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My Sober Lockdown: Ted

April 11th, 2020 Interviews

fluffy white dog

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 Ted who lives in Camperdown, Victoria, Australia.


Mrs D: How are you feeling about what’s going on with this Covid-19 virus? Ted: I’m fearful, like the rest of the world. However I believe we were never in control anyway. So I accept what ‘is’ – that helps.  Mrs D: How have your emotions shifted and changed since the crisis began? Ted: We’ve had a fairly bumpy time in the two years since we’ve been over here and were looking at coming back. Being in a different country to all of our family (an 89 year old father in lockdown on his own, two adult sons, the rest of the family in NZ) has been tough. Add to that my husband only has casual work and we are one of the many that won’t get any financial support from either country when his work stops (there’is a LOT of fine print in those headlines you see) I can confidently say that my emotions shift and change! Our reality is that we may have to literally walk out of our house, leaving everything behind including our two dogs, and come back to NZ. Mrs D: How long have you been sober for? Ted: This time? lol. A month I think. I didn’t really notice the date. I’ve had years before where I’ve been sober, then it’s like “Cool, I can just have one drink a day….” Duh. Er, no. I have to say the system over here is fabulous, if you put your hand up. I ended up in an ambulance when I tried to detox by myself. I ended up doing a supervised medical detox, and they’ve hooked me up into a support plan.  Mrs D: How is being sober helping you at this crazy time? Ted: Financially heaps. And I don’t make decisions that end up feeding my anxiety and sense of “poor me”. I have to face what’s going on (help or hindrance? lol). Mrs D: Have you had any pangs to drink since the lockdown began? Ted: Yup. Also had lots of times I haven’t thought about drinking, so that’s ok. One is too many, and thousand is not enough Mrs D: Any particular self-care actions that are helping you in these gritty times? Ted: Defo. Limit social media. Flood myself with happy YouTube nonsense if I am internet browsing. Watch the news only twice a day. Watching Donald Trump’s press conferences (unfortunately) lighten the mood. Study – I’m aiming to finish my study so I’ll be a registered counsellor at the end of this. Do things for other people. Make gifts, drop baking to the local supermarket. offer to help people. Get out of your own head basically. Oh, and Harry Potter on audiobook. Mrs D: What are you doing to fill in the days? Ted: Our previous job was really remote in Western Australia. I went from a high pressure job of a high school teacher to seeing no-one other than my husband. So I learned then that having something tangible to complete each day was key. Something you could cross of the list or see that you had done. I play with my dogs, I video call friends in NZ, I study, I try and limit my unconscious eating (not even going to talk about the weight gain!), I sew, listen to music and audiobooks, I make gifts for others. I also believe that this is a once in a lifetime opportunity for us to learn about ourselves, and for most of us if we came out of this experience the same person as we went in, it would be a wasted opportunity. So I read stuff, think about stuff. One day I’ll put on something other than tracksuit trousers, but am nervous nothing will fit lol.  Mrs D: What would you say to people who are struggling with alcohol while they’re in lockdown? Ted: Don’t struggle. It’s hard to drink, it’s hard not to drink. Choose your hard. A craving is a craving – no need to label it a struggle as well. Observe it, distract yourself, let it pass because it will. Don’t feed the beast by giving it more emotional power than it deserves. You’re too awesome for that.  Oh, and find someone who you can message “OMG Wine, chips and dip” and they go “Yeah, and …?”. I have that, and that kind of friendship and support is invaluable.  Mrs D: What’s in this photo you’ve shared with us? Ted: This is my best mate. He has no idea about anything that’s going on and when I grow up I want to be just like him Mrs D: Anything else you’d like to add?  
Ted: Wash your hands. Be as patient with other’s as you want them to be with you. Everyone is coming from a place of fear. Emerge from this your best self. We’ve got this xx

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