My sober pandemic: Zoe

zoe with hat on pink walkway

"I think if people really have hit a wall, there are agencies out there ready to help and listen."


Today's sober hero is Zoe from Mt Eden, Auckland.


Mrs D: How are you feeling about what's going on with this COVID-19 virus?

Zoe: I think Jacinda (and her Government) has done everything in her power to keep New Zealanders safe and informed during this Lockdown. I’m so proud of being a Kiwi right now and hope her methods prove to be effective in countering the virus so that we can continue to live in our incedible country. I have not minded being isolated. It’s a small price to pay.

Mrs D: How have your emotions shifted and changed since the crisis began?

Zoe: It’s funny - I resigned from my job in December, giving 3 month’s notice, and my retirement date was April 1st (an auspicious day for me as its my Clean time Birthday). So I was in effect going to be unemployed during this time anyway. It was like the whole of NZ came into retirement with me!!! The fact that I had to cancel an amazing 2 month overseas holiday planned to ease me into retirement did cause me some disappointment. But I now feel resigned to this and know that I can possibly do some version of it in the future.

Mrs D: How long have you been sober for?

Zoe: I have not used alcohol or other drugs since April 1st 1996. 24 years.

Mrs D: How is being sober helping you at this crazy time?

Zoe: I’m so glad I am. I sometimes imagine what the getting and using and finding ways and means to get more would be like? There is a guy who I’m sure is on P living in the factory next door. He has days when he is raging at the world and is so angry and in such pain that all he can do is scream obscenities into the silent streets. I have some really good habits that hold me I good stead over this time (we addicts love a habit). I do meditation and write 3 pages of free form writing every morning. That sets the stage for a really good day. I am walking to a different park in my immediate vicinity each day. I take a wee picnic and a drink bottle and walk for about an hour in any given direction.

Mrs D: Have you had any pangs to drink since the lockdown began?

Zoe: Not so far.

Mrs D: Any particular self-care actions that are helping you in these gritty times?

Zoe: As above meditation, walking, writing and talking to people in recovery and other friends. I also attend 12 Step recovery meetings on line 3 or 4 times a week. I have a lovely cat and I talk to her.

Mrs D: What are you doing to fill in the days?

Zoe: I made a 48 hour film over the weekend, wrote it, played all 4 characters, shot it and sent it off for my good friend to edit. I am an actor, so I have been putting some of my characters down and sharing the results with friends to keep my hand in. It’s important to use our gifts at this time of isolation. I also go to a writing workshop once a week on Zoom and belong to a Book Club. So - busy, busy, busy!

Mrs D: What would you say to people who are struggling with alcohol while they're in lockdown?

Zoe: It’s really up to the individual. Probably cut down  if they can? Start later in the day. Drink only with dinner. I think if people really have hit a wall or, as we say, reached rock bottom, then there are agencies out there ready to help and listen. Maybe look online and attend a Zoom meeting they are advertised on the various wesites under AA or NA. There are no physical meetings at the moment of course.

Mrs D: What's in this photo you've shared with us?

Zoe: This is me working up a wee sweat on one of my walks. I'm walking along the Pink Highway, which I thought was only for bikes until the lockdown when I finally had some time to explore my own city.

Mrs D: Anything else you'd like to add?

Zoe: Thanks for asking me. It’s been good to do a little introspection.


Join our community to talk with others who are looking at the role alcohol plays in their lives.

  1. Suzy Morrison 4 years ago

    Thanks for your story Zoe
    I love what you’re doing in lockdown
    Recovery is a creative process x

  2. Hammer123 4 years ago

    Wow so amazing 24 years, it seems like you probably have more sober years than drinking years under your belt.

  3. morgan 4 years ago

    It would be great to read your whole Sober Story in full – the ones Lotta has done for us often – is that a possibility Lotta?

  4. morgan 4 years ago

    Lovely to read your story and the way you are passing the time in lockdown – busy busy, yes! Will we get to see your film?

  5. MalibuStacey 4 years ago

    Good Gawd, you’re fabulous @Zoe. You played all 4 characters in the 48hr challenge AND you’re a sister free-form writer on top of it all. Cool story. Thanks for sharing it. Twenty four years seems like a zillion days to me. What a legendess!

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