Day 4: what can i give up

day 4 of the re-engage with sobriety campaign.

you know that overwhelm is something to avoid. at the risk of being a pretentious shit, let me quote from my own book (says every pretentious shit, ever):

(page 88): One of the most important things you will do [in early sobriety] is learn to strategically avoid ‘overwhelm’—I use this word as a noun, it’s a thing on the horizon, like fog.
Your life is like a video game. You can see potential bombs, things advancing, that could blow up and throw you off course. Your job is to navigate them. You don’t walk right into a bomb and hope for the best. You don’t test yourself by repeatedly doing difficult or stressful things. Instead, you ask someone to carpool, you decline social activities, and you simplify meals.
Your job is to reduce overwhelm. All around you, there are lists of things to do and when you first quit drinking you are going to take it easy. You will shower once a day, try not to get fired, and skip everything else.
Thinking that you need to push or force yourself to do things is a holdover from your drinking time, when you were hungover and you made yourself do things to prove that you didn’t have a problem. You wanted to make yourself look normal. You took on more than you could reasonably do, so that you looked high-functioning, so that nobody knew how much you were drinking, and so no one could detect how you felt about yourself.

For today, I would like you to put a comment on this blog post of something that you are NOT going to do today. What one thing can you give up, in order to help you feel less overwhelmed. You don’t have to be clever or original, you just have to be real. If you can’t think of anything, then copy this: “Today, to help myself avoid overwhelm – which is a boozer’s biggest trigger – i’m going to skip making dinner tonight and order take out or have grilled cheese sandwiches.”

(that said, i’m having canned soup for dinner tonight.)

My blog allows anonymous comments, so you don’t have to fill in your name/email address if you don’t want to.

And to bribe you to participate, to support your sobriety, and encourage you to speak up, I will RANDOMLY select ONE comment from this blog post about 24 hrs from now, and that person will receive a sober Elevator bracelet for free.

hugs, me


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 did not attend a monthly Board meeting (I’m the Secretary of the Board) so I could meditate and do yoga ?

  • Today I’m going to avoid overwhelm by NOT going out in the wind and rain (aka, full-fledged storm) to return useless junk I bought online.

  • I’m a day late here. I guess what I gave up was writing this reply and I didn’t journal. Not good practice. Thanks, Belle, for keeping us in check on our sobriety. Day 74

  • I often do too little then feel overwhelmed by my guilt.
    Today I will take a shower, to feel fresh and renewed.
    I will allow myself to do my full meditation time.
    Then I will just keep moving at a gentle but deliberate pace.
    I will not berate myself for what is not yet done and I will not look at Facebook until after 9 pm no matter how many notifications I receive.

  • I am going to let my children help out with Christmas dinner, by assigning each of them a dish to bring instead of doing it all myself. This way I can sit and enjoy their company instead of hovering over pots and pans in the kitchen all day.

  • I gave up buying a bottle of red and made toasted cheese and pineapple for dinner, BEFORE i read, …….perhaps make toasted sandwuches

  • Today I will avoid overwhelm by doing one thing I have to – pay wages and 2 things I want to do – sit in the garden having early morning tea and take a nap later.

  • To avoid overwhelm (and feeding Wolfie), today I am going to skip the nightly cleaning routine and curl up for an online AA meeting. 2BLimber

  • I called in sick tomorrow. The job does overwhelm me sometimes. I need to take care of myself. My main job. Thanks Belle for reminding me and us how important it is not to let ourselves get overloaded. Happy Xmas in Australia (Is that where you’re spending it?) xx

  • I’m resting and not feeling guilty. I’m just whipped…there are piles of boxes in every room to sort. My husband passed away a few months ago and I need to sell my house. At least I can sleep in my bed tonight. No one will be here til Christmas day. I’ll put up my tree for a few days instead of 6 weeks. It will be fine. I will be fine.

  • I’m just going to stop thinking for awhile. Over thinking, feeling old guilt…whatever you want to call it. It’s all the same. Thanks Belle.

  • Today I will give up over thinking. I will let things be as they are and not necessarily how I want them to be. I will go to sleep at a decent time and get a full nights sleep.

  • Today I will give up the feeling of resentment that the celebration of Christmas is entirely upon my shoulders. I will breathe and do what I can. Overwhelm sets in when the resentment begins. (Day 5)

  • Today, I will be present with my boyfriend and enjoy our evening without checking out thinking about drinking. I have so much to be grateful for.

  • Today I have decided to receive in plastic dishes for new Year. Then no need to clean my fancy dishes before and after the party

  • Today is the day I tell myself it’s o.k. if I don’t put up the Christmas tree this year. I’ve been dreading putting it up but thinking that I have to do it for my children and grandchildren. I would be cranky and resentful the entire time spent putting it up and then I would also be dreading having to take it all down in just a few weeks. Instead, I will put out a few of my favorite decorations around the house.

  • from S: Today to avoid overwhelm (with company arriving any minute for the day and night), I’m not going to stress about being the best hostess and waiting on everyone hand and foot…pouring wine, making appetizers, etc, I’m going to let my husband do that..tell my friends to help themselves and we all will go out to dinner! I then will come home and go to bed early while they continue to drink. I’m actually looking forward to it and don’t feel the build up stress I usually do!