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 Prudence (@prudence) who lives on the Cashmere Hills in Christchurch.
Mrs D: How are you feeling about what's going on with this Covid-19 virus?
Prudence: I am feeling quite level-headed, calm and mentally strong. I am feeling lucky, and grateful to be a New Zealander, proud of our leadership. I am feeling very concerned for others who are worse off than me. Worried about those on the front line. A little bit guilty that I am not helping enough. Curious and a bit perturbed as to how large families are managing with hungry teenagers and younger kids with all suddenly thrown together into the same space at the same time. I am afraid for the poor and the homeless. I am feeling deeply distressed at what is happening in our world. I am feeling pleased not to require any alcohol in my shopping.
Mrs D: How have your emotions shifted and changed since the crisis began?
Prudence: At first I just stayed informed, as prepared as I could be, and tried to take it all in. I felt detached. I knew intellectually that it would spread throughout the world, yet I still felt safe, like it was a long way off. I’ve felt very shocked as it has swept through Italy and Spain and America, the UK, India, Africa and beyond. I’ve felt gravely disturbed as the deadly reality hits home of all the people on the front line selflessly doing their duty, terrified to go to work, terrified to go home again and possibly spread it to their families. The sort of dilemma no one deserves to be faced with, ever! I am deeply saddened to know millions of people in India are walking hundreds of miles back to their villages from the cities, now they have lost their jobs and do not even have money for basic food or crowded public transport. Many will take the virus to their villages. My emotions are changing all the time. I’ve had only had one day of tears, a few days ago, when the enormity of it all was too much for me to take, or comprehend. The hopelessness for those less fortunate than me, the rapid spread, nowhere untouched. I ache with worry for those feeling direct fear. I am calm, but deeply gutted and disturbed all at once. I do not feel much fear for myself, or my family. I feel we will all be okay. We are being very vigilant.
Mrs D: How long have you been sober for?
Prudence: I’ve been sober for 5 years and 9 months
Mrs D: How is being sober helping you at this crazy time?
Prudence: Clarity. So under-rated. Having a clear head at all times is immensely helpful in a crisis. I could immediately help someone, support someone by phone, help make decisions, think clearly, use my brain quickly. My changing emotions I know to be real, not influenced by alcohol. I have energy, motivation, health, wisdom, and plenty of heart, all because I am a sober person. I can be depended upon.
Mrs D: Have you had any pangs to drink since the lockdown began?
Prudence: Not really, just the usual type that I bat away with a proverbial fly swat. My boyfriend Colin has very kindly moved his substantial spirits and cocktail collection from his benchtop pantry to a box downstairs in the laundry, and has been slowly giving it away for months as he does not drink now, because I don’t, the sweetie. If I wanted to guzzle down tequila or vodka or gin or whisky or whatever else, it’s only about 20 steps away. I trust myself completely. I have no desire to become a drinker again.
Mrs D: Any particular self-care actions that are helping you in these gritty times?
Prudence: Yes, I am being accepting and patient with myself. I am getting up later and not rushing to my desk. Today I made a raw vegan snickers slice, delicious. I’m walking every day, long walks in Victoria Park and darling comes with me, so I like it much better. I am usually quite impatient walking on my own as it is too slow for me. But I I’m in love you see, so everything is beautiful….
Mrs D: What are you doing to fill in the days?
Prudence: I’m enjoying my new space downstairs at Colin’s house where I've recently moved. I’ve been busy in my new office getting all my financials to my accountant, so feeling a good sense of accomplishment there, and a freedom as not much work to do for a while now, the caravans I hire out are not exactly rushing out of the yard. Loving my new bedroom, with sunshine and views. I lie on my bed in the afternoons and I ring one friend each day to see how they are getting on, offer support, make smart suggestions. Colin and I listen to a lot of music together, make little snacks and meals together and at night we watch movies and Netflix. I am not putting any pressure on myself to achieve great things, just doing whatever I feel like. Spending more time on Living Sober, enjoying and feeling very grateful for the connection we all have here.
Mrs D: What would you say to people who are struggling with alcohol while they're in lockdown?
Prudence: I would say that unusual times call for unusual measures. This is not a time to drink. Put others before yourselves during this crisis. Be fully present for your families, friends, for yourself. Even if you are alone, and struggling with that aloneness, this pandemic is a life changing event, so consider making a life changing event in your personal life at the same time. It will leave you so much better equipped to handle the months ahead with grace, dignity, unselfishness, kindness, and with your wits about you always. I believe there has never been a better motivator to leave alcohol trickling into the gutters of the world as we knew it before Covid19. If this is too big of an ask and you feel unable to stop, then try to do some serious thinking about it. Prioritise now what is important in your life. What really matters most. Ask yourself where booze fits into that. Put it in its place.
Mrs D: What's in this photo you've shared with us?
Prudence: This photo is of my bed in my new room. My bed is my sanctuary, my lovely safe place. I lie here and connect with my friends and family. I often connect with you guys from here. Colin and I each have a room, upstairs downstairs, we sleep in whichever one we feel like at the time. I probably wouldn’t have moved in without my own lovely space downstairs, it feels so good and gives me my space and I feel very lucky.
Mrs D: Anything else you'd like to add?
Prudence: I would like to thank you all for your connection, your courage in addressing your alcohol issues, your friendship, and for sharing your feelings and your lives with us all here at Living Sober. These are very troubled and disturbing times; our feelings are all over the place. Through all the distress, anxiety, uptight and uneasy feelings, the heartache and the grief, may you all find some peace and calmness too, and may you all look for the opportunity in the crisis. I don’t know when and I don’t know how, but I do trust that we will come out of this pandemic to find ourselves living in a softer and kinder world, with changed priorities.
Thanks for sharing Prudence. Love your cushion, your room looks like a great sanctuary… enjoy your new direction, you deserve this.
Hi Prudence – lovely to hear your story. I’m in Cashmere too, actually!
You always inspire me @Prudence, and I love your forthright and honest writing you call no bullshit and I love that about you. The fact you are in love delights me, and I wish you every happiness. Your details about sobriety are always so encouraging and you make it seem so attractive. Be well dear friend and thanks for the insights as always. Xo
Thank you @Prudence! Your compassion and ability to feel the pain of others is beautiful. I do like the idea of “consider making a life changing event in your personal life at the same time”. That’s inspiring in a literal sense.
Aw @prudence so lovely reading this , you are a true treasure , and my favourite part was “I am in love you see and everything is beautiful “ so frickin cool ! I am beaming for you and Colin !
Hi, my name is Rachel and I am a Canadian living in Australia for the past 13+ years. I’ve been struggling with alcohol addiction for several years now. It started as a coping mechanism to deal with some really traumatic ordeals that I went through including some family law proceedings, a physical assault on me occasioning bodily harm, and finally, my brother, also an alcoholic, committing suicide. I’ve been working for myself for 7 years and work from home. I also have been going to uni for 5 years and this is my 6th and final year of law school. It has been fulfilling, yet extremely taxing and stressful. As a result, I often reward myself with alcohol on almost a daily basis and have done so for years. I’ve been seeing a clinical psychologist for a couple months now on a fortnightly basis and she’s given me some tools to help but I’m finding it really difficult to put them into practice. It’s almost as if alcohol is my only friend and is always there to help me out and take away all my sadness about being so far away from the rest of my family and the country I know and love. Therefore, I’m finding it hard to want to quit, unless of course I’ve had a massive binge session and end up making myself so sick I can hardly get out of bed. I welcome anything you could say to encourage me and help me not to feel so lonely in this battle and encourage me to go on would be much appreciated as at the moment I’m in a pretty low spot.
@prudence, you always full me with such hope.Always look forward to your posts on the members feed, and couldn’t be more delighted that you have found love. Thank you for sharing your story. Much love to you and yours. Colin sounds like a gem for real!
Hi Rachel, have a look at the top right of the page and you will see a link to the Members Feed – if you sign up to the site you can go through the the members feed, it will take you to a rolling message board where you can post and lots of people who are also members will reply (like Prudence has) encouraging and supportive comments.
it seems to me like you are really thinking about your relationship with alcohol, and you are not happy about it. really encourage you to join the community, you’ll get nothing but support for whatever is going on for you.
Prudence – great lockdown story! thanks xxx
The only way I can encourage you Rachel is to tell you that without doubt, once you become a sober person you will be far happier than you are now. You will see what are currently negatives as positives. I can tell you that giving up alcohol is the wisest choice I’ve ever made in my life. It has improved my life in ways I’d never thought possible. There is nothing better than the clarity I feel every day. I hope you will give yourself the opportunity to try doing your life another way. Please remember, there is so much more to gain than what you lose. Take care Rachel xx