drinking is something I MUST do each night

from me:
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).

hugs hugs


LARGE magnets
approx. size is 7.5 x 7.5 cm (3″ x 3″)these can be personalized with whatever word you choose …
or maybe your soberversary date 🙂
do you see how they go together?

link for magnet #384 > link
link for magnet #385 > link

“Click here to see what you’ve won!”

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.”

sunday audio. something has to change

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.

show notes:

  • the blog post about habits by Sean McCabe (seanwes). link here
  • the music, “Ibiza Dream,” thanks to Chris Haugen. link here
  • the photo for ‘adding blankets of support’ thanks to The Bees. link here
  • the unedited version of today’s audio, where i talk about ‘across the pond’, my plans for an extended rant, and the idea of naming these audios ‘clutch/fart’ will be sent in its entirety to podcast subscribers. link here



original art, thanks to mr.belle
you have potential when you’re sober
this is a close-up of painting #589
click link here

“No Mom, not now”

From ladybug11:

“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]:

  • SP103 – Boundaries (i’m doing this to take care of ME, you say. i’m learning how to say no)
  • SP163 – Good Boundaries (we care so much that other people like us, that we don’t care if we like ourselves …)
  • SP169 – Interview Practise 1 (how to maintain boundaries, why do we over-drink (is it family history?)
  • SP211 – The Sprinkler (how to avoid dealing with someone (or some situation) that is making you feel nutty)


  • a 2-minute clip from SP187 – Take Care of You (this is not the whole podcast, just an extract) – what does it mean to ‘take care of yourself’?
  • OMM020 Boundaries: there are toxic people around you, there is shit-pouring. you need an umbrella. how do you get one?



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?


  • Get more audios on iTunes (apple podcasts) > link
  • Get more audios on Stitcher > link
  • or search for ‘Belle Sober Message’ on whatever podcast platform you use
  • Get the full audio for the Bored podcast episode #218 here > link


shameless commercial link.
getting real mail instead of junk mail? mail from france = nice.

medium magnet
2.5″ x 2.5″, acrylic and ink on hand-cut cardstock
mailed in a bubble envelope from France

medium magnet 417 > link



from me: 8 things i discovered in a short period of time

from me:

husband was away for 36 hrs (thursday to friday), which allowed me to focus on myself without distractions. the things that i can discover in this very short period of time are … well, they’re large. a large number of large-emotionally-space-taking things.

1. i’m not lonely when i’m alone, i’m pretty self-contained and can entertain myself quite happily without input.

2. i go to bed earlier. 8:30 pm in fact, reading, and then was asleep by 9:30 pm and slept 10 hrs. When he’s here, we eat later, we watch a one-hour show. he likes to finish the show, whereas i can turn it off part-way if i’m tired. he will stop if i ask, i just don’t ask.

3. the eating-late thing is from inertia. i’m waiting for him to start, he’s waiting for me (or not). i’m hoping i won’t have to cook at all if it gets too late … and while he was away? I pulled vegetarian lasagne sauce out of the freezer, the kind he doesn’t like with capers, and had that over pasta, cooked enough for two servings so i’d have an easy lunch the next day, and then – wait for it – did the dishes while the pasta was boiling.

4. when he’s not here, i experiment more, worried that i am (apparently) of the judgement of even one person i guess, didn’t notice this before, makes me try safer stuff? anyway, i made my regular banana bread (cake) recipe with a chocolate cookie base layer, and mixed in a half cup of homemade cranberry sauce into the batter. and it was quite lovely. (how could it not be.)

5. i ate and then put dishes in the dishwasher. i didn’t wait for him to load/unload. i just did it. the mental energy spent deciding to do it or not was removed. (deciding to drink/not drink every day is harder than saying having none.) when it’s just you, you do the dishes. when there’s two people (if you’re like me) you’re waiting. (when it’s just you in your head, you’re sober. when there’s you and an active wolfie, you’re negotiating.)

6. when he’s here, i ask what his plans are for the weekend and then build around him. he doesn’t ask me to do this. and he doesn’t do this for me. like today he’s working for the morning (since he was away), and then we have a new-apartment viewing (the 4th one so far, all with no luck – so far). so now that i know he’s working, i look at the time, judge what i can do in that time. so far i’ve done none of it, mind you. i’m here writing to you AND i watched 30 minutes of cake decorating videos on youtube. i can watch them for hours. but actually ice a cake? too messy to experiment. and then i’d have to eat the cake … and we don’t have the same ingredients here so it wouldn’t work out, oh how i LONG to live in a place with all-purpose flour again. if you’re from the UK and you don’t know what that is, go to google and look it up. go to the King Arthur Flour website or the Robin Hood one while you’re there …)

7. When he’s not here, i take down the nice fairy lights in the living room, hang them in the bedroom, open the bedroom window to sleep (!), and read for an hour to finish the quite-ok-not-booker-prize-y new margaret atwood book. (when he comes home, he says the light isn’t bright enough to read (on his side of the bed, which was true), and he hasn’t noticed yet that i’ve opened the window but later i’m sure it’ll be closed again. he’s a little bird that way, easily cold. whereas i’m a 53 year old woman. nuff said.)

8. when he’s gone for an hour, i sort of wait for him to come home. when he’s gone for longer, i get on with things. (when you quit drinking for a day it’s harder than quitting for longer. when it’s longer, you settle into it. you do. really.)

so today, on this saturday, i’d like to find the release catch that opens the setting that allows me to behave like he’s away all the time, even when he’s here.

you can relate?


s’élever means to rise up, to raise yourself up. i like how the root of the word elevator is in there. and i like that it’s in french, like my guy is, he who is the maker of the art.
this is painting #588 here > link


the temptation to try moderation …

from Frog:

“Belle, I loved your comment to someone the other day about not drifting from supports. I feel so strong in my sobriety but I know it backfired big-time once before. That temptation to try moderation. I KNOW moderation does not work, so the decision to have one drink is the decision to have hundreds. I am still listening to podcasts and probably always will. I do some sober reading every week and probably always will. It’s part of my life, but now that I’m further along it’s not the focus of life (like in those first few weeks). I find it encouraging to read about people new to sobriety and their struggles. It reminds me of a place I never want to visit again. Thanks again for all you do. Frog”

from me, ok, isn’t that the best quote? I love it so much i asked the jewelry designer to make up something special, unisex, with this expression on it. and she has come up with a wide, sterling silver cuff with a distressed look to it. The Decision Bracelet / Unisex



there are a few of these special edition Unisex Decisions cuffs here.

when you get your shit together

New Chris: ” A major thing that happened to me, that I wanted to share with you. While I was drinking, I did a huge amount of damage to my relationships with my husband and kids. The one that took the biggest hit was my son (turns 18 today). He would do nothing but give me dirty looks, which then made me feel even worse about myself than I already did. Not that I’m blaming him by any means. Anyways, I’m coming up on 2 years sober now and although it took time and patience, I’m finally making quite a bit of progress with him.

Last week, for no reason, he left me a note, and some flowers, thanking me for my help with getting him set up for college, and everything else I do. Followed by “I love you”. That meant the fricking world to me. He started college this week, so it’s kind of hard adjusting to having him gone, but I am SOOOO thankful that I finally stopped the drinking when I did, and I actually had time to repair things before he left. Yeah, I will always regret the wasted years that could have been so much better. I so wish I could change that. But I can’t. But I can keep moving forward and be the person and mom I knew I always could be from now on.

It’s pretty fucking amazing what happens when you get your shit together. Thank you for all you do for us. New Chris”


hugs from me to you. this is a medium-sized magnet, 2.5″ x 2.5″,  mr.b signed the back. this is #411.

medium magnet 411 > link

the story of the magnets?
they’re based on the paintings that my husband does – www.artsober.com – with sober messages. And each magnet is cut from a larger painting on thick cardstock, so you’re sharing part of it with other sober people all over the world. for example, the person who bought #410 next to this one lives in Florida …

throwing wine over my brain

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

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

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

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

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



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

magnet 332 > link


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

i will need to play that role for myself

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

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

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


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

magnet 332 > link


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