You may hear this in your head: “I don’t have a problem like those other people.” That’s part of what our brain does. It says: “I’m not as bad as them. I’m different from them. She does this, where I do that.” When the reality is — and you know what I’m going to say, right? you know me … . — the reality is that it doesn’t matter how much you drink. What matters is how it makes you feel. How you think about it all the time. How you wish you drank less. How you wish you never thought about drinking. Gee, I named by blog Tired of Thinking About Drinking for a reason. I wanted the thinking about drinking to stop. And it turns out the way to get that to happen is to not have any. So when your brain acts up with the idea of “I’m not as bad as her, that thing happened to him, it didn’t happen to me,” you’re supposed to add the word YET. “That hasn’t happened to me yet. I haven’t had those repercussions yet. And if I stop drinking now They will never happen.”
new painting posted, with at least one exit sign (in case you need good visual reminders)
So I have a hard question for you today, that you’re going to think about all day. Are you ready? What do you want to be when you grow up? What kind of person do you want to be when you’re a sober person? Who are you going to turn into? Where is this going to take you?
Like, who are you going to be as a sober person? What’s it going to feel like? And what’s on that long list of things that you wish you could do if only you had more time? (That you’re now going to do!)
What are the things you can only do because you’re sober? Shall we make a list? Feel proud of yourself. Sleep through the night. Spend less money. Consume fewer dumb calories. Be more patient.
Other things you can do when you’re sober? Oh, I don’t know, any other hobby or interest you might have, learn Italian, carve the headboard, bake the cake, raise the kids, blow the glass beads, paint the picture. What do you have on your list that you can only do if you’re sober?
new painting posted, with at least one exit sign (in case you need good visual reminders)
I was a guest on Peter King’s podcast, “The PK Experience,” where he interviews ‘impact players’ (!). And what a great host he was too, we talked for a long time, and he asked super thoughtful questions. This was recorded July 18, 2019. and yes this is my first official headshot … photo taken at the duckpond last weekend 🙂
I will also send a copy of this audio, in full, to podcast subscribers in the next couple of days.
have a listen and let me know if there’s a ‘bumper sticker’ quote in here, a one-liner, an aha moment. (doesn’t have to actually FIT on a bumper sticker, of course.)
I asked subscribers who are following along with the #dryJuly emails to send in an audio message, so I could make up this really lovely compilation of voices from all over the world. You’ll hear someone who sounds like you, from Canada, Germany, England, Australia, Colombia, and the US.
from me: when i originally thought about sending out little cards in the mail, I was like “ok maybe 20 sets.”
you know, every month for 6 months you’d get an envelope in the mail, and there’d be two cards in there, and a bonus photo.
but really, how many people would you expect might like this?
well i had no idea. I figured 20. Then it was 100.
as of today it’s 166! isn’t that just wacky?
the thing about these cards, though, is that it’s a one-time offer. you can’t join later, as I’ll be sending them out to everyone at once, and it’d be too confusing to have someone on month #1 and someone else on month #2. so we’ve gotta do it all at the same time.
which is now.
KM: “I love my photos from (+ of) Paris and I have them all stuck on my kitchen tiles – one for every month I’ve been free of drink – like a birthday card every month – congratulating me on my achievement, a positive message that makes me feel I’ve ‘earned’ the photo. Thank you for keeping me going.”
deadline is july 31st, so what is that, 5 days from now? 6? i can’t even count. what happened to july anyway? did i tell you that it’s 42C in paris this afternoon? (108F). so maybe the heat has affected my thinking slightly.
how it works Every month for 6 months you’ll get an envelope in the mail, and in that envelope will be two cards. Small messages (one-minute messages actually), transcribed, printed, and laminated. Just for you.
They will start here, in my office. I’ll feed the envelops, one by one, through the printer, and then the stamps go on (french stamps when i’m here, or mysterious foreign stamps if i’m travelling!)
And you? You’ll get one envelope in the mail, every month, for 6 months. You can do the math, it’s 6 x 2 cards = 12 cards. And I’ll adjust the timing each month, so you won’t know exactly when it’s coming …
limit: There is a limited number of envelopes i can process each month and so depending on how this goes, I may have to abruptly turn off the sales if the numbers are wacky large.
no late joining: Once i start to mail these, I can’t 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.
gift: Yes you can purchase these for someone else. Just fill in YOUR email address but THEIR mailing address.
Bonus for the first 200 people who sign up, i’ll include a little photo in your envelope.
P: “I keep the cards close! And, I appreciate the photo as much as I do the cards! I put my ‘photo-of-the-month’ on the kitchen cabinet door where I see it often. It causes me to pause. Reinforces my power to keep sober. Stay the course. Plus, I love to reply “..my friend in France..” when someone asks about it. I’m on day 331 today. Pretty proud of myself, too. It’s taken me many, many, years to “get it”. I was one that looked for, and was waiting for, that “special day” to mark my “Day 1”. Funny how it didn’t work out that way. It’s simple…a Saturday in August 2018. I relate to many of the messages you share from your pen pals. Your responses hit home, too. I nod in agreement and say, out loud, “I understand.” A lot. Thanks, Belle, I appreciate all you do. Take care, hugs from Ohio.”
A Free Willow (day 57): “I’m here. I’m alone for a few minutes. I clearly saw myself last year, crying on the balcony, listening to your podcast for the first time and thinking, ‘why does she have to say fuck all the time?’ I didn’t really like you. But now, you have a very special place in my heart. My wine night 50 some odd days ago bummed me out. But I was okay telling you to restart me. Because it was here is where I was able to come to grips with my problem and take steps to change it, last year. I will be sober my entire trip and every subsequent trip to my sweet little haven on the island.”
R: “Hmmm well, I think I may be missing something somewhere. I just don’t ‘get’ the art … lots of different stripes that my 2 year old could do… and people are buying them to be close the to the positivity you possess. I much prefer your bracelet … Hope is an optimistic state of mind that is based on an expectation of positive outcomes with respect to events and circumstances in one’s life or the world at large. As a verb, its definitions include: ‘expect with confidence’ and ‘to cherish a desire with anticipation’. I’d love to see strong and determined – Determined/Strong: ‘intent on, bent on, set on, dead set on, insistent on, fixed on, resolved on/to, firm about, committed to, hell-bent on; More single-minded about, obsessive about, obsessed with, fanatical about, fixated on…”
me: well it turns out that hope is in short supply. unfortunately being ‘determined’ isn’t enough to be sober. we have to be willing to take advice, be open to trying new things. not just ‘i’m determined that this is my last day 1’ but an opening of your head to a place where you can feel like ‘i’m open to trying new things, even if my head disagrees, because me doing it on my own has gotten me to here.’ hugs xo
SpecialC: “For about 20 years (seriously) I tried to fix the the ‘underlying problem’ [with my overdrinking]. I paid for all these online confidential courses, counselors, prescriptions, and kept using the ‘it’s ok if you slip up, you just keep trying and learning’ to my (DIS) advantage. (You can insert the DIS depending on whether you are listening to drunken Wolfie or your intelligent self). The only thing that finally worked for me was knowing that somebody was out there and I was going to tell you I was sober every day, and that it was going to suck but I was going to be okay, and you understood that, and cared because you had done it. That was the only way to prove to myself and the stupid drunk asshole Wolfie that drinking IS the problem and the cause of most troubles: anxiety, fear, lack of self respect, loss of memory (ok I still have memory issues due to age and overbooking myself but it’s better!), inability to communicate with loved ones … (And even though my memory is not as good due to AGE, it’s still better than when I was drinking. I remember where my key are, where I spent my money, etc. I know that I will remember turning 52 on Tuesday and celebrating 111 days sober!!!!!!”
D: “So I became homeless on Saturday and it’s all down to alcohol. Been to various services in the last two days and I now have a tent to stay in. Things are bad but your emails help more than you know. I’m still breathing. Things aren’t too bad yet.”
me: oh god, I’m sorry. this is so hard. I have lots of free resources and things on my site, can I send you a list of those? hugs from me
D: “Please do, salvation army gave me a tent but they didn’t give me poles with it so I’ll have to use it as a blanket :)”
me: oh shitty! you might have to rig something up 🙁 I’ll copy in the list of resources here …
D: “Thanks Belle!!! I’m ex-army so have made something quite easily 🙂 Not ideal but I’m still alive and I’m kicking, I’m not giving up and I’m going to get into [treatment] somehow!”
email from CAC (day 52): “Got my Hope painting today, wow it is amazing much better than I expected, I thought it would be nice but it has blown me away, the colours are fab and go so well in my “blue room”, I am going to have it framed but I don’t think I will put any glass in it. Many thanks for it, it is ace xxx.”
belle. selling hope since 2012. this is Hope #23. link.
Thrive Global is Arianna Huffington’s new online media venture.
Their focus is on unlocking human potential, avoiding burnout, getting enough sleep, and taking good care of you.
PollyAnna Brown is one of senior writers, and when she contacted me and asked if she could interview me about quitting drinking, i said yes (no kidding). then after we talked for an hour, she asked if we could talk again, and we did, for 2 more hours.
I really had no idea what would come of it. Press cycles and timeliness of things, I never know when (or if) something will occur.
OK, well today there’s this, published on Thrive Global just an hour ago! link
The Badge You’re Wearing That’s Sabotaging Your Life: The Shocking Truth About Overworking (& Other Compulsive Behaviors)
Sober Coach, Belle Robertson, is blowing three common myths about addiction wide open that have been keeping people like you stuck for far too long. If you’ve ever done something even though you knew it wasn’t a good idea or even if you didn’t really want to do it, pay attention …