because I want to see what happens next

When people finish the 100 day challenge, often they sign up for Team 180 — to add 80 days to their total … it’s also a bit of a play on words, doing a 180, turning your life around. yeah. I know.

So when i send out the team 180 pledge, i suggest that people edit it to suit their particular situations. Here are some 180 day pledges:


G’day! I’ve done 100 days sober, and I know my life is better. It’s not always easy, sometimes it’s really bloody hard work, but I am moving in the right direction. I’d like to continue going in that direction. And I’d like to see what happens next. I will not drink for 180 days. I will not drink for 180 days! Not even when my best friends drink, not even when I’m in pain, not even when I feel sad and lonely, not even when I’m bored at home, not even when it’s sunny outside, not even when it’s cold and wet outside, not even when I go to see my friends in over Easter and not even if there is a zombie apocalypse! No matter what. Because I want to see what happens next. I want to continue being awesome and feeling awesome. I like myself better, I love my new sober mates and I love how well work is going and how my relationship with my family is.


I´ve done 100 days sober and I know my life is better than before. It´s not always easy but I´m moving in the right direction. I´m going to continue in that direction. I know I have a long way. I´d like my nerves to be so much better and I know I can do it if I don´t drink. I´d like to see what happens next. I will not drink for 180 days. Not even if my buddies drink around me or if I need surgery, nor if there´s a zombie apocalypse. No matter what. Because I want to see what happens next. I know it´s not going to be easy but I will keep on giving rewards to myself and think things over before I react without thinking. In the previous life when drinking or in hangover I have given my emotions too much power and gotten into trouble at work and home. I want to change that for good.


Sign me up!  I’ve done 100 days sober and I know my life is 100% better.  It’s been relatively painless and it’s the right direction for me to continue to live my life sober.  I will not drink for 180 days, no matter what.  I want to see what happens next.  I feel so privileged and proud to be part of this team.


… I will not drink for 180 days not even if I’m frustrated, lonely, angry, happy, celebrating, excited, scared, or can’t sleep. Because I like being clear headed, guilt-free, shame-free, lighter, full of hope, honest with myself, rational, aware of what’s going on, and a more authentic version of myself.

Carrie Kaffer

I’m rocking 100 days sober, and life is better.  Not easy, but heading in the right direction.  And so I’m going to keep heading this way.  What will happen next?  I don’t know, but I will be finding out!  I will not drink for a total of 180 days.  No matter what.  Even if there IS a Zombie Apocalypse! Because I want to see what happens next.


… I will not drink for 180 days not even if my husband/partner/daughter drinks, (which my husband does, he has a drink every night) not if I need surgery, nor if there is a zombie apocalypse. No matter what. Because I want to see what happens next.  Because sobriety has far more benefits than being drunk on wine every night of my life.


I’ve almost reached 100!! I will come hell or high water! I pledge to not drink for 180 days! I will not drink to celebrate, reduce stress, be part of the drinking party, to numb missing my mom, or for any “fuck it moment”!!!!! I like life like this and want to see how much better it will be 180 days!!!!


I will celebrate being 6 months sober on 4 May 2014. I will create mini-milestones between now and then and celebrate those, too, with gusto. I promise that I will pay attention to my emotional needs and meet them in ways that do not involve alcohol. I will run; take time alone and long hot baths; talk to my husband, family and friends; hug often; and keep accountable to my sober community. I will practice gratitude – and having fun! I promise that I will treat my physical body with the same respect and affection as I would that of one of my beloved children. I will give it sleep, rest, exercise, healthy food – and unhealthy food too if I feel like it. I will make medical appointments, time to relax, and banana bread. I promise that I will make being sober my first priority, in whatever situation I find myself. I will continue to regard sobriety as a long-term self-care project. I will enjoy feeling better every day and focus on the positive aspects of my amazing new sober life. No matter what. Because I want to see what happens next.


Happy Day 50 to Willow!

Happy Day 50 to Allison!

Happy Day 50 to CH!

Happy Day 50 to Short!

Happy Day 50 to Karmac!

Happy Day 50 to LolaB!

Happy Day 100 to J!

Happy Day 100 to Workerbeesc!

Happy Day 100 to Jano!

Happy Day 100 to Jonni!

Happy Day 100 to John!




well you could just cut off his legs ..

from my inbox:

Annie2 (day 22): “I realize that I’m spending more time putting me first — exercise before doing anything else, sometimes a piece of chocolate before dinner, bedtime sometimes early, sometimes late, maybe not getting everything done I’d planned, feels good. … Super impressed with Hana’s post: “how common my experience of stops and starts, ups and downs, and reckoning/bargaining is. It’s definitely like I have been going through the stages of grief – denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance” — these words really resonated with me.  So much of what we’ve experience is a common thread — every day is a new day since I met you!” (she’s now on day 28)

Caro (day 19): “In the bathtub last night … I had a long, serious conversation with wolfie.  I was really mean and nasty and told him that not only was I dehydrating and starving him but I was cutting off his legs! I actually visualized this! I am an animal lover and volunteer at the local shelter so it was sorta weird visualizing hurting an animal, but it was actually quite freeing. I just kept seeing him as the evil enemy he is, that he is threatening my life and while he has been strong and dominant for 20 years, he NO LONGER IS! I visualized him trying to run after me on these stumps of legs and he was so desperate but so weak. It was great!  I highly recommend this vivid visualization technique.”

from me:

i am sleeping better. i finally got a big grocery order. there is food in the house. i still had a microwave meal for dinner though. i have a cold. i may sleep 11 hrs again tonight! i have a pumpkin pie or 10 to make this week. and some dressing/stuffing. and perhaps a carrot cake or 20. thankfully my regular job is super slack for a couple weeks as one of my biggest daily clients is travelling. oh and it’s my birthday on monday. i’ll be taking out a full page ad in the newspaper. Birthday. Monday. Mine. oh yeah, and i’m sober.

Team 100 update:

Welcome to new members: Tamtam (46), Josh (10), Tess (11), Dolly (10), Mack (14), MoMaH, Limerick (8), Liz (11), Valerie (8), AmandaJ (8), Andrea (8), Em Anne (8), Miss Lynn (7), Kerri G (7), TheFun4 (10), Annabelle (19), Mel Bel (6), Shay (6), Elise (10), Rebuilding Anne (6), Tessa (6), BlueH2OGirl (1), Blondie (6), Lisa May (5), Amber (1),  Bethany (5), Kal (6), Shannon A (7), Robin (4), Juanita (4), JMar (5), LPerr (10), Patrice (3), Denise (2), Sober Malarky (494), Brid (16), healthappiness (2), Jennifer (121).

i’m a girl writing emails and cheerleading

Some days are like this. i haven’t gotten dressed yet and it’s 11:16 pm here. I may not get dressed after all. I am sober, and I don’t hear wolfie saying anything at all. But yes, i’d like a big blanket to come up over my head and blank out this day, and perhaps tomorrow. i haven’t been sleeping well for about a week. I have a design client who is very disappointed in my decision to retire one of my businesses. she’s writing long emails outlining what i can do to please her. then I remind her that i’m closing the business, not doing any new work on the project, and have already refunded her money. Then she sends me another email …

and not everyone in Team 100 is always thrilled with me. Yes, I get lots of happy emails every day, a metric tonne of emails. But i also know that some people are irritated with me.

I am not a perfect human. Team 100 isn’t a perfect challenge. It’s not really even really a team, to be fair. It’s a collection of people trying to be sober. Some succeeding, some not. Statistically, about 25% of people who sign up for the challenge disappear at some point. Some return later to begin again. Others disappear and don’t return. Maybe about 50% of team members restart to day 1 at least once. Joining an internet challenge to get sober isn’t a magic solution. I’m not offering magic to anyone. Some people do not get sober, even with help. I know not to own that, because really i’m just a girl writing emails and cheerleading and back-patting. You’re the one who gets sober. I just offer encouragement, ideas, things to try.

As of today, i have 392 people signed up in the challenge. I get about 150 emails a day. I get out of bed and the first thing I do is check my emails to see how everyone is doing. It’s really the best part of my day by far. Some people just email to say ‘sober’, others email and ask questions or share success stories. Some are chatty, others are not.  Some share disaster stories (cancer, death, divorce, pet death, accidents, messy relapse). it’s weird, but I look forward to all of the emails, because i look forward to hearing from you and knowing how you’re doing — whether you’re good or bad i still want to know how you are 🙂

i feel like i have a very good life. I have a full-time job that doesn’t require much of my time, and my catering work is usually only 2 or 3 days a week. I help my husband with his work a bit each day. and since about March of this year, i’ve been spending the rest of my time on sober stuff.

emailing 392 people helps me stay sober. when i record a podcast, it’s like i’m talking about what i need to hear, so it’s like i’m sending a message to myself.

I spend about 4 hrs a day on sober stuff now, which includes emails, writing, recording audios, talking to people on the phone.

I’m very aware and careful and vigilant that i do not become overwhelmed. Sometimes I’ll answer 40 or 50 emails in a row, but other times i’ll be watching a BBC baking show. sometimes i’m at my computer when you email, and other times it takes me a couple of days to answer (not often, but it happens).

i don’t know why offering to be a sober penpal back in March has led me to this exact place, to where I am today. I don’t always (often) know what i’m doing and there is no grand plan. Sometimes I imagine a future life where this sober thing is my full-time job (hey let’s have a meetup in Seattle!). I also imagine a future life where the sober stuff maybe supports the opening of my sober bakery.

and to be fair, I also imagine a life where I drink a bottle of wine and say fuck it all, why bother.

but i won’t drink. sure, relapse is possible for everybody. but it’s not happening to me, at least not today (!).

there’s no way to write this post without it looking like a big “do you love me” plea. it isn’t. This is really just an expression of where i’m at today. I’m a real human with real feelings.  i’m doing my best and yes, sometimes my best is NOT ENOUGH. I get it. And when my best isn’t enough, it’s super disappointing, I get that too. I’m a regular human and I fuck up and underdeliver sometimes. Yes.

And yes, when i gloat about my sobriety you may think “i’d like that too” OR you may think “i can’t seem to have that, i wish she’d shut up about it.”

i get it. I’m ok with truth. I’m sober 510 days today and i know that i’m not a perfect human. i do need to be reminded not to gloat. it’s not all positive and rosy in sober land all the time. it’s fucking hard work, especially in early sobriety.

But being sober, and staying sober is worth it. to me anyway. So yeah, i deal with some flat days. And then i eat chocolate and have a bath. i write a message to myself. and then i watch some more baking shows. and the latest episode of Parenthood which makes me cry every time.


Just simply not being alone. Knowing that someone has had a similar experience.

From me:

I am experiencing an unusual period of calm. Lots of interesting and fun catering work, some late hours, sore legs. Lemon meringue pies, yeasted pumpkin bread, bacon wrapped pork tenderloin.

Someone emailed me and asked if she could be my assistant for a day … um, YES. Thank you for that!

And so, despite the busy week ahead of me, I feel better. Like i have someone in my corner. Like i have help so i won’t be alone. The task of dividing multiple little bits of dough and then rolling each one in grated parmesan cheese will be shared with someone else.

Yes, catering is just like sobriety.

Help. Getting help. Sharing the work. Getting ideas. Just simply not being alone. Knowing that someone has had a similar experience. Telling someone when wolfie starts bleating nonsense.

Oh my god. Help. How crucial. How necessary.

And today, right now, just knowing that i have help coming makes this day better and she’s not even here yet. (having a sober penpal means reaching out at all hours of the day and night and knowing that someone is there. And reading sober blogs is like sharing the work, too.)

Now imagine if every time I faced a challenge in life, i could get help so magically. what do you mean I can? you mean if i just raise my hand someone will help? really? who’d want to help me? i mean it’s just dividing dough in my tiny kitchen … (it’s just me and my shitty sober life — who wants to hear about that).

and funnily enough, i am asked this question when i do one-on-one phone calls for the sober jumpstart class: “Belle, don’t you get tired of hearing everyone’s sober bullshit?”

Well, no. Your story is different. you’ve got extenuating circumstances. So does she. So does he. Everybody is entirely different and yet freakishly the same. It’s fascinating, really, not tiring at all.

And i know that when i hear *bullshit*, that it is just your wolfie speaking. I know that if i get an email from you that’s a bit snarky, well i know it’s wolfie speaking, not you. And i know that wolfie is an anus.

I know that when you feel like you’re emailing me (again) to ask (virtually) the same question but with different words, i know that it’s wolfie trying to find a loophole. Trying to find a logic flaw that can be exploited.  “Christmas is coming, might as well drink now …” that kind of nonesense. Really, who other than wolfie could that be?

you’re not bothering me at all. in fact, i find the whole thing really very interesting and helpful and enlightening. I get to read success stories in my inbox every single day (mixed in with a few shitty-wolfie-it’s-christmas ones). all is well.

From my inbox:

Sara (156): “I’ve been wearing my bracelet since the day it arrived. I decided that that was what I was going to do. And I never wear jewelry. It took some getting used to — I had to make it tighter, then make it wider, it was funny sleeping with it and it got caught in my hair or my jacket — I just wasn’t used to this. Then the other day when I was coming through the door it got caught in something and nearly came off without me noticing.  And then it hit me in the heart (up until this point I could relate to the Fuck you Wolfie but this was something deeper — this was MY sobriety. My bracelet. My thing. My sobriety) — and I both need and want to be checking with it, making it have the best fit for me at any given time; I need make sure I don’t slip and lose it without noticing. I need to have it on me — all the time. So it’s staying put and I look at it and make sure I can feel it on my arm throughout my busy day. It’s so strong but also so fragile in that way — it can come off with out you noticing.”


Lex (16): “So I made it through these couple of weeks with my focus on the right thing. My sober life. Yup. Even with vomiting kiddos and someone drunkly explaining stupid things to me, and my own cravings to not feel briefly. Yup I love my path because it is my story. Last go round I do not believe I was completely honest with myself and that’s why I kept fucking up. Now I will only fuck up things sober. Ha! It’s crazy clear that I will be fine. Days will be hard, but that’s real. Hard days ended in drinking were catastrophic. I’m so done with the girl I used to be. So proud of the woman I am becoming. Did I just say that? For years I battled with not really liking me. So I hid behind a bottle.”


Penny (51): “Still not drinking. Having a rough day. Got stressed out with the kids last night, and I now have a knot in my right shoulder blade. I’m totally stressed out. No idea how to de-stress. I scheduled a massage for this afternoon to help work the kink out. Hopefully it’ll work.”

me: “how to distress: exercise / nap / tea / chocolate / a treat / a break / a cry / a bath / write a letter / sleep / sleep again.  hugs, me”

Penny: “Crying helped.”

Team 100 / 180 Update:

288 members, welcome to SL (4), Onyx Star (14), Kellen (12), Mo (20), Canadian Girl (12), Donna Mary (15), Patrick (8), Sarah (10), FU Wolfie (!) (7), Kelley (51), Messy (2), Margaret (4), Lou (30), It’s a new day (2).

Happy days to: Carrie (225), Simpson Sister (185), Katie (7), Shel (21), Pete (110), MaryPatricia (102), Tami (80), Ebaliff (45), Cheryl (50), Joe (60), Jo R (60), Steph (30), Renee (40), Carolyne (40), Ivy (41), and Rachelle (61)

100 days for Erinup!

in fact, today Erinup is on day 102 … and here’s the lovely email she sent me to celebrate her wonderfulness:

Day 100 … How the hell that happened?! I mean I know, but I am still surprised – kind of like an unplanned pregnancy 🙂

I remember the first few weeks so clearly and how I felt like 100 days was so big. I remember wondering how I could ever make it that long.  I stressed about dinners with friends, camp-outs, bbq’s.  In the beginning I wondered how would I ever survive those situations.  I couldn’t wrap my brain around how I could make it through everything just saying no to alcohol.  How would I not drink at those functions and yet not reveal my secret …

I steeled myself for the first sober dinner with friends.  I swallowed hard and just said casually “I’m not drinking right now, just taking a break.”  Then I held my breath and waited for the world to end, for them to walk away and not be my friend anymore, for them to ask deep questions I didn’t want to answer yet or really just for anything to happen.

But none of those things happened.  Nothing really happened.  I built all this stress around the “what-if” and then NOTHING HAPPENED.  What the hell?  Didn’t they hear me?  I’m not drinking right now.  That’s important news people!  … So, I learned an important lesson those first few outings. This whole being sober thing is about me.  What I choose to share or not share is my business and what I celebrate is also my business.  I cannot/should not look outward for approval nor should I worry about judgment.  These thing were big lessons for me – that and the whole world not revolving around me thing.

I am working every day to make choices that are positive and healthy both mind, body and spirit.  Some days I suck at it — some days I get it right.  I wanted so badly to rush through, to do more homework, to make quicker progress, but that’s the thing about 100 days isn’t it? You only get there one day at a time — regardless of how stellar a sober student you think you have become. I have learned it is important to not rush through.  I never know which day will bring an important lesson.

It’s not all peace, love and sober days though — I do get thoughts of feeling like I am at the 100 day finish line and I can drink again. The classic “maybe I wasn’t that bad…” rears its ugly head. I have to learn that there is no finish line. I can keep moving the finish line out — 1 day, 1 week, 10 days, 100 days, but I feel like the reality is that I have to not view this as something with an end. I am not sure how to do that yet. I guess that’s the whole “me in progress.”

I always want to remember the first few weeks clearly.  I always want to be reminded that quitting is hard.  It is not to be taken for granted. It is good for me to remember that the whole world isn’t revolving around me and my decision of whether to have wine with dinner.  Very few people actually care and even fewer think it is important. That is not a bad thing at all, it is just the way of the world.  They don’t care just like they don’t care what I had for breakfast or how my workout went.  It is stuff that is important to me, but not so much to the outside world and that is totally fine.  It is reality and that is good.

So, I am moving the finish line to 180 days.  I am working on how to remove the finish line mentality.  I don’t have any idea about how to do that yet so I guess I have something to keep me busy for a while.

Thank you Belle for everything you have done and continue to do – you are an inspiration, reality check, sober penpal extraordinaire!

Still counting, Erinup

planning to relapse

i am in the wine store, buying wine for a client event. i have a cold. i feel like crap. i decide that with all the fancy wine i’m buying, some of it should be for me.

i come home and i blog about it. i ramble a bit, my thoughts agitated, and I wonder out loud if it’s OK to plan to relapse. I know that if i say ‘fuck it’ and have a drink, that’s a relapse (by my own definition). but if i PLAN to end my sober time — let’s say in a week’s time — would that still a relapse?

what happened, instead, is that in the action of reaching out, of blogging, my thoughts changed. I heard ideas from my fellow sober friends. I listened to people with more sober time than I had.

And because i was deciding to relapse ‘later’ (not that day), it gave me time to change my mind. Which i did. i changed my mind and i remained sober.

That’s the last time I really felt like drinking. It was in February this year (so i was about 7 months sober). I was bored with being sober. I kept waiting for something else magical to happen. Other people’s sobriety looked better, more successful, happier than mine.

but i knew not to chuck it all in because of one bad day. One bad feeling is not enough to end my sobriety. A feeling isn’t an action. A thought isn’t a command.

Here’s what i wrote in February:

… when i get to this very adamant place where I feel that I want to drink right now, I go ahead and decide to WAIT for a week and then reassess.  If i still want to do a three-bottle-red-wine-taste-test in a week’s time, I can do it then.  Not tomorrow.  Not without true thought and consideration.  I am not ‘falling off the wagon’ because of an impulse decision. Or when i have a cold.  I’m just not flaking out now. Later maybe. not now.

Next week. i’ll revisit it again next week.  There will be plenty of future opportunities when i can drink again, if i so decide, it doesn’t have to be valentine’s day, it doesn’t have to be tomorrow.

NOT when i have a cold. NOT when i just want to pitch it all in and say ‘fuck it’.  NOT NOW.


There are 14 Stay Here bracelets on the way. And 4 Fuck You Wolfie bracelets left in the October batch as of today.

Team 100 (180):

275 members, welcome to Cat Girl (21), ErinElisabeth (40), Sandra (3), Stopwineing (7), Gwyn (2). Happy day 101 to PJ and Emm Cee 🙂  Happy day 201 to Lynda, DDG. Lilly is on 155. KT is 160. Paula is 130. Lawyer Anne is 180 🙂

“Ready for team 180, team 365 and beyond!”

When Tiffany reached day 100, she sent me this message:

“For the most part, once I really faced the fact that I needed to do this, it’s gone fairly smoothly. Several things have helped:

1. Following your blog of course and your email support.

2. I think the single best piece of advice I have gleaned from you is “you can always go to bed early.” Luckily, my son is old enough where that is true – I can just bow out, and say to my husband and son, I am going upstairs to read or take a bath or I am going to bed early. This really helps because I have come to realize I am a prickly person, and super sensitive to sounds, etc. So when I’m feeling hemmed in, or the noises are bothering me, or I’m just plain irritated and stressed, I used to head for the wine bottle. But removing myself from the situation and getting a good night’s sleep is the miracle cure. I always feel better in the morning.

3. My drink of choice when I’m out or want a treat at night is grapefruit juice and soda. Love it.

4. The best part is I am not racked with self loathing and I feel like I have the mental capacity to really stop and think about problems or emotional issues. I was so tired and hung over most of the time before I used to be reaction mode all the time. I think it’s been better for my family for sure – even if they get the full on cranky me sometimes. Though let’s be honest they got that before when I was hungover or hating myself!

5. I am getting a lot done. Still not enough hours in the day, though. I have a busy, growing business and a full family life. There’s no way I can do what I need to if I’m lagging everyday.

6. My sleep has been glorious – a full 8 hours every night – no night sweats, no bathroom runs, no tossing and turning and wine sick stomach. I have to travel for work, and not drinking has helped so much. Even when I’m crazy busy on a crazy pace, if I get a good night sleep, I am ready to go the next morning.

7. The other thing that has really helped in social situations and work situations – I work in an industry that is super hard partying – is that I have tapped into my contrarian nature. There have been a few awkward moments when people tried to pressure me into drinking. Once I realized I don’t give a shit what anyone thinks, it set me free. I really don’t. Screw them. I know this is best for me and I don’t need to follow the herd.

8. I’ve had a few cravings or thoughts along the way, but realize it’s just a thought and it will pass. Also, I talk back to the thought – Drinking would be a very bad idea, I know exactly where it will end, and it isn’t a pretty place.

9. I wish I could say the weight has fallen off. It hasn’t at all. I have not been a diet hawk because I don’t have the energy. Also, I am not striving for perfection. How I am is good enough, especially with not drinking, and not drinking is No. 1 priority.

10. Lastly, in my mind, I stopped counting days (just after day 30 or so). I just tried to move on, and think this is my life now. So I totally plan to stay this way forever. Life is so much better, and I am living it more now, warts and all. But I am so happy you let me know I reached 100. I am proud of myself!!

I can’t thank you enough. I absolutely LOVED your recent post “That Girl.” Related to it all.. Also the advice about not making a big decision when you are feeling shitty. That is such a good one!

Good work and thank you for everything! Totally ready for team 180, team 365 and beyond!” ~ Tiffany (now on day 107!)

Divine guidance requested.

Happy 100 days to Lime Tree! … Happy 100 days to Melinda! … Happy 100 days to Maya June!

Ever since i decided to do some small bit of sober coaching, i’ve had the usual weird feelings. Is it right to charge for this, how much should i charge, what about the people who can’t afford it. Is it feasible that this can become my one job.

Mostly i’ve been just doing bits and pieces, and then waiting. Do something else, and then wait again. Waiting (i think) for inspiration, ideation, confirmation.

One of the reasons a sober chick like me writes a blog, is because i’ve got stuff in me that needs to come out; to put it another way: writing is how i explain things to myself. “How will i know what I think, until i read what i’ve written?” (Faulkner quote, sort of).

What i’ve discovered in recording audio postcards, is that speaking the sober messages is soothing. And that listening to the audio again, after i’ve recorded it, is like hearing it for the first time.  It’s like … well, it’s like it’s not me, not my voice. It’s like a message from somewhere else. A message to me.

so starting a few weeks ago, I recorded a couple of audio postcards, posted them here on the blog, and then felt like i wanted to record them more often, maybe every couple of days, but didn’t want to fill up the blog with lots of rambling.

So i created a subscription podcast thing, and put all of the newly recorded podcasts on one page, so that subscribers can see them all at once, can listen, re-listen, download, whatever.

But the weirdness, for me, continues to be something along the lines of… i’m recording stuff that speaks to me. then i’m putting it on a locked site that only a handful of people can access.

And yes, while i understand the nature of earning money (i have a business or two), there continues to be endless cyclings of thoughts in my head about charging for what happens on this blog (or for accessory stuff that happens because of this blog).

Yes, i understand the arguments about “belle you should earn something for your effort” …

… but as soon as i create a paid thing, like the sober audio postcards, i get weird.

So i’m writing today to try to figure out WHY.

I LOVE recording the audios. I am currently trying to limit myself to once every 2-3 days, but could probably do one a day (even paid subscribers probably don’t want so many – and what if my idea source runs out, better to be ‘moderate’ in my approach so i don’t burn out/run out).

I really LOVE doing the audios. I love recording them, i love listening to them again (i hear something new every time).

It’s like i’m ‘receiving’ a message, and then i get to listen to the message as if for the first time.

I also really love sharing the messages. I get emails like this one from Lex: “Oh boy Belle, I wonder how many people have said that the podcast was like perfect for me?”

so here’s where I’m at today. To share or not to share. How much to share. what to charge for. how many people to reach. who’s excluded.

ok. anyway. long story. not even saying much.

To try to bridge the gap, in some small way, I want to put up an extract today from Sober Postcard #2 that is part of paid subscription.

This audio extract is the first 2 minutes of a longer 8.5 minute audio.

You can listen. And let me know what you think. About everything.

About everything. Divine guidance requested.



Original source for the story, used with permission

slackers of the world unite

from me:

i’ve been occupied with catering for weeks it seems. months, if i count the planning for the wedding catering. the mental focus required. the physical fatigue. then more catering this week, a wholesale job, and an event for 40 guests yesterday.

now it’s all over. nothing big or small on the horizon. so thankfully i slept 10.5 hrs last night.

that’s the first thing to go for me, sleep. as soon as i’m mentally occupied with something, my sleep is affected. i “used” to have a drink to fall asleep. I used to take cold medicine. or gravol to sleep when i got into a weird place, like this past week. overtired, needing to sleep, not being able to. waking a lot through the night. waiting …

this time, no chemicals. i just waited. i ran and read and went through the days moderately distracted. and I waited. i knew i wouldn’t die from lack of sleep, i’d just be tired 🙂 i knew that i wasn’t truly exhausted or in dangerous territory, i was just … well, tired. Really spent.

and now that i’ve had a big sleep AND there’s nothing on the horizon, it’s so quiet in my head! i got up this morning and thought “I’m going to try that new recipe for spiral cinnamon buns …” and then i thought – wait. how about an entire day off. how about no food or cooking or experimenting. how about a day with nothing but bad computer games, sleep, pyjamas, and coffee (and Downton Abbey).

how about one long day where you literally get nothing done. nothing at all.

it’s a struggle but i’m doing it! slackers of the world unite!

from my inbox:

MC: “Sober tired is a better tired. Sober cooking is a better cooking. Sober fatherhood, sober ice cream walks, sober fellatio, sober frog catching, sober worrying, sober sunshine, sober quesadillas, sober reading, sober badminton, sober subway rides, sober toe stubbing – better, better, fucking so much better. Though, at times, and sometimes often, it isn’t easy.”

Fiona: “Day 20, sober! I’ve found something that I’ve discovered I wrongfully blamed on drink – my inability to run like an Olympic athlete! I thought I would quit drinking and become a much better runner – I’m still a plodder! Lol still out again this a.m. and felt about 100 , but I love it…”

Zenmeg (88): “Happy to read Susan’s comment about how I AM RESPONSIBLE FOR MY OWN HAPPINESS   I haven’t quite realized that I am responsible for my own happiness and have always been bewildered when people I know have that one down pat.  And why I don’t.  And why I used alcohol to make me *happy*.  Maybe I just never learned how to carve that happiness time out for myself? Was I never taught how important it is?  Did I not have a role model in my life to show me a living example?  Or did I lose the ability to make myself happy when things started getting hectic.  I don’t know. But I get the whole ‘not taking time to make myself happy’ concept.  My husband is very good at making himself happy — makes time to exercise, sleep, eat well, eat three meals a day, etc…  I leave exercise for “if there’s time” and “if everything else can get done, then I can do it”.  Sleep is not a priority.  Eating well — it is still all about meeting the sugar and chocolate cravings for now.  I’m lucky if I remember to make myself something for breakfast or lunch.  Too much coffee too. OK — so I’m off to bed to think about how I can get myself to remember that I am responsible for my own happiness, and that I shouldn’t resent my husband for taking care of himself so well.  Love the idea and to figure out how I can keep this at the top of my list.”

Lime Tree (99): “Found out today I’d inspired my Director at work to do 100 days too. Yay me :)”

L: “Well here it is. My new day one.  I’m kind of excited this time. I just want to feel better already and I’m so tired of being hung over and ashamed. It would be really nice to just wake up and not have to worry about what I said or didn’t do. Trying to piece together the night before.  It would be nice to have a clear head and I just want the negative voice in my head to stop telling me what a shitty person I am.  It would be nice to have some kind of confidence and pride.  I’m so sick of it all. I don’t want to drink anymore.  I don’t sleep well. I have night sweats. I am missing blocks of time. I forget things because I’m in a fog. I’m overweight because of all the wine and then the bad eating that goes with it.  It’s all just really sad you know? I mean what am I doing this to myself for? I’m in mid 40’s and I’ve been drinking daily for at least 7 years now. This is just crazy.  I just want to feel better. I’m just sad about all of this. I have to just say it.  I’m so done with the wine and I don’t care how crappy these next few days will be or how hard I think it is. It’s just not worth it anymore.  I just need to “stay here”. It seems to take the pressure off when I do.” (She’s now on day 11!)

Brett (8):  “Thanks Belle. That is just what I needed to hear. It has to get better. I think deep down I know that, and it’s just so easy to say “fuck it, I don’t wanna do the work.”  But motivation doesn’t come from sitting around waiting for it.  Motivation builds with actually doing it.  So I am.  I will write to you as much as I can … “Stay here.”  I need to get one of those bracelets, because it really is my new mantra … This is a process of healing for me that’s going to take a long, long time, and I need desperately to stay in the present, head down, arms pumping and driving forward.”

Team 100/180 update:

269 members; welcome to HC (13), Egan (5), and BK (100). Happy days to Lauren (190), Roxanne (160), Colleen (15), Sara (135), Jessica (80), Laurie (70), Kathleen (60), Erinup (85), Beth (140), Stargal (90), BST (70), Ella (60), JacksterT (31), Toni (30), Bizi (50), Leslie (20), ErinS (31), Ivy (20), Rachelle (40), Steve (10), Helene (28).


100 days x 4

Happy day 101 to Ingrid!

Happy day 101 to Sarita!

Happy day 100 to C How!

Happy day 100 to KC 🙂

Holy exciting days, batman.

Here’s what C How has to say about 100 days sober…

Lessons learned 100 days:

I have not missed driving to work hung over and wondering how I am possibly going to make it through the day: I have learned it’s nice to be sober to drive to the store if i want ice cream at 10:00 at night

I have not missed having a police car behind me at 8:00 am and wondering if I could still get a DUI from the night before; I have learned I still wonder if he caught me speeding 🙂

I have not seen any pink clouds, or rainbows or unicorns – I have seen a bit more of “me.”

I have not miraculously felt that my life is perfect; I have been able to more appreciate so much good “stuff” that I do have.

I have not moved past missing parts of my drinking lifestyle/friends; I have learned I can enjoy doing things sober, most of the time.

I have not moved past my negative and “what if” thinking that sometimes makes me want to drink; I have learned I’m capable of working on that without drinking.

I have not miraculously lost all my insomnia; I have learned it feels better to be awake at 3 am sober than hungover/still drunk/dying of thirst – and that there is always some good “sober stuff” to read (or write – like writing about all the differences between day 5 and day 100 sober).

I have not missed spending beautiful days inside on the couch because I’m too hungover to get motivated; I have seen, or at least appreciated, more sunrises in the last 100 days than i saw in the 9,125 days or more before that (wow – if you only appreciate 10 or so sunrises a year for 25 years that’s 8,875 potential sunrises missed! – note negative thinking/what ifs)

I have not missed arguing over stupid things with other drunks at 2:00 am; I have learned I kind of enjoy telling drunks it’s time to go home when they start arguing with other drunks about stupid things at 11 pm 🙂

I have not suddenly become someone who can easily ask for help; I have learned if I make myself do it anyway that there are amazing people and resources available.

I have not suddenly become Ms. Domesticated/organized/Suzy Homemaker; I have discovered it’s much less frustrating thinking “where did I put that book/where is my other shoe in this mess of a closet/why didn’t i charge my phone last night/don’t I even own a paring knife?” when you are sober.

I have not stopped thinking that I need to make some more changes to be healthier; I have started to look forward to my next doctor’s appt. (did I really just type that?) because I know I’m going to have improved test results based on the changes I have made.

I have not stopped sometimes thinking that an ice cold beer sounds really good; I have learned I don’t need to act on that thought and I can read/exercise/leave/walk/write/email/go to bed instead.

I have not been able to forget how absolutely, positively, 200% “holy crap this sucks, I’m so exhausted and depressed and miserable” I was those first few weeks (over two months ?); I have decided that’s not something I SHOULD forget.

I have not suddenly become “cured” of depression (OK, that one is hard to think of putting “out there”); I have learned I can accept help for it, and admit to it, and try to work through it instead of going around it.

I have not found that everyone I know (even those I’m closest to) “get” what I’m doing with being sober, or why; I have starting/been trying/getting better at realizing 1) this is for me and whether they “get it” or not really doesn’t matter 2) it takes awhile for everyone else to get used to big changes too.I have not had some revelation that sober life is fantastic, great, the best thing since sliced bread and all day thoughts of “why didn’t I do this earlier?”; I have learned it can be good and I may as well see if it gets better,– just what is going to happen next?

I have signed up for Team 180 (Team 100 + 80 days)