when i don’t drink, i feel better about me

written at 9:30 a.m. local time

today i’m proud of myself. it’s silent, early morning, up before most of the locals on a holiday. the upstairs neighbours are away. quiet. i can actually hear birds, it’s like the shortest day of the year has really passed, and we’re into something new.

it’s not raining. it’s warmer than seasonal which is a gift. my husband who has been sick since the day before the vacation started, is still in bed, still sick. man flu + coughing so much you throw out your back. yes, that’s him. but right now, he’s quiet too, and asleep. when i tell him he doesn’t cough when sleeping, he doesn’t find this curious. i do.

my emotions are in charge of everything i do. if i feel frisky, i make bread and do the dishes. if i feel slighted, i sulk and listen to business podcasts with both earphones in, sorry, can’t hear you. when i like my life, i make dinner. when i’m a slug, we have frozen meals from the frozen-meal-store, which is actually quite good, compared to north american standards. it’s not lean cuisine. it’s actual food. just frozen.

if i feel proud of myself, i keep doing the same things that make me feel good.

and as this new year unfolds, unspools, like a roll of film in front of me, i get to pick where i walk. i decide how many days i go outside (i work from home!). how many times i make dinner. how many times i drink juice. i get to decide whether i want to write a sober fiction book. i get to decide if i learn new things. if i play video games. if i sit in the bathtub.

you’re the writer of this new film, the one called “Me 2018.” you’re also the actor, the stage director, and the costumer. you get to decide what to wear, today i;m here in my plaid pj bottoms and my sober fuzzy socks. i get to choose between all-butter croissants or ‘croissants ordinaires‘ (never pick the latter).

i get to reach out for tools and supports that make me feel better about my life. i remember that how i think about things changes them. the rainy sidewalk becomes shiny with reflected light when i’m in the right mood, and can also be sludgy black and dark on another day. i pick the shiny. i pick the 80% that’s good. there’s something going on right now in your life, in mine, that sucks anus rocks. I’m not discounting my shittiness. i’m focussing on the good parts. and on the parts that i can control. starting with how i feel about me.

and when i don’t drink, i feel better about me. so i’m going to continue doing that.

happy new you ?


Comments from advance readers:

Jazzie (day 401): “And you inspire me!! … You’ve given me a new way to look at things and life though I’ve thought this was before, your way makes more sense to me. Thank you Belle. Happy New Year!!!”

Flyaway (day 192): “Before your blog I never thought about ‘changing perspectives’ or ‘reframing thoughts’. These tools have changed my life. I’m excited for this new year! Thank you for inspiring me!

~ and welcome to everyone who has found me through Catherine Gray … she’s penpal #270 and is on day 1570 today!

Would you like a sober penpal for a year?

Sober Jumpstart class re-opens today
with a limit of 11 available spots
Monday January 1st



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

  • “I pick the 80%” was exactly the reminder I needed today. I started my sober journey a year ago. This week, I’ve been beating myself up for the 20% failure rate of last year. I was so focused on the “slip-ups” that I forgot about the 80% of the time that I did get it right. Today, I choose to see 80%, the sunny side of the street, and look forward to 100% in the year to come. Thanks for doing the hard work for us and paving the road to sobriety for so many, including me!

  • Belle, you’re awesome. Thanks for this. I had a sober New Years eve, loved it, but was so stressed yesterday I drank some wine.. my wedding is in two days, and we’re closing on our new house next Wed. there are alot of other complications, mostly moving my elderly mother in with us, finances, selling her house, etc. and I don’t know if I can make it through all this stuff sober. But I know for a fact, that I want a “New me in 2018″. This is what I need to remember: (although not all of the stuff is bad,) I need to hear you saying this in my head when I fell like going to the store and buying wine to cope:

    ” I’m not discounting my shittiness. i’m focussing on the good parts. and on the parts that i can control. starting with how i feel about me.
    and when i don’t drink, i feel better about me. so i’m going to continue doing that.

    happy new you ?”

    thanks for that Belle! You are such an inspiration!

  • Fantastic post, Belle. The best thing I’ve gotten out of sobriety is what you just described: I am now in charge of my life. I can make things happen. I can change things I don’t like. Drinking made me a victim in the world, when the only thing I could do was survive, and not happily. My only reprieve was that brief time when a drink would lift my spirits, before plunging them over a cliff. But no more! Here’s to starring in Me 2018!

  • I’ve never been more excited to start a new year!! This one I will begin sober, different than any I can remember. Without you Belle, I’m not sure where I would be mentally or physically. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!! Happy New Year!

  • What a helpful perspective to think “I get to decide…I get to choose…I get to gain some control over the direction of my days..”. Thanks Belle. IC Momentum

  • Thank you for this. I need to hear all of it. Reframing things has been such a help in the past few month. I pick the 80% too! Happy New Year!

      • Kind of them to change the shape so you can avoid them. 🙂
        I get to wear my cute jeans in my version of Me 2018, because, it turns out, you really do lose weight after you quit drinking, but not until 6 months sober.
        I love the alternative descriptions of a street in the rain. So true.

  • That scary and exciting feeling all at once. Scary because we might fuck it up. Exciting because we see a glimpse of the possibilities if we don’t. Dancing Rabbit