drinking thinking


Drinking-thinking is different from sober-thinking. and your drinking-thinking is likely going to OBJECT to ideas suggested that come from sober-thinking. You have to be open enough to try the new things, even when your head disagrees.

(When i relisten to this audio clip below, i feel like it’s the KEY to what i’ve been saying lately. maybe condensed and compressed in a way that i haven’t said it before. it sounds ‘new’ or something …)

To hear this short audio message, press the blue button below. nothing to download. just press play.

Question: Did you hear something in this today? post a comment.

Welcome Lurkers (Part 1)

I received a series of emails from lurkers (silent readers, non-reacher-outers), and in this podcast I reply to a few of them with longer, detailed responses. 

The complete audio recording is over an hour long, and split into two parts​. ​In this extract from Part 1, I talk about the feeling of being determined on day 1 (or 10), and how that feeling of being determined isn’t enough to be long-term sober.

​​​Here's a clip where you can listen to a 3-minute extract from the podcast. ​To download the entire​ 25-minute audio from part 1, you can use the download link below.

extract from Sober Podcast 285. ​Welcome Lurkers Part 1

You can ​leave a comment below, anonymous is fine ... or send me an email.​

​Download ​SP285. Welcome Lurkers Part 1​

Sign up for the ​podcast membership
(1-2 new full-length audios each ​week, you can cancel whenever you like ... but you won't. more sober tools = good)

​Journal 7, available at auction

Why start now?

You will have a voice in your head that tells you that this isn’t the right time. I mean, look: January 1st is a Tuesday so that’s not the best day. What about next Monday? Well, then you have that thing you’re supposed to do later in the week, so maybe it should be the week after that.

Or you could start now, which means that a year from today you’ll be one year sober. 

You could start now, so that you're already underway. You want to feel better already, so you're not waiting longer (to feel better)! You're adding the tools and supports that you need to get you where you want to go.

If there is no right time, then now is the time.

This is the subject of a brand new podcast (episode 282) going out today to podcast subscribers.

And for the next 24 hrs, I'm going to make this audio available here, for you to listen to in full, even if you're not a podcast member.

[ link removed ]

​Sober Podcast 282. ​Why Now?

You can ​leave a comment below, anonymous is fine. If you've heard the entire audio, you can tell me if you heard anything new ​... To download the entire audio, you can use the link below.

​Download ​SP282. Why Now?​

Sign up for the ​podcast membership
(1-2 new full-length audios each ​week, you can cancel whenever you like ... but you won't. more sober tools = good)

​sober art thanks to mr.belle, this is painting #302 here.


It’s hard to quit, no matter what. You can be single or married. It’s still hard. People who are single say “I wish there was somebody supporting me.” People who are married say “I wish I didn’t live with someone who drank.” It’s hard to be sober no matter what. Your voice in your head will tell you that somebody has it easier than you, but everybody has their own weird, particular challenges. We think we’re all special and broken and deficient and that our situation is worse and more difficult and more heinous. You have a voice in your head that tells you that you can’t do it because your situation is worse. And that’s not true. You have kids? Somebody else says “I could be sober if I had kids” while you’re saying “I find it hard to be sober because I have kids.” I want you to know that all of that is wolfie. None of it really contributes to how hard or easy it is to be sober. It’s a distraction. [listen to this as an audio]

* if you’re following on facebook, you maybe saw my first facebook LIVE video – it’s an experiment (and a badly lit one at that), where I record a short message and you can see my christmas tree (ha!). you do NOT have to be signed up on FB to see the video, nor do you have to ‘like’ or ‘follow’ — but if you DO follow the page, i believe it’ll tell you the next time i’m live…

Exit 297 Personalized
Exit 183 “Potential”
if you could ask mr.b to write anything on your personalized painting, what would you choose? Maybe Hope? or Exit? or Potential?



is it normal to feel like crying every time I listen to a podcast?

from me:

when you think you’ll sell 10 books a month, and you start selling 10 a day (december 31st was 32 books that one day). when you order 7 new FUW bracelets for january and they’re claimed within hours so then you swiftly point out the silver Stay Here ones instead. when things change, under your feet, without you even realizing it.

it’s just like being sober, isn’t it. you go along, you go along, some days are easy, some days are hard. and you THINK you know where you’re going, but then …

well, I’ve always equated being sober with driving across the country, from Maine to San Francisco (or from Plymouth to Inverness-ish here).

you start off, you head in the right general direction, you make a bunch of small decisions every day. you adjust your course every day. you look at maps, aim, recalculate. you add in more sleep when required, more fuel when required, and you have faith that if you put in the days, let the calendar pages flip over, one after the other, that you can arrive in a new place.

and, importantly, it’s a new place that you can’t see when you begin AND you cannot adequately know or understand until you get there. 

the advantage to having a day-by-day approach, though, is that you can do all the small adjustings required. you’re not just plopped in the middle of the new place, unprepared. you get to practise your self-care each day, refining the process. you get to deal with smaller hurdles before larger ones come. you learn about prelapse so that you can prevent it. you learn when to put gas in your sober car and when to have a snack.

it’s in the travelling that you are preparing. it’s in the travelling that you’re learning what you need to know.

and then some day you’ll wake up on day 2,384, having worked individually with 2,914 penpals. you will have no idea HOW this happened, except by repeating one successful sober day, repeatedly, and showing up, and making the small adjustments required. you’ll get ready to post the 299th sober painting since the end of august.

it’s like writing a book, right? page by page. you can write a book 100 words at a time. You can build a sober life one day at a time, one page, one story. keep layering. keep adding to what you’ve built before. continuous days. they count.

you’ll arrive somewhere lovely and unexpected.

from my inbox:

here are a few messages that are quite literally in my inbox this morning, wednesday

Lace (day 10): “Yesterday was grim. I didn’t drink but it was a close run. Daughter has taken up residence at home as her mental state has imploded. I am trying to be supportive and caring and that leaves little room for me to care for myself. Self-care and self-love is an alien concept for me. I need to compartmentalise but it’s hard. I know we all have shit stuff to deal with, so I will walk the dogs and tune into one of your podcasts. Very down.”

S1: “Hi Belle, I’ve read your amazing book, and it spoke out to me. It sounds stupid but I felt like I was talking to me: similar situation and similar way of talking. I was inspired, really fucking inspired. I know what I need to do now, I’m there. But I keep making excuses, especially around 4pm when I’m feeling normal again now the hangover is a distant memory and have to face the noisy, awful kids-bedtime routine. That my main excuse. What do you suggest I do at witching hour when wolfie is telling me the evenings are hard and wine will make it easier? Because I’m tired and still need to plough through it somehow. Any techniques for the witching hour? Thank You and I’ll get there eventually, I know day 1 will happen for me very soon.”

S2: “I don’t think I will get a reply to this as we are not penpals. But if you read it I will be pleased enough. I’m on day 7. I think you would say that I made the decision to quit while I still had a high bottom! but it was still all-consuming in my mind. Finding you and your book seems like fate! I’ve wanted to find a way, but never really considered actually stopping altogether. I want to do this. I’m 51 and turning 50 was a bit of a wake-up call in terms of realizing that we only get one life. I was fed up of not feeling as well as I knew I could and thought I was going round the twist waking up in a panic every time I drank. You are currently helping me more than you know. But is it normal to feel like crying every time I listen to a podcast? Partly it is with relief I think. That you understand, that I’m not on my own. Friends are proving to be tricky, I have only told two. One is totally supportive even a little in awe I think. The other, well she says ‘you don’t need to do that just drink at the weekend’ — I was tempted to ask her if her middle name was Wolfie 🙂 She wasn’t really listening I don’t think, but it has made me realize that I might need to choose who I tell my truth to. My hubby knows. and he suggests that I just tell them it is because I have events to train for and then I don’t have to explain anything.”

S3: “This is the second painting I have acquired. I LOVE it!!!  And I thank you for helping me & being a part of my days in your own way. You are a gem!  And Thank Mr. B for his paintings, to help us out here to not only have a more beautiful decor, but at the same time remind us of how we want to live – sober.  And we can have that reminder in our face and enhancing our space without anyone else having to know it or judge it. Thank you seems minor, but it is heartfelt & what I can offer.”

Dallas: “i’m on day 1 for the last time, i’m trying different, i will email when i feel good AND when i feel bad. i will NOT wait to feel bad to reach out. i will fucking do it in advance, wolfie, so that i can get some fucking traction, wolfie, cuz this waiting around to feel better ain’t getting me anywhere, wolfie, and so i’m going to try different which means emailing and listening to audios when i feel GOOD. oh, and wolfie, you can blow me. love, me”

Mrs. Bobby: “Belle, I’ve right royally messed myself up, straight away. After my 60 days sober, I had a few drinks on Saturday night and enjoyed them  – as I said in my email. But then I had more on Sunday night. My husband and I had some drinks together, which, for me, turned in to a bottle of wine, at least, possibly more as there was some left from the other night. my hangover yesterday was excruciating … But you know the thing I am most ashamed of? I felt horrible late morning yesterday and my brain said – “alcohol will make you feel better”. And I listened to it … I am now full if self loathing and I am upset I have wasted so much time and energy, and for what? When I compare how I feel now with how I felt for the previous 60 days sober, there is no contest. I want that life back. I don’t want this. Sorry Belle, just feeling the shame and self-loathing today. I just want to get back to where I was. And the voice in my head is still saying – ‘alcohol will make you feel better’. But I’m not listening this time. Bobby xx”


This is sober art, painting #301, here > link

new years 2019 compilation audio

new years 2019

so i have a short audio with a collection of voices for you … people from all around the world, readers of my daily emails, sober folks (and sober hopefuls), everyone coming together to make a compiled, mosaic of good feelings 🙂 I think you’ll like it. it’ll make you smile. press play. see the big blue button? you can’t miss it. free. press play. it’ll start just like that!


you can get some more support, starting today 

I have a 5-part audio series to help with the beginning part of being sober
$10 US (about £8 GBP)

In these audios, I talk about getting started, how to THINK about the idea of quitting drinking, advice on tools and supports, and we’ll talk about how to get ready to begin (and how to keep going if you’re already going).

If booze is an elevator that only goes down, it’s time to find the exit.

Exit → Exist [audios for lurkers, sober-curious, not sure sobriety is for you] > Sign up here.

huglets from me.me


focus on you first

focus on you first.

there is a ‘chat’ feature on my site (here in the top-right corner), that you can use if you have a technical question, can’t find something, or are wondering why you can’t find the ‘forum’ on my site …

here’s a transcript from a chat from yesterday.

Me: Hi there, can I answer a question for you?

Chat: Good morning. Is this Belle?
Me: It is

Chat: Nice to meet you. you have a great site! It’s been a LOT of help
Me: well that’s lovely 🙂

Chat: Do you ever put sober people together to be penpals?
Me: My site is about one-on-one support, me working with penpals. you’re going to find it most useful when someone is (much) further along than you. There are lots of other sites with forums, i’m not sure they work as well as people think they should…

Chat: I’m sure you are right. I just read your email with someone on day 1 … I believe they and I are on the same day. Thought maybe we could support each other as well.
Me: Right, the support you need is from someone who’s done it successfully who can help you navigate the hard stuff. you can’t really help someone else until you’ve got your own sobriety figured out. it’d be like two people who don’t speak english trying to learn together without an anglophone present 🙂

Chat: Makes sense
Me: also, when the other person relapses, it can make you focus on them, and it makes it seem like relapse is contagious. to begin, your focus should be on you 🙂 you have lots to learn. and then you can help others 😉 sober first and THEN you can take on the world!!

Chat: I know I have relapsed because of other people before so what you’re saying makes sense. It does help to have someone in your corner though. This “getting sober” thing is a very lonely road. I appreciate your help!
Me: your addictive wolfie voice will tell you that you should focus on others, instead of focussing on you. this happens all the time. your addictive voice does this ON PURPOSE so that drinking will seem like a good idea.

Chat: I’m sick of Wolfie
Me: i have some links to supports that might help if you want me to send them to you, just need your email address.

Chat: Wolfie is selfish and a liar. 😉 I do get your emails, and appreciate them! I won’t keep you any longer. I just was thinking about Day 1 again.

[signed off]

this message brought to you by today’s Shameless Commercial Link:

sober toolkit bracelet.
shipped from france.
complete with super powers.
put it on . every day.

live chat for technical support (or help finding things)

there is a live chat thing on this site, where i can answer questions and help you find things. here’s a copy of a chat from yesterday:

Me: Hi there, can I answer a question for you?
Chat: Hi I’m interested in signing up for sober support pen pal. Day 1 again

Me: Have we been penpals before? or this would be a new support for you 🙂
Chat: I’ve not had a penpal before. I currently subscribe to Belle’s podcasts & emails

Me: This is Belle 🙂 Do you need the links to the penpal-sign-up page thingy?
Chat: Hi Belle 🙂 Yes please

Me: here you go > http://www.soberjumpstart.com . it’s ‘open’ now, but it’s often ‘turned off with a waiting list’ when things are busier, which is what i’m expecting for new year’s day … so actually now would be a good time to begin.


and here’s another chat that happened JUST NOW while i was typing this message to you!

Me: Hi there, can I answer a question for you?
Chat: Hello … I have just seen a link to your site … I just want to make sure it is legit?

Me: legit 🙂 yes, it’s really me. this is belle. smart of you to check it out though!
Chat: Oh hello … I am desperate to get off the booze. You have amazing reviews … I will sign up then … New Years reading … lol

Me: i am, in fact, a genius.
Chat: lol … you are funny too. I’ll get going on it and hopefully write you another amazing review. Wish me luck.

Me: Did someone share with you from facebook?
Chat: Yes. An old school friend … its that time of the year isn’t it. Would you like me to share also?

Me: that would be awesome 🙂 you can confirm that i am, in fact, a real human and not a robot!
Chat: I will do that … chat on the other side. Happy New Year.

Me: hugs from me xo


If ever this happens to you, where you can’t find something, or you need help with a transaction, or you need some kind of technical question answered, you can always drop into the chat, too. If i’m online, it’ll say “Chat with us LIVE” in the top right corner of this page.

I cannot do ‘sober coaching’ by chat, but I can help you find things 🙂


link to original sober art, thanks to mr.belle

this is a close-up of ‘exit’ painting #290 here
that means that 289 (ish) other paintings have already been mailed out all over the world. if you don’t have one, you might need one. i’m just saying…

you can listen to this radio interview

a few months ago I was interviewed on the radio in Australia (in Melbourne). the ‘green room’ where they make you wait before you go live, it actually had green painted walls.

we talked about sober things (of course) but also about how stories can help us feel not-so-alone. for today’s gift (day 28!), i wanted to share some of the transcript of the interview, AND I’ll put in a link below where you can PRESS PLAY and listen to the complete interview.



When I started the blog (tired of thinking about drinking) it’s because I knew that I couldn’t be sober on my own. I wanted to quit for a month — that was my original goal — and on my own, I could quit for 7 or 9 days, and then I would think: “well, drinking is everywhere, I’ll just drink, what’s the big deal.”

I started to read other sober blogs — I didn’t even know they existed  — and once I found one, I thought “this is really interesting, there are lots of other NORMAL people out there, who quit drinking, who don’t have particularly low bottoms, and they just decide that drinking doesn’t suit them …”

link to original sober art, thanks to mr.belle

this is ‘exit’ painting #286 here
that means that 285 (ish) other paintings have already been mailed out all over the world. if you don’t have one, you might need one. i’m just saying…

vacation / life

OMM278 > Vacation / Life

Imagine that you’re going to an all-expense paid vacation
There’s all these things that you can try
All kinds of fancy 3-star food
Drinks included

I left a big pause there so you could think about what that means
Here’s the world:
The world is just like an all-expense paid vacation
All these opportunities for you

Now think about the vacation

I left that space so that you could consider the following
These events, these places, these all-inclusive places
They’re familiar with people who don’t drink
The will always have extensive sober drink options.

Because not everybody drinks
Some people are sober
Some people are muslim
Some people are pregnant
Some people are mormon
Some people don’t drink
So you don’t need to worry about the fact that these people won’t have thought of you
They will
There’ll be something there for you

But also
An all-inclusive vacation
Is like an all-inclusive life
It’s filled with opportunities and
Things that you can take advantage of
That you cannot possibly enjoy
If you’re drunk

You go to an all-expense paid cruise vacation to
You go to Spain
You go to Portugal
And what, you drink the whole time?

All this loveliness around you
Just like in life
In this all-paid vacation

All this loveliness around you
And you are in a room with a bottle
Not paying any attention to what’s going on around you
Not really being present
Not really enjoying
All of the possibilities

Now you might say
But I don’t like snorkeling
That’s like saying
Well if I’m sober, then my life sucks.

There’s a whole fucking world of things out there
To do
Why don’t you just go to that 3-star Michelin restaurant
And eat their food
They’re familiar with people who don’t drink
There are lots of people, high-end people
Movie stars
There are lots of people who don’t drink in the world

You can be one of them
Because to waste your all-expense paid trip through life
Being alone in your room with a bottle
Is sadness
When there’s so much sunshine, warmth, experience and possibility
Waiting for you

And you know what?
You’ve already paid
[for this life. it has been delivered. it’s here]
You might as well take advantage
Of this cool life that’s around you


this is a closeup of painting #289 here