"I have pride that I am not drinking. Sober, hangover-free mornings bring me joy and pride in myself."
Today's sober hero is Sadie from Texas in the US.
Mrs D: How are you feeling about what is going on with Covid-19 virus?
Sadie: I feel really frustrated. I do not like seeing what is happening to the economy but that is a big general word and picture. Zoom in and look at individual people and families. I think most are fine but there are people really suffering, small businesses suffering and that breaks my heart. It is really sad to know that people are without resources, and some small businesses will not re-open at all. It is sad that people are struggling alone with depression and anxiety.
Mrs D: How have your emotions shifted and changed since the crisis began?
Sadie: At first, I was a bit more worried about the virus itself than I am now. Now I am frustrated and a bit angry that we couldn’t know how to handle it differently. It was new and unknown. I keep saying and my husband is now quoting me, we don’t know what we don’t know. That is still true yet we know more than we did. The stay at home orders, or lockdown for others, hit me the hardest when I could not see my 2-year-old granddaughter just before it went into effect. My family, my children and grandchildren are my happy place and I was isolated from them.
Mrs D: How long have you been sober for?
Sadie: Not long. Today 20 days. April 24th, 2020 was my last drink. Wow, is that right? 20 Days?
Mrs D: How is being sober helping you at this crazy time?
Sadie: When I am drinking, I have increased depression, sadness, anger, frustration, shame, guilt-you know like we all suffer when drinking; a roller coaster of emotions. Since being sober, my emotions are mostly more stable. I have pride that I am not drinking. Sober, hangover-free mornings bring me joy and pride in myself. I like that. I am off the bigger roller coaster of emotions. I now ride the kiddie roller coaster. It is more manageable and allows squeals of joy.
Mrs D: Have you had any pangs to drink since the lockdown began?
Sadie: Oh yes. My drinking history has seen many years of trying to be sober, trying to moderate, a little success at moderating then slowly creeping back to some of my worst drinking. At the beginning of the stay at home orders, I stocked up on wine. Once that was gone, I decided to try being sober, told my husband, and I think that might have lasted 3 days before I said to him that this is a bad time to quit drinking and he agreed. So back to drinking. I again decided to not drink, did not tell my husband, that lasted about a week and I had one night I drank-that was April 24. None since. Yay!!! And no strong urges to drink. I feel resolute about my decision. I am not wavering, much. I have some sadness about the loss of the romantic idea of drinking yet I have found some incredible drinks that can easily take its place and they are much more healthy.
Mrs D: Any particular self-care actions that are helping you in these gritty times?
Sadie: At first I did epsom salt baths with lavender. Most nights since the 24th have been watching the sunset followed by climbing into bed with mind-numbing episodes of the show Cheers (yes Cheers, the bartender is sober) and crocheting or listening to sober books on Audible. That is the best. I truly look forward to that time.
Mrs D: What are you doing to fill your days?
Sadie: My work is considered essential so I am still working. Most of it has been through video chats, yet I still have had to go to the office once a week and I am always “on call.” I started taking an online course in September that I am still working on. When not doing those things, I tend a garden, take care of chickens, scoop horse poop for a compost pile, and I have been making bread. It is mostly being active that helps my crazy emotions.
Mrs D: What would you say to people who are struggling with alcohol while they’re in lockdown?
Sadie: I am so new in my sobriety that I find it difficult to give advice to others. I know that being sober, after the 1st couple of weeks, has made my emotions more stable, more manageable. I really like being clear-headed. It seems like a good idea to take advantage of this time where social occasions are reduced and allowing it to jumpstart a sober journey.
Mrs D: What’s in the photo you’ve shared with us?
Sadie: Some of my favorite things: Watching the sunset, my garden, chickens, sourdough bread from a home grown starter, and the cover for a video my kids made me for Mother’s Day that made me cry.