christmas food memories shared

yesterday i sent out an email about the new ‘open your sober emails’ campaign. over the next few days, every email i send will have a gift or a discount or a give-away. each email will have a story or a motivation or entertainment. consider it an ethical bribe: i send you good stuff, you open your emails, you win in more ways than one. if you are not receiving the daily emails, sign up for them here.

for the first Re-engage with Sobriety, Don’t Forget to Reach Out and Be Sober Christmas email campaign, i asked you to share your christmas memories about food. and i can tell you the number of emails i have in my inbox today is triple the usual number. so it’s working! in my email. i said i would choose one story and send out the Top 10 Best Sober Podcasts from the archives. if you didn’t win, i’ve created a runner-up prize 🙂 here’s a link where you can download the Top 10 Archived Podcasts for 25% off for today only.

OK, here’s the winning story

(i don;t know why but this made me laugh and and laugh):

Pam: “Went to my brother and new sister in laws for Christmas dinner a few years back. Was enjoying a nice dinner with family, when I bit into something hard in the scalloped potatoes. I tried to chew it, but no way, so I tried to discreetly spit it into my napkin but noticed my sister in law was watching me like a hawk. When the hard object landed in the napkin to my complete horror, it was a fake finger nail with polish and everything! I thought I was going to lose my dinner right there. Before I could utter a word my sister in law exclaimed “thank God it was you! I was so worried your dad would of been the one that found it” (my dad is always the one that seem to find odd things in meals).  Still don’t eat scalloped potatoes and count her nails before family meals.”

and here are three runner-up stories.

j: “My mother is not the traditional type, not warm and fuzzy, and we often have a strained relationship. I am her only child and I carry a lot of guilt around this. I moved in with my dad at 10 years old but would visit my mom around Christmas every year and the one thing she always did before I came was bake a lot of cookies (out of character for her). She made my grandmother’s recipes, about 10 different kinds, from scratch. This year, she invited my teenage daughters to bake cookies with her (again, very out of character – she hasn’t baked in years and years). I invited myself. My daughters and I went to her house last week and we baked together – reading my grandmother’s recipes straight from index cards in her own handwriting – they had to be 40-50 years old. We burned the first batch, my mother didn’t have half the ingredients we needed (despite planning this for a week) and had to run out to the store, she had opera on rather than Christmas music (until I straightened that out), and we did it. I was sober (not sure if she was, but that’s not my issue), and I know that it’s a memory that will last forever, as imperfect as it was. ”

newg: “I have never seen a single member of my family actually go to McDonald’s and get an egg Mcmuffin.  But every single Christmas as far back as I can remember my mother has dozens of eggs,  crappy processed cheese,  Canadian bacon and English muffins and makes the homemade equivalent of egg Mcmuffins and we eat them until we cannot move (mine is baconless but I eat nonetheless). One year many years back my then new sister-in-law suggested she make her famous ginger pancakes.  Seems reasonable right? Sounds good?  So being mature adults we said ok.  They were fantastic. But we all secretly died a little inside! She must have known because she never asked again and to this day (and we are spread over 3 provinces) we all still make the Mcmuffins in our respective homes. My one brother now has his wife’s very large Chinese family over for Christmas egg Mcmuffin breakfast every year and they love it.  The moral: traditions are strange, but don’t mess with them.”

AverageJoe: “It was Christmas of 1994. Our first daughter was born in March of that year and all was right in the world.  We had just moved into a new house two weeks before her birth and my oldest brother was helping me build a redwood deck.  He was a bit of a lost soul and we tried to help him out whenever possible. I say was because he has since passed away.  I had taken some time off the week before Christmas to work on the deck with him, and the two of us managed to get quite a bit accomplished. I treasure those memories. My wife was pumping and freezing her breast milk.  She would store the breast milk in the little plastic bags that went into the baby bottles in the freezer in the kitchen. When we would go out and it wasn’t convenient or appropriate to feed the little monster in public she would take a bag out and — problem solved! Our family tradition was that my sister would host Thanksgiving and we would host Christmas. That Christmas, we all gathered around the table and were having a wonderful meal.  At some point during the dinner, my brother turned to my wife and asked her “what the hell kind of popsicles are those in the freezer? They’re terrible!”


j: “Thank you for this.  I’m feeling low these days, and I know that I have to dig deep into my bag of tools to keep my sober momentum.  Otherwise I will become complacent and at some point say f-it, I can have just one or two glasses.  I don’t want to go back there, and so I’m adding this contest to my tools for today.”

chef L: “I’m usually much better at staying positive this time of year, but we just nominated Drunk Uncle president. These next four years are going to be like the longest Christmas Day ever. I’m going to stay sober, but it’s not going to be easy. I’ll be opening your emails every day, Belle. I can at least promise you that.”

d: “I like this idea a lot. I’ve been finding it difficult to focus on myself at all. My husband had surgery and needs a lot of help so my sober habits have had to be on the back burner. That is not working well for me.”

r: “your email bothered me. That fucking election. I can’t stand to think people are giving up. That is not OK. We all need us right now. I can’t do anything about anybody else, but I will not give up … Thanks for what you do. I don’t think I need contests. Treats, yes. And emails to remind me that I should do my best to not give up.”

weenie: “Wow.  I didn’t realize the election results would have an impact that even you would notice in the sober world.  I know politics is polarizing, but this is ridiculous.  You should start a campaign to Vote Out Wolfie.”


watch your email inbox for another Re-engage with Sobriety message 🙂 and here’s a link where you can download the Top 10 Archived Podcasts for 25% off for today only. hugs



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

  • So great, and I have to say I vote for AverageJoe’s story. Laughed so hard I had to read it to my husband who was wondering what was so funny, and got the best laugh I’d heard out of him today too.

  • Belle, I found the stories equally amusing as you did especially the one with the fingernail, and the drunk grandmother listening to opera & burning the cookies; God bless her. Yes, I am still here, and sober.

  • Yesterday’s email really spoke to me. I’m one of those U.S. Liberal elites who has been reeling from the election. And drinking. A lot. Yesterday after reading your email I stayed sober. Even though we went to an impromptu dinner party with neighbors. Hurting myself is not going to help me pull out of this malaise. Thank you, Belle, for letting us know it’s not just me.

  • Well, these stories just made my day! I laughed, I cried. Thank you, Belle, for the idea. I need this extra boost right now.
    All weekend I was thinking, “I’m in prelapse, look here it is again.” But although I can see the prelapse for what it is, I didn’t act to correct it. I didn’t even check my email yesterday. And I didn’t email you all weekend.
    Back to my tools today. I don’t want to go where this is heading.

  • Thanks belle
    Had a good laugh at the stories. Just purchased the top 10 audios at discount price as a pre Christmas treat.
    I like what you’re doing. This support is great.