what you see and what you get

in yesterday’s micro-email, i sent out a picture of a bracelet, with my arm attached, with a view from my balcony.

elevator bracelet

then i got this in my inbox:

Maverick: “The view from your window in the bracelet picture looks like something from a movie.”

me: 🙂 I wish the balcony picture had a good movie to go with it. we’re on a corner with a church beside us (loud) and an intersection below us (cars stop to wait for the light with their stereos turned up loud). thankfully the buses stop running for a few hours at night so it’s quiet at least from 1 am to 5 am … but really in august, with the neighbours above and below away, it’s at least quiet in my head!

Maverick: “you mean you aren’t surrounded by artists? you mean you aren’t typing on a an old black typewriter?  😀 I’m so disillusioned. I am sober though!”

me: I know right? all that lovely imagery. I’m here in an oversized t-shirt, blue plaid pj bottoms. I just made my husband cereal for breakfast (!) but only because he’s leaving on a flight in a few hrs. Normally he’s up and gone by the time I roll out of bed… notice the nice home cooked meal I didn’t make. notice that the manicure I got last week, the polish chipped within 4 days but I haven’t removed it yet so I just look raggedy. notice all that, too.


and also this morning:

me:  I will have 10 days alone with husband away. i will have 10 days of healthy eating, running, movies, clean house and sleeping through the night. which really means 10 days of sloth, eating popcorn, watching downton abbey reruns.


today i have a choice of what to do for the next 10 days. i want to get to the end of this break and be pleased, no matter what happens. today, each day, i’m creating a version of a story that i’ll be able to look back on later. (everything is like everything = every day sober means it’s another day you can look back on and be proud of, but right now, today, the way you do that is to not drink. at all. none.)

today i can go to a movie or go swimming or get my nails redone. i could also fuck around, waste a bunch of time, skip meals, have too much caffeine, and get to the end of 10 days and think that i had a nice chance for something lovely and i didn’t really take advantage of it. (i’ll get to the end of my week, my month, my marriage, my life and know that i had a chance for something lovely and i didn’t really take advantage of it.)

yes, there’s a time and place for sloth. yes, i will still be slothful. yes, i’ll make sure i avoid overwhelm. i’ll sleep late, i’ll sleep uninterrupted (no thrashing! no snoring!). i’ll make very simple meals.


now that he’s gone i’m fine. it gets quieter in my head as soon as i’m alone. look at this, i go right to WRITING when i’m alone.

i can do things that make me feel better or i can do nothing. i can go swimming or i can talk about going swimming. i can eat hummus and carrots on wholegrain bagel for lunch. and may i’ll have popcorn in bed (if i frame it as a sober treat, that is).


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 like the idea of setting a 10 day goal. I’m going to try that as I’m feeling a bit wobbly. I’m on Day 63 and I’m not feeling very solid. So a goal would be a great distraction to get me through.

  • Cheese is AWESOME! I just wanted to share with you a phrase that I got from Belle that has helped me through some tough times when I have been struggling with whether to drink or not! I just take a minute and ask myself “then what?” I am going to have a glass of wine. Then what? Answer I know it won’t be one. Then what? I will get a buzz. Then what? I will drink more. Then what? I will be so sad that I gave in. Then what? I will wake up so disappointed in me. Then what? Back to day freaking one. This is something that has really worked for me. Hope this helps you too!
    I am on day 138

    big hugs to all

  • I eat ice cream in bed. Almost every night. Its hot here now and tastes delicious.
    I never, ever did this sort of thing before becoming sober. Bed was a place to pass out and wake up feeling like shit.Its very comforting to me, eating ice cream in bed and its my own little treat for another day sober. PS: the bowls of ice cream have gotten smaller. Don’t want to undo all those walks I take which help me stay sober:)

  • Sometimes when my hubby is gone i can really get into trouble…i watch movies, like old ones where everyone looks glamorous and drinks martinis and…since i love martinis, im rifht along there with ’em, drinking while im watching.
    The toughest part of staying sober for me is “uncoupling” things that do Not need to go together, like the movie/martinis or drinking wine while im on the computer..i mean seriously i wouldnt do that at work, so why at home? Maybe its because Wolfie is waiting there to greet me. Damn!

  • thanks for the post Belle. I have recently come across your site. I love, in this post, the point you make about getting to the end and realizing we squandered away all the chances for something lovely. that resonates w/ me.

    I’ve been going in circles since february. barely able to crack 30 days, and only one time at that. but it wasn’t a perfect 30 days. it was 30 days of not getting drunk vs 30 days of remaining alcohol-free. wolfie might be a dick but he’s smart at least, tricking us into thinking we are “doing good’ if we just avoid getting drunk. fuck you wolife!!

    i have been trying the same thing over and over again since feb. i drank, AGAIN, on saturday. then i woke up feeling like shit on sunday and found your blog and am reading reading reading and listening and planning to buy some cool stuff from your store when i get my first paycheck because your statements make sense with me. try different? oh that is a great idea!! you mean I dont’ have to just try to do the same thing over and over again? today is day 5 for me. i installed a widge on my phone that counts the days for me. that is a new thing i’m trying. also, i just got a new job, and am in training for 10 months – literally in a classroom. So i am taking to heart the thing you said about it being OK if all i do is stay sober and try not to get fired.

    i have eaten taco salad the last 5 days in a row because i’ve been grumpy tired and HOT (literally the temps here are mid 90s fahrenheit, getting hotter and hotter by the day into the weekend). anyway point being i haven’t felt like cooking. and you said on a OMM that you are giving me permission to do that so thanks for the permission and the wisdom to try different rather than try harder.

    you rock. xx

    • I’m on day 5 too! And I just wrote to Belle about trying to do things differently. I drank again on Saturday. (By the way, I’ve had cheese and crackers for past five dinners – like, tons of cheese).

    • Cee, you sound just like me. I think the longest I’ve had dry in 21 years was 2 weeks and like you I’ve been spinning my wheels barely able to get more than 3 days. This blog has saved me from myself. I am on day 7 and reading like crazy. Reading Belle is like hearing my brain talk. “Squandering the chance for something lovely” also hit me in the gut. Good luck to you.

  • When my husband is away, I too have all these grand plans. I do read, I do clean but I don’t really go anywhere. I think that’s because I’m scared of myself. There have been times when he went away and I got so drunk. It’s been a long time ago that that happened. Like 2 1/2 years ago…but, he still worries when he leaves me alone that I’ll go off and jump into the bottle. I can’t blame him but, would be nice if he didn’t have to ask if I’ll be ok. Someday, I guess.
    Belle—why don’t you do a full spa day? Nails, massage, pedicure… a treat day for you. Just a thought….

  • My husband is going away for the weekend. I’m very early in this process…so a part of me is worrying, that I will succumb to wolfie and have some wine. I will plan a run, I will plan for yoga and cleaning and reading and writing. I will write little notes on my hand “go away wolfie”, and “you can do this”. I love the quiet and me-time. I can do this!

  • People never go sightseeing in their own city. Have you ever done that since you moved there?
    When mine isn’t around, I take a break from the meal cooking too. And I can watch ‘chick flicks’ then. Downton Abbey definitely qualifies.

  • When my husband is away I like to take a break from a few things, like cooking dinner every night. Get in bed a little earlier. It’s nice to have alone time to reflect. Enjoy!