This Guest Post was written by member @bluzooma in the Members Feed the other day and it was so poweful and inspiring I asked if I could share it here. Bravo to all the amazing people doing lockdown sober this time around! It's never too late to change!
It’s a bit like having a newborn – you think it’s a challenge at the time, but they’re never so easy as when they’re that little. There will never be a better time and environment than a lockdown to support anyone going alcohol free, especially for the first time.
Get rid of the booze from your house. Fill your cupboards with good food, new recipes, treats, books, Netflix. Drive PAST the bottle shops on your way to the supermarket, go for walks, listen to podcasts, distract yourself when the urges strike. Believe you can make this change in your life, because actually you can. And it’s worth it. Life will offer so much when you let go of alcohol.
But, how different it was for me the last Level 4 lockdown we had. Last time I was drunk by lunchtime. I had so much anxiety when the wine shop would only sell me 3 bottles at a time. I recruited anyone I could think of to buy me wine if they were out for supplies. I went to my local bottle shop then drove straight to another one further up the road for more. And then I would come home, hunker down and drink all on my own, justifying it all the while because it was, of course, extenuating circumstances.
I had driveway drinks with the neighbours, I had virtual drinks with friends online, I had work drinks via Teams and I would fill a coffee cup with wine for online work meetings. Getting through lockdown could only be made possible if I self medicated my way through it. And I actually thought that this was acceptable.
However, as much as I am ashamed of that downward spiral, dependency and of those choices, I see now that it was my catalyst for change. I came out of that lockdown depressed, anxious and very unhealthy both physically and mentally. I was drinking more habitually and in greater volumes than ever before. It took another 6 months of self-loathing, fear, dread and shame before I was able to whisper to my best friend that I was in dire need of help. I came back here to Living Sober. And then I stopped drinking.
So this time in lockdown, things look very different. It didn’t occur to me to worry about wanting to drink this lockdown, because I don’t drink. I am not a drinker. I am unhappy about this pandemic and the heartbreak it is causing. But I am grateful for the solitude at home and to be able to spend some quality time with my children. As @mrs-d said, this lockdown is not a good thing, but there is opportunity here, for an environment that will support you to be alcohol free.
Since I quit drinking 10 short months ago I have found the strength to leave my marriage of 21 years, to stand on my own two feet with a mortgage, full time job, and be a really great full time Mum to two teenagers. I have let go of some relationships and established some new ones. I have realised how capable I am, I have acknowledged where I’ve come from and I am working out where I’m going.
I won’t lie and say that I’m not scared. It is really scary doing it on my own. But I know I’ll be okay no matter life throws at me. Because now my life is honest and I’m not hiding behind anything any more.
I couldn’t have made any of these changes if I was still drinking. Alcohol had me shackled, bound, gagged and beaten. I kept a spark alive though, and one day I managed to blow on it hard enough to turn it in to a flame. And the fire is burning pretty brightly these days.
If you are reading this and you are thinking that lockdown is not the time to quit (or stay sober), think again. It is the perfect time. Whatever you want in life is so much more likely to happen when you’re sober, so find your strength, your spark and take a stand.