Sobriety in the Midst of a Pandemic:: One Day at a Time

Sobriety in the midst of a pandemic

Thirteen years ago, I began the journey of sobriety. As a teenager, or even a twenty-something, I never desired to be an addict in recovery. When I made a list of goals to accomplish by 32, this was not the desired outcome. But there I was, with a 5 and 1 1/2 year old, learning how to live without a drink or a drug. I often describe early sobriety as walking around with no skin. Every nerve is exposed. Every fear is easily exploited. In the midst of the crisis, you have been recently separated from your best friends. Sound familiar? 

We are all walking around in a new reality. But, there is a group of moms that are particularly close to my heart tonight. To the moms who walked into their very first recovery meeting the week the city went on ‘stay home’ orders, I see you. To the moms who have some time under your belt and yet everything is annoyingly raw, I feel you. To the moms that know that life is better on this side of addiction, yet you have had drinking dreams and feel yourself walking that scary line of ‘maybe…’, I am you. We are together. 

An Invitation

Whether you find yourself in the previous few descriptions or you are a sister, mom, daughter, or BFF to a woman in recovery, it is my hope that you can hear these words as both comfort and conviction. You are important. This new world that we find ourselves in is asking for more that we think we possess. That is a lie. May these suggestions be not so gentle reminders that you are not alone.

Block Those Friends on Social Media

I do love my social media. I read all the re-tweets and like all the pictures. I watch all the videos and even comment on the stupid stuff. I love memories. I love the feel goods. I even love engaging with differing political and religious perspectives. I have been on Facebook for more than a decade. I can honestly say that I have not blocked many people in that time. But this week…things changed.

I knew I was going to struggle when liquor stores were considered essential. But when the drive through and pick up options for margaritas were expanded as a response tactic, I was in trouble. I don’t need to hear everything that everyone has to say. Sobriety requires me to know my boundaries and for me, today, I need to block the drinking games. When I see comments about needing wine at 10am, I need to log off.

In times of crisis, we all go to the things that bring us relaxation. I have friends that can drink to relax. I can’t. I drink AT things. I drink to change things. I don’t need constant reminders of how I am different in this season. As I sit in my head – alone on my bedroom floor – trying to escape from my arguing teenagers, I need to be reminded of the things that unite us not the things that make me feel left out. So, dear mommas, do yourself a favor and give those posts a 30-day pass. You need it.

Treat Yo Self

If you have made the hard pass on the celebratory wine or the I-made-it-through-3rd-grade-math beer, it’s time to find your treat. We all need them. When I gave up pills and nightly wine, I took up holy bathing. For me my bathroom is my sanctuary. I have a big tub. I have all the smells. I spend my bar tab on fancy soap. As the years went on, I realized that I needed a way to sit with drinking friends and not be THAT girl. The answer for me is coffee and boujee drinks. Some people have wine refrigerators and beer brewing kits. I pride myself on my ability to make a mug of caffeinated warm goodness or bubbly fun with no hangover component. I often arrive at friend’s houses with ginger beer or a monogramed glass with something just for me. These are my things. Maybe they work for you, or maybe not.

Whatever it is that helps you recognize that your needs are important, that you need a way to celebrate the victories, you do you. Rather than focusing on the ways that you are not ‘part of,’ now is the time to make the things that bring you joy an act of celebration. Exhibit 1 from last week:: This is me…on my bathroom floor…in Christmas PJs…drinking my ginger beer. You. Do. You. 

Be Good Neighbors

We are leaving bears for kids to find in our yards. We are chalking all the walkways. We are checking on our medically fragile friends. We are teaching our kids to send letters to those we won’t see for a while. In the same way that your kids need Zoom calls with classmates, we need contact with other sober people. I can honestly say that my friends committed to sobriety {and ones that work in ways I will never know, to understand my disease} are saving my social distancing life.

Through texts, forwards, minor stalking tactics and phone calls, I have been chased from the holes of my reckless thinking. They have reminded me that even when it feels good to isolate, that is a dangerous place for a person like me. I need to process. I need to write. And I also need to take a good long walk and allow other humans to speak reminders of my truth to my weary soul.

Special request to those who love people like me:: ask if we are ok. If someone has trusted you enough to share their recovery with you, they have handed you a sacred gift. The most honoring thing you can do with that gift is treasure it. Treasure them. By recognizing their sobriety in this way {a loving way…not a keep tabs on them so they don’t get drunk kind of way}, you are giving them permission to call you when they are not ok. That day may happen. But if there is one thing I know about friendships, it is that they save your life. Sometimes literally and sometimes in the darkest fears of a pandemic when all your best attempts are failing. Friends are the lights that illuminate the next step on the path. This is a unique season, and much like sobriety, we take this one step at a time. 

If you think that you have a problem with alcohol, contact aahouston.org. Even though most in-person meetings are not occurring, there are many meetings available through video conference platforms. 


Need more quarantine resources? Check out Houston Moms’ Ultimate Guide to Quarantine Resources! 

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4 Responses to Sobriety in the Midst of a Pandemic:: One Day at a Time

  1. Avatar
    Donna Denson April 27, 2020 at 11:58 pm #

    This is so uplifting and well written. Love it! And thank you for sharing.

    • Avatar
      Lacy H April 29, 2020 at 1:34 pm #

      It is my hope that my story is a lifeline for someone today. Thanks for the kind words!

  2. Ashley KB
    Ashley KB April 29, 2020 at 12:55 pm #

    Such an amazing post! Thank you for sharing!

    • Avatar
      Lacy H April 29, 2020 at 1:35 pm #

      I’m thankful for the many women who have taught me that giving away my story is a vital part of recovery.

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