"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.