a mouse in the house

Sunday morning, completely out of nowhere, a mouse ran into our apartment from under the front door.  she ran into the kitchen, then into the living room where my husband was (he yelled as if he’d just discovered that David Bowie died, a yelp of shock and true exasperation).

the upside to my heart medication combined with sobriety? reduced adrenaline. so when panicky stuff happens, i just go “wow. did you see that?” and then I go out to buy a mouse trap on a sunday. The gardienne, all dressed up on her way to church, wearing white over orange, sees me with a bag of mouse traps and sticky paper, and she offers to lend her cat for an hour (no joke). and i’m just smiling, and texting my sister. It must be the good heart drugs mixed with a healthy dose of sobriety. this clearly isn’t me.

i sit around with my feet UP and let husband deal.

as i hide in the office, i start singing: “he sat Miss Mousie on his knee, and he said, Miss Mousie, will you marry me? Mm-hmm, mm-hmm, mm-hmm.” thus, the mouse is a girl.

and then the gardienne really does arrive at the door to our apartment with her little white cat and says “here …”

Mr. B is so in love with the cat that he can’t just let her do her business.  He stares at the cat, the cat stares at him, and the mouse hangs out under the couch.

text received from sister: What a great idea . You could start a rent a mouser business – if Mr. B will let them go. If puddy gets the mouse, Mr. B might want it for a pet too.

i tell Mr. B to come out of the living room and leave the cat alone. but the cat is meowing so he won’t leave her … honestly. it’s good thing we don’t have a baby … let the cat cry, i say. she’ll get the job done! but no.

i finally talk him into let the cat cry alone in the room with the mouse for 15 minutes. we set the timer. the cat meows. the mouse hides. mr. b. cringes and paces around in the last minute.

unfortunately, Mr. B. accidentally squishes miss mousie moving the couch (the mouse was up in the hide-a-bed by the end of it… and the great white hunter just cried and cried and cried …)

Mr. B says in English: “this is not for me…”

finally he traps the mouse with two pieces of cardboard … the puddy is not a hunter cat after all.

text received: The GREAT WHITE HUNTER. That must have been a really lazy mouse to allow itself to be caught with cardboard. Or she found some wine? [note to self, time to update sister on my non-drinking status, now that it’s like 2 years …]

we put the two pieces of cardboard in a giant garbage bag. and Mr. B. exits the premises. i suppose mousie met her demise after that. i asked not to be informed.

my father texts: All of this about a mouse? The other day, someone in Yellowknife had a bear in her kitchen.

to be fair, i never saw miss mousie. and it’s a good thing, too. it’s just the kind of event that i’d play over and over.

for 2 days, though i’ve been calling Mr. B the great white killer. he’s not that happy with the title. he said “il faut le faire” – which means ‘you’ve just to do it’ or ‘it must be done’.

if you have a mouse (wolfie) in your house, what are you doing to get rid of it? borrowing your neighbour’s cat is a good place to start. just find a successful neighbour with a fierce cat. and model yourself after her …

~

Happy Day 50 to magic arrow!

Happy Day 100 to AM!

Happy Day 100 to Laure!

Happy Day 100 to Moss!

Happy Day 100 to unsmashed!

Happy Day 100 to Darla!

Happy Day 200 to Doll Face!

Happy Day 365 to Laurie!

 

shit happened. face forward.

shithappenedinthepast0abothtousandbyus0aandthen0aweturnandface0aforward0a28sun290a7eshitbellesays-default

link

shit happened in the past
both TO us and BY us
and then
we turn and face
forward
~ shit belle says

~

Happy Day 50 to Bepperoo!

Happy Day 50 to RetiringPartyGirl!

Happy Day 50 to Sarah72!

Happy Day 50 to Missicat!

Happy Day 50 to Nellie!

Happy Day 50 to Kpop!

Happy Day 50 to Della!

Happy Day 100 to ParisienneKnitter!

Happy Day 110 to Dori!

Happy Day 187 to Betsy!

Happy Day 200 to S!

Happy Day 365 to Catkin!

 

just do it

OK so yesterday’s post got a huge amount of response. I was starting to post some of the comments that i received by email at the bottom of the post, but here are a few others:

NicCha (day 52): “I like the idea of just changing the behavior and not thinking about it. You would think sleeping in bushes once would be enough to make one say, *woah, enough is enough!* But nah, that just made me go, “well, I won’t drink like THAT again.” But there are infinite ways to screw up drinking, and each successive overthought formulation of ‘rules’ always wound around to the same predictable outcome of something I would rather not have happen happening. This time, the thinking stopped with a basic premise: *a goddamn 30-year-old man does NOT vomit in the morning. EVER. Period, full stop.* I saw entirely unacceptable behavior, a pattern of broken promises to the self that *it’ll be different this time*, and that the only 100% surefire way to prevent a 30+-year-old man from vomiting in the morning is to not drink. What it all means, as you rightly suggest, can be figured out later, and/or over time. But the offending behavior had to be ended.”

Amos (day 179): “Um, I think this is why Nike sez Just do it.”

CH: “Sure you have to change the behavior or nothing happens. But isn’t thinking and relating our thoughts the basis of the blogging community? Isn’t it the basis of growth? Why bother writing if it is just a matter of changing the behavior? We share our thinking as a means to support and sustain the change. Writing is thinking… I agree though, that you can’t reason your way through the big shifts. You gotta just do it.”

me: I think that we blog to think, yes, but it’s much more meaningful to blog out our ideas once we’ve quit drinking – rather than before 🙂 quit drinking first, figure shit out later.

Janett (the sober therapist) (day 115): “i definitely agree with you that we spend way too much time thinking about why we do things rather than just doing the thing we think we should do – i guess the things i would add to your discussion are the sequence of events – where the thinking is most helpful and when it is not. changing habits and creating new neuropathways in our brains requires action for sure. simply thinking about the root cause of our behaviors doesn’t change behavior. sure it provides insight and can be helpful for inquiry but it absolutely does not a change make. especially when you are talking about addiction – addiction wires our brains in ways that are hard to intercept with logic – so you have to start with action.”

me: I agree with you. action (sobriety) first; thinking is required but it comes second 🙂 I’m certainly not saying ‘no thinking’ … I’m saying, for myself anyway, stop trying to figure out why and just try it.

~

Happy Day 50 to CassieB

Happy Day 50 to Rebuilding Anne

Happy Day 50 to Joom

Happy Day 50 to Edi

Happy Day 50 to Natalie

Happy Day 50 to Mary Beth

Happy Day 50 to Tulip

Happy Day 50 to Irene

Happy Day 50 to BethW

Happy Day 50 to LilyPad

Happy Day 50 to Reid

Happy Day 61 to TJR

Happy Day 100 to Shaina

Happy Day 100 to Run Dontwine

Happy Day 100 to Chris Ann

Happy Day 100 to Dana

Happy Day 180 to Angela

Happy Day 180 to MaryDean

Happy Day 180 to Nora

Happy Day 200 to Winkle

Happy Day 200 to LG

Happy Day 200 to Traci

Happy Day 300 to Debbie

do you change the behaviour first?

I hate it when i learn something about myself. well, i don’t HATE it, but i am like all “holy how did i never see this before” or “holy how come it took me so long to finally try to figure this out…”

i had a crap day last week (and i wrote about it, which of course makes folks either freak out that i’m about to relapse (no) or you’re surprised that i’m a real person and not pedestal-like-after-all-and-never-was).

after my crap day i got some sleep (duh). and i recovered (yeah). all day saturday i was busy with catering. the whole day. but i had an idea for a podcast so i started to record it saturday night at about 9 pm…

to say that i had an idea for a podcast is a little unfair, because i was trying to figure out WHY i can’t consistently get enough sleep, and why do i have to keep relearning this over and over, how boring i’m not even going to link to past posts on the subject of must do less, sleep more, blah blah. And so sometimes when i’m trying to work something out, i record the podcast and by the end of the audio i’ve realized something.

yeah. so that’s what happened.

so here’s the short version (even though it’s really long).

I’m a behaviourist at heart. i don’t even think i know what the word ‘behaviourist’ really means to therapist types, but to me it means: change the behaviour first, then the thinking/feelings change.

For example, you don’t want to exercise, dread it, try to figure out why you dread it, spend a lot of time planning ways to get around it. make plans, fail at plans. make other plans. fail at those.

(And in a perfectionistic way, feel that you MUST have this all sorted BEFORE you begin. You ask your friends “why don’t i exercise more when i know it’s good for me?” as if there’s an answer to that question.)

Then someone comes along and says: doesn’t matter what you weigh, doesn’t matter what you THINK about exercise. Doesn’t matter if you use the words overweight or obese or diet or exercise or not. doesn’t matter if can’t imagine exercising regularly forever. doesn’t matter if you don’t know why you don’t want to exercise. Just do this planned bootcamp thingy for 100 days and THEN then you’ll start to figure out what you feel about exercising.

Or.

You’re pretty sure that you want to feel better about over-drinking. you read books, read blogs, dread it, try to figure out why you dread it, spend a lot of time planning ways to get around it (moderation), make plans, fail at plans, make other plans.

(And in a perfectionistic way, feel that you MUST have this all sorted BEFORE you begin. You ask your friends “why don’t i stop drinking for awhile even though i know it’ll be good for me?” as if there’s an answer to that question.)

Then someone comes along and says: doesn’t matter what you THINK about quitting drinking. Doesn’t matter if you use the word alcoholic or not. doesn’t matter if you want to quit forever. doesn’t matter if you don’t know why you drink. Just stop drinking for 100 days and THEN you’ll start to figure out what you think.

It’s like we want to answers before we start. We want to know the difference between drinking alcoholically and being an alcoholic. we want to know why we self-sabotage. we want to know how long it’s going to take, and how quickly we’ll have ALL the answers.

So i recorded the podcast and right near the bloody end, i said:  do the action first, stop trying to figure out why.

then I turned off the recorder. i wanted to edit the audio and upload it. Instead, i took my own advice and did the action first (sleep) and figure out why i resist sleeping later. I left the audio unedited. i went to bed.

the next day, yesterday (holy long story you’ve given up by now)… then yesterday, i relistened to the audio, posted an extract, sent it out to subscribers.

And i realized that it’s probably my perfectionist thinking that keeps me up too late. “Just one more thing. Do one more thing. Finish this thing off. Do this in the right order. Do it this way not that way.”

The same way that perfectionism probably kept me from quitting drinking for such a long while when I knew i was drinking more than i should. The perfectionist in me wanted to FIND A WAY TO KEEP DRINKING – like, not be so all or nothing about it, surely moderation should be POSSIBLE if i just find out HOW TO DO IT RIGHT.

(lots of shouty caps, sorry)

so. go to bed and figure out why you’re not getting enough sleep later. If you know you need more sleep then get some, and wrestle with the thinking later.

so. quit drinking for some medium-longish length of time (100-180 days) and then figure out later if you feel better or worse once you’re sober (duh). do you obsess less, do you sleep better, do you feel better, are you prouder of yourself.

and that you can’t imagine any of these things BEFORE you begin doesn’t mean anything. just begin. the clarity comes later.

says the behaviourist.

there’ll be some therapist out there who’ll come and correct me and say “you need to know the root cause before you can find a solution” and i’ll call bullshit.  Cuz you can’t figure out drinking while you’re drinking. and i don’t think i can figure out why i’m exhausted if i’m exhausted. that stuff has happened in the past is a fact, sure. but it’s what we DO NEXT that changes things. (not what we think next; and as paul likes to remind me, we have a problem with thinking… more thinking is probably not the answer.)

what do you think? lost my mind?

 

~

thanks to mr. belle for the sober paintings. exit the booze elevator. here’s your sign.


link here

how to be sane

i slept till 10:30 am today. and it’s stopped raining.

you’d think i could learn this lesson for real, right? must get enough sleep. must. even i’m bored of writing the same thing here over and over. it’s sort of like when i wanted to quit drinking, i’d write it down in my journal all the time, and then go merrily on my way as if i hadn’t already learned the lesson.

must get enough sleep.

if i’m overtired, then i eat badly, do nothing, feel unproductive (horrors) and don’t get dressed.

there must be some secondary gain in being overtired that i still haven’t unearthed, in all of my years of trying to figure this out. It’s like i learn the lesson, then unlearn it, then learn it again. what a waste of time. i could just get enough sleep (be sober) and then move on to other things that i want to do in my life.

like be sane.

today i slept till 10:30 am, sent my husband off to his new manager. i bought groceries for a catering event tomorrow. I had popcorn for a snack. I had some cake.

sure, the rest of my life is the same. I still have some job #1 work to do, but the angsty part seems to have faded. i do have the ability to wind myself up, and thankfully i also can unwind with a big sleep (i was awake from 5 am to 7:30 am and eventually talked to my husband about my busy brain; he said, i kid you not, “worry about one thing at a time.” hahahaha. then i went back to sleep.)

and it’s not raining, praise baby cheeses.

~

Happy Day 50 to Sam!

Happy Day 50 to Roisin!

Happy Day 100 to Janx!

Happy Day 180 to Rx!

Happy Day 180 to Crispy!

Happy Day 300 to Cat Girl!

Happy Day 300 to Julieanne!

keep going x 5

from my inbox:

Rollerskate: “Day 16 sober. Sometimes I wonder if I can keep it going … but the longer I keep going the more I would like to keep going … so for now I am going to keep going. (5 “goings” in one email – nice!)”

[can’t argue with that logic. i remember when i hit day 78, my fear of regret was MORE than any desire i had for a drink…“i’m afraid of having regret take the form of a glass of wine. and that, ladies and gentlemen, is what’s keeping me going. at least tonight.”]

~

Happy Day 50 to Looby!

Happy Day 50 to Lanie!

Happy Day 50 to Lisa Alice!

Happy Day 59 to Dukes!

Happy Day 70 to Steph-able !

Happy Day 100 to Mia!

Happy Day 100 to Abrown!

Happy Day 100 to IrishGirl!

Happy Day 100 to Nontu!

Happy Day 166 to Whineless!

Happy Day 180 to JI!

Happy Day 200 to SaraN!

Happy Day 200 to Lizzy!

“None of us boozers are better or worse than the next”

as you can imagine, i have the pleasure of emailing lots of people. some people only email to say “sober” and others are more chatty. It’s like everybody takes whatever level of support they want/need. I get some complaining, and some temper tantrums but i know it’s wolfie and not the person speaking.

and then every so often i get a message like this that truly makes me weepy. sorry for the self-serving-ness, but i thought i’d share

from my inbox:

Lisa Alice (day 14):

“It has been a long time since I made it two whole weeks.   What made the difference this time?  After inpatient rehab, outpatient rehab, AA meetings, untold amounts spent on therapy, an entire home library dedicated to recovery, and medications for both anxiety and cravings, you’d think I’d have this thing licked by now.  It has been a year of hell and struggles to sometimes even go a day without the booze.  An entire year of professional help.  The rehab I went to is considered one of the *best* in the country.  The IOP I attended was a think-out-of-the-box start-up that was truly amazing.  I am both grateful and lucky to have the resources to take advantage of such offerings.  Same goes for my (ex-)therapist and shrink.

So why now? The stars were aligned one day when I recalled that a friend in England told me about this woman named Belle, months and months ago. How much she loved your blog and podcasts and she referenced wolfie a lot. I googled you and there you were, at my desk, speaking to me. Belle, of all the help I’ve gotten, you have been the very first to tell me that I was not broken. That I had this other self (wolfie) that I needed to learn how to ignore/shut-up/render powerless/tell to fuck off.  Your warmth, love, compassion, straight-forwardness, and humor have touched me in a way no other has.

In the past I have found myself all wrapped up in the mental health side of my addiction. Loving learning about the neurophysiology of our disease, cognitive dissonance, defense mechanisms, boundaries, core values… etc, etc.  Granted, all important stuff, and valuable, BUT everything that I have learned in the past year speaks to my *brokenness*.  In three short weeks (2 sober, 1 reading your entire blog before contacting you) my self-esteem is finding healing that I never thought it would. Belle, you offer so many gifts to us. At this moment, for me, the greatest has been you acceptance of me. Our equality. None of us boozers are better or worse than the next. You have helped me separate the *drunk* from me. It is not who I am. Truly, truly powerful. Forget about all the science and psychology, it is what it is. I have never been more excited in my life to discover and reveal to myself, and the world, what lies beneath the rubble of giving wolfie so much space in my life for so many years.  Much love and a BAH, Lisa Alice”

[turns out BAH stands for Big Air Hug, but i thought it stood for Big-Ass-Hug (i perhaps have my own wide ass on my mind)]

I’m no longer doing it alone

Things are changing with me, for the better. Some big changes with my husband’s career after nearly 3 years of us being a single-income family. It was an experiment in Mr. B being self-employed that has (FINALLY holy good god) started to move in the right direction.

Since we got the news on wednesday, i’ve been super relieved. That big weight of me being 100% responsible for our finances is now gone. what’s hilarious is that it’s not HOW MUCH money Mr. B will be earning that’s important. What matters is that i’m no longer doing it alone. The responsibility isn’t all mine.

This same thing happened to me when i was doing wedding catering last fall, and had a very overwhelming day. I had someone come in for a few hours to help me, and suddenly everything seemed possible. Not easy, not necessarily quick, but possible.

Me alone doing it all by myself (catering, finances, sobriety) is just too hard. It’s some kind of punishment. Add just one other person? Now it’s an event, it’s a project.

Cuz you know what it’s like in our heads, right? Me, alone in my head, it sounds like this: “this is too hard, this is too long, you suck at this, you’re never going to figure this out” … all those thoughts stop once someone else can share the work.

Your thoughts might be like this: “I don’t deserve help, I’m a burden to others, I can’t stay sober for more than 2 days, why do I keep doing this to myself.” And then once you reach out and begin to do some honest check-ins, and you get a bit of sober traction, shit changes!

And even a small amount of support means that we don’t have to do it alone. (You read sober blogs and realize you’re not alone. My husband begins finally to contribute in a meaningful way to our monthly income, i’m no longer alone pushing our financial truck uphill.)

So since we got this news on Wednesday, something has happened to me.  And yesterday, over breakfast, I tried to explain to Mr. B why i (suddenly) felt more optimistic.

“I feel like a weight has been lifted. I’m not doing this alone any more. I feel like I can have the brain space to cook for fun again.”

and you, get some sober momentum, get some support (more if you need it, as much as you need), get your sober car rolling downhill, make sure you don’t feel alone, and then have some sober passions flow back into your life in the space created.

shit-ola. this seems huge 🙂

And yes, I get it, it’s not super simple to be sober. I know. I know. But doing it alone? not necessary. slogging along pushing the truck uphill? hard to stay motivated. there is support out here. check the list of blogs linked on the right-hand side in my blogroll. There are lots of people doing what you’re doing. We are not alone at all.

~

Happy Day 50 to Husband #1!

Happy Day 50 to Kameko!

Happy Day 50 to M-Lobster!

Happy Day 50 to Lou!

Happy Day 50 to Kelso!

Happy Day 50 to RPD!

Happy Day 50 to Rachael!

Happy Day 50 to Shelby!

Happy Day 100 to Kane!

Happy Day 100 to Liesel!

Happy Day 100 to Nancysoberheart!

Happy Day 100 to Moon Alley!

Happy Day 100 to Parminder!

Happy Day 180 to Kimf!

Happy Day 180 to Jacques!

Happy Day 180 to Laurie Lynn!

Happy Day 180 to BetterThisWay!

Happy Day 180 to Rose!

Happy Day 188 to Sherri!

Happy Day 188 to Carole!

Happy Day 188 to KathrynClare!

Happy Day 189 to Kristen!

Happy Day 192 to Winkle!

Happy Day 200 to Fiona!

Happy Day 365 to ErinUp!

yes. this is lame. but true.

i wanted to write a post this morning, like a sober FAQ. Is it normal to feel like this? why don’t i lose weight right away? will i ever sleep normally again?

and then i searched my blog for an explanation that i remember writing, and yeah, so then i found this post saying exactly what i wanted to say today. how lame is it to republish your own shit? lame. totally. but it still fits with the contents of my inbox today 🙂

Yes.

Yes. it does suck that you don’t lose weight when you first quit drinking. Yes i agree. It’s unfair.

Yes, it’s totally OK to stay home instead of socializing on your FIRST weekend sober. Yes. You’re taking care of you.

Yes, you can quit drinking without telling everyone you have a PROBLEM. you don’t have to tell your husband yet. You will find a way of explaining what you’re doing that feels good to you.

>>>> more here