email from C:
“Wow! Are you about helping people, or making money? Seems like you’re always trying to sell me something, rather than offering words of advice. Nothing personal, but I think your program is more about the $, than helping, in my opinion. Can’t wait to see what else you try to sell me next. Good luck.”
me 🙂 thanks for the feedback. you’ll find that 80% of what I do on the site is free: personal emails, blogging, writing, daily micro-emails, daily one minute audio messages, group calls, postal mail. and then 20% of what I do is paid (classes, audios, book, jewelry). lots of people don’t participate in the paid stuff ever, but enough other people DO pay so they end up funding the 80% who don’t pay anything. you can easily decide you’d like to remain in the not-paying category and others will continue to fund the free stuff 🙂 there’s lots for everyone. hugs, belle xo
i share this email from C because he is not alone with his thoughts. if you’d like to contribute something kind, perceptive, critical (and non-shitty), you can add your comment below. C is entitled to feeling like this, and he isn’t alone either. and his point of view is entirely reasonable if seeing me through one lens. please share your ideas, but remember that I won’t moderate shitty comments. you’ve been warned 🙂
from M: August 8th was my Day 100! This is my response to C:
Au contraire! I am one of the people who has benefitted immensely from Belle’s generosity, but this is my first time sharing anything. I understand that if you signed up for her emails recently that you might think that she was mainly trying to sell her husband’s paintings (and that some of the recent paintings had nothing to do with sobriety.) And maybe that first impression kept you from digging into the plethora of free things that she offers. However, here’s my story. I signed up for Belle’s emails a year ago, read her blog, and immediately felt that she was a kindred soul. I am also self-employed, working in schools as a visiting performer/artist, and did not have the money to sign up for her paid email service. I have been a “lurker” for a year and have listened to her free one-minute messages, some of them many times over, and eagerly awaited her daily emails which brought the stories of others like me to life. Her message, and their messages, reminded me daily that I was on a slippery slope on an elevator headed down, even though I continued to drink. (I have been trying to moderate for twelve years . . . ) Just before the pandemic hit, I was determined to stop and tried, once again, on my own but then signed up for Belle’s waiting list to pay. When a spot finally opened up, I was not in a situation to pay, having lost all of my jobs when schools closed. However, I took the 100 Day Sober challenge and am five days away from completing it. Because of the free daily emails and Belle’s other freebies, I plan to continue with my new alcohol-free life. The recent emails that she shared from Gina are just one example of the inspiration that I look forward to daily, and that remind me that I don’t want to start over with another Day 1.
I think that Belle is an incredibly generous soul and I am also grateful to those who do pay and thus allow those of us who can’t to benefit as well. As for Mr. Belle’s paintings, I think they are lovely and that he is quite talented, even though I have not purchased one because I am in a phase of my life where I am downsizing as opposed to acquiring more things. However, I am happy for Belle to do whatever helps support the great things that she does. This is a HUGE thank you from the bottom of my heart to Belle and all of the others who bare their souls here—and pay so that others can benefit as well.
[edited for kindness] … Big Hug and Love Belle and thank you for everything. I hope that the email from “C” is one in a million.
You are amazing, Belle. You deserve to be paid. Thank you for all you do.
Belle, I love your work and think you deserve to get paid for it, as well as have the oppotunity to “sell stuff.” And, anyway, the “stuff” you sell is helpful, too! I have a beautiful painting and several magnets that remind me of you ad Mr. Belle, help keep me happily sober, and make me smile thinking about my wickedly smart, funny, sometimes snarky but never shitty sober coach in France.
from n: My two cents: you should get paid for your time, plain and simple. And if you sell additional inspirational products on the side, good for you. Dare I say that some of those less than supportive responses smell a little of sexism? If you were a guy, people would say you were a resourceful businessman! They’d say: “wow, what a good guy that he gives away so much for free just to help people; he barely charges for anything!” Please keep following your gut, and drown out all the other noise.
from M: Ha – whaaaat???
Damn I must have overlooked you trying to sell me stuff or you’ve excluded me from the selling stuff emails….
I love your ‘free’ daily blogs and messages.
from Huxton Cooper: You’ve help change my life for the better, massively. You’re course was some of the best money I’ve ever spent.
from L: C has his opinion. I feel the opposite. Your posts, books, emails, etc. are the most helpful I’ve found and I’m impressed at how much is free. Plus it must take so much of your time! A girl’s got to make a living! Love all of your stuff. Have bought some and make use of much of the free stuff. Thank you for what you do! 🙂
from Moose: I prefer people’s commercial interest RIGHT where I can see it. I’d rather you were selling notebooks and jewellery than flogging my data. Because if the product is free, then I’m the product. I’m going to buy a bracelet in solidarity.
People don’t have to get involved. Fuck ‘em.
PLUS I LOVE MERCH, its cheerful. X
Sarabeth: I’m so sick of people complaining about what you do is for money or you’re always selling stuff. I haven’t spent a dime I didn’t want to and you have been there for me many times and I am NOT a paying pen pal. You offer free advice, free podcasts ( love urban meditations! ) and free minute messages plus more. We have requested things and that is why you offer them. I love you and your time with all of us. Thanks for being so supportive and keep doing you. And love Mr. B too! (day 41)
from TC: I disagree with C. I’m always amazed at how much you DO offer for free and have purchased a few things with a happy heart that I can support you a bit for all the support your free stuff has given me.
a fucking great big YES to linking to your paid stuff. which, I may add, is so much LESS in your face than many other sober support emails that I’ve had to unsubscribe from (you know that IS an option folks. if you don’t like what your seeing, you don’t have to ride it out and get antsy about it….?!). I’m a lurker, a free loader, if it’s free I’ll take it, watch it, try it! That’s because I’m in a really precarious place financially. I’ve enquired about the pen pal stuff, because it sounds SUPER VALUABLE and, although I think the price is entirely reasonable for the service provided, it’s sadly out of my reach at this time. Otherwise, I’d be there with bells on! Keep going Belle. Keep doing what you’re doing in your way. and thank you for all the free stuff you offer, as well as the opportunity to donate to the cause, weather permitting!
You can’t please everyone. Also we don’t have to read every word in every email just to get pissy about it. We don’t need to care about every single thing put in front of us and you’ll be better off once you start to understand that. That’s what I have to say to the complainers. I appreciate what you send and offer us, I’ve spent my time and money on what I’ve found valuable for me. And it’s working, thanks Belle! 240 today
from Da: I can remember, in the very early days of my sober journey, writing you a similarly antsy email. Some confusion (on my part) about the jumpstart or pen pal offer, and the paranoia kicked in. I think we can get to a place where we’re very angry, very lonely, and very frightened – so that everything and everyone can seem like a threat, or a false friend. You are very upfront about money and selling things, in-your-face about it at times, and to non-North Americans, that can seem almost rude. It’s not, and it’s honest, and you’re absolutely right. … just a suggestion, but a) whenever you put in a link to something that has to be paid for, why not put the price in brackets after, and b) instead of, or as well as occasional explanatory emails like this one, say more often, in normal typeface, in the body of the message, your schtick about 80% / 20%, and also pitch it as “if this has helped you, why not help me to continue to help others, by buying x or y” – y’know, appeal to their better more generous nature, not just their eye for a good deal. Which is of course a great deal, if they can just see past their own self-pity and resentment for 5 milliseconds.
Was that constructive? I know it’s completely unnecessary.
That’s a bit harsh. I appreciate your emails and especially the podcasts that come in free. I read your free book. Liked your style and this week I’ve had one year alcohol free and I’m positive your free daily updates have assisted in me keeping it together. Thanks rob
Wow!…C’s Wolfie voice is SO loud…
I wonder if “C” has sat down and worked out the cost of the lie he is buying from said voice.
I feel sorry for him as his focus seems to be on the idea of buying something rather than the actual content of emails, one minute messages, blog posts, etc. He is missing out on the invaluable support and advice that he so needs ~ or he wouldn’t have signed up to begin with.
from cai: As a freeloader of sober tools I value your daily emails greatly. I turned down the opportunity to become a sober pen pal as I could not afford it at that time. For me that was ok. I certainly would not expect you to provide your pen pal support free of charge. I am progressing in my own way in my sober journey using lots of free sober tools. I have purchased your book and it is helping me on my 100 days. It’s like having your voice by my side as I push on with this. However I know deep down that if at any point my sober tools are not enough I will look elsewhere for more support and that will probably incur a cost. If for one minute I start to struggle I will be back on that pen pal list in the blink of an eye! The cost to you in your time and emotional energy is worth much more than you ask. When I read the yo yo journeys of people that you are supporting I can’t imagine how much it takes from you emotionally. Surely you must feel that there isn’t enough of you to go round at times. I thank you Belle for my precious 60 days of sobriety. hugs from a freeloader
from carissa: you are amazing and these people are lucky you speak to them and love them. i have managed to be greatly aided by you while spending barely any money. i never feel compelled to pay more, but sometimes wish i could. never pass up an opportunity to let someone support you. donate buttons everywhere. sell me shit!
from C: It seems a lot of men expect women to do the large, unseen emotional labor for them for free doesn’t it? ❤️
from Bee the Second: I certainly don’t mind that you advertise your jewellery and art. I’m paying you for your valuable support and it’s nice to have a pretty picture grace the bottom of the email 🙂 I’m only interested in sorting my drinking shit out so I have no room to get irritated by you trying to sell other stuff to me. It’s not that important x
Belle was my first inspiration to do a sober challenge, well id done the Dry Jan but it really wasnt long enough to feel the true benefits. I started to write to Belles no reply email to keep me accountable & to vent my emotions. I never thought she actually read them until i got a heartfelt reply when my Mum was dying. Knowing i could write everyday really helped me process my despair, & stop me reaching for the bottle . It was so important i remained clear headed so i could be present when my Mum passed. Had i off been drinking i could of missed our last precious time together. Im now on day 241 & although im not bouncing on cloud nine, im given my mental & physical health the best gift of self care as i deal with my grief.i no longer hide my emotions at the bottom of a glass & am proud that i have travelled this difficult time AF. Belle deserves my praise & an income to allow her to keep reaching out to all those who need support. Her wisdom & humour are priceless & my only regret is weve never met…..xx
After having read some of the other comments on here, most of which are very good. I don’t think perhaps this is the best way to go about getting feedback. You can’t please everyone. I think the ‘others fund the free stuff’ isn’t the best comment to make entirely, although I can see why it’s made. Although it reads as a slight dig at those who don’t pay, even though I am sure it’s not meant to be. I am sure there’s people from all walks of life subscribed to this site, some may be in the fortunate percentage to be able to afford the artwork and journal bids, others may chip in a donation or get audio books and podcast bundles. Some may have the money, but may have trouble trying to treat themselves to Malteasers because of the initial guilt they feel from having been drinking let along buying art. Others may be lurking or finding their feet, but not necessarily freeloaders, and those who can afford the coaching or pricier things certainly shouldn’t chastise those who can’t. Sometimes AA and Smart don’t quite suit people in the initial stages of sobriety, and some people may have thought this was a site that offered completely free stuff all round-which it doesn’t-because you have to make a living and are completely justified in doing so. I think it’s telling that C is still obviously subscribed, he certainly seems to be sticking around for some reason. Perhaps in the angry or bitter stage, I think we’ve all been there-with or without the deep pockets, although without deep pockets can be way worse as funding any kind of addiction without the means forces people into some real holes. Some of the those people may be among the subscribers. I’m in the middle somewhere and absolutely love what you do. Those who do will stick with you, and those who just don’t will gradually go elsewhere. Dismiss it, and move on. Xx
Emma I think you have a very balanced response. X
I am sober 1000+ days here and still rely on reading each of the daily emails, and I listen to a new OMM whenever they get released. I started out by buying the e-book to read, then ended up listening to the audio book as well. That’s how I learned that Belle’s voice in your ear can calm you down and help you defeat the wolfie. I bought into the 100 day challenge and completed it. I own 3 paintings, 2 bracelets, a necklace, and a rock necklace with the wire. I sill love looking at each and every piece of art from Mr B, even though I most likely will not buy another one. I wear my jewelry all the time – it reminds me and holds some kind of infused super-power.
I feel like I could have accomplished this 100 days with only the BOOK (both audio and written), one minute messages, and the daily emails and other free resources on the web site. That is a very minimal monetary investment for the benefit. And if you can’t even afford the book, there are PDFs of the blog.
Every bit that I have been able to support Bell’s work monetarily has been well spent, and if my purchases keep that 80% at no cost so that others can benefit, then that’s great, too. THANK YOU Belle, and Mr. B! (My family thanks you, too.)
Ha. Tell “C’ to change the channel. Why does he ALWAYS read your emails if they irk him so much? Wise former drinkers know why he keeps showing up. I wonder if he does? 🤷🏻♀️
I’m frankly surprised this is even an issue for some people. For me, I don’t even have to scroll down and see what’s at the bottom if I don’t want to, I can just stop where your amazing and awesomely helpful writing ends and close the email. I usually do scroll down tho to see what beautiful piece of art you have posted just to look at it. I am not in the market right now for artwork but they are beautiful and I enjoy looking at them. I don’t feel any pressure from belle whatsoever to purchase anything. The link doesn’t automatically take over my phone and pop up and new screen that i didn’t ask it too unlike all my “free” games I like to play on my phone so it’s just a non-issue for me. It is hard for me to understand how this bothers anyone tho bc in my mind I consider most people reading belles things are people that want to get sober. The things at the bottom of the email do nothing to prevent me from getting sober advice, insight or whatever you want to call it. I know this isn’t AA but AA has a great saying that can be applied to anyone’s sober tools which is “take what you want and leave the rest”. Not take what you want and complain about the rest. So my advice to people who don’t like the stuff for sale at the end, stop reading as soon as you get to the end of Belle’s message and close the email. You don’t have to keep scrolling down. Sending out strong and positive sober vibes to all who are or want to be sober!! Emw
My two cents: you should get paid for your time, plain and simple. And if you sell additional inspirational products on the side, good for you. Dare I say that some of those less than supportive responses smell a little of sexism? If you were a guy, people would say you were a resourceful businessman! They’d say: “wow, what a good guy that he gives away so much for free just to help people; he barely charges for anything. i wonder how he makes a living!”
I was a lurker for most of my time with Belle, even before I started my 100 day challenge. I have succeeded because of Belle and Mr. Belle! I am just a bit over 1,000 days and still rely on my free daily emails. I have purchased items to help along the way – the book, bracelets, paintings, magnets and now a journal. They are my commitment to keep going, they are an anchor when I look at them. I choose to purchase them, no one is making me. I see from emails how many people are getting help and succeeding because of Belle, so I say sell away. Anything that helps and continues to bring people to getting off the elevator is awesome. Keep doing the great work Belle, I am so grateful for all that you do!
What the actual? You offer loads of stuff for free! Actually I was just thinking the other day how refreshing it is that you don’t do marketing per se. I’ve had masses of free value from you and I’ve also paid for some of your products which are very modestly priced, it’s a balance. I find it really tedious when people expect ‘helpers’ to not charge for their services. I don’t mind being offered things to buy in each email as it never feels like it’s the point of the email.
from Freebird19: I wonder if C thinks physicians should help people for free. As we all know, they are paid quite well for their valuable services and knowledge. Sober Coaches help people too, and deserve appropriate compensation for doing so. If a person’s goal of sobriety doesn’t even merit a baseline investment of whatever they were previously managing to spend on booze, then they haven’t yet made the commitment to really embrace sobriety.
from Sam: O Dear what a sad person C is
I have been a lurker for some time & apart from buying your book ,
I look forward to all your free emails
& they keep me going !
I don’t feel that you hard sell anything & it’s a real pleasure to view all the paintings
Can’t tell you now much you have helped me as I am on my own & it was a real pleasure getting something from you in the mail with beautiful French stamps
I think you’re truly giving of yourself and your time & very consistent.
So many many thanks .
There is a saying don’t let the bastards get you down !
Sam XX you’re a star 🌟
from K: I personally have benefitted from loads of free stuff! Your amazing book (why I am here in the first place) was free a couple years ago and I still have that previous download which has supported my second (more successful) period of sobriety (day 63 woop!! And feeling amazing!) and this time I around I paid for what I could afford at the time. I bought the relapse booklet which came all the way in the post from you in Paris, and I also made a donation to the one minute messages. I’ve been eyeing up the paintings too but that might have to wait! The main thing is that your book, your emails, and all the stuff you share for free, signposted me to many other resources too which helped. I have saved much more than money, I/you/we have saved my life, my health, my relationships and so much more I can’t put into an email. Now I wrote it all out I really should be buying more with all the money I’m saving on wine!! I’m thinking podcasts next!! ❤️❤️❤️
from A Free Willow: #otherswillfundTHEfreestuff
from BW 3053: Hi Belle! Here’s my message for you about C. Don’t ever apologize for what you do. This culture of feeling entitled to shit all over folks, using their anonymous pseudonym, is driving me crazy. Feel free to use part or all of this. Preferably all.
“Dear C: … [edit for kindness] Folks who offer their services online are perfectly entitled to make a living, and Belle is very up front about it. What I like — among other things — is that she does not use the usual psychological tactics to try to manipulate folks into spending thousands of dollars (the endless scrolling ads, the “this will change your life forever” claims, the overly positive reviews, and all the books, seminars, workshops, worksheets, etc.). I have seen “coaches” trying to charge $10,000 or more for their services in this subject area. And rehab programs start at $30,000 [per month], minimum, in the US. … [edit for kindness]. Here, we are driving our sober cars, sharing tools and tricks and tips, supporting each other and changing our lives for the better. Best wishes, BW 3053 Day 319 🎉🎉🎉”
me: ok, you make me smile! I may have to ‘edit for kindness’ 🙂 I knew that rehab was $30K but not about anything else that was $10K …?
BW: About a year before I signed up with you, I did a free consult with R, who does a podcast called xx. She actually wanted to charge me $15K for her coaching program. Ridiculous. Edit for kindness if you must, but C did not extend the same courtesy to you.
Love this comment! Totally true. I get emails daily from other supposedly free sober coaches and all they offer is a discount to join their sober community. No great words of wisdom, no helping supports. No thanks. I will stick with my Belle. ❤️ Please don’t change.
from d: I feel the opposite of C! You are the only sober blogger I’ve read
that isn’t always trying to sell me something. Your words are so supportive and helpful to me on my path, I do appreciate you, Belle.
from d: Message to C. Since January 1st 2020 Belle has sent me at least 300 emails. And she’s answered many of my questions even though I’m not a signed up to be a pen pal. In return I’ve gifted the grand sum of £5 and bought a fu wolfie bracelet….. 215 days sober. Good value if you ask me 🤔
from T: I’m so grateful for all you do, free or not! I was just thinking about how much you have helped me so much more than another program I’m paying for. I thought about that so much yesterday, thinking, wow, you’re on vacation and still letting us into your life and experiences. I look forward to EVERY email you send!!
I don’t usually use the “sentence enhancers” like you, but my Tru voice, not wolfie, replies to Wolfe with a “I’m not going to Fuck with my sober momentum!!”
I also changed my inner dialogue to instead of telling my family “I’m trying to quit drinking,” it’s now “I quit drinking.”
I’m also so grateful for the heads up about roadblocks up ahead, bc no matter how good your sober car is running, those damn potholes will come out of nowhere.
Two of my brothers were over yesterday most of the day and into early evening. When I go from 2/10 to a 5/10, about wanting to drink, I got myself something else than beer, what they were drinking. Then realized I was hungry. They proceeded to drink and I ate.
I woke up this morning feeling so grateful!!! Thank Belle!!!
Sorry this is so long. I just appreciate you so much!
T (day 18)”
from kitty: Helping people and making money are not mutually exclusive; anyone working at a nonprofit does both. Anyone who is a therapist does both. People who work at rehabs too. Their insight, compassion, and skill are not suspect on account of earning money while helping people–saving them even. So for Belle to receive funds for doing this unique, amazing, trustworthy, complex mix of things she does, all to help people, is more than fine by me. In fact I’ve sometimes wished she could grow her model and pay people to learn how to help in the ways that she does. Also she deserves a bigger apartment without noisy neighbors stomping on her head when she’s trying to sleep or relax. I wish mr. b could have someone else do the packaging and schlepping of art to the post office by paying an assistant. I wish he had a really big studio to make even more art. I wish Belle earned more, not less, from her sober work for many reasons!
“Are you about helping people, or making money?”
I don’t know what you are ABOUT. I do know that you help.
If you do make money…….good for you!
I personally wouldn’t expect all the support that Belle offers to be for free. Who has the time and energy to help so many people across the globe without some support back from us? I know that without Belle’s perspective I wouldn’t still be sober. She is my lifeline in this journey and I need her type of sober support.
Replying to your email and the other who had an opinion that was questioning the selling aspect of your business…
I’d like to point out that since I will be two years sober and alcohol free aug 22 with the help of Belle and everything offered for 80 %, I am someone who had benefitted and completely taking advantage of all that is offered for FREE as a Lurker..
I am frugal And stubborn and that’s a DEAL in return for a life without alcohol thanks to your help..
Having said that, it had been my choice…since life is all about choices..to give back by choice and no belle did not twist my arm, manipulate and bribe me to purchase small tools and paintings as part of my rewards and sober treats because it is sentimental for me. It’s meaningful, motivating and I’m proud of myself. Since supporting belle and mr B by purchasing his paintings, I feel better as a person to support a family and business that has not only changed my life and my family but thousands and thousands others. No monetary value can count as the beneficial cost of sobriety. Again..my choice..and forever gratitude.