"Last lockdown I was entrenched in the drinking game and I used it as an excuse to get plastered."
This pandemic sobriety tale comes from Aaron who lives in a small town at the bottom of the South Island.
Mrs D: How are you feeling about what’s going on with Covid-19?
Aaron: Although I do think we are in pretty good hands I am a bit nervous about them keeping it under control and it’s quite scary thinking about the prospects that could happen if it gets away. I think Kiwis are in a way better head space than what we have been seeing from across the ditch and as long as we all stick to how we should be behaving, we can get through. Me? I do feel good in myself, and I dunno why, but my mind is telling me this is going to be one of the hardest tests I am going to have to get through. I think I feel really on edge but confident too about me, if that make sense?
Mrs D: Yes, that makes perfect sense. Feeling all the feels! How have your emotions shifted and changed since the pandemic began?
Aaron: I think my anxiety levels are quite high at the moment, last lockdown I was still well and truly entrenched in the drinking game and I used lockdown as an easy excuse to get plastered every night. Not that it really made much difference for me because I would have found an excuse any ways. I do feel that my mind set has changed over the last couple of days, as its sort of thrown me out of sync a bit, not that it should have, because for me, nothing has really changed. I am starting to miss our kids though.
Mrs D: How long have you been sober for?
Aaron: Currently I’m on Day 45 of my first time ever doing this, don’t think I have ever lasted more than a day or two since the late 1980’s and that would have most likely been, because I was crook or had made a complete dick of myself. I’m proud of my 45 days, and I know my wife and kids are too, one of the little things I do to stay on track when those testing moments come, is to turn it round in my head, and remind myself about how many years I was a drunk for what I’ve missed out on and how senseless both that, and I used to be.
Mrs D: How is being sober helping you at this crazy time?
Aaron: Last year when we went into lockdown we had that urgent rush to get to the booze shop, as so many were doing on Wednesday. We spent probably over 1K filling the boot of the car up with booze to get us through. I then went on a concerted effort to binge myself through it all. And we still ran out!! Being sober this time round has certainly enabled me to stay focused on what I really should be doing, managing both my work and our relationship and maintaining the goals I have set for myself. It’s a very different perspective on things this time round having a clear head.
Mrs D: Have you had any pangs to drink since the latest lockdown began
Aaron: Last night one of my old drinking mates flicked through a messenger pic of himself in his man cave getting wasted, and yea kinda it had a little of that “feels good feeling” about getting on it. My wife still has a couple of glasses of wine though not every night, and since I have given up there’s always been a beer or two here (for my sons if they come over) but I have been able to resist temptation so far and am sure I always will be able to now.
Mrs D: Any particular self-care actions that are helping you get through?
Aaron: I’m a foodie, and we always have a great assortment of goodies in the freezer, so quite a bit of our day thinking / talking / planning is about making the choice what niceties we are going to have for the evening meal. Last night we decided that instead of just sitting in front of the telly with our plates in our laps we are going to have a little dinner party each night, candles out, the whole works, might even get dressed up. Who knows where that can lead.. (sober).
Mrs D: What are you doing to fill in the days?
Aaron: I work from home mostly anyway so there is no real difference for me being in lockdown, my work just keeps coming on in. My wife is not working at the moment, so it’s great to have someone else around for a change. Probably because I work from here, staying in my working routine certainly helps, but regardless of whether you are working or not, it’s the staying active both in mind and body that’s the key.
Mrs D: What would you say to people who are struggling with alcohol at the moment?
Aaron: I think probably the biggest thing that will be affecting people on this journey is that when you are in lockdown you can just have so much extra time on your hands, time to think and perhaps dwell a bit on the past of what you thought was the fun stuff and letting your guard down a little. Keeping busy and occupied is my answer at the moment, stick in there and saviour the moments and good feelings, because you will get them sober. When I woke this morning, the town was just so quiet and for the first time in years I actually noticed the birds chirping me awake out of my slumber. Man it was great!!
Mrs D: What’s in this photo you’ve shared with us?
Aaron: South Coast through the Catlins Its one of my favourite spots where we spend a lot of time, and looking to be getting back there shortly, absolutely beautiful place and atrociously wild when she wants to be.
Mrs D: Anything else you’d like to add?
Aaron: Just like to say to all the others on this journey, stay focused on the good stuff ahead because there is plenty of it and it will come. I’ve only been on this for a short time but just about every day I notice something that I have completely been missing before, it was always there, but like the birds this morning, in the past my head was just too fucked up to notice.