the price i have to pay

This message was sent to subscribers by email september 24th.


from me:

went for a run today, one of those things that i do for mental health, not for physical health. it doesn’t help me lose weight. i’m not training for anything. i’m not entering a race. i’m not trying to get faster. i’m happy being very slow because i don’t run to ‘get’ anywhere, except to better-ville. i run because it’s the fastest way i know to feel better. i need these sorts of things in my life. i’m often out of balance, emotionally. too sensitive, overtired, over-stimulated, bored, anxious. i run so that i can change my mood. i’ve figured out that the longer i run, the better (like 90 minutes is really great), but that 7 minutes is my minimum effective dose.

i have a toolbox of things that make me feel more settled: sober, enough sleep, run. those are my three key things. the rest of my life is build on top of those things. if i remove sleep and running, then i hate my life. well, hate is too strong a word. if i remove sleep and running then i lack motivation, i lack inspiration, i feel slodgy, trudging uphill in a snowstorm… if i slowly jog 10 minutes to the duckpond, say hi to everyone there, quack a little, turn around, shuffle home, i feel better for the whole entire day. and how many times did i run last week? zero. i wish i didn’t need to keep re-learning this lesson. i wish i could learn something once and have it be permanent and then move on. oh, you mean i have to re-learn, and that’s the human experience, because the alternative is to go to bed, play video games, plan to change the world through my inaction? ok, fine. i’ll keep re-learning. i’ve always said i was a life-long-learner. i didn’t factor in the re-learning. good thing i have accountability to help, someone external to me to say “you should go for a run” when I complain about my life. i’ve trained him to do it. i told him specifically what to do, and he does. i set it up. he didn’t magically read my mind. i told him. i’m in charge of how i feel. i get to set up the things that help me feel better.  


from my inbox:
(and speaking of snow…) 
ECP (day 348): “We had our first traces of snow yesterday. First day of fall. Our summer ended abruptly.”


PeggySue: “Hi Belle. Well I’ve been drinking, no embarrassing myself or falling out with my husband, just the pointless, thoughtless drinking that has become my way of life and I HATE it. I managed about 27 days, then thoughts about an upcoming trip next week with some girlfriends became overwhelming. I honestly didn’t know how on earth I was going to do it. I’m also going to NYC for the first time in November. We are flying first class and all I kept thinking was how miserable it was all going to be.
I am in a place now where I really want to stop, but I can’t see a way where I am ever going to be happy about it. I’ve read all of the books, I’ve had counselling, I’ve tried praying!!! but I can’t seem to make anything stick. What really frightens me is that I know, the more stopping and starting I do, it just gets more and more difficult. Am I a lost cause? I’ve been stopping and starting for about 4 years.
Recently when not drinking, I’ve loved my long days, filling them with things I love to do. I have been cooking more and doing my crochet. I’ve recently bought a horse, which I am enjoying so much. I became complacent, I stopped checking in with you and with Soberistas. When I do this it seems to give my head the space to self sabotage.
So, I go on vacation next Monday. It is pointless to commit to not drinking when I am there? I am going with 7 friends, who have talked non stop about the long boozy lunches we are going to have. I feel like I need to be more open about my not drinking. We have ‘Stoptober’ here in the UK as I’m sure you know. My current thinking is that if I get on board with this, tell everyone I am doing it. Then just carry it on. My friends have known me to not drink at many occasions. Amazingly, because of all of my stopping and starting I seem to have got a reputation as someone who can take it or leave it! ha ha what a joke!! We become quite good actors don’t we??”

me:  it’s true that it’s harder to stop and start than it is to stay stopped. you know that being sober suits you. you’ve tried drinking before. it’s not gonna work for you. so you can be sober for this vacation. you’ve drank through plenty of vacations, you can do one sober. just one. you email your friends in advance that you’re on medication and you can’t wait to see them and catch up on xx and yy, but that you won’t be drinking this time. and that you’re sure they’ll have enough to make up for you — or some other lame joke. you can say that your doctor recommended it, you can say hormones, you can say medication, you can say starting stoptober early. you can say that Dr. Belle suggested it would be a good idea.

PeggySue: “You are absolutely right. I keep choosing to drink, sometimes because simply I can!! It’s stupid to think over and over that this time it’s going to be different. I have drank every night since last Thursday. Your email about you having a toddler tantrum, that was me last Thursday. I was really tired (my biggest trigger) and it was an argument constantly all day in my head. I decided to give in and the result, surprise surprise, is exactly the same as all of the other times. Drinking does not work for me. End of, full stop. If living with a sometimes wistful feeling of missing a glass of xx or yy is the price I have to pay for enjoying getting up in the morning, filling my days with things I love doing instead of hiding away, loving myself in a way I never can whilst drinking, then it’s a small price to pay. I’m going to have to take this back to minute by minute, hour by hour if needs be. xx”


flora (day 45): “At the framers! The woman working on it told me she thought it was beautiful. Xx

me: oh my god, I just had to call him in here to see this! what a fabulous photo 🙂 I could nearly cry …

flora: “It’s making me very happy too! They were dying to know where I’d got it. I said, a friend’s husband, in Paris. How special, they said. 😊”


stay here. stay focussed. stay true to you. stay sober.
black and white paintings like this one are rare. 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