is this something i want for my life

november 30th

right when i’m in the middle of things, i think: what have i gotten myself into. and then when it’s over, i wonder what i could do differently next time. different. better.
like when catering, i think: this is long, and then when it’s over, i wonder if i could have done more in advance (different). could i have more help next time (different). could i (right now) make french omelettes for my husband for brunch to say thank you for doing all the fucking dishes, endlessly, for the last five days. (his reply was if you want to cook again …. meaning he’ll happily eat them, but only if i want to cook again, as if cooking is only something I do once a year, and i just did it, so i must be done with it :))
The DURING time of any project, any transformation, any ‘journey’ is often hard. we don’t have a lot of perspective.
we’re just doing. doing the next thing. just keeping going.
but if you notice that the doing is hard, and the work you’re doing feels endless, then you have to take some time to think about things.

is this something i want for my life. is this something i’m willing to do. do i want the better outcome. do i want the things, the feelings. do i want to feel proud of myself. Am i willing to try different, add in help, support, accountability, to get the thing that i want.

if things are feeling wacky, then you can add in more support, specialized people who know what you’re dealing with, who can calm you when you say: i want this, but i don’t want it … you know?
and they say
yes, i know. 



little Exit magnet paintings.they remind you that the ‘during’ might be hard, but it’s worth doing. and that once you exit the booze elevator, and you do that work, you stay out. exit. find the exit and take it.

these anti-wolfie fridge magnets are about 2.5″ square (6 cm) on card stock.

magnet 249 > link

6 year old daughter finished her last round of chemo

december 3rd

email from flightplan (day 1160): “Just wanted to let you know that we made it. After over 2 years of treatment, my (now) 6 year old daughter finished her last dose of chemo last Sunday. 797 days since she started the fight against Leukemia. When this started, she was 3.5 years old and I was about 10 months sober. I did not know how I would live through this.
But, I did not drink.

Not through hundreds and hundreds of painful medical procedures on my poor little girl.
Not through being forced out of my job because I am the mom of a cancer kid.
Not when people made fun of her for losing her hair.
Not through seeing her curled up in a ball from chemo.
Not even to celebrate her completion of treatment.

Helping your young child fight cancer is about as close to a zombie apocalypse as I’d care to get.
Doesn’t mean I didn’t think about it. Doesn’t mean I didn’t wake up from nightmares thinking that I’d had alcohol. Didn’t know if I’d live through it. But yet we did it. 797 of chemo. She is 6. And done with chemo. And has a new puppy. And I can’t stop smiling.
So fuck cancer. And fuck wolfie.”

[update she’s on day 1173 today]

a couple of weeks ago, i wrote a 6-part mini-course about wolfie, the ‘drink now’ voice that lives in your head (my head, too). and how to get rid of it. more here.


little Exit magnet paintings.they remind you that the ‘during’ might be hard, but it’s worth doing. and that once you exit the booze elevator, and you do that work, you stay out. exit. find the exit and take it.

these anti-wolfie fridge magnets are about 2.5″ square (6 cm) on card stock.

magnet 249 > link

apple cake & the 1-hour bath

december 2nd

things you can do on weekends, when you’re not hungover.
nap because you’re tired, not because you’re heaving.
you can make apple cake, twice, two days in a row, to try to improve on the recipe that your husband says was fine the first time. and it was. i’ll make it a third time to verity, then be done with it. apple cake sorted. next.
when you’re not hungover you can eat said apple cake, with a small cup of decaf, and play cards.
you can read books about ‘copying other people’s success’ and about ‘apple cake’ and about ‘the art of asking’.
you can have a one hour bath.
you can watch an episode of Six Feet Under and be transported back to 2001.
you can clean your drawers and file your papers (husband).
you can do one load of laundry and then feel bored (wife).
you can ask Alexa to play songs by holly cole, and sarah mclachlan, and norah jones.

things you do NOT do on sober weekends.
roll around in the bed.
feel uncomfortable in your own skin.
lick the salt off of crackers
promise that tomorrow will be better and the renege on that promise. (the spelling of ‘renege’ is completely weird as far as i’m concerned. i’ve maybe never written it before. it should be reneg… just saying.)

you know what? you remove the booze and things change.
if you’d like to stop licking crackers and making promises, you can try some new things.
NEW actions.
NEW supports.
NEW accountability.

you alone in your head? wolfie is too loud.
i’ve been there. it’s rotten.

you sober?
you leave all the shitty, hungover stuff behind.


little Exit magnet paintings.they remind you that the ‘during’ might be hard, but it’s worth doing. and that once you exit the booze elevator, and you do that work, you stay out. exit. find the exit and take it.

these anti-wolfie fridge magnets are about 2.5″ square (6 cm) on card stock.

magnet 249 > link

The Wolfie Booklet is READY!

Last week i wrote a 6-part email series about Wolfie. You know, that voice in your head that says “Drink Now.” I talk about why I call this voice ‘wolfie’, the lies that wolfie tells, how change the channel in your head, how to identify the destructive voice when it ISN’T saying Drink Now (what else does it say?), and how to get rid of the voice.

It’s now available on my site:

Print version > link
PDF version > link

And it’s available on Amazon Kindle:

US > link
UK > link
France > link
Germany > link
Canada > link
Australia > link

P.S. You can always go to Amazon and search for ‘wolfie drinking’ or search for the product code B07ZBCXT4J and the kindle file will come up.

sober art thanks to mr.belle
This is #529 here.
if alcohol is an elevator that only goes down, you can find the exit.


a change of venue

a change of venue

from honestjoy: “I leave Monday for vacation. I hit 30 days while I’m there, but I’m having self doubt about my ability to not drink while 20 people around me are boozing it up from 9am to midnight. I know I have to change MY focus, but I’m worried I will say ‘f-it’ and drink.”

me: you can keep doing everything that you’re doing now. it’s just a change of venue. it’s not a change of you 🙂
you read sober stuff, you listen to audios, you email twice a day, you have a big sober treat every day and you say to yourself “this is my treat for being sober.” and you wake up every morning gloating that you’re not hung over. and you sleep better, walk more, rest more, read books, and generally marvel at your loveliness.

honestjoy: “My mantra will be, ‘it’s a change of venue, not a change of me.’ I love it!!! Thanks. My sober treat today was making two recipes that made my house smell awesome: chicken soup and plum cake. I also ate a few chocolate candies and did a spin class that made me sweaty and feel good. I had a LOT of sober treats, lol!”


shameless commercial link. in my october stock box from the jewelry designer there are a few more ‘potential’ bracelets in silver. i only order a few at a time. celebrate your potential. you have potential because you’re sober.


when you have cancer, wolfie can still yell at you.

email from Marie Louise (day 114): “Dear Belle, I am still here, I am still sober, and I am also not needing chemotherapy!! This is really good news, needed that. I have (yet) another appointment at hospital today to get a plan for radiation therapy and also a course of heavy-duty anti-hormone pill treatment, since the kind of cancer I have is the hormone-fueled one.
So I think I have been very very lucky and I am trying to be grateful.
Trying, because mostly, i just feel exhausted and completely stressed out. Whirlwind of thoughts in my head, will I be able to work during the coming weeks, should I just throw in the towel and take sick leave, what to do. Don’t sleep well, am utterly unproductive (not good at that). Going for long walks, that’s nice, but I cannot turn off the buzz in my head. So struggling somewhat.
Wolfie is still on my back, even though I have told him to fuck off many many times. I think this shows the reality of my coping mechanism with booze.
Exhaustion, stress and worries, and not having control over my life equates reaching for a drink. Arghhhh. I have been good with the treats, though, bought lovely new winter outfit, and going for a massage later today.
I really enjoyed your mails … they resonated with me so much … but also getting to know you a little better and sensing your frustration with life and being human and imperfect. So Thank You for sharing that … Sending a big hug. I am so glad you are there and doing what you are doing 🌸. Marie Louise”



sober inspired art, thanks to mr.belle
this is painting #527. Stay here. you’re sober now. stay here.


his drinking voice was too powerful

from me: a weird and busy morning. i had a special order catering thing (smell those cinnamon buns?), and i went for a run, and then the house was cleaned, and then we got a text that the apartment we’ve been to see twice has a new rental application on it, and we have to act fast! (well, either that, or they’re tired of us visiting the apartment but not sending in our application). so now i’m running around photocopying passports, copying tax returns, and scanning a copy of our current lease. in france you have to ‘qualify’ to rent an apartment; they won’t let you rent something that is too high for your salary (which is so smart), but it means you have to PROVE yourself. but also in france, they will find it very hard to evict someone for not paying their rent, so they have to err on the side of caution (!) in who they rent to. in our case, we’re no smoking, no children, and working at home so hopefully this makes us good tenants. and we’re canadians 🙂 everyone loves canadians 🙂 Also, mr.belle has his french visa meeting tomorrow so i’m photocopying for that too, his tax return, proof of having a place to live, proof of health care, proof of filing taxes… and the house smells like cinnamon still! i’ve done my penpal emails, it’s nearly 5 pm and the rental agent guy just texted me again to ask other random things, so hopefully he’s beefing up my application (since i’m not french, i don’t have all the normal french stuff that they ask for). fingers crossed for the best possible outcome. it’s either this or the next best thing. but i’m only open for best things.  i hereby declare, universe, that if it’s not this apartment, then there’d better be something else that is lovely, with a view of the eiffel tower, and how about top floor so there’s no neighbour noise? love, belle xo !!!!!!! (i keep trying to figure out if i should delete this whole paragraph. o well.)


from my inbox:

from G (day 271): “Good Morning Belle. As I enjoy the solitude of an early fall morning, I am contemplating the destructive power of addiction. My step-brother (owns 2 bars) is dying in a hospital about 6 hrs from me, because his drinking voice was too powerful. He did not have a drink for a year and his voice said his liver was healed enough to have a few. What a crock. Tomorrow I will travel to say my goodbyes. What a waste! A kind, generous man with a young family. The doctor has given him 1-10 days to live. He will go home by ambulance on Monday to sit on his deck one last time. The choice is real… I choose a hard sober weekend compared to a damaging drinking one. It’s all fun and games until it is not.”

and then she emailed again 24 hrs later:

“He lost his battle at 3 a.m. No longer will his drinking voice win.”

[update: she’s on day 290 today]


sober art thanks to mr.belle
This is painting #528 here.
(stay here, stay sober, stay true to you)


Sober for October (Day 11)

October Day 11

i have created a check-in space here for today. the goal of Sober for October is continuous days sober.

In the comments on the blog, you can say how many continuous days you’ve had so far in October … 3 or 8 or 10 working on today as the 11th continuous day? Only post this 🙂  Don’t post “new day 1 for the 18th time.” Don’t post “Day 366.”

Just post how many continuous days you’ve done in october. You’ll see this long list of people and it’s going to look so cool!

you can put in a screen name when it asks for your ‘name’. and email addresses are NOT displayed (EVER). i also approve every comment before it is posted 🙂 And i’ll edit out stuff that’s not related to the topic.

So you? It’s your turn now. Even if you’ve never posted something on a blog before 🙂 You can say how many continuous sober days you’ve had in October, and what’s the biggest thing you’ve realized so far in the past couple of weeks of doing this…

ok, i’ll start …

hugs, belle xo



sober art. thanks to mr.belle (this is painting #526, painted in vermont and is signed with VT on the back). You can choose the word or symbol that Mr. Belle puts on your painting. Like Stay or Exit or Freedom or maybe your soberversary date.
link >



habit. pain. subconscious.

i’ve been asking you to describe what the the ‘drink now’ (wolfie) voice is? I’m going to send out emails ALL about wolfie this week … what it is, how to get rid of it.

here are a few more messages from my inbox …

What is wolfie?

1.      I think we carry around a lot of pain and a lot of self critical voices in our head. We want it to stop sometimes and stop the voices. So we try and numb it out temporarily with drink. But the voices are still there and can get even more distorted <think drunken rows and saying things you normally wouldn’t>. The irony being that if you stop the thing you’re doing to make them stop they will dampen down a lot of their own accord.

2.     Habit. A pathway in the brain that’s been kept open for so long it doesn’t want or know how to close.  We have to help it to close by rerouting the thoughts with sober support.

3.     My ‘Drink Now’ voice is a subconscious programme that has been activated by a cue. This programme is the result of years of doing the same thing in response to a stress be it good or bad. So this bit of road is boring/hard as usual so I will go to my auto pilot, cruise control in my car.
It’s all of these things, right? the voice in our head that thinks that drinking is a good idea. And it’s a part of our head that does NOT respond to logic.

do you know why i call it ‘wolfie’?

hugs, me xo


exit painting (mandarin).
new (better) photo today. solid grey skies do have one benefit… makes picture-taking easier.
sober art thanks to mr.belle here >

link >

sober for october

i know how you feel about having a magic sober start date.
i know that wolfie tells you there’s a right day to begin.
after the vacation, after the horse race, after the surgery.
i know it doesn’t seem like it, but wolfie will INVENT imaginary reasons why you should wait.

when really, you start now, you feel better now.

but since i KNOW you’re prone to magical thinking that the date matters, let me present this.
You can do ‘Sober for October‘.

ready? if you need a sober penpal, let me know. if you’ve been a sober penpal before and you need a restart, let me know. if you are gloriously sober and want to add to your sober days, let me know. if you think i’m full of shit, wait a day and see how you feel tomorrow.

Are you in?


Benefits include great sleep, return of self-esteem, elimination of hangovers. Save $400 to $1,000 a month by not drinking. Double your money back if you hate being sober after hundreds of days.
For a limited time. Reach out now.
Operators are standing by.

Sobriety ~ It’s not just for alcoholics anymore.



my blog allows anonymous posts, so you can just make up a screen name for yourself, or you can call yourself Anonymous. Tell us what day sober you are today, and how you hope to feel at the end of a continuous month sober. If you’re on day 2 or day 272, you can still chime in and pledge to rack up continuous days sober in October.


painting #510.
you have potential when you’re sober. link >