, it made the world of difference. My list has 44 items on it. Tools mostly include self-care things like getting enough sleep.

    Once I started asking “how can I stay sober happily?” then it became a different ball game, no more white knuckling it for this sober chick – from the morning of day 72…

    • anyone else looking for the list of sober tools and supports, i’ve listed 60 of them in the appendix of the new book. hooray to Sober Sparkles for using 44 of them! go you.

  • 🙂 Love this! After I slipped back into drinking I really didn’t want to use ANY of the tools I had so painstakingly collected over the many months. I threw them out the window. I realise now how important HALT is for me- I sort of thought it was mumbo jumbo… but if I listen closely Hunger is a big wolf attack waiting to happen! Love following your blog, Sarah xx

    • I am coming off of a 5 day drift. No drinking, but not using sober tools either. I used substitute drinks the whole time, because that is such a necessary thing for me. I could use some other ideas. I have down reach out (which I totally ignored for 5 days) sleep, eat, take a run / walk. Also forgot to do my treats. This is my first reply on this blog, so here I am!!