boundaries & control

Didi (day 46) says: “One thing I really battle with is worrying about what is my stuff and what is not – I spend my time worrying about trying to control, hold, sort out other people’s shit … Are we boozers just control freaks? … I remember hearing something you said – you’re right audio has a wonderful way of getting in our heads the way reading doesn’t! Thanks Belle.”

And so i’ve put together the “worry about your own shit” sober podcast bundle with 4 full audios and 2 tiny audios:

SP081 Control: relationship between drinking and control issues and anxiety; what are the things you can control, and the things that you can’

SP103 Boundaries: i’m doing this to take care of ME, you say. i’m learning how to say no

SP141 Can I drink again later? What to tell yourself when your brain acts up with ideas of future drinking

RA003 Who’s Going to Help Me? You know this feeling, it’s the parent who flaps around the house saying, I have to do everything myself. Why doesn’t anybody help me. And it’s the person who wants to make something for Christmas for her kids, but she starts it Christmas Eve, and she’s saying why isn’t anybody helping me, when everyone else has gone to bed.

~

OMM020 Boundaries: there are toxic people around you, there is shit-pouring. you need an umbrella. how do you get one? [clearly this one needs a language warning]

and a 2-minute clip from SP187 – Take Care of You (this is not the whole podcast, just an extract) – what does it mean to ‘take care of yourself’?

 


 

if alcohol is an elevator that only goes down, you can get off and stay off. artsober.com

how being sober is like making rhubarb muffins …

from me
yesterday i made rhubarb muffins that didn’t come out as i’d expected. I had a perfect vision in my mind: good texture sort of like a cupcake but loose like a muffin, sweet but not too sweet, tangy rhubarb, streusel topping.
i had a perfect vision in my mind of quitting drinking: i’d put the cork in the bottle, fill my days with knitting and triathlons and i’d finally defrost my freezer.
i was sort of winging the recipe for the muffins, i took my favourite way to do something that i already know (blueberry muffins) and thought i’ll just stick some rhubarb compote in the middle of the batter. you know, raw dough, rhubarb jammy stuff, more raw dough, then bake. that’ll work, right?
i was sort of winging my quitting drinking. i didn’t read up on it, i just tried to give it up. didn’t ask for help, didn’t see what anyone else had done. didn’t think about how quitting drinking without ACCOUNTABILITY was going to leave me alone in my head.
so i bake the muffins, they swell up in the pan (ok, that’s easy, i can put in less batter next time). and then the rhubarb starts to leak out. (ok, i can deal with that.)
so i tried to quit drinking, alone in my head, i got 5-7-9 days and then fell over. i was certain i wasn’t ‘addicted’ so why was it so hard to quit? oh you mean i have to ask someone for support and accountability. no thanks. i’d rather fall over again. really? no. but really?
the muffins come out of the oven. smell good. a bit leaky. fine. then i go to take one out of the pan.
and the top comes off.
the top of the muffin separates from the base.
why?
because there’s a layer of wet jam there, too thick, created layers, the top never stuck down.
does it sound like quitting drinking? are you tired of having your head come off?
are you tired of thinking about drinking?
get a cookbook, watch a video.
then check with an actual someone who’s done it before, see what they think will work.
then try that. [listen to this message as an audio]

 


 

Where are they now?

this painting available
{sold}
Paris
{sold} 
England
{sold}
New York
{sold} 
Ontario
{sold}
Iowa

click to see more sober / recovery art

 

Emergency Message. Read When Required.

Right this minute you feel like giving up. You feel like it’s not worth it, being sober isn’t going to make you feel any better, you feel like the craving is too strong. Right now you feel like giving up. There’s a voice in your head that tells you that drinking is a good idea (which it isn’t). You have a voice in your head that lies to you and tells you that some of your life problems will be fixed with alcohol (which is not true). In fact some of your life problems will be made worse with alcohol. I wanted to make something that you could read when you are right at a place where things seem particularly difficult, so I could talk some sense into you 🙂 So that I could reach out to you directly. But of course, what I realized is that because you’re here reading this, that means that you don’t want to drink. Because you are here looking for a sober tool to convince you that drinking is not a good idea. You come to this emergency, rescue email, the one with some clever title like “I’m about to drink right now, help,” and I’m going to say that I know that you don’t want to drink because you’re reading this. Because you stopped, and you clicked this message to open it, and you’re here reading it. This is you, listening to somebody telling you, “You know what? You maybe feel like drinking. You may. You may well feel like drinking. I suggest that you wait until tomorrow and see how you feel then. You don’t relapse on a fuck-it moment. You wait and make sure that you’re going to feel like this, that you really feel that this is a real, true, real, real feeling, really, really. Will you feel this way tomorrow? Probably not. And so it would be a terrible, shitty waste to drink today if you’re not going to feel like this tomorrow. So what I suggest Is that you go to tomorrow, and see how you feel then. But I also want to remind you that you being here tells me that you don’t want to drink. And I’ll support that. [listen to this as an audio]


there is a great 1-minute video of this painting at top of the page here.

Special Edition ‘Flag’ Painting

Special edition ‘flag’ painting – Way Out
ORIGINAL PAINTING #329

Welcome Lurkers (Part 1)

I received a series of emails from lurkers (silent readers, non-reacher-outers), and in this podcast I reply to a few of them with longer, detailed responses. 

The complete audio recording is over an hour long, and split into two parts​. ​In this extract from Part 1, I talk about the feeling of being determined on day 1 (or 10), and how that feeling of being determined isn’t enough to be long-term sober.

​​​Here's a clip where you can listen to a 3-minute extract from the podcast. ​To download the entire​ 25-minute audio from part 1, you can use the download link below.

extract from Sober Podcast 285. ​Welcome Lurkers Part 1

You can ​leave a comment below, anonymous is fine ... or send me an email.​

​Download ​SP285. Welcome Lurkers Part 1​

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)


​Journal 7, available at auction
​​here

the idea of one or two glasses is bullshit

email from P: “I have been around for a while now with the usual ups and downs. Although more recently the wolf has taken a new path. It really is like little red riding hood being fooled by a wolf in disguise. I have been convinced that if I have a drink late in the evening then I don’t have time to drink much. I take great pleasure in telling people I only have a glass or maybe two in the evening. But I don’t really. I now see the slippery slope and that i have been fooled yet again by that little old lady who smiles and says ‘just one dear’.

Why oh why did I not see the long snout and sharp teeth and ugly sneer? I have always thought little red riding hood must have been a blind idiot not to see what was going on right in front of her. But now I have more empathy.

Just like others, I have ignored advice … I just dropped all my tools and opened not one of your emails, apart from today!

I don’t feel at rock bottom like I have, I am not as far down the elevator as I have been but I can see which way I am heading.

I have suddenly noticed the wolf disguise and realised that it’s a really shit one. I am thinking about drinking, and i now know that the idea of one or two glasses is bullshit. Thanks for just having an email address that allows me to even tell this shit xx.”

 


Gift from me today:
listen to this short interview with Emma Barnett on BBC Radio ‘5 Live’


 

DEADLINE IS TODAY
for the One Minute Message Cards.


there will be no late joining: 
Once I start to mail these, I am not ​​able to add new people later. I’d be too confusing. Everyone gets the same thing every month. Which means we all start together. Now. Like today.

Yoda (day 1149): “There is something about acquiring something tangible that can be accessed without any electronic intervention, or any need to go to the other room or explain why you’re putting your headphones on, just some small nearly invisible talisman that keeps you tied to your own hope perhaps? My bracelet arrived the day after I came back from crazy beach vacation. Usually I get the mail, today Mr. Yoda did. He yelled up the stairs ‘hey, who is Belle Robertson from France?’ Since he knows little to nothing about you and I happened to be awake enough to think quickly I yelled back ‘the lady I get my bracelets from.’ He said ‘well, she loves you.’ Guess he read your note on the back.”

>> cards here <<

Every month for 6 months you’ll get an envelope in the mail, and in that envelope will be two cards AND one photo. Small messages (one-minute messages actually), transcribed, printed, and laminated. Just for you. And I’ll adjust the timing each month, so you won’t know exactly when it’s coming …​ go here and get one of the last sets.

madly off in all directions

So in Canada we have an expression, it’s called being madly off in all directions. And actually it probably has a British origin, but the premise is like this: Madly off in all directions means that your brain will ask you to do 100 things at once, and will LIE to you, and tell you they all have EQUAL importance. Madly off in all directions means you run this way, and that way, and this way, and that way, and you never really get anywhere. It looks like you’re doing stuff, but really, you’re just sort of running around like a chicken with its head cut off (which is another good expression). The madly off in all directions thing, though, can wind you up and make drinking seem like a good idea, if you buy into it. So this is when I talk about you NOT stating to make applesauce at 10:30 pm … If you have a brain that suggests that you begin a bunch of things and then drop them, and then begin some more things and then drop them, and then look like you’re busy, but not really—you can remember that wolfie likes to wind you up so that drinking might seem like a good idea, and that your job is to disengage from that. And to strive for underwhelm rather than overwhelm. [listen to this as an audio]

~

email from happygal (day 25): “For many months, I have wanted to move our treadmill from the garage (where it rarely gets used by me- because we live in FL and it’s typically hot as monkey nuts, plus it’s a GARAGE and, like, spiders and mosquitoes). So, this past week, in an uncharacteristically Happygal way, I PUSHED. I made my case and I pushed for what I wanted.
     The treadmill now has a home in our office near a large window! I used it today 🙂 In ADDITION, the framing store called that my Exit painting is ready. I asked my husband to pick it up while he ran errands. He said he would and then asked me what the painting was and I explained that this paining was done by an incredible artist in Paris and is personally meaningful to me because it represents letting go of things that are bad for me and being personally strong in my convictions (note that I didn’t mention alcohol yet, as I’m still in early sobriety). Husband asked where I want to hang it and I said, “Not sure, I’m thinking maybe a wall in my closet … Husband then said, “Why don’t we hang it in the office, since you will be in there more and we’ve moved things around – that way we can all see it, everyday?” Wonderful idea, husband, wonderful idea 🙂 hugs xo”

new years 2019 compilation audio

new years 2019

so i have a short audio with a collection of voices for you … people from all around the world, readers of my daily emails, sober folks (and sober hopefuls), everyone coming together to make a compiled, mosaic of good feelings 🙂 I think you’ll like it. it’ll make you smile. press play. see the big blue button? you can’t miss it. free. press play. it’ll start just like that!

 


you can get some more support, starting today 

I have a 5-part audio series to help with the beginning part of being sober
https://gum.co/exitaudios/sponsoredbydonations
$10 US (about £8 GBP)

In these audios, I talk about getting started, how to THINK about the idea of quitting drinking, advice on tools and supports, and we’ll talk about how to get ready to begin (and how to keep going if you’re already going).

If booze is an elevator that only goes down, it’s time to find the exit.

Exit → Exist [audios for lurkers, sober-curious, not sure sobriety is for you] > Sign up here.

huglets from me.me

 

you can listen to this radio interview

a few months ago I was interviewed on the radio in Australia (in Melbourne). the ‘green room’ where they make you wait before you go live, it actually had green painted walls.

we talked about sober things (of course) but also about how stories can help us feel not-so-alone. for today’s gift (day 28!), i wanted to share some of the transcript of the interview, AND I’ll put in a link below where you can PRESS PLAY and listen to the complete interview.

~

Transcript.

When I started the blog (tired of thinking about drinking) it’s because I knew that I couldn’t be sober on my own. I wanted to quit for a month — that was my original goal — and on my own, I could quit for 7 or 9 days, and then I would think: “well, drinking is everywhere, I’ll just drink, what’s the big deal.”

I started to read other sober blogs — I didn’t even know they existed  — and once I found one, I thought “this is really interesting, there are lots of other NORMAL people out there, who quit drinking, who don’t have particularly low bottoms, and they just decide that drinking doesn’t suit them …”


link to original sober art, thanks to mr.belle


this is ‘exit’ painting #286 here
that means that 285 (ish) other paintings have already been mailed out all over the world. if you don’t have one, you might need one. i’m just saying…

Christmas Audio

In this special Christmas edition of the podcast that i've just sent out to ​podcast subscribers, i talk about how to avoid getting too wound up, the things that children remember, and how to deal with attending a dinner where host is an over-drinker. 

Oh, and a good reminder, that needs to go on a t-shirt, which is: You don’t need to engage with every idiot.

I also mention Sober Party Bingo > use this link (the 10 rules for sober party bingo are about half-way down the post)

As a gift today, I am going to post the full 50 minute audio here, and leave it up until December 26th. You can begin to listen now, in 10 minute increments, even if you are not a podcast subscriber.

happy merry to you. may you have good food, good moods, and one gift that makes you smile. and a lot of sleep. and a treat for doing this sober thing. it's hard work. it's worth doing. it suits you.​

Audio will be available until December 26th. Listen now.​

[ link removed ]

​Bonus Sober Podcast C18. Christmas 2018​

You can ​leave a comment below, anonymous is fine, and tell me if there's anything that stands out for you ​​... To download the entire audio, you can use the link below.

​Download C18. ​Christmas 2018​

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)


​sober art thanks to mr.belle, this is painting #282 here.

is it everyone around you? or is it you?

Here’s what I know about the voice in our head that says
'Drink Now' 

It likes to make us focus on other people
And other people’s problems
Instead of ourselves
I can’t be sober because he isn’t
I can’t be sober because they aren’t

Whatever

I can’t be sober because my job is too hard
Because my husband still drinks
Because I have an autistic child
I can’t be sober because of other reasons
External to me

You’ve heard thoughts like this before
What you may not know is that
It’s all Wolfie
It’s all the voice that says
'Drink Now'
Distracting you
From you taking care of you
Which is the goal

So just for today
When you find yourself focussing on what someone else is or isn’t doing
Stop for a second and wonder
Is this Wolfie, winding me up
So that drinking will seem like a good idea?

Because if it is
Then you're on to his shit ...


 



link
this is 'exit' painting #276 here in chinese (mandarin)
(yes, the tree decorated now!)

AP: "this paitning ​​hopeful. Like the calm after the storm where the sun starts to peak through the clouds. It’s very calm and serene. The mandarin reminding me that I’m entering foreign territory ie being sober."

snickerdoodle: ​"​​​This one appeals to me more for whatever reason. What I see looking at this is restoration. Scraping off decades of layers of paint to find and restore the beauty of the original wood piece."

​Inspired: "I see the sun rising on a day where the clouds are lifting and the sky is clearing to a beautiful blue hue of hope."

tierrazul: ​"​In number 276 I actually see the person leaving the elevator - pretty cool."

newme50: "​I do see a peaceful beach, but it's not an "Up North" beach like I'm used to. It's more of a Miami Beach vibe with the turquoise and coral hues. The beaches we visit in Michigan have deep blue water, dark green pine trees and gray rocks alongside the sandy beaches. It's all beautiful to me though definitely a different feel about them."

TS: "276 looks like what I see when looking out a rainy window. Beyond the blur, our exit has always been there."

C: "​I see a calm Hawaiian daybreak where the sun is rising and the ocean is still a gentle blue against an even gentler blue sky and soft sand. A new beginning. A completely new view and fresh horizon. Exit the old. Seize the new. Step out of the habits of the past. Begin again."

Alana: "276 reminds me of my childhood on a sailboat or catamaran in the gulf of mexico, no phone or technology to keep me occupied, just me daydreaming, sleepy from the sun, watching the colors of the ocean shift from the sun and the waves."

~

​link to original sober art, here