Belle took her last drink June 30, 2012. With almost 8 years of sobriety (at the time of recording) this is her story of living alcohol free (AF).
On today’s episode Paul opens discussing what alcohol promises and does not deliver. Many people are trying to fill a void by using alcohol, but it will never be enough. The journey you take and the reward you earn on this life being AF is the eternal knowing that you are enough and are fulfilled.
[7:58] Paul introduces Belle.
Belle is 53 years old, married and lives in Paris, France. She is a caterer.
[11:06] Because of the formal nature of the culture in Paris, is the recovery culture more secluded?
Belle says that because she interacts mostly with English speakers (UK, American, Australia, Canada) her insight into the recovery world in France isn’t that well-informed. But she does state that there isn’t the overindulgent alcohol community that you find other places and in nearby countries. “It’s not socially acceptable to be hammered outside your home.”
[16:58] Why is French onion soup so good in Paris?
It’s situational, exhaustion, dehydration and fantasy of France.
[18:40] Give us a background on your drinking
Belle felt alcohol talking to her around the age of 21. She thought everyone had that voice. For the next 15 years she felt she was keeping drinking in check by only buying what she would drink that day and not have other alcohol in the house. At 36 she was having 3 glasses of wine a night and found it hard to go a night without. Belle began putting into place unconscious moderating techniques to keep in control. She got married in 2005 and having that partner there opened the door to more drinking but with someone else there, so it appeared less harmful.
In March 2012, she tried quitting drinking for 1 month, just to prove that she could. She got 7 days.
[25:59] Can you expand on the feeling you had when you realized it was actually really hard to quit drinking?
Belle says it was embarrassing because there was no one to tell or talk about it with. She didn’t associate herself with alcoholics because of her high bottom drinking. She just thought she lacked self-discipline.
Belle tried again with Dry July in 2012 and on day 9 knew again, this was going to be harder than anticipated. So, she started a WordPress blog to talk about the struggle. People began commenting on her blog posts and she in that moment she wasn’t alone.
From that blog grew her 100-day Sober Challenge, her penpal support system and a business venture.
[39:28] What are some of the lessons you have learned from doing this project?
Belle says everything she’s learned are from her penpals. They taught her that while her story may be unique to her, the core experience of quitting drinking is the same for everyone.
[48:37] Talk to us about the anonymity [of your project] and how you are anonymous.
Belle said that without anonymity she wouldn’t have been able to share the truth. People responded to her approach because it allowed them to also share the truth while being anonymous. Belle believes that you get sober and then you go on with the rest of your life and there exists the life you build on top of being sober. She believes that you don’t have to tell everyone or anyone else about your sobriety.
[52:25] Let’s talk about your book.
Belle’s book is titled Tired of Thinking About Drinking: Take My 100-Day Sober Challenge. Her subscribers wanted her to write a book, so she did.
[52:29] Do you think there will ever be a day you will shed the anonymity?
If Oprah calls and asks Belle to share her experience working with 3000 people, yes. She would probably do that. Otherwise, no.
[56:03] Rapid Fire Round
- What’s a lightbulb moment you’ve had on this journey?
That I’m not alone. And most people have identical experiences.
- What’s your favorite AF drink?
Just tonic or tonic and grapefruit juice.
- What’s your favorite resource in recovery?
- What’s on your bucket list in this AF life?
Own a bakery.
- What parting piece of advice can you give to listeners?
It’s in the act of reaching out that things change.
You might need to ditch the booze if…
If you can’t quit drinking for 100 days, then you have a problem. The answer is in the question.
Belle’s website and all the information shared: https://www.tiredofthinkingaboutdrinking.com
Upcoming events, retreats and courses:
- We are into week one of Ditching the Booze – The What, the Why and the How. And will be offering this a few more times coming up. It’s free for Café RE members. Not a Café Re member? Sign up here and use the code OPPORTUNITY for waive the set-up fee.
- You can find more information about our events
This episode sponsored by:
Tiger Tail, use this link and enter the promo code: ELEVATOR15 for 15% off your order.
Resources mentioned in this episode:
Connect with Cafe RE– Use the promo code OPPORTUNITY to waive the set-up fee.
Sober Selfies!- Send your Sober Selfie and your Success Story to –email@example.com
“Recovery Elevator – It all starts from the inside out- I love you guys”