i’m afraid to drink, and i’m afraid not to

This message was sent to subscribers by email september 23rd.


from me:

sunday morning. and i think i’ll have an easy day today. read a book about writing, strategically lounge, frame it as self-care instead of sloth.
it’s a good thing my husband doesn’t care what happens on his birthday because yesterday our initial plans were rained out. then the secondary plans were sidetracked. then we decided to go for a walk (grey skies, rainy), stopped for terrible chinese food, and then just HAPPENED to be in little suburb town where they were having an english literature festival, and their keynote invited guest was JOHN IRVING. and so we walked over to city hall, took our free seats in a room that held 50 guests, and listened to him being interviewed for an hour and a bit for live radio.
and i say to husband, thats sort of random good luck, isn’t it. and he says that it seems to be happening to him more often these days.
and i said:
it’s because we’re in motion that opportunities come up. we were up, dressed, and out and found something. we were in progress already. we didn’t wait for john irving to show up at the door. we didn’t even hear of an invitation for this event. since i don’t watch tv, i had no real way of even knowing about this event at all.
how to find it? to be in motion. to be on the road. to take advantage of what comes up.
sobriety: being in motion, available to take advantage of what comes up.
so that’s how we spent his birthday: bad chinese, john irving, and then toast for dinner. he just brought me cereal (in bed, high cuisine!) and now i can hear the sweet sounds of boxes being cut to ship paintings.


from my inbox:

Peewit (day 629): “Ding dong belle, this is a most pertinent transcript. so, a few weeks ago you said something about renewing my penpaliness and my brain reacted with a nice long tidy list of NO NO NO. It went something like ‘I can’t possibly afford that it’s SO expensive and I’m doing really well at actually saving money lately so I’ve got saver momentum (!) and I’m not gonna fuck with that and anyway i had a year of coaching which I didn’t even need or make the most of and who the hell needs two years, people who didn’t get it the first time probably and that’s not me because Ive got no problems with sobriety it’s just everything else and a SOBER coach isn’t going to help with that blah blah’

And my heart went ‘oh god I’d LOVE that oh please let there be a way, I need more help. HELP!’

Fortunately the non wolfie part of my brain came up with a plan: ask The Husband if he’ll help pay for it. Because a month ago it was my birthday and I didn’t really want anything so ended up with zero gifts. And a feeling of having slightly short-changed myself. And so I asked (which was kinda hard for me) and he seems happy to help. HAPPY!!! Who knew?!

So if or when you’ve got a space and I’ve got the money sorted please can I have you back on my team??! Hugs 🤗 to youhoo, xxxxx”


mich2point0: “I was just thinking I wish I could write to belle but I can’t afford to pay for that. Today is another day one in a long long long list of Day 1s. So many good intentions- epically failed. I was sober for 90 days 4 years ago because after my DUI, I was required to have randomized drug testing for at least 90 days in order to keep my job. I also lost my drivers license for a year. This was pre Uber. It was hell. And now, here I am again, pretending that my life has not become unmanageable. Pretending that I’m not fucking up my sweet precious son- I’m a single mom. And I am tortured with shame. I am afraid to drink and afraid not to. When wolfie (and frankly his entire wolf pack) start knocking on my door- I don’t know what else to do. I truly don’t. A friends bother died on Wednesday, she found him blue, cold, and unresponsive from a heroine overdose, he was 26. I have been sobbing for days. Addiction is a motherfucker and I don’t know how to successfully kick mine. It feels like it’s too much and too hard to overcome. So why bother? I don’t know any other coping skills and I abhor AA. I’m lost, an untethered boat, being taken further and further out to sea. I need help.”

me: hi you. thanks for this. longer periods of time sober (hooray for 90 days) means that at least you know it’s better (and easier) to be sober than to listen to wolfie. it’s possible that you might find it easier to get some traction if you had a fraction more support. maybe you can add in some sober tools, so that the voice in your head can be reminded that you’re going to be OK. I could send some links to stuff on my site (free & paid). you can keep lurking, too. or you can reach out (hey you did that already …)
le hugs from me

m: “Thank you for answering… It really does feel more real to say all those things and have a witness to it. sober tools – I’m been trying to think of them. But my head just spins in circles and I make bad choices.. and the shame and regret. It’s debilitating. Paris. how devine”

me:  ok, well let me send you these idea for support links. here are some of the things on my site (free & paid) that might help provide you with some additional sober support. help to keep your sober car firmly in the middle of the lane.

  • read the blog in order starting from when I was on day 9 (it can be helpful to see that I had many very shitty days, and lots of times where I wanted to quit being sober. many.) https://gumroad.com/l/Year1-Blog ($19? i don’t remember the price, it’s less than $20)
  • listen to sober audios 2 x day, 10 minutes each time, morning and night.
  • as an introduction to me, I have recorded 11 episodes of a ‘behind the scenes story’ called ‘Duck Ponderings: Behind the Scenes with a Sober Girl,’ which includes the penpals and the sober support that I offer, and how I got here (FREE) https://gumroad.com/l/DuckPonderingsaudios
  • the sober jumpstart class to have a penpal for a year, and pick the one that comes with extra archived podcasts and calls with me. www.soberjumpstart.com
  • go to bed as early as possible (ok this isn’t a tool on my site, but it’s very important. hiding in bed is a good place to avoid overwhelm) (and it’s free!).
  • Realize that you have a voice in your head that lies to you, so support to be sober will likely be met with very LOUD resistance from wolfie, saying “that won’t work or me.’ You can try it anyway. Wolfie is a liar. free
  • my book has an appendix with 60 sober tools in it; most of us start off trying to quit drinking with only 3-4 tools. when really, there are a boatload of things we can try – www.100daysoberchallenge.com (get the one with audio, so you can listen while walking or put it on as you go to sleep and use it as meditation – it works. people fall asleep when I’m reading all the time. I’m not offended!)

OK. that’s a start. you can begin with these things and then see how you’re doing. if you need more ideas, I have more 🙂 hugs

m: “Holy fuck. I just started the audio and you have described me to a tee. And I’ve read tons of materials and know all the slogans. But you make me feel understood. Wow. I’m listening while at work. Hiding in my office.”


we remove the booze. we don’t add to existing problems.  then we open ourselves up to the potential that things can improve. even if it’s 1% a day, trending in the right direction. https://www.tiredofthinkingaboutdrinking.com/original-art/

this is a close-up of painting #226, 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