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 Catherine who lives in Christchurch.
Mrs D: How are you feeling about what's going on with this Covid-19 virus?
Catherine: I was initially quite unsettled and fearful with some disturbed sleep, but have settled down now over time. I am certain that the lockdown strategy of our government is the best plan for us all.
Mrs D: How have your emotions shifted and changed since the crisis began?
Catherine: Up and down a bit, especially trying to take care of other family members, but the tools I use below keep me a lot more settled than when I used to drink.
Mrs D: How long have you been sober for?
Catherine: I stopped drinking, hopefully for good, one day at a time almost 7 years ago now.
Mrs D: How is being sober helping you at this crazy time?
Catherine: Oh my goodness I remember how hard it was to be drinking heavily during the Christchurch earthquakes. I made it so much harder for myself and for my family. I was so emotional and all over the place and such hard work. I was panicking and very selfish. Being sober for this crazy time makes things more raw but gives me the ability to be present and cope with what comes my way. I am really grateful for all the silver linings that come with this time. There are lots! Working from home is challenging but it could be alot worse and I am glad to have a job even if my children are rather distracting to say the least.
Mrs D: Have you had any pangs to drink since the lockdown began?
Catherine: No because I know where the first one would take me! To a very dark useless place and eventually death. I have reverted back to some other addictive behaviours though like way too much time looking at negative articles about COVID.
Mrs D: Any particular self-care actions that are helping you in these gritty times?
Catherine: For me personally, I am part of a twelve-step programme which is essential to my sobriety. Technology means we are all super connected currently. Thank god for the internet! I believe in a higher power so prayer to that helps me keep grounded and less fearful. Contact with my family and friends is important even though we're not face to face. Fresh air and walking within the recommended geographical area with my bouncy children. Lots of herbal tea. Reading. Music - all types. Belly laughs with my family. Watching incredible unique live performances online which would never have come about free of charge otherwise.
Mrs D: What are you doing to fill in the days?
Catherine: Working from home and supervising children including some schoolwork is plenty, along with self care. Our wider family is also making sure our elderly dad living alone has plenty of contact and grocery assistance.
Mrs D: What would you say to people who are struggling with alcohol while they're in lockdown?
Catherine: Drinking never actually helps anything. You honestly don't have to stop drinking alone. Keep in touch through Living Sober or reach out to other support networks such as twelve step fellowships as there are actually a lot of them, including some amazing Quit Lit blogs available online. Be kind to yourself. Given that alcohol is not as easily available who knows maybe this can be your time to stop and stay stopped!
Mrs D: What's in this photo you've shared with us?
Catherine: Pretty NZ scenery down south which we can't wait to get back to.
Mrs D: Anything else you'd like to add?
Catherine: I have to say thank you to all the essential workers out there who are going out away from home - oh so many types of roles but also including people like you working away to support so many.