Audio: “Keep It Exciting”

MAY 30 2017

This was Sober Podcast Episode #186 for my weekly sober podcast series.

So, what does it mean if you have a boring stretch of time in your sobriety?

Well, the answer depends on if you’re on day 7 or 77 or 700.

Below i’ve posted a 3.5 minute extract from near the beginning of the podcast. the full thing is 28 minutes long, but this chunk here stands alone. if you’d like to listen to the whole thing you can use the link to download at the bottom of the post.

Have you had a ‘my sobriety lacks sparkle’ time? Did you hear anything in this podcast that would help you if it happens again?




Download the audio podcast episode 186 ($4.99)

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(ps, my blog allows for anonymous comments – so you don’t have to fill in a name or an email address to post your comment below).

Over the next 48 hrs, I’ll select a blog comment and that person will receive a present funded by the Sober Good Works donations.


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

  • Basically yes I’m a 12 year old in a 50 something body 😊
    I do think most of my efforts go into not using behaviours to numb my feelings . Having not really gotten any other ways of dealing with life.
    And some days do just feel like hard work or flat. The flat is really not easy (for me). It’s like I’m just used to drama or at least bumpy thoughts and feelings. When a flat or calm period comes I actually wonder what to do with myself- like I get fidgety in my skin!
    Maybe it is a lifetime of work to learn these kinds of things.
    What I am pretty sure of though is that my mind will veer towards thinking of drinking (especially at this time of year anyway) and unless I stay connected to other sober folk I could easily pick up. I do know that about myself….
    It’s like a very well worn track in the road – a groove that i really can’t afford to get stuck in again.

  • So so true… have ‘painfully’ learnt problems cannot be solved with alcohol, they only get bigger, more intense and more emotional. Thank goodness with your medicinal words I no longer drown in an abyss of self pity & wine into the early hours listening to depressing music seeking an answer
    Thank you for your support

  • Thanks Belle, happiness and nice company even makes me drink not to mention boredom and loneliness at other times so I ask myself what’s wrong with me?
    All of What you said is so true. All those decisions made while drinking. Roll on a clear head!

  • Thank you Belle. It is very true, drink is used to numb emotions we often think are a sign of
    ” weakness” rather than a sign of being human. We have to learn how to feel normal emotions, to realise there us no right or wrong in the spectrum of feelings, to learn to be our own true selves maybe fir the first time ever.

  • Ugh. Belle. You get me. You said it, girl. In three and a half minutes this audio bite spoke to my pre-teenage 12 year old self who went on to spend the next 32 years drinking (in varying unsafe amounts), screwing, spending, achieving, pleasing, faking. Faking it all because I never learned to just be with my feelings. How to be uncomfortable. Maybe in addition to talking to the wine witch each night I also need to talk to that little girl.
    This audio just stirred the pot, for sure.

  • I am struggling with the monotony of both drinking and not drinking. Neither seem to solve anything. My take-away is I’ll need to do the work myself.

  • Hi Bel, I recently signed up to your posts, and find them resonating, reassuring, and so helpful. I am 110 days sober now, and was a binge drinker before with hangovers that would last a week minimum (bad enough) but with the anxiety, shame, guilt and self criticism lasting much longer. I am finding that only now am I really starting to regain my sober strength and your daily blogs have helped me to stay focussed and remember why I don’t want to drink anymore. Thank you so much for all that you do.

  • The part about all of the decisions (boyfriend, job) made when drinking and needing time to think and process really hit me. We tend to think only of bad decisions made when drunk and not all decisions made while regularly drinking. This is worth exploring!

  • Listening to this has made me realise I’ve spent most of my adult life clicking ‘unsubscribe’ from each and every one of my feelings. When I stopped drinking, it was like I couldn’t find the link at the bottom of the emails anymore. I was desperately yelling “UNSUBSCRIBE!!” but the emotions still came at me, often at the most inopportune moments. I thought I would eventually drown in them.

    Six months on, it turns out that’s not how this works. Like my email inbox, my mind is apparently intuitive as fuck, and while my emotions arrive LOUDLY, unexpectedly and wanting quick resolutions, given a bit of time and space, they’re sorted into folders and priorities. I ultimately choose how and when I deal with them. And they go directly into the bin if that’s where I decide they belong.

    In early sobriety, I was certain that my thoughts, feelings and emotions controlled me. They basically did, but only because I thought that they did. I had to practice living life without unsubscribing from my own brain’s shitty, unedited newsletter. Only once I accepted the fact, and just read the bloody thing each time, sober, did I realise that a) it was never that bad and b) bad feelings always pass and c) we don’t magically get better at stuff unless we do it!

  • Thank you for your words, I am 49 days & couldn’t understand why I was not having a glass of wine & why I didn’t stop at 30. I was getting so irritated with myself and kept dropping things and then getting more irritated. Thank goodness I live on my own but I am getting really fed up of my own attitude. Your words have really helped / I will spend the next days repeating them in my head and do some head dusting. 200 days? Will I ever get there?

  • As someone who recently threw away 180 days of sober momentum I needed to hear this. I found removing alcohol following Belles guidance in the 100 day jumpstart program to be achievable, it wasn’t easy or pleasant but with her help I did it because after so many years of pouring alcohol on my head I was so ready to remove it from my life. But what I’ve found really hard is this – learning about myself, dealing with things sober, accepting, reacting and living daily without the numbing effects of alcohol. And actually I have a pretty ok kind of life, a lot of people have to deal daily with so much more than me but I still found this bit hard. The sparkle of achieving sobriety dissipated and then I had to learn to live sober, learn how to self soothe without alcohol and be present to remaining sober while I figured it out. I guess I was too impatient. Obviously I now regret giving that sober momentum up and am starting to gain some more ( it’s my new day 8 today) and when I get to that stage again I need to develop some more tools. I don’t want to be a yo-yo drinker; down then rebound then down some more on the elevator without any control about where I exit. So around my new day 180 I’ll hopefully be trying a different to last time.

  • Perfect timing for this Belle! I am on day 52 and was just telling a friend how I feel bored and frustrated with it. It’s not that I really am tempted to drink, just frustrated and struggling with feeling social. This really helped!

  • I completely agree with what you said. I never learned coping strategies as a young girl. I suffered a lot of trauma in various forms & drinking distracted me from thinking about that.

  • You did all that stuff While you poured booze down your throat!! Try different now! Think I’ll Make that a t-shirt. Love it.

  • I am in the re-learning part now after an initial 3.5 months sober, then a relapse, and now another sobriety journey begins. My new job I got whilst sober, my partner I picked whilst drinking but he’s been a huge sober support, but all the things I thought I wanted like marriage and children…not so sure now. This part really resonated with me. Whilst drinking I felt crap and thus compared myself to the world and its wife, but now I don’t feel the downward pull and overwhelming urge to verbally and mentally bash myself I feel as though MY voice is gradually getting some space. So I carry on, I work hard, I focus, I get my independence back, and I decide what’s best for me. Will decisions work out? Who knows. But at least I can say I did it with a CLEAR head. Xx

  • I love listening to you, because you have so much experience, so many stories of so many of us and the sights along the way to long-term sobriety. And it is comforting to know that we all go through some of the same things, see the same sights, have the same fears and bad days and doubts. Thank you Belle.

  • I still can’t believe that I’m over day 700 now, and my brain still doesn’t get sometimes how quiet and calm does NOT equal boring and needs to be fought against … *rolleyes*

  • Yes to all of this. I’ve been pouring alcohol on my head since I was 11 years old because I didn’t know how sooth myself, because I wasn’t getting the right kind of love, because my parents were too busy pouring booze on their own heads. That you and all that you do has found it’s way into my life and I’ve been given permission to stop, to break this cycle, to choose me. Well some days it makes me weep it’s so overwhelming. And yes, just lately (day 140) I’ve been feeling very flat, bored and boring. But when I looked at what I’d been doing, (not treating, not exercising, not spending time outside) I can identify now, because of you Belle, what I need to do to help myself feel better. And even when my day is super hard, super irritating or super boring, well, I’m not experiencing it hung over and that’s just marvelous 😊

  • That was uncanny !! Day 145 and the first day I lost the sparkle somewhere down the drain whilst taking a shower this morning!! Literally feel like shit today so YOU are my star in shining armour today !!! Thank you for making me laugh with you in that extract !!!
    Zoë xx

  • Learning to embrace new activities that add the sparkle that alcohol used to give me. Learning to look for opportunities to create happiness not waiting for them to fall in my lap. Equally, important learning to be “Comfortable with being uncomfortable”. Be patient, that mood or situation will eventually pass.

  • Yes, yes, yes! This is it, the whole Belle philosophy concentrated into a priceless three-minute nugget. I quit drinking and finally had the space to figure out my shit. Now as the world is spinning madly around me, I feel relatively calm. Friends and loved ones left and right are freaking out, and I’m not. I can’t believe it! Who is this person? Never could have imagined I would get to this place. I’m so proud of myself, and all it took was time, support, and putting one foot in front of the other. Cheers to you, Belle! Thank you.

  • Today is an unusual day of sparklelessness – so I’m lucky generally. It’s this lockdown, and not being able to anticipate hugging my grown-up girls – or how we can meet up at Christmas with our Rule of 6 nonsense (in England) Over a year sober now, (and brought up going to Mass every week) so I can do patience – what I find works – and must do right now – is being active in things I know restore my mood. Been for my Saturday 5k run – tick. just finished reading a good novel – tick. going to do some online choral singing, (shout out to the Self-Isolation Choir!!) then bake an apple cake. That’ll turn me around. And the girls’ll help me work out Christmas for the best. And there’ll be hugs galore in the future, for sure, and we’ll appreciate them so much more then. Love to you all!!

  • Only on day 3 now, as I went on vaca and didnt read sober blogs, didnt read your book Belle (in my suitcase!), and felt that I couldn’t have a sparkly vacation without booze. Then came home and felt bad and poured even more wine on feeling alone in my house with post vaca let-down. I now know I cant go even one day without repetition and support, regardless of what I’m doing, esp early on (I just started the last 2 months so am raw and new to feeling all emotions). I will get this new fantastic lovely healthy wonderful habit of being sober!

  • Right now I’m just feeling very tired, being the only one in the house who’s able to cook, wash up, clear away, load and unload the dishwasher blah blah blah because of a disease which I don’t really believe in and think is really just evidence the whole planet has gone bonkers . . . so it’s just lovely to hear your voice – you could be saying blah blah blah or reading the telephone directory as far as I’m concerned zzzzzzz zz z but keep up the good work 🙂