My sober pandemic: Michelle

Gorgeous chocolate labrador

"I used to be tightly wound, and used alcohol and isolation to cope with my feelings of overwhelm."


This sober lockdown story comes from Michelle who lives in Auckland.


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

Michelle: I’m pretty cool about it honestly, but that’s only because my husband and I can still work remotely. Also my son is still quite young, but old enough to do his own school work (with a bit of convincing).

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

Michelle: I used to be quite tightly wound, and I used alcohol and isolation to cope with my feelings of overwhelm. When lockdown started I was honestly relieved. I really slowed down. Although work was still full on, removing the stress of driving around and getting so many things done really helped with my anxiety. I wasn’t drinking during the first and second lockdown, but I was earlier this year. This time round we have a 6 month old puppy so there’s still stress, just on a different level!

Mrs D: How long have you been sober for?

Michelle: I have been sober for 51 days - yay! I actually had been sober for 3 years and then relapsed earlier this year, I convinced myself I could moderate, but that quickly turned out badly. Luckily my husband and counsellor helped me get myself out of the cycle again.

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

Michelle: For me, alcohol just adds a problem to a problem, so it was adding to my stress and overwhelm, all the while I thought it was my release from stress. I am so so glad I don’t have to worry about whether I have enough alcohol to get me through the lockdown! I have enough to worry about I don’t need that as well.

Mrs D: Have you had any pangs to drink since the latest lockdown began (if in New Zealand)?

Michelle: Honestly I haven’t. It’s early days for me so the last time I drank is still fresh. It makes me sad to think that if I drank I’d be totally checked out from life, my family and myself. Alcohol spells loneliness for me, and that’s not something I want.

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

Michelle: I try to get outside and take the dog for a walk. I also use a lot of apps on my phone like Mentemia, 24 hours, and of course logging into Living Sober always makes me feel connected. A bath always does the trick, online window shopping, Netflix, wardrobe organisation, a bit of alone time helps regenerate me.

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

Michelle: Working mostly, talking care of the dog and our son. I’ve been unwell so a lot of sleep!

Mrs D: What would you say to people who are struggling with alcohol at the moment?

Michelle: It takes a lot of courage to admit you're struggling. If you’re asking yourself whether this is a good way to live, consider if you are willing to do what it takes really live - even if that means being uncomfortable. Change is hard because we don’t know what’s on the other side, but it can’t hurt to give a different way of living a go for a while and see if it’s better

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

Michelle: That’s Coco Bean our chocolate lab. He burst into our lives and we haven’t been the same since. He even has his own Instagram!

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

Michelle: I have struggled a lot, over the past few years, with acceptance. I cannot drink normally, as much as I’ve tried, it’s my thing and I need to manage it. I’m not ashamed of the number of times I’ve tried to be alcohol free. Even if it takes a million tries it’s worth it.


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

  1. Hellsbells 3 years ago

    Hi there, I like what you say about alcohol just adding a problem to a problem- that’s so true- also thanks for sharing your relapse story from earlier this year- Ive just had one too- weird how easy it suddenly can be. And such a struggle to pull back out of the alcohol quicksand

  2. 20012015 3 years ago

    Hi Michelle, thanks so much for your story. It really has hit a note with me. My journey replicates yours. I’m here now and committed to being AF because I know my life is simply better without it. Bx

  3. bird 3 years ago

    I so relate to you , thank you for your story

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