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My Sober Lockdown: Norma Lee

April 6th, 2020 Interviews

many boxes of food

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 Normal Lee (@normaleelucid) who lives on the East Coast of the North Island.


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

Norma Lee: I have been feeling hugely anxious over this world clustertruck. Physically I have had a tight chest, dull headache and felt nauseated. I have been waking every few hours at night as my brain has been hyper vigilant. What can I do to control my situation? Save my family? My finances?

Mrs D: How long have you been sober for?

Norma Lee: Over five years.

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

Norma Lee: I have had lots of twinges of wanting something to ease these feelings despite being more than five years into sobriety. Ugh! It’s been ages since I wanted to drink!

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

Norma Lee: I have put my ADHD brain to work helping myself as much as possible. Listening more to my regular talks from Ekhart Tolle and Tara Brach. I swear by these two to help let go of those big overwhelming feelings and easing off the control button. It is work, believe me, but it helps prepare you for these big times.

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

Norma Lee: The organisation I work for as hospitality coordinator has closed for the duration and we are working remotely with vulnerable people on online platforms. A few years ago I applied to get food rescue from a local charity and as of late last year we were accepted (thanks to a bit of nagging on my part). Since we are closed I decided I would start distributing from my garage to the families I work with. Many of these families are single parents and all have children with disabilities. I have done two weeks of this now and I am happy to continue as long as I can. It makes me feel useful in this time of feeling we can’t do anything. Lots of these companies rely on volunteers. They are an essential service.

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

Norma Lee: These are our food rescue boxes ready to go out to families in need. The food charity are happy to drop a ton of bread, produce and groceries to my garage in banana boxes and I organise it into family boxes. It keeps me busy and the satisfaction and delight I get truly make this a delight to do. The families tell me it feels like Christmas seeing what is in the boxes and the kids are excited to look for the hidden treats. Who wouldn’t want to be Santa?

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

Norma Lee: If you are struggling I can recommend focusing on your breathing, presence in the moment and finding a way to be kind to others.

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

Norma Lee: Much love to our tribe.

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