it’s not like i can head over to the spa from the oncology floor

This message was sent to subscribers by email september 18th.


from me:

if you’re keeping track: i went for a run this morning, which means i not only went outside but i had a shower AND got dressed in real clothing, not jammies. those are 3 achievements for the day. i’m still ‘tired’ but also it’s from working hard and jetlag and husband working hard. he usually picks up the slack if i am busy on projects, and now it’s me saying “would you like an egg salad sandwich served to you while you work?” things have really shifted in our little life, for the better, as mr.B works more, is occupied, evenings and weekends, is up and out of bed when the alarm rings the first time, is HAPPY. who is this guy? this painting project … boy i can’t tell you how much it has changed our lives. we re-negotiate who’ll do what. i’m here, i’ll do the laundry. he’s out at the art store at lunch time, he’ll pick up cream for coffee (don’t run out of coffee, ever). re-negotiating is an ongoing process, like sobriety. it’s not ‘there, i understand it, now it’s done’ – because things change day to day. more or less stress. yesterday he went to the post office twice! but you know, it’s seeing him smile that is so great. really great. and i’m thrilled. i’m also aware the sober life that i’ve built on being sober stops if i drink again. of course, i’ve always known this, just like you do – if we have a drink, we go back to day 1, and sometimes day 1 is quickly regained, and sometimes it is not, and we can’t tell which one we’ll get when we take the drink. i am not at risk of drinking any more than before, but there is perhaps settled-ness to the decision of being sober. with mr.B doing the Exit paintings, i feel accountable to him in some way. like i’m sober for both of us. just like you are sober for you AND for your family. they count on you. they want you to be available at 3 a.m. when the pump fails, when the dog pukes, when they’re stuck and need you to pick them up. your family wants you to be happy in your own skin, which lets you be encouraging to them, which helps you show up every day. for me, when mr.B comes home for lunch with hands looking like this … it really makes me feel so proud. so let me say thank you to you. again. for helping to make this happen. it really is a big deal.

you can also see the paint on his shorts, the fact that he wears his wedding ring on his right hand, AND my pink sober-socked foot on the right


from my inbox:

Flightplan (day 731): “Hi Belle-Just realized that yesterday marked 2 years of not drinking. That feels huge. I have had more than my share of crazy events that could have been an excuse to drink. But I haven’t.
Because my [very young] daughter has leukemia, people ask me all the time “what are you doing to take care of yourself?” Sometimes it’s a laughable question and it annoys the shit out of me. It’s not like I can head over to the spa from the oncology floor. But I have learned a lot from not drinking – self care not always the big things – it’s the little treats, it’s going to bed early, it’s having a good cry and calling a friend. Having some water or tea. It’s feeling all these awful feelings and not trying to drown them with booze.
Anyway, 2 years is exciting. 100 days seemed unreachable on day 2. But here I am. 731 days. Yeah me. And thank you.”


Girl on the Learn (penpal #406): “Holy shit, I’m actually rounding the bend towards day 100!  Doesn’t this just prove that it really does pay off to keep trying???  If there are others like me who have been reset like 50 times… I hope they know to keep trying.  Because you were RIGHT!!!  (Imagine that!). I really DO feel different than I did at 30 days. Light years different. I feel relaxed. I don’t really want to drink. I can feel ease in my mind and body while out at a restaurant and not be freaking out about wine the whole time. I can have dessert and not really feel guilty because I’m not busy getting drunk on wine too.  It’s amazing! … So glad I didn’t give up on myself.”


lifeasirockit: “Day 2. I haven’t slept yet. My body is screaming for something calming, and I can’t take anything. I try to sleep but my brain spins crazy out of control. See, I have this anxiety habit. It limits me from everything I want to be, to do and become. When I drink, it gets severe. Well, after drinking, that is. I have tried with a few doctors and psychologists, but they all want to give me medicine, which has really bad side effects. And then you came – with all the hope I’ve been looking for! You’re not only helping with my drinking problem, but with a feeling of being seen and heard. That someone in this “dark and careless” world actually cares. That somewhere out there actually has compassion. My miracle. Here in the desert no one cares, it’s a very selfish society, no community. You know from before that these first days are traumatic for me. But I’m here, with you and that’s going to save me from a huge breakdown. Thank you from the bottom of my heart <3″


This is a personalized painting. mr.B will add your choice of words: Exit, Sortie, Salida … Stay … Potential … Fuck You Wolfie. Or maybe you’d like your painting to say: freedom, enough, remember, or your date of last drink …

original paintings by mr.Belle here

link here



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