sober lifestyle, Uncategorized

Isolation

HELP!! The Coronavirus is making me drink!!

That was the title of a special podcast one of my favorite authors posted earlier this week, not an actual thought from my head. I sit here at 258 days sober, a good little social distancer (as always!) who has only left the house to walk to the park — alone — in the last 7.

My thoughts are actually much less coherent, and one of the many reasons I’m grateful to have a job where I can work from home during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis is that work forces me to focus on something concrete for most of the day.

I mean, inside, I still feel like the Tasmanian Devil from “Looney Tunes” all the time, but when I’m working, I’ve got no choice but to keep that maniac caged.

When left to his own devices, he stands at the mirror in the morning, wondering aloud, “What’s the point of any type of self-betterment when we could all just, you know, die tomorrow, cooped up in our homes while the world outside goes mad/falls apart, like an old dystopian “Twilight Zone” episode?”

(I’m lacing up my running shoes as I write this, because I clearly need some more fresh air.)

Last week, I wrote about my increased anxiety levels sans alcohol, and it probably goes without saying that the amping up of quarantine conditions across the country over the past week has not helped. Hell, you don’t have to be an addict in her first nine months of recovery to understand how forced isolation, amid a nonstop flurry of frightening news and unprecedented feelings of helplessness, can drive you to serious distraction.

(I must pause here and go climb up on my roof and shout for all to hear that NOTHING CAN “MAKE” YOU DRINK!!! …to prove I am not giving up/in.)

Recovering addicts have their own struggle, though, that’s for sure. The newly sober, especially. Our regular meetings, where we’ve come to feel understood and heard, even when we’re acting erratically and spouting gibberish, have been canceled. Those of us prone to isolating ourselves on a normal day now have no immediate outlet, save a supportive spouse and good old Ma Nature, for our angst. Everywhere we — I feel justified in speaking for the group — look, neighbors are putting out recycling bins overflowing with beer and wine bottles (yes, it’s f*cked up that I notice, but that’s the “disease”…). Or they’re posting pictures of their “quarantinis” and booze-related memes. And when we try to cope by avoiding social media, we feel even more disconnected.

Please don’t think I’m sitting here judging what others drink or post online. I WAS the neighbor with the giant empty handle of Cuervo out on the curb every single week. And as for social media, the biggest personal impetus for withdrawing from Facebook and Twitter (except to post blog links) was my own long, sordid history of cringe-worthy posts and general dumbassery. Social media was a playground for my addict behavior for many years, and being on it brings back a lot of bad memories. 🥴

It is, however, still a valuable lifeline in our increasingly isolated society. No denying that. The other day while listening to that special Coronavirus sobriety podcast, on my lunch break, I popped onto Facebook and found a link to AJ Daulerio’s GQ article about the challenges a global pandemic poses for people in recovery.

I cried reading it. Of course. You can only keep Taz caged for so long!

Just that brief little reminder that I am not alone and others are sharing my same struggle — I related to AJ’s experience in ways I won’t even go into — meant more than I can put into words. We need those reminders. Some need them more often than others, but we all need them. This is the very principle behind the writing of this blog, and I’ve always aimed for my posts to have a universal appeal. You certainly don’t have to be an addict fighting for a new life to crave connection, solidarity and a shared understanding of the human experience. You don’t have to be struggling with mental health issues to need reassurance, in those frightening moments when you wonder what the point really is, in anything, because life is so damn short.

Do I have reassurance to offer? Not really (see earlier Taz analogy.) I only have experience. And I can say that every single other time in my almost 42 years that I wondered about the point of the fight — such as, yesterday — I always ended up on the other side — here with you this morning — glad I kept on fighting.

All right, friends, go enjoy your weekend! Gotta run now! 🏃🏼‍♀️

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