setting a trap for robbers

This message was sent to subscribers by email while i was still travelling.


from me:
thursday morning, it’s 6:40 a.m. here in montreal. i’m awake before mr.B so that I can sit quietly at the table in this dumpy apartment, have a look at my inbox, and drink instant coffee. the only sound is the whistling kettle on the gas stove and the random seagull outside. this rental apartment is in a ‘great’ location, if by great you mean on the strip where Frosh week has been happening as 18 year old university students living in dorms find they can drink legally for the first time in their lives (quebec unfortunately boasts the lowest legal drinking age in north america). even on monday night, there were hundreds of students (literally) standing waiting to get into the next building for some kind of pub crawl. the noise. the noise. until 4 am on a monday … so yeah, at 6 am today? it’s peaceful. remind me not to live directly on St-Laurent again should i ask …

I’d also like to share a cross-section of my inbox this morning, the ups and the downs. the ongoing support for mr.B’s Exit art project has been really lovely. at dinner last night, we were talking about how best to organize getting the completed paintings into the mail once we’re home. He can often find large sheets of heavy-duty cardboard at the car repair shop. Did you know that when you order a new windshield, it comes in a big box? if you catch them at the right time, they’ll save the boxes and he can lug them home (10 feet long, 4 feet tall), across sidewalks, single-file on the sidewalk, up the winding stairs in our apartment building, and then he trims off the sides and ends, and then cuts them to size, stacking the tall remaining pieces neatly (not so much) behind our bedroom door.

Last night at dinner, we were brainstorming the other locations near our apartment in paris where he could get this kind of industrial cardboard, including the appliance store (especially the tall fridge boxes). walking with huge sheets of ‘carton’ is hard. he can’t take the metro. he can’t do it when it’s raining (or too windy). and while he could BUY cardboard, he’s trying to be scrappy about things like — cardboard. to mail 40 paintings. each painting needs 3 segments (one piece of cardboard on each side, and an extra for rigidity reinforcement).

ok, here’s some of my inbox. literally. today.

Tom: “Seems like a strange combination of words. However, I love the analogy of booze giving tunnel vision. Very true!  All you do is anticipate the next next time you can drink. BUT, it also encourages you to be creative to find the next time to drink. Oh boy, I’m on vacation; oh boy, there’s a bar in the airport; hot dog, a liquor store is only a two minute walk away! I wouldn’t ordinarily drink at the farmers market, but what the heck, there’s the booth and everyone else has a beer!  You can finally buy an ice cold craft beer at the state fair-it’s about time they changed that policy-awesome!!!! There’s NOTHING awesome about any of it. It’s nauseating. The booze corporations are intentionally trying to derail our sober momentum trains! Desperately trying to keep us addicted in the interest of profits. I don’t know how it is in other places around the world, but here in America the addiction counseling services commercials are as numerous as the booze commercials. That is insane!!! Does anyone else see the irony in that??? It’s crazy!!! But I digress, hope your having a great vacation Belle!!”


Flora (day 20): “Have woken feeling down in the dumps. Had almost ten hours sleep, have a day off.. there is no reason for this. And Wolfie goes: ‘yeah life is meh now you don’t do drinking.’ I’m going to slam a black coffee and go for a run. Fill the fridge with nutritious food. Tidy some more, while listening to audios and stories. Move this shit along. My sober treat today? I think I’ll find myself some beautiful flowers. 🌷”


J: “Pleased to say day 82 and birthday day for me – 54 today!! I have been sober with a few restarts for 13 months and your work has helped maintain the sober momentum! Your bracket and 100 day challenge has inspired me and I hope to never return to poo! I would like to reward myself at day 100 with one of mr B’s paintings – how do I order one they all seem sold – can I commission one!!? I like them all really and can wait  but I seem to be pipped at the post by others !! Love from york in the uk.”

me: hi you. happy sober birthday. what a gift that is! hooray for you 🙂 for the paintings, it’s probably best to be on the notification list to get an email each time a new one is posted (couple of times a day). it’s just a short one-line notification email. then you can go in and scoop up the one you want right after it’s posted. there are new ones coming every day. sometimes more than once a day, sometimes less. depends on the day. he’s not doing commissions at the moment, but if you give me a sense of the colours you’d like, I’ll request that they’re added to the line-up of ideas he’s working through! someone requested more blues/greens, for example, and so he’s doing some more of those … the Art Notification list is here > … hugs from me


Sobriety Unlocked: “Today was back to normal, in that the voice in my head was silent again. My kids, though? 🙂 one set a trap for “robbers” by lining up a row of thumbtacks on a stair. He “caught” another son. After hearing about the puncture wound, the doctor wanted to update the tetanus vaccination, so that was a fun addition to a crazy afternoon. But, then I took them to the reservoir to play with friends in the water and they managed to do all the prep work AND carry all their own stuff to the “beach.”  So exciting! And it made surviving the rather overwhelming dinnertime after. Now, they are all still awake (10:19 pm). I don’t know how they do it. I’m exhausted. Anyway, intense, but good day.”


TJS (day 18): “I got damp eyes today while reading your thank you emails. I realized that it bothered me that i feel like it’s 2 years [of sobriety] gone. I can’t say anymore–i haven’t had a drink in 2 years. When you say “well I haven’t had a drink in 2 years, except for that time” it’s just not the same. I’m bummed about it. I put on my bracelet that I had made as a treat that has my initials on one side and the date of 8/15/16 on the inside and I felt it. The strength of “no”. And it occurred to me that perhaps when someone falters or try’s booze again just to see if they like it. That it’s hard to get back to saying “I don’t drink” because we said that. And we said it enough that people thought of not drinking as part of our identity…..then we did and now it feels inauthentic. And it’s hard to explain.”

me: and it’s hard to begin again. our brains are complicated places. the sober momentum thing is a real thing, not to be discounted. so you have 18 days now. that is also a thing. you’ve learned that wolfie will lie to you and tell you that one drink is fine… it isn’t. cuz it sucks. lesson learned. no more day 1s. onwards.


original art – Exit the booze elevator – this is painting #150


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