alcoholic who cares

“Dear Belle,
Am I an alcoholic?”
Belle says
who cares.
OK, that’s not soothing enough
for a One Minute Message.
Let me say it again, more soothingly:
It doesn’t matter if you’re an alcoholic or not.
It doesn’t matter if you use that word.
It doesn’t matter if you like that word.
What matters, is if you feel better when you don’t drink.
What matters, is that when you don’t drink,
you sleep better,
you feel proud of yourself,
you have more money,
you consume fewer dumb calories,
you have better relationships,
you’re more available for possibilities and opportunities in the world.
And mostly, you learn to stop slamming your hand in the car door
and you learn other ways to make yourself feel better.
Like self-soothing things that actually work.
Because, you know, alcohol doesn’t actually work as self-soothing,
although wolfie will tell us that it does.
What’s the theme of this message today?
Sobriety, it’s not just for alcoholics anymore.

[listen to this message as an audio]


>> You can learn more about the Season 3 cards here <<

and if you missed season 1, season 2, or want to order both seasons 1 and 2, i’ll embed those links so that you’re not missing out.
previous seasons arrive all at once in one big batch.

update as of Monday july 22:

135 of the 300 sets have been claimed

Quit forever, or for now?

It seems like the words shouldn’t make a difference, but they do.

Do you quit drinking "forever"? or "for now"?

As a test, we compare quitting drinking to giving up cheese. Do it forever, or for now? And what happens when you frame it as ‘forever’?

I've posted the link below and the audio will be available for 24 hrs. You can click and listen in increments. Nothing to sign up for. Easy to access (free/anonymous).

Sober Podcast 317. Quit Forever, or For Now?

Question: After you listen to the audio, tell me how you think about this question. What kind of thinking works best for you? Post a comment below.

Download this podcast episode #317
Sign up for the podcast subscription
(1-2 new full-length audios each week, you can cancel whenever you like ... but you won't. more sober tools = good)

encouragement comes in the mail

sample set of cards from season 2

encouragement comes in the mail.

from me:
it was a year ago that Tom asked if i could make up some one-minute message cards that could go in his wallet, since he’s not the kind of guy to wear charm bracelets or gold jewelry. don’t know why not, but whatever.

i said sure, i can make up cards. and i figured i’d do maybe enough for 30 people. mail 2 cards a month for 6 months. call it a ‘season’ like a season of television.
“who wants season 1 of the OMM cards, I said, last july?”

i ordered 30 sets of cards and waited.

then they sold out in a couple of hours and i thought, wait, i don’t understand. little cards in the mail? something tangible and real in the world of digital? nice (old) stamps from France?

i ordered a few more, posted a few more messages, and within 3 weeks had sold ten times as many as i’d ever thought. ordered more envelopes. ordered more cards. thought about putting a bonus photo in the first couple of envelopes and ended up putting a photo in EVERY envelope.

after the six months was up, it was time for season 2. six more sets of cards to be mailed, bonus photo every month.

and again the demand far outstripped availability. it takes many hours to do even 300 sets per month, so i’ve had to limit it, just because of the practicalities of printing and mailing with my little fingers (and periodically, borrowed husband fingers).

now it’s time for season 3
and i’m making this the last season.
every month for 6 months you’ll get 2 new cards in the mail and a bonus photo. mailed directly to you. will arrive at random times. unpredictable, surprising, cheerful 🙂 maybe even with a bit of hope in each envelope? or is that too cheesy …

>> You can learn more about the Season 3 cards here <<

and if you missed season 1, season 2, or want to order both seasons 1 and 2, i’ll embed those links so that you’re not missing out.
previous seasons arrive all at once in one big batch.


update as of thurs july 18:

109 of the 300 sets have been claimed

remove the booze

email from Amylee on the day before she quit drinking: “What if my Wolfie is the real me?  What if wolfie isn’t one aspect of me I can control but rather the central control point?  How can something as basic as wolfie so consistently and easily override all of the facts and insights and intentions I know to be true until evening rolls around?? Is wolfie the real me??”

me: not true. not true that wolfie is you. you remove the booze and the voice stops. when you’re on day 60 you can ask this question again. for now, it’s actually wolfie speaking, saying the same things he says to everyone: “I’m different, I’m broken, I can’t do this, I’m a special fucked up human …” 
you’re not. remove the booze and this all stops …
the thinking is IN the alcohol.

[update: she’s on day 141 today]


this is exit painting #384. there’s an exit 384 on the highway in florida, heading to gainesville. yes, really. gains-ville. what do you gain by taking exit 384? you get to go to gainesville. you can’t make this shit up. maybe i’m the only one who finds this amusing 🙂
this is exit painting #384 on the site, here.

​painted by mr.belle, acrylic and ink on archival paper, 11.75″ x 16.75″; original art (not a print), only 1 available, signed and numbered on back. link.


little surprises

email from Noontylemon (day 5): “Sober 🙂 Also i had a great idea. When i was drunk i was always finding nasty little surprises (like sent messages in my mails to that i’d forgotten that made me cringe, text messages to exes, realising i must have taken out £40 from the cash machine since i found the receipt and no sign of the money nor what i spent it on, thinking i’d only drunk one bottle of wine and then finding a near empty second. etc etc).

Anyway!!! So i’ve started planting sober surprises about the place! Little encouraging notes to myself, a £5 note hidden in a pocket with the words ‘for a treat’ stuck on it, i even just put a recipe for an alcohol-free punch in the fridge! The trouble is that since i’m sober i haven’t forgotten where they are yet!!!! But it makes me smile to think i might discover them in a week’s time and how pleased i will be if i’m still sober. So much thanks.”


this Exit painting (by mr.belle) was chosen to be shown at the art show in Tennessee (May 2019). now it’s here in paris, ready to be mailed to you. but just before it leaves, i snuck in some oxygen bubbles, signs of life. effervescence. fireflies!

this is #381 >


link here >

a slippery-slopey bad idea

from Laure (day 62):

“Hi Belle – still doing great here zero cravings. But someone offered me a alcohol free beer. I didn’t take it but i wanted to have your thoughts. I never drink beer anyways but just curious. Let me know :)”

me:  happy day 62 to you 🙂 I personally don’t drink NA beer. here’s my quote from the book (is it douchey to quote from your own book?) on the subject:

What about non-alcoholic beer? I avoid fake beer, fake wine, and other non-alcoholic drinks or dealcoholized beverages. There is often a small percentage of alcohol in supposedly non-alcoholic drinks (often as much as 0.5%).

But most importantly, I don’t drink NA beverages because I do not want my brain to even think it’s having alcohol. I don’t want to fake-drink. I don’t even pour sparkling water into a wine glass, I use a regular juice glass.

I think mock-drinking in any form is a slippery-slopey bad idea. No fizzy fake champagne. No little bottles of apple juice that look like beer.

Let it be said that there are many people in the sober world who do consume NA drinks and they say that it is fine for them. And it may well be fine (for them). Me personally, I continue to err on the side of caution. I have spent time trying to get Wolfie to shut up, so I am not going to risk waking him up for the sake of a fake drink made to look like alcohol.

There are some situations or events where you are used to having wine, and if you replace the wine with something else, the absence is felt less (yes, I know, it’s not the same to have ginger ale when your brain wants wine, but it’s a partial replacement: it’s a beverage in a glass). You used to watch (and sleep through) a movie with wine in your hand. Now you can watch (and remember) a movie with tonic and lime. It’s not the wine that makes the movie better. You want the snuggle-cosy-alone-time that a movie brings. Turns out it doesn’t matter what’s in your glass. You drink lemonade, or imported mineral water, or tea.


Gift from me today:

listen to my short interview with Emma Barnett on BBC Radio ‘5 Live’



small notes about summer #1 & #2

small notes about summer #1

alcohol is not required. not for summer. not for winter. not for fridays. not for sunday afternoons. that you have a brain that thinks that drinking is a good idea, is wolfie. and you know what? wolfie will MAKE UP reasons, to make drinking seem like a good idea, including the weather. oh look it’s snowing? drink. oh look it’s summer? drink. all untrue. drinking is not required for any event. for any weather. for any day. when you hear from wolfie, you can remind him that he’s a bastard anus. tell him i said so. tell him i said that it gets easier as you go along, too. tell him that.


this painting is available at auction. opening bid $5.
three days to bid. short auction 🙂

small notes about summer #2

that voice in your head (wolfie) is an equal-opportunity offender. he has the ability to take any nice situation (beach, pool, bbq) and suggest it would be NICER if you poured alcohol on your head. As if adding an anaesthetic, mis-remembering the evening, tripping, bruising, crappy sleeping, and a hangover is any part of fun. You know what makes a pool, bbq, beach nicer? Being able to remember it. Waking up in the morning and feeling proud of yourself. That.

so for this painting, i figured i could write a secret message and then cover it up with paint …
you’ll know there’s an extra, private, meaning under there. just for you.

NOTE: The word ‘HOPE’ will be added to this painting tomorrow, after it is dry.

link > hope 19
size is 10″ x 10″ (25 cm x 25 cm)
acrylic on hand-cut 3 mm card
belle. selling hope since 2012

#dryJuly Day 4 – Audio

happy day 4 🙂
Dear you:
You don’t drink on July 4th. You don’t drink on Thursdays and this is just another Thursday.

Because pouring a depressant on your head isn’t fine. It’s not congruent with how you say you live your life. It’s not you taking care of you.

To hear this short audio message, press the blue button below. Nothing to download. Just press play.


Links mentioned:

audio podcast subscription >

sober party bingo > link

drinking thinking


Drinking-thinking is different from sober-thinking. and your drinking-thinking is likely going to OBJECT to ideas suggested that come from sober-thinking. You have to be open enough to try the new things, even when your head disagrees.

(When i relisten to this audio clip below, i feel like it’s the KEY to what i’ve been saying lately. maybe condensed and compressed in a way that i haven’t said it before. it sounds ‘new’ or something …)

To hear this short audio message, press the blue button below. nothing to download. just press play.

Question: Did you hear something in this today? post a comment.

[Audio] My Chat with Janey Lee Grace from “Alcohol Free Life”

​Last November when I was in London, Janey Lee Grace interviewed me for her 'not-yet-released' new podcast. Well now it's released 🙂 and I'm episode #13.

​We talk about ​sober coaching, what it's like to have a voice in your head that thinks that drinking is a good idea, and some tips on things that can help. 

​This podcast will also be sent out ​to podcast subscribers ​ as episode 302.

You can listen to the complete audio here.​ Our interview starts at about the 5 minute mark ...

​Sober Podcast 302. My Chat with ​Janey Lee Grace 

You can ​leave a comment below, anonymous is fine. If you've heard the entire audio, you can tell me if you heard anything new ​... To download the entire audio, you can use the link below.

Sign up for my ​podcast membership
(1-2 new full-length audios each ​week, you can cancel whenever you like ... but you won't. more sober tools = good)

​This is painting #373, Stay here, stay sober, stay focussed, stay here.