from my inbox:
AJ (day 116): “Belle, I got an email today from one of the sober organizations I subscribed to on sober attempt #1 last year (Club Soda or Hello Monday Morning, already can’t remember which). They shared a story about “successful moderation” … and against my gut, I clicked on the story …
It told the story of a woman who drank too much, then cut back … She just forced herself to drink less! … Wolfie woke up IMMEDIATELY, and said ”… You only tried moderation once, really …”
But as I read along in her story, what struck me next—and thank fuck this even managed to strike me in my article-reading-pity-party—was how much she had to *think about drinking* … I felt sorry for how hard she has to work to moderate. Then suddenly, like lightning, your ENTIRE PLATFORM made such clear sense on a different level than ever before—you…Belle…another real woman who exists in the world…got fucking tired of THINKING about drinking. I guess I always knew what you meant by that phrase, but this article about another woman who has set up her entire life around THINKING about drinking, analyzing her drinking, struggling against herself…it showed me the reverse side of your writings, the ugly opposite image. She took a path you *could* have chosen, after all…to struggle forever…but I’m gonna stay Team Belle on this one. It feels like such an easy choice. Compared to the alternative, being sober IS the “easy way out”…and then the Exit paintings made even more sense…I basically had like 30 straight minutes of my mind being blown. Sobriety IS sort of the easy way out?? Maybe not all days, but more and more, most days. (The bad days still suck lots, of course.)
And so more thought vomit…I’m not only sober from a substance now…I’m also mercifully abstaining from having to measure my wine in a measuring cup(that is NOT a cool thing to do at a party…plain tonic is way cooler than that!), and always feeling slighted…always wanting more…always making the same fucking hard decisions every day.
The poor woman in that story is an absolute slave to her obsessive alcohol measuring rituals and her thoughts, counting drinks, desires for more…clamping down on the mental and physical cravings just as they show their ugly faces after a couple drinks.
NO THANKS to that.
That said, when I know an article will likely shake me up, I probably should not open it…but I’m glad I did today… Thanks for reading that heap of thoughts…my next email will be much more respectfully concise…AJ”
[update: she’s on day 251 today]
Feedback from subscribers:
sobersparkles (day 197): “I wish these organisations would pull their head out of their proverbial and realise how irresponsible, and unhelpful, it is to share and email like that with their audience.”
me: it turns out the people running these organizations aren’t actually sober people 🙁
many thanks to the Exit paintings, to my husband, to you for offering to bring the paintings into your home. To say that the Exit paintings ‘saved’ us after a very bad run-in with the french visa people last year, would be the truth. someone asked mr.belle this direct question at the tennessee art show: did the paintings ‘save’ you? and he said yes.
this one can be personalized with whatever word you’d like. s’elever, grace, Exit.
The story about
“ measuring wine from a cup” brings back memories of a time where I tried ; fairly successfully it has to be said ( for about 6 weeks!) , to moderate.
I was attending a weekly meeting at our local “drug and alcohol” service; and they were suggesting a harm reduction approach…. so I gradually whittled myself down to about 5 units a night… and I would buy the only 500ml bottle of wine available and have to pour a precise amount down the sink before I drank it.
Looking back now I remember just how painstakingly mind consuming it was – and of course I wanted more… hence why it only lasted about 6 weeks.
I remember getting down to the point of 5 units a night and my recovery worker person saying “how well I was doing” and “isn’t that way better than having 10 units a night”… well yes I guess it is. But the mental obsession AND the nightly torture of trying not to go over my set limit was draining. When I tried to reduce further, I remember hitting this brick wall …. because-guess what- anything less than 5 units didn’t give me the buzz I craved or take the “edge off” my emotions.
So back up I went and decided I was a failure again.
Phew I’m so glad that I don’t even need to enter that battle anymore; it’s just not on my radar.. zero is way easier. Far less work and much less painful. What a relief that is!!!
I still get cravings; not the physical “I’m desperate “ kind of ones but the “ I haven’t looked after myself well today” and have pushed myself too hard. But even then , I know my aim is still total avoidance/abstinence.
So I guess I’ll say – absolutely totally agree…. not worth wasting precious time and effort in attempting moderation!