driving on american freeways without GPS is not for the faint of heart

This message was sent to subscribers by email while i was travelling, september 6th.


from me:

thursday morning. breakfast is coffee from the dunkin’ donuts next door (didn’t know that styrofoam cups still exist!). on our way south from vermont yesterday, ended up going south-east instead and to bypass boston (holy frightful traffic, batman) we decided to stop in Providence, Rhode Island. it is, thus far, very cute and we had a good anniversary dinner last night of scallops (and pork chop for him).
driving on american freeways without GPS is not for the faint of heart. holy. driving anywhere without GPS … causes too much discussion, too many decisions to make, too much arguing in the front seat about who made the mistake that got us here.
without a plan, without a co-pilot, driving around a bit lost, on a very high-speed highway called life, without direction… yeah, that sounds like sobriety, doesn’t it. well, not you. you’re using tools and you’re not just winging it.
don’t make the mistake i did. I did the research (read about it), made notes (good student that i am), neglected to see the one crucial highway change that was required to keep us heading straight south, didn’t check where we were until we stopped for gas (boston seemed like the right direction, but it’s not NYC, and without a map … it SEEMED south. it wasn’t). things SEEM fine but they can be going way off track without you realizing it. without a guide, you’re going all over the place unnecessarily, without enough sleep, without enough direction. lost on the interstate.
so we had to decide to crash where we were after 6 hrs (nowhere near to our destination), or drive one more hour to somewhere cute, which we did, because to stop and give up where we were (Marlborough, Mass) was too depressing. to make a mistake and then give up? not possible, not even when tired.
what i did do, though, towards the end, and should have done earlier (fucking DUH) was to turn on data roaming on my european phone, pay the fucking charges, and find out where we were! i did do this, once in providence, to find a hotel, but could have done it in 5 minute increments many times during the day.

trying to get by with less?
sure, we all do it.
but WHY?

(now that we’re in providence, there’s a fucking simple 3 hr Amtrak train from here to NYC that husband may take, without me, while i lounge around in this hotel, in the grey rainy weather. i will get silence, he’ll get to see his concert. or maybe we’ll leave here and go to … cape cod?)

so while live/driving/sobriety never goes as planned, at least, not the first time you set out, you CAN make sure you have gas in your tank, sober supports, GPS, navigation, and someone to help BEFORE you get lost. better yet, have a coach, co-pilot in the front seat saying ‘turn here’.

my inbox, thursday morning:

Beate (day 2): “It not only makes total sense what you are saying [in Lesson #2 Sober Jumpstart], but you also (and most of all) deliver the content with such compassion and care that it makes me feel like being wrapped up in a nice fluffy blanket and given a big hug. I feel like I am totally safe with you! I could totally relate to the mindset of wanting to do it all at once. Quit the drink, run a marathon and eat a flawless diet of only whole, fresh, organic produce — and of course all prepared myself 🙂 In the past, this has often led to overwhelm for me, and also to a mindset of that if I could not keep up with my self-set high (and unattainable) standards, I would go to the other extreme and have wine and crap food to my heart’s content. Because after all, it did not matter any more, did it? But your audio somehow ‘gave me permission’ to not having to be perfect. As you said, it’s OK to have macaroni and cheese for a week. If that is what it takes to stick to my most important and paramount goal for now, i.e. get off booze, than it is not only totally OK to score less than 100% in the other department, but welcomed. Thank you for that! Just a mindset thing, I know, but being a perfectionist, who usually is very hard on herself, it felt wonderful to hear your words.” [update: she’s on day 18 today]


karin (day 89): “belle, same or more amounts of swearing please. thank you for being you. i was afraid at first when i found you that you either were or had become (since the early audios) more polished/sales-y and i am unbelievably grateful that you aren’t/hadn’t. your words are very useful: fuck wolfie, he’s an anus.”


professional sober woman (day 1): “Reset to day one. I’m sober today. I found an online sober resource. I cannot do this anymore. I cannot live like this anymore. This is not living. I will die if I drink again, that’s just how I have to see alcohol. I don’t even know how I got home. I’m so scared of myself right now.  If you pray, please pray for me today. I have never needed it more.”

psw (day 2): “I’m addicted to this drug and will drink it until I pass out, each and every time, regardless of how dangerous the situation is. I have no cards, no money and no booze. I’m just really sad that I am 34 years old and cannot travel unattended because I am a threat to myself … I’m sitting here, waiting for my coffee to brew. I could’ve died this weekend. My BAC was 4 times the legal limit. I’m scared of myself. My depression is bad and I need to get this shit sorted out. Therapy, AA, online blogging to other sober people, the whole works. There is no more fucking around, I will seriously drink myself to death if I don’t not deal with this problem once and for all … I will be home by 8:30, at the latest. I will eat and rest and get to bed by ten.”

me: you can eat often, too, before you’re hungry. you can email, often, before you think you need to. you can be kind to you, often, before you think you need it. hugs written from rest stop, last one in Vermont before we cross the border into … I don’t even know! eating tuna melt and blueberries, which we picked up in Burlington before we left. hour 1 of 4 done.

psw: “I love a good tuna melt. I can live a life without booze, just so long as I can keep eating tuna melts. xoxox. Thank you for being my support. I’m working hard and am going to quit being a narcissist, I need to do this. For my health. For my life.

psw (day 3, today): “I’m alive. I’m well. I’m up pretty early, but that’s normal for me … I am learning from my therapist how I cannot go this alone. I cannot go to someone’s house, expect to be a normal drinker for three days, and not end up destroying all my progress. I’m learning, but this time, I really do not want to start the journey at day 1 again, so no [bank] cards, for the rest of the year. I don’t care how frustrating it gets, I do not want them back, for any reason.”


Luckiest Jo: “No blueberries in France, you poor thing, I love blueberries. I like the paintings, it’s lovely that it’s a thing that you are enjoying doing together. For me the paintings probably have special powers like the jewellery, I think that because what you do is so transformative. I get a feeling that the physical stuff you send out from the sober store is transformative too hence the special powers. 🙂 Hugs”



original art – Exit the booze elevator – this is painting #178


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 love the metaphor with sobriety and driving ( without sat nav!) Sounds very familiar to me especially the feeling of trying to navigate life without the anaesthetic. It sometimes feels very scary but I guess nothing is easy that is worthwhile. And to drink because life feels scary seems like a stupid thing to do.
    And I suppose even though I don’t always know where I’m headed , at least I know it’s not with the continual feeling of alcohol dumbing down my senses and autonomy.