i actively defy feeling better

like every good perfectionist, i can’t just leave well enough alone. monday? great day. a banner day. Yesterday? rotten. sloth-like. literally played an online video game for 3+ hrs. probably more. it was probably more like 5 hrs.

today. got up and repeated what i did on monday and lo-and-behold i feel fine again. ok. so i’ve figured out what works for me.

now why can’t i keep doing it?

part of it is self-sabbatage (wolfie says: sure, you had one good day, so today you can celebrate by taking the day off; you might not feel as great but it’s exhausting being perfect)

part of it is fine tuning (wolfie says: well that worked on monday, but you can’t maintain that every day so today we’ll try something more ‘moderate’)

part of it is looking for the new thing (wolfie says: oh, bright shiny object over here. you did that one thing, it worked, you felt better, but you didn’t try this other thing yet, you might like it, it’s new)

part of it is defeat before i’m even out of bed (wolfie says: you didn’t sleep well enough, so the rest of your perfect day plan just won’t work without the perfect sleep, so if it all isn’t perfectly lined up, then don’t even try)

part of it is defiance (wolfie says: fuck you, i can make my own rules, i don’t have to do what works for everyone else, i can go off the map and try moon spots if i want to, fuck you, you can’t make me feel better. i actively defy feeling better. fuck you).

so that’s what yesterday was like.

today? got up at 8:30 am (which is freaky early for me). went for a run first thing pre-computer. bought a few groceries. bath with pink fairy lights and lush shampoo. lovely breakfast (cottage cheese fruit raisins decaf). and presto: the good-feeling-day is back. puttering away at my inbox, my desk, my catering. helping husband as he tries (unsuccessfully) to buy U2 tickets.

i don’t drink any more. thank god.

the thing is, if i wasn’t sober, i’d be so focussed on drinking and thinking about drinking that there would literally be NO free time to explore the other weirdness in my head (it’s like a radio station, all wolfie, all the time). i’m not hearing “you should drink now” but I do hear “don’t bother, not enough, fuck it, not worth it).

and on days when i get up earlier and run 7 or 10 or 40 minutes, and have a bath and have a nice breakfast and stay offline until 10 am … on days like this, that wolfie-radio station is diminished by a full 75%.

time to pick a better radio station, the one that says “this is so fun. it’s worth it. i feel so much better. it’s irritating sometimes but it’s much much better than before.”




“Today I choose to do whatever is necessary to live a sober lifestyle”

From my inbox:

Kelly (day 3): “Good morning Belle, Another successful day and evening.  I woke up this morning feeling much better than I have in awhile.  I thought about how nice it was not to have to have a mug of water at my bedside to ease the constant thirst attack.  I realized how much better I slept not having to wake up 3-4 times a night to go pee.  I realized that my mouth no longer feels like someone took a shit in it in the morning.  I realized that my face and belly don’t look/feel so bloated … I realized that I was able to stay up until 9:00 p.m. watching something the news and remember what I watched.  I realized that I had a phone conversation with a friend at 8:00 p.m. and can recall the details of that discussion.

But most of all, I realize how I have single-handedly harmed myself more than all the abusers/neglecters of my past.  I have a choice, I always did.  Today, I choose to stop poisoning my body and mind.  Today I choose to move forward and focus on today.  Today I choose to do whatever is necessary to live a sober lifestyle.  Today I choose to use the tools and reach out to those like you (and your followers) whenever I start feeling stuck and moving in the wrong direction.

Thank you, thank you, thank you Belle.  If there is a heaven, you are certain to have a front row seat.”

From me:

I got to run today! i can’t tell you how happy i am right now. after weeks and weeks and weeks of stooopid health stuff, i finally was given the green light to run again… now, don’t get all excited, i did something very light (10 x 1 minutes with walking in between) … but i’m not kidding, i feel like i could leap a tall building!

This is something i KNOW about me. I KNOW that i feel better when i run. it doesn’t even matter how long, 10 minutes is fine. I KNOW this to be true. And since this is a new year, i’m going to put my needs first this year (it’s about fucking time). I need to run to feel better. it’s not about weight loss (but losing pounds is nice) and it’s not about fitness (though surely that’s a lovely side-benefit, too). It’s about how I FEEL after I run. I feel successful. I feel like I’ve done something with my day. I feel more relaxed. I feel more even.

i run to control my mood. i’ve known that for a long time. it’s the fastest way i know to change my ‘state’ and to get myself out of a funky mood.

Other things that work for me (these things don’t work as well as running, but they still work): singing along to loud music, playing guitar, developing a new recipe that actually works, laughing, a big long bath, clean sheets.

your list might include patting a puppy, smelling a baby, or taking pictures in abandoned buildings (are you out there?).

and being a list-making girl, i like to make a list of things that can my mood. Because when i’m in a funky place i seem to forget what would make me happy!



i also did a subscriber podcast on changing states/moods, sort of like changing the channel on a radio. It’s SP#17 “Sleep & Changing the Channel.”



I’m like Sleeping Beauty, waking up

From me:

This morning, I had the distinct feeling that the ‘old’ me is coming back, resurfacing, after a long dormant sleep. Maybe I’m like Sleeping Beauty, waking up.

Maybe it’s because I am back to running in a regular way, after weeks of illness, jet lag, fatigue, heat. I’ve been a (very slow) runner for a long time, but right now i feel like running is deliciously lovely. I don’t always feel that way.

Maybe it’s because i’ve started doing sit-ups. Yeah, maybe that’s why i feel like the ‘old’ me is coming back. (OK, probably not.) Well, i’ve never done sit-ups before, but on tuesday i felt possessed to begin. I’ve also started meditating for 5 minutes at a time, every two days, just after i finish my run. Yes, i’m sitting on the bathroom floor to meditate, in the dark, post-run, yes, while i’m still sweaty. I’m doing it then because it feels like the only time/place where I can get 5 minutes of silence with a semi-settled mind.

During today’s meditation, instead of allowing the universe to enter my head (the idea situation?), i was instead thinking about blue skies, and how the sky is bluer in Rome than here, and bluer in Belgium than here, but that today it seems particularly blue here … yeah, and then the timer went off and my 5 minutes was up. Is that what meditation is supposed to be like?

OK. Maybe I feel like the ‘old’ me is coming out because i’m on vacation from Job #1 for the entire month of august, and so the phone stops, and the emails stop. And instead I putter and bake and do catering all day without feeling like I’m ignoring some other responsibility.

Maybe I feel like the ‘old’ me is coming out because I’m sleeping 9 hrs a night, regularly, for weeks now. Thanks to a new computer rule, which i’ll write about more later.

Maybe I feel much, much better simply in comparison to how gigantically shitty i felt last summer, when i was newly sober, and I HATED the summer and kept praying for it to be over.

Maybe it’s because i’ve just recently passed the one-year-sober mark, and i’m not really counting anything any more — neither days, nor months — and i’m just ‘living’. Maybe the old me used to live, and now i’m becoming ‘her’ again.

I know for sure that the new, sober me is no longer hiding. I am no longer avoiding. And while I knew, even in early sobriety, that I was done with ‘sleep walking’ through my life … now that i’ve been NOT-sleep-walking for a longer period of time, I’ve gotta say it’s truly glorious. Like really, really lovely.

it’s lovely, but not in a parades and unicorns way. alas, there are no fireworks. Instead, I’m just peacefully content. I’m getting shit done. Can make plans and actually see them through. Can recognize hurdles and overcome them. Can meaningfully connect with other people. Can begin new projects. Can start the coaching website.

Is it a coincidence that the timing of my sobriety = the timing of feeling like my life began to improve dramatically? I think not.

Is it a coincidence that now, a year later, i’m feeling even better as time goes on?

No. it is not a coincidence. This is all because i’ve stopped drinking.

And any time i have a tiny twinge of a thinking “maybe i don’t have to give up drinking forever,” I realize that i want this feeling I have now to continue.

So i’m going to continue doing what i’m doing. it’s working. I will rinse, lather, repeat. OK, i could split hairs … like, is all this good feeling, is it ALL because i gave up drinking? I don’t care. I can connect the dots. I don’t need to do any more research. I get it.

I gave up drinking and now I’m here. End of story.

From my inbox:

Susan (day 15): The pull of alcohol is becoming less. It has helped tremendously so to write an email each day. It keeps me aware and honest. I am realizing how I held alcohol as a way out of things when I felt I just couldn’t handle. Looking outside myself for the answer. By not drinking it is like a vote of confidence in myself — that I can handle, figure out, make it through. Kind of like dorothy in the Wizard of Oz: she always had the power, just didn’t know it.  Susan (day 16): Getting clearer…seeing more and more how alcohol has been such a crutch …. and by using it I was saying to myself that I needed a crutch.

Quill (day 67): Sometimes the cravings know they’re being ignored and don’t put up a fight. Craving-brain’s latest trick is to say, “You know your life really IS better without alcohol, so if you’re just going to drink on Day 101 and realize what a mistake it is, why not just do it now and get it out of the way?” And/or, “If you’re going to go back to drinking on day 101, you’re not a REAL member of Team 100 anyway.” I don’t really miss being drunk. I don’t miss the weird gross feeling toward the end of the night and I *really* don’t miss the day after (the exhaustion, the indigestion …)

Zenmeg (day 30): Walked through a delicious yummy store today that also sells wine. I could smell the wine too. Sampled a piece of cheese and got what I needed and left. Still sober. Feel good. Thank you.

Team 100 update: 182 members, welcome to EarthyMama (6), KristinRecovering (73), C How (43), FacingMeNow (6), SitsBetweenCats (3).  Happy days to Leigh (20), Amy (240), K MCC (20), J (260), Whineless (7), Sober Journalist (120), Shel (125), Kristi (14), Tammy (125), Allie (10), Chelsie (90), Anna (90), Mary (71), Erika (90), Jackie (101), Sam (7), Dana (21), Designer Rachel (60), Jen-faith (50), Trish (55), Lime Tree (41), Melinda (41), Maya June (41), Pete (31), Spencer (28), NoMoreVino (20), Durfee (30), Stargal (32), Susan (20), Brendan (10), and Barb M (7).

so i fell down

i tripped and fell on my long run today. i was on a dirt path in a garden area, must have been a root or a bit of stone. tripped, one knee went down, then the hand, then the other knee, the hand, then flat on my chest taking the worst of it on my breastbone.  stunned, i rolled onto my back and just hung there for a second. then sat up. now fully covered in dirt, front and back. sat for a bit to determine that i hadn’t broken anything. that i was “OK”. in a touristy area of the city, billion people around. no one came to help. no one said “are you ok?” maybe no one speaks the language, and really if someone falls and they’re not granny, if they’re a runner and they seem to be getting up, maybe you just leave them to it, figuring they’re embarrassed enough already.

i’m covered in dust front and back. my left hand is cut open in 5 places, both knees skinned but i don’t want to look down, just don’t need to see it. i have no money and i’m not unwell enough to get a taxi and pay once i get home. i walk home, 18 minutes, first feeling gigantically sorry for myself — nearly teary — i check that my engagement ring on my left isn’t also mangled as my fingers are. my ring is fine. i think i might cry about how my ring could have gotten damaged. i don’t cry. i keep walking. after about 5 minutes of walking the shock has worn off. i realize i’m lucky that it’s not cold outside cuz i’m sweaty and that shit would get cold quickly. i’m lucky it’s not raining. i’m lucky that nothing is broken, that i’m not ‘hurt’ just scraped.

and i try to figure out ‘why’ this has happened.  If everything happens for a reason, or if a lesson can come from everything, then why did this happen. OK, perhaps 7 minutes after the event isn’t the time to try to figure that out.  i keep walking. i put the ipod shuffle earphones back in my ears, listening to an NPR podcast about Mormon missionaries.

my husband is really terribly squeamish, so i open the front door and say “i fell down. don’t look.” i lie on the spare bed, which can get dirty (versus the couch), and i wait to feel like getting undressed, into the tub. the tub is raised a bit, is in fact hard to get into and out of without good use of both hands. the water stings. i clean myself as much as i feel like, and then decide that absent gravel or glass in these cuts, they’re just going to be a bit dirty, too bad. i pour mercurochrome-equivalent on both knees, one hand, husband uses bandaids to stick make-up remover pads to my knees. that’s the extent of our first aid kit. i get into my pyjamas, he helps me put on my socks.  he makes me lunch, he goes to the bakery to get me cake. i prop myself on the spare bed and watch a cooking show on the computer screen.

and i think:

‘god i’m tired. what is it about getting hurt that makes you want to sleep. i think it’s the wanting to hide. and you know without booze, which used to be my favorite place to hide, i now don’t have many ways of hiding. running is one place i can hide, usually, get into a zen state, lose track of real life. unless i fall down, and then i’m jolted back into real life kind of abruptly. i think sleep is where i hide now. well good. i’m ok with that. it’s restorative, productive, and safe. there are no side effects from sleeping. so what if i’m hiding, i fell down for fuck’s sake.’

i also think the sudden onset of fatigue is a physiological response to a spike in adrenaline, it’s the other side of the spike, the crash of adrenaline. of course, what the fuck do i know, i’m not a doctor. i didn’t even google it. i just make that shit up.

so why did i fall? no good reason. what did i learn? that i’m surprisingly tough, that our bodies are quite tough, that we can take scrapes, breaks, bruises, bangs, and we can heal ourselves.  that it takes cake, cooking shows on tv, and sleep to solve problems (at least for me, at least for now).

i learned that in no way, shape, or form would having a drink aide me now. it would be like taking my swollen baby finger and then slamming it in a car door.  drinking right now would be like slamming my LIFE in a car door. so instead i am going to roll over in the dirt, check that i’m ok, and i’m going to get up and keep going.  i may go slowly at first, but then i’ll go more quickly. yes it stings. parts are swollen. it’s not all-right. but what are the alternatives? lie in the dirt forever?

i’ve got to say it. this will involve swearing.

Team 100 update: Lilly (27), Mystery Girl (27), Amy (120), Jen (mommy) (23), Sunflower (14), and J (140). Welcome to new members: Victoria, Terri, DDG, and Grace. There are 26 of us now 🙂


i had a very very long day on wednesday and have not been able to catch up on my sleep. we Europeans also finally had our spring time change this past weekend, so anyway i’m lacking sleep big time. both yesterday and today I dragged ass — both days required 2 hour naps midday just to get through. I’m sleeping well at night, but waking much too early. Fuck you time change.  Fuck you being up at 6:30 am for catering on Wednesday. I’ve been having to go for my runs after 7 pm, which is completely unheard of for me.  i’m a first-thing-in-the-morning runner, like to have my goals met early in the day so the rest is a golden rainbow. not so much this week.

so i’m on my run tonight, it’s been a really long day, i’m running way later than i want to be (7:45 pm). i’m planning to stop at a store on the way home to buy stuff for dinner, cuz i don’t have any food left in the house…  and then i thought about a nice big bottle of red wine.


so I said to my lovely wolfie, “you’re only thinking about booze because you’re tired.”

and wolfie said “don’t get too hungry, angry, lonely or tired. Because I am waiting for you.”

like for reals. i literally heard the AA mantra in my head. and it was pretty menacing.

i came in from my run, announced to my husband that HE could fucking make dinner for a change.  I had a bath with candlelight.  i ate my dinner (meat, veg, starch).

i’ve got to say it. this will involve swearing. you can look away now if swearing bothers you.

wolfie, you’re an evil evil pig-fucker. you’re a gigantic anus. imagine. waiting around for poor girls to feel weak or tired or vulnerable.  shame on you. wolfie, honestly, i’m writing this message to the universe to let everyone know that i’m ON to you, motherfucker. you will NOT fuck with me.  I’m doing my best to work and run and sleep and handle my life, and you will leave me the fuck alone. I’m not kidding.  I’ll sick the sobersphere on you, wolfie. you’re no match for the team of friends I have on MY side, wolfie. I maybe have never stood up to you before like I am now, but i am not alone anymore wolfie. it’s not just you and me in a dark room without witnesses.  everybody is watching you now wolfie. you’re outnumbered. we know your shit. stay the fuck away from me. i’ve got friends with guns, wolfie.

and yes, i’m going straight to bed.

prunes, vacuums, and nature

thank god it’s all over, the holiday season. didn’t realize how exhausted and stressed i was, how near to drinking i probably was 3 or 4 times.  I didn’t seem to remember that it would take me a full 10 days of my 14 day vacation to truly unwind (i’m there now!). i’m glad the whole holiday/celebrating thing is finished, that new years eve is done, that my 6 month sober-versary has passed — and with it any ideas i had of ‘maybe i can drink now that it’s been 6 months’.  done with that kind of thinking. now i can go back to my regularly scheduled sober life.

and i feel pretty great. strangely empowered. better than i’ve felt in a long, long time.  I’m a girl who loves her vacations, that’s for sure.  i like working when i feel like it, sleeping, running, and frigging around in the kitchen.  i like planning for the new year without actually doing anything to advance my plans!  (I am a girl who loves a plan, but i might even like MAKING plans, and scheming new plans, more than i even like having the finished plan. I like the chart paper on the wall, i like the vomiting of ideas, deciding which ones to pursue, what to prune.)

What to prune.  This brings me to today’s a-ha moment.

i’ve been on autopilot for so many years, that now being 6 months sober is providing me with an unusually clear perspective and a quiet sense of determination.  Pruning.  I’m about to prune some of what i do in Job #2.  Eliminate a few services that are irritating and not worth it anymore.  what’s HILARIOUS is that i found a note from november 2011, where i identified that i wanted to prune Job #2.  And then i didn’t do any of it.  i kept drinking (January to June) and then beginning in July, all i could focus on was getting/staying sober.

Now that i’ve been squirted (splat!) out the other side, i had a look around was like “yeah, now’s the time. do some pruning.”

And as soon as i figured out the first thing to prune, a new idea came into my head to take its place, hopefully bigger and better, something i’ll love doing instead of something i feel obligated to do.  you know, that stupid fucking trite saying about ‘nature abhors a vacuum’ … well.

well that’s all i have to say about prunes, vacuums, and nature.

Here are my 2013 things i’d like to do (not resolutions).  I record them here so that i can torture congratulate myself later when i check them off one by one [sorry Amy if you’re seeing these more than once]:

  • get 100% caught up on paperwork, filing, banking, accounting
  • trim 3 things from my business #2 which isn’t doing very well
  • add 3 new things (not yet imagined) to business #2 to see if it perks things up (i have one of them imagined already)
  • build my passion job #3 thingy to a more steady and reliable stream of income
  • I’d like to lose 15 pounds, then re-evaluate, and perhaps lose another 5 after that (this was a 2012 goal that I’m carrying forward; I’ve lost 7 of the original 15, but still have a bit to go)
  • I’d like to eat my way down to the bottom of my freezer (this was also on my list for 2012, that I’m carrying forward)
  • read 52 books in a year.  This year I read 40 34
  • continue to run 3-5 times per week
  • continue to be sober until July 1st which is my one year s0ber-versary. I can re-evaluate then, but I suspect I’ll remain sober.  it suits me.
  • have one night away per month, with or without husband, for mini-vacations since we’re not able to afford real vacations this year.
  • I’d like to be thin, with long hair, eyebrows done from the salon, nice nails, and have a good (real) tan.  then I’d like to go home in July to see my sisters… yes, even at age 46 the sibling rivalry continues … it can be pretty motivating. I’m trying to let this go.
  • I’d like to be in bed by 10:30 most nights, and 9:30 pm at least one night per week.

In general, I’d like to experience the feeling of being ‘done’ with a bunch of loose ends.  I’m spread a bit thin, and I think the kindest gift I can give myself this year is to do fewer things better.

Happy New Year everyone 🙂

let the gloating continue

i feel like i should write something but i got nothing to say. not in a bad way, but in a good way. i got nothing to say because all is well, continues to be well. no cravings, no real triggers, no hard moments, no big lows. Just lots of glorious happy sober sleeping-through-the-nights.  went away for 24 hours to have a tiny break (sans husband) and it was divine, and i got to sleep long, read long, run long, drink coffee, buy spices, have a big long bath and generally gloat and wallow in how fucking great my life is.

Yes, ok, the days when i have catering i’m pressed flat, squished by the success of it all. i do not sleep enough on those days and i am unable to run.  But it’s limited to two days a week (i only do orders two days a week cuz the rest of the time i’m working at my REAL jobs, ha ha). But i’m coming to terms with this new life. I make sure to have food on hand, to get enough sleep before and after, and to take real breaks and time-off on the weekends so that the ‘working hard’ continues to seem worthwhile.

while i appreciate that this gloating thing of mine is super tiring, let me say this. I know for a fact that my improved life is due to quitting drinking.  There is a one-to-one correlation between WHEN i stopped drinking and this new improved me. I wouldn’t go back now for anything, i don’t care if i’m on the outside when others are over-indulging (i don’t seem to be, it actually seems fine, i still am too loud and too funny boozeless).

right now, at this moment, there’s an apple cake in the oven, i’ve just returned from a mini-vacation feeling super well rested (hard to believe it just takes 24 hrs alone to recharge), and tomorrow is a holiday for my ‘real’ jobs.

all is well. let the gloating continue. long live the gloating.

… and if you’re lurking and wondering if you should quit drinking, let me say YES YES YES YES YES YES (have you quit yet?) YES YES YES and YES : )

i’m curious 3

First, my brief update: i am well, just very very very busy with job #3 passion thingy, it’s literally taking over my life in a good way. it’s freaky busy/successful and my biggest challenge isn’t growing and advertising, it’s balancing the growth that’s happening without me doing anything. now that i no longer have to think about ‘not drinking’, i’m focusing on getting to bed early and running. these two things (combined with not drinking) are my survival tools. I am surviving and thriving. my job #3 passion thingy is so fucking busy that i crashed for two days on the weekend, like nearly had a coma:  i just read and sat inside watching the rain.  i did run, eat well, slept well, and did nothing else. nothing. no tv. no cleaning, no food making. i did play cards with my husband and he beat me 7 out of 8 times. this morning, back to work, and it looks like it might be busier than last week. And the new client who had hired two of us to share the work? the other chick ain’t doing so hot, they let me know, so they want me to step it up a bit. a bit more. i even have to rent a car and start driving in this new wacky place. i drove today and, of course, it was fine. i’m adaptable. i can drive in foreign countries. i’m a smart, sober chick. i’ve got this covered…

but anyway, the point of this post is the CURIOUS part : )  This is becoming a monthly thing, and i look forward to it : )

I know that i lurked on a few blogs for a while before I actually quit drinking for real. I was looking for motivation and i really wanted to hear that other people had been successful at what i was contemplating/struggling with.

This blogging community really does have all that, and then some.

So here’s what i’m curious about. Can you do me a favor?

  1. Post a comment with your number of days sober.
  2. If you are an anonymous lurker, and you’re sober, you can just put Sober as your name, and then use a fake email as your email address (12345@12345.com) – tell me how many days sober. You can remain anonymous of course.
  3. If you are a lurker, and you aren’t (yet) sober but you’re looking for inspiration, you can put Hoping as your name (or whatever), and use my email as your email address (12345@12345.com). And you can pick a date when you’d like to start your sober journey (i.e. in 5 days, or november 1st, or whatever). You can remain anonymous, too.

I also sometimes forget how far along in the sober journey some of you are … so this will help me remember and help me celebrate with you.

Really, if you’re an anonymous lurker that’s totally fine! Just chime in with where you are : )

PS/ HERE’S MY GUT REFLEX: I have no proof of this and am only going on a gut feeling here, but if you are a lurker and still drinking, then by posting something anonymously, it’s like raising your hand and saying “ok, yes, i could use some support” and i think that makes a big difference in what happens next for you.  Well, if you don’t believe me, you can try posting something and see what happens : )

PPS/ I hope to hear again from “Hoping!!!” and from Jen and from NoMorePinot

i’m quiet, but not drinking

I’m quiet, but not drinking.  Just swamped with passion job #3 thingy. Tomorrow is another long day.  The contract that i started last week DID get me to do more work for them this week, and have already asked for something for next week.  So they’re not going away. (PS/ their request for next week is based on a sample that i took into my original meeting with them, that was not part of the work that they asked for.  but once they saw the sample, they’ve changed their business direction slightly to include that aspect of my work. Note to self – think outside the box, give them more than what they ask for. I’ve also been giving them other random samples each week with their new (requested) work, just so that they can see the range of my abilities.  fun fun stuff!)

and in the middle of all of this, yes, I ran today … even though i got up at 7:30 am and have been going non-stop ever since (now it’s 9:39 pm)!  AND i will run tomorrow.  I realize now that not only do i feel much better when i run (duh!), even for 18-20 minutes, but it also gives me the opportunity to fall in love with my town again, each and every morning. Today, outside the fish shop with the big front step, as i ran past at 8:30 am, the smelly fish guy in his rubber apron and knee-high boots was helping granny down the big step: granny, her cane, her wheelie cart.  There was a big line-up waiting to be served, and the fish guy is there helping granny get out onto the sidewalk safely.

Expect more silence from me.  On friday we head out of town for a 4 day weekend. it’s supposed to pour rain. we’re going to some armpit community not far from here, just to be away. i suspect there will be reading and bad TV… there will be vacation sex. there will be bad random food in weird touristy restaurants. there will be a church or two for photographs. my husband will collect rocks and chestnuts.

this is living sober

I’m fine (she says, again). thanks for all of the comments, direct emails, and cyber hugs.  all received and pretty darn helpful.

I cried off and on yesterday, from grief, heat, and terrible fatigue, having slept about 4 hrs the night before.

I did manage to run yesterday, though, mid-day, mid-sweltering heat, even though i was feeling like a bag of shit. it seemed liked good advice (from nomoremerlot) and it was a scheduled running day. better to do 20 minutes than skip a day.

that I went for a run is significant because while running, I asked for a ‘sign’ that I should continue on this sober journey a little while longer, or maybe it’d be OK if i had a drink or two at the end of my two months.  I saw a bird flying by, and i thought “that’s not the sign that i should drink.”  There was a sticker on the wall … no, that’s not it.  And not 2 minutes later, literally, I came around the corner to see a gigantic car accident, big white passenger van on its side on the sidewalk, smashed up against the pedestrian guardrails, having overturned a few parked motorcycles alongside.  Traffic diverted. police with whistles in their mouths, arms outstretched. no ambulances, no people around. just this van there waiting for the tow truck.

it was a freaky clear sign, and I barely believe in that kind of shit … [this is what i wrote in an email yesterday to cricket]. but whether i believe it in or not, i asked for a sign, and i got one.  I burst into tears right there on the sidewalk beside the van. (some witness-guy watched the not-thin girl go by in tight spandex on a jesus-hot day, sweaty from head to toe, dripping from all orifices, and clearly thought i’d lost my mind.)

OK, maybe i don’t really believe in signs but, being the hot mess that I was, it did seem brutally clear. and abrupt. and fast.

in the blink of an eye, the van can be on the sidewalk. you can make a tiny mistake with huge consequences. bad shit can and does happen. not often, but it does happen. life is already fragile enough. you don’t need to add mind altering drugs to that mix, do you Belle?

it was nearly 10 pm before i got the official news that my 20-year old friend had passed away after being taken off life support.  her mom describes it as a very spiritual experience, not as painful as you might imagine. Here’s a quote from the mom’s email:

“… There has only been one message, according to [daughter’s name]. And that is Love and Happiness. So I am not suffering as much as you’d think right now. Instead, I am feeling a profound sense of peace, and even gratitude for this experience, with occasional bursts of sobbing and grief. … Going through her end of life — from the call that she was in critical condition — to her final hours and the decision to donate her organs, was the most profoundly spiritual experience I have ever had.”

When i read this i felt somewhat better. it’s certainly not every day you get to witness someone losing their daughter like this… and the girl was really a special kid. we hung out quite a bit when she was traveling alone through europe, and she stayed with us a few times, bringing her guitar and her gigantic smile. she kept in touch with me directly, outside of my relationship with her mother, and we became ‘buddies’ (as much as a 45 year old can be buddies with a 20 year old).

And it was after receiving the news that she was gone, that I checked my blog and read the comments from yesterday’s post about sadness. In particular, Mrs. D saying that this is sober life. this is it – the shitty and the rough.  Well, she says it better than I can:

“Belle, this is living sober. This is what it is. It is crying, and getting frustrated, and angry. It is sadness, it is hopelessness. It is raw, it is real. It is hard, and it is relentless. It is sober living. This is why it is tricky and it takes some work getting used to it. This is raw life, without the drug. The drug is attractive because it bends our brains and shifts our attention to a more blurry place.”

because all the way through the day yesterday, i kept thinking that a shot of grand marnier would take the edge off, would numb me — just a bit — so that i could deal better. i don’t drink ‘for fun’ or because i’m ‘thirsty’ or to ‘be social’ or ‘to relax’…. i crave booze when i want to HIDE.

thanks everyone for the well-timed truths. I am fine. Day 53.

and just a PS, i’ve been feeling draggy and shitty and out of sorts and not enjoying my vacation for about a week … i did hunt to try to find the specific point that i started feeling bad, when the unraveling began.  well, it’s the same day we learned that the smiling 20 year old was in the hospital on life support after her heart attack. I hadn’t realized the direct correlation in the timing.  [sigh]

time to have a shower and begin my day.