Pandemic drinking: How many people are still struggling?

i was in the paper 🙂

“Pandemic drinking: How many people are still struggling?

If you have a dependence – if the drink hasn’t loosened its grip since Covid waned – it’s worth considering your options…

… You could try controlled drinking – rationing your drink, really – but I’m not convinced it’s worth it. With cutting it out you eventually don’t have to think about drinking but with controlled drinking you have to think about it every day. You could try to stop drinking with the help of blogs such as Belle Robertson’s Tired of Thinking About Drinking, which has helped people all over the world.”

read the whole article here >

i give-give-give to everybody else

from me:

we will put other people’s needs ahead of our own, and then drink ‘at’ that, as a sort of ‘fuck you’ or ‘nobody takes care of me’ or ‘nobody’s looking out for me’ or ‘this is my way to unwind after i feel so brutal’ and ‘this is how i take care of myself after the bad things happen, and after i give-give-give to everybody else. then i drink.’

i’m talking about the energy you give to what your extended family thinks of you. And my answer is: it’s not important what your sister thinks. it’s not relevant. not by a mile.

first of all, is your sister living the kind of life that you want to live? you’re only supposed to accept criticism from people from whom you would take advice, because you want what they’re doing.

You would only take advice from somebody if they have the result that you are trying to get.


[The text above is transcribed from the newest podcast just sent to podcast subscribers (it’s episode #489 – “What my family thinks of me.” If you’re a podcast subscriber you’ve received this audio in full (it’s 35 minutes long). if you are NOT yet a subscriber, but sign up today, this episode will be your first audio. you’ll get it right away. if you sign up later, you’ll miss this one … just saying 🙂 go here.]

hugs from me on this sunny and warm afternoon. i have meatballs in a pot on the stove, slowly braising in tomato juice. husband is out at a show. i’ve started watching a frenetic chef show on Hulu (god help me). there are 2 weekends left in august. i want to: swim, have a picnic, go on a hike, and pick blueberries (too late). i want to have a perfectly clean house (hahahahaha). i want to eat meatballs and watch The Bear. none of these things would be improved with the addition of a hangover. 



book giveaway #1 for wednesday!
sending out a free hardcover copy of this book
to the next person who orders a
sober support painting 🙂
like this ‘sortie’ – newly added #789


repetition. sobriety suits me.

email from Brett: “I’ve been too long with my head in the sand, but I’ve been doing a lot of soul-searching, and I am so HAPPY to say that today is Day 18! No drinks … completely thrilled, and not struggling. I’m not white-knuckling. The feeling of control and sobriety, in and of itself, is trumping any cravings. I think my toolbox finally filled up enough to make it stick. I am not oblivious to the dangers of temptation, or that it will stay this “easy”, but I really believe I’ve got this thing … The most interesting, most eye-opening, and sometimes the most​ terrifying yet rewarding part has been (after the first 10 days or so) the clarity with which I can see everything I was numbing. Relationship problems? Numb them. Dissatisfaction with parenting efforts? Numb them. Hatred for your career and health choices? Numb them. Wow. The power the drink held over me was not just the power of “it’s fun to have a drink and hang out, I want more of that” but more insidiously “I am doing all of your (non) coping so you can continue putting band-aids on things.” I am so excited to live my life sober, and deal with problems and issues sober, so I can actually make my life better become a full participant in it. I know it now, after taking the leap – it will get better, because I am in control and will make it better. You just have to take that leap… hugs, B.”


from me, now, 4 years in the future from this email: the feeling of ‘i’ve got this’ can be wolfie speaking. the thing we ‘get’ is repetition, re-learning, that we want to be sober, that it suits us. the thing we ‘get’ is preventative maintenance. the thing we ‘get’ is that we need to stay connected to people who ‘get it’ so that we aren’t alone in our head, listening to wolfie. i did a facebook live video about this exact idea: the necessity of repetition (and how being sober is NOT like banana bread). you can watch it here.]
note. facebook is not private. you can decide if you want to like or comment, but you can watch the video by clicking the link and watching a pre-recorded video is anonymous. 


email from AP:
“I finally realize what exit means for me. Other than the nice exit the elevator metaphor. I will hang this by my desk so it will be a reminder to exit the work world ‘when I’m feeling the obsession’ to finish the project and it’s way beyond the regular work day hours and I have not exercised or done self care. It’s when I feel like I need a drink to help me exit that place. This will be the visual reminder to exit before I have allowed my work to take over and push me into the wound up mode. The painting will also be a nice connection to you and the story of how you began selling your husband’s paintings to your followers and a connection to your fellow warriors on the same path. As well, how letting go of something and exiting from its grip will open up the space to pursue purpose and do things we enjoy – especially if it’s also helping someone else. This is a nice step for me as I solidify my commitment to a better mind set, control over my decisions which make me feel proud of myself. I just listened to one of your podcasts – I enjoyed a few laugh out loud moments on it and I’m sitting outside in the shade – drinking tea, eating a piece of chocolate. What a nice surprise I felt like buying an exit painting. I could not have felt this relief and peace and contentment had I drank myself out of the work mode. Deep breaths and smiles.”

new painting 784:

link to see a larger photo

from apprentice elise: ‘my all-time favorite podcast’

from penpal marmar: 
“You know what’s awesome? I’m in bed! Sober! It’s 10 pm! … I listened to 2 audios today … The ‘I wish I could fly’ audio definitely resonated with me. And on the note, Belle did comment that something was different about that audio but she couldn’t put her finger on what. I’m not sure, either, but it struck me that it was a little more ‘tough love’ than some of the others – maybe? … Belle likes to tell it like it is – not really much sugar coating there. Because sobriety is fucking important – who has time for sugar coating it or beating around the bush? But with the tough love there’s also sarcasm and humor, so there’s some lightheartedness mixed in there.  Sobriety is fucking important but if you make it ‘if you don’t get sober you’ll DIE!!’ — in your face — that’s not really going to help people hear the message… My point is, I think in that audio, Belle is getting even more to the core of it. You can’t drink, just like you can’t fly. As much as you WANT to, you can’t. Those of us who have managed some decent period of sobriety “get it” on some level. I didn’t before. And I’ll never forget my first phone call with Belle; she called me out – in her Belle gentle-but-not way – for saying I wanted to be sober but not really being serious about it, or something to that effect. She was 100% correct.  And once you get it, you REALLY want others to get it! And so sometimes you get more urgent about it, more like, “don’t you see how silly it is to wish you could drink?!” Hard to articulate that in writing … The “I Wish I Could Fly” audio, in a good way, is like a call to attention.”


Apprentice Elise: “Hands down, the best audio for me that Belle has ever recorded [is ‘I Wish I Could Fly.’] I listen to it regularly. I love that I can use it in reference to drinking, but to other things as well (for me, it really applies to my mental health stuff and the challenges of raising my three awesome autistic kids).”

Apprentice Elise: “One of my favorite sober audios that Belle has ever recorded is  “I Wish I Could Fly.” It’s an audio that really captures that “this is your thing” idea for me, and I can listen to it and apply it to any one of my “things” anytime.”

Apprentice Elise: “I don’t think I’ve told you before, but “I Wish I Could Fly” is my favorite sober audio ever. It’s listening gold. And it’s listening gold because it’s about how we can wish we can fly all we want, but we can’t fly. And we can wish that alcohol wasn’t the issue we have, but it is. So, yeah, sometimes we’re going to cry about it, be mad at it, scream about it, or just plain be annoyed, but it’s our thing. And that’s ok. You can handle that. It’s not fair, but you can handle it.”

Apprentice Elise: “I Wish I Could Fly might be my all-time favorite podcast. It helps when I’m facing a situation that just seems so unfair or impossible (like a chronic health condition or a virus that’s impacting the world) to listen to Belle kind of whine like I want to whine. “But I wanna fllllyyyy.” And then to talk us through why we can want this sober life anyway.”

archived podcast #229 called “i wish i could fly” is part of a podcast bundle you can download here. then you can listen to them over and over, particularly this episode. and the one called temptation. and the one about lindsay lohan. link here.

i wish i could fly

from me:
let’s talk about what’s normal.

let’s talk about continuing to do something that makes you feel crappy – drink too much, think about drinking, not feel proud of yourself, wake up feeling like a bag of shit – let’s talk about doing that beyond the point where logically and rationally and empirically we already know it doesn’t work.

the thing about over-drinking is that the problem is in your head, it’s a voice in your head that says things.

so I want you to imagine, just for a second, that you’re standing on the edge of the roof — and it’s dark, and there are lots of stars and it’s a beautiful sky — and you’re standing on the edge of the roof, and you have a head that says: “I should be able to fly. I SHOULD be able to fly! I should be able to jump off of this roof, flap my arms and fly. I should! I’ve read about it. I should be able to do it. What’s the matter with me? It must be that I’m not trying hard enough.”

You know as well as I do, that when you hear a story like this, you immediately think “whoa, psychiatric stuff!” – you know it’s a symptom of a mental thinking disorder where logical thought doesn’t enter into the decision-making process.

The hard part about dealing with over-drinking is you have to deal with the voice in your head that is illogical, irrational, and lying to you.

Your brain will say “I’ve seen other people fly. I’ve seen other people have one or two drinks and then stop.”

Then I’ll come in and say, “you don’t actually know what you’re seeing. you don’t know what they drink when they go home. you don’t know how much they drank before you saw them have one drink. you don’t’ know what kind of failure rate they have. you don’t know how they feel….”

the text above has been transcribed by me, this very minute, from archived podcast #229 called “i wish i could fly.” this audio is part of a podcast bundle you can download here ($21). then you can listen to them over and over, particularly this one. and the one called temptation. and the one about lindsay lohan. link here.

the hopelessness is wolfie

email from penpal Pearl: Hi Belle. I’m on day 1. I don’t know how else to describe this feeling other than hopelessness. I was climbing this sober mountain and I slipped. Now, I feel tired. I keep looking towards that sober top of the mountain and it seems so far away. So much work. And I’m just so tired. Tired of this battle within myself. Tired of failing. Tired of not trudging through the hard times to get to the other side. Today I feel guilty. Of course. That’s how we all feel when we slip up and have to admit it not only to ourselves but to our sober penpal. This drinking thing sucks. It’s not even enjoyable anymore. I hate myself while I’m doing it but I just keep doing it. Why why why???  I know exactly what my triggers are but instead of reaching out or finding another outlet, I cave. This is really really hard work. So far in my life, the longest and hardest battle. I want to cry, scream, crawl out of my skin. Fuck!!”

me:  I can reset you, day 2 today. the hopelessness is wolfie, and it decreases as you move away from day 1. if you slipped, then you need more supports. to add to the mountain metaphor, you need ropes and a guide and a book and more rest times. it’s not that this mountain is impossible, it’s that you have a brain that says you don’t need any of the supports to get you to the top. which of course is silly 🙂 wolfie will say “no” to everything. and you can say “I hear you, but I’m going to do 100 days sober no matter what, I’m going to try some new things, I’m going to cry or scream, but I’m not drinking for 100 days. ask me again later, wolfie. the answer for now is no.”
you don’t have to rely on yourself to reach out when you have a trigger. the goal is to set it up so that you have fewer triggers, and that you have supports already moving when triggers come up. it’s about keeping your car squarely in the middle of the lane (to mix metaphors again).”

Not Today silver bracelet


an audio about your mood (and being sober!)

this is an extract from the live show i recorded on monday about managing our MOOD when sober. the full episode is being sent to podcast subscribers today and tomorrow.

from N: “I missed the live show – would love to catch up with it but I’m not currently subscribed to the podcasts. Is this something you might put up as a stand alone purchase?”

me: 🙂 well the live show was 2 hrs long, and so will be split into 3-4 podcasts. it might be cheaper to be a podcast subscriber than get them as singles. a subscription would give you 8-ish audios in a month and the subscription is only $26.21/month versus the stand alone price of $5 each (x 8 = $40) … huglets

update from yesterday’s email
When I sent out the email inviting you to read and stay plugged-in to your sober stuff, here are some of the replies:

  • My sobriety is important. I am important. Doing this one small thing every day keeps me motivated. Some days they help more than others. Some days, I think I am fine and I don’t need any help. But even then, the help never hurts. Other days, I find there is something in your message that turned out to be exactly what I needed to hear at that moment. Thank you for doing what you do, it helps many more than I think you realize.
  • I pledge to open every email from you and click on a link in each email between now and January 2. Because drifting is dumb … I’m going to remember that in terms of my sobriety the only thing that’ll change is my location during the holidays, so I do just the same things while I’m away as I do at home – all my sober supports and treats.
  • I am on day 2 and doing ok … I’m also caregiver to our 33-year-old daughter who has Cerebral Palsy. Stressful, so I’ve been drinking too much. Need to stop for her. Your daily inspiration really helps. Thanks for your unique insight and humor.
  • I will open every email you send with gratitude, from now until Jan 2nd, because it is fucking amazing knowing that someone cares enough about me to send daily emails, with links to sober supports. I will click on the links to those sober supports too, even if I don’t buy anything. Because I want you to know I appreciate you and I appreciate you reaching out to me by emails, I need these emails to remind me that what I’m doing is important.
  • I pledge to not only open but also read every line of every sober email that you send to me between now and January 2nd, 2039. If Belle cares enough to take the time to send them, then Heather will care enough to set up an alert on my phone with a special Belle ringtone alert when an email arrives from you. I will open and read your sober emails, not just preview them on my phone because there is no point in just previewing them, I wouldn’t see the whole encouragement and strength message that may come at just the right moment (this whole just the right message at just the right time thing occurs regularly), but also, by just previewing them, it could possibly be used by my bit of drinking head that still exists as an excuse to put snowshoes on and walk 10 miles to the nearest shop that sells booze. I have purchased 2 gig extra data to do this, as I am spending the season alone (dog is invited) in a log cabin in the mountains of North Wales… no wifi within 25 miles of me. I cannot guarantee a signal, but I will walk a maximum of 2 miles to find one- this is my Christmas effort gift to you. I also pledge to click and see where the mysterious link in each email will lead me to, but I cannot promise I will not buy anything. I want to show you Belle that i’m out there, in between the mountains on one side and the sea on the other side of me, relaxing alone, still sober even when I get mad when I will inevitably understand what I have been missing out on for the last 7 years. I’ll open and read your emails and click a link every day between now and January 2nd 2039. There is no reason whatsoever good enough on this fucking earth that I will happen to not be sober, so I am skipping that part of the pledge..but to make you happy, I will promise you that if for some stupid, made-up, idiotic and most likely death inducing reason i happen to not be sober, i will still open and read your emails to me and click on your link that you made an effort to provide everyday. Because I know that drifting from my sober supports is setting myself up on purpose, giving myself a slightly nudged open door to make up an excuse to drink; and not giving this babygirl the self love she deserves, and therefore, i will need to be engaged more. I owe it to myself first and foremost, and to you because of all of your efforts to try to get me to come to your side of the mountain to at least let you know that I’m still here. Still alive. Still sober.


“I have potential when i’m sober”
sober art, thanks to mr.belle

this is an original painting, so there’s only one copy available.

Iconic Moms Podcast – What’s Your Vice?


I was interviewed for the Iconic Moms podcast on November 23, 2019 by Alex, a very thoughtful. I am happy to be episode #17 on her new-ish show, and I think this interview is a good primer to learning about being sober. As well, I think that Alex is sharing brave things, as you’ll hear in this interview. To listen to other episodes of her show, you can go here.

This full interview will be sent to podcast subscribers.

But I want you to hear the whole audio NOW, even if you’re not a podcast subscriber.

So I’ve loaded the entire audio in the free audio feed (itunes/android).

[ link removed ]

The full audio will be available for 10 days. Go and listen to the first few minutes. Listen in installments. Or get a cup of tea and do it all at once. There’s something in here for you. I’m sure of it.

hugs and happy saturday



Something New (day 140): “Amazing how fast those magnets sell. I feel like it will be like winning a jackpot when one is available. I want one!!!! I particularly like the ones with the aqua color in them. He must be so happy!”

LARGE magnets
acrylic & ink, handcut card stock
7.5 x 7.5 cm (3″ x 3″)

magnet 276 > link
magnet 277 > link

Welcome Lurkers (Part 1)

I received a series of emails from lurkers (silent readers, non-reacher-outers), and in this podcast I reply to a few of them with longer, detailed responses. 

The complete audio recording is over an hour long, and split into two parts​. ​In this extract from Part 1, I talk about the feeling of being determined on day 1 (or 10), and how that feeling of being determined isn’t enough to be long-term sober.

​​​Here's a clip where you can listen to a 3-minute extract from the podcast. ​To download the entire​ 25-minute audio from part 1, you can use the download link below.

extract from Sober Podcast 285. ​Welcome Lurkers Part 1

You can ​leave a comment below, anonymous is fine ... or send me an email.​

​Download ​SP285. Welcome Lurkers Part 1​

Sign up for the ​podcast membership
(1-2 new full-length audios each ​week, you can cancel whenever you like ... but you won't. more sober tools = good)

​Journal 7, available at auction