cement and jello

i recorded a podcast this morning (using a new recording device so hopefully the audio quality keeps improving).

i know that i’ve written lots before about how everything is like everything, but oh-my-baby-cheeses i can really see it today, so i wanted to post a little extract from today’s new subscriber podcast.

This audio is about cemented ideas in our head. And jello. It started with yesterday’s conversation about art wolfie. And it morphed into my (old) fear of flying. The full audio for the podcast is about 14 minutes long.  Here’s a 2.5 minute extract.

The clip begins when I’m describing what happened after i visited a psychologist for the very first time, to talk about my fear of flying.


click here to try a podcast subscription (1 month trial) – and of course, when you get bored of me, you can cancel whenever you want

the passion project (sample video!)

in yesterday morning’s blog post, i mentioned that I have an art wolfie. he comes out when i want to create something new, telling me that i’m not good enough.

So in preparing a new workshop about pursuing Sober Passions, i’ve been asking Mr. Belle if he’d let me record him. You see, my darling husband has a different art noise in his head than I do, and I wanted to see if i could get him to share his ideas of what he does when confronted with negative thoughts.

We recorded the first video slideshow this morning (17 minutes long!).  With some encouragement, i may be able to get him to do more. But i’ll probably need some help because he’s super shy, and was nervous about his lack of english… All going well, i’ll get him to do some more audios/videos and i’ll put them into the Sober Passion workshop 🙂 hooray.

For now, i wanted to share with you a tiny extract from our first video (you only see one photo in this short clip, but there are others!).

>>>> Click here to WATCH a 1.5 minute extract of our video conversation


i have an art wolfie

from me:

I’m working on a new Passion workshop, you know, how do you get more passion/hobby things into your life once you’ve been sober for a bit.  Drinking often squishes out all of our hobbies, and if we’ve been drinking for a long time, then even the idea of having a hobby is hard to fathom. So i’m working out exactly what i want to say in this workshop, like “developing the curriculum” – which means i have a big sheet of brown paper on the wall beside my bed and i’m adding ideas in different coloured markers, visual girl that i am. i really am a 5 year old inside, happy with my crayola markers.

As a preview for the new class, I had this great (terrifying) idea to audio record my thought process when i try to do something hobby-like. You know, try to actually record the wicked noise that starts up in my head right away … maybe you know that noise! Hmm, sounds quite a bit like wolfie in fact. maybe i have an Art Wolfie.

Anyway, because my husband is so calming (for me) i thought i’d record me saying aloud what i think when i look at a painting project, and then he could chime in with what he’s thinking (since he doesn’t have a wolfie, the fucker).

So far i’ve floated the idea past him a couple of times but he’s not biting. I’ll try to tempt him again later today. stay tuned. i may have to make him some lemon bars as a bribe. if you’re interested in learning more about the Passion Project, make sure you’re on the list here. If you’re already on that list, then just hang out. it’s coming..

from my inbox:

Annie2 (day 100): “It’s my day 100!  I was thinking of this day last night remembering the desperation I felt 100 days ago… I expected so much more emotion today but realized last night that I’ve settled into this new me and am content to make this commitment of not drinking my reality.  It feels good and could not have been done without you and checking in daily (and sometimes for hours multiple times a day) with you and your blog.  I don’t remember when I stopped thinking about being tired of thinking about drinking, but I did, probably around the time midway thru that I realized I went a few days without emailing saying I was sober… I knew I was and knew you were there regardless.

The magnitude of what you are doing is unbelievable and resonates with so many people.  Thank you from me! Annie2 ~ committed for another 100!”


Happy Day 50 to Renee!

Happy Day 50 to StevieM!

Happy Day 50 to SaraN!

Happy Day 50 to Lizzy!

Happy Day 50 to DeeN!

Happy Day 50 to TracyG!

Happy Day 50 to OneDayAtATime!

Happy Day 50 to Lo!

Happy Day 100 to Carrie Kaffer!

Happy Day 100 to Raquelle!

Happy Day 100 to mkstafford!

Happy Day 100 to Annie2!

Happy Day 100 to EmilyJane!

Happy Day 200 to Catkin!

the plural of anecdotes is not data

In yesterday’s micro-email RM asked me about the number of people with drinking problems… [and if you’re not signed up to get the micro-emails, you can do that here].

Today i got a reply from Tim that said, “from somewhere I stole a default put down for those who seek to extrapolate small samples into a general picture … ‘the plural of anecdotes is not data’. Emphatically not directed at you…”

and it’s true. I get asked all the time to quantify things. to put numbers to ideas and feelings.  So i usually give a gut-based answer, drawing on instinct or a well-educated guess, and experience from reading emails from whacks of people.

But when i give a number, it’s not really ‘data’, it’s a guesstimate.  Like, how many emails do i get per day (50-100 – when really i never count them, i just know that i answer what comes in and i enjoy every single message – it’s like christmas morning every day in my inbox).

How many people have signed up to do the challenge since last year (700+). How successful is the challenge, as in what percent get and stay sober? (my guesstimate is about 25-50% with another 25% really actively trying, who have new day 1s but who have not given up; that leaves 25% who sign up and then disappear forever or for extended periods of time – someone emailed me 2 weeks ago who had first contacted me a year ago. she’s sober now. what category do i put her in? 25% disappeared? or 50% successfully sober?).

How many times do people relapse (anywhere from never to as many times as it takes).

How much is too much to say you have a real problem that you need to get serious about (Is 1 bottle of wine a night too much or is 3 bottles a wine a night too much).

When should you decide that what you’re doing isn’t enough and you need more support? (are you repeatedly relapsing? then you need more support! you can’t just quit harder, try harder; instead you may need to consider what more support would look like for you).

The answers to most of these questions might be “I don’t know, and it doesn’t matter. Are you drinking more than you want to? Yes? Then that’s the answer to the question.”

Do you think that alcoholism is a disease or a bad habit?  my reply: Are you drinking more than you want to? Yes? Then that’s all you need to consider. It’s too much for you. Doesn’t matter about definitions or percentages or probabilities. 

The questions continue with: how many people do i think have a problem with drinking in the general population (more than you realize). How long should i feel this bad? (usually it’s better by 30 days). Shouldn’t i be losing weight in the first month (so terribly sorry, but not likely). Can people moderate after some time spent sober? (in my experience – and this is NOT data – i have found that very very occasionally some people do work at ‘controlling’ their drinking after a period of sobriety. but they don’t spring back to being normies. and for me, i’ve just found that being 100% sober is easier and less tiring and more successful for me 🙂 is that data? no. does it resonate with you? good. if not, you have my permission to stop reading now :))

Do i sometimes feel like this sober penpal thing doesn’t ‘really’ help, it just looks like help. Yes i do feel that sometimes. But anecdotally i know it works – well something is working for some people. some combination of the posts, the emails, being a sober penpal, the podcasts, the optimism and the get-real-ness.

And i get emails like this one every single day, hundreds of times a month. And maybe, for now, Lindsay30 is all the DATA I need.

Lindsay30 (day 1): “Finding this blog may be the best thing that has happened to me in a long long time. I woke up this morning hangover and feeling like total crap. I feel so much guilt. I feel so powerless. I feel shame. Like so many other mornings I woke up thinking “this is not who I am. How did I get here”? I stumbled across your post about the 100 day challenge and found myself needing to read more and more. After 2 hours of reading I took the plunge and signed up for the 100 day challenge. Suddenly I feel optimistic. I realize that I am NOT alone nor am I the only person who is going through this. What a wonderful support system you have created for so many people who need this. Thank you thank you!”