it is not a character flaw

This message was sent to subscribers by email while i was travelling at the beginning of september.


from me:
tuesday morning, it’s 8:45 a.m. I’ve been up since 6, two cups of instant coffee consumed. we’ve relocated to a new temporary space (in vermont), which is a lovely 3-bedroom home with an upstairs and a front porch where we can sit and drink coffee and watch the world go by. it’s still very warm, and the kettle here whistles, too. but it’s a nice shift after our last place. it’s also nice for me to now be in an english-speaking city for a change. i feel so ‘normal’ and can understand the jokes…

my inbox, tuesday morning:

Road to Soberville (day 663): “… a conversation I had with my dad the other evening that made me realize how far I’ve come. he was bemoaning an upcoming dry wedding — really at a loss for how the heck he’ll get through it without booze. I was that person, 100%. I told my dad that while I know he wouldn’t believe me, alcohol actually detracts from the fun. This discovery still blows my mind! There I was, all of those years drinking to enhance the fun. Now I know I was only enhancing the rate at which I was fading into twilight. All I have to do now is see a friend on their third drink and observe how their spark dims–the twinkle in their eye evaporates. that was me, too. and now? now I sparkle at all times, unless I’m tired and cranky and then I go to bed early and try for a better day the next day 🙂 or I eat some cookies 🙂 but I never fade to twilight. I stay here.”


Auntie Briggy: “Hi Belle – I didn’t make it through the weekend and have to leave for a week of drinking in beautiful [northeast united states]. I am spiritually trying to understand why I keep sabotaging what I want with [that man i’m not dating], and booze. I think I have a spiritual deficit. I’ll be back in touch when I can believe in a real day 1.”

me: it’s not a character flaw to be addicted to an addictive substance. there isn’t self-sabotage. there is addiction. it is helped with support external to you, medication, meetings, accountability. it’s not you doing this to you. this is booze doing this to you. I’m here. hugs


Lottie (day 35): “I love that you have strong boundaries around your weekends, holidays and creative time, Belle (sincerely, not sarcasm in case that comes across wrong in writing). I love people with good boundaries because (a) I don’t have to dance around them trying to figure out if I am pissing them off or not because I know they will be honest about what they want/need, not expect me to guess. And (b) people who HAVE good boundaries tend also RESPECT other people’s boundaries. I never learned that I was allowed to have boundaries. My kids are definitely learning it. Addicts, I think, tend to be very bad at boundaries, [we] don’t have them and [we tend not to] respect them. Low self respect. Anyway just my thoughts going wild on a Sunday.”


d: “I think part of the reason I feel connected to u is because when I signed up for your emails, you wrote back a personal ‘hello’, I just thought that was so special to do. No one does that, unless they think they have a chance to make money from you. You clearly did it because you care about people. Anyway I love Mr B’s art too. I am also an artist and I know how wonderful he must feel to be recognized and selling his ‘passions’. I wish you both love and peace and thanks for being the real deal. Hugs! Xo”


J: “Hi Belle, I just wanted (with apologies if it seems churlish) to say that I have found your emails helpful and, often, inspiring. However, I am wholly unimpressed by the way in which you are now using your profile and audience to create a market for your husband. It demeans you and your work.”



original art – Exit the booze elevator – this is painting #160


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