Sobriety in a time of rising anxiety
I have felt like I needed to write for a while, but every time the thought came into my head I decided I didn't feel like it. I don't know what that mental block is, but this time I am forcing myself to sit down and write and just see what happens. We are about 7 weeks into the main shut down that has been going on due to Covid-19. It has definitely not been an easy time for anybody, but I imagine it is especially hard for people who are new to sobriety and aren't use to finding healthy ways to cope with anxiety. I would describe myself as somewhat of an anxious person overall. I feel like I have a constant to-do list in my mind and I am usually thinking about what comes next before I am even done with the task at hand. I think it is a weakness of mine. I am not one to easily sit and be in the present moment without worrying about something in the future. The current pandemic has exacerbated this trait in me at times. But there have also been times when I have found myself spending more time just letting myself be, without an agenda or conquering my to-do list. This is a hard time for everyone. And I want to speak to those who are feeling like they aren't accomplishing enough with all their new free time. Social media makes it seem like everyone is baking fun things or mastering some new hobby, and if you aren't doing these sorts of quarantine activities then what are you doing with your time? It is easy to compare myself to everything I see people doing and think, "am I not being productive enough with my time?" "Should I be learning piano better or making fancy dinners for the husband and I?" The answer is, there is no right way to quarantine. This is very uncharted territory for everyone, and we are just trying to figure out what to do to stay afloat. I can say negative things in my head about being lazy or not doing enough, but that is not going to help me. I am exercising most days, reading a lot of books, and still making a few fun recipes here and there, but that is pretty much it. No new exciting hobbies for me (unless puzzling counts as a hobby). I do my best to listen to my mind and my body and do whatever I think it needs for that day. When I am working, my days tend to be very stressful, so when I am off I like to decompress and catch my breath. I am working in the hospital during this time and it has been somewhat of a roller coaster. I am an operating room nurse, so I have not had to directly care for any Covid patients. But there was a busy time when they were sending us to help out in different areas around the hospital and that felt a lot more dangerous. Thankfully, elective surgeries are starting to return this week and so things are feeling a bit more normal.
I have overheard many conversations in the break room or even seen people post about how they are drinking way more than normal during this time. It's quarantine and you are home all day with your kids, so why not just start the drinking at 10 am? This thought absolutely baffles me. I have talked with sister #1 about how grateful we are that we are sober during the quarantine. If I was drinking, we would start in the morning and end up with sloppy days that all blended together. We would be feeling like shit everyday, and whatever anxiety we had from the pandemic would only be heightened by being hungover. I feel bad for the people that are finding themselves drinking more these days. I am SO happy I am not one of them. We both recently had our 4 year soberversary! 4 years sounds like a really long time, and I guess that's because it is! It is amazing to think about where our lives were 4 years ago and to see everything that has happened since we made that decision to quit drinking the poison. I am so proud of my sister. She found the love of her life and they are expecting a baby girl in October!!! It all feels too good to be true. Even though life seems weird and a little unmanageable right now, there are still so many blessings to be grateful for. We don't know how long the lock down is going to last. But until things are back to whatever new normal they are going to be, I encourage everyone to just be okay with whatever it is you are doing to get through quarantine. Especially if you are staying sober doing it! That is not easy. It's okay if you aren't baking bread everyday or getting in the best shape of your life. Go easy on yourself if you notice you are eating a little more ice cream than usual, or you're laying in bed a little longer in the mornings. It is okay. Life is hard. Let's continue to show each other love and grace when it is easy to be selfish and rude in the grocery store. Things are going to be okay!