Tired of Thinking About Drinking

Archive for the tag “100 days sober”

Audio: Prelapse Part 2 (episode sp155)

Yesterday I recorded Sober Podcast Episode #155 for my longer, weekly sober podcast series. You’re familiar with the one-minute audios. These are longer, meatier.

In this episode I talk about Prelapse (the time before a relapse), the things to watch out for, in the period of time that would come BEFORE a relapse, including any time you hear “this is all too hard.”

This is my second full podcast on the subject of Prelapse. The first one is archived podcast episode 46. so it’s been a while.

The full audio recording for this episode is 28 minutes long. Here’s a 3 minute preview:


Download the full audio episode 155

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(1-2 new audios per week, you can cancel whenever you like … but you won’t. more sober tools = good)

Archived Podcasts


Audio: The Contrarian

I just sent out Episode #151 for my longer, weekly sober podcast series. You’re familiar with the one-minute audios. These are longer, meatier.

and for this audio, i’m doing something very new. For this podcast you are going to hear someone interviewing ME!

One of my sober penpals (Conn) was celebrating his day 100 this week (hooray) and asked if i would be a guest on his podcast to talk about being sober.

As i mention in the audio preface, Richard’s politics (The Contrarian!) may not match your own, but you can hang out and listen to the sober stuff, right? oui. his site if you want to learn more about him is http://www.contrarianonline.com/episode-36/

And if you would like to interview me for YOUR podcast, lemme know. or if you want to recommend me to someone else’s podcast, please do so. i need the practise 😉

Usually i only put up an extract of the podcast and then tell you to go buy the whole thing and/or to sign up for the monthly podcast subscription.

For this weekend, i’m going to today i’m going to post this audio in its entirety. And i’m going to leave it up for 48 hrs so that you can hear the whole thing even if you’re not a podcast subscriber. So please listen now. right now.

[ link has been removed ]

Feedback on the audio

Case Study Michelle: “I really, really liked hearing you as the guest … in a strange way, I was able to hear your message like someone who is not familiar with you. Hearing about corn on the cob, the drink-now voice, you’re not broken, the elevator that only goes down. You have so many great talking points … How do we get you on more of these? How do we get you on a panel to talk about drinking and the various methods/tools?   How do we get you to TED talks?   More, more, more!”

Download this podcast, Episode #151

Sign up for the monthly podcast subscription
(1-2 new audios per week, you can cancel whenever you like … but you won’t. more sober tools = good)


search engine results

here are some of the search engine terms that people have used to ‘find’ my site through google in the last month … i searched for some of this stuff, too, when i was looking for online sober support.

  • tired of thinking about drinking
  • belle 100 day challenge
  • how to get sober without aa
  • belle robertson tired of thinking book
  • afraid to drink, afraid not to drink
  • more to life than drinking
  • how to want to get sober
  • clarity with sobriety
  • true nasty sex confessions
  • when to expect weight loss in sobriety
  • i regret drinking again
  • very afraid of relapse
  • how to stop thinking about alcohol
  • what is it like to be sober?
  • is there more to life than alcohol
  • poop video
  • would it be okay to have a small brandy each night during dry july

You can vote for the strangest (leave a comment!), or for the saddest, or for the one thing would make a good audio topic…

novelty and sobriety.

Novelty. What’s that got to do with quitting drinking?

Our brains want excitement. Life is deemed boring or uninteresting, so we drink to have ‘fun’. It’s like jumping from an airplane without a parachute: fun (perhaps), but dangerous. It’s like gambling: the losing, the waiting to win, then winning but wanting more, not knowing why. The thirst not even quenched by winning. It’s like wanting that one mythical drink, and then drinking more, and more: you’re pouring two bottles of wine on your head and you don’t even know why.

So let’s say you are sensitive, often over-stimulated, a bit ADD. Being sober seems dull. What will I do for fun? How will I unwind (how will I lose track of time and just turn off my brain?).

How do you get novelty when you’re sober? You actively, constructively, with intent. Manufacture it.

Novelty = read, learn, sample, create.

If we need novelty, then we count days. Record our sober momentum. Get high numbers of continuous days sober, don’t break the streak, have a new personal best every day.

If we need novelty, we train for a 5K run. A 10K. A half. A full. Trail runs, triathlons, relays, midnight ‘over the hill and back again with a flashlight’ runs.

If we need novelty, we actively create it. You’ve seen me do this. I’m always experimenting with different ways to build community (what can I learn if I do this? Does this work? Can I apply that technique to this situation?). You’ve seen me create novelty: host a live call on Mixlr, a group conference call with free conference software, send out paper newsletters (with lovely French stamps), write case studies, record one-minute audios, film videos, make longer (ranting) podcasts, conduct interviews, write blog posts, write for Medium, write a book.

I’ve also created a lot of novelty in the catering work that I do: naked wedding cakes, savoury pancakes, can you make a good vegetarian panne cotta, can you use the whey from home ricotta to make bread? (yes)

You say: Being sober is so boring. Without alcohol, my whole life seems dull.

And I say: it’s ok to crave novelty. in sobriety, you CREATE your own novelty. Here are some ideas, you can read them, dismiss them as not applicable, and then pick 5 and do them (ha!).

  • Survey: go to all restaurants in the Washington DC area that serve dulce de leche cake for dessert. Or find the best tacos. Or sample all of the food trucks outside your office. Or eat a different sandwich every Friday. Document with photos.
  • Go for a long run, and take a new picture of something every 10 minutes.
  • You’re a parking lot attendant? Why aren’t you learning Italian on headphones for 8 hours a day?
  • Read. There is no frigate like a book. Donna Leon, Susan Hill, Nicci French, Timothy Taylor, Ta-Nehisi Coates. Read all of Dickens in order, sampling one perfect phrase per day and posting to Instragram
  • Write. Get an app like Commit, and do 15 minutes a day, every day, of writing or editing. I’m on day 163 of continuous writing.
  • Keep an end-of-the-day gratitude diary. It causes you to scan your day while you’re living it, to see if THIS is the best moment of the day.
  • Track your weekend cycling logged against a map of the country, and ‘ride cross country’ marking your progress.

You want novelty? The world is an amusement park. Your life is as interesting as you make it.

  • Buy dishes at yard sales and resell on eBay. Or silver. Or baseball cards. Or Led Zeppelin memorabilia.
  • Use your photography skills to take quirky photos for Airbnb listings in your city (contact the ugly ones, offer to fix for free, create a before and after series on Facebook). do it for free. for fun.
  • Collect clothes from co-workers and cut them up to make quilts for the women’s shelter.
  • Grow ten different kinds of roses and document their progress.
  • Do a daily photo diary of your lunch for a month.
  • Learn how to make an alcohol-free version of tiramisu with regular grocery store ingredients.
  • Visit 10 small grocery stores until you find one who will save their dead bananas for you so you can make banana bread and donate it to the food bank.
  • Watch YouTube videos to learn to make doughnuts, paint leaves, promote your real estate business, or put on makeup.
  • Take piano lessons with the sole intent to be to learn how to play the Peanuts theme.
  • Watch 2 versions of West Side Story and 3 versions of Romeo and Juliet and compare. Create a version with sock puppets.
  • Sample 8 kinds of vanilla ice cream then try to make your own.
  • Take the train/bus/car to a new town. Eat in a new place. Walk a new way. Go to the new theatre. Novelty.

(Wake up every day with a hangover, mentally wrestle with your brain, dreading the day ahead; quit drinking every only to buy wine at dinner time and begin again.)


Wake up every day without a hangover, and see the world as an amusement park, where the biggest wrestle of the day is: What should I do first?

how tiring it must be to be married to us

what must it be like to be married to us, this unique combination of high functioning, high emotion, lots of noise in our heads.

my husband, though he drank as much as I did, does not have a wolfie voice. he is not wound up by things. he doesn’t struggle with “can I, will I, should I, is there more, is this the right amount.”

it must be so tiring for him to be married to me. I may complain about his sloth tendencies and the absolute LACK of obsessing (about anything). but really, he’s dealing with me.

I’ll give you an example.

This is a true story.

My husband is perfectly content to make me a ‘special drink’ at suppertime. if I tell him specifically what I want. and how to make it. why ‘how to make it’? because I keep changing what I want.

(1) Hot chocolate from Marks & Spencer. very yummy. expensive (3,25€ for 10 packages). they have no diet or ‘lite’ option. I only bought one box of the 10 packages.

(2) Then at Christmas, I got Mr. B. a treat for his stocking (which I promptly drank): a box of instant cappuccino powdered things. I drank all of his, and started buying it regularly for myself, the little single servings, 10 to a box. Worked my way up to one or two a day. They were quite weakly flavoured, though, so had to be made in the medium coffee mugs so that there wasn’t too much water added. We have 3 sizes of mugs: large, medium, and small. My husband would make my special coffee for me in the medium cup.

(3) After a few weeks, I moved to a canister of the same powder, instead of the premeasured packages, because it was cheaper (there’s a theme here). Now that I had free reign of the powder, I switched to making a stronger, bigger dose in the large mug. Now it had to be made with 4 teaspoons of the powder with a bit of cream. in the larger mug. there. that’s pretty good. my husband would make it for me.

(4) Another few weeks. it’s too expensive. I’m going through these canisters way too often. I go to the store to buy some diet instant hot chocolate that can be made with hot water.

AND there isn’t any.

France, apparently, is a land of hot cocoa (made with milk, which I don’t drink). it’s all cocoa. no hot chocolate. And not only is there no instant hot chocolate in france, there is no ‘diet’ anything hot and chocolate-y/coffee-y. I can picture the blue canister in my Canadian memory. it was president’s choice brand. I had it all the time. But here? There’s cocoa and sugar in a can you can add hot milk to, but no instant hot chocolate.

I consider leaving the country in desperation.

(5) Instead I buy the cheapest ‘intended for milk’ cocoa mix there is (nesquik! oh my god!) and a bottle of instant decaf coffee.

now my special coffee goes like this: medium cup, 3 spoons of chocolate powder, 1 teaspoon of instant coffee, cream, hot water. my husband would make it for me.

(6) Then I read something about trying to reduce the sugar in my coffee to 1 teaspoon, so I calculate the number of grams in a teaspoon of sugar (5g) then I try to figure out how small my coffee/chocolate combo should be. I switch from the medium to the small coffee cups (of the three sizes), to make a smaller 5g of sugar portion, and I mix one spoon of decaf with only one spoon of nesquik (lame) and some cream and hot water. My husband makes my coffee for me, after I clarify the specific recipe which changes daily.

(7) Last friday I had a catered event, and there was some real coffee left over, I put it in a jar. now I’m adding it a few tablespoons at a time to my little special coffee, for a tiny bit of caffeine but also to use it up. My husband makes my coffee for me, BUT every day, now, he has to ask me ‘how I want it’.

(I want to moderate my drinking, I can’t figure out how to do it, I try things that don’t work because the thing I’m looking for isn’t in the alcohol.)

I have an idea of what I want and I keep changing, because I can’t match the idea. for the hot chocolate coffee combo? I’m looking for some feeling that isn’t there. It reminds me of home. when I used to have it before my sunday long runs. I can still remember the sound the spoon made in the square blue cup (that the movers broke). mix a bit of powder in the bottom with cream, then add hot water.

why do I want that experience now?


what am I getting instead? gritty nesquik in a small less-than-5g-cup with an endlessly patient husband (but how patient is he, really, how long can he tolerate the intolerable).

(8) yesterday morning I got up and did research on homemade instant hot chocolate. it is really just cocoa, sugar and powdered milk. I have all that. I make some, it’s fine. but it has 30 g of sugar in one cup.

(9) yesterday afternoon I walked to the Marks & Spencer to check out the hot chocolate they have (again). surely this would be easier. but it has 26 g of sugar per serving and it’s 3,25€ for 10. I leave without buying any.


if the thing that I’m looking for isn’t IN the hot coffee drink, then it’s time for me to move on. stop trying to make it into something it isn’t. go back to tea. I was drinking only tea before. I liked it there. my husband can make tea: add one bag to the teapot, fill with water. serve with any mug. it’s just plain easier.

(if the feeling you’re looking for isn’t in the alcohol, they stop fucking with the quantities, timing, types and tricks. just move on. the thing you’re looking for isn’t in there. the feeling better? it’s not in a bottle.)

not in a creepy way

from my inbox:

JenniferKay: “I settled down last night. I ran 45 minutes this morning; I bought a huge coffee; I’m feeling better. I think there is some panicking because I know that I’m not going to drink, and I’m stuck with dealing with wanting to drink, and when I’m in the midst of it, it’s really…debilitating…is that too dramatic…it’s exhausting…it’s all I can think about…I was trying to talk to my husband, and he really doesn’t understand…it’s not his fault, of course, but Jesus…someone please do this for me!!! He said that I seem more miserable without drinking than I did when I was drinking…thanks honey!!!…


It’s interesting to me that I can read into anything. For example, when I don’t think that I have a problem, I see the line that says…if you’re not sure, you probably don’t have a problem.  When I think I do have a problem, I see the line that says…if you suspect you have a problem, you probably do. Then, I read sober blogs about people who decide to go back to drinking, and I think I was like them, I could go back and drink and forget this ever happened. Then, I read sober blogs that talk about the greatness of sobriety, and I think I can stick with it and see how great it is, and be one of those reverse cool people who is very chic and doesn’t drink.

So this journey…uggghhh…or…awesome…depending on the moment/second!!! xoxo”

me:  you know you’re not going to drink and so you panic that you might have a feeling. and you do have feelings. and it’s not that interesting. you have a feeling and then they fade out. the dramatic stuff will be short-lived and not very often. and those people on sober blogs who go back to drinking? I don’t know of any one – not one person – who successfully moderated afterwards. they usually regret the decision, restart later, change their name and restart their blogs, email me for a new day 1, and/or just disappear because they’re embarrassed … I literally get hundreds of emails – god, I got one today that said: “I was sober for 13 years, had ‘a glass of wine’ and it took me 11 years to get a new day 1.” these are the real stories. the rest is wolfie window dressing.

you can choose which sober blogs you read. people who are happily sober. or people who listening to wolfie and trying to rationalize their behaviour. hugs.

JenniferKay: “Is it wrong to love you??? Not in a creepy way, I love you. You make me laugh, and you point out things in a way that I cannot see them. Seriously, I need a t-shirt that says…What would Belle do? in a super cute font.”

Audio: Don’t Drink (episode sp148)

I just recorded Sober Podcast Episode #148 for my longer, weekly sober podcast series. You’re familiar with the one-minute audios. These are longer, meatier.

In this episode, I had to wait for my husband to leave before I recorded it. I figured i was going to cry while doing it, and i didn’t want to alarm him.

Usually i only put up an extract of the podcast and then tell you to go buy the whole thing and/or to sign up for the monthly podcast subscription.

Today it’s sunday. and today this audio (i think) needs to be heard in its entirety. So i’m going to put up the whole thing (7 minutes long) and i’m going to leave it up for 24 hrs so that you can hear the whole thing even if you’re not a podcast subscriber. So please listen now. right now.

The full audio for this episode is 7 minutes long.

[ link has been removed ]


Download the audio podcast episode 148

Sign up for the monthly podcast subscription
(1-2 new audios per week, you can cancel whenever you like … but you won’t. more sober tools = good)


“you can be kind of a pest”

from my inbox:

Tina Jeanne (Day 1): “Hi Belle, I decided this morning when I was writing in my journal that I would do this. There was some kind of shift that took place as I was writing. Maybe I could already feel the universe behind me. I just love this concept. I also keep getting these pokes and nudges from you. Your daily emails are relentless. And you sent this one about the solstice twice! I think another sober blogger mentioned this about you too recently. You can be kind of a pest, you know …

me: I can be kind of a pest. a sober pest. the kind that if you didn’t want to be sober, you’d unsubscribe. and if you do want to be sober, you know that I’m here whenever you’re ready to feel better. I’m a consistent pest. a lighthouse. I just stand here. I do the same thing all the time. how I’m interpreted has probably more to do with how much wolfie is speaking. Wolfie says “why doesn’t she shut up” and the sober voice says “thank god she’s there saying that same thing over and over.”

I can reset you. day 2 today. Welcome back to your sober suite. it’s #1553. this spot is just for you.

anonymous forgiveness

FOR ONE DAY ONLY, i have created an Anonymous Forgiveness space. why today? because i want to let myself off the hook for something, and i know that depending on how i phrase it, it’ll reach someone else too.

So here’s the deal.

  1. Post a comment below.

  2. For this to work you MUST leave your name and your email and your website address BLANK in the comments form (if you forget, i’ll go in and delete that info manually). all comments are to be anonymous.  one of the comments will be from me, you just won’t know which one.

  3. I have no way of personally knowing who posts what. Promise.

  4. In your comment, write two or three sentences (max.) about something that you would like to forgive yourself for, for something you did, or said, or thought, because of alcohol. When you write the comment, phrase it like this: “I forgive you for …” Then later, you can read it again and suck in the goodness, AND someone ELSE can read it and get the goodness too.  For example, i’ll make one up. Let’s say you waited too long to go the doctor because you were afraid to admit how much you  drank.  So then as your comment, you’d write: “I forgive you for waiting too long to go to the doctor. Drinking made you scared.” OR “I know you didn’t mean to … and I forgive you for …”

  5. Then take a second and post an anonymous ‘reply’ to one of the other comments already posted, and say something lovely and kind.

PS. if your name/email automatically shows up when you start to enter a comment, you can manually delete them OR you can ‘log out’ of your blogging profile.

It’s one bitchy uptight girl

when you feel itchy and shitty, and wolfie is yelling ‘maybe now, what about now, how about now?’ you KNOW you don’t want to give into the voice or else you create the candy in the grocery store syndrome.

but as that rumble of feeling crappy builds, we cannot think of what to do. our favourite coping strategy (Alcohol! The Solution and the Cause To All of Life’s Problems!) has been removed.

you think: what would a parent do for a temper tantrum wielding 3-year old. they’d distract, offer something, suggest not now but maybe later, and move attention to something else. put on a sock puppet. blow bubbles. something else to look at, to think about.

you think: what would a parent do for a sad (“but mom, none of my friends like me”) 9-year old. They’d suggest that you have pancakes for dinner, perhaps even as a picnic in the backyard. Let’s make a tent and ‘camp’ for dinner. Nine year old is unimpressed. Mom shifts tacks. She doesn’t give up. She doesn’t try the same thing again. She tries different. You go and have a bath with big bubbles (you can use some of my special mommy lavender sfuff) and then we’ll make hot chocolate, and you can teach me how to navigate that next level in the Live Action Thriller with Cupcakes video game (clearly not my generation). You want me to braid hair like Jan on the Brady Bunch (that’s more like it). Oh and sweetie, remember when you hear the words “none or always or all or never or forever or nothing” in your head, then it’s not true. It’s not that NONE of your friends like you. It’s one bitchy uptight girl you’d be better off ignoring. It’s not that you’ll feel crappy FOREVER, it’s that you’re having a moment that honestly if we timed it with my old fashioned clicky stopwatch (none of this digital shit), you’d see that your crappiness lasts less than 1.5 hrs at the worst of times, and is usually done in the space of minutes.

and yes. inside of you right now, there is perhaps a 3-year old or a 9-year old. in fact, the “drink now” voice may alternate between the two voices, looking for purchase. it will yell “why can’t I, you’re mean, this is unfair, I want a doughnut right now” (age 3) and if that doesn’t work it’ll flip to “this is always going to be hard, I will never feel better, nothing improved when I got sober, my life is still ALL shit” (age 9).

apply strategies above as appropriate. repeat as necessary. if hot chocolate worked yesterday, it may work today. if it doesn’t, then move to hair braiding.

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