our heads discourage us from asking for encouragement or help

from my inbox:

Anonymous: “I am trying to figure out whether to sign up to your support or not which includes the 2 calls – it’s a lot of money in one go especially at Christmas! i don’t have support – on day 8 (have done 83 days at start of the year … this is now my focus as i realise this is what’s holding me back! i have bought about 6 of your podcasts and very much enjoyed them [thumbs up]. 
   anything you can add about your support and how it’s helped people?”

me:  Hi there, well of course support looks differently for everyone. for me, what I needed was a sense of feeling ‘heard’ and that someone else could say if what I was experiencing was normal (or concerning) and a lot of the time I just wanted to know if it’d all be “OK” …
   if you’ve been following my emails for awhile, you’ll see the bits I share from some of my penpals. there are some people who sign up with me who go on to do really well — and as you can imagine, there are some people who sign up who don’t listen to the audios and don’t reply to emails  — and everything in between. the thing is, the support is here. the challenge then is usually in whether or not you want to reach out for it and use it. our heads often discourage us from asking for any kind of encouragement or help. even when it’s out there, and all we have to do is ask.
   hugs from me


How else i could have answered Anonymous’s email above?

Moi (day 231): “To Anonymous — if you knew you would be happily sober in a year, you would do it. If you paid for it and nothing would be different, then you wouldn’t. So you really want a guarantee — exchanging money for an outcome. It doesn’t work that way. Doing more, doing different (to quote Belle) is a tool (not a guarantee), to help get you where you want to go. It’s not the tool, not the guarantee. It’s all of it. Work with what you have — if you don’t have the money for the package, it’s not failure, you use everything here you can without money. For me, not wanting to spend the money was really me saying I wasn’t ready to avail myself the tool, the help.”

A: “Belle, you didn’t mention in your reply that you accept a payment plan, that might have been helpful for her.  You might have referred to her previous 83 days sober and that showed her she know what it looks like from the other side and how much better it is for her.”

Toe: “Anonymous is kind of like me probably and lurks a bit. I know asking for more help is probably (in the long run) so much easier than day one over and over.”

Tom: “What could be added is that you could tell her to keep in constant contact, regardless of how strong she feels today.  The strength could become misery in an instant; one small trigger can make you go from euphoria and confidence to misery and torture.  Especially early on, these sudden shifts can be shocking and depressing. They will seem to last all day, but slowly (painfully sometimes) will get shorter in duration. One day you realize “hey, Belle’s right, the good won out on the misery today.” Knowing that this may happen allows you to prepare for when, and if, it does. Constantly building a solid toolbox. Changing your approach. Trying new things, yet relying on the foundations of support. For me, knowing one drink was too much, and all of it was never enough AND the alcohol was causing the misery, not relieving it, were my go-to thoughts to push past the dark clouds. Never rest on your laurels. Booze thrives on that and lies in wait. Wolfie is a patient and tricky bastard.”

ladybug11 (day 16): “I would have told anonymous to weigh the pros and cons of the phone calls. If he or she really thought they’d be effective but couldn’t afford it, I’d say to ask someone to give them the extra money towards the calls as a Christmas present. The other rationalization would be to think about how much they spend on alcohol and weigh that against the extra cost of the phone calls. When I was thinking about joining the pen pal program, I was worried about affording the payments, but then realized I was spending $50 a week on alcohol. If the program helped me not drink, it would pay for itself with money left over :)”

ShelT (day 174): “Dear anonymous. Although your question was about how the support has helped others, what you’re really asking, I assume, is if it’s going to help YOU. Or perhaps the question is, “I know it will help but is it necessary? Can I succeed by doing it with less structure and support?” I think that’s something we each have to answer for ourselves. when we try drinking only 2 drinks or just drinking on the weekends and it doesn’t work, we try something different. Belle has lots of different things you can try here. Emailing, treats, radical self care, there are x number of things. One option is calls…”

ckelly (day 10): “Belle, you could say: ‘Joining my jumpstart class and becoming a penpal often times give people the accountability and structure they need to get started, gain momentum, and not feel so alone. This can be part of your toolbox. Your head will tell you it’s too much money or you don’t have the time. That’s just wolfie trying to keep you drinking and you don’t want that. I know you want to stop drinking because you are here writing me’.”

jenwithoutwine (day 351): “I would tell anonymous about the free one minute messages. She likes audios and is concerned about money. And there’s tons of great stuff in there.” 

minaminb (day 206): “One thing about the money: sometimes making a financial commitment switches something else in our brains. Paying for something makes us feel more committed to it.”

Daybird (day 1760): “All I can say is when I was around 180 days sober on my own the itch to drink was all I could think about until I found your website and your supported words which has kept me sober for almost 5 years. Going back to day one is not an option for me. I was not a casual drinker and glad I stand on my own two feet again. Thanks again and keep up your good work and word for those who want it.”


exit the booze elevator. it’s time. this painting is on the original art page here > link

original art 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