a change of venue

a change of venue

from honestjoy: “I leave Monday for vacation. I hit 30 days while I’m there, but I’m having self doubt about my ability to not drink while 20 people around me are boozing it up from 9am to midnight. I know I have to change MY focus, but I’m worried I will say ‘f-it’ and drink.”

me: you can keep doing everything that you’re doing now. it’s just a change of venue. it’s not a change of you 🙂
you read sober stuff, you listen to audios, you email twice a day, you have a big sober treat every day and you say to yourself “this is my treat for being sober.” and you wake up every morning gloating that you’re not hung over. and you sleep better, walk more, rest more, read books, and generally marvel at your loveliness.

honestjoy: “My mantra will be, ‘it’s a change of venue, not a change of me.’ I love it!!! Thanks. My sober treat today was making two recipes that made my house smell awesome: chicken soup and plum cake. I also ate a few chocolate candies and did a spin class that made me sweaty and feel good. I had a LOT of sober treats, lol!”

~

shameless commercial link. in my october stock box from the jewelry designer there are a few more ‘potential’ bracelets in silver. i only order a few at a time. celebrate your potential. you have potential because you’re sober.

 

when you have cancer, wolfie can still yell at you.

email from Marie Louise (day 114): “Dear Belle, I am still here, I am still sober, and I am also not needing chemotherapy!! This is really good news, needed that. I have (yet) another appointment at hospital today to get a plan for radiation therapy and also a course of heavy-duty anti-hormone pill treatment, since the kind of cancer I have is the hormone-fueled one.
So I think I have been very very lucky and I am trying to be grateful.
Trying, because mostly, i just feel exhausted and completely stressed out. Whirlwind of thoughts in my head, will I be able to work during the coming weeks, should I just throw in the towel and take sick leave, what to do. Don’t sleep well, am utterly unproductive (not good at that). Going for long walks, that’s nice, but I cannot turn off the buzz in my head. So struggling somewhat.
Wolfie is still on my back, even though I have told him to fuck off many many times. I think this shows the reality of my coping mechanism with booze.
Exhaustion, stress and worries, and not having control over my life equates reaching for a drink. Arghhhh. I have been good with the treats, though, bought lovely new winter outfit, and going for a massage later today.
I really enjoyed your mails … they resonated with me so much … but also getting to know you a little better and sensing your frustration with life and being human and imperfect. So Thank You for sharing that … Sending a big hug. I am so glad you are there and doing what you are doing 🌸. Marie Louise”

 

 


sober inspired art, thanks to mr.belle
this is painting #527. Stay here. you’re sober now. stay here.
www.artsober.com


link

his drinking voice was too powerful

from me: a weird and busy morning. i had a special order catering thing (smell those cinnamon buns?), and i went for a run, and then the house was cleaned, and then we got a text that the apartment we’ve been to see twice has a new rental application on it, and we have to act fast! (well, either that, or they’re tired of us visiting the apartment but not sending in our application). so now i’m running around photocopying passports, copying tax returns, and scanning a copy of our current lease. in france you have to ‘qualify’ to rent an apartment; they won’t let you rent something that is too high for your salary (which is so smart), but it means you have to PROVE yourself. but also in france, they will find it very hard to evict someone for not paying their rent, so they have to err on the side of caution (!) in who they rent to. in our case, we’re no smoking, no children, and working at home so hopefully this makes us good tenants. and we’re canadians 🙂 everyone loves canadians 🙂 Also, mr.belle has his french visa meeting tomorrow so i’m photocopying for that too, his tax return, proof of having a place to live, proof of health care, proof of filing taxes… and the house smells like cinnamon still! i’ve done my penpal emails, it’s nearly 5 pm and the rental agent guy just texted me again to ask other random things, so hopefully he’s beefing up my application (since i’m not french, i don’t have all the normal french stuff that they ask for). fingers crossed for the best possible outcome. it’s either this or the next best thing. but i’m only open for best things.  i hereby declare, universe, that if it’s not this apartment, then there’d better be something else that is lovely, with a view of the eiffel tower, and how about top floor so there’s no neighbour noise? love, belle xo !!!!!!! (i keep trying to figure out if i should delete this whole paragraph. o well.)

~

from my inbox:

from G (day 271): “Good Morning Belle. As I enjoy the solitude of an early fall morning, I am contemplating the destructive power of addiction. My step-brother (owns 2 bars) is dying in a hospital about 6 hrs from me, because his drinking voice was too powerful. He did not have a drink for a year and his voice said his liver was healed enough to have a few. What a crock. Tomorrow I will travel to say my goodbyes. What a waste! A kind, generous man with a young family. The doctor has given him 1-10 days to live. He will go home by ambulance on Monday to sit on his deck one last time. The choice is real… I choose a hard sober weekend compared to a damaging drinking one. It’s all fun and games until it is not.”

and then she emailed again 24 hrs later:

“He lost his battle at 3 a.m. No longer will his drinking voice win.”

[update: she’s on day 290 today]

 


sober art thanks to mr.belle
www.artsober.com
This is painting #528 here.
(stay here, stay sober, stay true to you)


link

Sober for October (Day 11)

October Day 11

i have created a check-in space here for today. the goal of Sober for October is continuous days sober.

In the comments on the blog, you can say how many continuous days you’ve had so far in October … 3 or 8 or 10 working on today as the 11th continuous day? Only post this 🙂  Don’t post “new day 1 for the 18th time.” Don’t post “Day 366.”

Just post how many continuous days you’ve done in october. You’ll see this long list of people and it’s going to look so cool!

you can put in a screen name when it asks for your ‘name’. and email addresses are NOT displayed (EVER). i also approve every comment before it is posted 🙂 And i’ll edit out stuff that’s not related to the topic.

So you? It’s your turn now. Even if you’ve never posted something on a blog before 🙂 You can say how many continuous sober days you’ve had in October, and what’s the biggest thing you’ve realized so far in the past couple of weeks of doing this…

ok, i’ll start …

hugs, belle xo

 

~

sober art. thanks to mr.belle (this is painting #526, painted in vermont and is signed with VT on the back). You can choose the word or symbol that Mr. Belle puts on your painting. Like Stay or Exit or Freedom or maybe your soberversary date.
link > www.artsober.com

 

 

habit. pain. subconscious.

i’ve been asking you to describe what the the ‘drink now’ (wolfie) voice is? I’m going to send out emails ALL about wolfie this week … what it is, how to get rid of it.

here are a few more messages from my inbox …

What is wolfie?

1.      I think we carry around a lot of pain and a lot of self critical voices in our head. We want it to stop sometimes and stop the voices. So we try and numb it out temporarily with drink. But the voices are still there and can get even more distorted <think drunken rows and saying things you normally wouldn’t>. The irony being that if you stop the thing you’re doing to make them stop they will dampen down a lot of their own accord.

2.     Habit. A pathway in the brain that’s been kept open for so long it doesn’t want or know how to close.  We have to help it to close by rerouting the thoughts with sober support.

3.     My ‘Drink Now’ voice is a subconscious programme that has been activated by a cue. This programme is the result of years of doing the same thing in response to a stress be it good or bad. So this bit of road is boring/hard as usual so I will go to my auto pilot, cruise control in my car.
It’s all of these things, right? the voice in our head that thinks that drinking is a good idea. And it’s a part of our head that does NOT respond to logic.

do you know why i call it ‘wolfie’?

hugs, me xo

 


exit painting (mandarin).
new (better) photo today. solid grey skies do have one benefit… makes picture-taking easier.
sober art thanks to mr.belle here > www.artsober.com

link > www.artsober.com

sober for october

i know how you feel about having a magic sober start date.
i know that wolfie tells you there’s a right day to begin.
after the vacation, after the horse race, after the surgery.
i know it doesn’t seem like it, but wolfie will INVENT imaginary reasons why you should wait.

when really, you start now, you feel better now.

but since i KNOW you’re prone to magical thinking that the date matters, let me present this.
You can do ‘Sober for October‘.

ready? if you need a sober penpal, let me know. if you’ve been a sober penpal before and you need a restart, let me know. if you are gloriously sober and want to add to your sober days, let me know. if you think i’m full of shit, wait a day and see how you feel tomorrow.

Are you in?

~

SOBRIETY WANT AD
Benefits include great sleep, return of self-esteem, elimination of hangovers. Save $400 to $1,000 a month by not drinking. Double your money back if you hate being sober after hundreds of days.
For a limited time. Reach out now.
Operators are standing by.

Sobriety ~ It’s not just for alcoholics anymore.

~

LEAVE A COMMENT!

my blog allows anonymous posts, so you can just make up a screen name for yourself, or you can call yourself Anonymous. Tell us what day sober you are today, and how you hope to feel at the end of a continuous month sober. If you’re on day 2 or day 272, you can still chime in and pledge to rack up continuous days sober in October.

~

painting #510.
you have potential when you’re sober. link > www.artsober.com


www.artsober.com

 

Be Kind To You

I’m reading a book and if I read to you from the book
And I substitute the word ‘sober’ where he’s talking about something else
This will make as much sense to you as it did to me when I was reading it

And it goes like this
The worst part of this whole situation is that starting being sober and not continuing
Makes you feel terrible

These are not his words
This is me changing it because as soon as I read it I thought OK
I have to share this because this is genius
Because when you make a goal to be sober
You make a promise to yourself
The moment you create that goal
You’ve made a silent promise
And then when you don’t do it, you’ve broken that promise
And you’ve lied to the person you spend the most time with
Which is you
And if you break enough promises
You start to doubt yourself

That’s not surprising

If someone told you a dozen different times
That they’d meet you for coffee and then they never showed up
You wouldn’t trust them
If a parent promised to pick you up at soccer practice
And didn’t
You’d lose faith in them
If a boss promised you a promotion
And then didn’t deliver month after month
You’d quit believing her

When you break enough promises you start to doubt yourself
This is not surprising

I thought when I read that:
This is exactly what early sobriety is about
We don’t know if we can count on ourselves
We don’t know if we’re going to do it

We want to move away from the place of feeling bad
We want to move into a new place of feeling better

How do you do that
How do you quit

You get support from someone external to you
Someone who could repeatedly
In an email
In an audio
In an audio
Whisper in your ear
This is what you want
This is what you’re doing
Doesn’t matter what you’ve done before
It doesn’t matter that you didn’t show up for soccer practice before
What matters is what you’re doing today
Because today is how you write the new story
Of what happens next

 

~
if alcohol is an elevator that only goes down, you may have to look for an exit. and once you’re off, stay off.
original art thanks to mr.belle who has been painting in the living room of the rental apartment in vermont. including getting navy blue paint on the beige carpet …
this is Exit #509, link > www.artsober.com

it tastes good

from Lurker K:  

“Hello Belle, I have to admit that I’m definitely a lurker, mostly to try and convince myself that I’m not like everyone else. But deep down I know I am. I know my nightly alcohol is a problem. BUT it just tastes good! It’s not only the ‘forget my problems’ or ‘relax at the end of the day’ drink. It just TASTES good. Better than soda water & cranberry juice, iced tea or fruit water.”

me: alcohol tastes like a blackout, like waking up not feeling proud of yourself. you wouldn’t drink gasoline, no matter how much your brain lied to you and told you that it tasted good. you wouldn’t drink gasoline because “that shit is poison and no good comes from it.” wolfie can be such a bastard.

 

~

 

stay here. stay sober. stay true to you.
link > www.artsober.com


link

~

online support works for me because …

Freedom: “I love it because it’s available whenever I need it. I don’t have to get childcare arranged in order to use it as a resource. It makes me realise that there are many thousands of us doing this around the world and that I’m not alone (like Wolfie likes to tell me). And it feels safer sometimes.”

what if it’s harder to quit next time?

email from Indy:
“Hi Belle, I’m on Day 290 today. This is me adding a sober blanket.  As I look toward 1 year sober, I have a lot of trepidation. Different thoughts I have at various times: Absolutely no chance I’ll drink again. No desire to do so. / I miss the heady feeling of a few drinks. Maybe I can do special occasions? / Perhaps I can try the occasional drink and if I get uncomfortable with the amount I’m drinking, I’ll go back to sobriety. / What if I try the occasional drink and I go back to the hell I was wanting to get away from when I was over-drinking? / I should just continue to not drink. / But I did a year sober. If it drinking doesn’t go well, I can do it again. / But what if it’s harder to quit next time? What if I can’t get off the elevator? / But I really miss having a drink now and again. Is there seriously NO ONE who’s had success with moderation after a period of over-drinking? /

In my heart of hearts, in the pit of my stomach, in my gut, I KNOW which of those bullet points are Me and which of those bullet points are Wolfie. I want to be sober. But as I near a year, with that milestone passed, I’m afraid he’ll win in a weak moment. Really afraid.

I am reminding myself that: I can want an ‘Off Button’ all day long, but I didn’t come with one. I’m also a feminine gay white female who’d love to know what it’s like to be a big strong heterosexual black male. But that’s not in the cards either … (Hahahahaha!!)

Anyhow, I’m definitely having anxiety about the one year mark. I plan to reach out more and stack up the sober supports. Thanks, Belle – you’re the greatest. Love, Indy”

me: i’ll just say one thing now, briefly, while I am on my phone. And I’ll respond in more detail later. The short answer is this: you are not approaching one year sober. You are more than two months away. A lot of things change in two months. Think of the difference between day 1 and day 60. The time to think about what to do on your one year anniversary is five days before that date arrives. and thinking about it now is wolfie winding you up for no reason. 

Indy: “Thank you, Belle. Great point.”

[update: she’s on day 1076 today]

~
dear apartment rental people. our art is better than the art you have on the walls in the living room. love, us.

this is exit 481, a new montreal painting completed in this exact living room. striving to improve apartment art, one painting at a time. and you’ll get to choose the word that goes on it … www.artsober.com

i think my moderation button is fixed

sometimes when penpals finish 180 days sober, i suggest that they extend and write a new pledge to go to day 365. here’s what Beach_Gurl sent:

“I’ve done 180 days! I’m ready for more! I love the way I feel sober and I know it will only get better!
Wolfie is mostly quiet these days but I know if he lurks I need to reach out -immediately!
I vow to not drink one fucking drop between now and my one year soberversary!
I will not have a FUCK IT moment!

I will not drink even if:
I am happy and want to celebrate
I am sad because I miss my girls or my mom.
I just want a little buzz.
I want to escape with wine with my husband sitting on our deck.
I think my moderation button is fixed—- because it FUCKING ISNT!
Wolfie shows his bastard self.
I’m feeling sorry for myself because I’m injured.
I have a terrible day teaching (there are many)!
Think I’m missing all the fun.

Instead I will:
Celebrate by playing some upbeat music and dance around singing off key!
Cry and feel my grief for my mom or skype with my girls.
Exercise and get an endorphin high.
Call the fix-it shop and tell them, don’t bother fixing it, I won’t be needing my moderation button.
Kick wolfie wine bastard in the balls and tell him to fuck off! I’m in control, not him.
Look around and see others worse off than me. Quit whining and do abs.
Vent for 5 minutes to my husband about the rude disrespectful students, then forget about it!
Remember my sister in law making an ass out of herself and witnessing her self hatred.
I will not drink, no matter what!
I want to see what happens next! I CAN DO THIS!!!”

~


this is exit 479, a new montreal painting just completed yesterday. you’ll get to choose the word that goes on it … www.artsober.com