doing things the hard way

from my inbox:

TinyDancer:  “I just listened to audio #1, and I am most struck by the grocery store analogy.  I went to a therapist for a period of time to get help stopping and she said to me, ‘this three days sober, and then three days not sober is getting to you.  You are doing this the hard way.’

Well, no shit. I knew that. Irks me to pay someone to state the obvious. Can’t remember many times in my life where I didn’t do things the hard way.  I’m hard headed. …

I never understood when they talk about alcoholics being in denial.  I was never in denial.  I knew I had a problem.  I’ve had a problem for the past five years.  The difficulty lies in the actual not picking up a drink.  I have this odd sense of rules surrounding drinking.  *No drink before five unless I’m on vacation.  Don’t keep the house stocked with wine, just buy a bottle at a time, no driving if I have had more than two glasses, ever.  Hide it from my kids so I don’t set a bad example.* EXHAUSTING.

So, I began to look for another way. In the meantime, I read every piece of literature I could get my hands on.  I was an expert at alcoholism now.  Just not in practice. I’m a classic avoider.  But, I don’t want to be scared anymore.  I don’t want to wake up wondering what I can’t remember.  I want to grade papers with an unfoggy mind and teach my classes without struggling to get through them.  I want to like what I see in the mirror again, which is why I am trying yet again.”


MCD: “I loved the sober jumpstart class. I have never tried to be sober for an extended period of time and had no clue where to start. Each lesson gave me a few key things to focus on. These lessons pointed me in the right direction and gave me the support I needed to begin this journey. Before I signed up I tried to talk myself out of it, tried to say I didn’t want to spend the money, didn’t have the time to devote to it, etc. But, had I not signed up, I don’t think I would have gotten past day 7 of my sobriety.”  (She’s on day 34 today)


Happy Day 100 to Kimf!

Happy Day 100 to LizzieJones!

Happy Day 100 to JackM!

Happy Day 100 to Sareet M!

Happy Day 100 to Cindy G!

Happy Days 100 to Milly!

Happy Day 180 to Kirst!

Happy Day 180 to Nicole!

Happy Day 180 to Drusty

Happy Day 200 to Jeroen!

Happy Day 300 to KC!

Happy Day 300 to CHow!

Happy Day 365 to Mr. Belle!

new me version 2.0

There’s really no question: I wasn’t going to drink. But I had been feeling quit shitty/ansty for days. It has now resolved itself. But it lasted for about 2 weeks off and on. “Is this forever, this all feels fake, I am a fraud, nothing matters, sobriety doesn’t matter. blah blah.” Just a low grade malaise.

Then this past Saturday, when I had my Life O’Clock realization, well since then I’ve been feeling much, much better. It’s like all of a sudden i got a glimpse of a new, future me. And with certain clarity I know that the New Me Version 2.0 will not occur if I’m drinking. Will not. Cannot.

Tomorrow is Mr. Belle’s one year sober-versary. He’s been talking of drinking again. I think part of me looked too far forward, imagined hanging out with him and his boozy friends while we’re on vacation. Last year that part of the visit was a miserable evening, i can’t imagine how much worse it would be if he is drinking too.

Selfishly, it has been a relief to have him sober this past year. Selfish, because he doesn’t have a wolfie voice, he’s not a boozer. But me. it’s all about me, right? It’s easier for ME if he’s sober. and yet, i know he has his own life path. My guess is he’ll drink once or twice, decide he doesn’t like it, and then return to being sober. I’ve asked him a few times what his plans are for tomorrow and they’re pretty vague.

Also, as is now commonplace and usual for me, we have a visa meeting tomorrow, and this always winds me up: “will we be able to stay, will they find something offensive about my north american bank accounts, will they give me shit for not speaking better foreign language if i’m asking about landed immigrant status. will they drop some big fucking bomb that will require us (again) to be extorted by an immigration lawyer.”  Living abroad when you’re not sponsored by your job is a weird balancing act of trying to navigate on your own versus hugely gigantic lawyer bills. sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

until it does work. until we’ve been here long enough to be citizens. until. until. soon-come.

and so for now, i look at today. i do sort of know that it will be all OK tomorrow. i’m not really as stressed as i’ve been for other visa meetings. They’re up Mr. B’s nose and there’s nothing he can do to please them, so they’ve called us both in together.  I’m bitchier and more forceful (ha!) and i’m coming armed with (literally) 500 pages of supporting paperwork. Hopefully they will stop fucking with us. until next year.

I will celebrate tomorrow with a vegetarian falafel. and my twice-a-year can of coke.

And on a really good note, my jewelry lady has designed a brand new “It’s About Time” bracelet (leather!) and it’ll be unveiled just as soon as all of the treat boxes are sold. 4 left. you know me. i can’t do more than one thing at a time.


Happy Day 50 to FU Wolfie

Happy Day 50 to Julie 7567

Happy Day 50 to mski

Happy Day 50 to PSmith

Happy Day 50 to HG

Happy Day 50 to shannonluvsdean

Happy Day 100 to Jacques

Happy Day 100 to Sober Second Half

Happy Day 100 to Laurie Lynn

Happy Day 100 to BetterThisWay

Happy Day 300 to Ingrid!

Happy Day 300 to Sarita!

webstats // treats video // life o’clock // oh my

WEB TRAFFIC STATS: your favourite subject? adorable pets. If you’ve ever wondered what happens to your web traffic when you post pictures of cute dogs from a sober photography project, here’s your answer:



COMBINE THAT with the .

” href=””>video I posted on Sunday about your second favourite subject (treats).


NOW MIX IN a very healthy inbox filled with feedback from my micro email message on Saturday. The one about having a flash of ‘noble poverty’ while out of town on Saturday. I sent out an email describing my experience (if you’re on the micro-email list), and holy good god, the insightful ideas, messages, and feedback i’ve received so far are unbelievable.

Here is a tiny sample of the messages I received on Saturday:

Carrie K: “Belle- What an awesome realization! I call finding things like this, seeing Invisible Fences, boundaries we’ve set up for ourselves and are careful to live within — without even realizing we are doing so. Finally seeing one of these fences, especially a big tall one like this, seems to inevitably bring on a whole cascade of changes. One sees area after area of one’s life that these unconscious assumptions have affected… I will find it fascinating to see how more of your awesomeness manifests now that you realize there is no inherent value or virtue in being ‘poor’!”

Janet: “It’s great to hear you saying this, SEEING this. Fuck that damn wolfie cousin who whispers “you’re not enough…You are poor, that’s who you are, that’s how you must define yourself”. I’m telling him to get the fuck out of your head. I’m taking my broom, swatting him a few times, and sending him on his way to some other house. Not mine tho’!! …

Gordon: “Thanks for your mail-out last night. I got it pretty late on and it made me very happy to read it. I must have re-read it about four times.”


If you’re not on the micro-email list, then you’re missing about 25% of what goes on here. I know, maybe you’re tired of me. I understand. I’m not everyone’s cup of tea. I get it. And this isn’t a sales pitch. It’s just an invitation for you — if you’re looking for more sober ideas, realizations, genius, and tears — to get onto the micro-email list. Just ask. I’ll add you.


It’s been an interesting and eventful few days. Time now for a lovely ‘english’ breakfast of cottage cheese, chopped apple, raisins, and decaf. Happy Tuesday 🙂


Happy Day 50 to LJ!

Happy Day 50 to Julie-Joy!

Happy Day 50 to Maz!

Happy Day 50 to Jessi!

Happy Day 50 to SadieGrace!

Happy Day 50 to Staying Present!

Happy Day 50 to Embur!

Happy Day 50 to readyforjoy!

Happy Day 50 to Missy Gal!

Happy Day 50 to bepperoo!

Happy Day 50 to Smokey!

Happy Day 50 to Kimmy!

Happy Day 50 to Mastiffmom!

Happy Day 50 to Heike!

Happy Day 50 to Pasquale!

Happy Day 100 to Kave!

Happy Day 100 to Rose!

Happy Day 100 to Santa Cruz!

Happy Day 100 to Jill Campbell!

Happy Day 100 to CindyW!

Happy Day 100 to NRT!

Happy Day 100 to Teri!

Happy Day 100 to Phoebe!

Happy Day 100 to Mark Twain!

Happy Day 100 to Graceful!

Happy Day 100 to Doll Face!

Happy Day 100 to S!

Happy Day 100 to Wilky!

Happy Day 180 to Midwestveggie!

Happy Day 180 to Erin Elisabeth!

Happy Day 200 to Quinn!

Happy Day 300 to Runningfromthebooze!

Happy Day 400 to Carrie!

Photos: Pets

Assignment #15: Pets [or wildlife / animals] (here are the photos!)

The project this time was to take a picture (or create some art) of one of your furry or feathered friends.

Thanks to everyone who sent in pictures, this post is now closed to new submissions.

If you want to join in for the next assignment, stay tuned.

This post is now closed to new submissions.

is it ‘that’ important what the liquid is?

from my inbox:

BetterThisWay (day 96):  “Closing in on day 100! I know I will commit to adding on…deciding 160 or 180 … I want to work in allowing champagne on my daughter’s wedding day without feeling like it was not OK … I might not even go there, that might be too weird, or just not of interest, but I seem to want permission for the day …”

me: You will probably not want to disrupt your sober streak for something as small and unimportant as what kind of liquid is in your glass. You can raise a glass for a toast and it doesn’t matter what’s in the glass — it’s about the emotions. You can toast with soda or tea or frog guts. It’s all good 🙂


Happy Day 50 to Steven!

Happy Day 50 to PBWY!

Happy Day 63 to Bianca!

Happy Day 100 to Telling The Words!

Happy Day 100 to Hacienda Barcelona!

Happy Day 100 to Kennedy!

Happy Day 100 to Stefani!

Happy Day 100 to Wilky!

Happy Day 300 to BK!


from this side of the screen …

i am writing sort of the same email to several different people today. I receive an email that says “i made it to my goal, i’m going to drink now, but i’ll be fine. and if not, i’ll come back and resume the challenge later.”


“I wish you the very very best. for real. My experience from this side of the screen is that strict rules about how and when to drink are just really frustrating and unfulfilling — and often impossible to maintain for any length of time.

It’s hard to get sober momentum and YOU HAVE THAT ALREADY. Wolfie tries to convince us that moderation is a piece of cake, just like how I can moderate my corn on the cob consumption. Right? This moderation thing. It should be easy. Well, with corn on the cob it is.  But with booze? Well, booze talks to me. And once I have my one allowed glass (or whatever) I’d then get really angry pissed that I couldn’t have more (cuz then wolfie is awake and demanding shit and that noise in your head is alive again, and you worked so hard to get that voice to shut up).

This sobriety is hard to get going and you’ve got SO MUCH achievement already 🙂

Of course, that said, if you decide to attempt moderation, your place in the challenge is here for you should you wish to return. Of course, of course. That doesn’t change. I’ll be here.


of course, i don’t know jack about shit. at all. I’m sober but that doesn’t give me super powers. I do, though, have a weird perspective of having talked to to 1019 people who have really tried hard to get a period of sobriety going. I’d can recommended a tiny bit of reading that might be helpful… I can’t learn all of life’s lessons, and some people lose months or years between sober spells.

we’re going to be sober for a long time

Well I have this to say:

i used to be really impatient. hated waiting in line, hated traffic. i rushed through a lot of tasks. I still find myself doing it sometimes these days. I was recently working in the kitchen, and realized i was waiting for the mixing to be finished so that i could be ‘done’. “I just want to be finished,” i thought. “i just want to be ‘done with all this’ …”

yeah, because ‘done with all this’ is code for TIME TO DRINK NOW.

I used to be impatient in traffic because i wanted to get home to drink. I used to rush through making dinner, for example, so that it would finally be wine o’clock.


well it’s not all crickets and birds tweeting in my head. It’s more like: “oh this icing cupcake thing will probably take 6 hours – what can i put on the podcasts?” [answer: this american life, fresh air, and Q]


“should i go to the post office now at 6:50 pm? why not, there’ll hardly be anybody there.” [versus: opening the wine at 6 pm and settling in for a night of nothingness. did you know that people DRIVE after dinner? they go for groceries and shit? who knew!]

nowadays, when i find myself mentally rushing through something, getting all impatient and shit, i try to remind myself that it’s a leftover thought process from wolfie-days.  And I don’t need it anymore. I’m not holding my breath until wine o’clock. Time can flow more freely now.

I can put on my fuzzy sober socks, and read another in a series of mindless small-town police mysteries.

there’s no hurry. we’re going to be sober for a long time.


Happy Day 50 to Isabel!

Happy day 100 to TJ!

Happy day 100 to Rae!

Happy day 100 to Pugpink!

Happy day 100 to Nutmeg!

Happy day 100 to Stonewall!

Happy day 100 to carbell!

Happy day 100 to christyrosie!

Happy day 100 to Sherri!

Happy day 100 to SoberGal!

Happy day 100 to Carole!

Happy day 100 to Lurking with Intent!

Happy day 100 to Who?Jill!

Happy day 100 to MDL!

Happy day 100 to Damian!

Happy day 100 to Layla!

Happy day 100 to Libby!

Happy day 100 to KathrynClare!

“I never thought I could do this”

From my inbox:

Ldederer  (day 95):

When I first emailed you – I never thought I could do this.  I had looked at your blog so many times.  I had seen those names in big red letters, and thought to myself, I will never be listed there. 100 Days, 50 days, no freaking way.

Well, here I am, 5 days away from the end of the challenge.

I haven’t had a drink, I go to AA, I am feeling my feelings, no matter how good or bad they are.  I am no longer numbing them with alcohol.

I have had good days, and a whole bunch of bad ones.

I have cried, a lot.

I have felt raw, lost, sad, confused, and happy.

I have regrets, a lot of them, but I don’t regret not drinking, not for one minute.

In the beginning I thought I would drink again after the 100 days, but I can’t be a quitter.  I can’t change what I have felt over the last 95 days, the changes I have made, I want more.

So, even after the challenge is over, I am going to keep on keeping on, One Day at a Time.

Thank you for opening the door to the sober car and suggesting I take a test drive.”

[and now she’s on day 131]


Happy Day 50 to SL!

Happy Day 50 to Maggie!

Happy Day 50 to Orchid!

Happy Day 50 to Lifeasirockit!

Happy Day 50 to Cyndy!

Happy Day 50 to Richard!

Happy Day 100 to Tessa!

Happy Day 100 to Zentient!

Happy Day 100 to Kristen!

Happy Day 200 to Anne T!

Happy Day 200 to Lucy!

Happy Day 200 to Tip Tree!

Happy Day 400 to Sunny Sue!

because I want to see what happens next

When people finish the 100 day challenge, often they sign up for Team 180 — to add 80 days to their total … it’s also a bit of a play on words, doing a 180, turning your life around. yeah. I know.

So when i send out the team 180 pledge, i suggest that people edit it to suit their particular situations. Here are some 180 day pledges:


G’day! I’ve done 100 days sober, and I know my life is better. It’s not always easy, sometimes it’s really bloody hard work, but I am moving in the right direction. I’d like to continue going in that direction. And I’d like to see what happens next. I will not drink for 180 days. I will not drink for 180 days! Not even when my best friends drink, not even when I’m in pain, not even when I feel sad and lonely, not even when I’m bored at home, not even when it’s sunny outside, not even when it’s cold and wet outside, not even when I go to see my friends in over Easter and not even if there is a zombie apocalypse! No matter what. Because I want to see what happens next. I want to continue being awesome and feeling awesome. I like myself better, I love my new sober mates and I love how well work is going and how my relationship with my family is.


I´ve done 100 days sober and I know my life is better than before. It´s not always easy but I´m moving in the right direction. I´m going to continue in that direction. I know I have a long way. I´d like my nerves to be so much better and I know I can do it if I don´t drink. I´d like to see what happens next. I will not drink for 180 days. Not even if my buddies drink around me or if I need surgery, nor if there´s a zombie apocalypse. No matter what. Because I want to see what happens next. I know it´s not going to be easy but I will keep on giving rewards to myself and think things over before I react without thinking. In the previous life when drinking or in hangover I have given my emotions too much power and gotten into trouble at work and home. I want to change that for good.


Sign me up!  I’ve done 100 days sober and I know my life is 100% better.  It’s been relatively painless and it’s the right direction for me to continue to live my life sober.  I will not drink for 180 days, no matter what.  I want to see what happens next.  I feel so privileged and proud to be part of this team.


… I will not drink for 180 days not even if I’m frustrated, lonely, angry, happy, celebrating, excited, scared, or can’t sleep. Because I like being clear headed, guilt-free, shame-free, lighter, full of hope, honest with myself, rational, aware of what’s going on, and a more authentic version of myself.

Carrie Kaffer

I’m rocking 100 days sober, and life is better.  Not easy, but heading in the right direction.  And so I’m going to keep heading this way.  What will happen next?  I don’t know, but I will be finding out!  I will not drink for a total of 180 days.  No matter what.  Even if there IS a Zombie Apocalypse! Because I want to see what happens next.


… I will not drink for 180 days not even if my husband/partner/daughter drinks, (which my husband does, he has a drink every night) not if I need surgery, nor if there is a zombie apocalypse. No matter what. Because I want to see what happens next.  Because sobriety has far more benefits than being drunk on wine every night of my life.


I’ve almost reached 100!! I will come hell or high water! I pledge to not drink for 180 days! I will not drink to celebrate, reduce stress, be part of the drinking party, to numb missing my mom, or for any “fuck it moment”!!!!! I like life like this and want to see how much better it will be 180 days!!!!


I will celebrate being 6 months sober on 4 May 2014. I will create mini-milestones between now and then and celebrate those, too, with gusto. I promise that I will pay attention to my emotional needs and meet them in ways that do not involve alcohol. I will run; take time alone and long hot baths; talk to my husband, family and friends; hug often; and keep accountable to my sober community. I will practice gratitude – and having fun! I promise that I will treat my physical body with the same respect and affection as I would that of one of my beloved children. I will give it sleep, rest, exercise, healthy food – and unhealthy food too if I feel like it. I will make medical appointments, time to relax, and banana bread. I promise that I will make being sober my first priority, in whatever situation I find myself. I will continue to regard sobriety as a long-term self-care project. I will enjoy feeling better every day and focus on the positive aspects of my amazing new sober life. No matter what. Because I want to see what happens next.


Happy Day 50 to Willow!

Happy Day 50 to Allison!

Happy Day 50 to CH!

Happy Day 50 to Short!

Happy Day 50 to Karmac!

Happy Day 50 to LolaB!

Happy Day 100 to J!

Happy Day 100 to Workerbeesc!

Happy Day 100 to Jano!

Happy Day 100 to Jonni!

Happy Day 100 to John!