production week feedback

it was hard to read all of the feedback emails today from my production week update. i asked how it was for you… and i knew that some people weren’t thrilled, but i wasn’t prepared for how much it was un-liked! i think i asked for honest feedback, assuming that it would be all rosy (that’ll teach me to be a bit more realistic!). please know that I was trying to do something good. my intent was good. i had felt compelled to list everything i did on my 5 days off,  i guess to justify what i was doing, but didn’t expect that it would make folks feel overwhelmed and anxious reading my list. i felt that the only way i could do so many live audios was if i didn’t email for a week (plus two weekends, which i’m usually off anyway) and so for 5 days off from emailing, it seems like the tradeoff wasn’t worth it based on the feedback in my inbox. or i didn’t do it right, with enough warning, and triggered a bunch of abandonment stuff, or thoughts that i don’t really care, or that i’m growing too much. please just know that i thought it was a good thing, overall, to make some stuff. i know what my intent was (to make cool stuff to share) but it maybe wasn’t explained well. i have had a bad, shitty sore back day, taking pain medication after so many good days. weepy on the metro because people were mean and pushing when i couldn’t walk fast enough. and my husband is away. so who can make me a decaf coffee in bed? tomorrow is a better day, for you and me both, k.


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

  • Belle – I agree with the sentiments expressed above in that we are all adults here and, while it is amazing to have such a wonderful mentor in our lives, this person is also growing and we all applaud that. you bring such richness to so many lives – take all the time you need! There are so many sober resources on this amazing site / fly Belle – spread those wings xxx

  • What a shame that you received negative feedback. I was happy to hear you worked on new ideas. I love your creativity! And ditto to all of the above (or below; I can’t remember the order on this page) kind messages. You’re lovely, Belle, and I thank you for your good work. 3>

  • I am surprised to know you received feedback that was anything but supportive and send you a big hug and many kudos for getting creative and following your plan. Thank you thank you thank you for your generosity of love, sharing of your story, your ideas, and your dedication to our group. Even though we know that sometimes people express disappointment about us when it’s actually something going on with them, it’s hard. Looking forward to being the lucky beneficiary of your hard work, thank you for what you do. Xoxo

  • I like the idea of giving more warning – that may have helped. You shoulder a lot of responsibility – but, just like a parent, it is important to maintain your own independent self – for us and you.

  • I’m so sorry you had a shitty day. You deserve so much more for all you do for all of us sober chicks. I hope tomorrow is better. I missed you while you were away, but you know what… I survived and I’m still sober. I have lots of other tools in my tool box, so when you’re away I may lean on another tool more or find a temporary replacement. But I am in control of my sobriety, not you. So please no more guilt, sending you big hugs.
    Gina- 188

  • You get to have a life! Belle, you can do new things and expand your ideas. If you didn’t grow you’d be stagnant, right? Yes, I missed you and as I said I had this crazy clingy abandoned thing going on at first. But that’s not your fault– it’s just how I’m wired from my life’s experiences. We love you and respect you and are all so happy we found you. I know you saved my life. Please be kind to yourself, try to rest, call your hubby and know we all send cyber hugs your way!!

  • I second what all the others have said. And third, fourth, and fifth it while I’m at it.

    Thank you, Belle. Thanks so much.

  • Belle, you have emphasized self-care to us, as one tool that bears repeated use. You were using that tool. Please don’t feel guilty about taking care of yourself, and for making an effort to give more to us. Thank you for all you do for me. I sincerely appreciate it.

  • Never feel guilty!! You had a creativity recharge. We all need periods of complete focus. so so much grateful love!

  • I felt a bit abandoned just because you couldn’t email back personally like you normally do. Doesn’t mean I was bereft or felt trauma! I’m a big girl and I can cope with a few days of you not emailing back 😉

    • and you should never feel guilty! You do so much for all of us and if you want to have another production week then it’s YOUR choice, to do what YOU want 🙂 And people will just have to live with that 🙂

  • Hi Belle – You get to try new things. And now it sounds like you have to get in bed and rest. You have helped me so much…how to think about sobriety, what to say, all the tools. Here is an example.
    This morning my still wine drinking boyfriend said, “Is there a reason you have not emptied the bowl of bacon grease on top of the microwave?” (yes he could empty it but in our weird distribution of chores it is somehow my job)
    And I said “Look …. right now my first job is being sober. And to be sober Belle says I have to avoid being overwhelmed.” (I did not just say this to get out of cleaning out a bowl of bacon grease. I work, I am in graduate school etc and I realize I have not talked a lot about my sobriety to my boyfriend) “So, if in order to stay sober i get take-out, or I ask you to bring home yet another roasted chicken, or I leave my laundry in a giant heap in the middle of the bedroom floor, or don’t clean out a bowl of bacon grease, I want you to realize that I’m not going to feel guilty it. About letting things go. Because I can’t do everything right now and being sober is my most important thing.”
    I said all this without yelling…. And being a smart-ish man, my boyfriend said nothing and just hugged me.
    So thanks Belle for starting this sober blog & helping me start to think in a different way. Every morning I wake up and put on my “grateful – fuck you wolfie” necklace, and I am truly grateful.

  • Hi Belle,
    I didn’t respond to your survey, because I didn’t feel any of the options fit me. I’m sorry that so many people were upset, but really? What have you been writing about for so long? That we need a sober toolkit with lots and lots of sobriety tools. Not one. You have also always encouraged your followers to take care of themselves and do what is best for them. No should haves. No guilt. No shame. You are awesome.

  • Le hugs belle. Everything you do is incredible, and I know that when you have a creative surge of energy, you need to run with its magic…it’s like the universal life force rushes through you. Of course your intentions are good! Would never think otherwise. Everything said here is spot on, and I feel the same way.

    Really looking forward to your new stuff! xx ?

  • Don’t feel guilty…. I think it’s great you are doing new things and in the long run the benefits will outweigh the negative feedback…. carry on , Belle. you’re awesome!!!!

  • Dear Belle ,
    You do so much for so many please don’t feel any guilt. You are so giving and generous. It’s important for you to take creative time for yourself.
    I am trying different too !
    I am so sorry about your back.
    Take some magnesium.
    Put Epsom salts in your bath.
    Sorry to that your husband is away.
    hope you are feeling better tmrw
    Sending big hugs and healing vibes
    Belle you rock ????

  • Love you, Belle. Thank you for all you do and have done. I would not be 3 and a half years sober….no fucking way!…without your help. Follow your gut as you have and it will work out. This will be in the rearview mirror soon and the day will dawn and the sun will shine and your back will heal and people will learn to adapt. Rest easy.

  • I’m so sorry Belle. I totally agree with what others said here. We so appreciate the incredible amount of giving you do, on a daily basis, to help us figure how to navigate the rocky road from drinking to living sober. Whether or not everyone realizes it, you were still working to help all of us. Maybe you weren’t available for a bit. I don’t think any of us are, and you’re a human being just as we are. One person can only do so much. While it’s awesome to have you there, we also need to use the tools you have already given us. To be solely dependent on a othe person for maintaining sobriety is a risky way to go about you. You need to take care of you, the same way we do. So please do that, especially with a sucky back.

    New Chris

  • You made a choice with the best intentions and that’s all any of us can ever do. It sounds like it’s been a big day. Tuck yourself up in bed with a big mug of decaf and get some sleep. Hugs and buckets of love xxx

  • Sweetheart, you can only do what feels right at the time. You carry the weight of a lot of people’s expectations on your shoulders, but ultimately, you can’t make time stretch to an infinite extent. Sometimes, if there are things to be done, you just have to do them and we will all just have to wait until they are done. We wouldn’t be able to reap the rewards otherwise, would we? So sorry about your back – that’s a bummer. Hope it’s better tomorrow xx

  • Oh no. Belle dear love. You give give give give to us. All your clever insightful honest insights. You care and cheer and support and throw glitter. You save lives. You impact in ways you couldn’t start to imagine. That’s a big responsibility. You just let this thing of yours evolve….and look at what you’ve created. You didn’t expect this result? Huh? Well, there’s a topic of discussion for the therapy session. You’ve come to mean so much to so many.
    When I first started out with you as my pen pal I used to have this irrational fear that you’d get sick, go into hospital, something would happen to you where you couldn’t communicate with me. You wrote back and said you’re not going anywhere. That didn’t help. It was irrational. You’d become something you didn’t actually put your hand up for. Mother? Therapist? Soothing sister?
    We project a lot onto you. We want want want. More more more we cry. You are a human and have never pretended to be anything else but a flawed honest human woman making sense out of this alcohol stuff.
    The negativity surprises me in some ways also but not in other ways. We are a funny lot, easily regressing to a childlike response to having our cuddle blanket taken away. it comes from fear. Everyone loves and needs you. It frightens us when you leave the house. We want you in the house. We want you in the kitchen cooking for us. We like to think you’re always thinking of us. We like to think you’re super human and magical.
    When I met you I had a conversation with you, and the funny thing is that throughout the conversation I was thinking “I wonder where this belle woman is that I’m supposed to be meeting I’m nervous and who is this other woman? .I’ll guess I’ll talk to this woman in the meantime”. I couldn’t get my head around that i was with you. You had a ponytail. No nail polish. You had blood under your pink toned skin and had a lovely fresh smell… were this human woman with twinkling honest eyes. It took weeks to come to terms with that. Seriously. It was a revelation. Like at primary school when you realize the queen of England defaecates or that your parents are human. What will I do with my idea of a magical dragon slayer? My fearless warrior queen? Nope, belle perspires. She talks quickly and has a beating heart.
    The production week was a new thing. Yay for new. Different. Try different. It was with US in mind. We were the beneficiaries of this experiment. You didn’t neglect and abandon us….someone needs to go off to work to make the money to cook the nourishing fulfilling dinners.
    Look after your back. Back pain is shifty not just for the pain but the inability to partake in your usual “medicine” of running. Coffee, cake, phone call to hubby. Bath.
    And thankyou for putting yourself on the line trying this new experiment. I am following your lead and trying new things. Uncomfortable. Not everyone happy. Leaving the house. Some feelings of neglect. But, it’s a bigger picture of love and care and sharing and trying to make a difference.
    Big hugs my belle

  • I’m just making a liquorice tea, would you like something from my herbal tea collection? I am making it with love and can deliver it to your pillow xx

  • Belle, I loved that you were taking time to do additional stuff and I didn’t feel abandoned. You clearly communicated what you were doing through your responsive emails when I emailed you during the week. You have a huge heart and do so much for everyone. Yes, you need to try new/different things and we will have to be patient and adapt. Only through your efforts will your growth, and this blog’s/movement’s growth, and healing, occur. You are awesome. WE ALL have issues and at least we are here together, as a group, trying. Different is always uncomfortable, but that doesn’t mean it’s bad.

  • Wow, really?? That’s too bad. Considering you are doing ALL of this out of the goodness of your heart, and really, you don’t owe us anything at all….I’m sorry to hear that. I picked #2 and #3, and I did miss your emails, but I agree with Fridgkit. You can’t be everything to all of us all the time, and we do need to draw on our other supports and tools, and yes, even on our own strength, sometimes!! **Hugs**

  • Belle,
    Time to let go of all those ‘guilty’ feelings. You are not responsible for keeping *any* of us sober, let alone all of us. That responsibility lies with each of us. If people are not okay with you doing what you choose to do and what you believe is needed in your life, then we need to use other sober tools. You can’t be the biggest or only sober tool any of us uses. You could die tomorrow (please don’t) or you could decide to stop blogging and penpaling (please don’t) and then where would we be?? Our sobriety, self-growth and lives are ours to be responsible for, to care for and to develop to a point that we love. Sorry your back is hurting and no one is around to make you coffee in bed. Sending love and light.
    Love, Amanda

    • I second that (all of it!!). Well written, Amanda- and Belle – don’t sweat it. You have to do what YOU have to do, right? isn’t that what you tell US?

      Be well
      Xo~ kim

    • Amen Amanda. I agree. Love what you do Belle! And you never, ever, ever have to explain yourself to anyone. Ever.

  • Never feel guilty! I applaud your efforts. Yes, I missed knowing you were there, but I knew you would be back. Innovation requires sacrifices on all parts, and having to draw on my own tools was good for me. Thanks for helping this little chick grow a little bigger.

    • Dear Belle, I read Marina Abramovic’s memoir this weekend and heard her tedtalk again. She says something that can be useful for your experience last week. If we do not take chances, risks and try new things, we are only repeating ourselves. As artists or as human beings. If we are not open to failure (not that I think this was a failed experience at all..), we are not growing. If we are a community, as you say we are, than we should act as one. That means being generous, caring and supportive. Not 5-year old needy chiildren with a tantrum. I applaud your risk-taking and I support your efforts to reinvent ways to manage your blog and the way you communicate with this community 100% . You have created and given soo much to all of us. You need to try new things, yes of course.
      You are an orchid remember?
      Love, AM