"I think I have experienced every emotion under the sun. From disbelief to moments of ordinary, then terrible guilt."
Today's sober lockdown story comes from Polly who lives in Cornwall, England.
Mrs D: How are you feeling about what's going on with this COVID-19 virus?
Polly: Unsettled mostly, as this is unprecedented, which is the giant curveball with no tangible outcome so currently we are left with our imaginations which is not a great thing! It is like we are stuck in a computer game like Jumanji and a giant pause button has been pressed. For us, as a family, the worst has happened as we have lost a much loved extended family member. This made it very real quickly. I am so glad of my sobriety to be able to support my family through the grief. I was able to sit with the raw emotions in a healthy way rather than numbing them out.
Mrs D: How have your emotions shifted and changed since the crisis began?
Polly: I think I have experienced every emotion under the sun. From disbelief to moments of ordinary, then feelings of guilt in the happy moments, to the most surreal sensations swamping my body like a bad dream only to realize this is the current normal. It has enabled me to be present in the here and now as that is all that is certain. I have stepped up my gratitude practice; it is interesting the things I used to take for granted like flour, especially when we have had lockdown birthdays haha! Knowing that I have no control over what is externally and working on how I can control my inner world in the way I think, feel and ultimately behave gives me focus and purpose especially being a lighthouse for my clients and family.
Mrs D: How long have you been sober for?
Polly: Two years and four months, in my heart I know I am never going back as every aspect of my life have improved, so it is a no brainer; however my current goal is 999 days as I think it is a cool number!
Mrs D: How is being sober helping you at this crazy time?
Polly: I am so grateful every day! I have always said that being alcohol-free is a gift that keeps giving; this is so true, especially now in a pandemic. I can think clearly and support those around me calmly. I know my immunity is high, and I have lots of tools I can use from my sober tool kit. I can slowly process information and think about the impact then act appropriately. Real grown up stuff haha!
Mrs D: Have you had any pangs to drink since the lockdown began?
Polly: No, however, homeschooling seems to be less about teaching skills and more about using skills to refereeing siblings, bribing them to do the work and using my best diplomacy skills.! It has certainly pushed my buttons; we are getting into a grove now. I am sure we will be on a roll when it is time for them to go back to school.
Mrs D: Any particular self-care actions that are helping you in these gritty times?
Polly: Most definitely. I have a solid structure in my day. I get up while the house is sleeping and either meditate, journal and or exercise. This sets me up for the day as my clients and family deserve the best version of me. I feel I have topped up my self-care tank ready to give - after all you wouldn’t let your phone run out of battery. I am week four on the couch to 5K. I am not a natural runner, I look a bit like Bambi on ice with two bras on for reinforcement. I’m enjoying the sense of satisfaction from the weeks mounting up. Implementing self-compassion has been an essential part of self-care, especially when I am everything to everyone which is not sustainable. So I ask for help, explain what my needs are and take time off social media. Being the 'shero' in my own life, not the victim, which means saying no to things that no longer serve me.
Mrs D: What are you doing to fill in the days?
Polly: I am still working so juggling my clients and children is a struggle, standard Mum guilt. While the sun has been shining, we have been outside in our garden as much as possible. We have the challenge to learn how to juggle and hula hoop, this is very entertaining. Baking and making bread has been a success, especially garlic pizza, a new favourite hence why I have increased my exercise. I love reading so while others are zoned out on T.V I’m often reading.
Mrs D: What would you say to people who are struggling with alcohol while they're in lockdown?
Polly: Know you are not alone; Alcohol is a beast to wrestle. As much as you think it offers the answer to your problems take it from me it is the creator. Giving yourself the gift of sobriety will be the answer to your questions. Take it a day at a time; then a week. Find people who bring out the best in you and are supportive of the version you want to become. The feeling of doing what you say you are going to do never gets old. It creates a bow wave to having a better relationship with yourself, building confidence and gaining your intuition back.
Mrs D: What's in this photo you've shared with us?
Polly: It is a picture of Me and my dogs CoCo and Reba who give me an excellent opportunity to get outside and walk. When I walk, I gain fresh perspectives on things that make a massive difference to my life.
Mrs D: Anything else you'd like to add?
Polly: Thank you for this opportunity Mrs D! I am so passionate about my Alcohol-Free life it is great to share my perspective to inspire others and show what is possible when the shame and guilt of the booze trap has disappeared x