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 Ted who lives in Camperdown, Victoria, Australia.
Mrs D: How are you feeling about what's going on with this Covid-19 virus?
Ted: I'm fearful, like the rest of the world. However I believe we were never in control anyway. So I accept what 'is' - that helps.
Mrs D: How have your emotions shifted and changed since the crisis began?
Ted: We've had a fairly bumpy time in the two years since we've been over here and were looking at coming back. Being in a different country to all of our family (an 89 year old father in lockdown on his own, two adult sons, the rest of the family in NZ) has been tough. Add to that my husband only has casual work and we are one of the many that won't get any financial support from either country when his work stops (there'is a LOT of fine print in those headlines you see) I can confidently say that my emotions shift and change! Our reality is that we may have to literally walk out of our house, leaving everything behind including our two dogs, and come back to NZ.
Mrs D: How long have you been sober for?
Ted: This time? lol. A month I think. I didn't really notice the date. I've had years before where I've been sober, then it's like "Cool, I can just have one drink a day...." Duh. Er, no. I have to say the system over here is fabulous, if you put your hand up. I ended up in an ambulance when I tried to detox by myself. I ended up doing a supervised medical detox, and they've hooked me up into a support plan.
Mrs D: How is being sober helping you at this crazy time?
Ted: Financially heaps. And I don't make decisions that end up feeding my anxiety and sense of "poor me". I have to face what's going on (help or hindrance? lol).
Mrs D: Have you had any pangs to drink since the lockdown began?
Ted: Yup. Also had lots of times I haven't thought about drinking, so that's ok. One is too many, and thousand is not enough
Mrs D: Any particular self-care actions that are helping you in these gritty times?
Ted: Defo. Limit social media. Flood myself with happy YouTube nonsense if I am internet browsing. Watch the news only twice a day. Watching Donald Trump's press conferences (unfortunately) lighten the mood. Study - I'm aiming to finish my study so I'll be a registered counsellor at the end of this. Do things for other people. Make gifts, drop baking to the local supermarket. offer to help people. Get out of your own head basically. Oh, and Harry Potter on audiobook.
Mrs D: What are you doing to fill in the days?
Ted: Our previous job was really remote in Western Australia. I went from a high pressure job of a high school teacher to seeing no-one other than my husband. So I learned then that having something tangible to complete each day was key. Something you could cross of the list or see that you had done. I play with my dogs, I video call friends in NZ, I study, I try and limit my unconscious eating (not even going to talk about the weight gain!), I sew, listen to music and audiobooks, I make gifts for others. I also believe that this is a once in a lifetime opportunity for us to learn about ourselves, and for most of us if we came out of this experience the same person as we went in, it would be a wasted opportunity. So I read stuff, think about stuff. One day I'll put on something other than tracksuit trousers, but am nervous nothing will fit lol.
Mrs D: What would you say to people who are struggling with alcohol while they're in lockdown?
Ted: Don't struggle. It's hard to drink, it's hard not to drink. Choose your hard. A craving is a craving - no need to label it a struggle as well. Observe it, distract yourself, let it pass because it will. Don't feed the beast by giving it more emotional power than it deserves. You're too awesome for that. Oh, and find someone who you can message "OMG Wine, chips and dip" and they go "Yeah, and ...?". I have that, and that kind of friendship and support is invaluable.
Mrs D: What's in this photo you've shared with us?
Ted: This is my best mate. He has no idea about anything that's going on and when I grow up I want to be just like him
Mrs D: Anything else you'd like to add?
Ted: Wash your hands. Be as patient with other's as you want them to be with you. Everyone is coming from a place of fear. Emerge from this your best self. We've got this xx
Hi Ted – thanks for all of the above and especially “I also believe that this is a once in a lifetime opportunity for us to learn about ourselves, and for most of us if we came out of this experience the same person as we went in, it would be a wasted opportunity.” I am using this time to give up alcohol for good, so much easier when you are not socialising with family friends. I hope your family back home are keeping well and safe. There is no way I could leave your best mate behind, you must stay!!!
Such wisdom, you are going to make a great councillor. There will be a need for people with your skill set when this is all said and done!
“It’s hard to drink and its hard not to drink. Choose your hard.” Inspiring. Thanks Ted.
Choose your hard – that really hit home for me. Thank you for sharing this! xo
We have a lot in common career wise. I am really scared of losing my job – which is a contract and ends in a year anyway, but the hope was that it would go on. Unlikely in this economic disaster.
It sounds as if you have some wise strategies to manage your life, especially in these times.
Thank you so much for sharing them.
I am a worried about my job also as my contract ends at the end of the year also. I am in the same situation. Take care
Thanks for telling your story Ted.
I’m hoping that you can bring your dogs with you if you come back to NZ?
Wishing you all the best xx
Thanks for sharing Ted. I really appreciate hearing your story. Xx
Thank you so much Ted for the wise words in these testing times. You will make a great counsellor I’m sure. Dogs are the best friends to have around at the moment, for company and exercise, hope you get to keep yours.
Thanks for sharing your awesome wisdom. Love your sense of humour…
Lovely, thanks for sharing. Hope you can come home soon safe and sound if that feels like the best option.
Lots of richness and wisdom in here Ted. You are a winner for sure. Very best wishes on coming home to NZ without too much heartbreak. Xx
Thanks for sharing Ted, Some real gems in there.
Thank you for sharing your great ideas, Ted. Your calm perspective is helpful to me as I try to think about this tough time in a positive way. I’m trying to think of it as a time to grow but I can’t always keep it up. Choose your hard is a phrase I’ll remember.
What a wonderful attitude 🙂
Keep up the great recovery that you have.
I am “a foodie”, and living in peaceful 12 step recovery.
Our choice of attitude really does determine our results.
I wish you well ♡♡
From Janie (in NZ)
“It’s hard to drink, it’s hard not to drink. Choose your hard.” Love this.
Beautiful post, thank you for sharing. You have some great skills. I wish you all the best in these heartbreaking and strange times. xx
I hope for the best outcome possible for the doggos.
You are a beautiful person Ted, so much wisdom shines through this. This is an opportunity, and hopefully we can collectively become more generous people. And yes, drinking is hard, so awfully hard and destructive, great point. I hope you don’t have to leave behind your sweet dogs. Best to you!! xo