this is a sober hurdle that everyone has to face: being worried about what other people think

Things i’m good at:

I make a very good cinnamon raisin bagel. I can talk to anyone — seat me beside your irritating aunt at the wedding reception and we’ll be fast friends. I’m good at building community. I have a strange sixth sense that knows what people are trying to say before they’ve figured out how to articulate it. I can often (quickly) put language to things that are hard to describe, and then someone will say “yeah, that’s it exactly.”

I am self-disciplined. I’m self-employed and i get shit done. Like lots of boozers, i had a crappy kidhood, and felt ‘broken’ for a very long time, until i met my husband, and got some unconditional love in my gas tank. I am mostly happily married except when my husband is grumpy with me for 3 days, but it will blow over, and he may never tell me what i ‘did wrong’ and it won’t really matter.

Here are the things that I suck at:

I’m not great with real, loud anger. I grew up in a pretty wacky angry home, both of my parents are cranky, and there was some third-party domestic violence thrown in for good measure. In my adult life, i’m pretty good at verbal confrontation and I can stand my ground, but as soon as someone is ANGRY or there looks like there might be yelling, then i start to have an anxiety reaction. I think i equate a lot of yelling with violence, and expect it to escalate. I’d never get out of my car and argue with another driver, i’d be afraid of being hit.

My first defense would be to stop the conversation, agree with whatever they’re saying just so that the conversation will end and i can get away and then re-open the conversation again from a better distance (by phone, by email), or just cooled down the next day.  If I get yelled at on the subway, I would get off the train rather than yell back.

Now, in doing this Team 100 thing, and being sober penpals with some jesus large number of people (174), i realize that i have often anticipated anger.  Sober people come with baggage, right? But so far, really without exception, everyone i’ve been penpals with has been kind and respectful and generous and lovely. There’s an occasional temper tantrum (“But I WANT to”), but i know that that’s Wolfie talking, not the person writing. I know when I’m hearing wolfie even if they don’t know wolfie is speaking.

and i guess I’m not afraid of wolfie because i’ve slowly learned that he’s a bully. He’s full of a lot of hot air.  He’s a gigantic liar. He’s a shit, and I just don’t engage with shits in my life. I really don’t.  I don’t engage. I nod and then move on. If you email me about your wolfie voice, i’ll probably say something kind (“tell him you’ll drink at the end of 100 days” or “get yourself a treat” or “go to bed as soon as possible”), and occasionally i might suggest that you yell at him (“tell him to fuck off, and leave nice girls alone.”)

And as this Team 100 things grows — and it is growing — I’m amazed at what the simple act of emailing can do.

Now.

Over the past year I’ve unconsciously phased out my Job #2, The baking and catering has increased, job #1 putters along, and i’ve been doing the sober blogging-emailing-thang, and so i’ve just let job #2 fade out.

I’ve talked to my business coach. and i’m looking at ways of adding a small-group coaching thingy to this blog, to provide another level of connection that would be in addition to the sober penpal thingy.

I’m not afraid of wolfie, but I am — in anticipation — weary of conversations that put recovery and money in the same sentence, Comments of 12th step work. Why is it this? What exactly is my problem?

Some days I feel ready to wade in with “who wants to come and hang out over here in this new treehouse” and other days I think “oh god belle, the emails, the comments, the online recovery trolls will come over here and say thou shalt not … ”

or maybe it’s just a good old fashioned case of “who do you think you are.”

ack.

so while I can sing in tune, and i can type 130 wpm, and i am NOT afraid of Wolfie, and i have nice hair, and i have an education degree, and i actually have developed and taught a self-discipline and motivation workshop … I am quite nervous of what I — perhaps incorrectly — perceive to be the dogma-backlash to announcing a new group coaching thing.

So i’m doing this, I’m posting this instead. Yes, I agree, this is kind of lame.  It’s like i’m asking for encouragement, when in fact I’m trying to sort out what I think and how i feel, and i do that through blogging. forgive the self-indulgence.

This is a sober hurdle that everyone has to face: being worried about what other people think. I need to take some of my own advice (you see, i’m really writing this blog as a message to myself). And my advice would be:  fuck em. do your thing. be tough.

And then I’d pull me aside, and I’d put my arm around me, and I’d say, “look, your sisters may not like you very much anymore. But not everyone is out to judge you. Not everyone is closed off to growth and change. Not everything has to be a reaction to your crappy family.”

<le sigh>

“I am stronger than this pain”

From me:

Summer. Still gigantically hot here. I have a summer cold (my favourite). Today is the day where I have no sense of taste. Now that i’ve been through this 3 times before in the last year, i know that nothing bad will happen. I will just have a day where I can’t taste anything! Wolfie will leave me alone. if i wasn’t writing this blog, i wouldn’t remember …

If i wasn’t writing this blog, i wouldn’t wake up both yesterday and today to an inbox FILLED with positive happiness.  Honestly, I usually have a few “reset me to day 1” emails, but not this weekend. OK, you’re all on vacation maybe! Instead I’m getting lots of this:

Notes from my inbox

Jessica (15): I’m still here and I am still sober.  Wolfie couldn’t trick me into drinking, even though it was Friday night.  I went for a run instead.  And now I am awake and alive and refreshed this beautiful Saturday morning.  I am more present for me and I’m more present for my family.  I think I can get used to this sobriety thing.  One day at a time.

Camla (58): My birthday is Monday and I don’t think I have celebrated a birthday without alcohol in 44 years!  I’m not worried about it though as I’m committed to the 100 days

Shannon (23): Just wanted to check in and say I’m still sober. I’m almost a quarter of the way through the challenge. WOW!  I haven’t had any strong cravings. I walked to the frozen yogurt shop this evening and had to pass several restaurants and bars with people sitting outside having cocktails. I admit the thought crossed my mind that I would like to be sitting there listening to music, drinking a beer. But then I remembered that I can’t drink like those people. I would not drink one beer. I would drink many. And then I would come home and drink more, until I passed out. Tomorrow I would wake up sick, throwing up, and miss church. I don’t want to waste any more days of my life being hungover/sick. Plus, if I’m sick tomorrow, who’s gonna do the yard work I have planned to do? So, I walked right past all those drinkers, got my frozen yogurt and sat down to people watch.

Durfee (24): Tonight I took my son to Target at 8pm on a Saturday night.  I would never have been able to drive my kids anywhere on a Saturday night before the 100 day challange!

Susan (14): I was waiting for today.  I knew my old wound would come forward at some point … I knew it would come and I would have to work my way through it without alcohol.  The pain sits with me but I know it will pass. I like feeling the strength to say yes to sobriety.  I am stronger than this pain.

Tatiana (3): So much better sober!

Quill (61): Craaaaaaaaaavings.  But I’m not worried. Because I’ve been through them. So bad I thought I really was going to die without a drink. And I know that short of maybe setting my hair on fire, cravings have no power to move my limbs. They can’t make me get up and get a drink. They’re just wasted mental energy, or a flight of fancy, like daydreaming about dying my hair red and learning Spanish. They’re just thoughts.

Sara (71): Never, ever, ever could I have imagined … what a great summer this would be!

Lex (13): Sober..  Had an ah-ha type of thing … I canceled our family trip and will be taking my gals to my parents and to safe sober friends, and giving myself 10 days for sober drama free vacation.

Roxanne (95): Sober Saturday!  Cake day! Yay! (she’s 96 today!)

Colleen (87): I really wanted a drink Thursday.  This was a surprise as I haven’t been tempted in weeks!  I thought I as in the clear but the itch for a drink was back. My husband was away and it would have been a perfect set up for a few glasses of wine (or more) while making dinner for the kids after a rainy hectic day.  I texted a sober friend and even before she called back right away, I had lost the urge.  Just taking action and getting out of my head – reaching out was enough to stop my crazy thinking that alcohol would be a good idea.  But when we did talk, she helped me verbalize why I would be a sucker to drink.  The remorse, the poor sleep, hangover, irritability, feeling crappy.  Then it was gone.  Of course I was sooo happy I didn’t succumb to the illusion that I would get anything good from drinking.  It is a such a lie.  There is nothing there for me anymore.  Nothing but pain and sadness.

Deidre (28): I have been super busy with work and STILL NOT DRINKING! Had to go to another town last evening … at that last minute, and because I was sober, calm and clear headed no anxiety or crap. Went out for dinner with hubby and ordered Sparkling Water no problem, and had a nice evening. Up early this morning to meet client at  8:00 a.m. and probably won’t be home until 6:00 this evening. I woke up fresh, happy and ready to take on the day.

Thirsty (23): I know I always say thanks to you, but I really do want you to know how big a help the support you offer has been. Before I contacted you, I read and reread your blog, along with a couple of others, and your voices became part of the conversation I was having with myself about why quitting really did matter and how sober really was possible, and how it was going to be better than the mess I was in. (I really was a mess.) I had been seeing a therapist, and she is helpful, but there is no help like the kind you get from other people who have been through the same thing. Reading the blogs and commenting here and there and writing a bit myself and emailing you, it’s all such a huge help. But I know the fact that you are a  real person, and you are there, and you will read an email from me every day and even offer a little support based on that, I wouldn’t have expected how enormously helpful that is. I’m reading a book about habits right now (ah, apparently I have/had a really nasty one!) and the author talks about community as an essential part of habit change. Now I know how true that is. So a huge and heartfelt thanks from me to you for all you have done. You really are a star!

Ingrid (38): I feel like I’m in a really good place! You are right on about passing the 30 day mark.  It is amazing how tough it is for the first few weeks.  Right now I feel like I do not want go back to day 1 ever again. It is not worth it.

And Happy 100 days to Simpson Sister!

She totally deserves a lot of hugs and admiration for her bravery!  Here are a few bits from the very beginning of her journey:

Day 2; “You are right, this is hard. This is so hard. I feel like I am trying to climb a mountain without any shoes …  I am sober. I haven’t had a drink in 36 hours. I slept okay last night. Sleep can’t hurt. Going to see my pastor/therapist this afternoon. I am determined to stay sober until then. I will worry about the rest of the day later.”

Later that same day: “I am guessing you are still in bed but I said I would do whatever to figure this out. Voice is loud and clear right now. Wolf/devil is screaming at me to drink.  Excuse my language. SHUT THE FUCK UP. Wow does that feel good.”

The next day: “I am not going to drink. At least not right now. I am saying that I have to give it 4 hours. So if I still want to drink at 11, I can. But God willing, I won’t want to. I can just worry about the next 4 hours. I can do that.”

and: “Yes I made it to 11!  My new goal is 3 pm. I am working on cleaning. I am moving forward and fighting every minute. I had to stand outside a couple times and say fuck you to the wolf man, but I did it.”

several days later: “it’s an angry fire in my belly. I don’t give a shit why this happened to me, why I got to the place I got. I am pissed off at what alcohol has taken from me.  Now that I have come out of the haze of a major detox, I am one pissed off chick. You can take away a lot of things from a person but there is no fucking way I am going to let alcohol take away my children. Don’t get between a mama and her cubs. You tried wolf, you tried. But guess what? You don’t get to win anymore. Because I am going to win. One second at a time. Fuck you alcohol. Man that feels good to say!”

me: go, SimpsonSister, go. I adore you. I really really do.

SS: Thank you for saying that, especially because there are not too many people that adore me right about now.

me: in  my very full inbox, this is the message I was looking for first, and I found it 😉 I read your email first because I wanted to start my day knowing that you are well. And you are. love, me

team 100 now has 169 members …

Mr. Belle is 100 days today 🙂

When I asked him what was different between day 1 and now, he said he now realizes that booze is everywhere, whereas when he was still drinking he didn’t really notice. He also sleeps through the night now, and feels better in general. But he also admitted that he was mostly doing it for me, to support me. He figures it’s easier for me to stay sober if he’s not opening bottles of wine in front of me (true enough). I told him I thought he was both kind, and brave. He shrugged off both compliments, and sliced me some more apple… Then he said he wasn’t a good “cobaye” … and i’m like what’s that? The person who tests new toothpaste, he says. There’s a word for someone who submits themselves to random tests to see the results? Then I look it up in google translate. Guinea Pig.

Team 100 update:

Team 100 now has 169 members; welcome to Zerendipity (41), CGW (4), Lynn (4), Brandy Shock Treatment (4), and Brendan (2).
Happy days to Jen (180), Anne (75), Lynda (130), DDG (130), Brandy (80), Debra (180), Colleen (85), Elle (75), Leah (75), Rebecca (125), Meka (40), Jessica (14), runningfromthebooze (40), PJ (30), KC (35), TV (21), Irish Eileen (80), Liberte (25), Spencer (20), MaryPat (15), Thirsty (21), Shannon (x), and ST (8).

“there is more to life than booze”

Notes from my inbox:

Dont Bea: Went bike riding yesterday (to test out a bike route for an all women bike ride coming up in August). It was super fun. It made me realize that not so long ago I couldn’t get out of bed to do anything. Now here I was on a Tuesday night peddling my little feet away.

Erinup: I have been feeling pretty good the past couple of days.  This is not in a “I don’t really think I have a problem after all” way, but it is more of a “there is more to life than booze” way … sometimes I find myself just living life…just going along going along. I am just making dinner or watching a movie with the family or reading a magazine and I realize I am not thinking about booze. It is not constant, but it happens occasionally and it is like a little glimpse of what it could be like when I find a normal balance of dealing with this issue.

Anon: Oh my fucking stars I want a drink so badly out of nowhere…  *runs around like a hyperactive puppy* wahhhhhhhhh

E: I am beginning to feel like part of the world again.  The mastectomy recovery is a wee bit more difficult (just physically painful) than I’d expected, but I’m feeling better each day …  I guess it goes without saying, I’m still sober.  I’m pretty sure that alcohol is not going to be a problem in the near future!  That’s OK.  I’ve been learning to love things like “magic mineral broth” and “ginger peppermint green tea” that my mom is making for me from a cancer fighting cookbook.  And now, I can add the Fuck You Wolfie Tea (just ordered it!! ) to my daily tea ritual.

~

A: Well, believe it or not, I have already failed on day 3. I got hit yesterday with something I definitely was not expecting. I tried every trick I had. I breathed. I sat with my feelings. I reminded myself that there is no situation that drinking can’t make worse. I prayed. I cried. I breathed again. I reminded myself that I promised I wouldn’t drink for 100 days. But the pain wouldn’t stop. So, I drank. A lot. And amazingly the pain is still here. Weird. So, I don’t know where I’m going from here. My pain is too huge to handle sober right now and I’m a mess. I’ll bet you never expected to hear all of this when you started this thing. Thanks for being here.

me: OK. so you’re doing an experiment, and you’ve found that drinking doesn’t help … you still feel bad afterwards. and you don’t want to feel bad, but here it is. so for now maybe you’re going to feel bad for a little bit, but later you won’t. you could walk in dog shit, too, but that won’t help.  it might mask the ‘smell’ of what’s happening, but then you just have to clean it up (if you know what I mean). [god, who knows what i was trying to say here about dog shit …]

~

Annie: Day 3. Being sober will also help me manage life better and not live with this drive to drink always hanging over me. it really sucks desiring it so much. i’m in such a routine to drink every few days… especially the weekend. but i would be SO proud of myself [when] i actually stay sober for 100 days. to be honest i had a great day today and i have been sober – i feel more friendly and open and kind. these are all good things. ok this is good. i just need to stick with it – all i have to do is stay sober today. i don’t need to worry about the other 97 days.

me: That voice saying that you should drink isn’t you, it’s the booze talking.  it’s wolfie.  you already know that you feel better and are more kind when you’re not drinking 🙂 more patient too.  and what’s 100 days? you can drink again at the end if you really hate being sober.  This is an experiment.  To see what you can learn about yourself 🙂  And you’re doing great, you’re on day 4 now.  Lots of people don’t even start – you’ve started! Double your money back if you hate being sober after 100 days 🙂

~

Jessica: As far as sobriety goes, I really enjoy my evenings more lately.  I am more connected to my family.  Yes, that fucking Wolfie speaks to me sometimes but I have so far been successful in ignoring his taunts.

Rebecca: Another day sober today and I feel good about it. Better than yesterday. I think part of it is realizing too that not every day can be a celebration and understanding that this too shall pass, whether it’s a tough day or an awesome day.

Thirsty Still: I just biked home from work with 2 flats of raspberries that I bought from a nearby farmers’ market on my afternoon break. Tomorrow I’m making some kind of raspberry sauce, so in January we will be able to taste a little bit of summer. And yes, I am sober, and happy about that.

Susan: Day 9 tired, an intense day at work… the kids have gone to their father’s. This is when I would drink. I can feel the pull.  So I will get a movie, veg, get some sleep and let this pass.  This too shall pass.  But first I will go to the store, walk past the wine section, and get some unusual juice  as a treat.   Treats are good. Thanks for being out there.

~

Paypal:  This email confirms that you have received a donation of $x00.00 USD from T.

me: jesus T., did you just send me a shit load of money in Paypal? Since I don’t know anyone’s real names, I can’t track who it came from …

T (day 36): I did. Before I found your site and discovered what you were doing, I was thinking, “I wish I could find a sort of sober coach or friend, one I could email with, that could help me get over the hump and through this.”  Then literally about a week later I discovered what you are doing. It has helped me a lot, and you are helping a lot of other people. You are spending so much time on it, more than I even know. I appreciate it, and I wanted to say thank you. You deserve it.  Hope you are having a great week and thanks again.

Sober Photography Project: Assignment #7

OK, it seems like there’s enough interest, so i’m going to host photography project #7.

Learn more about the idea of having a sober hobby here. See the results from previous projects here.

I’m thinking that there might be a few other sober chicks and dudes out there looking for a new hobby, or are trying to find a way to revive an old hobby.  So if you want to join Christina and me, and take a few pictures, i think we could have some fun!  This is open for anybody, you don’t have to be a fancy ass photographer. No inner critic allowed. Are you ready?

Assignment #7 … Window View

Take a picture to show the view from any window. We should see a bit of the window frame or the edge in the photo (or reflection or curtains or something) so that it’s clear that we’re looking through a window.

The window can be at home, at work … it can be opened or closed, and you can take the picture in the daytime or evening.
No flash, no artificial light in the room where you’re standing (so turn off the overhead light).

  • DEADLINE: Tuesday, July 30 @ 12 noon Eastern.
  • The format is open: black and white, filters, cropping, all OK.  You can use your camera phone or a nice camera.
  • The photo must be original, and taken AFTER the assignment is received (like, no going through past pictures taken, it has to be new).
  • If you suck at photo adjustments or cropping, send it anyway with a note that you’d like me to adjust.
  • Send as LARGE a file size as you can manage (up to 12MB per image).  Don’t reduce for size.  the bigger the better.
  • Um, you have to be sober …
  • One entry per person per assignment (think of the size of my inbox!)

NOTE: Find a window, take the picture.  It’ll turn out better than you think it will. This is a fun project, you remember fun right? I learned all about fun by doing this with Christina.

Here’s Christina’s photo to get you started:

window christina

i like the visual of “holding the big umbrella”

From my inbox:

Sarita (now on day 21): Oh Belle!  I’m new to this roller coaster ride (day 11) but have been so moved and grown so attached to you and your story in such a short amount of time. I feel like smiling much of the day knowing you’re here holding the big umbrella for us all, guiding us thru this unpredictable storm with your great insights, humor and optimism. You truly have a gift, and I’m so glad I found my way to your story. My life is changing and I thank you from the  bottom of my very full heart!  Congratulations my new friend!!!

Eileen Whyleen (now on 18): Reading everyone’s posts and replies and i am resonating like a finely tuned stradivarius violin. numb has always been the end result, even if the self talk starts out with ‘one will – take the edge off – make me feel better – be a reward – dull the pain – ease the insecurity – taste good – (insert anything, here). thanks to team 100. i’m on day 1. 🙂

Katherine (347): We all have the same goal “to live sober”.  Doesn’t matter how much money we have/don’t have, our education, our material things, our religious beliefs, our IQ’s, our skin color, or where we live on this planet.  We are all working on HOW to live SOBER! Belle is right, we all have shit going on.  I had cataract surgery yesterday.  Was scared out of my mind, but learned to self soothe and told myself ‘Stay Here’ like Belle told herself on the plane.  I took care of myself (anxiety) for the first time in I don’t know when!  No matter what shit we get faced with, if sober, we can cope so much better.  I was legally blind in my right eye for two years and today I have crystal vision.  It’s like going from being fuzzy drunk to completely sober!  Unbelievable! I am so grateful for this sober community where we can all come and support each other! xo

Ben (who may be day 37 today): Hi Belle. I will try and keep this short. I’ve just found our blog. This situation has happened to me so many times only I used to be the one that didn’t stop talking about myself. I am overwhelmed with joy at finding your blog. Yesterday I skipped back to July 2012. Let me just mention I am on day 26 sober. I read with emotion all the things you have experienced and  although it was spine chilling, I nodded along to all the talk about noise in your head. I know the feeling of 3 glasses not 1. who drinks one glass of wine?! I run to clear my head and i replace wine with cake. I’m mental about my journey and have documented privately so far. I have read Allen Carr and when i reach 30 days i also want presents and fireworks, maybe a small parade. You are a super star for writing this and silently cheered me on in to my next step. Already i have experienced a beautiful clarity that has re-prioritised my life. I feel like I’m on to a winner but also notice that no one else cares so I’m still a bit like f**k you guys but still a bit like I’m not out the woods yet. I’m not the best writer and I’m not the best at putting into words how I’m feeling but you’ve made me tingle head to toe with you words. I think you are doing a great job and wish you all the best with your journey. I’m up to October 2012 but intend to catch up through all your posts. Just thought you should know what a wonderful person you are.

S (day 8):  Sober … really not having cravings.  What I do think of a lot are the patterns … “this is when I would drink, this is how I would get it, this is how I would hide it” … I do remember that lovely buzz that would remove me from the day to day … but I have broken through the denial and know that for me alcohol is poison. That buzzed feeling is a signal of poison. I am also seeing how alcohol helped to keep me from my life… Poison, poison, poison. I think of it like someone who has a peanut allergy … if they take one, they can die.  So they avoid certain foods… and are not ASHAMED that they have to avoid peanuts!!! I avoid alcohol. Period

 ~

Thirsty Still (day 17): Happy to report that I am going to bed sober after a good day. I think you might be right–sobriety suits me, despite how much I thought I liked drinking!  Thanks for doing all the work to organize this 100 day challenge. It really is a huge help. You rock!

me: I say to friends: “I had to choose between red wine” – and I put up one hand like balance – “and getting up at 6:30 am to do catering” – and I put up the other hand right beside the first hand, and I weigh them up and down, and then I say “pick between red wine and catering.  I chose to give up the wine and it’s better … can you imagine me giving up my wine? Well this [the catering hand] is really that much better!” and i raise that hand above the wine hand.

Team 100 Update:

We’re up to 164 members as of this morning, welcome to SoLongWolfie (4), and Annie (2).  Happy days to Lilly (80), Anne & Leah (71), Lauren (120), Roxanne (90), Erin (92), JG (80), Colleen (81), Nancy (15), Cam (75), Rebecca (121), Sara (65), Quill (55), Lex (7), Ingrid (32), Jessica (10), Mrs F (22), Mark W (23), Mrs. Robinson (7), KC (31), Marc (20), Beckie (22), Kathleen (10), Adrian (14), Beth (70), Dont Bea (7), Stargal (20), and Leigh (8).

What Lane thinks about turning 100

Lane, Team 100 member, writes about turning “100”:

Lane: Hi Belle: Here are my thoughts on Day 100 (actually now it is 106 but who is counting, right?!):

Day one was mostly an empty promise. I made a promise to stop drinking to my husband for a bit that day but didn’t put a number on it and in my heart felt it wouldn’t last. We went to a BBQ that day and were told to BYOB so we brought water. The host had hard liquor on hand but no real mixers I liked so when they offered me a drink in their kitchen, while my husband was watching our kids in the pool, I passed. Not because I wasn’t drinking even though I had promised not to, but because none of it sounded good to me. If they’d had wine or beer I probably would have caved. I realized on the drive home that afternoon that I had attended, and survived, a social event sober but only just barely. It had been a long time (probably about 5 years) since that had happened. I decided that I would stay sober again the next day but promised myself no more than that. Those first days were all like that, one day at a time.

One day 3 I realized that the difficulty sleeping and night sweats were related to my drinking and really freaked out. I was having physical symptoms of abuse/dependence! Amazing. I never even realized how far I had fallen. I was hanging on by bloody finger stumps to the sober ledge but dammit I was holding on! I tore myself up, cried on the treadmill, cried while showering, and even cried while driving my kids to school. What had I done to myself?! I was a horrible addict and an even worse mother. I had to fix it. Unfortunately alcohol has such a grip that despite my realizations I am confident I would have slipped within a month.

Luckily I found you about 10 days in and began a journey to 100 days that had seemed impossible. Today I feel more in control of all aspects of my life: where I go and when, what I want to wear (I’ve lost 10 pounds!), working out consistently, keeping a positive attitude and not relying on wine to relax. It all seemed so impossible just 106 days ago but I did it! I really didn’t drink BY CHOICE (unlike by necessity when I was pregnant) for 100 days. I’ve given myself a gift and shown myself a better life. THANK YOU for holding my hand and leading the charge. I never would have made it here without you and Team 100. Beep beep! ~ Lane

Gindy reflects on 100 day sober …

Gindy is a Team 100 member (day 106) and I asked her to share a bit about what it was like to hit Day 100:

Gindy: Things have definitely changed for me in 100 days, but, more than that, most things have stayed the same. I still have the same job, same husband, same dogs, same car. The laundry still needs to be done, the house fixed, dinner prepared, overtime hours put in though on salary, and bills need to be paid.

My biggest accomplishment, so far, has been learning to balance all this in a healthy way. I still have meh days, difficult clients, and three places to be at once. At 5:00 I used to scream “pour yourself a glass of wine – you EARNED it today!” When in reality, once a glass was poured, nothing else was accomplished. The glass turned into a bottle, then often into another. With the next morning’s hangover, I ended up wasting the first half of the day unaccomplished and further set my agenda back.

I still have a long way to go, but I’m happy. I can’t control tomorrow, it’s coming regardless of anything I do. I’m living for today, and making a point to take time for me when I need to. My 100-day treat came in the mail today. I bought 20 sample-size perfumes – I may not have been able to decide on one, but at least I know better than to wear them all at once 😉

Photos: 10 minutes from home

Assignment #6: 10 minutes from home

The goal for this assignment was to take a picture of whatever you see exactly 10 minutes from your house.

Thanks to everyone who sent in pictures. If you want to join in for the next assignment, stay tuned 🙂

Can’t compare apples to oranges

Comparing. In response to yesterday’s post, let me say this. We all have completely different lives. Some are big, some are small, some are near and some are far. We all have sobriety as our goal in common. But the rest of our lives may be very different. You have a yard, I don’t. You have kids, I don’t. You have a car, I don’t.  And so what? I don’t think it matters. At all. We’re here to support becoming our best selves, to be sober, and to get shit done. Kids or no kids, jobs or no jobs.  Someone is spending her weekends in jail because of past legal problems. Someone else is vacationing on a boat. But we’re all trying to figure out how to live sober. That’s it.

I recently wrote this on Paul’s blog:

me: I get lots of emails that say versions of this same thing: “Where is my big sober rainbow? Why is she happier in her sobriety than I am in mine.” And yeah, there’s no perfect happy sobriety. Some days are rotten. Other days are glorious. Some situations are easier. Some kids vomit on the carpet. We’re all doing our version of the sobriety thing. Can’t compare apples to oranges AND we can’t compare our internal journey to someone’s publicly broadcasted, edited, version of truth. Well you CAN compare, but only if you want to make yourself crazy… nuff said. 🙂

and i sent this email to another sober penpal this morning:

me: We have super very different lives I’m sure. There is no comparing. And while I may be amazing (!), I’m mostly just different … I’ve got a lot of free time that I’m happily spending on being a sober penpal.  That said, I don’t read as many blogs as I used to, nor am I doing any other sober reading anymore (though I did a shit-ton at the beginning).  You’re doing your thing and I’m doing mine.  Sometimes your life is going well, sometimes I’m underwater.  Then we switch places 🙂

finally, this bit of genius from Lawyer Anne (day 102):

Lawyer Anne:   I loved your post about comparing [June 19th ]… I think it’s a good reminder to focus on our own gifts and not get caught up on comparing ourselves to others….we all have our talents and our own journey.  I think in the world of the internet, Facebook, blogs, etc … to compare ourselves to others and wonder why we can’t be more like the *perfect* person we see pictures of or read about, it’s quite an unhealthy practice in my opinion. And when I find myself doing it on Facebook I try to take a break and deactivate my account for a few weeks. If I’m not using it to connect with friends or read articles and am making myself feel bad because I’m looking at pictures of *perfect* families, then I need a break and I need to re-evaluate.

…  While I quite easily focus on the negative things happening for me — work stress, relationship stress, car falling apart, regular anxiety and feeling nuts — I think it is important to remember the wonderful things happening every day. The fact that I have the luxury to choose to be sober and when that gets tough, the luxury to go to bed early, watch TV, etc., I am one lucky duck.