going to bed is always a good solution. to any problem.

super tired. catering and baking and stuff. haven’t been outside yet today!

here is the sum total of all my genius:

going to bed is always a good solution. to any problem.

Team 100 Update: 115 members, welcome to Donna (92).  Happy days to SoberinMtl (20), KC (61), Sunflower (90), Whineless (65), Victoria (21), Lane (75), Kriss (61), Christina (75), Marie (60), Kirst (10), Laura (40), Erin (60), Tammy (81), Diane & Gindy (75), Camla (20), & Carol (10).

i pick sober

please don’t think that my life is rosy sunshine. i am sober, yes. there’s a checkmark in that one box.

i still have crappy family relationships, i still live far from my family (mostly on purpose). we are debt free but have no savings. we are happy and have friends. we are not rich. we don’t own a car.  I am probably the only person i know who doesn’t own a cell phone. Yes, we’re lucky to live in europe.

Don’t be tempted to gaze into my sober life and think that mine is dreamy and that yours is dreary.

You have kids or a yard or a home. you have a dog or a beach or a savings account. you can play piano or sew or speak italian.  you live near your best friend or you can grow your fingernails. you have straight hair or you have a tight butt.

i don’t have any of these things.

and really … it’s not about those things.

What i have is sunshine on the inside, even when it’s pouring rain (i know that sounds totally cheesy).  I have relatively even moods.  I have reassurance that i’m doing something hard (being sober) and that it’s a dramatic and vast improvement on where i was before.

and that’s it.

i have 6 talents, and so do you. i have a great husband, and maybe you do too, or you have a great sister or a great mother or a great gramma. i’ve paid for counselling in the past, maybe you have too. i’ve always relied on the help of others (mentors) to improve my life faster. i’m impatient. i try very very hard not to bumble around in the dark figuring things out for myself. If i need to ice a cake, i’m on youtube for 25 minutes, then i ice the cake, then i watch youtube some more, then the second iced cake is good enough.

before … when i consumed larger quantities of wine, I used to buy groceries and not make the meals. I used to have fridges full of dead or dying food. I knew myself well enough to know that i had to have dinner made before the first glass of wine, otherwise i would just abandon the meal part way. leave stuff on the stove. just give up.

and now, it’s so fun to see who we turn out to be once we take the booze away… i became an early morning baker (and i can ASSURE you this is not who i was when drinking). i routinely set my alarm for (fuckers) 6:30 am to bake. really. i promise you i am not an early morning person. but it turns out i like being a baker MORE than i like red wine.

yes, i’m married, i run, i have a husband and i make bread. i’m still the same fucked up chick i was before. Except now i’m sober. i’m slowly making improvements on the rest of my life. it’s like an amusement park, life. full of cool rides and things to do and places i want go and things i want to see. I don’t want to hide in a bottle anymore. i want to get shit done 🙂

i pick sober.

Happy 100 days to Carrie :)

Amy and I were sober penpals a long time ago (dec 9). a few others joined in. Team 100 was born on March 14th.  A few people joined who already had some days under their belt (like Sunny Sue!).  And then there’s Carrie. She is on Day 100 today!

About 6 weeks after she signed up, she sent me this:

Thanks for your email … I am  sitting in the park reading this with tears in my eyes because I am still hugely touched every time you reply to an email from me. That someone would bother to take the time to listen to my problems … that continues to surprise and humble me.

I wasn’t ready to own up and admit my problem to a room full of people. I am not ready to wear a label, I may never be. But, I also wasn’t in denial and I desperately wanted to be saved.

Who knew that being saved didn’t have to involve a public fall from grace, hitting rock bottom, or shouting from the rooftops for help.

Just one tiny email was all it took to be sitting here with huge waves of relief gushing over me, that I found a lifeline in someone else who gets this and cares that I am staying sober today. I only wish that I had found this/you sooner and that more people knew that reaching out would make  a fucking ENORMOUS difference to this journey.

And today, she sent me this:

Hi Belle, checking in to say still sober … 100 days!! Wow, I can’t believe it. I am so happy to be writing this email. I cannot thank you enough for being my sober friend and for the Team 100 idea both of which have helped me get to this momentous day. I really can’t believe that I have been sober for this long and have plans only to stay sober and happy too!

I made a million promises to myself that I would cut down or give up booze.

I needed to do something differently this time as my attempts always failed in the end. I would always convince myself that I had probably just overreacted and back to drinking I would go! I needed to admit to someone other than myself that I needed help. I needed to be understood. I needed someone to empathise with my situation and most of all, I needed to be accountable.

Among the online community, I found like minded people. I realised that I wasn’t alone and that I wasn’t unique in my alcoholism. I realised that I am normal and there are lots of other regular people like me who are really struggling to cope with their drinking.

Reaching out online was the best thing I have ever done. In my sobriety, it is the single most important decision I have made. At the time it felt like the biggest, most difficult step but I swallowed hard, sent the emails and started on my journey. I have experienced being sober with and without support. I can say that being part of a group and with sober pen pals, it is a whole lot easier.

Team 100 and the online sober community gave my sobriety a whole new sense of purpose. It’s not just about not drinking. It’s about sharing fears, expressing feelings, asking for help, opening up, showing vulnerability and baring your soul. It’s about being encouraged, receiving praise, cheers, shout outs! It’s about giving advice too, supporting others, hoping, praying for them to do well. It’s following their journey, rooting for them, cheering them on, keeping each other company on the good days and the bad. It’s knowing someone has your back. Someone who understands.

Through this my sobriety has grown into something of value that is tangible. Not just to me but to others. It’s a huge part of who I am now and I have met some wonderful people. I couldn’t throw all of that away so easily for a glass of chardonnay or a beer. Being 100 days sober means I have a future that I can plan for again. Drinking and worrying about my drinking had taken over my life. I just couldn’t imagine a life without wine and yet I couldn’t imagine how my life was going to continue if I was drinking so heavily. I am back in control and drinking doesn’t dominate everything I do. Every decision doesn’t revolve around obsessing about alcohol. It’s an exciting, scary, new feeling but I would chose this over the constant thinking about alcohol every time.

Having 100 days has given me the strength to face 100 more. So I am going for 200 days sober, wow, I never thought I would say that!

You are a superstar, dear Belle. You are always going to be a huge part of my sober story and to say that I am eternally grateful to you for that doesn’t even begin to cover it. Thank you. xxxx

If you haven’t met Carrie yet, go and read her blog here.

Team 100 update: 113 members, welcome to Jen-Faith (4), JT without JB (10), and runningfromthebooze (2).  Happy days to Carrie (100!), Simpson Sister (60), Erica (140), Lawyer Anne (71), PP (15), Kirst (7), LilyUK (46), Paula (21), Allie (11), Sara (31), Julz & Quill (21), Designer Rachel & Ingrid (14), SugarRush3 (10), and Carol (8).

Team 100 “statistics” (and i put that word in quotes): 113 people have registered since we started. Lest you think it’s ‘easy’ for everyone (it ain’t), 28% of Team 100 members have restarted to day 1, sometimes more than once.  BUT an amazing 77% are sober today, and in regular communication.

oh yeah, hobbies are supposed to be FUN

When Christina and I started this sober photography project, i would send her the assignment and she would (spontaneously) send me back her picture. Like, usually the same day. And she was so freaking excited. For the first assignment, I did my picture right away, too. But something happened to me with the bubble picture.

and maybe you can relate.

I suffered from a regular problem of mine. In my Job #1, I am a designer.  So (unfortunately) I can imagine an idealized idea of a ‘bubble’ picture in my head, and it was something that I was going to have to stage in a café with a bottle of water, and a glass and a straw, and sunlight, and a piece of lemon. I could imagine the final image right down to the kind of glass I wanted. and the angle of the straw.

So to take a picture in a café, this means I will have to leave my house (!), have a sunny day (!), and have the right background (!), etc.  On the day in question, I asked my husband at about 2 pm if he could stop working and come with me to the café to take my bubble picture, because i would feel too nervous pulling out my big stooopid camera, if alone at the table in front of a glass of water.

He rightfully said no, he had to work.

Right there I realized that I do this all the time with hobbies.  While I do good work for clients, I know that “good enough is good enough.” Unfortunately I often suck at applying the concept in my personal life.  I am typically someone who does things at the end of the deadline period, rather than at the beginning.  I’m never late, and I never need an extension, BUT I do (often, every day) wait until things are more perfect.

Should i do the dishes now or after the next thing? Vacuum first or dust first? Like is there a right way to do any of this stuff, so long as it gets done. and for fuck’s sake, it’s an online anonymous photography project that was – at that time – between me and ONE other person, the lovely christina. Yeah, seems like the right time to over think…. not.

I do get stuff done, but i also think first (for a long time) about the right way to do it.  the most efficient way. This is useful in my business life. It perhaps has no place in the world of fun.

Faced with a FUN project, a hobby thing, and I pulled out all of my same perfectionistic ideas. And particularly with artistic things (because i’m a designer), I have an idea in my head of what i want the result to be, and I am often frustrated when the final creative artsy-project result does not match the vision I had in my head.  Like, I can picture what I want a painting or a photo to look like, but I can’t create it because of limited talent, limited time, or limited patience.

So when I realized that i was having this anti-fun-thought-process about the bubble picture, I emailed Christina and said: “I am going to shoot my bubbles picture TODAY. no matter what. just to begin to teach myself a lesson. I’m glad we’re doing this together.  I’m not sure what you’re learning, but I’m learning a lesson about hobbies and perfectionism.  Just enjoy it, Belle. stop trying to make it into ‘something’ …”

So I took my camera out for dinner where I was meeting friends.  I ordered bottled water, and asked for a tall glass and a straw. It did NOT look like the image i had in my head. And now I have a table of people staring at me. I take the picture, claiming some “photography project,” and then the dinner continues.

When I get home, I open up the image, flick some switches in Adobe, and come up with something I like.

In fact, I like it a lot. I send a copy to Christina AND I wait up late until my husband gets home so that I can show him my bubble picture.

It has, yes, shockingly, turned out better than the one i originally envisioned.

And for lots of reasons, I’m re-learning that HOBBIES are supposed to be FUN and are not meant to be PERFECT, and not every picture has to SAY SOMETHING, and not every bad image is really bad once you whack some Adobe Lightroom on it… I may be also learning that with photography, at least for me, any picture is better than NO picture.  and that adobe lightroom can make an average picture much improved.

Original Image

Original image (good enough!)
Original image (good enough!)


Photo post-processing

Finished image (happier with this than i thought i'd be!)
Finished image (happier than i thought i’d be!)

[*PS if anybody gives a rat’s ass about how adobe lightroom works, i’d be happy to share … or show you how to use free online software to achieve basically the same results…. anyway, lemme know]

and as I wrote in the blog comments a couple of days ago: “… that might be the KEY right there — just do it. don’t wait to be amazing. just have fun … I think as boozers we’ve forgotten about fun : ) it’s *where everything’s made up and the points don’t matter*. Fun is where there is no grade, there is no judgement, there is no competition. It’s when you play Pictionary without keeping score. It’s when you play Monopoly but lend your neighbor money so you can keep playing. With fun, there is no one-upping, there is no monetary gain, there is no impressing anybody. There’s just fun. Yes, and Yes, and Yes!”

Oh yeah, fun.  who knew i’d have to re-learn how to have fun. who knew I could learn it taking pictures?

And I got this in my inbox: “I don’t know what I am learning from this but I do know that it is providing a frisson of excitement that is lacking as I adjust to a life without so many bubbles.”

Happy Sunday 🙂

Team 100 update: 110 members, welcome to Sterling (3), Jessica (4), and Noeleen (1).  Celebrations for Lynda and Mr. Lynda (90), Whineless (61), DDG (90), Brandy (40), Mr. Belle (60), Katie & Rachel (7), Christina (71), Debra (140), Diane (71), Leah (35), Sam (10), Carolyn (21), Catkin (7), Gindy (71), Tiffany (10), Meka (11), Overndout (7). Welcome back to Lurker M (7).

do i still think about drinking?

This is a long post, both the question and my attempts at an answer. I’d be happy to hear your thoughts…

This message from Lurker M:

Belle, can I ask for your patience and ask you a genuine, serious question. I am so tired of thinking about drinking. I want NOT to think about it. I imagine life like a ‘normal’ person for whom booze is a ‘sometime treat’ just like chocolate cake is for me. But when it’s not there? Who cares? I occasionally fancy some cake, enjoy it, but wouldn’t dream of wolfing the lot down. (Excuse the pun.) I don’t spend my time analysing my cake intake, feeling shameful and guilty. I have my cake, eat it, then move on. If cake were somehow never, ever on offer again, I wouldn’t care. It’s wonderfully good while it’s there, one slice, but…I don’t need it.

So, here’s the thing, the question. I want to feel the same way about alcohol. I want never to have it again, but more crucially, I want to obliterate my feelings about it, to return to being ambivalent about it. It exists but it doesn’t connect with me. One way or another. Whether I have it or not. I want to feel ‘normal’ about it, like it’s a toaster or a 2nd pillow or a lipstick. Good stuff but I can do without them and not miss them if they’re not there.

I love and value these sober blogs, Belle but, the truth is, I feel depressed thinking that I’m locked into having alcohol possess me and my thoughts as a sober person, just like it did as a drinker. I don’t want to have to give it airtime at all. I want to just be free.

In short, am I like Eve now; I can’t undo my knowledge/experience of having had the forbidden, poisonous fruit. That I have to feel its presence whether I’m indulging it or not.
Can I ever be alcohol free, if I’m counting days and thinking about (not) drinking all the time, just like I thought about drinking all the time when I wasn’t sober?

Belle, this feels important to me and yet I’m worried it’s a dumb, vapid question. Insulting, even. I love your blog so much and need it. But I am wondering if you ever get tired of thinking about drinking, now that you’re not drinking, just like you you were tired of it, when you were? ~From me with love

And my answer …

happy to hear from you 🙂 and it’s not a vapid question at all … I think it’s a ‘teetering on the edge’ question – and I understand that 🙂

since you’re brave enough to ask an honest question, I’ll give you an honest answer. and these are my opinions, I am not a counsellor and I don’t know jack shit about anything except my own navel.

Think of it as if our brains have a tiny bit of OCD. You’d like to magically have that disappear, but that is unlikely. you’re not going back to the way you were before and you’re not going to go to bed and wake up in someone else’s life, or wake up and BE someone else. you’re going to be like you. And who you are is just fine 🙂

How this tiny-booze-OCD acts up in our thinking, is that it makes us want booze all the time, and one glass is never enough. we plan our days around it, we plan vacations around it, we watch how much other people drink, etc. we want it, don’t want it, think about it, start and stop, moan and wretch, begin and begin again, and it’s a shitty place to be. It’s like an itch that has to be scratched. This is all if you’re at the good end of the booze-OCD spectrum. (I was at the good end.)

But if you’re further sucked into the booze-OCD, then bigger shits starts to happen. vomiting, falling down stairs, blacking out. planning to quit and not able to do it.

And if you’re even further sucked into the pit, then physical dependence kicks in and even if you want to stop you can’t without medical intervention. people go to jail, get arrested, lose their kids, lose their teeth and keep drinking. They go to rehab, drink, go to rehab again, drink. The OCD/wolfie in their heads is SO LOUD that common sense just doesn’t have a place at the table any more. They’re unable to act in their own best interest.

Now if you’re where I was, let’s call it Phase 1, you drink more than you WANT to. The quantity isn’t even important. there’s no measurement that says “a-ha there’s a problem.” We are drinking too much, and we know it. There are some small consequences – disappointment in someone’s eyes, missed deadlines, missed opportunities, telling other people’s secrets when drunk, telling people at the dinner table about your husband’s vasectomy, etc. All that AND the noise about how to get alcohol, plan for it, arrange for it, is there enough, etc. is continuous.

Once we quit drinking, the voice tends to gets quite angry at first (temper tantrum), for about 7-10 days. Then wolfie realizes he’s not going to win. For me, at about 16 days, i turned a first corner and begin to breathe more easily. Other milestones, day 30 and 60 were feeling more solid. After about 100 days (slightly different for everyone of course, but around 70-100 days for me) the wolfie voice got MUCH much quieter. It’s like a volume button being turned down. We see booze in the store and we know we’re not going to drink it. we have hard days and we practise other ways to avoid drinking.

Then around 6 months it gets better again (now it’s like we’re really during the volume down to about 3 out of 10) … and sometime between 8 to 10 months sober the volume is even better still (volume 1). I’ve heard from others, and I believe them, that after one year it’s even easier again (mostly zero with occasional static).

Do I think about Not Drinking all the time? No. I spend about an hour a day writing emails and/or writing on the blog. maybe 2 hrs tops on longer days. That’s my personal choice. lots of sober people certainly spend no time at all writing/blogging. Am I spending this time because I’m trying to ward off an alcohol craving? No, quite the reverse.  I seem to be able to articulate booze-shit and so i have been a sober penpal. At times I feel flattered, then scared that there’s so much need, then I feel grateful, then I feel thrilled when Simpson Sister is on a plane (sober) on her day 35, and she’s never been sober this long in 10 years and she emailed from the plane to tell me she was sober! That rocks.

That’s why I’m still involved as much as I am now. I get to be a tiny cheerleader for some amazing sober journeys.

But me personally, do I think *about drinking*? maybe once every 4-10 days for about 10 minutes. I think it’s getting less and less. If it’s possible to understand, I can write about it like this to you, but in no way does this make me want to drink, nor do I even consider this *thinking about drinking* … I feel like it’s a connection to you, a human, with a real question. My own wolfie is NOT speaking to me at all when I write about quitting, or managing cravings, or dealing with stress, or even when i write about drinking.

[I don’t even know if that makes sense.]

if our brains have a mini version of OCD, a disordered thinking, it’s not going to change at all until the booze is removed. the alcohol itself feeds the wolfie. it feeds into the depressed, hopeless, cyclic thinking. only once the alcohol is gone for a brief period of time (100 days ish) might you begin to figure out what you REALLY think about everything. And you know, if you hate being sober at 100 days … you can drink again 🙂

You’re not broken. If you are broken then so is every other person who’s gotten sober. We all started somewhere, and it’s possible to be sober without angst because a bunch of us have done it. Are doing it.

I am alcohol-free. I’m not counting days. I have an Excel chart and I can look up the day, but I never know what it is anymore. I see booze and it doesn’t scream ‘drink me’. my husband can drink and I don’t care (he isn’t now, but he could, and did). I have dinner parties and vacations and I travel booze-free. I never thought I’d be here. never. never. ever. It’s better than I can even describe. the freedom from the noise, the freedom from the bondage, the freedom from the never-ending grief. Being sober is way fucking easier. that’s why I’m here… it’s like a gift. that you get to open every day …


The first thing they say is “what can i get you to drink?”

I’m pleased to say that 5 more bracelets were put in to the mail on Tuesday …

And i already have 5 submissions for the bubble photo.

This bit of genius came in from Shel (day 74):

I have to say that I feel a little worried/guilty that staying sober feels so normal THIS TIME.  I have been uncomfortable on a few occasions mainly either worrying before the event or being at an event when everyone starts the stupid drunk conversations … GEEZE and to think that used to be me.

I am so happy to be truly living each day and truly present for the special people in my life.  I do occasionally have the “maybe I could resume social drinking one day” thoughts and I laugh out loud and say “what’s the point”.  If you think about it, what exactly IS the point??

I see how people get together and the first thing that is said when you walk through the door is “what can I get you to drink?” Why not “I am so happy to see you, how is everything, lets sit down and chat for a few minutes.” Now that is really connecting.

Then as the night goes on and the drinks go in the conversations become even more detached and superficial.  I was honestly sitting at the last party and everyone was talking about the dog hair that ISN’T in their house because of obsessive cleaning….WHAT?  This conversation held 3 other drinkers captive with head shaking, cheers, and oh yes me too’s….argh.

OK, getting off my soapbox now…I am not dropping my guard and getting cocky cuz I know what happens then, Wolfie sneaks up behind you and practically pours the drink down your throat before you know what has happened … my shield is staying in place and ready to protect my sobriety.

Talk to ya later. ~ Shel

Team 100 update: 107 members, welcome to Casse’s Mom (day 9).  Happy days to: Carrie (95), Simpson Sister (55), Victoria (14), Sunny Sue (100), PP (10), Mary (20), Jackie (50), and Lex (10).

a few notes from my inbox …

Sober Girls’ Photography Project: Sober Morning, deadline, Tuesday @ 12 noon Eastern.

Here are a few notes from my inbox this weekend…

R (day 48): It was trigger-filled (family drama), and I must admit I wanted to get drunk to just “deal” with the feelings. But, I know that’s not really “dealing” so I resisted, but I learned today that “wolfie” is still alive and well in the dark corners of my mind. Kept him at bay, though. Praying extra hard tonight for strength and giving thanks that I made it through this trigger situation.

Me: wolfie lingers, looking for cracks. you quickly realize he’s there, and you patch over the cracks with distraction, support, prayer, reading, exercise, sleep. and then he gets bored …


KT (day 43): I didn’t miss out on anything by not drinking. I just hate sitting there when I could be in bed …


A [not yet sober, but was sober for a stretch recently]: I know what to do but I find it really hard to take the leap. Am I afraid of being in control of my life again, maybe even be happy again? I think the short answer for now is yes, I’m shit scared.

Me: if you’ll allow me, I don’t think it’s you who’s scared. it’s the booze. the booze itself makes us anxious, depressed, rigid, controlling. once the booze is removed, and it doesn’t take that long, you realize that it’s the booze that made you feel that way, and that inside you are NOT broken. you just thought you were. because the booze was whispering sweet nothings in your ear…
honestly, if it didn’t get MUCH better, no one would ever get and stay sober 🙂 hugs, from me


S (day 23): A very good friend I haven’t seen for the past 5-6 weeks meets up with me and the first thing she says as she sees me in the coffee shop we’re meeting up in: “Woa! What happened to you! ARE YOU IN LOVE!? YOU MUST BE IN LOVE – LOOK AT YOU!?” So. One of the more pleasant side-effects of not drinking for 21 days and lately swapping the time previously spent drinking for exercising: You glow like you’re in love. Not bad that! 😉


Quill (day 13): The past couple days I have actually had little pity parties that I am just well and mature enough NOT to drop back into the deep end of crazy … and pure wild self-hatred. Why do I have to be a grown-up instead? Why do I have to be aware of my illusions, my responsibilities, my therapy and recovery tools, my loved ones who care about my happiness? (Those jerks!) Why can’t I run away and live in a museum like the kids in The Mixed-up Files book? It sounds so weird, to want to be so miserable. I can’t explain it myself. I just know it’s not really an option; it’s a fantasy of a trip to a country that doesn’t exist. So I let myself pout (I literally stick out my lower lip and stamp my foot) and then I get on with my day.

Me: nobody wants to grow up. it’s boring and you have to pay bills and be responsible.  … OR … Everybody wants to grow up. we want to decide how great our lives are, stay up too late on occasion, eat dessert first, and make / do / be and see very cool things in the world without blinders. we want to drive in cars and feel happy. we want to take pictures, make cake, hug husbands and sunbathe and just feel ‘good’. and yes, those of is in sober land aren’t smoking crack, it really is ‘good’ here. quite very good. and thank fucking jeezus for that.

“it’s like erasing the loneliness and anxiety”

News from Team 100:

Sara (day 22 now):

I am so amazed by this.  This is so weird. Weird to be on day 19 — sober. I have not been sober for 19 days in a row for the last 8 years. 8 years! Imagine that. That person I see in the mirror has been drinking more or less every night for 8 years. It’s hard to face.  When I was headed this way I would never had thought I’d be this person who drank every night out of loneliness and to be able to fall asleep. Later for anxiety and to get some sleep — what a joke it is to think alcohol makes you sleep better! I had maybe a few bad nights in the first few days but sleeping like a baby these days …

It’s like erasing the loneliness and anxiety; the crap and the bullshit you tell yourself — when you stop drinking. Just stop drinking and slowly your eyes open and your mind awakens. It’s amazing. A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.

I’m glad I’m headed in the other direction again; where my mind can exist without the blurred reality and disappeared evenings. So tired. But so glad.  Thanks again, Belle for the 100 days.

Chelsie (day 35):

You know, I just realized today how many more little moments I am having — you know those times where all of a sudden every one of your senses is on fire and you’re so IN THE MOMENT, and PRESENT and as this comes to light you’re trying your best to hang on to that feeling. That feeling of complete self-awareness, acceptance, openness. In moments like that I am reinforced with the notion that the entire world is mine to explore and experience. That I am in charge of creating my own life — and how amazing and wonderful of an opportunity is that ?

On one hand it makes me sad knowing how many of those moments I’ve missed out on, but on the other I think I value them much more now. Moments like that keep me sober. They make me excited for my life.

OK, I know it’s not always sunshine and roses. If you’re having a crummy hungover Sunday morning, then reading this kind of post probably smells a lot like bullshit to you. Or not. Maybe it smells like “what are those sober girls doing, and can I get me some of that?”

a bullshit-free Saturday

Something tremendously bizarre is happening with me in Month #11. I honestly didn’t figure there was much ‘big growth’ left to do and yet here we are … evolving nearly daily. It’s the weirdest fucking thing. I’m dropping old shit left and right. But not just dropping it… i’m dropping it with ease. The “will I or won’t I” has temporarily stopped. There is just WILL. And it’s WILL without clenching. If that makes any sense. Who the fuck am I? I’m sooo not used to this person!

I think my gloating/smug/superior button is also broken, as of very recently.  As a life-long bragger, I just don’t feel comfortable now drawing attention to myself at the expense of someone else.  We were out for dinner with a group and three separate times this girl, R., said to me:  “take the credit already!” I just sort of shrugged.  It was silly stuff like R. said “you ordered the best desserts!” And I answered “the waitress said there were two kinds of dessert pudding and suggested we try both.”  R. says: “just take the credit already!” And — apparently — I can’t.  Where the hell did THAT come from? My sisters won’t recognize me! I’m 11ish months sober.  maybe this is a normal progression. god knows what happens at 13 or 14 months … holy evolution batman!

I can tell you it was not a conscious decision. I didn’t wake up this week and say “let’s try to work on the gloating, OK?” Though i have thought that, a billion times, over the course of my lifetime.

This week, though, it seems to have just (at least temporarily) stopped.  On its own.  Like, who does that?

Those with lots more sobriety than i have can probably relate to this, in a “pat-me-on-the-head, isn’t she cute” kind of fashion. “yes, belle, stop drinking and slowly ALL of the other bullshit in your life stops. Bullshit around you, AND bullshit spewing from your mouth.”

here’s to a bullshit-free Saturday. no gloating, no bragging, no smug self-satisfaction. Just a good old-fashioned Saturday. Coffee, reading, groceries, spend some time outdoors, some bad TV. Unclenched.

{who KNEW!}


Here’s a Quill-Quotable (she’s on day 11): “The way you and other Team 100 members talk about sobriety (like a comfy lavender hug, like a clear horizon with a cold fresh scent) make me want to keep plugging away and see if I can get the same thing.”

Team 100 update:  102 members, welcome to Meka (3). Happy days to Suzanne (14), Mel (20), Jackie (45), Em (7), Laura (28), Sunny Sue (95), Erica (130), Simpson Sister (50), and Carrie (90).

i’m broken now in the ‘sober’ position.

As this month putters along, I am surprised to find myself nearly one year sober. I can assure you, this was completely not my intention. “Really, officer, I tripped and fell and got sober. Not my fault.”

i really am a weird poster child almost advertising sobriety: “You’ll Like It. You’ll Feel Better.”  The biggest and best truth, though, is how much better I really do feel. Like, A LOT. Yes, there are days (and even that’s an exaggeration, it’s more like hours or even parts-of-hours) when i feel gigantically shitty and my habitual “let’s throw wine at this problem” kind thinking comes up. I still don’t drink. It’s like i’m broken now in the ‘sober’ position. I can’t drink now. I just couldn’t do it. Even in my dreams, i’m always telling people “i don’t drink.”  I could not start again at day 1. I will not feel that kind of regret, i just will not. I can’t. Every day forward is a day moving away from ‘there’ and moving towards the ‘new me’ over here. And i like it here.

Malia says it well:

“I feel like I am still waiting for the other shoe to drop, and the mad, crazy cravings to begin. However it’s still very quiet. I’m past the pink cloud stage definitely. The desire to drink (and drink and drink), is gone. I even went to a family party yesterday without my supportive husband, and it was, easy. Enjoyable even. My family is supportive in the way that they still ask if i want any wine, but accept the no, and don’t ask again … The only difference I notice these days is that its earlier than it used to be where I get to the point of OK kids, time to go!

“I think maybe I just needed to get some sober days in front of me to clear my head of all the “noise” drinking was causing? Of course, this also brings up the question as to whether or not I was as bad as I thought, was (am) I a real alcoholic? Could I possibly…..someday….? However I have no time for that nonsense. I still need to get through these 100 days, then perhaps another 100, then probably the rest of 2013 and heck lets throw in 2014 while I’m at it. Then I can reassess!” (She’s now on day 48).

Photography update, received 5 photos already for Sober Morning. Holy Lots of Fun Batman.

Team 100 Update: 101 members, welcome to Designer-Rachel, CB and Ingrid (all on day 3). Celebrations for: Amy (6 months today!), Lilly (35), Jen (131), SoberInMtl & Victoria (7), Lynda and Mr. Lynda (81), Lawyer Anne (60), Lauren (75), Brandy (31), Mr. Belle (51), Anathu (20), Roxanne (45), Debra (131), KT (40), Paula (10), Mary (14), Erika (33), Cam (30), Sara (20), Julz & Quill (10), Camla & Tiffany (7). And DDG is on day 81.

Just to note, when someone stops emailing or goes ‘missing’, I still hold your spot for you. Your name stays on the chart and when you’re ready, you can just email and give your new day 1 and we keep rolling. If you reached out asking to do the challenge, then I save your spot. That means that Emily is #16 and JMM is #62.