life is the train, not the station

email from Katana (day 11):  “I listened to all the podcasts I have on repeat today.  I’m not even sure I was listening to what you were saying.  I just associate your voice with the fact I want to be sober and go from there.
I managed to clean out my entire desk today.  I’ve decided I don’t need one.  All it does is collect shit and then it pisses me off that it is always dirty.  I’m trying to stay away from things that piss me off.  To bad the toddlers don’t get that.
Anyway I’m sober.  Because of naps, chocolate, and repeating podcasts.  Thanks Belle.”


email from Smile 9 (day 89): “I listened to your interview with the yoga chap – I have to say I was quite surprised  at the interview and it’s left me thinking about the ‘feeling’ it left me with – thought I would share some of it. I felt he didn’t listen to you and had his own agenda. He sounded commercial and ‘slick’ – made me realise why your message and style for me is so successful, because you are exactly not like that – he was annoying and lightweight and didn’t sound genuinely interested in you or your message – it left me feeling quite empty – and appreciate you more! Of course it could have been a different live experience for you and I may be mistaken but it was quite a strange listen. I was on a train and I was thinking life is the train and not the station. The bottom line for me with this sober lark is making a commitment – any sort of commitment – but a big commitment – ties in with accountability – not just with the sober journey but life and making changes…”



“I’ll be there”

email from C (not yet a penpal):  “Last night I didn’t wake up in the middle of the night. I actually slept through until morning (it’s day 55). I simply can’t remember when I had a night’s sleep where I didn’t wake during the night. Can you believe how happy that makes me? ha!! My bargaining time was also around the 3 a.m. mark. I would pray to God, please God I don’t want to drink anymore, Help me to feel better, please don’t let me die. Really, there were times when I felt I had abused my body so badly that my heart might simply give up. The anxiety of it all was desperate. A desperate plea to help me get sober. My journey, I’m sorry to say, is a near on 30 year trek and yes I’m exhausted.
However, something is different this time. It may well be due to the sad news that my husband has been diagnosed with aggressive prostate cancer. I could easily attribute my soberness to such sober news and in part I’m sure it is. However, I’m reaching a birthday milestone at the end of the year too and I wanted to do something different, something life affirming. However, my husband’s diagnosis put a hold on any adventures I had in mind, quite rightly paling them into insignificance. But, once again, it was something you said about when you stop drinking everything you do is a new experience (can’t remember your exact quote, maybe that was exact!!). It inspired me to realise that this is exactly what I’m supposed to be doing this year. This is my life affirming adventure. I know I probably shouldn’t be getting ahead of myself, and I feel a bit of a jolt and a notable cringe as I even allow myself to think it is possible for me to be free of drink, let alone say it, but there it is, I’ve just said it. And so I think the difference is you, Belle. You know, I’ve never signed up or had any support whatsoever in previous sobriety times and there’s so many bits of advice or ways of looking at things that have helped me get to this stage. I know it’s early days, but I’ve never been sober for this long with this resolve before! The payback that I’m experiencing these last 55 days of sobriety is the sheer beauty of it all. The freedom of knowing that I can say “I’ll be there” or “I’ll do that” with no fear of hangovers getting in the way, resulting in false excuses (I mean lies) because I decided to get obliterated and so now I can no longer function properly and all I want to do is sleep. I have literally been chained to the booze shackles, imprisoned by my own free will … So with all that said, I want to thank you for sending your emails, long may they continue, they give me such strength. I’m sure you know how much you are helping so many people, but I just wanted to say thank you for how much you are helping me.”


the business of ‘FUW’

email from Topo Chico (day 28): “Arrived at new work location today. Jet lagged and exhausted, but not hungover. Yay. After paying for dinner last night, the waiter asked me if he could invite me to enjoy a digestif. I almost said yes, not knowing what he meant, but stopped short when he explained further:  alcohol. I said no thanks telling him that I was on business. That’s a solid excuse for respectable folks. (Yeah, I’m on business, the business of Fuck You Wolfie.)”


The Lucas Rockwood Show (i’m a guest on his yogabody podcast! not talking about yoga, clearly).

​I was recently on the Lucas Rockwood podcast, talking about quitting drinking and about the booze elevator that only goes down.

I'm also going to send out a copy of the full interview to ​podcast subscribers so that you'll have it in your library ​(episode 298) .

And you can listen to the entire audio here.

​Sober Podcast 298. ​Lucas Rockwood Show

feedback from some of Lucas's listeners:

R: "I listened to your interview on Lucas Rockwood's podcast and a lot of what you said really resonated with me. I remember in my college days taking a women's studies class and we discussed at length the amount of time women - young and old - spend on thinking about things like beauty - how to look better, how to lose weight, etc. And about how much mind space that takes up in our day to day lives and all the things that could occupy that space instead. And so when I heard you speaking about that same situation with drinking, it really got me thinking about how much time I really do think about drinking. It's totally insane! So, I thought I'd just give this a try, test it out, see how I feel. I've done sober months for the past several years (once a year) successfully but when I drink again, I tend to drink too much then suffer from lots of self-loathing for not being able to "drink responsibly." ... Anyway, I wanted to thank you for creating this space for people and to thank you for the kind personal message!"

N: "I heard your words on the Lucas Rockwood show and was 100% inspired ... I’ve been thinking of ‘cutting back’ and have been mentally preparing myself for the journey. Then I saw the email from Lucas about this podcast, thinking of quitting drinking. And you know, everything you said I could relate to. So before it was even done I was on your page! I listened to it yesterday (my time) and haven’t had a drop ... I look forward to your encouragement and honesty. You are a true inspiration, as you don’t sound like one of those fake people (!) who belittle others, which inevitably makes you want to drink! Thank you for sharing your story and experience with the world. I am on my way to a better life all together. Thank you thank you thank you!!!!!!!!"

L: "Hi Belle, I purchased your audio book yesterday and listened to the whole thing straight [6 hrs!]. It was just what I needed. Finally made sense that I actually was paying a price for my over drinking. I’m Day 2 and ready to feel healthy again. I heard you on the Yoga Body podcast and was so impressed with your story. Then a week later I really over drank and knew it was time to visit your website and get help. I never realized before how much I was discounting my habit because it wasn’t the "low bottom” story. But when you talk about the elevator of alcohol is always heading down it just clicked. Thank you, Thank you for sharing!"

Download the entire podcast episode here

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

​if alcohol is an elevator that only goes down, you can get off and stay off. original sober art thanks to mr.belle. this is Exit #360.

health? or MENTAL health?

This short message is extracted from a facebook live video, and i’m standing on the balcony outside my office, looking around. i talk about quitting drinking to feel better – and challenging the idea of whether we do it for our ‘health’, or for our ‘mental health’. if you’d like to see the full video, you can go here.

To listen to this short audio message, play below. nothing to download. just press play.

After you listen to this clip, you’ll want to go immediately to the podcast subscription page, look at the BONUS PHOTO I’m sending to new subscribers. TODAY IS THE LAST DAY FOR THIS BONUS PHOTO 🙂  the link is here >


this is painting #373 – Stay
Stay here, stay sober, stay focussed.
Stay true to you.
… sober art thanks to mr.belle

[Audio] Rowing

Ever want to quit something really badly, like soccer or piano or rowing, and have a coach/teacher reach out, pluck you from the darkness, and say “you’ll be fine”?

This is the subject of a brand new podcast (episode 295) sent to ​​podcast subscribers.

​In this audio, you'll hear me talk about ​​learning to row when I was 27 years old and how that relates to being sober. 

Which is to say, it’s about anxiety, the power of having someone tell you that you’re fine, and what good coaching can do for us.

​Here's a clip of the podcast.

Extract from ​Sober Podcast 295. ​Rowing

You can ​leave a comment below, ​and tell me: Do you have an experience with coaching in your life that was helpful? Or a time when someone could have done something to smoothen things out for you, but didn’t? 

​Download the ​podcast SP295 - Rowing

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

​If alcohol is an elevator that only goes down, then you can exit. Get off and stay off. Sober art thanks to my lovely husband, Mr.Belle 🙂

​This is painting #348.
more here >

reaching out is an act of bravery (… and fish with baked pasta)

from me: i crossed the street to the deli to pick up a take-out lunch today. they serve fish on fridays. i’d forgotten that, was hoping for roast chicken and got salmon with pesto sauce and baked pasta that had the nice crunchy corner bits from being overcooked.

i was ‘celebrating’ doing a hard thing. catering yesterday, more catering on sunday. i’m not so good at cooking for myself BUT i’m master at sloth, at not going outside when i don’t have to. i’m master at declaring it’s bedtime even when it’s 8:30 pm, to much eye-rolling of mr.belle.

the large thing i did this morning was i got over the mental hurdle required, when a doctor messaged and asked if this was the place she could get confidential support to quit drinking.
i told mr.belle on his way out the door this morning that i was nervous to answer her. he says “but you work one-on-one with doctors and therapists all the time.” and i’m like, yes, but this feels different. i recognize now that lots of people are reluctant to go to AA (for whatever reason), as I would have been. and what if someone finds out. and what if i have to tell my boss and then they tell someone else.

well ok, sure. it sometimes is required for us to speak with our HR person about quitting-drinking resources. of course, it happens. But as a tentative, nervous reaching out online, i just felt the weight of her question.

I could feel it in my stomach.

And then i had to honestly ask myself: Would I be sober today without anonymous support online? i don’t think so. if it was just me alone in my head? i just don’t think so.

because me and my ‘big brain’ didn’t keep me from drinking. my three university degrees weren’t an inoculation from over-drinking.

so i wrote and edited and wrote and edited and sent off the email to the doctor (therapist, counsellor, social worker, nurse, psychiatrist) and i have to acknowledge, again, how hard it is to reach out for help, of any kind — private / anonymous / confidential / intelligent — or not.

after, i recorded a facebook video about it, and took some live questions (about whether you should drink at the end of your 100 day sober trial, and do i feel pressure to stay sober since i’m penpals with you).  you can watch that video here.

so i celebrate hard things with friday fish and pasta. and i’ll ask my husband to get the groceries i need for catering on his way home for work. and we’ll have baked sausages and roast potatoes for dinner. and maybe green beans for good measure. and that’ll be enough for today.

i’m in awe of us. of you and me. we’re braver than we think. we’re reaching out for support. that is such a large and worthwhile thing.

love, me

the thing


the thing you’re looking for isn’t IN the thing you’re craving. the thing you want to come FROM alcohol isn’t IN alcohol.

To hear this message, play below. nothing to download. just press play.

After you listen to this clip, you’ll want to go immediately to the podcast subscription page, look at the BONUS PHOTO I’m sending to new subscribers, and be sure to sign today Friday March 15, 2019 … the link is here >

the thing isn’t in the thing


the thing you’re looking for isn’t IN the thing you’re craving. the thing you want to come FROM alcohol isn’t IN alcohol.

To hear this message, play below. nothing to download. just press play.


After you listen to this clip, you’ll want to go immediately to the podcast subscription page, look at the BONUS PHOTO I’m sending to new subscribers, and be sure to sign up before Friday March 15, 2019 … the link is here >


After you listen to the audio, you can tell me: have you ever had a similar feeling of ‘i want it. i want it’ like i talk about in this episode?

view from the dining room window monday afternoon … no leaves on the trees yet

fit in

from me:  Sometimes these little One Minute Messages are not as meditative as they should be. And sometimes they’re a rant. Today’s is a rant. It’s a one minute rant. Are you really so worried about fitting in, that you’re going to give up what’s best for you? Which is not drinking? Are you really so worried about fitting in with a group of over-drinkers, that you’re going to pour alcohol on your head even though you know it doesn’t suit you? You know it doesn’t give you a better life. You know it doesn’t make you feel better. You cannot be that desperate to fit in with people who don’t get it, who don’t get what it’s like to be you, who don’t know that you are a better person without booze. You do lots of things in your life that other people don’t do. Some people eat ice cream, some people don’t. Some people run marathons, some people don’t. Some people do archery, some people don’t. Some people drink, we don’t. You don’t. You don’t drink. [listen to this as an audio]

this is special edition painting
#362 “free” > link
free from the booze elevator. free from the noise in your head. a painting celebrating you.

painting 362
at the top of the page here > link



Where are they now?

British Columbia

lent is a good cover


Lent is the perfect cover to quit drinking. In this audio, I share some ways to work ‘i’m not drinking these days’ into the conversation.

To hear this message, play below. nothing to download. just press play.

If we had to make a bumper sticker out of ONE phrase in this audio, what would it be? I’ll pick the 11th new comment and you’ll get an audio bonus gift.



shameless commercial link.
french mints.
you need two packages,
one for home
and one for your bag.