lurching stomach [fiction]

quote from friday’s writing session [fiction]:

It’s snowing in a kind of February hell-weather way, that mix of rain and snow and freezing rain and misery. They always make light snow look so nice on television, flakes gently wafting, deep purple sky, Christmas lights. The reality is something else entirely. The sleigh bells and the ads and the nice lighting? They’re missing out on the stained boots, the chapped hands, the aftermath. It’s always good in a glossy magazine. It’s almost never good in real life.

You walk to work – from the apartment, to the laundry, then onward to the restaurant. It’s shorter to take the bus, but the idea of being caged in with a lurching stomach isn’t appealing. You eat some of the breakfast sandwich, to see how it goes down. Not well. Some of the coffee. Walking. You need this time to walk, to be outside, to have any possible, minor, slight hope of clearing your head before you arrive at work, arrive at the place that is loud and hot and anxious.


*your comments and suggestions definitely act as motivation to keep going; don’t discount the power of community, of reaching out, supporting and being supported*


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

  • Loud & hot & anxious – yes I remember that, usually at 3am – but NO more! Don’t want to have that ever again!

  • OMG. how vividly I remember and thinking. “This is temporary. Eventually I will feel better. I gotta stop drinking. I suck. Why do I do this”

  • from P: “For me it is the idea of snow sneaking up in silence to surprise you when looking at it for the first time in the morning. It brings warm feelings of being cosy. Then the rush hour starts – White snow begins to get grubby as dirt from trudging feet and cars. Within just a few hours the surprise and snuggle feeling turns to misery – stained: cold; wet. Although this all disappears if we get a day off work because the roads and trains can’t cope – then that cosy feeling stays – for a while at least! X”

  • I use your quote “A bad sober day is better than Day 1” as my daily mantra. Always a good reminder for whenever my resolve gets a bit wobbly.

  • What a great tribute description of that awful feeling of nausea and anxiety. Everyday I wake up and appreciate NOT feeling that and NOT having to strategize. Can I eat breakfast? What can I keep down? Will I feel better by lunch time? Please god make it so. Thanks Belle you’ve made it so.

  • sickening feeling waking up after a night like that and trying to talk yourself into some kind of normalcy. pretending like its all ok when you feel ready to crawl out of your skin.

  • So many times I looked at the beauty all around me through a sluggish haze, confused as to why my environs weren’t as magical as they used to be. Thinking I could now see the true reality and all the pollyannas were either delusional or faking it. Booze left a coating of gauze on my glasses, but it certainly wasn’t the promised salve for the soul.

  • I hope she comes to realize later in the book that “caged in” and “loud and hot and anxious” are in her head. That her perception of these experiences are entirely created by her, her thought patterns and her choices.

  • I remember so clearly trying to keep it together at work, always trying to put on a show of competency and alertness and all the while feeling like I lived in a fog. Trying to cover up things I had forgotten to do, hoping I hadn’t already told a story, hoping no one could smell last night’s booze on my breath. Now that I am sober, when I make a mistake I can own it because I know it was just a mistake, a simple oversight, and that this is me doing my best. Everything feels…lighter. 🙂

  • But you want that magazine dream. You remember the days of your youth where you were bundled up in the squeaky snow suit and were padded from the elements and felt invincible – Winnipeg winter or not – and you stayed out -30 or not and you enjoyed it, frozen eyelashes and all. Overcome by these memories you looked for a clean patch of snow. You feel a sudden desperate need to create a snow angel as if your life depended on it because you need an angel right now in your life. You need a better version of you, a clean version of you, that you can cling to, to look at, to maybe finally help you see that you could really be the person who had could reach the potential that they were meant to reach. Damn it all anyway, how hard is it to find a clean patch of snow?

  • February is cold and dreary here too; although I do love fresh fallen snow, it is often gray and ugly by February – similar to how I used to feel after another day/night of drinking too much wine. Never again!

  • Loud & hot & anxious…. that’s the inside of my head you’re describing!! lol I wish I knew more about snow… but I live in TX. We like it to snow (more like ice here) b/c everything shuts down… ppl don’t go to work… we are too scared to drive & most work is too far away to walk! Many people choose to day drink. I was one of those people. Nor anymore. Now I will choose to sleep!

    – Lovie311

  • It rarely snows here in the gulf coast area of Texas. In February it might be cold, cool, or warm and humid. No more drinking whatever the weather.

  • I remember living in the Midwest and how grey it was. Short days, overcast, slushy or icy depending on a 5 degree swing.

  • Here in California it is rainy today- it never rains here- LOL- right! Watching Food network star and drinking
    my tonic water. Life is bright!

  • What a great description of a hangover, my stomach and head are feeling bad just thinking and remembering that.

  • Make eye contact but not to much, say good morning and smile. Keep moving, you don’t want anyone to look to close. Then they’ll know.


  • Been there, done that. Fri was a new experience though. I met a friend for supper in a BYOB place. We didn’t; we didn’t even discuss it- it was a non-issue. We both had a mint lemonade with our Indian food. Which was delicious. All of it. The company was great – we laughed, we put problems back in perspective, we enjoyed being in each other’s company. A couple of times I worried we were laughing too loudly… you know disturbing other tables. Then I looked around properly and realised how quiet, careful and slightly ashamed the bottle sharing tables looked. I can’t believe how free I feel. How grateful I am for that freedom. The sheer joy of it. I don’t envy anyone the alcohol trap. No a single drop of it. I

  • I remember those dreadful, cold walks in northern Indiana, and for a time, in Toronto. The snow circling all around, and the immense grey that seemed to match my emotional, mental, and physical states…oh yes. At least being out in the cold felt normal, that sharp icy sting I needed to get through a day at the office (with all of those perky, normal people) with yet another hangover.

  • Yup. February weather sucks. Know the feeling of waking up, feeling like crap, showering, make-up and on with the day. You hope no one notices how fragile you feel those first few hours. Lunch is welcome and you start to feel human again. You start thinking that maybe after work, you can have that glass of wine, you know, moderate like a “normal” person. Oh, but what about that promise you made to your bleery-eyed self upon waking. The one where you promise not to drink? Ah….well….it’s summer weather now; June not February. Booze and sitting on the patio relaxing after work. Isn’t that a normal thing to do? Crappy never-ending cycle.

  • So many workdays started that same way, a need to feel the cold which always felt better than the heat of the office. Me? Oh I didn’t sleep well last night. Of course I didn’t. Some mornings I would even have the ac on in the car. Looking forward to copious amounts of tea this coming February at work and home in the evening by the fire.

  • Silently covering all that is still with his blanket
    His cold softness hides how dangerous and ruthless he can be
    In the cold light of day, he makes children and teachers alike rejoice
    But as others admire his beauty they know it won’t last
    They remember what comes next
    Soft white crunching glitter becomes hard and gritty
    under the feet
    Of those who must continue their day
    Heads down, shuffling, slipping along
    His beauty only lasts where people do not tread
    Until slowly the warmth washes him away
    And the people who loved him are
    glad to see him disappear

  • Here in Alaska it is so frigid in Feburary that when we do get snow it is light and powdery, can’t even make a snowball! I’m glad Feburary is behind us and so is my day one! I definitely don’t miss going to work hungover.

  • No matter the weather, we must take care of ourselves and listen intently; give ourselves what we truly need. And as they say, the weather will change eventually. We must always take good care.

  • Growing up in New Jersey the winters could be brutal. Walking drunk in snow and ice is just plain suicidal!
    I’m in Tucson now and sober. If I were drinking here in 103 heat I’d probably die from dehydration. But that is exactly what I am dong to that slimy, mangy, blood-sucking dog!


  • “Everything is fine, I’m just tired.” YeH right….I wonder if everyone knew? People say I look healthy now, why does that irritate me? Last night there was a really drunk girl in the hot springs we were visiting. She kept screaming for “more alcohol, more alcohol! Hand me my secret squirt bottle of alllccoohhhollll”. It wasn’t long before she was crying ‘because everyone is mad at me and nothing is ever ok’. It was hard to be around. From across the pond she sounded like my toddler when she’s too tired. But wasn’t that me just 6 months ago?

  • Trying to eat breakfast and drinking coffee and walking it off. I don’t ever want that feeling again. Yuck!

  • We had snow on the ground for close to 60 days during this past December and January. So we actually got to see the grass in February. Although it was a little slushy, muddy, and in some places moldy. Kind of like quitting drinking. Some of the “gross” stuff is still there..but the sight of the green grass is what pushes you through to the next season.

  • I’m enjoying the story, but as for February weather, can’t relate as I live in Sunny So. Calif.!

  • Winnipeg Manitoba Canada lol February is bone chilling cold can be -35C to -40C but average is a balmy -20C.

  • I live near the Great Lakes in U.S. and we have long winters with lots of snow. I actually love the snow. For me it IS all magical like on television. But I have five kids and I have to deal with all the dripping boots and snow pants and coats that are sloppily dropped on the floor right where I walk in the door. We have to do a lot of shoveling which is hard on the back. But this effort and inconvenience is worth it to me because of the beauty of the snow. The peace I feel from looking out upon the snow capped trees that actually sparkle in both the sunlight and the moonlight is beyond explanation.

    For a long time I considered the inconveniences of drinking to be worth the pleasures. Feeling sluggish, dehydration, lack of sleep, irritability. These were what I put up with so I could hold onto those few moments of joy with that first drink. Wolfie convinced me it was all worth it. It was such a lie. Wolfie promised joy and peace and yet booze never supplied either of those. It was all costs, no benefits.

    Belle your blog opened my eyes to those lies. You are a Wolfie exposer!! There are only costs, no benefits, to drinking.

  • It is wonderful here in February (Florida) my favorite time of year… cool or cold with lots of sun usually and it contains my favorite holiday ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

  • Oh gosh yes, February is to seasons as hangovers are to mornings. The filthy slushy snow, the endless gray, the “wintry mix” which is code for “water in its suckiest of forms” and that when-is-winter-gonna-END feeling. Also the “exercise to burn off a hangover” thing. This is my favorite installment so far; it reads so real.

  • Spring in Colorado is called mud season. Not what you think of from the beautiful pictures we see. No, I don’t want to return to my mud season. It bogs me down.

  • Also, when we see drinking on TV, it usually looks appealing, glamorous, sophisticated. Like snow, the reality is the opposite – for us anyway.
    Day 1, with that lurching stomach,feels never ending. It’s good to remember that!

  • February is the armpit of the year in Minnesota. Frigid cold and snowy. We go to the shopping malls to walk, which doesn’t really give anyone that dose of ‘nature’, except the dash to and from the car. Me, I shop.

  • Feb in Toronto can be brutal.
    It’s usually when we get our cold snap.
    I also hate the ice on the ground especially under snow. As a walker it is treacherous.
    I remember walking home buzzed and falling.
    Waking the next morning and thinking where the hell did that bruise come from ????
    No thanks
    Bye bye wolfie

  • “Loud and hot and anxious” – wonderful description. And that always-needed, not much enjoyed, breakfast sandwich and the awful guilt and shame. You’ve captured the inner and outer weather so well.

  • Yes! February in Pgh is a special kind of nightmare. It is (most often – this year was actually not bad) bitterly cold and aggressively grey, the ground is a solid and slippery (‘slippy,’ in native Pgh) mixture of mud and ice and snow. It just occurred to me that winter will pose its own set of sober challenges!

  • Living down under I’ve not experienced snow, but know all too well that “place that is loud and hot and anxious”. Ugh. I don’t want to go back there. ‘Though winters here do give me chapped hands, once made worse by my anxious picking at my cuticles after drinking too much. I don’t want that again either!

  • And trying to appear as if is all is well and that you are on top of everything. Gosh, I don’t want to go back there EVER!