when you think you’ll sell 10 books a month, and you start selling 10 a day (december 31st was 32 books that one day). when you order 7 new FUW bracelets for january and they’re claimed within hours so then you swiftly point out the silver Stay Here ones instead. when things change, under your feet, without you even realizing it.
it’s just like being sober, isn’t it. you go along, you go along, some days are easy, some days are hard. and you THINK you know where you’re going, but then …
well, I’ve always equated being sober with driving across the country, from Maine to San Francisco (or from Plymouth to Inverness-ish here).
you start off, you head in the right general direction, you make a bunch of small decisions every day. you adjust your course every day. you look at maps, aim, recalculate. you add in more sleep when required, more fuel when required, and you have faith that if you put in the days, let the calendar pages flip over, one after the other, that you can arrive in a new place.
and, importantly, it’s a new place that you can’t see when you begin AND you cannot adequately know or understand until you get there.
the advantage to having a day-by-day approach, though, is that you can do all the small adjustings required. you’re not just plopped in the middle of the new place, unprepared. you get to practise your self-care each day, refining the process. you get to deal with smaller hurdles before larger ones come. you learn about prelapse so that you can prevent it. you learn when to put gas in your sober car and when to have a snack.
it’s in the travelling that you are preparing. it’s in the travelling that you’re learning what you need to know.
and then some day you’ll wake up on day 2,384, having worked individually with 2,914 penpals. you will have no idea HOW this happened, except by repeating one successful sober day, repeatedly, and showing up, and making the small adjustments required. you’ll get ready to post the 299th sober painting since the end of august.
it’s like writing a book, right? page by page. you can write a book 100 words at a time. You can build a sober life one day at a time, one page, one story. keep layering. keep adding to what you’ve built before. continuous days. they count.
you’ll arrive somewhere lovely and unexpected.
from my inbox:
here are a few messages that are quite literally in my inbox this morning, wednesday
Lace (day 10): “Yesterday was grim. I didn’t drink but it was a close run. Daughter has taken up residence at home as her mental state has imploded. I am trying to be supportive and caring and that leaves little room for me to care for myself. Self-care and self-love is an alien concept for me. I need to compartmentalise but it’s hard. I know we all have shit stuff to deal with, so I will walk the dogs and tune into one of your podcasts. Very down.”
S1: “Hi Belle, I’ve read your amazing book, and it spoke out to me. It sounds stupid but I felt like I was talking to me: similar situation and similar way of talking. I was inspired, really fucking inspired. I know what I need to do now, I’m there. But I keep making excuses, especially around 4pm when I’m feeling normal again now the hangover is a distant memory and have to face the noisy, awful kids-bedtime routine. That my main excuse. What do you suggest I do at witching hour when wolfie is telling me the evenings are hard and wine will make it easier? Because I’m tired and still need to plough through it somehow. Any techniques for the witching hour? Thank You and I’ll get there eventually, I know day 1 will happen for me very soon.”
S2: “I don’t think I will get a reply to this as we are not penpals. But if you read it I will be pleased enough. I’m on day 7. I think you would say that I made the decision to quit while I still had a high bottom! but it was still all-consuming in my mind. Finding you and your book seems like fate! I’ve wanted to find a way, but never really considered actually stopping altogether. I want to do this. I’m 51 and turning 50 was a bit of a wake-up call in terms of realizing that we only get one life. I was fed up of not feeling as well as I knew I could and thought I was going round the twist waking up in a panic every time I drank. You are currently helping me more than you know. But is it normal to feel like crying every time I listen to a podcast? Partly it is with relief I think. That you understand, that I’m not on my own. Friends are proving to be tricky, I have only told two. One is totally supportive even a little in awe I think. The other, well she says ‘you don’t need to do that just drink at the weekend’ — I was tempted to ask her if her middle name was Wolfie 🙂 She wasn’t really listening I don’t think, but it has made me realize that I might need to choose who I tell my truth to. My hubby knows. and he suggests that I just tell them it is because I have events to train for and then I don’t have to explain anything.”
S3: “This is the second painting I have acquired. I LOVE it!!! And I thank you for helping me & being a part of my days in your own way. You are a gem! And Thank Mr. B for his paintings, to help us out here to not only have a more beautiful decor, but at the same time remind us of how we want to live – sober. And we can have that reminder in our face and enhancing our space without anyone else having to know it or judge it. Thank you seems minor, but it is heartfelt & what I can offer.”
Dallas: “i’m on day 1 for the last time, i’m trying different, i will email when i feel good AND when i feel bad. i will NOT wait to feel bad to reach out. i will fucking do it in advance, wolfie, so that i can get some fucking traction, wolfie, cuz this waiting around to feel better ain’t getting me anywhere, wolfie, and so i’m going to try different which means emailing and listening to audios when i feel GOOD. oh, and wolfie, you can blow me. love, me”
Mrs. Bobby: “Belle, I’ve right royally messed myself up, straight away. After my 60 days sober, I had a few drinks on Saturday night and enjoyed them – as I said in my email. But then I had more on Sunday night. My husband and I had some drinks together, which, for me, turned in to a bottle of wine, at least, possibly more as there was some left from the other night. my hangover yesterday was excruciating … But you know the thing I am most ashamed of? I felt horrible late morning yesterday and my brain said – “alcohol will make you feel better”. And I listened to it … I am now full if self loathing and I am upset I have wasted so much time and energy, and for what? When I compare how I feel now with how I felt for the previous 60 days sober, there is no contest. I want that life back. I don’t want this. Sorry Belle, just feeling the shame and self-loathing today. I just want to get back to where I was. And the voice in my head is still saying – ‘alcohol will make you feel better’. But I’m not listening this time. Bobby xx”
This is sober art, painting #301, here > link