throwing wine over my brain

Growing Sober Sarah: “Why would I want to throw away all the great stuff I have learned and done in the last 28 days just in case I have miraculously learned to be normal about drinking? The last time I could moderate successfully was around 18 years ago and even before that, I always wanted more — even if I didn’t actually have any?

I have a past pattern of potentially addictive and certainly obsessive behaviour, some times it has helped me (work, exams, getting stuff done) but other times no not so good. Also over compensating for feeling rubbish and fake by doing “more” in my work, my hobbies, my business, my everyday life. Trying to hide and make up for how broken and worthless I felt.

I’m not rubbish or damaged or broken or worthless. I had bad things done to me by bad or damaged people. I’m strong and capable and brave and talented – look how much I have achieved, despite feeling so very worthless! That’s not the life of a worthless person.
All that time throwing wine over my brain to make myself feel less, all the risky, addictive, obsessive stuff, trying to make me feel better and it didn’t fucking work.

Sobriety make me feel better. Not drinking alcohol, like not eating gluten or lactose, makes me feel better. Sober Treats when I am sad make me feel better (who would have guessed it? :)) Sober Treats when I am happy make me feel happier.
Listening to you makes me feel good. Reading your blog makes me feel good. Not drinking for 100 days will mean that, even after paying for your course, I will have enough money extra equivalent to the tax and insurance on  my car for a year (car already paid for and I’m going to spend that money on Sober Treats for me!) And it’s worth every penny, and more xxx

This turned into a rant. I’m not sorry. Love, a very happy Sober Sarah, about Day 28.”



you have potential when you’re sober. to take care of you. to do cool things. this is a large magnet, 3″ x 3″,  mr.b signed the back. this is #332. you like that number, don’t you?

magnet 332 > link


the story of the magnets?
they’re based on the paintings that my husband does – – with sober messages. And each magnet is cut from a larger painting on thick cardstock, so you’re sharing part of it with other sober people all over the world. for example, the person who bought #409 next to this one lives in England …

i will need to play that role for myself

From IM: “We went on a mini family vacation this weekend. It sucked the life out of me for some reason. The first day was great until the evening came and we went for dinner. My husband ordered alcohol, he asked first and I initially said I would prefer he refrain, I then reluctantly said if you must. He had one and then proceeded to have another. Why did he need to have another? Why is this so bothersome? I felt like everywhere I looked there were opportunities for drinking. This was the first time we stayed in a hotel where we did not bring alcohol with us. The following day I was extremely exhausted, like I had been run over by a truck. I thought I was just tired from a lot of driving and an over-stimulating water park, but I then realized I was also at the end of my period which by the way was the most challenging I have had since children … The day we got home … as soon as my bags were in the house, I jumped into bed and slept for about four hours. I almost considered not going to work the next day because of how drained I felt. I am trying to process all the feelings I had and the emotions that overwhelmed me. Today was better and I am feeling a little more normal. I didn’t drink and I guess at this point that is really all that matters.”

me: “It sounds very tiring. you will know for future that you need to do less, to have more self-care and more ‘you’ time. if you’re tired or out of sorts, you just say so. If your husband wants to drink and you feel weird, you can ask him to wait until you’ve gone to bed. hopefully today you’re feeling more steady.

IM: “You are right! After much reflection it is quite clear I was not mentally prepared for this trip. How could I be, I didn’t know. The important thing is I know now and will be more aware of my mental state when planning for future outings. It was sort of like I was an infant again and I needed someone to take care of me. I needed someone to notice I was feeling overstimulated and overwhelmed. I needed someone to pick me up and hold me, someone to remove me from the stimuli and gently rock me and put me to sleep. The only piece missing from this equation is a dear sweet mother. I am guessing I will need to play that role for myself and I’ll need to learn how to do that. This is so much more complex than I anticipated. Most importantly I am still sober!”


you have potential when you’re sober. to take care of you. to do cool things. this is a large magnet, 3″ x 3″,  mr.b signed the back. this is #332. you like that number, don’t you?

magnet 332 > link


the story of the magnets?
they’re based on the paintings that my husband does – – with sober messages. And each magnet is cut from a larger painting on thick cardstock, so you’re sharing part of it with other sober people all over the world. for example, the person who bought #409 next to this one lives in England …

HOW you do it is irrelevant and trivial

email from P (yesterday): “Shit. Reset me. Today is day 1 again. I’m glad that I made this decision to take Antabuse, but I’m also kind of disappointed that I can’t deal with Wolfie the way you did it. I’m sure that you felt a tremendous amount of empowerment that I just don’t feel right now. But that plan hasn’t worked for me lately. And I’m sure that as the sober days continue, I’ll rely more on my good decisions than the negative consequences of some drug that I’m on. I just have to be patient with myself and my own journey.”

my reply (yesterday): I can reset you. antabuse is a great medication. you can take it for a full year. and then get away from day 1 and feel way better.

wollfie will suggest that you compare your sobriety to mine or someone else’s.

the empowerment part comes in being sober, not in the HOW you’re sober. that confusion is definitely wolfie.

that’d be like saying “you must like your children better when you do natural childbirth in a cave alone instead of in a hospital with appropriate medication…”

that’d be like saying “you must like your marathon better because you did it crawling instead of walking.”

doesn’t matter HOW we do the things.

that’d be like saying “you must like your law degree more because you did it in 4 years instead of 5.”

bullshit 🙂  don’t let wolfie walk around in there with that kind of nonsense.

the goal is to be SOBER.
the HOW is irrelevant and trivial.
the goal is to be sober 🙂

hugs xo




#100DaySoberChallenge Day 12 – Continuous Days

i wanted to create this check-in space for today. the goal for the #100DaySoberChallenge is continuous days sober. in the comments, you can say how many continuous days you’ve had so far since January 1st. Maybe you’ve had 3 days continuously sober, or 8, or you’re working on today as the 12th continuous day?

In order to create a safe space here, i’ll make some general recommendations that you can think about before you post:

  • Enter your continuous days sober since january 1st (not your total days if you’ve been sober longer). this helps to create a more inclusive environment when we have a smaller focus on just january up to now.
  • Make an effort to use positive (or neutral) language. You can say “I’ve had 6 continuous days in January” versus “I’m on day 5 again.” I’ll edit out the word ‘again’ if you post that (!)
  • Leave out mentions of specific kinds of alcohol, types, brands, and colours. if you mention that you miss booze, that’s fine. if you say ‘i miss a clear glass of blah blah’ i’ll very kindly remove the entire comment.
  • Start a new comment and talk about YOU, rather than commenting on other person’s share. When we read about other people we feel less alone; it helps more than “you got this” from a stranger. and often when we comment on each other’s posts, someone is left out, some comments get more likes, etc.
  • Put in a screen name when it asks for your ‘name’ and just a reminder that email addresses are NOT displayed (EVER). i also approve every comment before it is posted 🙂

ok, i’ll start …

The 3 Things You Need to Know {Audio}

There are three main messages that I repeat often with penpals: about being alone, about being broken, and the wolfie voice.

In this audio, I go into detail on each one.

This podcast ​(episode 346) was one of the audios sent to podcast subscribers this week​.

​This was recorded December 30, 2019 in anticipation of New Year’s Day which is a common Day 1 in the sober world. So you’ll want to take some time right now and have a listen. Split it into sections if you need to. Do this now.

I'll leave the link to listen available for 24 hrs only.

[ link removed ]

​Sober Podcast 346. The 3 Things You Need to Know

​​To download the entire audio, you can use the link below.

Link to Download Podcast 346

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)

​if alcohol is an elevator that only goes down, you can find the exit. get off the elevator. and then stay off.

an audio about your mood (and being sober!)

this is an extract from the live show i recorded on monday about managing our MOOD when sober. the full episode is being sent to podcast subscribers today and tomorrow.

from N: “I missed the live show – would love to catch up with it but I’m not currently subscribed to the podcasts. Is this something you might put up as a stand alone purchase?”

me: 🙂 well the live show was 2 hrs long, and so will be split into 3-4 podcasts. it might be cheaper to be a podcast subscriber than get them as singles. a subscription would give you 8-ish audios in a month and the subscription is only $26.21/month versus the stand alone price of $5 each (x 8 = $40) … huglets

update from yesterday’s email
When I sent out the email inviting you to read and stay plugged-in to your sober stuff, here are some of the replies:

  • My sobriety is important. I am important. Doing this one small thing every day keeps me motivated. Some days they help more than others. Some days, I think I am fine and I don’t need any help. But even then, the help never hurts. Other days, I find there is something in your message that turned out to be exactly what I needed to hear at that moment. Thank you for doing what you do, it helps many more than I think you realize.
  • I pledge to open every email from you and click on a link in each email between now and January 2. Because drifting is dumb … I’m going to remember that in terms of my sobriety the only thing that’ll change is my location during the holidays, so I do just the same things while I’m away as I do at home – all my sober supports and treats.
  • I am on day 2 and doing ok … I’m also caregiver to our 33-year-old daughter who has Cerebral Palsy. Stressful, so I’ve been drinking too much. Need to stop for her. Your daily inspiration really helps. Thanks for your unique insight and humor.
  • I will open every email you send with gratitude, from now until Jan 2nd, because it is fucking amazing knowing that someone cares enough about me to send daily emails, with links to sober supports. I will click on the links to those sober supports too, even if I don’t buy anything. Because I want you to know I appreciate you and I appreciate you reaching out to me by emails, I need these emails to remind me that what I’m doing is important.
  • I pledge to not only open but also read every line of every sober email that you send to me between now and January 2nd, 2039. If Belle cares enough to take the time to send them, then Heather will care enough to set up an alert on my phone with a special Belle ringtone alert when an email arrives from you. I will open and read your sober emails, not just preview them on my phone because there is no point in just previewing them, I wouldn’t see the whole encouragement and strength message that may come at just the right moment (this whole just the right message at just the right time thing occurs regularly), but also, by just previewing them, it could possibly be used by my bit of drinking head that still exists as an excuse to put snowshoes on and walk 10 miles to the nearest shop that sells booze. I have purchased 2 gig extra data to do this, as I am spending the season alone (dog is invited) in a log cabin in the mountains of North Wales… no wifi within 25 miles of me. I cannot guarantee a signal, but I will walk a maximum of 2 miles to find one- this is my Christmas effort gift to you. I also pledge to click and see where the mysterious link in each email will lead me to, but I cannot promise I will not buy anything. I want to show you Belle that i’m out there, in between the mountains on one side and the sea on the other side of me, relaxing alone, still sober even when I get mad when I will inevitably understand what I have been missing out on for the last 7 years. I’ll open and read your emails and click a link every day between now and January 2nd 2039. There is no reason whatsoever good enough on this fucking earth that I will happen to not be sober, so I am skipping that part of the pledge..but to make you happy, I will promise you that if for some stupid, made-up, idiotic and most likely death inducing reason i happen to not be sober, i will still open and read your emails to me and click on your link that you made an effort to provide everyday. Because I know that drifting from my sober supports is setting myself up on purpose, giving myself a slightly nudged open door to make up an excuse to drink; and not giving this babygirl the self love she deserves, and therefore, i will need to be engaged more. I owe it to myself first and foremost, and to you because of all of your efforts to try to get me to come to your side of the mountain to at least let you know that I’m still here. Still alive. Still sober.


“I have potential when i’m sober”
sober art, thanks to mr.belle

this is an original painting, so there’s only one copy available.

Iconic Moms Podcast – What’s Your Vice?


I was interviewed for the Iconic Moms podcast on November 23, 2019 by Alex, a very thoughtful. I am happy to be episode #17 on her new-ish show, and I think this interview is a good primer to learning about being sober. As well, I think that Alex is sharing brave things, as you’ll hear in this interview. To listen to other episodes of her show, you can go here.

This full interview will be sent to podcast subscribers.

But I want you to hear the whole audio NOW, even if you’re not a podcast subscriber.

So I’ve loaded the entire audio in the free audio feed (itunes/android).

[ link removed ]

The full audio will be available for 10 days. Go and listen to the first few minutes. Listen in installments. Or get a cup of tea and do it all at once. There’s something in here for you. I’m sure of it.

hugs and happy saturday



Something New (day 140): “Amazing how fast those magnets sell. I feel like it will be like winning a jackpot when one is available. I want one!!!! I particularly like the ones with the aqua color in them. He must be so happy!”

LARGE magnets
acrylic & ink, handcut card stock
7.5 x 7.5 cm (3″ x 3″)

magnet 276 > link
magnet 277 > link

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