11+20 – the next phase of sobriety

20:45. The next phase for me in sobriety is going to be digital minimalism. My birthday present to myself was Cal Newport’s 2018 book by that name. I’d first known about it nearly one year ago, when I first started this journey into sobriety. In 2017 I’d read his book “Deep Work,” which was excellent, so I knew it would be good. But I didn’t buy “Digital Minimalism” till now.

It’s only available in paper format. It’s a beautiful cover design, graphic cool-yellow lines in concentric circles. It’s a kind of sensual pleasure to pick it up, in the way that it’s just the right size and weight.

I have another book I’m trying to read in paper format right now β€” Carol Shields’ book, Startle And Illuminate. I can only read a page at a time or so. Every page, I’m like “dang!” “Dang! ‘Double Dang!” It’s like she’s been reading my thoughts, but expressing them 10 times better than I ever could! It’s not the best feeling, TBH. ;)) But I highly recommend it, in theory. :)) Only issue is it’s hardcover, or at least mine is, and it’s heavy-ish and the binding doesn’t fall open easily.

But this one, Cal Newport’s book, the typeface is the right size, the pages are so cottony and natural-coloured… maybe I’m overselling it here, and when you get it you’ll be like, what’s the big deal, it’s just a book like any other! But I just truly enjoy my time with this book. I read 25 pages in one sitting, which I’m ashamed to say is a lot for me. I mostly read blogs, online. This is my issue. The one I need to work on.Β 

I have three socially-active blogs including this one. It wasn’t planned at all, it just happened, and I keep wanting to amalgamate them or reduce them to one somehow, but I enjoy certain aspects of each, and figuring out the organization aspect of it seems like about as much fun as sorting a file system (i.e. not much, in my books).

I don’t use much social media other than these β€” Facebook is a kind of once a month, 5-minute event for me, if that; and I keep trying, sporadically, on Instagram, mainly because of artists I love to follow, and friends I have who post on their private accounts, but posting there myself is not much fun. Too much effort required. I’m not good at posting via mobile, and as many know, Instagram doesn’t allow desktop publishing. I’m more of a typer than a tapper.

We are social beings. We are wired to socialize for survival. But since quitting the vino I’ve taken bloggercize to a whole new level. I know it’s tricky to talk about it here since y’all are my friends. It’s not about wanting to give up contact with friends, it’s about wanting to not feel like my head is becoming a screen.

My screen time has sky-rocketed. I interact with many amazing people (some of them are you!) around the world every day, in comments on their blogs and/or on mine. It’s super fun, just like drinking wine used to be, kind of like a 24-hour writer/artist party, but there are side effects. One is running across intense negativity sometimes (though that is very, very rare). Another is that I’m neglecting aspects of my offline life that need more attention than I’ve been giving them.

I get overwhelmed with the kids sometimes. Four boys is a lot. I’m so glad and lucky to have them, but it’s a huge amount of responsibility. In the beginning it was easier to maintain contact and guidance β€” they were babies, or toddlers, there were no screens, they were in my arms or on my back, and they naturally wanted to be around me all the time. Now they’re older, they gravitate to other interests, they each have screens (their dad/my hubs is a computer guy); quite frankly, I don’t know how to handle it.

And also quite frankly, I escape handling it by doing just about anything other than handling it.

I don’t neglect my kids in the sense of getting their basic needs met. We eat home-cooked lunches and dinners together as a family. I give them tons of positive reinforcement, cuddles, story times (for the younger ones), “life coaching” talks on our commutes, daily walks in nature, teaching them (cat herding them into!) doing chores, rather than simply doing them myself. But there are many, many hours that happen in between those times, and I am not filling them in the best way possible, for the relatively short amount of time they will remain under my responsibility.

I need to change that. Especially now that they are home from school indefinitely. (Schools closed in France on Friday afternoon.)

I have tried in the past to set finite public goals, with relation to sobriety, and while those work very well for some folks, I’ve learned that it can sometimes cause me personally to self-sabotage, under the feeling of social pressure. It’s all my own weight on my head, no-one else’s – but it’s heavy nonetheless.

Therefore I will be finding my way with each step I take, in this next stage of my sobriety.

I have a few quiet goals in mind with regards to gradually reducing my consumption of online input, and I have begun to enact them. In the meantime I’ll continue reading Cal Newport’s book.

I do want to remain a part of this community. I would not have gotten this far without you fellow sobriety-lovers.

In other news, I’ve taken up my knitting again, over the past couple of months… my sobriety shawl is coming along, at the astounding average rate of one row per day, which keeps increasing in length. My math isn’t great, but this rate, I figure it might be finished… in another year or so. ;))


“funny rainbow”


Cal Newport’s book – “Digital Minimalism”: https://www.calnewport.com/books/digital-minimalism/

My older post about it: https://wordpress.com/post/sobrietytree.com/73

11 months, 20 days of sustained sobriety. Thank you for all your wonderful support. 🌱


42 thoughts on “11+20 – the next phase of sobriety

  1. I totally get you about your boys. I only have two and I feel that I don’t always make the effort it takes to engage with them. Digital time is about balance and unfortunately for us β€˜all or nothing’ types we do struggle with that concept. Your friends on here will always be here when you need them. People come and go on here, as and when they need to. That’s what it’s about. Use it as you need to.

    Love the knitting. I cross stitch … very slowly πŸ˜‚
    Sending love
    Don’t be a stranger πŸ˜‰
    Claire xx 😘

    Liked by 2 people

        1. One of the best things to do when cross, is stitch. πŸ˜ˆπŸ˜‰
          Wether rows or patterns or seams, πŸ§ΆπŸ•ΈπŸ§΅πŸ‘—
          Through the stitches, meaning gleams. πŸŒ…πŸ”†πŸ‘€πŸ’ƒπŸΌπŸ•ΊπŸ‘©β€β€οΈβ€πŸ‘¨
          Thanks for all your lovely support and friendship, Claire. πŸ’•πŸ™πŸ‘―β€β™€οΈ
          It wouldn’t be the same for me, without you there. πŸ˜˜πŸ˜‡

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Do what you need to do, lovely. I’ve noticed a bonus that comes with sobriety is being able to listen and respond to what we need on an individual level. Our body and soul tells us what we need if we listen! So cool. And your shawl is beautiful!!! πŸ’•

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Wow, this is wonderful, I had no idea about the podcast, that will be perfect actually, for if I’m knitting! Very much appreciated! πŸŽ‰πŸ™And thank you for these super kind words. πŸ’—πŸ˜Š


  3. It sounds like you do loads of great stuff with your boys but that maybe it’s also about what you do for you? You’ll work it out and get the balance – it’s like the colours in your shawl this sober life – putting it together row by row and we can’t see it all yet – and look how beautiful the scarf is! X πŸ’žπŸ’ž

    Liked by 3 people

    1. How is it that you’re always so perceptive, DGS/doc L.? ;)) Seriously though, I always feel so deeply understood by you. Thank you for all the intent listening/reading you do. πŸ’–πŸ’•πŸ™
      And thanks about the scarf πŸ˜ƒ- though I wished I’d photographed it on a better background, instead of on that rug! (I’m still a recovering perfectionist. ;)) xoxoxo


  4. so many changes so quickly, so many people having trouble coping with it. I especially feel for those who have young children who have to continue to work. This is very trying for them financially and emotionally.My daughter has that plus a surgery looming ahead for her husband that keeps getting post poned..now her husband on of the boys and my son who live with her – all have pneumonia…she is struggling with the panic of Facebook as well and should probably deactivate( like i have) but says she does stuff for the church, so…anyway- good on your for less digital;;; on board with ya!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I am so, so sorry to hear about your daughter’s postponed surgery, and about her son and husband, and your son, all having pneumonia. My heart goes out to them and you. ❀️

      I completely agree. It’s a very, very worrisome situation. Many places of work here are also closed, so the parents are home with their kids, or pooling childcare amongst one another. A few major chain stores/restaurants and other gathering places/events are closing, bit by bit, also. I don’t expect the machine will allow its workers to starve, so we have to assume that things will change again before we all run out of food.

      Someone close to me said it’s inevitable that most of the world will at some point contract this virus, that’s how viruses work. He says the governments are trying to push the peak number of simultaneous illnesses (which worldwide is currently still on the rise, but theoretically nearing the peak) past this usual heavy danger point for illness (winter) so that it can better bear the care required the number of sick people (less people will be sick with other illnesses in spring). In April things should relax a bit, he opines. Another random opinion, but to me it made sense and sounded reassuring. I’ll be honest, I hardly pay attention to the news anymore (there was a time when I was obsessed, a couple of years ago). Before I leave the house, I read the headlines of the major news outlets online; that’s about it.

      We have to look out for our nearest and dearest, as well as our most susceptible members of the community. Mainly of the elderly are engrained in tradition here, and hold fast to customs and habits that do not protect them. We can gently remind them of things like regular hand-washing with soap and warm water, no hand-shaking/cheek-kissing (hugging is less risky, IMHO, if contact is required/desired), and also we can call or text them daily to find out how they are doing and if we can help them in any way.

      Thank you so much for your thoughtful comments, Lovie. You’re such a supportive member of the blogging community. πŸ™πŸ’›

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Nadine – definitely listen to that wonderful gut instinct😊. That’s one of the greatest parts of being sober. Now you can actually notice and feel it and most importantly act. I like your approach of not publicly making a forever stance, but more going with an explore and see stance. You know I’m always rooting for you. You do you❀️

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Dwight, how can I ever thank you enough. I just always feel super happy and blessed to have you rooting for me!!! β€οΈπŸ˜šπŸ€—

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I am so full of admiration for you. The way you always try to behave with such integrity to your personal values…. I wish I could be more like that. Parenting is hard, life is hard, and sometimes we do things because they allow us some time that feels much freer and immediately reinforcing. I guess it’s when the pros of those things outweigh the cons. But, for what it’s worth, the way you talk about your care for your family…. to me it sounds like you have a great balance. And I’ve thought that time and time again, across so many different things that you’ve said. I don’t say it lightly. I fear you judge yourself too harshly at times.

    On another note, your scarf looks so beautiful. Another thing to be proud of. And nearly a year of sobriety. Wow!!


    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Rachel. This is balm for my soul. You and your words seriously mean so much to me. I have learned so much kindness from you and the way you treat everyone without fail.

      This day, the second since I made some changes – has been wonderful – wonderful! – as was yesterday too. Aside from getting some more tedious (but necessary) off-blog work done, and the good feeling that brings, it’s in huge part thanks to you, and the rest of the radiant WP crew.

      I mostly needed to streamline my exposure towards positive input and/or that of trusted, mutually supportive blog friendships. That so far has made all the difference.

      Thanks for all your goodness and for being such a reliable friend. Hugs and good morning, on the other side of the world πŸ€—πŸŒ…β˜•οΈxoxoxo

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Awww my lovely friend, I am so glad you have found a way of being that brings you happiness and peace.

        Thank you for being such a reliable friend too, I mean that. And, it’s my turn to send coffee πŸ™ƒ β˜•οΈ πŸ˜‰β™₯️

        Liked by 1 person

            1. Lol!!! It was crazy strong, you may have just tipped me over the edge, galfriend. πŸ˜†πŸ™β˜•οΈπŸŒΈπŸ˜³πŸ₯΄β€οΈŽπŸ˜‰

              Liked by 1 person

                    1. πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ (seriously hard-core sheldon-laughing right now – feels like treason. Now go burp out some poetry! 🀣Please. ‘Tis the season. πŸ˜‰πŸŒ»πŸ )

                      Liked by 1 person

  7. Hi Nadine: do what you have to do! I love the idea of digital minimalism. It is scary how easily we can become absorbed into the world online and not spend enough time in the real world. I will have to read that book. Hopefully, we will hear from you every once in a while as your posts are always so lovely. xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Ms. New! πŸ₯°πŸ’š
      I definitely plan to stick around WP for a good while yet. The positive aspects of this community (folks like you!) bring me so much joy. β˜€οΈπŸ™

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Hi honey!
    You have a lot going on with your boys home full time!
    I think it’s so important to take care of your family right now! You’ve done so well on your sober journey!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Wendy. You’ve always been so supportive of all of us newer leaves off the big tree. β˜€οΈπŸŒ±πŸ™πŸ’•

      Liked by 1 person

  9. LOVE THE COLORS! Are you taking orders? Let me know. I love “digital minimalism”. I’d be more insane than I am without you all but I do get crazy if I overdue. It’s the one thing that I’ve found I CAN moderate. Great post! Love the shawl but love you more!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Awwwww thank you Elizabeth, about the shawl. I totally had that idea, but I don’t know what to charge for what is beginning to feel like a thousand hours of work! πŸ˜‚ Still figuring that one out. :))) I feel the same as you about the need for this community. I need to learn to moderate!! Thank you for the love dear E. Right back at you. πŸ˜ŠπŸ’—

      Liked by 1 person

  10. holy shit that’s a gorgeouuuuuus shawl ! the colors are just wonderfully wonderful ! I sat on a plane next to Cornelia hamilton (the yarn queen -I had never heard of her before-) a few months ago, and we instantly connected and had an 8 hour long conversation while the rest of the plane watched movies – if you ever run out of yarn or knitting inspiration, check out her website or instagram πŸ™‚ she is one badass lady ! https://www.hamiltonyarns.com/ she actually makes me think of you ! ❀ Anne

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Anne, thank you!!!! The yarn is crazy beautiful, is it not?!?!? It’s just knit every stitch, increase every other row along one side, till the yarn runs out. The yarn’s the star. ;)) ✨
      I have never heart of Cornelia Hamilton but wow, I love her name, it’s much like one of my oldest favourite names, Cordelia (from Anne of Green Gables ;)) I will check out the website, and that sounds like a huge compliment, so thank you! ❀️😊🌈πŸ₯°πŸ˜πŸ™

      Liked by 1 person

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