My sober pandemic: Helen

Marlborough Sounds
"I've been sober for two weeks. The pandemic threw me into another spin, but luckily I kept a grip on the sobriety."
Today's pandemic sobriety story comes from Helen in Central Wellington.

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

Helen: I feel disappointed that our special status as one of the few Western countries to be Covid free in the community, and all the freedoms that gave us, had to end. I'm really hoping we will be able to eliminate Covid again, but if not we have to learn to live with it. I'm sad that I'm not able to see my police boyfriend but understand he's in a bigger police bubble. I have a bubble buddy and we meet for walks and sharing food- this is ok as we both live alone. Jacinda was kind on this one.

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

Helen: Right before the pandemic started I moved to Wellington from Auckland, changed jobs and started a master's study. All of these, and related added pressures, caused me to relapse for a week secretly, which is my mode of drinking - at home, alone, nothing to see here. I was in a very strange space, didn't want to tell anyone, and was reliving that old fear that my sober boyfriend would drop around and find me like this. It was fessing up on this site that brought me back and I've been sober again for two weeks. The pandemic threw me into another spin, but luckily I kept a grip on the sobriety. Getting used to all the changes - working from home, not socialising, trying to study - is very challenging. My evenings feel long and whiny, I'm often on the phone.

Mrs D: How long have you been sober for?

Helen: I was sober for around 420 days before my last slip up. I had a few one day slips in this time, but the last one lasted a week, so I've reset the counter. I'm now on 14 days!

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

Helen: Its making me feel I can get through this and not catastrophize my life and the situation. I had a Zoom meeting with my study supervisor today which I felt unprepared for as I thought it was next Monday. After the meeting I thought, "at least I'm not hungover, I'd be feeling a lot worse". Last years lockdown meetings were usually done hungover or hanging out for wine so its nice to have neither of those feelings.
Mrs D: Have you had any pangs to drink since the latest lockdown began (if in New Zealand)?

Helen: Yes. Very much in the last few days. What's helping is playing it forward, as I know if I drink I won't get any study done and I have a full scale critique session next week. To be honest the queues at the supermarket are putting me off as well.

Mrs D: Any particular self-care actions that are helping you get through?

Helen: Hot baths, ice cream and chocolate, playing music and trying to remind myself how fortunate I am to be in Wellington, NZ.

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

Helen: I am teaching part time, sketching and studying in general. Every morning I walk up Mt Victoria for exercise. Yesterday I cleaned the house and baked a cake. I gave a third to my bubble buddy on our evening walk, and left a third on my neighbours step. The rest is for me.. Facebook, Netflix, Neon and phone calls fill my evenings.
Mrs D: What would you say to people who are struggling with alcohol at the moment?
Helen: Play it forward- whatever comes next won't be any easier hungover and alcohol will only increase loneliness, anxiety and stress. Oh, and eat cake- the calories you aren't drinking can be consumed in cake during lockdown. Its official.

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

Helen: Its a photo of the beautiful Marborough Sounds in the South Island from a trip there in May this year. Kia Kaha South Island. I'll be back.

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

Helen: Just thanks to everyone on this site and to you also Mrs D!

Join our community to talk with others who are looking at the role alcohol plays in their lives.

  1. Private 3 years ago

    Thanks for sharing your story hellsbells. YES to eating all the cake! Playing it forward has saved my ass many a time in the past and good to remember that especially now so thanks for the reminder xx

  2. lynnelowe 3 years ago

    Thanks for sharing, lots of big changes to deal with and of course lockdown. Yep I find music really helpful, especially during lockdown. Good luck with your studies, and with level3 on the horizon for Wellignton is some good news.

  3. SugarBelly 3 years ago

    Helen, what a great post. You certainly sound upbeat in your writing, but we all know the darkness that come from hiding in the dark with the bottle, praying for that spark of light to make a change. Glad you found your spark of light so quick and have circled back here. Glad you have been taking care of yourself during this lockdown. The cake sounds fabulous. I love a good cake. Hoping for a quick reunification with 👮‍♀️ And a release from your lockdown. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and tremendous writing with us.

  4. crazycat 3 years ago

    Thank you for sharing your story and the raw honesty of your experience. It gave me hope for my own journey.

  5. JessieA 3 years ago

    Lovely heart felt story, thank you so much for sharing.

  6. Starlight 3 years ago

    Love you Helen. Thank you for sharing your story and keeping it real as always. Keep strong and busy 🤗

  7. springlamb 3 years ago

    Thanks Hells, such a great story! So so love the Marlborough sounds, such a stunning place! Haven’t been on ls as I’m really struggling with life at the moment, love 🐑 Lambie,xx.

    • Hellsbells 3 years ago

      Stay close Lambie- you can share it here

    • SugarBelly 3 years ago

      ❤️ to you, lambie.

  8. Bluzooma 3 years ago

    So brave to share your story, so brave to admit to falling down, so brave to keep getting up. It’s never what happens to us, it’s always how we deal with it. I hear so much positivity in your words – I’d say your glass is half full, but none of us want that 😉 You remind me to acknowledge the hard stuff we do in our lives, and how strong we are for being able to do it. Like your studies, like having the strength to be able to be on your own for a time. And of course, like getting sober and staying that way.

  9. morgan 3 years ago

    I love your attitude to well, everything. Nice to bake and clean – I am rather remiss on the second. Supermarket queues are vile. Fortunately I can pick from a few, and some have no queue just at the right time.
    Best wishes with your study, and let’s hope we are all a bit freer next Wednesday – unlikely to be you though is it? Maybe. Level 3 doesn’t seem any different for my role, though I may be called in to help at work.

  10. Kiwi 3 years ago

    Thanks for sharing your story. A few things you said sent a shiver down my spine. The words Lonely and Fear. Not a place we want to be again. Wishing you all the best for the future.. Chris

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