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?




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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

  • Just had a sparkly sober Friday evening. Danced round the kitchen making cake to Alice Merton “no roots” radio and drinking earl grey tea. I still look at that and can’t believe it’s me. I need to remember my ingredients for sparkling are quite different to what the rest of the world says they should be. Dancing Rabbit xx

  • This is really really helpful, indeed. Thank you so much! I can totally relate to the description of the basic incapability to deal with any kind of feelings and just pouring an anesthetic onto them. Feeling so raw, irritated, vulnerable, and unprotected working on day 75. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for the repeated advice to just keep patient by all means until day 200 at a minimum and remain focused on staying sober as the main and only goal. Thank you for reminding me that staying sober truely already is an – the – achievement for now! xoxoxo

  • I don’t miss the “excitement” that came from drinking and all the sneaky ways to get enough … but I miss the “off-button” still. even if it’s only an illusion. and then I go on a hike with my husband (at 6:30 am on a saturday, because we can when were sober! 🙂 – and I told him about the off-button. he disagrees. he doesn’t want a wife with her brain shut down. and I didn’t see it from the outside before. it’s not only what we wish to feel (or rather not to feel) with the help of alcohol, it’s also about how our nearest people are forced to feel about us! *duh-moment*

  • To me, the lessening of sparkle* 90% of the time means that not only am I allowing myself to feel emotions; but also properly dealing with normal emotions and situations that are a part of life. Losing some sparkle is not necessarily a bad thing~ it’s an opportunity for emotional growth and self-care.
    The other 10% of the time means I need to stop entertaining the whispered conversation with that other voice in my head.

  • Day 8. (Yay!!) I’m going along ok so far. I will use buying a subscription as one of the ‘extra’ tools to add in when things get hard down the line. It’s comforting to think I have something in my back pocket.

  • Well I think the hardest thing about sobriety for me at least, is feeling my feelings, the depression, the despair, the feelings of worthlessness…… turns out not a lot has shifted from the time I was a teenager. But even though I’m feeling so crappy, I know that drinking will only make me feel worse…
    And I suppose I’m noticing the smaller things that bring me moments of gladness and relief from the mud…
    Not having an anaesthetic is certainly a harder way to live, but I guess it’s real.
    And I know I haven’t always felt this bad in sobriety so that keeps me going

  • I found this REALLY useful. Soooo true, about anaesthetizing, avoiding feelings, not reaching out, and pouring bottles of wine on my head. I can so relate to all of this. Thank you.

  • You have helped my sobriety so much, I almost feel blasphemous posting this. You asked, “Have you had a ‘my sobriety lacks sparkle’ time? Did you hear anything in this podcast that would help you if it happens again?”
    I have had that sparkleless time and in my experience, complacency is a dangerous place for me to be in sobriety. In complacency, Wolfie sneaks back in, and old thought patterns and behaviors pop back up. It’s not that I want to drink, per se, but I start feeling impatient with myself and resentful. Lying to get my way (oooolllllddd habit) starts to seem like a good idea.
    This extract seems to be directed at people in early sobriety. It says “just be patient.” At this point in sobriety, I’ve already changed the people, places and things that needed to change to support my recovery. And, I know to be patient (as well as stay away from comments on the internet).
    What I need when I start feeling complacent is *action.* I need to do something. Some of that may be to reinvest in sober supports (reading sober books or blogs, talking to sober friends, listening to your one minute messages or AA speakers on youtube), it may be a sober treat, it may be finding a way to be of service to someone else. It *always* helps to take a walk. And, it always needs to include a way to get out of my head. For me, being patient with myself is not enough to renew the sparkle of sobriety, I need to take action.

    • this extract IS focussed on people in early sobreity; but the entire audio is more about how to deal with non-sparkly times when you’re 200+ days. I split the audio into both audiences: are you before 200 days? do this. are you after? do this. you might want to listen to the whole audio – the extract doesn’t do it justice, agreed!

  • It is amazing that I tried so many solutions – and truly made whole hearted efforts – all the while still under the blur of alcohol. I never considered that *just possibly* that alcohol was really the issue. Now I get to re-walk that path without the booze and pay closer to the streams, the birds, the stones, the logs, the tripping hazards. It’s hard but it’s beautiful. I stop and sit on the path and cry a lot. While I’m crying I have a chance to notice the bugs and the caterpillars and the sunlight and the temperature. I’m not running away. I’m not doing things as quickly as possible to say that I’ve done them. I am being.

    Great Audio. Thank you. ❤️

  • That notion that all of my choices were made while drinking is front and center these days. I have had more “what the hell was I thinking?” moments than I can keep up with. But I know this will take time to sort out and I am giving myself time to do so. I feel a bit less frantic and angry these days, that helps. I will get there and I have found that staying off of FB and allowing myself only 4 news stories a day, is helping to maintain sanity. At least I think this is sanity. I just know that I am truly feeling better and do not want to turn back now! Not today. No drinking today.

  • Patience. So hard for me. Probably the same for a lot of drinkers. Day 249 over here and I’m still trying to learn patience. But it I look back to Day 1 or Day 20 or Day 199, I can absolutely see that the pieces DO start falling into place. Maybe not on my preferred timeline, but fall they do. And you’re so right – there are so many things to learn that I wasn’t learning while drinking; so many decisions to reconsider that were made while drinking. Realizing that helps me be more patient with myself while learning how to have patience. 🙂 Thank you.

  • Belle, I have listened to this audio extract 4 times (so far) and each time there is a snippet that resonates in my soul, the soul I am working to get back and re-discover

  • ‘feeling unsure that there is a good reason to stay sober is normal’. BINGO. You nailed it, Belle. I think we all have this fantasy that once we stop drinking, life will just be perfect, self doubt will dissolve overnight and we’ll skip along happily down an unending road of awesomeness. This is of course totally bonkers 😉 because that is not how life works! This audio was super timely for me because I believe we live in a society of ‘quick fix’ and distraction. And, when being sober loses its ‘sparkle’, Wolfie is first in line to give us a great way to ‘fix’ that flatness–go back to drinking! And that is bonkers, too. So thank you for the reminder that life is not perfect, self doubt is normal, and sparkle may fade but will come back to us, too, if we remember where to put our energy–on staying sober, on growing up emotionally, on keeping promises to ourselves and above all–on keeping it real.

  • It’s interesting, i’m only on day 10 (this time around, and my last time to do this) so i have not experienced the boredom of sobriety yet. Powerful, all the things you said about relearning all the things we could learn at 12 that we stuff down and cope in not so healthy ways. This time, i just lost my dad on May 21st, whom i loved dearly, and i confessed to, cried to, and promised on his deathbed that i would from that moment on stop drinking, ( he was in a morphine fog but i know he heard me and i might add that to my knowledge he did not know i had a problem), and he died within 30 minutes after i broke down, i have a new resolve to keep my promise. But also, i really do not want to numb these feelings of loss and sadness and the deep love I have for him. I am ready to feel all my feelings, without booze, in honor of my dad, i want to be the real me and find the joy and the strength that i know is within me. He was one of the most positive, loving, kind and funny people i know and i’m ready to feel my moods and heal. It’s time…..

  • Feeling feelings is a whole new experience. I never knew I had such a variety of moods and that they can change day to day and sometimes hour to hour. On day 52 and I feel I am outside looking in at my moods and trying to analyse why and what has triggered them (good and bad).

  • So I thought that I had it all under control at around 4 months. I thought life was supposed to be working out better by that amount of time sober. Sure, I had my shiny moments but everything came crashing down around me when I had a succession of shitty things hurled at me, which left me feeling more unhappy about life than I’d possibly ever been. What was the point of being sober when I was miserable anyway?

    The point was, as said in this audio, that I have never learned to deal with shit sober and I missed an opportunity to really strengthen my soul by allowing the wolf to be the alpha. This snippet really made me realise just WHY I’ve made so many choices untrue to myself. I’ve been drunk since 13 years old and have made decisions based on a dulled sense of Self.

    Everything was upside down and I drifted from supports thinking “they don’t work anyway”. Then I wondered why I kept getting upset every time I checked social media. I thought everyone else was having a good time, and I am miserable and lonely in sobriety. I didn’t want to reach out because I thought I’d just be emitting an annoying negative energy. Thought I was a fast learner, turns out I’m not in this case. So I reckon I got it loud and clear this time.

    Stay connected with my sober tribe.
    Keep trying different.
    Don’t get lazy with treats and self soothing techniques.
    It’s ok to feel the way I do in sobriety. Don’t invalidate myself for feeling shitty.
    I’m learning life without anaesthetic for the first time in 33 years, it’s bound to be upside down for a while.
    Stay here.


  • The feeling flat is hard to deal with. Especially at first. It is a really funny thing though Belle. By following what you have said… go to bed early, cook less, have less going on so you don’t wind Wolfie up I am beginning to do two things I NEVER thought I would see 1) I don’t have to have a three ring circus 24/7 and 2). I am becoming more patient with myself and other people. Turns out getting sober gets you a whole lot more than sober. It gives you a healthy foundation on which to build a life. Thanks so much!

  • Accepting feelings and just feeling them instead of drowning them has been a huge change for me. I have been sober for a while now and freely admit I have been eating some bad emotions away with chocolate, but switched to apples a while back. More and more I just feel them and then, you guessed it, go to bed early.

  • I’m still learning how to feel flat. When I drank, I always felt somehow *buoyed*. I’m proud of myself for being sober, and am not tempted to drink, but I do miss the lift I got when looking forward to the witching hour (s). Now I spend it with plants!

  • Relearning here at 22 days…. happy and sad and scared and relieved and angry and exhausted is what i’m feeling.

  • Imagine that! All those things I did while drinking..geesh! What sort of good adventures lie ahead? Minus the booze, what untapped potential exists inside of me ? This is getting more interesting. Back off Wolfie!!

  • On day 70 something. I have been learning a lot about myself, what my emotions are and which ones are valid. I don’t like it when I feel a bit flat and listless, but I’m not over 200 days. So what I’m hearing is I’m going to learn a lot more. Be patient and stay on the journey.

  • Thanks to sober podcasts and blogs I know that I have been pouring alcohol on my emotions but it’s still a shock to have them bubble up here on Day 281. The tears are flowing everywhere…which is embarrassing at work. I’m analysing friendships, what I want for myself and grieving for my mother who died 6 years ago. At times the reflections are painful because I realise my behaviour has contributed and at times it’s enlightening because I am not drinking and can see clearer now. (Like the song!!!!)
    I’ve missed many things in my drunken haze but the great thing throughout these teas and emotions is …I haven’t really wanted a drink. And I think that’s because I know life is so much better for me without it. It’s good to feel these emotions for real…even if it makes me want to curl up and hide from the world this week!!!! That’s ok…..

  • Having to face it all can be overwhelming. must have coping skills in place and learn how to handle emotions head on.Seemed easy to get a glass of wine and sweep it under the rug. Now wasn’t that a big lie- ha! Self care and recognizing what gets in the way is a must. Don’t talk politics on social media, talk about a s-storm- LOL. Day 25 is here! Woo hoo. Keep shining bright 🙂

  • I feel a lot. Silly thing to say maybe when we all feel. And I like feeling. But it’s only since I stopped drinking just a month ago that I realise how little I was really feeling anymore. I’m moody but I wasn’t allowing my moods. Some moods I enjoy and some I don’t. So now when I feel irritated or sad or flat, I try to let myself feel it and not be scared to stay there, and I remind myself that in the past I’d run to the bottle for comfort and just look what that did to me (and others around me). Thank you, Belle.

  • This fits my conversation with my husband to a tee. I told him I was getting sober and got the “I’m sorry” and the wayward look of now what. The other night was 2 weeks and he comes to bed all bluster about what’s wrong, why are you mad, whay are you cryimg all the time, blah blah blah. I was quiet as I just breathed to try to wrap my newly sober head around a new thing, sober marriage. And no joke, when he asked what the hell was wrong the 3rd time I just yelled “Shit! I don’t know how to do this shot sober!” Crying and a long talk later and he got it through my head he can’t help if I don’t tell him how. I have been letting Wolfe run my house and that bastard sure wasn’t asking my hubby for help but would be a real prick when he tried but didn’t do it right. So now, sober, I need to learn to feel and learn to ask for help to do just the day to day stuff. All I can say is “Shit!”

  • Around day 200 or so my sober car seemed to be losing momentum even though I was using my sober toolkit. I’m on day 243 now and things feel better. I think it’s because every time I hit a sober milestone, Wolfie likes to say “You’re fixed! Hooray!” And then I start to try to rationalize a drink (or two or three). And then let the mental torture begin…

    But time and time again, I’m reminded that all I have to do when I feel that way is 1. reach out (a.k.a. get out of my own head) 2. accept that not every single minute of life has to be a damn party, for me or anyone else. The trick is realizing that doing those things don’t fix me, but they will sustain me through anything.

    Long term sobriety shows me this and the price is sometimes feeling bored and stuck … doesn’t mean something is wrong or broken. Just means I’m coasting a bit? resting and repairing a bit? Preparing for another growth spurt? I’m still figuring that part out. Those times do suck. … aaaaaand then when my car regains its sober momentum, I feel so free! Free from my rituals around drinking, my rules, my cravings. That feeling is worth everything.

    Thanks, Belle, for this reminder today! A perfect example of how reaching out works. One of my reaching-out tools is reading all of your emails. 🙂

  • Now I can make choices without the help of alcohol. The choices I made before are ones can be forgiven.

  • The first time I heard this I was less than 100 days sober…. now I’m
    Nearing 200 and it’s like hot damn! I am losing the weight, I’m having better relationships, I’m feeling…. dare I say it…. good? But I had to cut everything off and out and go to bed and I’m still doing that I’m stillllllll in bed some days but that’s ok…. cuz now it’s like Hot Damn! 🙂

  • OMG! I do believe, Belle, that you were in my head this morning. That was exactly how I was feeling and not knowing how to deal with it. I was kicking my own ass because I wasn’t doing all those successful things that I did when I was a boozer. I just realized now after hearing the one minute message that I chose all those things as a boozer. I was great as a CEO of a medical company and a super duper Pharmaceutical representative and a kick-ass regional manager of a medical laboratory diagnostic company and that was all when I was drinking. Now, not working at any regular job, I feel like I’m not enough. I feel like I’ve got to do something else to make another million dollars. I have to do, do, do when in reality I just need to be, be, be. I’m a hundred twenty-seven days in this sobriety Journey and I am actually just realizing I can just be who I am. I don’t have to be a superstar business woman making a million dollars. I can be me in a bathrobe in my beautiful home drinking tea at 10:30 in the morning reading a novel and not feeling guilty because I’m not out there busting my ass and making a bunch of money.
    This is a ramble but in effect I have permission to do so. Thank you for listening

  • From day 287 ( I think) I’ve had those lack luster times…where I question if this is still sparkly and new enough. Then I realized that for me….my mind was conditioned to be always looking for the next thing. To justify a breakdown = drinking, to be looking for excitement = drinking, to be a cool kid = drinking, to have “friends”= drinking. To then make decisions based on that bad state of mind. Like navigating your life from the trenches. You never see the whole picture. When you can get out and brush off the mud/booze. When your mind is free it’s surprising how different the view is. Chaos is a bad thing. No one needs more chaos just like no one needs more booze. Its simple really. There really isn’t a good reason to do it. Nothing good ever comes from drinking. Even drinking just a little bit. Even those of us that have tried “moderation”. You don’t take a drink and say wow o wow I feel great. I just had some rotten potatoes (vodka) yum! Slave to addiction. That’s what wolfie likes.

  • Wowzer!!! I have been thinking to myself how did I end up in the marriage and guess what? I selected that partner while drinking and there is a part of me that is trying to figure out can we work when there is no drinking. Day 1 and pushing for 30 days (and perhaps beyond)!

  • 200 Days?? I can’t make it 20 hours. I can’t make it though Day 1. I WANT to. Every morning I commit to it. I tell myself. Today I won’t drink. Today will be my Day 1. I am determined. I can do this. I read sober blogs, watch sober videos, listen to sober podcasts, read sober supporting books I get myself motivated! I am determined!! But then evening comes and I don’t know what else to do. I am totally lost. I think “ok, 1 glass of wine just to take the edge off and make it through the night. Which then turns into 2 bottles and I go to bed hating myself and knowing I am weak and flawed and hopeless and will never be able to stop drinking. So I take a sleeping pill because 2 bottles of wine isn’t enough to get me to fall asleep. The next morning the whole process starts over….I tell myself Today I won’t drink. Today will be my Day 1………yada yada….another repeat of the day before and the day before that and the day before that.

    • you might find that you do better with more supports. trying to do this booze thing on our own, alone in our heads, it’s just to hard. you might do well with a bit of accountability and support that is external to you. someone that can say “yes, that’s normal” and “you’re doing fine” and “did you get a treat?” ~ you can email me if you want some info on having a sober penpal. i happen to know a good one. 🙂

  • I just had an interesting experience regarding choices we make while we’re drinking versus choices that we might’ve made if we had not been. I went to a wedding of somebody I had not seen in over eight years. On Facebook everything looks great in her life. She has a shiny new boyfriend now husband, three kids from his previous marriage that adore her, things in her life just seem to be going so much better. In her past life when I knew her before she was a heavy drinker and surrounded by drama. She was and still is model beautiful but she used to be a train wreck. I was attracted to the drama at the time although I would always say I was tired of it. Anyway, seeing her at the wedding, she hasn’t changed at all. Her husband is an alcoholic no longer In recovery and she drinks waaaaaaay too much and hey we’re fighting and crying and it was awful. Why was I friends with her? What was the attraction? Oh yeah, I was just like her.

  • I really loved your thoughts on using anesthesia to try to stop our moods. That moods are OKAY! That feeling flat/sad/unsure is normal and we need to just sit with it. Thank you, Belle. (From a long-time lurker who’s on Day 16!) 🙂

  • Ouch – it hurts to hear this! All those jobs mistakes, therapies, relationships… Oh Gads, you are right, they were booze-dependent. I don’t want to hear this! This is why I cannot make it past 165 days. All those mistakes I’ve made come crashing down on my head in the form of flashbacks, memories, and regrets.
    Oh man, sobriety is a journey? No…….I don’t want it to be a journey – I just want it to go away. What I really want is to go back in time and make different, non-booze-soaked decisions…I guess that is why they make movies about time-travel…maybe…
    Date of last drink — 156 days ago.

  • Accepting and dealing with emotion and moods is one of the most valuable things I’ve learned while quitting alcohol.

  • OMG – this was exactly what I needed to hear – it validated every feeling I’ve been having the last few days – feelings which were starting to lead me down the path of deciding to drink again because “what’s the use” – thank you THANK YOU – just because I feel like my life is empty doesn’t mean it is useless – that is an old feeling or maybe it is a real feeling but instead of giving up and need to fill my life up with meaningful things – not turn to the bottle again. It is HARD to admit that but helpful to hear that this is normal in early sobriety. I have work to do and it won’t get done if I go back to drinking. I’ll just stay stuck and then have to start on Day 1 somewhere down the line again. So I choose work over drinking. I can do this.