Audio: Sober Summer

May 29, 2018.

​This is an archived podcast #249: Sober Summer.

Flyaway asked for a personalized audio about how to deal with being sober in the summer. So my answer? The first time you do anything is weird. The first sober sex, the first sober summer … and more.

She sent me this after she heard my reply:

“Hi Belle! Yep, I needed that message, all of it. You looked at all the angles and I needed all of it. I was already feeling better before I made this audio request, it was your contest that prompted me to ask. You had people send in questions and email # (whatever) would win. I thought ‘I don’t have any questions’ and then that day this popped into my head, and I thought there might be a question in here. I had to be prompted to send that email though, you really are a sober genius. Thanx Belle, Flyaway.”

​I have posted below the full audio for you and i’ll leave it up for 24 hrs.

[link removed]

Question: Have you done a sober summer before? Is there anything in this audio that might be helpful for you when it’s summer where you are next?


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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

  • I don’t even think I went outside at all last summer, I literally can’t remember. First summer alcohol free- I feel weird but in a good way..I feel free, alive and I have even caught myself genuine belly laughing- I don’t think I’ve done that in the last 5 years. Aha moment…I have had 2 alcohol dreams..and remember feeling devastated when I drank a G&T in them…I was beating myself up over having the dreams but now that you made the point about your dream, I realise it was a good thing how I felt..because I really really do want to stay sober or else I wouldn’t have felt so disappointed and devastated! Never would have looked at it that way. Thank you!

  • Aw, c’mon, give this English major a linguistic distraction. But the better distraction on this past Memorial Day weekend was — FLOWERS! and DIRT! BBQs and beers all around me at my mom’s cottage, and I just waved and planted flowers and touched the soil and put all sorts of fertilizer on the law. I always plant flowers at the cotagge but never (sober night before) starting at 9 a.m. and never with such clarity.

    Also, I went to the nursery and upgraded my buy a bit from past years without guilt about spending a few extra dollars because the “grocery” bill on my way to Mom’s was about $100 less without my weekend high end vodka buy weighing down the bill. Then, Belle, I listened to your one-minute message “Treats” for the first time today on the way to work and I was like, “I did that! My upgraded flowers were my treats!” Tonight it was nachos. Tomorrow, clean sheets.

  • You make complete sense to me. I prefer alcohol free because it feels like a diet choice. I’m dairy free too. maybe I’ll go gluten free. For me it feels like a description of a healthy lifestyle. Not the opposite of alcoholic. (which I never considered myself). I agree with Belle: I don’t focus on the words, although I’ve shifted away from the S word. I only focus on the benefits that not consuming alcohol has given me. I focus on the life that has been revealed with the alcohol was removed from my life.

  • Another great and timely message, Belle. As usual.

    I was just on another site (The Truth About Alcohol) discussing the word “sober” and it’s negative associations. I am using it less and less, replacing it with “alcohol free.”

    It’s liberating to be free from alcohol. And I’m looking forward to my 3rd alcohol free summer.



    • I have been struggling with the words “sober” and “sobriety” as well. They do not sound fun. I’ve been thinking of my “not-drinking life.” I like “alcohol-free” too. BUT — to be real real real, maybe the reason I don’t like the words in these early days is because they make me seem like a person who has a drinking problem (LOL. My recoiling from the word because using it means I have a drinking problems makes no sense as here I am on a blog to help me with my drinking problem. So much doesn’t make sense right now — and so much also makes perfect sense.)

      • to focus on the word sober, is wolfie. just change the word ? call it ‘clear’ call it ‘good’ call it ‘i’m not fucking drinking today because that shit doesn’t suit me’. but don’t get into existential conversations about whether or not a ‘word’ is correct. just be sober. the rest is a distraction.

  • This past weekend (summer kick-off) was the 1st sober weekend at our family cabin since I was pregnant with my son (23 years ago)! It was wonderful!! I was out running at 7:00 am Sunday morning while everyone was sleeping. They were all supportive and proud of me and I was proud of myself. No shame this year mid-day because I knew I would soon start the cycle of drinking pretty much the rest of the day. I did take notice of your comment of the 8-1/2 month dip though… good to know! Thanks Belle! (Day 217)

  • This makes sense to me. I am eating clean and have been for a while, so when people ask me about my non-drinking status I simply say, “Alcohol doesn’t fit in with the clean eating thing.” Nobody can argue with that!