By Guest Blogger Anonymous
If you haven’t spotted a meme about drinking during quarantine, you probably don’t have an internet connection. The jokes are everywhere! Funny memes about moms surviving online learning by drinking throughout the day. Videos about how to share glasses of wine while social distancing. Jokes about whether we will need a 12 step program or Weight Watchers first when quarantine is over. You get the picture.
I see these posts on social media and chuckle at some, while at the same time feel relief to not need a drink to survive this extraordinary time.
I am an alcoholic. I am 7 1/2 years into my sobriety. I’ve seen a lot and learned a lot in my lifetime and I won’t deny that this period of time in our lives is going to be a tough time for many.
For those who enjoy drinking, this time of social distancing and quarantine can easily take your weekly bottle of wine to the next level. I look back on my early years as a mother and picture what this quarantine time would look like for me. I think I could justify my drinking because I could “balance” it out well. You know, rationalizing how much at what time of the day. Maybe or maybe not, a lunch time small glass to take the edge off. Dancing around with the kids, playing tag, goofing off, the drink gave me that kind of looseness. I would use exercise as a method to “sweat it out.” It would make me feel more in control. Managing the intake and sweating out the calories and negative affects. Plus, if I could still exercise, surely I didn’t have a problem, right? Then maybe I would have a couple of glasses while preparing dinner, followed up with the rest of the bottle or who knows maybe two. I could sleep an extra hour in the morning, to unwind and give myself kudos for another day well done.
But as it so happened in real life, my disease would progress and it would have turned out as a detriment. I would not have been able to limit my intake and would have been good and buzzed or flat out drunk ALL day long. My work would have been fun for a bit but would have paid the price. My kids would have mostly been left to their own device.
As I think about this time during Coronavirus, I understand why drinking can be so appealing. Online learning with the kids alone could drive you to drink! Add that on top of managing your full time job and being confined to home. Who isn’t looking for some mental and physical way to release the stress?
So how do you know when you actually have a problem?
I think it is important to point out that there isn’t one true “definition” of a drinking problem when it comes to frequency and quantity. You don’t need to drink every day, you don’t need to drink alone, and you don’t need to always resort to hard liquor. Basically there comes a point when you start to wonder if you aren’t drinking like everyone else. You have a tinge of guilt and wake up saying to yourself “not today” only to find the same pattern to repeat itself. You have to think about whether you are going to the store again for another bottle of your drink of choice. Will they recognize me again? Will my spouse see how much I am spending? Excuses, little lies, sneakiness are just part of what you contend with so often.
I remember the fear of the realization that something had to change, otherwise nothing would change and I would stay stuck in the same cycle. I was aware of 12 step programs, but how was I going to step into something like that? What if I saw someone I knew? Or what if I was really going to have to quit drinking?
Let me tell you, I have quit drinking for today only. Tomorrow isn’t guaranteed. But I do have a good chance if I keep doing the next right thing.
I didn’t see anyone I knew the first few meetings I attended, but as time went on I did. Guess what? They were there because they were just like me, an alcoholic. The friendships and community found in recovery are indescribable. I have a life far better than I would have imagined for myself 7 1/2 years ago. I owe that to the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous.
If you are struggling or even have a simple concern that alcohol may be causing some issues in your life, try a meeting. They are on Zoom now! You don’t have to get dressed and make that drive while trying to decide whether you are going to do this or not. Cozy up on your couch, pick up your phone or computer, and listen. You may find you are right where you belong.
For a list of ways to get help or find a meeting click here.
The hardest part is that first step to finding freedom. Freedom of lies, shame, guilt and the hangovers! The benefits of a 12 step program can bring you all of that and more. You do not have to deal with this time of confinement alone. There is help out there waiting with open arms.
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