broken mirror, bent golf club, two bullet holes [Julie-Joy’s Dad Part 1]

from me:

i received a long email from Julie-Joy’s Dad about his new sober life. it’s so fascinating that i want to share it all with you, but it’s long (i said that already) and so i’m going to split it into parts. Here’s Part 1:


[May 2016]
email from Julie-Joy’s Dad (day 822): “Hi Belle, I wanted some insight with my drinking problem, which I thought really wasn’t that bad. So I sent my “girls” (girls includes my wife) an email and asked them to tell me about the before and after. I was surprised. Actually I was a little shocked! You will like the response from my wife. Enjoy.  This is my original email:  I need your help! I like to read the blogs of “Belle’s” website and I find them encouraging and in some cases sad. I am looking at my own journey and how content and happy I am right now and I would like to add a perspective to the blog (or whatever) from my family. Could you write a paragraph or two about the DAD (& husband) before the 100 day sober challenge, and the DAD after taking the challenge? Thanks and I love you. DAD (and your Mom’s hubby).”

1. Response From My Wife

I really think you were on a course of self-destruction that was going to end tragically … There were a couple of times that I was probably more frightened, and mad, than I’d ever been in my life. There was one night that I was so concerned about you that I left work in the middle of the night to come home and check on you. I had talked with you on the phone and you weren’t making much sense. By the time I got home you were in bed asleep.

There was also an instance with a patient in the ER one night that I thought to myself, “this could be Jeff.” He had a seizure related to alcohol withdrawal. He was right around the same age as you and a daily drinker. Not a homeless alcoholic guy off the streets, just your average every-day worker, wife at bedside. He was obviously altered, couldn’t talk or make any sense, going to be admitted to ICU (withdrawal can kill), didn’t know if he was going to make it and if he did, what would his quality of life be like. That really frightened me. I remember talking to you about it and you blew it off. At least that was my perception.

Then Julie-Joy came along with an initial 30 day sober challenge, I thought to myself “he’ll do it for Julie, she always had a way with her dad.”

Let me back up a bit and give you my example of “frightening moments”: broken mirror (floor length), bent golf club, and also two bullet holes in our house and you not remembering what happened! My heart is racing right now just recounting this…

There was also the way you tried to hide how much you were drinking. I felt God was whispering in my ear: “look here, look there,” and sure enough there’d be a bottle. … Belle entered our lives through Julie. I cannot begin to thank you enough for your gift of reaching people, Belle. It was the absolute perfect time. Jeff took on the challenge in the typical fashion “all-in”! He did 30 days, and then 60 days, and then 100 days. He is now at 822 days and counting. He is amazing and a joy to be around. He’s “fired-up” on a daily basis, and is hard to keep up with. Oh yeah, did I mention I’m much younger than him, six years? A bit of a private joke 🙂 I’m so thankful he’s alive (I don’t think he would’ve at the rate he was going). I get to enjoy his company for the rest of our years together (38 years and counting).

I love you Jeff and I love that you took on this challenge with gust! You have been a huge inspiration not only to me, but your daughters and those around you, and those you don’t even know you. I’ve shared with friends, patients and acquaintances about the change in you, the website, and the person that Belle is and has been to our family. Thank you Belle for bringing this inspiration to us. Thank you for your own 30, 60, 100+ day challenge and inspiring others to “stop thinking about drinking.” You have a gift, thanks for sharing with others and this family in particular. You’re a life saver.

[end part 1]


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

  • This was so good to read and the happy ending is the best part, thanks to you Belle. It’s so hard to look back at yourself and not feel embarrassed and ashamed of all the signs of overdrinking. Good for you Julie-Joy’s Dad for holding that mirror up!

  • WOW, WOW, WOW! I really enjoyed reading that. I have 5 children and also would be afraid to see what they would write about my before and after. I might have to get brave and have them do it. Belle is a lifesaver. I also was on a tragic course. Drinking every single night. No idea what I did the night before after a certain part of the evening. I know I got angry A LOT! The 100 Sober Day Challenge saved me. Belle saved me. I think about her every single day. I have an Eiffel Tower key chain that sits on my dresser. It reminds me of Belle in Paris. It ground me. I will be 3 years sober next month and it all thanks to Belle!!! I Love her from the bottom of my heart. THANK YOU BELLE. YOU ARE A ROCK STAR!!! XOXO
    GabbyGirl (Cyndi)

  • Very cool new project for me… I plan to ask my son and best friend to do the same. I know I exhaust them now… as I’m go go go all the time and I know that my physical looks have changed dramatically, as people everywhere go on and on (please stop some more!) about how fantastic I look. Thanks for sharing and Belle, she’s right… you are an amazing gift that’s come into all of our daily worlds!! xo

  • My first thought was how courageous Jeff was to solicit this feedback from his “girls”. I’m not sure I’m ready to hear the impact my “before” made on my family members but one day I just might do the same. Thank you for sharing! Joann (Day 834) – about the same time!

    • I don’t think I could bear hearing this feedback from my husband and others. I try to block the bad drinking episodes out of my mind. I started the BC in 2014 as well and logged 40, 100, 100, 165, 163, etc and then kept relapsing. The last time I relapsed was last Christmas after logging another stint on the challenge. I’m happy for all of you who started when I did and made in stick. I have treatment-refractory depression (a major depressive disorder) that contributes to the relapses. Belle’s program is the only thing that has helped me get chunks of sober time. I’m terrified of relapsing again. I keep wondering what my life would have been like if I’d stopped drinking years ago when I tried AA and Smart Recovery. I can still recall sitting in my car in 2014 clutching the F U Wolfie bracelet begging invisible forces to stop the addictive voice. I’m happy for all the long timers I see on Belle’s blog and I pray for the newbies.

  • I feel a connection to Julie-Joy’s Dad because he started the sober challenge around the same time that I did and he’s roughly my age with grown children. I’d watch for his name in the comments section of the blog and on the celebration round ups and think, “Okay, we’re both still here, we’re doing this thing,” and it helped keep me moving forward in my little sober car. So nice to hear from his wife and to remember what life was like before I found you, Belle. It’s unbelievable how my life has changed. Many thanks and heartfelt appreciation to Belle… and to Julie-Joy’s Dad (or Jeff in real life) & family for sharing their story. By the way, my real life name is Julie — maybe that’s another reason Julie-Joy’s Dad always stood out to me. Onward, sober travelers!

  • Wow! That was awesome! I related to the horror show recounting and cringe worthy moments–AND the JOY now. It’s overwhelming sometimes that we have this much joy in our hearts and we never would have known we had it without Belle and this program. 🙂

  • That is FANTASTIC! What an inspiration. I am so happy that he sent this in to help show that there is possibility; there is life after alcohol. How wonderful that his wife was so supportive and proud of him and that his daughters get to see the new improved version of who he can be. Yes, Belle, thank you.