“I didn’t realize how far I was removed from the me who is loving and considerate.”
~ shit penpal dancinglight808 says (day 33)
LARGE magnet — approx. size is 7 x 7 cm (3″ x 3″)
art thanks to mr.belle
email from Runlily (day 17):
“This morning I picked up my handbag that I carry everyday. I pulled out a pair of gloves, thinking, I dont need these today. then I pulled out a small can of hair volumizer spray (that I have not used one time), a pair of socks, an ace bandage, 3 tubes of lipstick, a baggie of vitamins, perfume, a package of thank-you notes. I placed all these items on my table and thought, if i am not using these things, and they dont serve a purpose in my day, why the fuck am I toting them around with me?!?! seems ridiculous.
and I realized…
this is just like alcohol.
why carry an old habit when it weighs me down, worrying that if I don’t have it, I won’t be able to get through the day????
I’m free! I remember you saying that ditching the booze is like putting down a bag of rocks. I finally get it. I dont need those things from the bottom of my bag to make a day better, and I dont need booze to make me better.
how fortunate we are to have you describing this!! many hugs”
the problem with adopting magnets is that the ones with different or new words, well they often feel left out. There haven’t been many ‘s’élever’ magnets. you know what it’s like. you watch all the Exit and Stay magnets go by, and you wait. so today i want to share s’élever with you, this is magnet painting #386. In order to facilitate her adoption, i’ve taken two photos of her — one where she is standing strong in the bright light, and one where she is quietly working away at protecting your fridge …
you can find her on this page here > www.artsober.com
[ She will be on this page until she is adopted, and then once adopted, I will remove her from the page. so if you go check, and she’s not there, it’s too late 🙁 ]
s’élever = to rise up, to raise yourself up, like an elevator …
Yesterday, I shared an email from Katie143 about her new day 1, and an upcoming vacation that she wasn’t sure she should take. I asked you to share ideas on what you thought I would reply to her …
First i’ll copy in a shortened version of K’s email, and then below i’ll start to share some of the MANY replies I’ve received.
What about you? Do you think K should attend a girls weekend on day 5 sober?
email from Katie143:
“… I am on day 1. I wanted to lie to you and say it was day 11 but it is not. I am starting over and what a bummer. I went to our family club last night and I indulged . Everyone was having drinks. No one pressured me or asked me. I was just having fun and made an impulsive decision … I planned a girls’ weekend with friends from school, only us ladies. No kids! I planned the trip and also planned a lot of activities so the entire trip would not just be sitting at the pool drinking. However, I am not sure if I should go. Yes, I can tell them I plan on not drinking. They would not care much. I am just not sure I would be able to control my impulsivity and not just say what the heck. Especially since I am starting over at day 1 today. I am supposed to leave this Friday. What do you think? Should I cancel? Any words of advise would be great.”
from me again, here are some of the emails i’ve received. how do you feel when you read these?
Magnet painting #387 needs to be adopted. In order to help him to find his forever home, I’ve taken two photos of him — one where he poses in the good light, and one where he’s ‘in action’ on the fridge …
you can find him on this page here > www.artsober.com
[ well, he’ll be on this page until he’s adopted, and then once adopted, I will remove him from the page. so if you go check, and he’s not there, it’s too late 🙁 ]
I received this email today from Katie143, and i want you to imagine how i will reply to her:
“Hi Belle, So Sunday did not go as planned and I have no one to blame but myself. I am not on day 11. I am on day 1. I was so disappointed in myself I wanted to lie. I wanted to lie to you and say it was day 11 but it is not. I am starting over and what a bummer. I went to our family club last night and I indulged . Everyone was having drinks. No one pressured me or asked me. I was just having fun and made an impulsive decision. My husband was not there (he is my police and maybe I would not have done it or I might have and would have tried to hide it) but I have no one to blame but myself. I was having such a great time I just grabbed a glass. And then another. I am so disappointed and embarrassed that I have to tell someone- which I guess is the whole point of this. So I am glad you are here to keep me accountable.
I have a question for you. I planned a girls weekend with three other girlfriends from high school that I am still in touch with. We try to go every other year and all fly somewhere and meet up. Only us ladies. No kids! I planned the trip and also planned a lot of activities so the entire trip would not just be sitting at the pool drinking. However, I am not sure if I should go. Yes, I can tell them I plan on not drinking. They would not care much. I am just not sure I would be able to control my impulsivity and not just say what the heck. Especially since I am starting over at day one today. I am supposed to leave this Friday. What do you think? Should I cancel? Any words of advise would be great.
Thank you for listening and being here. I have never been so honest about my drinking. My husband hates when I lie and say I have not been drinking when I have but I only lie because I don’t want him to be disappointed and I am ashamed. It is so much easier to talk to a person who doesn’t have to see my face.
All my love and gratitude.”
now, what do you think i would say to her this morning? She’s leaving for her trip on Friday.
Post a comment below with your ideas, pretend you’re me, what would I say to her in this situation? i’ll pick 3 or 4 replies to share with Katie143. Don’t delay, do this now 🙂
Just when I think he can no longer surprise me, he presents me with a birthday gift, hand-painted, just like the painting below.
It’s so beautiful that I take it to bed with me, prop it up on the side so I can see it night and morning.
“When did you do it?” I ask.
“Hiding upstairs in the studio. Sometimes you asked me what did I do ‘today’, and I had to lie.”
“Oh wow. It’s so lovely. Can you other ones, similar but different?”
“Yes,” he says. “Each one will vary a bit, in colour and tone.”
This is the fourth one …
From Lake to Sky IV
From Lake to Sky IV
canvas itself is 30 x 30 cm (12″ x 12″)
oil on wrapped canvas, varnished, edges of the canvas are painted black
Wood frame is African ayous (hardwood), pale straw colour.
Free shipping included.
Available with frame
($195 USD; approx 155 GBP)
Or without frame
($135 USD; approx 115 GBP).
The colour of this painting changes dramatically depending on the lighting in the room. Screens on computers can also give inexact representations. The painting will always look better in real life than on the screen.
Please allow 3 weeks for delivery; this painting is halfway through its drying process but needs a few more weeks before it’s ready to be varnished.
hugs from me & him
… thanks to vermont for the inspiration.
Hi there, happy valentine’s day. this seems like a good day to have a look back on where we’ve been, to see if it’s leading to where we want to go. Like, can you ‘get what you want’ by doing what you’ve been doing?
The goal for the #100DaySoberChallenge is continuous days sober. in the comments below, you can say what is the longest stretch of continuous days you’ve had so far IN FEBRUARY. Maybe your longest sober stretch is 7 days continuously, or you’re on day 14 today for February …
In order to create a safe space here, i’ll make some general recommendations that you can think about before you post:
ok, i’ll start …
sober momentum is hard to get. and when you have sober momentum, you protect it. like a little chick that is easily squished in traffic, your sober chick needs protecting, too.
November 19, 2019
email from ML: “Hi Belle- I did sober October and it was great- not even that hard because I knew at the end I ‘could’ drink again. I told myself that it was a re-set, that I would be able to be moderate afterwards. Well, tonight is the 19th of November and I’ve drank every single night since my 30 day experiment. I don’t drive or get in any type of trouble, I just know that drinking is something I MUST do each night, and that scares me. My daughter just finished her 100 days and now is planning to extend it to the end of the year. She tried to get me to keep on past the 30 and I refused, which makes me feel shitty. I had hoped to lose weight during the 30 days … which was disappointing. I’ve read every book and article about over-drinking there is, but something about your writing really hits home for me. And tired of thinking about drinking is spot on. Every morning I think, ‘tonight I will take a break, just have seltzer or tea’, and then I disappoint myself, again and again and again. Thanks so much for doing what you do!!”
from me again:
if what you’re doing isn’t quite enough to get you going, then you can add on more supports. things external to you. not just books and journalling (though those things are lovely!). when you add in accountability from someone further along sober than you, it’s WAY easier than trying to do it alone in your head. that ‘person’ could be a therapist, counsellor, longer-term-sober friend, 12-step sponsor, coach, or sober penpal.
email me if you’d like a list of supports on my site (free and paid).
email from t: “Hi Belle, right around new year, I noticed that a lot of people thinking about their drinking and thinking that they might want to stop.
But as they recall numerous other moments when they thought about quitting, but didn’t, they figure, “‘What’s the point of trying?”
I know I thought this for a very long time.
While I wanted to stop waking up every morning feeling awful, I never realized that there is a part of alcohol that makes me think, ‘Maybe I should have a drink now’ which always led to ‘Maybe I’ll have another drink’.
It’s like alcohol comes with a virus.
It’s like getting an email every afternoon that says’“Click Here for an Amazing Rube Goldberg Video!’ The video is fun, but it has a virus that messes up your computer so you spend the next day waiting for your wifi to reconnect and babysitting your computer
Eventually you get the email every afternoon. Sometimes the link is the same and sometimes it’s something new like ‘Click Here for Amazing Wildlife Pictures!’ or ‘Click Here to See What You’ve Won!’
Over time, you notice that the link says, ‘Click Here to Celebrate’.
‘Click Here Because You Are Tired’.
‘Click If You’re Sad’.
‘Click Here When Out With Friends’.
‘Click Here Because You Always Click Here’.
After days and weeks and months with no wifi and endless hours waiting for your computer to reboot, you realize, ‘I need to stop clicking this link’.
And this is what I didn’t realize about alcohol — It’s not just a drink. It’s malware.
Thanks for all the work you do. xo T.”
this week’s sunday audio is about changing things to get different results. imagine you were cold and wanted to get warm. would you remove the blankets that you already have, or would you add new blankets—new layers of supports? being sober is just like this. adding layers of things to get new outcomes. in this audio i talk about something i read this week by Sean McCabe on the subject of habits and outcomes, and how it maps exactly to how we can change our approach to being sober.
original art, thanks to mr.belle
you have potential when you’re sober
this is a close-up of painting #589
click link here
“My parents being here is always a major issue for me … rest and self care go out the window. My parents have no boundaries with me and impossible standards. I clean my entire house a week before they arrive and it’s still not good enough for them. They are constantly going from 7 am to 10 pm. Errands, paperwork, cleaning chores, household projects, nonstop. If I tell them I don’t feel well and want to rest, they will either accuse me of not being sober or will tell me to ‘go rest for an hour’ and then come into my bedroom every 5 mins asking me to help them with something that ‘cannot wait’ like finding old tax records or asking me to check if the dishwasher always makes that noise, or show them where my duct tape or mustard seeds or whatever fucking random weird thing they need for their project is … What should I do? I feel trapped. Audio ideas?”
me: it does sounds like a lot of pressure. you may have to be very firm with your mom … if you feel like she’s not giving you space, and interrupting you even when you’re in the bathroom (!), then you’ll have to be firmer. ‘No Mom, not now. No Mom, not now’ — as if she is 5 years old, and you would just repeat the same phrase, without being angry. By the third time she asks and you repeat it again, she’ll get it, but you might have to say NO three times in a row before she hears you.
and how about these audios [i can make up a bundle too]:
this is an extract from the longer sober podcast “Episode 218: Bored.” Someone asked me to talk about what boredom in sobriety means, and what to do with your time. Like, how do you deal with having an empty evening?
shameless commercial link.
getting real mail instead of junk mail? mail from france = nice.
2.5″ x 2.5″, acrylic and ink on hand-cut cardstock
mailed in a bubble envelope from France