wolfie says the same things to all of us

From my inbox:

From Libby (day 157):  “Finally got round to listening to the live call audio from Memorial Day.  Very interesting. Until you articulated it, I hadn’t understood the notion that Wolfie says the same things to all of us — so it’s not us, it’s Wolfie. Obvious (now I can see it!), but brilliant. Such a helpful contrast from the disease model of addiction that says it’s the drinker that’s the problem, not the alcohol.

I haven’t wanted to drink, but have noticed myself thinking recently ‘so you have stopped doing something that made you feel bad? Big deal, get over it, stop making a fuss and looking for treats and praise’. Is that normal? Is it Wolfie? Thanks as ever x”

me: honestly I think any voice we hear that isn’t saying ‘take care of you’ is wolfie, sometimes in various disguises. you do need fuss and praise and treats. you do. really. a lot. day 157 for you today. your sober car is rolling.  everything you’ve done up to now has worked, so keep on doing it 🙂 hugs.

[and she’s on day 163 today]

~

Happy Day 50 to Jewels

Happy Day 100 to Fernie

Happy Day 100 to The Duchess

sunny in my head

greetings from the land of sunny, early 6 a.m. mornings, and the first of 4 days of catering. Can you smell the garlic bread? or the strawberry cake?

the land of sunny. sunshine. it’s my drug of choice. i believe this to be true. not just vitamin D (though i’m sure that helps) but being outside in warm temperatures seems to recharge me, like i can open the top of my head and let the sunshine fill me up. something about childhood time spent at the beach maybe? at my grandmother’s cottage, reading teen magazines in a hammock (do you think shaun cassidy would love me if he met me in real life?). there, i’ve just dated myself. big tubes of lipsmacker pasty chapstick shit that tasted like root beer. i had a big plastic comb and it was cool for it to be showing from the back pocket of my very dark blue ‘designer’ jeans.

and it’s not like being a teenager was sunshine. in fact, most of it was hideous. i worked as a babysitter (often, always, sometimes daily) to have spending money. if i wanted some “gee your hair smells terrific” shampoo, i had to buy it myself. once, while still in elementary school, i printed up flyers that said “no job too big or small” and was hired to wash baseboards in some granny’s apartment. she served me a bologna sandwich on a tv tray and we watched The Price is Right. i earned $3.

not much has changed. i work to earn my spending money (!) but i have the pleasure of being self-employed. my work life is as exciting as i want to make it. more clients? up to me. create a new class or go back to bed? up to me. have regular catering clients (this week) + 2 days of private meal catering all back to back starting today? up to me.

have a sober life so that i can see what happens next? up to me. have a higher possibility of reaching my ‘potential’ whatever in the fuck that is if i stay sober. up to me. delete emails that complain about my swearing? up to me (ha). delete emails that say in month 8 you seemed really weak, you need to grow a set of balls and toughen up… can i delete that message? yup. up to me. funny cuz i’m still sober now, nearly at 2 years. so i figure in month 8, whatever i was going through i obviously learned something, survived, and kept on going 🙂

sunshine.

OK it’s not all unicorns and sunshine. not every single day. but being sober dramatically increases the likelihood of sunshine … in the weather and in my head.

~

Happy Day 50 to JenniferKay!

Happy Day 50 to Anita!

Happy Day 50 to Burke!

Happy Day 50 to Flaura!

Happy Day 100 to Maria!

Happy Day 100 to Pinchy!

Happy Day 180 to KateF!

Happy Day 180 to Robert!

Happy Day 200 to Denise!

Happy Day 200 to Healthappiness!

Happy Day 200 to Changingmylifeat60!

Happy Day 200 to Jenisthesoberist!

Happy Day 500 to Jen!

Happy Day 500 to Debra!

I’m patient right up until i’m not

from me:

i wrote this to Amy this morning:

viewing apartments for rent is like internet dating. nice on the phone? disappointing in person. nice photos? lied about his height. good location, good price, close to metro? has laminate flooring that must have only cost $70 to do the entire apartment (new!), already completely unstuck in places.

To be fair, we’ve only seen 4 flats so far. and we have months and months before we have to move. so we’re waiting. This thing i’ve learned in sobriety is that stuff can’t be forced. Shit has its own time. and yeah, I’ll happen faster if i don’t strain.

I’m also trying to consider what I DO want, rather than focussing on what i don’t want. i don’t want to have the second fridge in my bedroom … that becomes “I’d like to put the second fridge in the office or in the hallway.”  I don’t want northern exposure, turns into “I’d like a place with a lot of light.”

i know all that law of attraction seems too subtle (and too bull-shitty). but i think I can, to a large extent, decide HOW I think about things, and then that also changes how I FEEL about things.

oh you know, it’s the whole “i hate giving up booze” (focussed on what you think you’re missing) versus focussing on what you’re getting: “i don’t drink and so i have better sleep, better skin, a bigger bank account, less arguments, fewer tears, more books read, sober belly laughs.”

Dear universe. are you listening? yeah of course you are. I’m focussed on an apt. that is larger than where we are now, relatively the same part of town, brighter, with a nice kitchen (counters for rolling out pastry) and a nook or room where i can tuck the second fridge. And real floors. I’m not being difficult, I’m OK with good quality wood laminate floors, but vinyl tile sheets with faux wood grain that are glued down are simply too fucking painful, and look like 1970s rec room walls. not that i’m focussing on what i don’t want. No. Not me.

I want what i want when i want it. I’m patient right up until i’m not (ha!).

I’m glad i’m doing this now and not while i was sick at christmas. I’m glad the weather is better and it’s very sunny and warm.

I’m glad that thunderstorms wake me at night.

I’m glad it’s a faux holiday and so everyone is away (again!).

i’m glad that looking for a new apartment is my biggest worry these days.

how fucking lucky is that.

at least, that’s how i’m choosing to look at things today.

what do you think about rescue?

I got an email from a Team 100 member, and I can’t stop thinking about it. Here’s an excerpt:

D:Hi Belle, I see a counselor/coach and talked with her about checking in with you daily. We had an interesting conversation about the persecutor/ victim/ rescuer triangle (a.k.a. the Karpman Drama Triangle) and the question I was asked was, “Are you using this as a rescue?” After considering it I realized the answer is “yes” and have since thought a lot about what this means to me right now.  I greatly appreciate what you’re doing and I very much enjoy your writing … For now, I’m replacing my old story of “I can’t change on my own” to “I am a powerful, empowered woman who honors and respects herself and who sets herself up to “win” every day.”  With all of this said, I respectfully withdraw from the daily e-mails.”

me: hi there, I totally understand … I see myself as more of a cheerleader. YOU do the work and I just stand around and throw glitter.  if you think that would be helpful, you can let me know 🙂 I can definitely throw glitter, and would be glad to. And hopefully I can do it in a way that doesn’t get in the way of your therapy.  hugs.

So here’s my question. What do you think about the idea of ‘rescue’? Can you see where D’s coach is coming from? Because I so respect what D is saying here.  But how do you frame what support is? Is it glitter? Cheerleading? Is it rescue? Is it putting something under the three-legged table? Or is it about how we ask others to support us?

What do you think?

[Note: Please be kind and thoughtful. I will gently edit comments that attack; I’m interesting in having a conversation. No shittiness allowed 🙂 can you believe shittiness isn’t in spell check?]

“I know what happens when I do it my way”

I sometimes do one-on-one calls. With permission, this is an extract of a conversation I had with R. We chatted for about 25 minutes.

me: In early sobriety, it’s like you’re a table with three legs instead of four legs. And when you’re a table with three legs, it doesn’t take much to push you over.

R: I hadn’t heard that before.

me: If you’re a table with three legs, it doesn’t take much pressure in the wrong place to make it fall over. It also (maybe) doesn’t take much to stabilize it. You could put a stack of books under one corner and that would stabilize your table. (You could use books or whatever, something to prop you up, supports – things to support your table. Meetings. Penpals. Podcasts. Blogs.)

But if you try to put too much pressure on your three-legged table by going to a bar to meet your friends on week one, and you want to ‘test’ yourself and ‘tempt’ yourself, that’s like putting pressure from the top on the top of the table instead of support from the bottom.

R: Realizing that I’m hearing wolfie and not me might make it easier to just persevere and realize that someone else in the world is going through this right now and it’s not just me. And it’ll pass.

me: I think in AA they call it surrender. Which, to me, means: “I’ve done it my way, my way doesn’t work, somebody else is successful at this, I’m just going to give up my shit for a little while and see what happens if I do it somebody else’s way. Because I’ve done it my way. I know what happens when I do it my way. And I can’t get the result that I want if I keep doing it my way, because my way hasn’t worked.” …

R: I’m going to stick with it, Belle. I’m sorry I keep having so many day 1s. Do people go on like this for awhile, or what? Am I the worst?

me: Once you start to accumulate the right supports (and enough of them), then you support that table. I don’t want to say it’s ‘magic’ but it’s pretty ‘magical’. Because then you’ll be like “oh shit, all this support? All I had to do was pull it all in, and use it.” You can do that.

R: I reckon I can. I think I’ve got to force myself and then realize that it’s – because there’s that part of me – the toddler in the supermarket that you talk about – and actually it’s like I’ve got to ignore that part and get on with it, even if I think it’s not what I want. Because I know it actually is what I want.

me: And wolfie will say anything, including: “you’re broken and can’t be fixed.” So if you hear that, you know it’s not you. If you hear “just drink today and start again tomorrow,” that’s not you. There are pretty standard, typical things that people tell me and that I’ve heard myself. Including things like “other people signed up for Team 100 and were successful the first time so I might as well give up” or ”other people have much lower bottoms than I have so means I can drink for a lot longer before I really need to quit.” All of that … is not you. That’s all a rationalization and justification to continue drinking.

R: I’m going to do it.

[she’s on day 19 today, after a *few* day 1s…].

 

daughter & father

From my inbox:

Julie-Joy (day 100):

“My dad and I did the challenge together. Making a promise to him meant, to me, that drinking was not an option at all … What I DID have to deal with though, were some things that came up that I would usually just use alcohol to deal with.

1. I actually have a touch of social anxiety. I am such a talkative, out-going person, if you know me, you would scoff at me saying that I have some social anxiety, but I do a little. So drinking was my social lubricant.

2. I want EVERYTHING to be FUN all the time! I have a very celebratory personality. Because of this, I think every DAY is awesome and worth celebrating! And hell, we could all die tomorrow anyway, so LET’S PARTY!! Have to do the laundry? Drink some wine! Have to clean? Drink some wine! Anyway. When I had to do things I did not want to do during this 100 days, I would just have to do them, even if it was not fun.

3. Shit storm! OK, so the hysterical thing is that this is the pledge:

“I will not drink for 100 days. No matter what. I can cry, but I will not drink. I can go to bed or go home early. I might feel distressed … but I will not drink. Bad things might happen, but I will not drink. Incredibly shitty things may happen to someone around me, or my neighbor, or my friend’s friend’s grandmother. But there will be no booze. Funerals? Weddings? Amputation? I’m not drinking for 100 days no matter what happens … No matter what.”

When I read this pledge, I was like, oh, well none of that will happen to me during this 100 days. Boy was I wrong. There was surgery, there was a premature baby. There was death. There was a visiting in-law. And there was divorce (not mine).

I didn’t drink. No checking out for me. And I got it done.

I’m kind of sad my 100 days are ending. Mostly because it was a bonding thing my dad and I did together. Every morning, as our indication of sobriety, we would text each other what day it was. Mine in regular numbers and he used roman numerals the whole way through. And we talked soooo much more. When you are neither drunk, nor hungover, you are in a much better mood to chat with your dad! … Time to open a new chapter.

Love and Gratitude, Julie-Joy ~ Happy Day 100 to me”

From Julie-Joy’s Dad (day 100):

“Alcohol was not a part of my life until I had my first beer at the age of 16, and on my first night of drinking I drank 16 beers. I didn’t feel too good the next day. But from that first day, alcohol was always a part of my life. It was a nice ice breaker when dating. Regrets? Yes.

I grew into wanting to drink. I wanted to make sure that when I got my own home that I would have this really cool bar so I could host really cool parties. This thought process happened gradually. I remember going to church and thinking during the service that I can’t wait to get home and pour my drink while I watched the football game … I really did not think I had a problem until just recently.

Julie-Joy mentioned to me about the 100 day challenge while she was visiting. I said let’s do it. We shook on it. I loved checking in my daughter. It was a wonderful drill and it was good to be accountable to someone. In fact, I probably would not have been able to go 100 days if it wasn’t for her.

And now I feel normal again. Normal is: waking up without a hangover. Although I did not realize it was a hangover each morning until I started my 100 day challenge. Thinking clearly. Wanting to exercise and actually doing it.

There have been some sad times during this challenge. Premature grandchild, my wife’s mother died, and on day 44 my oldest daughter found out that her husband wanted to divorce her. I faced these situations without alcohol.

Now I am looking into my future … I don’t want to go back to where I was. I know that if i drink again, the drinking would start out slow. Maybe a drink here and a celebration there, but my cyclical nature I could see that I could get back to that darkness.

… By the way, I don’t like the word sobriety, but I guess it describes my 99 days of not drinking. So here is what sobriety means to me: feeling great, sleeping great, losing weight, thinking clearly, being filled with the “Spirit” rather than spirits, enjoying being a man again, enjoying being positive again. I rather call sobriety … normalcy; being normal.

I am going to do the 180 challenge with Belle because I still need to be accountable to someone. And here is my pledge: “I’ve done 100 days NORMAL, and I know my life is better. It’s not always easy, 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…not even if my wife drinks, my daughter drinks, not if I need surgery, if my best friend is in jail, not if there is a blasted zombie apocalypse. No matter what because I want to see what happens next. I love being (sober) NORMAL.

Julie-Joy’s Dad (my screen name)”

~

Happy Day 50 to GW!

Happy Day 50 to Claire-Anne!

Happy Day 100 to Shannonluvsdean!

Happy Day 100 to LJ!

Happy Day 100 to Julie-Joy!

Happy Day 100 to Maz!

Happy Day 100 to Julie-Joy’s Dad!

Happy Day 100 to Jessi!

Happy Day 180 to Jeannine!

Happy Day 180 to Steph!

Happy Day 180 to Joyce!

Happy Day 300 to Pam!

Moderation: Various Shades of Heinous

From my inbox:

WildMustang (day 54): “Belle, I need to hear what people say about moderation. Why isn’t it worth trying? In your audio from Sunday you said people tell you all the time it’s not worth it. I need to hear more of that. Can you send me something or a blurb from what these folks say. Thanks.”

from me: 

~ The ideas of moderation may float into your head from time to time, especially if you’re distancing yourself from the sober blogs etc. And maybe it’s not that you CAN’T moderate, maybe it’s that it fucking sucks to moderate. It’s brutally hard, and not terribly enjoyable, and usually deteriorates into over-drinking quickly. Me, I drank to be numb, *not* to have a glass of wine with dinner (no matter what I said, this is the truth). The only freedom I know from the feeling of wanting to drink, is a continuous and longer period of sobriety. It really does start to feel much better after the first 100 days. By the time you’re at 6 months sober you’ll literally be a completely new human. Then at one year sober, your head will fly off with how free you feel and you’ll wonder why anyone would ever drink, ever…That shit is poison … Look how it ruins so many people’s lives …

 ~ and this from Matt S (day 12): “Every time I get here I start thinking about moderation also. It is such a mirage, such a myth. It’s like when you are in a fancy store and you wonder aloud how much something is because the price isn’t marked and your friend tells you ‘If you have to ask it means you can’t afford it’…. Moderation is the same way, if you find yourself thinking about it, it means you can’t do it.”

I have a few posts with some ideas:

 ~ http://tiredofthinkingaboutdrinking.com/2014/04/11/from-this-side-of-the-screen/

 ~ http://tiredofthinkingaboutdrinking.com/2014/01/11/some-people-lose-months-or-years-between-sober-spells/

~ http://tiredofthinkingaboutdrinking.com/2013/11/05/thanks-brett/

~ AND FINALLY FROM ME: the part about moderation ideas that I really hate, is when I hear that someone’s “I’ll just have a glass” turned into 2 years of trying to get a new day 1 again… from ‘this’ side of the screen, the stories are always various shades of heinous.

~

Happy Day 50 to JustHadToHaveIt!

Happy Day 50 to phoenix!

Happy Day 50 to MScarlett!

Happy Day 50 to Bruce!

Happy Day 50 to BC!

Happy Day 50 to fowligirl!

Happy Day 50 to AM!

Happy Day 50 to Laure!

Happy Day 50 to Del!

Happy Day 50 to SurferChick!

Happy Day 50 to Moss!

Happy Day 50 to unsmashed!

Happy Day 50 to EileenH!

Happy Day 50 to ParisienneKnitter!

Happy Day 50 to James!

Happy Day 50 to Paulette!

Happy Day 50 to Mercedes!

Happy Day 100 to SadieGrace!

Happy Day 100 to Staying Present!

Happy Day 100 to Embur!

Happy Day 100 to Missy Gal!

Happy Day 100 to Pasquale!

Happy Day 100 to Smokey!

Happy Day 100 to Kimmy!

Happy Day 100 to Mastiffmom!

Happy Day 100 to Tracky!

Happy Day 100 to Heike!

Happy Day 180 to Tammy!

Happy Day 180 to Jz!

Happy Day 180 to TheFace!

Happy Day 180 to Wanting to be a Sober Mom!

Happy Day 180 to Gail!

Happy Day 200 to Josh!

Happy Day 200 to TheFun4!

Happy Day 200 to Laurel!

Happy Day 200 to Hazeleyes!

Happy Day 200 to Tim!

Happy Day 400 to KT!

 

I’ll make potato salad for YOU but I won’t make it for myself

did you notice those crickets? yeah, that was me. silent. ha. hardly ever happens. interesting. i’m happily emailing my sober people, just not writing as much here. busy with sloth followed by catering this week. and my job #1 was busier than it has been.

At the end of the night, last night, when Mr. B and i relate the best part of our days, and the parts we’d like to change, I said that i’d had a good day because I’m a much happier person when i have enough to do — not too much, not pressurized — but when i have projects that are beyond my own self-generated ones like ‘clean the fridge’. I told him i just ‘feel better’ when i’m doing more things (job #1 was busy yesterday + catering = a nicely full day).

What this really means is I feel better when I’m productive.  Not just busy for no reason. Not stressed and overtired. Better When Happily Puttering Away at Things That Please Me.

Then as i write this, i realize that the same tasks on a different day could have made me irritated. It’s probably not the tasks, it’s probably me. Yesterday I was quite happy to make potato salad. But i really like the client, and she’s so happy with all the food she gets.  If it’s just me making potato salad for ME, I’m all like meh, boil potatoes, boil eggs, make mayonnaise, chop pickles, chop celery. who cares.

oh god, am i so transparent that i’ve just written the truth that is me? I’ll make potato salad for YOU but I won’t make it for myself. yeah. there we go.

do i really really love a clean house? yes. do i give that to myself? no. do i resent when my husband doesn’t give it to me? yes. do i think of paying someone to do it for me? sometimes. Have you heard my audio about cinnamon toast? oh. god. this is the same thing.

This is the ‘self-care’ thing that we boozers suck at. Before my epic drinking began, I used to make dinner for myself, single girl, i planned my meals and made grocery lists and everything. When i was single girl, i made potato salad. I didn’t see it as ‘too much work’.

then the drinking became ‘daily’, and then Every Fucking Thing was too much work, because it kept me from drinking. Clean the fridge or drink? Wolfie would win that one quite easily.  Make dinner with all the lovely ingredients I’ve just purchased that are now sitting on the counter, or drink? Wolfie would win that one too. Shove the food back into the back of the fridge and call for pizza.

I had only one way of administering self-care. it was to pour a bottle of wine on my head.

for one day, today, for right now, for this minute, i’m going to try to figure out what I can do that would make me feel good. like, really good.

And even if i have to mechanically go through a list of things, i’m going to find something. If the first treat/reward doesn’t work, it doesn’t mean that my sober toolbox/treatbox is broken. It just means I need to use a different treat.

First up. OK. I have some really nice freshly squeezed OJ. Yes, it’s true, i did make it for a client, but there’s some left over for me.

What? That doesn’t count? I have to ‘do something FOR me?’ fuck, you’re tough.

ok.

By Me. For Me. 

OK, i’ll windex my glass desk. It’s been months. and I’ll make some nice little piles of receipts and tax things. and i’ll put the old newspapers into recycling. and i’ll se the timer. I think it’ll take me about 12 minutes. Go.

~

Happy Day 50 to Pastor K!

Happy Day 50 to Jaden!

Happy Day 50 to Dubby!

Happy Day 50 to AngieG!

Happy Day 50 to Liam!

Happy Day 100 to Lo!

Happy Day 100 to Isabel!

Happy Day 100 to Cyndy!

Happy Day 100 to Rich!

Happy Day 180 to Tammi!

Happy Day 180 to Shay!

Happy Day 180 to Shell Bell!

Happy Day 180 to Tuomas!

Happy Day 180 to RM!

Happy Day 200 to SarahinSurrey!

Happy Day 200 to Mack!

Happy Day 200 to RF!

Happy Day 300 to Victoria!

Happy Day 300 to JennyGardenGirl!

Happy Day 300 to Tami!

Happy Day 600 Sober Kat!

Happy Day 700 to me 🙂