"Decided on my 69th Birthday (end of June) that I was sick and tired of the struggle of "moderation" and it was just easier to give up for good."
This pandemic sobriety story comes from RosieD who lives in Northland.
Mrs D: How are you feeling about what's going on with Covid-19?
RosieD: I'm retired. I'm fortunate to not have any financial worries and my immediate family and friends do seem to be coping OK. I do feel a bit cheated as far as not being able to travel. I'm 69 and had some big travel plans sketched out for 2020/2021 to re-connect "one last time" with distant relatives, old friends and special places overseas - so I've had to resign myself to the fact that those journeys may actually never happen.
Mrs D: How have your emotions shifted and changed since the pandemic began?
RosieD: I actually felt quite fatalistic about Covid-19 when it emerged last year. All through history there have been "plagues", more recently the growth of diseases, infections, and viruses that are resistant to even our most advanced medicines so a pandemic of some sort was really inevitable. I've been banging on for years about how the planet is massively overpopulated and that things will not end well for the human race unless something really drastic happens. As the pandemic has gone on my emotions have got more stirred up, especially by the uncooperative and illogical behaviour of some people and the scourge of social media!
Mrs D: How long have you been sober for?
RosieD: 109 days and counting. (Finished my last bottle of Scotch on the 5th July) During the first lockdown I cut down my drinking to "just" 3 or 4 bottles of wine a week - shared with my husband but, like yo-yo dieting, piled straight back into the hard stuff once we went down alert levels. Decided on my 69th Birthday (end of June) that I was sick and tired of the struggle of "moderation" and it was just easier to give up for good.
Mrs D: How is being sober helping you at crazy time?
RosieD: I think it's the other way round, being restricted in what we can do and where we can go has made it easier to learn how to be sober. I don't have the stress of a job or looking after a family (just a husband who has agreed to go sober with me, he has maybe 1 glass of wine if we do go out to socialise) so I have concentrated on being kind to myself and I don't have to make excuses or explain anything to anybody.
Mrs D: Have you had any pangs to drink since the latest lockdown began (if in New Zealand)?
RosieD: Yes, still get the old "5 o'clock wine time" some days but I either have a cup of tea or I've discovered Zero wine. It surprises me that I can have just one glass for the taste and I'm satisfied with that.
Mrs D: Any particular self-care actions that are helping your get through?
RosieD: Dark chocolate, max 4 squares a day though! Started sessions with a local acupuncturist (before and after we were level 3). Trying not to stress if I don't sleep well and congratulate myself when I do.
Mrs D: What are you doing to fill in the days
RosieD: Cooking/baking. Computer games. Reading. Aquarobics (when the pool is open of course). Crafting.
Mrs D: What would you say to people who are struggling with alcohol at the moment?
RosieD: It's different for everybody. I'd already tried local addiction services and didn't want to join AA. I'm not comfortable in group situations so I found books and media articles and information from health professionals and science stuff online is what finally helped me understand that ALCOHOL is the PROBLEM - NOT ME. So be kind to yourself, don't beat yourself up and just take it one day at a time.
Mrs D: What's in this photo you've shared with us?
RosieD: This is the Hundertwasser Art Centre under construction in Whangarei. I'm a local artist and I've been involved in the project since 2014. I'm "in training" to be a volunteer tour guide when the centre opens and that has been a big motivating factor in getting (and staying) sober. Nothing worse than a hungover tour guide eh?? LOL.
Mrs D: Anything else you'd like to add?
RosieD: I would recommend Annie Grace's "Alcohol Experiment", apparently her previous book "This Naked Mind" is also very good and I intend to read it when our local library opens up again.
Any tips trying to cut my drinking to eventually stop I really enjoy the drinking but it effects my joints quite bad .Can’t stop thinking about it can’t wait to have a drink I wish could get it out of my mind ,would be nice just to be able to have one or two.
Thank you RosieD. This is inspirational for me at this point. I am also in my sixties and at a turning point in regard to drinking alcohol. It,s nothing new as this part of the journey started 10 years ago with the weird destabilising effects of menopause. Add red wine(or a number of other enticing options, including whisky) and it is hard to keep the boat steady!
I,ve had a couple of years with no alcohol since, and it wasn,t easy, but then a lot of good things aren,t. I,m almost ready to get back on the horse.
It,s wonderful that your mate is supportive and doesn,t binge. Mine is drinking less (hallelujah) but still in excess , weekly, which leads to late nights and sometimes the music starts when I am almost asleep……
It,s great to have an update on the Hundertwasser centre and to see that wonderful photo. I am so looking forward to visiting when we are able to move around more freely. Until then, there is a big event happening for us with a baby due in the family, so I have the best reason in the world to care enough for myself to be alcohol free. Acting out the bedtime story characters with “prime time voices” is not how I want to be, if I am lucky enough to be a grandie.
As regards books, I found Allen Carr,s psychology to be the key for me to stop smoking, at last. His book Ëasy way to control Alcohol” didn,t work for me the same way, unfortunately. I might re read it as I guess it could be a matter of timing and of course commitment.
It was blimmin sad to read on line, that he passed away after having lung cancer, since he had made a life,s work out of helping people get free of addiction.
So thanks again for your honesty. I will check out the Annie Grace podcast. I have wondered if we could start a book share, maybe initially north or south island, including off shore islands, of course. If people paid their own postage, or the cost of forwarding, the books could have a list of requesting readers and eventually return to the owner. We have a similar group of 10 or so readers here who share. It works well. I,d be happy to put some time in if anyone else thinks this could work. It would not really work beyond NZ and I know there are now a lot of LS members all over the world. I miss the library while we are in lockdown, week 10.
I found your writing to be just what I needed to hear this morning.
Wishing you and everyone on here, strength and compassion.
Thank you Nina. I’m still hanging in AF, 114 days now, but still working through the withdrawal/healing which I’ve read could take quite a while longer. I’ve got a big formal dinner to go to on Saturday where there will be loads of alcohol so wish me luck. Hope you feel able to give sobriety another go, though it must be hard when there’s still one person in the house chugging it down! In a way I’m “fortunate” that my hubbie is on anti-seizure medication and he’s recently got the message from our doc that he really shouldn’t drink, at 74 his liver really can’t take it, it’s been a good extra reason to keep us both motivated. The book idea sounds good. Our local library has been shut for weeks too.
I hope your event went well. Good practice for summer when we are usually out more and let,s hope that will be possible.
Also hope your man stays well. Our livers will be liking the change!
Thanks for sharing @rosied. I can really relate to the “struggle of moderation”. I like how you’ve worded that. You’re right, it was a struggle – it was distracting, energy-draining, and not much fun. Well done on stopping.
(I can also relate to the pleasure of dark chocolate – Whittaker’s Nicaragua… omg… soooo good) 🤤
Thanks Pinchie – my current fave is the Whittakers salted caramel 62%!
Thank you for taking the time to write the story. I find reading the stories on this site works for me and helps me feel part of a group all aiming for the same goal. Very empowering. Congrats on your sober time.
Annie Grace’s this Naked Mind book was a gamechanger about how I looked at alcohol and gave myself grace for why I became addicted to begin with. Her podcast is awesome too!
Yes AA doesn’t appeal to me & wonderful that your husband so supportive as that must make things so much easier. Congratulations on everything you’ve achieved, despite lockdowns tec.
Oh I saw this beautiful monument when I visited Whangarei for the first time in January! I stared at it for a long time and think it’s incredible. I hope when things become more accessible , to come for a tour . Congratulaltions on being alcohol free, and thank you for your honesty ❤️ I’m sorry that your plans have had to change in terms of travel . Sending lots of love up North to you & your family .
Thankyou. Do come back and see the art centre if you can. Due to open 15th December. It will include one gallery dedicated solely to contemporary Maori art.
Fantastic stuff, you have done so well. I wonder how many of us shun AA. I know it’s an incredible help to so many but when I really thought I would have to go I quailed. Like you I’m uncomfortable in groups and the very thought of the look on some of my friends and relatives’ faces if I tried to do that making amends thing – it sounds so cringey (to me). I’d be interested to know if I have the idea all wrong and it’s not as American and undigestible as it sounds. All I know is the idea is enough to turn my thoughts to the wine bottle – ha. Luckily I found this site and so far, it , and the suggestions coming from it have been doing me proud. Glad you are keeping busy with all your hobbies – it’s nice to have the energy and enthusiasm for them again. Best of luck for the future. We’ve got this. xxxx
Thanks for the feedback and encouragement Megustalasuvas. I’m entering uncharted waters now as I’m pretty sure this is the longest I’ve been AF since I was a teenager – I do feel quite lethargic a lot of the time and a bit scared that according to some information it could take quite a while for all the more deep seated withdrawal symptoms to resolve themselves. As for AA – I refuse to label myself an alcoholic, or agree that so-called alcoholism is a disease – but if the group thing and the faith-based approach works for some people that’s at least achieving the right result for them. Hope your journey is going well.