After a ‘really’ long week of catering, baking, cheesecakes, and two private dinners (Tuesday and Friday), today is finally a day off 🙂 OK, technically i am doing some coaching calls today, but that hardly seems like work!
As I go along being sober, i realize that catering is continuing to teach me things – about sobriety, about myself. This started a long time ago, and yesterday again i had one of those ‘oh-god’ realizations.
Friday’s dinner was something I was hosting for out-of-town family who were passing through on their way elsewhere. So yesterday morning, I was supposed to be cooking. I couldn’t get myself organized. I didn’t ‘feel’ like it, and I was quite irritated. My husband had said he’d come home early to help, but he didn’t say when.
“Should I do the carrots now? No Mr. B. can do those. What about the potatoes? He can do those too. What should I do? wait until he comes home and then we can do it together. when is coming home? don’t know.”
“Why am I always doing this alone. Why is there so much to do and only me to do it. Why does he get to walk in at 6:30 pm and dinner is ready. Why isn’t anybody helping me.”
Stop and try to think.
“OK, self, why today are you being weird about this, when just a few days ago you catered a bigger dinner, alone, without husband’s help?” (Mr. B., in fact, went straight from work on Tuesday to a show and was gone for 16 hrs straight that day).
And on Tuesday’s marathon cooking day, did this happen? no. I puttered all day, then hosted the dinner and then went for a walk at 11:30 pm just to bask in the successfulness of the day.
So what was different about yesterday?
Mr. B was going to be at the dinner. He was going to be eating the food.
And i didn’t want to be the person doing all the work if husband was going to benefit from the food.
So i tried to dissect this further.
You’re irritated because he is going to eat dinner in his own home?
You’re irritated because you have to do it ‘alone’ but it was your idea to host the family dinner as the gang passed through town.
You’re OK busting your hump for paying clients, but if your husband is going to be at the table then you think that he should be ‘helping’ more than he does already. (To be fair, he does a lot of my dishes, daily, morning and night, and he does a lot of the shopping, morning and night, when i discover i’m out of eggs, etc.).
I just wanted to resent someone. Mr. B. is closest. He bears the brunt of my resentment.
Now imagine he comes home from work. I’m grumpy and give him the cold shoulder. And I have every right: you see, I’ve been working myself into a resentful lather all day.
When he did come home yesterday, with the bag of missed ingredients, I looked at him and think “OK, this mood thing, belle? It’s entirely by choice. You can do the same work and like it, or you can do the same work and hate it. That part is up to you. Why would you choose to be shitty about it?”
And then i fucking looked at the fucking picture icon thingy that i fucking posted yesterday. no one is coming to do it for you. your life is (thankfully, hooray great news) up to you.
No one is coming to get sober for you. YOU will do the work (not alone, of course, with support, but it’s you doing it). no one is coming to ‘take care’ of you, you’re going to take care of yourself.
And frankly you’ll do a better job of it than anyone else can, because you know what you need. when you need it, how you want it, how strong to make the tea. served in which cup.
and you’re going to stop shitting all over your husband for imagined, perceived slights, that just do NOT exist. he walks in and he has NO IDEA what kind of nonsense is going on in my head. He must be nervous to come into the house some nights, not sure which version of me he’s going to find.
(ps. whipping ourselves into a frenzy (over NOTHING) is sometimes done intentionally by wolfie so that we can work ourselves into a state where we ‘deserve’ a drink. just saying. in my case, most whipped-frenzies are self-induced. have virtually nothing to do with reality. Thanks wolfie. you can blow me.)
And really, the family dinner was a success. Husband helped a lot. And the new coffee cheesecakes were really quite good. Maybe an 8/10 😉
Now i’m going to make MYSELF a cup of tea, smoky tea, in my favourite green cup.
just the way i like it.
Happy Day 50 to pavethewhales!
Happy Day 50 to Saphire!
Happy Day 50 to tlecompte!
Happy Day 50 to kezza!
Happy Day 50 to carolynnerobin!
Happy Day 100 to Mel P!
Happy Day 180 to Primrose!
Happy Day 180 to Sadie!
Happy Day 200 to Erin Elisabeth!
Happy Day 300 to Erinup!
A busy week with catering and stuff. cheesecakes and bagels and sausage meat sauce… Feeling very serene and calm (who knows why, but i’ll take it). Just enough to do without being overwhelmed (maybe that’s it). Happy to be sober. happy to eat coffee cake with streusel topping. happy.
from my inbox:
Jewels: “I feel so anxious today! I think it’s just my body adjusting. Staying strong :)”
me: “it’s true, there are some anxiety days, but it’s just your body getting ready for the new you. pretend you have the flu. hide at home, watch a movie, go to bed … you can watch the silly romantic time travel movie (About Time, 2013).”
Jewels (the next day): “This email totally changed my attitude yesterday. Instead of just thinking *I’m not going to drink tonight* I was excited about what I WAS going to do. I made a yummy dinner, got in my PJs, snuggled up in bed and watched my favorite shows … My husband even left so I could have “me” time. And it’s exactly what I needed! I love your suggestion of pretending I have the flu. I’ve never really understood what people mean when that say to *take care of yourself*. Thinking of it as I have the flu makes so much sense to me. When I really have the flu, it forces me to SLOW DOWN. And I think I need that more often. So whenever I feel really stressed out now I’m gonna have a “flu” night lol! I’m feeling good this morning :)”
Happy Day 50 to Bennie!
Happy Day 50 to Darcy!
Happy Day 50 to Nantucket!
Happy Day 50 to Rene1971!
Happy Day 50 to Jamie!
Happy Day 50 to RunnerMom!
Happy Day 100 to Trinity!
Happy Day 100 to Nikki!
Happy Day 100 to JS!
Happy Day 100 to marge96!
Happy Day 100 to Ella May!
Happy Day 100 to Be!
Happy Day 300 to Zenmeg!
Happy Day 300 to Durfee!
From my inbox:
a few of the many emails i received in response to the (not very) micro-email sent yesterday, called “I have a default setting that says *I’m too tired* even when I’m not.”
Missy Gal (day 63): “We all have that I’m too tired default setting. When we’re drinking, the first half of the day is getting our shit together. And the latter part of the day is spent doing the basics. That’s why, in my opinion we don’t achieve what we know we can do! When we are not drinking, we can achieve so much more. Just my two-cents worth. Still sober.”
me: “this made me really smile, you’re soo right. we used to spend all morning recovering from last night .. and then spend the afternoon preparing for that night’s drinking. Who had time for real life? And now that we’re sober? Well it’s remarkably easier to get shit done. Even if we still have some of the old recordings playing in our heads (like mine that says I’m too tired).”
KMT: “Good luck: for what it’s worth, having a business doesn’t seem to be enough for you, does it? What’s in a cinnamon bun: that’s the $64,000 question.”
me: “ha! what’s in a cinnamon bun? this I know. feeding people = love. of that I’m sure 🙂 I host catered dinners and it’s the best part of my month. I really like hosting, meeting new people, helping the shy people be heard. I like remembering people’s food preferences for when they come back again. Food is my vehicle :)”
and this great question from YGS. how many times, how many hours, was I online looking for an “answer” or a “definition” for my drinking. I took all the questionnaires, I read all the quotes. so yeah, I can totally relate to this:
ygs (day 0): “I was just wondering if you know as the addiction gene is true. Because you know my father is an alcoholic even though he is sober now. I don’t know maybe I’m just looking for an excuse. When I tried an AA meeting, they said that the addiction gene is true and that I have it. I don’t know if the answer to this is gonna help me I’m just curious.”
me: “I don’t know if the addiction gene is true. I know that if we stop drinking we feel better. that’s enough science for me :)”
Happy Day 50 to Jlynn!
Happy Day 50 to Runsinmud!
Happy Day 50 to Tiffany!
Happy Day 50 to Pip!
Happy Day 50 to Monica!
Happy Day 50 to JunieB!
Happy Day 50 to slbdelight!
Happy Day 50 to janne!
Happy Day 50 to sids!
Happy Day 50 to Rhoda!
Happy Day 50 to Dipz!
Happy Day 50 to Hotto!
Happy Day 50 to Marilyn!
Happy Day 50 to Celx!
Happy Day 50 to Tanya!
Happy Day 100 to DeeN!
Happy Day 100 to Ash!
Happy Day 100 to Kathleen!
Happy Day 100 to Amos!
Happy Day 100 to Angela!
Happy Day 100 to MaryDean!
Happy Day 100 to Nora!
Happy Day 100 to Katie!
Happy Day 100 to Betsy!
Happy Day 100 to Ry!
Happy Day 180 to Carrie Kaffer!
Happy Day 180 to Raquelle!
Happy Day 180 to Annie2!
Happy Day 180 to EmilyJane!
Happy Day 200 to InNeedofGrace!
Happy Day 200 to Anna S!
Happy Day 300 to Stacey!
Happy Day 300 to Beckie!
Happy Day 400 to Rebecca!
If you’re not on the micro-email list, then you missed this email I sent out last week. It got a LOT of feedback below. Thought I’d share it here today.
Saturday April 12th
Mr. Belle and I took a day-trip out of town today. Just got on a train and went ‘over there’ – to walk around, eat greek sandwiches, share pie, sit in the sun, and enjoy being away from home.
The French would say “j’ai profité de l’après-midi” – or, literally, I “profited” from the afternoon. I found benefit. Found something.
I think I found money.
Here’s what happened.
[And this can only happen because I am sober. I am certain of this. When I was drinking I did not think like this. At all.]
So we’re sitting in the sun, drinking tea, eating pie. And I have a flash. Literally a moment of clarity.
Before we left the house this morning, Mr. B had said that he needed new clothes (which is true) and I agreed that I also hadn’t bought anything for months.
And I said to him “I’m sorry. I didn’t count on us being poor.”
I didn’t say this to make him feel guilty. We are in complete agreement that what we’re doing now career-wise is the right thing for us. We could move so that he could find better work, but we’ve decided to stay here and for him to make a go of the self-employed thing. But we’re in our 40s. We were used to being a double-income no-kids family.
So here I am, eating pie in the sun. And that phrase comes out of nowhere, what I’d said this morning, it starts to replay in my head like an audio recording:
“I didn’t count on us being poor.”
And it think, well yes, I guess I did count on it. I mean, I grew up poor. I have in my life started a few one-person companies, and I’ve always earned ‘enough’, but not really super gigantically successful. And frankly, I’ve always considered this to be an improvement on how I grew up.
Like, once you surpass the socioeconomic status of your parents, you can stop.
(And really, looking at how we grew up, that’s honestly not a very high bar.)
So yeah. The pie. The sun. The relaxed-away-from-home moment. I didn’t count on us being poor.
OK, first off, we’re not poor. It’s dumb for me to even say that.
Then I realize – here’s the flash – this is a message that I tell myself that is not based on reality. It’s one of the ‘stories’ that I tell about my life. It’s something that I just ‘say’ but it’s not real. It’s some kind of old, well-ingrained reflex.
And my flash was this:
What if I am in charge of not being poor. What if I am in charge of how great my life is. What if I am not limited by the income my parents made (or didn’t make). What if being sober has provided me with a gift, a space, where I can really and truly put down the backpack of rocks that I’ve been carrying all these years about my ‘poor’ childhood.
Who will I be if I stop telling this story?
Who will I be if I use this sober stretch of life to put down the backpack and do something else, something different.
In my weirdly defensive way, I’ve always said things like “I only work as hard as I have to, to maintain the standard of living that I want, and then I stop. It’s a work-life balance thing.”
It sounds good.
That sounds like noble poverty, doesn’t it.
But is that even true?
Or is it more likely that I’ve stopped myself right at the edge, every single time in my life, over and over. I’ve stopped myself from going further. Because I’ve set the bar too low. On purpose.
You know, in the past I was always more interested in wine-o’clock than I was in life-o’clock.
And today, I had the first really clear flash that it could be different. That I can be different. Sobriety has given me a gift of clarity.
Sorry. Long email.
And for some reason this seems too personal to put on the blog just yet, so I’m sending it by email instead. Weird. Yeah.
What about you? What’s in your backpack of rocks that you’ve been carrying around that you could put down? What have you been carrying for a long time, that’s not even true, that sobriety could help you fix/uncover/resolve/grow?
I think for me it’s uncovered an assumed level of noble poverty. I “profited” from the afternoon. Holy. Can’t stand my own jokes.
Happy Day 50 to The Duchess!
Happy Day 50 to Fernie!
Happy Day 50 to Chavez!
Happy Day 50 to need2stop4real!
Happy Day 100 to Fit Fat Food!
Happy Day 100 to HeatherS!
Happy Day 100 to Alicia!
Happy Day 100 to Maria-Anne!
Happy Day 100 to Anna-Lisa!
Happy Day 100 to Kzee!
Happy Day 100 to abwalsh!
Happy Day 100 to ChrisAlys!
Happy Day 123 to SJP!
Happy Day 180 to Jec is Corked!
Happy Day 200 to Anna!
Happy Day 200 to Jocelynn!
It’s about time. I started saying this last year, i think the first time i said it was on a live call… It went sort of like this:
“you need to take better care of you. you need to be sober and to feel better. yes maybe we had crappy childhoods or crappy parents or crappy ex-husbands. but now it’s time for you to do this. to take care of you.
and it’s about time.”
so then i had this great idea to make a bracelet that had ‘it’s about time’ on it. and i had a very specific idea for this bracelet, i wanted it to be blues and turquoise colours, and i was fascinated with glass beads.
and now it has finally all come together.
Here are the beads, aren’t they lovely?
So each bracelet will have a different bead. And i’ve also finally sourced a nice leather bracelet. Here are the specifications:
- European Style Braided Leather Barrel Clasp Bracelet
- Also compatible With All Major Charm Bracelets
- 1/4″ *twisted* it’s about time* tags
- Lampwork Beads – Each Bracelet Will Have A Different Color Bead.
- regular size 7″
- roomy size 8″
You measure your wrist and then add in a little extra for slack…
I have ordered only 10 of these. The glass beads are special and I only want to use beads that I really love.
Happy Day 50 to Vik!
Happy Day 50 to SoberSuds!
Happy Day 50 to Magdalena!
Happy Day 50 to Barista71!
Happy Day 50 to Pinchy!
Happy Day 50 to Mary4Good!
Happy Day 50 to Mx!
Happy Day 50 to Alincarrillo!
Happy Day 50 to Running Girl!
Happy Day 50 to Tessy!
Happy Day 100 to Rx!
Happy Day 100 to Crispy!
Happy Day 100 to Bess!
Happy Day 100 to Shawn!
Happy Day 100 to Lindsey!
Happy Day 100 to Clarke!
Happy Day 100 to JI!
Happy Day 100 to Mister Ainsley!
Happy Day 180 to Hana!
Happy Day 180 to Jilly Bean!
Happy Day 200 to Jocelynn!
Happy Day 200 to Mo!
Happy Day 300 to Emm Cee!
Happy Day 365 to Erin!
Happy Day 400 to Lynda!
Happy Day 400 to DDG!
Happy Day 500 to Amy!
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!
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.