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My sober pandemic: Dorothy

April 4th, 2020 Interviews

delicious looking drink

This is a new series of ‘Sober Lockdown Stories’ featuring people with any length of sobriety sharing how they’re keeping themselves well during the global pandemic crisis.

Today’s sober hero is Dorothy (@dorothyparker) who lives in Wellington.


Mrs D: How are you feeling about what’s going on with this Corona-19 virus?

Dorothy: Initially I was in a heightened state of anxiety. My work landscape was changing daily, and ultimately my job has been put on hold indefinitely. I am self employed so no work means no income. That was very confronting, as I am my family’s main breadwinner. I went into full-blown fixing mode, which kept me occupied but quite manic. Once I had made some plans about our finances, I felt much better and in control of the situation.

Mrs D: How have your emotions shifted and changed since the crisis began?

Dorothy: Once the Govt put us into lockdown I immediately felt much more relaxed. I have friends and work colleagues overseas and I feel so lucky that we are here in NZ, living in predominantly in houses with backyards and space to move. Also, hello, Queen Jacinda. Thank god.

Mrs D: How long have you been sober for?

Dorothy: I just had my one year soberversary on Sat March 28th. I had been planning a party, but that obviously couldn’t happen with the lockdown.

Mrs D: How is being sober helping you at this crazy time?

Dorothy: I really feel in control and mentally strong.  I don’t know that I would be saying the same thing if I were still drinking. I think I would have been avoiding dealing with financial problems, instead of addressing them head on and immediately.

Mrs D: Have you had any pangs to drink since the lockdown began?

Dorothy: Yeah, surprisingly I have – but I won’t follow through with it. The temptation to pour a large glass of wine and ‘forget’ is there, but I know I’d just be making things worse for myself. Its just not worth the 15-20mins ‘ahhh’ of the first drink. I don’t think it would be one either, it would be several and then I’d feel rubbish.

Mrs D: Any particular self-care actions that are helping you in these gritty times?

Dorothy: Long walks with podcasts are one of my favourite things to do as self care. Exercise is very important to me for a positive mindset. I also love being in water, so the spa pool gets a lot of use.

Mrs D: What are you doing to fill in the days?

Dorothy: Not having young kids or a job (!) means plenty of time for running, reading and baking – things I don’t usually have much space for. I have been quite lazy this week, as I usually work 50-60hrs. I’m trying to make the most of it!

Mrs D: What would you say to people who are struggling with alcohol while they’re in lockdown?

Dorothy: The same thing I say in ‘normal time’. If alcohol is not serving you, if there are more negatives than positives, then give it a rest for 30 days. See what positive changes you experience. I honestly feel that we’ve been sold a load of crap that alcohol helps us, when really its the root cause of many of our problems.  You’re stressed? Have a nice glass of pinot. Don’t worry that it makes you avoid your problems instead of addressing them. That it creates a barrier that pushes your kids and partner away. That it interferes with your sleep and costs you money. That often it IS those extra 5-10kgs you cannot budge. Giving up may be difficult, but the rewards are bloody fantastic and well worth it.

Mrs D: What’s in this photo you’ve shared with us?

Dorothy: I like to treat myself to really delicious alcohol free drinks – this one is a favourite from summer, fresh rosemary, dried hibiscus flowers, soda water and six barrel soda ‘rosemary and cucumber tonic’. Delicious!

Mrs D: Anything else you’d like to add?

Dorothy: If you are a parent, I would urge you to give up for the lockdown period. Our kids are worried, rightly so. Alcohol and kids don’t really mix, despite what the ‘mummy’s wine’ culture likes to say. They need us present now more than ever.

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