Audio: Amnesty

This is archived Sober Podcast #180 that I recorded in February 2017.

It’s about how there is support available for you, and you can’t let embarrassment stop you. You can’t. If you’ve asked your doctor for help, and then you did nothing, that’s OK. go back and ask again. doctors are used to this. Wolfie tells us that it’s too embarrassing. and that’s bullshit. you being sober is way more important than all that. 

So let’s declare this an amnesty day. you raise your hand and say “I need this” and you say it to someone who can help you get it.

Below i’ve posted a short extract from this longer audio (the complete podcast is 28 minutes long).

You can listen to this extract now 🙂 And leave a comment – what do you hear in this audio? Can you rephrase it in your own words? hugs from me


Download this podcast #180 from the archives

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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

  • No judgment and in the reaching out, things change. We can’t do it alone, look for a sober buddy to help you through. It’s ok to ask for help.

  • I have stopped and started the 100 day challenge for a year now. I made it as far as 15 days then caved. 5 days. Repeat. I was trying too hard to do it on my own. I was not using the supports when the wolf started calling. I believe that repeated ‘tries’ is what finally gets you there and now I realize that when wolfie starts talking, I can choose to recognize it as that old addictive voice and it doesn’t have to BE ME if I reach out for help. I am forever grateful for Belle and this site.

  • What I heard is you can’t think yourself sober. You need to do it. And when you start doing it feeling follows and slowly thinking changes. But it starts with action.

  • All of my years of problem drinking and working so very hard to hide it from all who might see, all of that effort to be invisible, unremarkable, to appear ‘fine’….and now I am supposed to throw it all away? Now I am to finally be honest with my Dr? Now I am expected to ask for help?

    The questions above have held me back for at least a decade. But then I found Belle, screwed up the 100 day challenge 5 or 6 times since last July and then finally, finally, finally ‘heard’ her 3 weeks ago. I had to add another tool and I had to accept profound discomfort in order to procure the tool. I went to my Dr. and asked for Antabuse. Since this is the first he has ever heard from me about an alcohol problem, he referred me to a Behavioral Health professional. I couldn’t believe I had to tell another human my story, but I told her the truth, the whole ugly truth documented with bruises and shameful admissions. She gave me the Antabuse and she wished me success. I am on Day 17 and I look forward to my 30 day checkup when I can tell her how much it has helped me to get over on my Wolfie brain. I am learning to be sober and although I am tired and feel like a raw exposed nerve walking through the world right now, I just know this is my new normal.

    I want to be sober and I will do whatever I have to do going forward to stay sober!

  • Timing is everything! I’m 60 days into my 100 day challenge and it’s dawning on me that I really can’t do this alone AND I need to fortify and add to my portfolio of sober tools. Which currently includes my daily emails with Belle, reading blogs, joining online communities, reading books and listening to sober podcasts. But this is slowly becoming not enough. The voice in my head is so loud. I need more personal interaction with other sober people who have been there and can help me be strong when I’m feeling really low. I’m starting to consider some supports that I would have NEVER even considered when I first started this journey because of my anxiety and how ashamed and embarrassed I was. Things like AA meetings or seeing a therapist or becoming more active in online groups… I guess you could say, I’m evolving and I think you really need to because this journey we are all on is incredibly hard! And only those who are doing it or have done it can understand that. I’m convinced!

  • Us alone in our heads doesn’t get it done. Being accountable, to you and to my daughter, has made all the difference. Knowing that I have cheerleaders when I reach milestones. Knowing that if I relapse, I will have to tell those same people.

    Medication is also an important tool for me, I’ve been taking Antabuse. But that alone didn’t cut it in the past, in the absence of accountability, because you still have to actually *take* the medication, and it was very easy to *forget* to take it and go down that slippery road.

    People make the difference.

  • I heard -Fiona it’s ok to keep trying it’s ‘normal’ to know stuff , have access to stuff and not use them all… subtext in a totally non judgemental way they are there to be used -reach out and access them and build in accountability…. ( I do ‘know’ this I just don’t ‘do’ this…….)

  • What I hear from this audio is that to try to do it all on your own is to depend on the one person who is least likely to help you maintain your motivation!

    You will be having those pep talks, inside your own head, with the one person who most wants to believe that your drinking wasn’t that bad and that you are over-reacting. And who really feels your discomfort with new ideas and activities.

    So you need input from others too – maybe a doctor, friend, blogger, sponsor, etc. – to keep you ‘real’ about the over-drinking being a serious and immediate problem; yet one that is widespread and not to be ashamed of, and that has practical and proven solutions.

    And even better if a two way conversation, if only to hear how ridiculous your excuses sound when you’re talking to someone else 🙂

  • Unconditional support is what I heard. A rare treasure to be sure. Need help being sober, over and over? Keep asking because Belle will be there on good, bad, happy, mad and sad days. All days are perfect days for the unconditional support that Belle helps us believe we deserve on our sober journeys.

  • This morning was a frosty one and somehow I thought that I could drive without putting in the appropriate effort and properly defrost the window. I drove on a somewhat icy road and thought how short sighted it was to put myself at risk and not warm up the van or use a scraper on the window. I thought of the times I saw others on the road with windshields full of snow, an obliterated view, and thinking how dangerous they were. How could they see anything?? I had already listened to your podcast and the light went on. Ding, ding! I have all these tools in at my disposal that I can use. Sometimes planning is what is needed. Don’t wait until I’m on the highway to realize that I haven’t got the full scope of things, take the time to scrape the damn window, don’t drive looking through a tiny clean spot with the wipers going as fast as possible and “hope” that things will work out.

    So, I’m cleaning my side mirrors and making sure that my vision is not obscured by temporary blinders that can so easily be removed by planning and using the correct tools. My eyes are open more widely today than yesterday.

  • I heard that the problem is not that there is nobody to reach out to, it is that we can have trouble allowing ourselves or accepting the need to do so. This is very true for me. I tend to isolate and to undervalue my perfectly human and normal need for support from others. I tend to try to hide my problems from others, to try to solve it alone, to perhaps overvalue an external presentation of competence and success. This can lead to circular thinking (in the excerpt you called it a logic loop) and slows or stunts real positive change. Thank you for this reminder, Belle, and I am working to chip away at my fear of reaching out.

  • “In the reaching out things change”… and then just showing up and allowing WHATEVER is going to unfold to do just that. Thank you Belle for your tireless encouragement and wisdom. Reaching out and showing up have allowed for miracles of incredible healing to keep occurring.

  • It’s okay to try new tools, and try old tools over again too. However, if the old tools are not working, please don’t reject the new tool. I was afraid to try new tools mostly out of fear that they wouldn’t work, and I wouldn’t have any options left. I kept thinking, what if that doesn’t work – instead of thinking – what if it does work and I won’t try it?

  • I heard that it’s ok to ask for help. Not only that but it’s ok to ask for help more than once (or even twice!). The more you repeat yourself, Belle, the more it sinks in. In my background it’s not ok to fail. But with sober help it’s ok to be honest and admit when I am not using my tools or when I have failed. I am reading a book on resisting happiness…very interesting…because that’s what I do when I don’t use the tools. And it’s a part of human nature to resist new things. But with the support of someone who has “been there,” new things don’t sound quite as scary.

  • So true. I have been at the 100 day challenge for almost 3 years (maybe longer) and I am sure I collected support and requested info (and re requested info lol) but didn’t act on it, wasn’t ready to listen or my wolfie was too loud. Today is Day 51. I am thinking and doing things differently now vs: the other attempts. I am emailing, have a call set up with Bellle, I read Belle’s emails, I read blogs and listen to podcasts daily, I read books and memoirs on people with similar drinking issues and how they got sober, I have told my inner group of friends and family members that I quit drinking and that it was causing issues in my life and I would appreciate their support, I protect myself from people, places & things (I do breakfast/lunch over dinner…no big parties for now), I am following sober Instagram accounts and finally I have gone to an AA meeting and have made a friend there who has 7 years sobriety. I am moving towards a sponsor as I think going through the steps can’t hurt me. All of the above (besides emailing Belle) did not happen the other times I attempted the 100 day challenge. No wonder I relapsed. I am still careful to say, “I got this.” But, I feel more secure and confident with my sobriety with these tools. I feel like I am armed with weapons to slay wolfie if I need to.

  • We need accountability. We need to be completely honest and real with someone. Preferably someone we don’t have emotional ties or baggage with and someone with experience.

    • Kris – I am on Day 51 today, too! Congratulations to you! I loved your comments. What a journey this has been for me. I’ve never been on Day 51 before!

      • Congrats Emerald Girl!!!! I don’t think I have ever had this much time either 🙂 It is pretty neat to have same time! Happy Day 52! Xxxxx

  • Just last night my husband told me I have a thousand reasons for not being in contact with other people. This audio reminded me I have 1,000 reasons for not asking for sobriety help. All my tools are “alone” tools; I need a hot body as well, obviously. Thanks for the reminder!

  • We are often our own worst enemies, which is also why we initiated self destructive behaviors anyway. Grace is real and we need to allow ourselves to receive it. We are worthy. Worthy of grace, of forgiveness and new beginnings.

  • Thank you for these words, once again, they hit home. For a long time, I thought seeking support was a sign of weakness. I thought “I can do it all on my own, I don’t think I need anybody to help me with my problem, it’s not even a problem anyway, not really…” There was shame (“I’m stronger than that, seeking support is for the weak”) and fear (“it can’t be that bad, I can’t be ‘addicted’ to that shit, seeking support will make the addiction real and I won’t let that happen”). But you taught me better, Belle : the more you reach out, the better you feel, and the stronger you feel. Reaching out is an essential part of the process.

  • I was afraid of being judged if I reached out for help. I was afraid to talk to my Dr., go to AA or other sober meetings. I needed anonymity for some reason. I was surrounded by alcoholic or heavy drinking friends. I was caught in a wolfie loop. In my search for something that fit I found Belle. It was a pivotal moment for me. I signed up for the Kick Ass Jump Start program. I was new to sober tools and podcasts, blog support. I loved hearing and reading from someone who sounded a lot like me. I loved the pure, naked in your face observations from Belle from her own experiences. I listen to one of her podcasts every morning, I send her an email once, sometimes twice a day and I have had one call with her. I am accountable to myself and Belle. I am no longer in a wolfie loop of shameful talk. I have actually said the word “alcoholic” and “sober” without feeling deep shame and guilt. I have told my friends that I am taking a 100 day sober challenge. That was big. Some are supportive. The really heavy wine o’clock girlfriends are not very supportive and want me to hurry up and come back. That will not happen. Nothing is uglier than a drunk middle aged women slurring her words and bashing her husband.
    I am on Day 37. I feel empowered and very proud of myself. I have had one rough day and Belle was there for support as well as my sober suitcase. I am no longer identifying with being a wino. I like being sober every minute of everyday.
    I am also sleeping like I have never slept before, simply devine. I am way more productive and living life everyday instead of being a spectator. Giving up my daily wine time has dramatically changed my life for the better. My problems and challenges are still there but now I am able to see them with a clear mind and take action instead of pouring more wine on them. I have hope once again.

  • Hmmmmm. Yip, I have had Naltrexone in my drawer for 2 months but I’ve only taken a few, because they constipate me (how full of shit am I:). And of course that is way worse than a hangover – duh!

    I have had 10 years in recovery. You would think it would be so easy to stop again. I should really know it all. But that foxy wolf is strong. He behaves all day and as soon as work is over, he starts acting up. I know I need to starve him. I know what to do. I just don’t bloody want to do it anymore. I may be in a muddy puddle but it is so much easier to sit here than to get real and engage and actually LIVE.

    I need a good kick.

    • there’s a part of this same audio, perhaps not in this clip but in the full-podcast, where i literally say “we know what to do, we don’t do it, so we need external accountability to help us do it…” Us alone in our heads, doesn’t get this done.

  • I just literally had a sober podcast “Belle Binge” and loved every minute! I’m not commenting on ‘Amnesty” but wanted to add a comment about the “Drinking Not Required” podcast – this truly resonated with me. I went out to dinner with other 1/2 on Saturday night and, when he asked me if I wanted a wine I said no “thanks” and, he replied “better to have none than one hey” – totally gets me which I love. I replied to this comment – this would probably be the first time we have been out to dinner and you’ve had wine and I haven’t – yep – sure was. And I loved every minute of it – I was there, I was present and I loved every sip of my 2 bottles of sparkling mineral water! I indulged in the sparkling – that was my sober treat.

    Drinking is not required, in fact that’s a great name for a counter (drinking) revolutionary movement!

    Thank you Belle for being there – I love all that you have created in this sober community. Hugs from a sober BrisGal xxx

  • Hi. I agree with what you have said and have gone through many of the “phases”: 1) I can do this myself 2) I will buy more books (but maybe not finish them) 3) I will go to counseling, but not like the advice (why is it always AA? That’s a cop-out). BUT I won’t find a new counselor that’s a better fit for me. 4) I promise myself it will be tomorrow, next week, next month. For a long time I was fixated on a “special” quit date, like 1/6/16 or 6/16/16 … then when I would mess that up, I would “have to wait” for the next “special date”. LOL. 5) can’t quit today because I didn’t drink enough last night. I always felt like I needed to get “one last big night” of drinking in. If it was just an average or mediocre night… I felt cheated! SHEESH!! That’s some messed up thinking right there.

    So, I started using my tools. There’s not one magic thing, but lots of little things that add up. I’m hanging in there. On day 26 today.

  • Great excerpt Belle! My big takeaway from this audio–1. A problem drinker needs to get past the shame/isolation to get help, and this could take a few tries, a few dozen tries…whatever! doesn’t matter–just keep trying!

    2. Beware! Wolfie will set up obstacles. He’s a dirtbag and wants you to stay hooked. Woolfie does not and will never have your best interests at heart.

    3. A problem drinker needs help from somebody who understands the issue intimately, for example, a sober coach (like you for a shining example!), or an AA sponsor, or someone in a sober network of support, etc. As you said, trying to rely on your husband or a friend will not work in this situation, because they won’t know what you need necessarily, and you don’t want to play around with this addiction thing–or put off the fantastic road to recovery–any longer.

    I recently heard a podcast that stated it takes most people lots and lots of ‘tries’ (e.g. I won’t drink tonight…woops, I’m drinking tonight) before they really ‘get it’ and come to terms with the fact that AF living is the only way for them to be free of the noise. So in honor of amnesty day, stop counting up those past failed attempts and make this one stick people!