“I really need a drink!”
Those were the words that would fly off my tongue when stress presented itself at work, at home, and at all the shaky spots in-between.
Drinking when I felt uncomfortable and anxious was what I did. It wouldn’t even take much discomfort for my mind to fixate on a glass (aka bottle) of wine for relief.
That’s what everyone does when life feels tough and throws us off our groove, right?
Now more than three years sober from alcohol, I’ve gratefully been convinced otherwise.
In fact, with all the COVID-19 uncertainty and more than 50 days in quarantine with three young children while my husband continues flying monthly missions, I’ve never been more grateful for my sobriety.
I know that the peace, comfort and answers we’re all seeking at this heightened time cannot be found at the bottom of a bottle.
Hindsight also shows me that my anxiety would actually be through the roof if I caved to those nightly drinks and joined the quarantini-making masses on social media saying, “It’s finally OK to drink alone!”
Still, in truth, these days have required a little more inner-work to stay the course. I’ve had to dig deep, get a little creative, and even dust off some old sober tools.
So in hopes to encourage another sober or sober-curious soul, here are some of my go-tos for staying sober (and sane) during such a unique time of uncertainty:
Create and stick to a routine.
When California initiated shelter-in place and the kids shifted to distance learning, the teachers quickly advised parents to carry out a daily routine and schedule. Children thrive off routines, as it gives them a sense of stability, comfort, and control.
However, this concept applies very well to adults, too, especially when life has become so unpredictable. When I’m able to see and know what’s coming, it alleviates a great deal of anxiety. I’m not left to wonder, “What do I do now?” I just follow the routine and find comfort in knowing it’ll be mostly the same tomorrow (pending our little people).
Get outside and get moving!
Since mid-March, I’ve logged more miles running and walking outdoors than I have in YEARS! Normally my workouts take place at the gym (mostly for the sake of childcare), so it’s been an adjustment for everyone.
But at this point, I’m not mad about the change at all! The time outdoors does absolute wonders to my soul!
If I’m sad, I come home happy. If I’m anxious, I return peacefully. Tired? I’m fully recharged.
I have no doubt that this revived outdoor joy is here to stay!
Connect with others… often!
There have been plenty of days where the last thing I want to do is talk to the outside world. However, every time I do, I’m left energized.
Therefore, I make a point to connect with at least one person or group every day. A quick call or text will do. I’ve even sat quietly in the background of a sober group Zoom call just to hear others share.
Connection helps me to get out of my head and serves as a gentle reminder that we are not alone in this experience.
Self-care for the self-win!
Lastly, creating space for me to connect with me, to be “Alison” rather than “Mom,” is by far my strongest sober tool no matter life circumstances.
These days, especially, I have no issues asking for help or making time to relax in a warm bath, read inspirational memoirs, journal, exercise, paint my nails, get dolled up (even with no place to go), watch a movie, etc.
That’s because in moments of self-care I’m reminded that sober me is and will always be enough in good times, bad times, and even these uncertain times.