remove the booze

email from Amylee on the day before she quit drinking: “What if my Wolfie is the real me?  What if wolfie isn’t one aspect of me I can control but rather the central control point?  How can something as basic as wolfie so consistently and easily override all of the facts and insights and intentions I know to be true until evening rolls around?? Is wolfie the real me??”

me: not true. not true that wolfie is you. you remove the booze and the voice stops. when you’re on day 60 you can ask this question again. for now, it’s actually wolfie speaking, saying the same things he says to everyone: “I’m different, I’m broken, I can’t do this, I’m a special fucked up human …” 
you’re not. remove the booze and this all stops …
the thinking is IN the alcohol.

[update: she’s on day 141 today]


this is exit painting #384. there’s an exit 384 on the highway in florida, heading to gainesville. yes, really. gains-ville. what do you gain by taking exit 384? you get to go to gainesville. you can’t make this shit up. maybe i’m the only one who finds this amusing 🙂
this is exit painting #384 on the site, here.

​painted by mr.belle, acrylic and ink on archival paper, 11.75″ x 16.75″; original art (not a print), only 1 available, signed and numbered on back. link.


little surprises

email from Noontylemon (day 5): “Sober 🙂 Also i had a great idea. When i was drunk i was always finding nasty little surprises (like sent messages in my mails to that i’d forgotten that made me cringe, text messages to exes, realising i must have taken out £40 from the cash machine since i found the receipt and no sign of the money nor what i spent it on, thinking i’d only drunk one bottle of wine and then finding a near empty second. etc etc).

Anyway!!! So i’ve started planting sober surprises about the place! Little encouraging notes to myself, a £5 note hidden in a pocket with the words ‘for a treat’ stuck on it, i even just put a recipe for an alcohol-free punch in the fridge! The trouble is that since i’m sober i haven’t forgotten where they are yet!!!! But it makes me smile to think i might discover them in a week’s time and how pleased i will be if i’m still sober. So much thanks.”


this Exit painting (by mr.belle) was chosen to be shown at the art show in Tennessee (May 2019). now it’s here in paris, ready to be mailed to you. but just before it leaves, i snuck in some oxygen bubbles, signs of life. effervescence. fireflies!

this is #381 >


link here >

a slippery-slopey bad idea

from Laure (day 62):

“Hi Belle – still doing great here zero cravings. But someone offered me a alcohol free beer. I didn’t take it but i wanted to have your thoughts. I never drink beer anyways but just curious. Let me know :)”

me:  happy day 62 to you 🙂 I personally don’t drink NA beer. here’s my quote from the book (is it douchey to quote from your own book?) on the subject:

What about non-alcoholic beer? I avoid fake beer, fake wine, and other non-alcoholic drinks or dealcoholized beverages. There is often a small percentage of alcohol in supposedly non-alcoholic drinks (often as much as 0.5%).

But most importantly, I don’t drink NA beverages because I do not want my brain to even think it’s having alcohol. I don’t want to fake-drink. I don’t even pour sparkling water into a wine glass, I use a regular juice glass.

I think mock-drinking in any form is a slippery-slopey bad idea. No fizzy fake champagne. No little bottles of apple juice that look like beer.

Let it be said that there are many people in the sober world who do consume NA drinks and they say that it is fine for them. And it may well be fine (for them). Me personally, I continue to err on the side of caution. I have spent time trying to get Wolfie to shut up, so I am not going to risk waking him up for the sake of a fake drink made to look like alcohol.

There are some situations or events where you are used to having wine, and if you replace the wine with something else, the absence is felt less (yes, I know, it’s not the same to have ginger ale when your brain wants wine, but it’s a partial replacement: it’s a beverage in a glass). You used to watch (and sleep through) a movie with wine in your hand. Now you can watch (and remember) a movie with tonic and lime. It’s not the wine that makes the movie better. You want the snuggle-cosy-alone-time that a movie brings. Turns out it doesn’t matter what’s in your glass. You drink lemonade, or imported mineral water, or tea.


Gift from me today:

listen to my short interview with Emma Barnett on BBC Radio ‘5 Live’



the idea of one or two glasses is bullshit

email from P: “I have been around for a while now with the usual ups and downs. Although more recently the wolf has taken a new path. It really is like little red riding hood being fooled by a wolf in disguise. I have been convinced that if I have a drink late in the evening then I don’t have time to drink much. I take great pleasure in telling people I only have a glass or maybe two in the evening. But I don’t really. I now see the slippery slope and that i have been fooled yet again by that little old lady who smiles and says ‘just one dear’.

Why oh why did I not see the long snout and sharp teeth and ugly sneer? I have always thought little red riding hood must have been a blind idiot not to see what was going on right in front of her. But now I have more empathy.

Just like others, I have ignored advice … I just dropped all my tools and opened not one of your emails, apart from today!

I don’t feel at rock bottom like I have, I am not as far down the elevator as I have been but I can see which way I am heading.

I have suddenly noticed the wolf disguise and realised that it’s a really shit one. I am thinking about drinking, and i now know that the idea of one or two glasses is bullshit. Thanks for just having an email address that allows me to even tell this shit xx.”


Gift from me today:
listen to this short interview with Emma Barnett on BBC Radio ‘5 Live’


for the One Minute Message Cards.

there will be no late joining: 
Once I start to mail these, I am not ​​able to add new people later. I’d be too confusing. Everyone gets the same thing every month. Which means we all start together. Now. Like today.

Yoda (day 1149): “There is something about acquiring something tangible that can be accessed without any electronic intervention, or any need to go to the other room or explain why you’re putting your headphones on, just some small nearly invisible talisman that keeps you tied to your own hope perhaps? My bracelet arrived the day after I came back from crazy beach vacation. Usually I get the mail, today Mr. Yoda did. He yelled up the stairs ‘hey, who is Belle Robertson from France?’ Since he knows little to nothing about you and I happened to be awake enough to think quickly I yelled back ‘the lady I get my bracelets from.’ He said ‘well, she loves you.’ Guess he read your note on the back.”

>> cards here <<

Every month for 6 months you’ll get an envelope in the mail, and in that envelope will be two cards AND one photo. Small messages (one-minute messages actually), transcribed, printed, and laminated. Just for you. And I’ll adjust the timing each month, so you won’t know exactly when it’s coming …​ go here and get one of the last sets.