must learn something every day

​i get up, and most days i have some kind of plan. ​I don't always DO the things on my plan, but i start off with one.​

  • ​today i want to learn ... [insert appropriate food thing here]
  • ​today i want to go to ... [insert appropriate food-related store here]
  • ​today i want to run to ... [insert appropriate distance to help offset the calories of above food things here]

​​Yesterday i met someone who looked like me. she had plans. she had this amazing list of things to do and learn. she talked about her passions and her adventures and her event-attendance, one thing after another, always so much to learn, never enough time.​

it looked exhausting.

​I saw myself perhaps how my husband sees me (in fact he said these actual words to me last weekend: why do we have to plan lunch? - it was 11 a.m., we were in a store with good food, i said let's get something for lunch while we're here, he's like but i'm not even hungry, and i'm like you'll be hungry later, and he's like why can't we just go for a walk at 11 a.m. and not have it mean something).


so yesterday, when i met this woman, i thought - oh that's what it looks like.

trying to fill a hole with stuff.

now, don't get me wrong. it's light-years better than trying to fill that hole with booze. better to be curious and open and eager to learn. agreed.

but also, nothing wrong with sitting on the couch on a sunny day in my husband's pyjama bottoms with a gigantic hole in them, ​reading back issues of New York magazine, ​having no plan except to drink more decaf.

i'm going to experiment with that today. see how i do.

Question: what happens when you just sit. you watch the royal wedding, or you flip through magazines, or you stop forcefully achieving, even for an afternoon. what happens?

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broadcasting online

ONLINE RADIO (no kidding)

I was broadcasting live but now it’s over. i do this every so often. best if you’re on the mailing list, then you’ll get a notification when i go live. not on the Everyting email list? do that here.

podcast subscribers get a copy of the audios automatically. if you’re not a podcast subscriber, you should be 🙂


every so often i do a live online radio broadcast. I change the times and days of the week to hopefully rotate through the timezones so that everyone hear it live on occasion.

And today, I will be broadcasting live in about 4 minutes. Like i’ve turned on the recording already, and i’m just waiting for you to join in 🙂 Check the time on this post and add a couple of minutes. That’s when. like right now.

It’ll be like a short radio show. You can listen while I record it. You can comment in the chat.

Go here:
Sober Belle’s live radio station link


production week feedback

it was hard to read all of the feedback emails today from my production week update. i asked how it was for you… and i knew that some people weren’t thrilled, but i wasn’t prepared for how much it was un-liked! i think i asked for honest feedback, assuming that it would be all rosy (that’ll teach me to be a bit more realistic!). please know that I was trying to do something good. my intent was good. i had felt compelled to list everything i did on my 5 days off,  i guess to justify what i was doing, but didn’t expect that it would make folks feel overwhelmed and anxious reading my list. i felt that the only way i could do so many live audios was if i didn’t email for a week (plus two weekends, which i’m usually off anyway) and so for 5 days off from emailing, it seems like the tradeoff wasn’t worth it based on the feedback in my inbox. or i didn’t do it right, with enough warning, and triggered a bunch of abandonment stuff, or thoughts that i don’t really care, or that i’m growing too much. please just know that i thought it was a good thing, overall, to make some stuff. i know what my intent was (to make cool stuff to share) but it maybe wasn’t explained well. i have had a bad, shitty sore back day, taking pain medication after so many good days. weepy on the metro because people were mean and pushing when i couldn’t walk fast enough. and my husband is away. so who can make me a decaf coffee in bed? tomorrow is a better day, for you and me both, k.

is being sober a ‘mature’ thing to do?

from Vi (day 76):

“Dear Belle, this past week I have had the most painful cravings and what-ifs that I have had in the past 76 days–what if I drink at day 100? What if I drink at day 180? What if I get drunk this weekend? What if I get drunk when I go on a date? What if I get drunk when I go to a different country? (It’s beside the point that I don’t yet have a romantic interest OR a trip planned in the near future; these are clearly just thoughts wolfie is using to hurt me/tempt me back into drinking).

Plus I have had dreams about drinking. In one of my dreams I had a small sip of vodka while hanging out in a hotel room with a cute guy, then everything exciting about the dream — the possibility of romance with the handsome man, the hotel as a symbol of world travel and discovery — everything dissipated in favor of my drinking. It felt so real: the drunkenness, the fuzziness of the lights around me, the mistaken but earnest thinking that this, this feeling, this numbness, this was the meaning and the reason and the point of my life. In the dream I remember gulping down vodka, straight, wincing at the taste and yet feeling listless and desperately scheming to get more when I had emptied the bottle. All I could feel in my dream was the soft bouncy blanket under me on the hotel bed, the cool smooth small vodka bottle, the burn of the drink down my throat, the glistening red but fading lights in my periphery, and the dull thudding numbness gently pounding oblivion into my skull, making my movements flabby and confused.

When I woke up that morning my heart was beating so hard and fast. I sat up with a start and looked all around me, expecting to see evidence of my newly shattered sobriety. With a shudder of relief I lay back down. There were no bottles, no mess in my apartment. It was just a dream …

I wouldn’t say things are going well for me in sobriety, but I would say that I feel such a surprising maturity and dedication to it.

Actually maybe that’s part of what has been triggering cravings: the feeling of maturity I have right now in choosing sobriety. I worry sometimes that I am losing out on my 20’s. That I am losing a childhood. I am 24 and though I had a drinking problem, I only “partied” a few times, being for the most part a chronically solitary drinker. Am I being “too” mature?

I don’t think so, but I will acknowledge that perhaps this desire to live out my youthfulness adds to the severity of my most recent cravings. It will be okay. Thanks so much for all you do, Belle.”

me: ha. our brains do like to torment us with future things, like imaginary partners and imaginary vacations. your answer can be simply be “I’ll worry about that 5 days before the event. not now.” It does seem though – from this and from your dreams – that you do not want to restart. you’re not fantasizing about it. you’re worrying about how to keep yourself sober. and I think that’s an ok place to be. for me, I spent a lot of my first year sober worried that I didn’t ever want another day 1. and so I did more in terms of sober support than I might have, just to be sure I kept my car on the road.

and I’m not sure there’s something called “too mature” – I think there are people who realize that booze is an elevator that only goes down, and then step off NOW no matter where you are on the elevator. There are others who realize that booze is an elevator only when they crash further down. I know it sounds dramatic, but you won’t regret this going forward. you’re going to be so proud of yourself. you saw shit you didn’t like, you changed it, you grew and got better – and you aren’t hiding. you’re doing a real authentic version of you. and that should be celebrated. with one small half-slice of cake. and a candle. hugs

Vi: “Thanks, Belle. Once I get a private moment at work I’m going to print your email response to me and fold it into my wallet for comfort and insight in random moments or when waiting at the bus stop.  I especially appreciate what you said here: “you aren’t hiding. you’re doing a real authentic version of you.” Thank you, so much, for noticing. It’s hard. It feels totally worth it, but sometimes, yeah, it’s tough!  Day 80. Feeling good. Feeling full of life and purpose. Even if I’m weary. Perhaps even especially because I’m weary.”


it’s time to evolve

I have a note taped to my computer screen. it says:  it’s time to evolve. I don’t find it to be very motivating. I felt great when I wrote it. now it stares at me. mocking. you are such a flake. you have all these goals and never do anything. (spot wolfie in that sentence. all. never.)

you’re ok

if you can’t come up with any solutions because the wolfie superhighway is too fast, well-worn, then you reach for external supports. someone with some experience. someone who can say: you’re fine. it’s fine. you’re OK.

Solstice to Solstice

From Sober in Richmond: “I started my 100 Day challenge on Winter Solstice 21 Dec. It is going to work out that Solstice to Solstice is 183 Days. I will make it. It’s getting so easy to not drink – I’m just used to it. And the days are flying by. My point? If there is anyone out there who needs some motivation to start – perhaps they can do the Summer Solstice to the Winter Solstice. It really helped me to have the power of the whole darn earth behind me rather than a day or date on a calendar.”

Imagine it’s the longest day of the year. Imagine you’re sober today. It might be your Day 1 or maybe it’s your Day 50. Or 400. Doesn’t matter. Can you see yourself sober starting today, June 21st?

Summer Solstice.

Let’s stand there, and look ahead 180 days. Sober until December 21st. Because if you think the view from day 100 is great, wait until you see 180 days.

  • If you’d like to be sober from Solstice to Solstice, you can put a comment below.
  • To have a sober penpal, you can add yourself to the short waiting list here.
  • To have 100 audios to listen to, you can get them here. These are archived podcasts episodes #1-#100

I like the idea of having the ‘whole darn earth behind me’ – how about you?



from the train window

from my inbox:


me (to B): and how is today?

B: Just terrible. I am now consistently not drinking during the week. But that’s not the goal or what I want at all! I’m just miserable about it. Belle, I am not going to keep asking for resets – it’s too humbling and sort of silly.  I’ll continue to check in and will chime in with a HUGE e-mail when I make it to Day 10. Ugh.  Back to it.​

me: all this means is that what you’re doing now is good but it’s not quite enough. you need to add a bit more support so that you can get through the first few weekends. after you get through one or two, it’ll be much easier from there. you need some support to get some momentum. each time you restart, you have to change something. it’s not about trying ‘harder’ it’s about trying ‘different’ … I wrote about this in one of the micro-emails this week:

If you had a 5 year old girl next to you who was crying and crying, you’d try different things until she stopped crying. You’d suggest a treat, you’d suggest a bath, you’d distract her, you’d tempt her with pancakes, you’d turn on a good movie – you’d keep trying DIFFERENT things until she stopped crying.

different. not harder. is today day 1. you don’t need to wait to be on a magic day. you begin again today. wolfie says “don’t bother her”.  I haven’t said that 🙂 hugs



B: Good today. Sober. Thanks for your e-mail. I have been doing things differently, but its all been things in my head — different mental approaches. This time I am doing things physically different. Taking the train to work now instead of my car because I used to take the train many years ago when I wasn’t struggling with this, and not having my car takes away the easy diverted path home to the wine store. I am also telling people, slowly. Not about everything, just that I am taking a break for health reasons and to get fit. I feel I need some accountability and some people to talk to irl. Thanks Belle!​



me: good point. it’s not about thinking differently necessarily. it’s about doing things differently. good clarification. not taking the car is perfect. do more stuff like that!

B: I am, totally. Different schedules, different routine in evenings or mornings. It’s amazing what you notice around you when you do it. It’s like we become so desensitized with what we think is our comfy routine we miss so many things. Now that I am firm in my understanding that my routine is not comfy but destructive, it is so encouraging to change it and see things from a new perspective — even if it’s just from the train window :)​


Reminder that most of what i’m doing these days is going out by micro-email. Like my new secret writing project, the meetup in Paris, and daily photos. If you’re not on the micro-email list, you can add your name here.


reblog: oprah and lindsay

while i’m away, thought I’d share a previous blog post. this is one of my favourites. i nearly cried writing it.

Here’s an extract:

And Oprah, would you ask the same question to someone addicted to cocaine? wouldn’t you recognize that while the person using the drug probably has something they’re trying to self-medicate, sure, but that the drug itself takes over pretty quickly and demands more. the drug makes you crave more drugs. >> continue reading here