using different skills

extract from a new, undefined writing project:

Question from C: “What is the support that allows you the freedom to pursue this (obviously) beneficial and wanted role of sober coach? Husband who works? Multiple streams of revenue from your own businesses? I wonder from the standpoint of admiration. I too would like to contribute to the world, but my 40 hour a week job can sap my energy. Does this question make sense? I’m coming from a purely practical and curious POV. 

It does make sense 🙂 I have a Job #1 which earns me enough to pay the rent. And to be fair, we don’t own a car, or have kids, and so our expenses are perhaps less than most (although we live in Paris, which means our rent is higher than most). My husband works (he’s self-employed). I have income from catering (it goes up and down with the seasons, but there are a few food-related things I can do when I would like to earn additional income; I don’t do it as often as I could, because I’m tired/maxed out on bandwidth, but the revenue potential is there). And then the sober site itself generates some revenue. There are enough people buying bracelets or making donations or taking the Jumpstart class or downloading archived audios that the sober work I do is self-sustaining, and so I can spend 3-4 hrs a day on it.

One large advantage to having multiple ways of earning money is that it helps—not only with novelty, which aids my easily-bored brain—but also I get to use a diverse set of skills over all of the jobs with little overlap. Job #1 is design and computer stuff which I can do easily and without much mental strain. Helping my husband with his job is more office-y stuff, so it’s more of Job #1 with some extra creativity thrown in. Cooking and baking and catering is very physical work that perhaps doesn’t require much in the way of emotions, but does require logic problem solving (e.g., do i start with bread or soup (soup), is there an easier way to chop the onions (use the food processor for larger amounts), can the jelly be improved by adding certo from canada (yes)). and also I can listen to podcasts when cooking, whereas I can’t when doing Job #1 or sober stuff.

And then the sober writing and audios and emails is more ‘important’ than the other work that I do, but also more emotional and so I can really concentrate and be empathetic and encouraging and honest. If i had to do it 10 hrs a day, it’d be unsustainable, but because i can mix it in with bagels, logo design, accounting and meal planning, it’s working out pretty well. [And every time i have a chance to eliminate the catering, I don’t want to. And when i think of firing my remaining Job #1 clients, i remember that the diversity actually suits me.]

To your point about having time left over, previously when my Job #1 was 35-40 hrs a week, and I wanted to start a separate business, I had to do it all during evenings and weekends. One year, I worked right through the Christmas break including Christmas Day because I had a new thing launching in January that year for job #2 (which I’ve since stopped). Again, though, the spread between the two jobs even then had me using completely different skills for each.

Novelty is important for me, and i think for over-drinkers in general, and so I really like the mix of online, in-person, daytime, evenings, English, French, creative versus labour intensive, radio-listening time, blended with 5:15 a.m. sessions where I put in earplugs and think really hard…


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

  • Your comment on novelty being important to over drinkers hit me upside the head! I am only recently realizing how much I crave novelty – new, shiny things. And I’m an over drinker. I would love to hear more of your thoughts on this!!

  • Day 19…last few days have been tough. My 16 year old son is hurting emotionally so I hurt too and have wanted to “forget it all” with 3 or 4 glasses of wine.

  • I enjoyed getting a little glimpse of your life! I totally relate to the novelty element… boredom was always my worst enemy when it came to staying sober!

    You’re a rockstar… just in case you weren’t aware! : )

  • I totally relate to this. I too have a few different revenue streams. It allows me to use my skills in different ways and feeds my creativity. I also get bored very easily, so switching between jobs keeps me from feeling stuck and claustrophobic. Sometimes, though, I feel like I should be settling down, acting like an adult and getting a career where I wear suits and have an office. Your post reassures me that what I’m doing is right for me, even if it’s not conventional, because you’re doing what you like/need to and you’re happy and successful.

  • Today is my day 8 and I’ve finally managed to write my day 1 journal entry. On day 1 my brain just wouldn’t function well enough to string even a few sentences together to explain how I felt. I’m so happy to have found Belle and so happy to be the longest time sober since I can remember. I know there’ll be tough times to come but for now I’m feeling positive and proud and ready to kick Wolfie where it hurts f**k you, you hairy, lying piece of s**t!

  • It’s interesting isn’t it – there really are no overnight successes. Just like sobriety, it doesn’t just happen, you CREATE it.
    (I just had this vision of you in your little sober car (it’s red and a manual) zooming around Paris Belle – you are really gunning it around the corners!) I have loved watching your personal journey for the past 2 and a bit years that I’ve been here, loved your compassion and curiosity and your willingness to try different, and loved watching you give form to something that wouldn’t exist without you.
    It makes me smile so much to see your heading ‘new, undefined writing project’. I can’t wait to see what you create next Ms Belle – you are a total inspiration xx

  • Thanks for answering my question, Belle! (Re-reading it, I hope opening with “Husband who works?” doesn’t sound flippant. I was single for my first thirty-eight years, so the partnership aspect of making life “work” has always been of interest to me.) Anyways, loved the last paragraph of the answer in particular. How to balance the comfort of consistency and the positive energy of novelty is an idea I need to work on.

  • Thanks for letting us into your life a bit, Belle. Of course everyone is curious about you. And thanks to C for asking the question. 🙂