Today's sober hero is Ellen who lives in Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
Mrs D: How are you feeling about what's going on with the pandemic?
Ellen: Some days I felt completely overwhelmed by what was going on world, other days I feel safe and ok. Many days are both.
Mrs D: How long have you been sober for?
Ellen: I will be four years sober on April 17, 2022.
Mrs D: How has being sober helped you through the pandemic?
Ellen: I wake up every morning with a clear head. I may feel scared, sad, depressed even, but I deal with those feelings. I drink my coffee and try to come up with a plan for the day. I don't know how I could navigate this time if I were still drinking.
Mrs D: Have you had any pangs to drink lately?
Ellen: I felt shaken at the beginning of the pandemic, not pangs like cravings, but I did have thoughts. I started to have drinking dreams again. I had them often for the first six months of getting sober. I spent some time with my 'quit lit' and with some sober friends online. I quickly put those thoughts away. Instead, I am focused on becoming stronger and more determined than ever to stay sober.
Mrs D: Any particular self-care actions that have helped you in these gritty times?
Ellen: I am a runner, so I run. I found running alone when restrictions required it, day after day, to be a challenge. I really enjoy the support and camaraderie of my running friends. However, I persevere! When I needed to run alone I did lots of solo-waving to fellow runners, trying to take support from others out there alone. I also took spin classes and yoga classes from home.
Mrs D: What did you do to fill in the days?
Ellen: In addition to working from home and exercising, I spent a lot of time reading. I love literary fiction and memoirs. I also enjoy knitting, doing puzzles and cooking. My teenagers kept things lively. I also drank too much coffee, tea and hot chocolate.
Mrs D: What would you say to people who are struggling with alcohol right now?
Ellen: I know how hard it is. My best advice would be to focus on one day at a time, sometimes, one hour at a time. When I first gave up drinking, my cravings were the worst at night. I would tell myself, not tonight. Maybe tomorrow you can drink, but not tonight. I did that for weeks. I also used one of your tricks - picturing myself climbing into bed sober and waking up without a hangover. That trick got me through my first summer of not drinking. And try to find a support group. There are so many online right now. You can do it alone, but it's hard!! A support group makes it so much easier.
Mrs D: What's in this photo you've shared with us?
Ellen: My current vices...
Mrs D: Anything else you'd like to add?
Ellen: I never want to go back to drinking. I try to put my sobriety first everyday. If I start drinking again, it affects everything and everyone in my life. Sobriety is my super power. When times are tough, I remind myself - you gave up alcohol, you can do anything!!! Covid-19 is not taking me down. Stay strong! xoxo