go back to the last place you were successful

This message was sent to subscribers by email while i was travelling, september 9th.


from me:

on our second last morning, we are in vermont again. i’ve developed a sober (life) philosophy that says: if things start to derail, go back to the last place you were successful and build on that. what were you doing before when you felt good? what supports, what was around you. do those things again and add on from there.
so saturday morning we woke in new haven ct, still far from the airport where we fly on monday. stay there another night as anticipated and drive 6 hrs home on the last day? give up and go straight home on saturday? I wasn’t ready for the adventure to be over. didn’t want to admit that the road trip was kind of a bust… so i said to whats-his-name, “i want to go to King Arthur Flour” and he’s like “is it a factory?” and i’m like, they have a bakery and a store.
and so we left connecticut and drove straight north, 3 hrs, on an easy highway, on a saturday with no traffic. compare that to what we tried to do earlier heading south mid-week. no comparison. when you know where you’re going, and why … yikes. so much easier.
king arthur flour was lovely. spoke to a baking advisor about powered vermont cheddar cheese and its uses, had lunch (turkey club, caesar salad, i love that in N.A. we can get half sandwich meals, france needs to do this). then we drove 1.25 more hrs to burlington. checked into a really large, discounted for cold weekend, guitar player in the lobby hotel, and slept like logs. this morning, we have to decide again: go back to montreal today (2 hrs) to be there for our flight tomorrow night, OR stay in vermont as long as possible. we’ll decide after breakfast.

my inbox this morning:

LT: “Dear Belle, I’m lurking. Loving every email I get. When I open my inbox and see you’ve written us something, I get so excited, it’s like hearing from a new friend I hope to get to know better. I am not yet financially free to sign up for the penpal for a year program, but soon, I hope!! I start a new job Monday. Until then, I’m extremely thankful for what you send out. I’m loving your take on sobriety. This is the first time I’ve ever heard someone talk like you about recovery, and it’s so refreshing. It’s the first time I’ve ever felt like I might be able to really do this. I love when you include excerpts from the emails you receive. I find myself saying so often, “Me too.” Anyway, thanks for everything. Blessings on your travels. And bless you for doing this work.”


Reenster (day 9): “I love road trips! They are the best because nothing ever goes as planned!  It reminds me of life and teaches me to be flexible and to adapt to new situations as they come up. But if I’m drinking it doesn’t work as I get paranoid and fixated on the booze. So I just want to stay home and hibernate. Another reason to stay off the booze elevator!! Happy Travels!”


Gaz: “Hi Belle, absolutely love these holiday emails.☺ It sort of makes you feel more real instead of a sober guru. Thanks — for helping me get my life back. Still doing the sober solstice.”


Luckiest Jo (day 1): “Date night last night which I fucked up in terms of planning and ended up drinking. We planned a sober activity (movie) but we had left the pooch on his own quite a lot so we went to the pictures, and then couldn’t go for food as we didn’t feel it was fair [to leave dog home alone]. So travelling home at 6.45 pm, it was date night, didn’t want to go home and just watch football [soccer] … didn’t feel I could be grumpy because of not drinking, or go to bed because it was date night, and son at Mom’s, so I bought wine. Need more planning, so if we go out [next time], we do it later, maybe something I have to be sober for, say if I’m driving. But also have something planned after I drop my son off so Wolfie isn’t shouting at me. Or I cancel date night for 3 months. I don’t know. Anyway please don’t give me a hard time (not that you do normally but it’s another reset). I will work it out.  Enjoying your tales of travels.”


Beachluvin Annie: “For the many of us who find AA to be helpful I don’t understand why you share the negative opinion emails (particularly at 160 days sober)… In 10 years AA has showed me ways to take action every day to not drink for a 24 hour period … our book Alcoholic Anonymous states that our way is not the ONLY way and our hats are off to the man/woman who can drink normally … I never dis ‘your way’ of helping people abstain from alcohol to my AA friends, and I often tell my sponsees, they need to ‘try different’, use more sober supports.  I’m only asking you show a positive opinion of AA and how it can be used in conjunction with ‘your program’.”


Step 1 Exit  •  Step 2 Stay Focussed  •  Step 3 “I Have Potential Because I’m Sober”

original art – potential – this is painting #188


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 read a lot of stuff you include that is negative towards A.A.
    From my perspective it feels like you always encourage extra supports, including meetings.
    I guess we are all different. I still have people who ask after me in A.A. and I stopped going about 8 years ago. I met some lovely people; for me it didn’t help me stop drinking at the time.
    I also find there isn’t much alternative support in my area other than A.A. so I guess it’s about sharing all the different support available.
    And from my experience AA groups vary so much just in my area so I imagine it’s a different experience throughout the world. I was always advised to focus on the similarities not the differences.
    And I love the thought of being able to wake up and just drive wherever- it sounds like you had such an adventure!
    ( even though I suppose it’s a while ago now)