fuck humble

You remember Kelly? you met her when she was on day 10. Today she’s on day 31 and she sent me an update.

I actually wavered a bit on whether to post this or not. y’all, it’s impossible for me to share on the blog all the emails i get like this… for fear of ego-boosting (and other shaming techniques).

But as Cat Girl (day 82) advised me this morning, the traditional sober world “hates any kind of perceived self-congratulation. *STAY HUMBLE. Stay down.* D’you know what, I have spent long enough down, secretly hating myself, listing my defects of character in my own head, I really don’t feel the need to do it all over again. Now, I feel like getting out of the sewer. Getting up. Being proud of myself for what I’ve achieved here, the power I’ve exerted in saying no to drinking.”

So fuck humble.

And anyway, Kelly’s email isn’t about me. It’s about her. And can you see how strong she is? How great she feels? That, my friends, is too good not to share. Get ready to cry:

Good morning Belle, I just recently stumbled on your “tiny gift button” on your blog.  I could feel your angst as the words were literally cringing out on the page.  However, I see it as something you are doing for those of us who really want to do something for you in return for all your goodness.

For me (without exaggeration or high drama) you have saved my life. Now you could have been very well put into my path by those pesky angels I’ve told you about, but you are the one that writes back to me each day and the all the other 100s of people.  You blog everyday sharing your thoughts or share the thoughts of your penpals.  You inspire other problem drinkers with common sense, you step forward courageously with your no nonsense, straight forward, telling it like it is wisdom and you virtually hug each of us with compassion, kindness and support.

So, to me, you definitely are on my Christmas list and deserving of a special treat. You have been a friend extraordinaire and without you, I may have very well fallen back on my drunken butt and into a hell hole of no return.

It is such a simple exercise but for whatever reason, I feel accountable to a woman I’ve never met, a woman I don’t want to disappoint or let down (even though I know you wouldn’t see it that way) and hell bent on keeping a promise I made 31 days ago.  Maybe I was just ready to be accountable and stop lying or maybe, just maybe, I never found anyone who had the exact recipe with their words and actions, that I felt I could trust and do this really hard thing.

All this to say is that I will be pushing that tiny gift button in the coming weeks and hope you will treat yourself as you are so deserving. The song “To Sir with Love” has been playing in my head and I think there are parallels in all of this.  How do I thank someone who has been instrumental in saving my life?  Words are great, tiny gifts are lovely, but the best way I can repay you is by living my life well each and every day. I’m doing this humbly but with my head held high. I am no longer dragging my face into the sidewalk with shame.  I cannot grow into the future if I hold onto the past.

Watch me grow Belle!  Hugs, Kelly xo

fruit & beauty treat


Thanks to the Tiny Gift Button

Blueberries (which are hard to find here), Belgian strawberries, citrus flower body wash, turquoise nail polish for my toes (!), and some raspberry lip gloss.

This is to celebrate my first week of coaching. I will consume/use/smell/wear some of each today!

Today’s Ticker:

(number of people in Team 100)

(spots left in next week’s class)

(wolfie bracelets left in this batch)

(number of kilometres ran this morning)

(this the number of fucking flower venders at the market today – not ONE – it’s vacation time – i want to buy some nice fucking flowers!)

(number of extra catering jobs that came in yesterday, “oh can you do a dinner for 10 and deliver it to us, and can make lots of yummy stuff and homemade cheese crackers … for Tuesday? Yes.)

(number of silicon spatulas that I own that I like; must remedy this situation)

ice cream treat


Travelling puts me in different cities, this week i’ve been in the same city as one of the Team 100 members. So yesterday we went for ice cream 🙂 (thanks ST!).

At first it was a bit like internet dating for sober girls (i’ll be wearing jean shorts, you’ll be wearing black sandals). But soon it’s like two chicks sitting in the park, eating ice cream, talking about booze and how to create a life without it. I really enjoyed the visit and I learned a lot. This reaching out to sober people really helps me to continue to be sober. I just don’t think that talking to ‘a friend who understands’ is the same as talking to someone who has gone through (or is currently going through) the exact same fucking thing.

To cap off the delightful vacation day yesterday, a friend of Mr. Belle’s took us out for supper and then for ‘drinks’ … he knew we weren’t drinking and he took us to a very very loud, very popular pub, with a DJ and $4,50 for a tonic water. You know this kind of place. He wanted to show off how nice his drinking hole was (read that sentence again). And the evening was long. Holy, it was long. Our friend ordered a beer, no problem, i figured we’d be done in half an hour. But for his second round he ordered another pint of beer AND a double gin and tonic at the same time. While Mr. B and i sat without drinks (we’d had enough soda on the first round).

Long and loud and long and loud. That’s how i’d describe my 1.5 hrs in that bar.

One we got home, Mr. B admitted that being in a bar at all wasn’t a smart idea for him (he’s on day 87). I didn’t have any pangs at all, but he said that his friend’s drink “looked good” even though he knew he wasn’t going to drink.  Note to self. That one visit to a bar in a year was plenty. The drunk girls singing Don’t Stop Believing were completely embarrassing. the bathroom was a disaster area, my feet stuck to the floor. And to quote Paul quoting others, “If you hang around a barber shop long enough, sooner or later you’re gonna get a haircut.

No thanks. I’m happy at home with my tea and fresh cherries. Why couldn’t we have been sitting in the yard with Fuck You Wolfie lemonade having an actual conversation, instead of literally shouting to be heard, the conversation consisting of nouns and verbs alone, as the other complementary words were sucked up by the din of Journey and the DJ’s beat box  and holy christ i’m never going there again.

Today I am one year sober

I had read about Dry July and I’d tried not drinking before. I could usually do 3 or 4 or 7 or 9 days. i thought about doing dry july… i mean, surely i could quit for a month…

I was either travelling or on vacation for most of June last year.  There was booze at all meals, lunch and dinner. The last night of vacation (june 27) we went out for dinner at a roast chicken ‘restaurant’ like Church’s Chicken/Swiss Chalet/St-Hubert. My husband had some nostalgic childhood thing he had to fulfill, it wasn’t my idea of a nice place for dinner. We ordered a bottle of wine, had our half-chicken-with-canned-sauce. We ordered more wine. Then we ordered more. It was our last night on vacation. We had purposely left the car behind. The bill came and i reached for the $80 that i had put in my shorts pocket. But the bill was for $130. For two people, two crappy half-chicken dinners, and some seriously overpriced, marked up, not even great wine (a lot of it). I didn’t have my wallet with me. the restaurant was closing. i didn’t have time to take the train back to our hotel room, get my bank card, and return. For whatever reason, all we had between us was my husband’s european driver’s license and $80. So we left his license with the minimum wage employee on the promise that we’d go to a bank in the morning and return before our flight to pay off the bill. and we did.

then we flew home to europe. we had wine on the plane. we had wine once we got home. and i knew i was done. I specifically remember June 30th when i had my last drink. I remember that i didn’t like it, it tasted like garbage, i was so sick and tired of the whole thing. I drank that night just to be finished with it, and so that i could begin Dry July the next day.  And, well, if you’ve read the first part of my long story from last july, you know that i got to day 7 sober and then i knew i was in trouble and that i couldn’t do it alone.

fast forward. today i am one year sober.

Here’s what I know:

  1. it’s much much easier after 30 days. then it’s easier again after 90. then 6 months is rocking. then something happens at about 8.5 months and since then i’ve been riding a pretty big upswing. The first bit of being sober is the hardest, and then it’s an uphill ride of betterness.  i cannot remember the last time i really craved wine. I know that i occasionally think that ‘wine would be a good idea right now’ but it never goes any further than that. it’s probably been 3 months since i’ve had a real craving. I tried to search my blog to find evidence, and all i can find is may 6th, so about 3 months ago: “some blah days it seems like ‘this would be a good time for wine’ is my go-to response to ‘cover up the day and hide from all of this, are we there yet, is this over yet’ feelings.  Instead, I go to bed early, get up and go for a long run, make a new recipe.”
  2. sober help. i would not have gotten (or stayed) sober without help from other sober people. my help came in the form of sober blogging. your help might come from a sober penpal, or commenting on other sober blogs. i really believe now (and i didn’t think this before) that i could not have gotten sober alone. i needed help with the noise in my head. i had to learn it was wolfie. i had to learn to not listen…
  3. i am less grumpy. i don’t go to bed in tears over some misunderstanding. i think i’m more even tempered in general.
  4. i’ve lost 10 pounds since giving up booze even WITH large amounts of cake, without dieting.
  5. we’ve stopped spending ‘dumb’ money, probably about $10 a day, it’s just stopped. We actually went out for dinner this week, and two hamburgers and a large bottle of water = $20.
  6. my husband stopped drinking at home when i quit. when i was 9 months sober, he quit entirely (his idea).
  7. I made room for my passion/job #3 thingy (catering) to really bloom. I am not a morning person. i can only get up at 6 am to bake bread because i’m sober. this i know for sure.
  8. I’m more likely to follow through on a commitment now. I’m better at answering emails and keeping my inbox empty. I follow through on what I say. No more late night facebook posts, and no more (oh god) emailing clients with ideas on how to build their businesses with absolutely no follow-through.
  9. weirdly more patient. I hope that in another year I’ll be writing that i’ve got this patience thing even more ‘figured out’. But today, i’m thankfully MORE patient than i was a year ago. some of my rapid brain syndrome has eased, some of my ADD-like ‘wanting to start a bunch of things and not finish them’ has eased too. I’m more likely to have an idea for … well, for angel food cake. Nowadays i’ll look at a recipe or two, and then roll over and go back to sleep. Before… well, before I would email a bunch of clients, ask their opinions, not follow up, put the new cake on the menu without having really figured it out, and then lose sleep once people started to order it, then deliver something half-assed.  (OK, i’m using cake as an example, right?) Now I’m more likely to have an idea, process it, and then file it away. No new actions taken until other bits are lined up. So what have i learned? I am better able to picture the outcomes of things before i begin, so that i can decide better what avenues to pursue. How’s that for being superbly unclear.
  10. as of today, i have 123 sober penpals. this fucking rocks 🙂 having a sober penpal is like sober insurance for me. Ever since the 100 day challenge started in March, i have known (at least on a subconscious level that now i know in a conscious way), that i will not drink again. When/if wolfie comes calling, i will sometimes say things to myself like “you can drink later” … but as later comes and goes, i think it’s spectacularly unlikely that i will drink again.

I’m writing this in the morning of July 1st, 9:45 am local time (3:45 am eastern).  Later today there will be cake. And we’re going out for dinner.  I will update this post later with a few photos. Happy Canada Day, happy sober birthday to me. Happy day #1 of Dry July to you.

Happy Happy.

Update: 3:22 pm local time


Thanks to the Tiny Gift Button

cookbook treat


Slept until 10:30 am this morning, what a difference 🙂 And it’s sunny today — finally!

AND thanks to our lovely european weekend postal delivery, I received this treat in the mail just as I was having my second saturday morning cup of coffee.

Thanks to the Tiny Gift Button, and thanks to Ellen for recommending this Seattle-original doughnut store for inspiration.

Picture Postcard (Sober) Life:  it’s sunny, saturday, well-rested, and Mr. Belle is ‘working’ because he woke up feeling motivated, which never happens (!). All is well.