“Change your behavior and your thinking changes”

I’m reading a book about addiction, and I keep thinking “i should put this quote or that quote on the blog and see what you-all think…”

I will share more ideas later, and i think i’ll even have a contest to give away a copy of this mystery book … but for now, what do you think about these statements?  here you go…

A Few Inconvenient Truths About Dependency
• Addiction is a brain illness, not simply a failure of willpower or morals … Addiction is about the reward center of the brain. It’s a maladaptive response to trauma and stress.
• Change your behavior and your thinking changes.
• A new “brain model” of addiction is emerging that shows a close link between the symptoms of attention deficit disorder and those of an addicted brain.
• Express self-compassion and you begin to shed feelings of shame, which is at the root of depression and substance abuse.

Are you like me, jumping up and down, saying “YES YES, that’s exactly what I think!” or maybe you’re more relaxed than I am tonight 🙂  Or maybe you disagree entirely … In which case, Cool! More debate!

I’m curious 6

I’m about to take off for a 24-hour mini vacation later today, but look … it’s February!  It’s time to update my lovely Curious post.  Some newly sober people have gotten their start right here.  You can too.  Or you can just watch and see what happens. There is a lot of support in the sober blogging world. You’ll see 🙂

What’s the reason for this post?

i lurked on a few sober blogs before I quit drinking July 1st.  So here’s what i’m curious about.

  1. Post a comment with your number of days sober (or your sober anniversary date if you’re not a day-counter).
  2. If you are an anonymous lurker, and you’re sober, you can just put Sober as your name, and then use a fake email as your email address (12345@12345.com) – tell me how many days sober. You can remain anonymous of course.
  3. If you are a lurker, and you aren’t (yet) sober but you’re looking for inspiration, you can put Hoping as your name (or whatever), and then enter the email address (12345@12345.com). And you can pick a date when you’d like to start your sober journey (i.e. in 5 days, or February 15th, or whatever). You can remain anonymous, too.

I also sometimes forget how far along in the sober journey some of you are … so this will help me remember and help me celebrate with you.

Really, if you’re an anonymous lurker that’s totally fine! Just chime in with where you are : )

PS/ HERE’S MY GUT REFLEX: I have no proof of this and am only going on a gut feeling here, but if you are a lurker and still drinking, then by posting something anonymously, it’s like raising your hand and saying “ok, yes, i could use some support” and i think that makes a big difference in what happens next for you.  Well, if you don’t believe me, you can try posting something and see what happens : )

Belle xo

voted: “Most Likely to be Sober at 8 Months”

i had a dream last night that i was part of a group being honored with an award. i wasn’t dressed as nicely as the other people and felt judged based on the dress i was wearing. I was given a very large glass of Grand Marnier (orange liqueur) that i was to hold, to pose with, while the group picture was taken. And then I was supposed to drink from the glass (like saying “cheers!”).

In the dream, i walked around with this big glass of booze in my hand, before the picture was taken, trying to find someone who could make me a replacement drink that i could drink from instead. In my head, i toyed with the idea of taking the celebratory sip — just for the photo — but instead I faked it (raised the glass to my mouth but didn’t drink).  Then i handed the glass to someone else.

So. Here’s what we know.

Even in my dreams, I will not drink. I may want to look like everyone else, but I do not give in.

This is reassuring. Today is my 7 month anniversary. Amy has voted me “Most Likely to be Sober at 8 Months.”

I did have a “fuck-it” moment earlier in the week and i thought about having some wine, cuz really, “fuck it.” At 7 months sober, though, my ‘oh fuck-it’ reason didn’t seem large enough to blow everything.  I tried to remember what I would say to someone else if they were complaining of a ‘fuck-it’ feeling. I would say “wait till tomorrow, go to bed, have a bath, go for a run, you can drink tomorrow but not today, etc.”

[it’s moderately spooky when i hear my own voice, in my head, giving me advice.]  but it works.

I may bring the glass to my lips for the sake of your photo, but you cannot make me drink from it.

Love Belle (aka Sober and Happy About It)


That it exists doesn’t mean i need to have it in me

A penpal asked me by email how I managed to buy and serve wine to clients without actually drinking any myself.  What’s interesting is that I’d just posted this comment on Amy’s High Five yesterday:

I am 211 days sober. this evening my husband poured a large glass of liqueur to use in a photo shoot. the smell. was lovely. i asked him if he was going to drink it, he said no. He used a funnel to put it back in the bottle. i knew it wasn’t for me. it might be for other people, but it’s not for me. That it exists doesn’t mean i need to have it in me. i like who i am now, i like that i can see this very clearly. It seems simple, but my mantra is “that’s not for me.”

I told Lilly that I don’t feel tempted when pouring wine for a client.  But perhaps my situation is unusual.  I don’t really want to smell the wine or taste it, because that *might* wake up my wolfie voice, so i don’t even go there. But i can pour it for her or him or them.

As I wrote more, i realized that i have this same thought pattern about other things in my life (here’s some of the text):

I’m personally not that interested in being in places where the sole purpose is to drink heavily.  I can, and have, gone ‘for drinks’ but I have a tea or mineral water, and then I leave after one drink.  if they’re continuing onwards, I’m done now.  It’s not for me.

And maybe they are drinking because they’ve never made a choice about what’s best for them, what’s right for them … they’re doing something on autopilot.

Me, I’m driving my car.  I’m on ‘manual’ not ‘automatic’. I get to choose where my car/life goes. Me. It’s me choosing.  that means that I make decisions that are different from other people’s … including not having kids!  MOST people have children. MOST people have a baby alarm that screams at them until they pop out a kid.  MOST people probably don’t even stop to think if it’s what they want, they’re on some kind of autopilot that says “it must be baby time now.” 

I also don’t have a television because I realized 8 or 9 years ago that it wasn’t good for me. too much time wasted watching the weirdest levels of complete garbage … when I met my husband, it was quite a discussion point about whether or not we’d have a TV… we had one for a while, without cable, and now we don’t.  Except when we got to hotel and then it’s a big treat!

I think this all makes me unusual.  I’m quite comfortable making decisions that make me a little bit different from everybody else IF the decisions are better for me (these are all personal decisions).  No TV is better for me.  No kids is better for me.  No booze is better for me.  Lots of sleep (10 hrs) is better for me.  Running 5 days a week is better for me.  Yes, these are not the same decisions that everyone makes.  But they’re better FOR ME.  And i’m the one making decisions for me.

Maybe now I see that stopping drinking is another one of those decisions.   And that somehow makes it even easier to “not” drink the wine when I pour it for a client.  It’s not for me.

Does this make any sense?

… your old nonsense

“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

i think i needed to read this today : )  we’ve all got nonsense.  we can’t spend too much time facing backwards. My mantra has always been:  face forward, or you’ll get car sick.  (god, are all of my sober metaphors based on cars? what does THAT mean?)

Happy Friday!

dental extraction of attitude

new sober blogger you should check out … Doc Drying Out. I was making a comment over there and thought i could put it here, too:

There should be a new category [when defining alcoholism]:
“Do you regularly drink more than you want to,
do you think about drinking more than most people,
and have you thought about quitting but can’t quite seem to do it.”
If that was a box, I’d check it : ).

I got soooo hung up on the definition of alcoholic when i was first quitting (and even beforehand).  Am I or aren’t I.  Should I be in AA or not.  I felt that there just weren’t enough boxes to check (on all those checklists) for those of us who are high-bottom boozers.

How about just this: “life is better without booze, give it a try. oh, you find it hard to try quitting even just for a while? then you will enjoy a life without booze even MORE than you think!”

And in follow-up to yesterday’s stupid/overwhelmed post, husband has a dentist appointment tomorrow (may they extract his attitude while in the dentist’s chair).  And right after I posted about scaling back, I cancelled one of the things I do for Job #2.  There weren’t many people using the service, but i was clenched against one or two emails saying “oh, i’m so sad you won’t be doing this any more, i love this …”

what did i get?

crickets. not one single email saying anything. Clearly i need to cut out more stuff, cuz what I think the universe needs is not what it needs right now! what a relief.  i’m not in charge of the universe : )

doing a lot less

Today i woke with a headache, which is never a good sign.  had a cup of coffee, an advil, lounged in bed for another hour.  Had breakfast with a husband who has a toothache (is there anything worse? i’m sure an amputation would be less dramatic).

Then i looked at my desk in disarray, matching my head in disarray.

Then i read part of someone else’s non-drinking-related blog. she’s announcing to her followers that she’s closing down her business to start something else. Yes, of course, what didn’t I think of that.

Then i went into the kitchen, to my ashen-faced-husband, and and i said “i’ve decided to shut down job #2”.  He says “and you’ll do something else?” and i say, yes, of course, we need the income. i’m just not doing THAT any more.

I am 6 months sober, and I am waking up to the fact i have a bunch of bits and pieces in my life that i’m ‘obligated’ to do, that i just don’t feel like doing any more.

I could tolerate a certain amount of chaos when i was drinking that i don’t seem to be able to tolerate any more.

instead, now that i’m sober, i wake up every day trying to talk myself into doing these things on my to-do list, these business/work tasks, and i just can’t make myself do them.  i’m burnt out on the whole fucking mess of my life right now, all of the weird bits, the fractured income streams, the low grade illness, the snow, the sick husband. I’m sick and tired of all of it.  If i could put my life in a box right now and close the lid, i’d happily create something else completely new.  [and some days when i have a sick husband, i imagine a new life where i’m single]

Last night i said to husband, THIS SEEMS like it would be a good time to drink.  I knew i wouldn’t.  It just would have been a good time to drink, if there was ever such a time.

Instead, i’m going to do some massive house cleaning — literally and figuratively.  i’m going to clean up and clean out.  I’m even starting to feel like job #3 is too much work most weeks.

Beginning today I’m going to experiment with doing a lot less, and see if i can sit with the uncomfortable feelings that come up with that decision.

What will it mean if i do A LOT LESS.

well, we’re about find out.

search engine topics

here are some of the words people have typed into search engines in the last month that led them to my blog… i can’t tell whether to laugh or cry!

  • tired think drink
  • best sobriety blog
  • online sobriety support
  • gigantic anus
  • 8th day of stopping drinking two bottles of wine a night
  • best part of being sober
  • whether you think you can or you can’t
  • read jason vale’s book and still want to drink
  • i’m fucking through the night
  • is anxiety tiring
  • i’m tired of drinking
  • drinking champagne while i’m in despair
  • best part about being sober
  • “i was thinking only of me”
  • trying to get through the night without a drink
  • fuck this i’m going to sleep [who types this into a search engine and then follows the links?]
  • no off button with drinking
  • she eats bread and butter
  • good things about being sober

today is the best day

no matter what you think, when you’re quitting drinking, day one is best day.

it’s the day your sober car starts to roll downhill. it’s the day you’ll get to remember, and look back on, and it’s the day you’ll count from.  it’s your day one.  the first day.  It is the beginning of a parade of days that will go by, each one with its own challenges.

Can you see us? we’re standing on the sidelines in the parade, with tiny flags in hand, waving. There are balloons. There’s music. There’s homemade lemonade.

OK, yes it’s hard to be in a parade at first. you feel like everyone is looking at you. it’s exhausting. It’s a full time job being newly sober.

and then as the parade goes on, the hours and the days add up. each day means something. each day represents an accomplishment, a day you said no thanks, i’ll stick with tea/bubbly water. No thanks, i want to do what’s best for me.

No thanks, while your offer is tempting, i’m going to skip numbness and choose living instead.

And no matter what you think, when you quit drinking, every day is the best day.  Today is day #203 for me.  It’s the best day. I have this great number of days behind me AND i have today to look forward to. It’s strangely snowy in this part of Europe and it’s a perfect day for a run and then breakfast and a reward magazine. I’ve been waiting all week to read my reward magazine. And now today is here.  Today is the best day.

Today I will do what others won’t

In writing to my sober penpal, Amy, last week, i was telling her how i was out for dinner and someone was asking about my not-drinking.  He’s a nice guy, someone who’s told my husband and i that he admires how we’ve constructed our lives… anyway he seemed like just the right place for me to practice telling my sober story differently.

cuz when i first quit, i didn’t want anyone to notice; then once i got my sea legs i was pissed off that no one noticed i wasn’t drinking. Now i seem to be in a new place. I’m not changing the facts, just how I talk about why i’m sober.

I told this nice guy that it started as a 30 day ‘experiment’ for Dry July, but that I found it harder to quit than I thought I would. We agreed that booze is everywhere – in ads/tv/associated with major events, at christmas, at new years, even at the dinner we were attending that very night. It’s assumed everyone will drink.  Everyone drinks.

I told him that the longer I didn’t drink, and the more I got to stand outside of what everyone else does, I could really examine it, and try to figure out what worked best for ME.  Everyone else just drinks (in different amounts, but most people drink) and they do so perhaps without ever really considering if that’s what’s best for them.

i told him that once I had quit, I realized I was better off without it.  I sleep better, I get more done, and it has started a ball of self-improvement rolling  downhill (i didn’t mention my sober car, but you know what i mean).

Now, what’s changed?  All of this story is true. I don’t have to share with anyone, nor is it anyone’s business, as to how much I drank, or how many times i thought about quitting before I actually did.

I’m telling a TRUE story, but I get to decide HOW I tell it.  and frankly, sober girls rock, and I felt GREAT after I framed my story like this … Amy and I agreed it was time for a new bumper sticker: sober girls rock… or … “when’s the last time you did something different from what everyone else was doing?” The great un-lemming-ing.

kinda like: Today I will do what others won’t, so tomorrow I can have a life that others can’t…