The unique situation that we are in during the coronavirus pandemic has made it difficult for many of us cope. While we all have our own struggles, I felt that it was particularly challenging for me as a recovering alcoholic to get through the day to day grind of staying at home, uncertain of what the future holds.
In the beginning, it was not as hard. After all, what’s a couple of weeks, right? Maybe this home quarantine can be an extended vacation of sorts. How many times have I complained about being overworked? How many times have I snoozed my alarm clock in the morning, hoping that I can get a few more minutes of sleep?
I told myself that I can use this time to work on things that I always wanted to do. To catch up on TV shows and movies I’ve missed. Or to finally start that DIY crafts project I’ve been meaning to work on since I saw that irresistible video clip on Facebook. I had all of these grand plans but I never imagined that it will be tough to overcome the pains that will haunt me during these times.
Because I live alone, I didn’t have family or friends to stay with me during these stay at home orders. I had to be solo most of the time. While my social life has tempered down during recovery, I was still able to find a support group of like-minded people in recovery. We go to sober outings, meet-ups, and activities to have fun together. With the pandemic, I can no longer do these things.
Being isolated from the people important to me is extra difficult. While talking on video calls and sending messages help, these cannot replicate a hug or a comforting touch. I know that being alone does not mean being lonely but that is easier said than done. This has made me seek out the companionship of an old friend I tried hard to forget – alcohol.
Being in recovery is not easy. I had to pick myself up, undergo treatment, and commit myself to being a productive citizen once again. When I found a new job only a couple of months after being in rehab, I was proud of myself. I was told that it was a good sign. I’m on my way to recovery by keeping myself busy and productive. I have a new purpose and I’m able to support myself once again.
With everything on standstill during the pandemic, I was not sure anymore if I have a job to go back to when this is all over. Will it actually be over? If I have a job next month, will I be able to keep it in the coming months? I was afraid of going back to zero and starting again.
Another source of anxiety is being susceptible to the virus. Having been an alcoholic, I knew that I am not at my healthiest. Does this mean the virus will kill me?
These worries may be enough for some people to sort themselves out, think positive, and stay away from alcohol. I confess that I was not that strong. All these emotions led me to pop open a bottle of booze.
Not going to meetings
When I decided to stay sober, one of the things that greatly helped me was going to support group meetings like Alcoholics Anonymous. I’ve always known that AA meetings are effective, at least for me, but I’ve never really appreciated the benefits of going to meetings until I was told that I can’t go to physical meetings any longer.
Being in the company of people who will not judge me for my past mistakes because they have also gone through the same experiences is very powerful. Being in these AA meetings made me want to become more accountable for my actions and become a better, sober individual.
I was not aware that there were online AA meetings that I could join. I wished that I knew about these earlier in the pandemic. After drinking again after a long time and getting wasted, I felt so bad about it that I started searching for alternatives and that’s how I only found out about these virtual support meetings.
I have now started going to these online AA meetings. I know this relapse is not the end of the world. I can get through this. I don’t know if my last drink in quarantine would continue to be my last but every day is a new day and I’m going to try my best to do better.
If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol abuse, help is available.
Contact Lighthouse Treatment today.