Open Call Sunday, May 25, 2014 [Audio is ready]

telephone-postit

I did an open call today and the audio is ready 🙂

I’ve done a few of these before, American Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Day.

Thanks to everyone who was able to dial in and be there live (21 people on the call)! Great questions … what about friends who tell me I’m a drag, how do I get a new day 1, how do i keep going after day 200?

Some weird quality issues with participants when they speak (that’s skype for you!) but my voice sounds fine. I’ll try to figure out if this can be improved.  It sounds fine while we’re on the call, but then the recording is weirdish. I’ll investigate.

listen-here

huglets,
and happy sober sunday

~

special edition flag painting > here


special edition flag painting > here

Open Call Sunday, May 25th

telephone-postit

I’m doing an open call tomorrow.

We get on the phone, we hang out, we chat, I answer some questions, we talk about sober life. And other stuff.

I’ve done a few of these before, American Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Day.

You can dial in and NOT speak, you can just listen if you want to.

Date of Call: Sunday, May 25th, 2014

Time of Call: 10 am Pacific / 1 pm Eastern / 6 pm England / 7 pm Germany / 5 am Monday May 26th in NSW Australia

This call is by invitation only.

Note: If you’re on my micro-email list, you’ve already received your invitation. 

If you have a question you’d like answered or a topic discussed, send me an email 🙂 I can answer 5 or 6 questions in an hour’s call.

huglets,
and happy weekend

~

Happy Day 50 to Chay!

Happy Day 50 to Dana!

Happy Day 50 to Ruth!

Happy Day 100 to Poppy!

Happy Day 100 to MoMaH!

Happy Day 100 to Regina!

Happy Day 180 to Terry!

Happy Day 200 to Ginger Funk!

Happy Day 300 to Sharon!

Happy Day 300 to MusicMom!

Happy Day 300 to JenniferS!

Happy Day 365 to Mary!

My first instinct: “I’ll feel like doing it tomorrow”

Down.

some days i wake up and think that my dreams are not realistic. i’m not going to achieve what i want, so why bother trying. i’ll just start my day with a bagel + cream cheese, i’ll skip my run, wear my pjs until mid afternoon.

[some days i think that sobriety isn’t realistic. i’m not going to be one of those success stories on belle’s blog, so why bother trying. i’ll just start drinking at noon, have more after lunch, plan where to eat tonight based on the booze selection, fall asleep on the couch again.]

Up.

some days i wake up and it’s sunny, i’ve had enough sleep, i get right into my spandex and am out the door before I check my email. some days i eat quinoa and dried cranberries for breakfast, work away productively on my piles of things. I search online catalogs for imaginary furniture for my imaginary café. I listen to inspiring podcasts (TAL). I clean the living room windows. I empty my inbox before bed.

[some days i wake up and i think today’s the day, i’m going to be sober today. I really am. I do some yoga or go for a run. I read things that support me – online blogs – books. I have sparkling water with my lunch, I plan my replacement drink for dinner. I don’t put myself in any weirdly tempting situations, i just focus on today and do what needs to be done. I listen to inspiring podcasts (like belle’s, ha!) I change the sheets on my bed as a self-care treat.]

Meh.

Yes, there are Down days and there are Up days. But most days i wake up somewhere in between. I’m not excited, but i’m not depressed. I’m not really motivated, but i’m out of bed so that’s a start. It’s not sunny but at least it’s not pouring rain. I don’t really have any rose-coloured momentum but i haven’t ground to a halt either.

‘I’ll just wait till tomorrow when i feel like it’

My first instinct is to wait until tomorrow, hoping it’ll be an Up day. “I’ll do this tomorrow when I feel like it.”

But really, there are things I can do now to fix this day, to improve it. I can start right now.

Gameify it

you’re going to laugh but that’s ok. here’s what i do. I cut up some small slips of paper. I write one task on each. Some tasks need more than one 25-minute session (for me, that’s my emails). And the slips of paper change based on the day… I decide on 12 bits of paper (representing 6 hrs). I put them in an envelope. I set the online timer to 25 minutes. I pull out one of the pieces of paper. I do that thing. When the timer goes off, i pull out a new piece of paper, and I do that thing for 25 minutes.

[most days when I wake up feeling in between, I decide i’m going to jumpstart my sober success. I make some tasks, and then I do them one by one UNTIL I FEEL BETTER. My pieces of paper might say: read blog, listen to audio, reach out, journal, take a bath, cry, go to bed, read, write a letter from my future-self to my today-self.]

Even if i don’t feel like it, using pieces of paper with a timer makes it into a game. I like the randomness of the tasks.  I like the fact that there’s no right order. I really like the fact that the task will end in 25 minutes and then I can do something else.

slips paper

Some days I do 12 pieces of paper (6 hrs), some days I only do 3 hrs. Some days I don’t need this at all. You can’t put “eat lunch” on the list, because it might not come up until 5 pm.  But if you’re a stay-at-home mom, you can put: laundry and fold clothes, clean, read, food prep, go outside, clean, laundry, read, sober podcasts while exercising, watch bad tv.” And if you’re at the office, you can put “professional reading, email inbox, planning for future strategies, return phone calls, write draft of report, sober podcast while filing.”

really large realization: when i draw the ‘clean’ piece, i go into the first room and just start tidying everything, then i go to the next room and start in one corner and work my way out. What’s AMAZING to me is that i don’t resent doing it, i never think “this is my husband’s stuff” or “I should save some of this for him to do when he gets home.” Something about the timer and the finiteness is enough for me to just barrel through it, seeing how much i can get done before the timer goes off. It’s like i’m 9 years old. (Which really, I am.)

I guess I’m talking to myself today.

You don’t have to wait to feel like it. You can make it into a game with pieces of paper and a timer. Your brain just isn’t that smart.

Dear Universe, I know you hear me.

Holiday Monday for Canada/US. quiet in the email world. quiet on the blogs. It’s a day off from Job #1 for me. Phone won’t ring. and it’s  gloriously summery sunny day.

my uncle was in town, passing through from place to place, and had dinner with us last night. after all of his travels i figured he’d want a home-cooked meal, something ‘comforting’. Roast chicken, mashed potatoes, salad (with feta and bacon), and berry coffee cake with a double amount of streusel topping.

He drank 2 glasses of wine. Mr. B and I had none. And guess what? my uncle didn’t even ask why we weren’t drinking. nothing. not a raised eyebrow.

(now, this is a man who’s been like a surrogate father to me, as we lived a long time in the same city and were the only ‘family’ the other had locally. we used to drink a lot. he’s a generous big spender. booze and more booze.)

And … crickets. nothing. not a raised hair on his head, not a scratch of the chin. nothing. And part of me was … disappointed 🙂 It’s so funny but these days i’m waiting for someone key (like a family member) to ask what the fuck is up with me, so that i can spill. You know: “hey there’s a big sober blogging world, and i’ve been doing some classes, and i’ve gotten so much support and learned so much from so many people.”

But i’m happy for my continuing ‘sober’ privacy. I continue to guard this part of my life as ‘mine’, not something i have to explain or even share! But i know that if asked directly, I will spill.  Thing is, no one cares! haha. the irony.

and then …

Dear Universe: i know you hear me. I know I fucking asked for a new, top floor apartment with more light and no noisy neighbours. I asked for it as recently as last Thursday, and then on Friday we got our notice from the landlord that he’s selling this apartment and we have 6 months to move. Dear Universe, thanks for hearing me. Really. Thanks for giving me the experience of being here already 5 years so that I can negotiate a new lease with more ease since we’re in the city and can actually see the places in advance (versus last time when we rented this place from ‘back home’).

And Universe, thanks for kicking my ass back to work, I’ve been super slack for months with job #1. I had no real goals. thanks for making a new big apartment that we can afford my new goal.

And Universe? Let me say that i hate moving but i like new beginnings. we wouldn’t have moved unless pushed. Now we’ve been pushed. And really, thanks for that. even if i think i brought this on myself by asking for it, it’s a good thing.

~

Happy Day 50 to Heidistar!

Happy Day 50 to New Me!

Happy Day 50 to KMT!

Happy Day 50 to Sam41!

Happy Day 50 to Fish!

Happy Day 50 to PlaydowEater!

Happy Day 100 to Fich!

 

micro-email: “Leaking crying”

Every day or two I send out a micro-email (http://eepurl.com/BqAEn) with bits and stories and anecdotes. Usually they’re messages from my inbox, and sometimes they’re longer pieces written by me.

And every so often I take one of those emails and post it here.

“Leaking crying”

From Koala Girl:

“So here’s the thing about day 15. It’s the day before 16 which is when you told me this raw red ooze of emotion might make itself slightly more bearable.

I dunno what wolfie is up to, but one thing for sure is that I’ve met a woman I’m unfamiliar with in the last two weeks. She’s not the kind of girl I have ever allowed in my inner circle. She can’t get her mascara on some mornings cause thinking about people she loves makes her cry in the bath. She cries while writing emails. She cries on the bus. In the bathroom at work. And then comes home and cries some more. Now this is not like movie crying. It’s like breathing crying. Like leaking crying. Like fuck you wine you squished me down for so long I’m coming out now that you can’t keep me corked up crying .

But this messy messy girl is starting to teach me something. I’m not that tough.

My heart is this amazing thing … I need to protect it better. Being sober lets me watch out for it.

I will admit I could do with less leaking. Day 16 is almost here. Thanks Belle”

~

Happy Day 50 to Cornelius!

Happy Day 50 to Tess!

Happy Day 50 to Fire!

Happy Day 50 to Liesel!

Happy Day 50 to Moon Alley!

Happy Day 100 to Old_dude29!

Happy Day 100 to Lindsay30!

Happy Day 100 to Julie Nicole!

Happy Day 100 to Hank!

Happy Day 180 to Kal!

Happy Day 180 to Joan E!

Happy Day 180 to Miss Lynn!

Happy Day 180 to Shannon A!

Happy Day 200 to Jeannie Yogini!

Happy Day 200 to Carrie Kaffer!

Happy Day 200 to Raquelle!

Happy Day 300 to Donna!

Happy Day 300 to Laurie!

Happy Day 300 to BST!

Happy Day 300 to Catkin!

Happy Day 365 to Sara Stef!

Oprah and Lindsay Lohan: “But you didn’t”

the wolfie voice. i watched an interview with Oprah and Lindsay Lohan. Oprah said something like “i personally have experience with addiction; i have an addiction to food.”  She went on to say, “Lindsay, i know alcoholism is a disease, but you’ve been to rehab 6 times, what is the dis-ease in you that makes you drink?”

i haven’t paraphrased this correctly, Oprah phrased it even worse than this, but that’s the gist of it.

Let me tell you, i got all agitated watching the show. I had an answer ready for Oprah that Lindsay left unspoken. I watched Oprah be moderately condescending, and then trying to be sympathetic. But she didn’t get it.

I wanted to be Lindsay sitting in that chair, and I wanted to say this:

Whether alcoholism is a disease or not, i couldn’t say. Really, that would be like asking if depression or anxiety are diseases.

I know I drank because it made me feel better. And then it didn’t.

I never wanted to quit drinking because i thought it was helping me with my depression and my anxiety. I never realized that it was actually making me feel worse. I thought booze was my friend. But booze lied to me.

And Oprah, would you ask the same question to someone addicted to cocaine? wouldn’t you recognize that while the person using the drug probably has something they’re trying to self-medicate, sure, but that the drug itself takes over pretty quickly and demands more. the drug makes you crave more drugs.

You see Oprah, I don’t have a ‘dis-ease’ that makes me drink and drive. Booze itself does that. I don’t have a dis-ease that makes me drink in public and act idiotic and get in trouble and look like a ruined child star while people are watching and taking pictures of me to sell to the press. Booze does that.

And if i remove the booze, most of my problems go away.

Sure, I might still be attention seeking, i’m in show biz. I might have 10% narcissistic in me, but i’m a beautiful model and I like people to look at me. That’s normal. You might think i’m a bit OCD about how i like my clothes folded, but a lot of very successful people are more than a little OCD about their lives. it’s how we (attempt) to manage our very public lives. we find comfort in how our clothes are folded.

But you know what? if i remove the booze, most of my big, in the press, legal, emotional, financial, and relationship problems will go away.

Sure, i might still be depressed, or anxious to some extent. But nothing like when i was drinking.

And yes, i have work to do and things to fix, but frankly removing the booze itself will dramatically improve my life. Hands down. Without the booze i’m in a much better place to be able to deal with the rest of my life.

It’s a fair question, Oprah, to ask why the first 5 trips to rehab didn’t work and why this last time i think it has. See, Oprah, you’re not in my head. And i’d have to question if you really have an ‘addiction’ as you say. Because if you did, you’d sympathize that the wolfie voice tells us we’re not worthy, that we’re a fuck up, that we’ve failed and will continue to fail. You’d know that was the booze talking, and not really us. But you’d also know that it takes a while to learn to differentiate between wolfie and our true selves.

If you really knew what i was talking about, Oprah, you would have sympathized with an anecdote like “i know what you mean Lindsay, i decide to give up sugar for one day and i’m doing well and then at 8:30 pm i drink a glass of tonic that’s put in front of me, and suddenly realize that i’ve blown my goal because there’s sugar in tonic. So then i eat cookies, because, you know, wolfie says ‘you’ve blown it now, might as well begin again tomorrow, you can’t even do one day, cookies cookies cookies’.”

If you’d said that, Oprah, i would have nodded and agreed and would have felt relieved that you really understood.

But you didn’t.

from my inbox, the mother’s day edition

From my inbox:

Hank (day 95): “Great post today. You’re describing me, of course, like it’s all of us. When I start romancing the drink, I have to get it through my thick skull that I tried several times to go a month without drinking and I couldn’t even get past two days! That’s when I started hiding the bottles so my family would think I was doing all right. But I wasn’t all right and I’m all right now. So let’s keep it that way. Thank you SOOOOOOO much, Belle, for all you do for me! I’ll repeat what a lot of folks have said in the comment section of your blog… I can’t believe you’re doing this for a complete stranger!  You’re one in a million (or bazillion?) and amazing in a fantastically super awesome way! 😉 And as Mother’s Day weekend approaches (at least in the U.S.), let me just say thanks for mothering us all.”

Mx (day 0): “Fail on Friday. I will start again from the beginning. I was tired, stressed and at dinner with no apparent non-alcohol option. I am introvert in the extreme and our event involved 3 days of being ‘present’ from about 8am till 11pm, with about 140 people who all want to ask me questions.  I will gather my resources and return for day 1 take 2 … Much love and apologies for the fuck-up – you are the best therapist in the business, and our National Health Service (as well as that in other countries, and various insurance companies) should be forwarding you buckets of cash.”

S: “Hello Belle. I embarked on your 100 day challenge at the end of last year, and successfully made it 100 days completely sober. It was the best thing I ever did for myself, and I had never felt that clear-headed, happy, or at peace in my life. On day 102, I decided I was magically cured and would be fine drinking moderately. I have drank nearly everyday since. And the worst part is, I knew. Deep inside of myself, I knew that one drink was a bad idea. That I hadn’t felt that good in years, that I did not under any circumstances want to have to go through the beginning of the recovery process ever again. I have tried quitting twice since on my own, with no success. I can’t believe how easily, almost naturally, like breathing, and quickly my addiction to wine returned. And I feel worse now than I ever have, because now I know I have to let this go. … Anyway, it’s 1145am and I’m on my second drink of the morning…I hate this, I don’t want it anymore. I know what I have to do, I know it’s right and true and worth it, why is this so hard? I want what you and unpicked and DDG and byebyebeer and all of the other amazing courageous brilliant people have found in a fantastic life sober. I know you all worked (work) so hard to earn it and I want the same. I’m so sorry to bother you, and unload on you but I know you have been here and help so many people. Is it possible for me to start the challenge again? I don’t know if there is any policy on that, or a limit. Thanks for listening.”

Nantucket (day 62): “Happy Sunday! and Mothers Day! I suppose you are a virtual ‘Mother’ to all of us 🙂 Sober.”

~

Happy Day 50 to Helena!

Happy Day 50 to Allyson!

Happy Day 50 to Winifred!

Happy Day 50 to KD!

Happy Day 50 to Rob8576

Happy Day 50 to Hollm!

Happy Day 50 to Misty!

Happy Day 50 to Kyle!

Happy Day 50 to DavidR!

Happy Day 50 to Kevin!

Happy Day 100 to Andrea!

Happy Day 100 to Elise!

Happy Day 100 to Jude!

Happy Day 100 to CH!

Happy Day 100 to Rob!

Happy Day 100 to Colleen!

Happy Day 180 to Hazeleyes!

Happy Day 180 to Tim!

Happy Day 180 to SarahinSurey!

Happy Day 180 to Mack!

Happy Day 200 to Hana!

Happy Day 200 to Jilly Bean!

Happy Day 365 to Elle!

Happy Day 365 to Leah!

Happy Day 400 to Diane!

Happy Day 400 to Sober Journalist!

micro-email: Stone sober – I was the happiest father in the world

Every day or two I send out a micro-email (http://eepurl.com/BqAEn) with bits and stories and anecdotes. Usually they’re messages from my inbox, and sometimes they’re longer pieces written by me.

It’s truly weird, but more people are signed up to read the emails than to read the blog … but part of the reason for that, i think, was explained to me on one of my recent coaching calls; where I heard: “the emails come to me, they just pop up in my day.”

It’s that whole push-pull thing. Ask people to go somewhere or send it to them? (you know how your bank sends you an email saying you have a message online instead of just sending you the message by email). Push-pull.

So then what is it about getting a sober message by email? It’s a very gentle PUSH 🙂

Well, here’s an example. This email got a huge response from readers. What do you think?

Stone sober – I was the happiest father in the world

RM (day 131):

“Thank you. Being sober has its rewards! The guy upstairs keeps giving me these little things in my life I think as rewards for getting away from the booze.

We had a major snow storm. I do not live with my daughters so I can not always make sure that they’ve got things packed in the car for winter emergencies. Them being stupid teenagers — just like their dad.

I was sound a sleep when my cell phone rang at 4 a.m…. “Daddy, I went off the road, I am stuck and I need your help” said my scared 20 year old baby girl.

I told her dad will be there in a few minutes. I had to steal my roommate’s boots, shovel, and gloves. Then head out to clear off my car which was under 8+ inches of snow. Drive about 8 miles in the snowstorm to reach where she was at.

When I pulled up I had the one of the biggest rushes of my life. Here is my beautiful 20 year old daughter looking like a drowned rat due to the heavy snowfall. She was wearing thin pants, tennis shoes and a thin pullover. She looked like hell.

I was there able to help my daughter when she needed her father the most. Stone sober – I was the happiest father in the world. Who gives a shit she was out without winter clothes, who gives a shit she got stuck, who gives a shit about the little damage the car got.

What really mattered was I was there when my daughter needed me the most and I could keep her safe. If I was still drinking I really doubt I would have got that phone call and been able to hear her soft, scared voice call me “Daddy” …

Anyways I was going to keep it short but, why? It’s my life now and I am the telling it not the booze.

Thanks Belle for the time and effort you put in to helping all of us through this shit booze caused.”

~

shameless commercial link. cookies.

~

And here are a selection of messages I received (which I forwarded to RM):

Shell Bell: This made me tear up! I think the same thing- sober hugs, sober talks, sober dinners- it is night and day the interaction with my children- it is awesome! I know it is so different- even the tough places are so normal and do-able…. I agree, thanks Belle for giving others hope- we are forever grateful!! And RM- what a great gift any Dad could have!!! Keep up the vision, you have a heart to be the awesome dad you were created to be!

lifeasirockit: Beautiful, beautiful story. Actually a little tear!

Peggy: very cool

Dana: This is really powerful! Thanks for sharing it!

Laurel: Feel that way a lot.  I’m ready for any help needed requests now too.  When drinking I’d try to avoid them.

Missy: WOW!! As a child of an alcoholic. This story really touched me. Way to go Dad!!!!

Maz: What a great post being here when needed for our loved ones rather than being lost in a bottle and the craziness it brings is the best gift we can give to ourselves and others, much love belle