"It was the intense guilt after a night of having a bottle of wine that would eat me up."
This sober lockdown story comes from Maree (username @rosieoutlook) who lives in Hamilton with her husband and 3 teenage boys.
Mrs D: How are you feeling about what's going on with Covid-19?
Maree: Since March last year our family has had to keep a positive outlook on the changes since Covid arrived in NZ. My husband works in Aviation and he has been on leave without pay for the last 18 months and we are not sure when he will get back to the job he loves.He has been amazing and has worked since lockdown last year in other jobs.
Mrs D: How have your emotions shifted and changed since the Pandemic began?
Maree: I am generally a positive person and always look at the glass full. But I have to say there have been moments I’ve had to remind myself how blessed we are as we see news reports from around the world. Our country is small enough to all come together and follow the rules. We both have jobs and security and that is a huge relief during these times.
Mrs D: How long have you been Sober for?
Maree: I’ve just celebrated my 7th alcohol free year in July. The 19th of July is a day that is very dear to my heart. I don’t make a big fuss to my family, I might just mention it’s my anniversary. My husband is very proud of me and my children don’t really remember me drinking. I always buy myself something special to mark the occasion, this year was a pewter trinket box.
Mrs D: How is being sober helping you at this crazy time?
Maree: Immensely! For women that are going through or have been through Perimenopause you know where I’m coming from. I am navigating my way through this stage of my life at the moment and with Covid lockdowns on top of that my life could be chaos! But because I’m alcohol free my head is generally clear and guilt free. It was the guilt after a night of having a bottle of wine that would eat me up.
Mrs D: Have you had any pangs to drink since the latest lockdown began in NZ?
Maree: I am lucky I have been alcohol free for a long period, so during this past year I have never considered having a wine. I love that I never have that good old battle in my head of ‘Should I have a wine tonight?’ Which makes me so proud of myself, because I loved my wine around 5pm while getting dinner ready. I really can’t believe I broke that habit. I cook with wine and every now and then I’ll smell the wine in the bottle and I have to say the smell brings back memories of a hangover which just confirms I made the right decision, I definitely am happy I choose not to have hangovers anymore.
Mrs D: Any particular self care actions that are helping you get through?
Maree: I have to say I’m one of those people that need time to recharge and have some down time. So I’ve looked at these lockdowns to re- centre myself and take this time to chill. Hot baths are a must. Going walking over this time is on my list, as over the last year work has got in the way of my daily walk and I know I need this is my life to keep me grounded and emotionally stable. Watch some good TV with a cuppa and cake. Reading inspirational books.
Mrs D: What are you doing to fill the days?
Maree: These days whizz by as fast as if I was at work. So I’ve got a mental list of what I want to achieve over this time and I hate to say it, but it’s a domestic list (boring!) But we all know when our homes are clean and organised it somehow makes our minds feel less cluttered and relaxed. So it’s a win win!
Mrs D: What would you say to people who are struggling with alcohol at the moment?
Maree: I would say; ’You know deep down what is the best thing you need to do for yourself.’ If you choose to go on this journey of going alcohol free, you will have to dig deep and throw yourself into all the resources that are readily available to everyone. You have to believe in yourself and know that what we think is our friend (alcohol) is actually a poison that we’ve fallen for, because of how entrenched it is in our society. (Don’t get me started on that rant)
I was such a romantic about my wine with the long stem glassware to the wine labels. I am now the complete opposite and truely believe we have been caught in a trap believing alcohol is the be all and end all to every facet of our lives. How wrong we are!
My number one tips that worked for me were….
1. Decided this was the day I was going to start the journey of going alcohol free.
2. Read the Mrs D is Going Without blog. Lotta sums up the roller coaster of the first days, weeks and months.
3. Jason Vale’s book Kick the drink..easily! This was a big turning point for me on how I viewed alcohol. A game changer!
4. Podcast were a godsend… The Bubble Hour, Super Soul Sunday and my latest one is To 50 and Beyond. Which is about sober women and lots of menopause information (just what we need when we are reaching this stage in our lives).
5. The blog Unpickled was my go to also.
6.The Living sober website. I was one of the original members and it was a great resource for me in those early days. Now I love reading Lotta’s blog. Lotta always hits the nail on the head and we can all agree that we have similar feelings and experiences, which is reassuring when you’re on this journey.
7. Hot baths, Home and garden magazines are my treats.
Mrs D: Awesome list! What's in this photo you sent us?
Maree: This is my tea cupboard. Honestly I never was a tea drinker but since going alcohol free my wind down from a hard day is now going to my beautiful antique cupboard, opening it up and picking a mug (often that I’ve chosen from an Opshop) and choosing a tea. If someone had told me 7 years ago I’d become a herbal tea drinker instead of a wine drinker I would of laughed. If I can do it, you can too. This pic sums up how far I’ve come and how it’s the small things in my life that makes me happy and at peace.
Mrs D: Anything else you'd like to say?
Maree: To anyone contemplating a change with their drinking. You’ve got this! It might take some stops and starts, but that might be part of your journey and that’s all ok. I gave up for a whole year in my late 30’s and then decided I could now moderate my wine intake. After the next year of drinking and not moderating, I weighed up the two years and the year I didn’t drink was the year that won. I look at that time as part of my journey and not a failure as it led me to where I am today. You will be a true warrior and the journey will be totally worth it.
Kia Kaha- Stay Strong
Lots of Sunshine