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 Patrick who lives in Minnetonka, Minnesota, USA.
Mrs D: How are you feeling about what's going on with this Covid-19 virus?
Patrick: Not great. The uncertainty of it all has me feeling pretty anxious and out of sorts. There are so many different layers to how this will affect us individually and as a world, it’s hard to know which one to obsess about most. Will I have job next week? Will my 80-year-old mother live through this? How will this affect my children in the future? Is this all bullshit and have we toppled the global economy out of fear driven by the media? If this isn’t all bullshit and we are facing an existential crisis, should I pour a stiff drink and enjoy myself? This is a mere glimpse into the kind of crap that cycles through my brain on repeat.
Mrs D: How have your emotions shifted and changed since the crisis began?
Patrick: Name the emotion and I’ve felt it. Like many, I’d say I started with some skepticism and sympathy for those affected, and swiftly move to disbelief and fear as it got closer to home and more people died. This has since turned into acceptance. I’ve been angry, sad, humbled, heartbroken and deeply touched. I’ve been anxious and unable to sleep, having nightmares. I’ve been moved by my neighbor’s generosity. I’ve been pissed off at my neighbors for hoarding toilet paper (wtf is that about?). It’s almost impossible to quantify all of the emotions with words. I’m definitely not feeling strong and confident, at least not on the inside.
Mrs D: How long have you been sober for?
Patrick: 530 days. My last drink was on Halloween 2018.
Mrs D: How is being sober helping you at this crazy time?
Patrick: First and foremost, I have two boys (ages 8 and 11) and they need me to be present at all times. If I’m drinking, I’m drunk. If I’m drunk, I’m not present. Being sober keeps me here for the people that need me most. Being sober has allowed me to manage my emotions without diving too far off the deep end (something booze causes me to do). If I was drinking through this lockdown, I’d be in full doomsday mode versus thinking rationally as I am now.
Mrs D: Have you had any pangs to drink since the lockdown began?
Patrick: I’ve fought the urge to drink every single day since the quarantine started. Something that hadn’t crossed my mind much prior to the pandemic.
Mrs D: Any particular self-care actions that are helping you in these gritty times?
Patrick: Music. Listening to music can have a profound effect on our feelings, not unlike a drug. It sounds ridiculous, but I will ”prescribe” myself certain types of music to treat whatever shitty emotion is troubling me. I done this my whole adult life. Also, stay busy! Walk lots and play with your hobbies. Eat well.
Mrs D: What are you doing to fill in the days?
Patrick: Lots of obsessive checking of my newsfeed on my stupid phone. Running, walking, biking and boxing to stay fit. Working from home during the week (thank God). Building a treehouse with my boys. Restoring a tractor. Playing guitar and writing music. Playing with our Dachshund puppy. He is such a joy!
Mrs D: What would you say to people who are struggling with alcohol while they're in lockdown?
Patrick: If you’re thinking about taking a drink, visit the ‘Fast-Forward’ part of the Living Sober blog. That can be a real game-changer for me when I’m feeling vulnerable. All I need to do is think about where I’d be hours, days and weeks into the future. This is not bullshit...I have been sober for 522 days, and have not slept on the couch due to an angry wife one single time. If I was drinking, it would happen frequently. I haven’t felt hungover, guilty or remorseful either. As much as I used to enjoy that initial buzz, I DO NOT miss feeling crappy the next day.
Mrs D: What's in this photo you've shared with us?
Patrick: This is a photo taken last summer from the deck at our cabin. There is a travel ban through Wisconsin, otherwise I’d be there right now. It is a truly peaceful place.
Mrs D: Anything else you'd like to add?
Patrick: A message to COVID-19....You’d better run and hide because we’re coming for you!