I’m Not The Only Odd Duck

This message was sent to subscribers by email october 3rd.


from me:

it is overcast and not freezing. i’m still wrapped in a blanket though, wearing my fuzzy socks. mrB is working today. so no wednesday-morning-pancake date for us ūüôĀ but i’m hosting a sober meetup this afternoon so there will be cake and coffee in my future. i really have nothing earth-shattering to say today. nothing witty or pithy. any big life lessons since yesterday? i learned that daytime baths are luxurious. i learned that getting up at 6 a.m. is fine unless you work for North America and live in Europe, which means the world is texting and messaging and click links and replying to requests for information at 9:30 p.m. my time (3:30 pm Eastern). so going to bed early isn’t always an option. ok, we could live in canada, but it’s france! not complaining. especially the stuff with mr.B’s paintings, it is all later in the day, Eastern time.
i’m so happy to have this new way of sending out sober supports, like physical art things, with messages. it’s weird how the physical stuff is more ‘real’ – ok that sentence sounds dumb, but it happened in July when i started sending out the OMM cards and was literally shocked at how many people were interested (over 300 by the time it was done). i kept asking why …
and i’m doing it again with the Exit paintings too. why are they so popular? what is it about them that is so special?
(that said, mr. whats-his-name was photographing paintings yesterday, and he was like ‘these are going out and they’ll be in someone’s home’ and i’m like ‘yeah, that’s the thing. it’s from you to me to them. and it’s all about exiting the shit. getting out and staying out.’ ok, that’s not exactly what i said, because, you know, i was speaking french.)¬†

i try lots of things. i make short audios and long audios and have free live radio shows and i send out postal mail. i send out twice a day sober emails. i reply individually to hundreds of sober penpals.
and then on a particularly desperate-marriage-france-working-permit-day, i posted one of mrb’s exit paintings, hidden in a folder in our bedroom, without telling him first, and now we’re here.
i keep saying thank you but it’s not enough. instead i’ll say CAKE. let’s all have cake, shall we? gluten free. all-fruit. i don’t care.
long may this continue. 

from my inbox:

B (day 2):¬†“Thanks for your [invitation to join¬†the¬†jumpstart/penpalling] – great to know that you have a spot open.¬†I have a few questions: If I sign up for the Basic jumpstart class, would it be possible to pay in 2 instalments (i.e. one this month and one next month). If I email you, normally how long does it take to receive a reply? I ask this¬†as Wolfie is devious and can mess with my good intentions.¬†Do you have a team working with you who reply on your behalf?¬†And my last (and silly) question – If I start receiving mails, am I expected to be sober from that day on? If I understand correctly, you would like us to keep a tab on how many days we have (I’m currently on Day 2).¬†Sorry for the Spanish inquistion 2018. Look forward to hearing from you.”

me:¬†hi there, I have a 3-payment plan for the lovely level, and there’s a 4-payment plan for kick-ass. I¬†generally reply to emails within 24 hrs, it depends on when you email and if I‚Äôm online. I process my emails once a day, so it‚Äôll be within a day. but could be right away ūüôā I‚Äôm offline on weekends. I do not have a team. this is one-on-one with me. even if I‚Äôm not online, your head doesn‚Äôt know that.¬†so in reaching out is how things change, even if I don‚Äôt reply instantly.¬†you don‚Äôt have to be sober right away, you can mess around and then start, even if you‚Äôve signed up and are listening to audios. I do keep track of your dates, but you decide when that begins. hugs


C (not yet a penpal):¬†“I‚Äôm hopeful this email is going to you …¬† I am 28 days without wine – 30 days has been my longest. I‚Äôm amazed I am doing this.¬†I love, love getting your emails once / twice day with your comments and those of others whom you might include. So often, you ‚Äúnail it‚ÄĚ and it gives me grace to know¬†I am not the only odd duck with such feelings. Your husband‚Äôs paintings are full of life and color; I picked this one with ‚Äúmerci‚ÄĚ as I realize it not only meant ‚Äėthank you‚Äô but also perhaps to have ‚Äėmercy‚Äô / compassion and forgiveness for myself during these days.¬†So thank you, Belle for all you do. Looking forward to seeing what the next 72 days will bring.”


lagoon:¬†“Hi,¬†I am sober (day 35).¬†I have loved your audios, emails and the letter from France.¬† My issue is the too frequent and shameless crap. You need to understand that people are constantly asking me for money.¬†It’s a huge burden. My husband told me that you would too, and you have.¬† I bought the starter thing, but maybe I need some other support that isn’t based on $.¬†I am sure there are lots of people you help.¬†Good for you.¬†I’m out.”

me:¬†sweet pea, 80% of what I offer is free. the daily emails, the¬†one minute messages… 20% of what I offer¬†is paid, but you never have to buy any of it if you don‚Äôt want to. I wrote more about this exact idea¬†here.¬†hugs from me

lagoon:¬†“Anyone on the ‘edge’¬†doesn’t want to see constant promos.¬†It makes you less credible, and you could be dealing with people in crisis mode.¬†I was a medical professional turned lawyer so I know a little about crisis. Once or twice a week to ask for stuff would be respectable.¬†I understand you should be paid for your time, but¬†all the good words and advice you give are¬†cheapened¬†by the constant solicitations. Just IMO.¬†Eighty percent may be free, but your emails end up pissing me off because it seems like a deluge of audios for 4 bucks.¬†Yuck.¬†I must have struck a nerve.¬†Sorry, I am being honest.”


L: “So ashamefully¬†I¬†had a relapse. I¬†got to over 600 days sober,¬†I¬†stopped counting, then I thought I could have a couple of drinks. Then Saturday night went out, free bar,¬†made a complete idiot of myself and can’t remember much more. Worst than that it was a work night out and¬†I¬†only went to get on with everyone as¬†I’m on maternity leave and¬†I¬†look like a mad woman who can’t handle her drink – I¬†have no off switch. Hopefully things will blow over but¬†I¬†feel¬†like an idiot.¬†I’m gutted¬†I¬†feel¬†terrible, ashamed and embarrassed.¬†I’ve been ignoring support and emails and sober tools.¬†I¬†want to be sober again so after the mother of Armageddon hangovers yesterday¬†I¬†have to say¬†I’m on day 2 and today.¬†Please reset my clock¬†I¬†feel¬†like a complete loser,¬†I’ve fallen out with my husband and¬†feel¬†like a fuck up and a failure.”

from me: reminder to listen to free audio about sober tools here.

new exit (salida) painting

if booze is an elevator that only goes down, you can get out and stay out. find the exit. or the salida!


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