I keep a journal. More than one actually. I am sad when I think about all the years I skipped writing because of my drinking. I know there were other reasons I didn’t, but I think that was the biggest one. Who had time to write…there were drinks to be had. I missed out on writing about vital years of my son growing up. I was so busy working fulltime, being a wife and mother, I didn’t take the time to write. Maybe if I had, I wouldn’t have turned to the drinking? I will never know. But now writing in my journals and writing this blog are tools that help me stay sober and, hopefully one day, help me lose weight. Writing is a way for me to get stuff out of my mind that might otherwise, cloud my thoughts and lead me in ways that I never want to go.
The Pandemic lead people to do a lot of things they may never have done before. You read stories online or see them on TV. Stories of people learning a new skill, starting a new hobby, finding new ways to exercise at home, creating businesses, finding ways to help others; stepping out of their usual ‘comfort-zone’ and doing something they never thought they would do. It’s quite amazing to think of all the wonderful things that have come from “Lockdown”.
My sobriety grew out of this pandemic. Don’t get me wrong, like many, I drank my way through the first 4 months of it. I was already drinking every night, but being in lockdown gave me even more “reason” to drink. I mean, the stress of the unknown, the worry of getting sick or losing loved-ones, not knowing how we would all come through it all in the end…it was a very stressful time. The industry has taught us, the best way to handle our stress is to drink alcohol…so, I was happy to oblige. Like so many others, I drank to help myself deal with it all.
But one day, I realized I was becoming even more desperate than ever. It wasn’t the night I was so drunk I tripped and fell getting into bed or the many, many mornings I woke up not remembering tucking my son into bed. It was the time I called my sister in a panic; worried I wouldn’t be able to get any vodka because stores were closing. I thought if we went into a true Lockdown, I wouldn’t be able to get my booze. And that, my friends, was a very, very low point for me.
Over the next few weeks I was still easily able to get my booze, but like many times before, I did some research online to see if I could find some help. Something other than AA, something that would work for me…to help me break my dependence and habit of drinking heavily every night. Somehow, this time, I stumbled into “The Sober School“. My timing was great. Kate Bee, the owner/creator, had just started a video session specifically about the pandemic and drinking. And a few weeks after that she had a new 6 week class starting. OMG! Finally! Something that might work for me! I was hooked. I signed up for the waiting list, watched all the videos, and on June 29th, I paid for the class which would start on July 6th.
When I look back now, I can’t even express how thankful I am for finding “The Sober School” and how grateful I feel for being 253 days sober. I was reading my journal last night, looking back at the days before the class started. An excerpt from my journal on June 29th, 2020:
Today I was off work. I went to Costco, colored my hair, had a landscaper come give me quotes on my yard projects. Tried to help Nick (my ex husband) figure out what the hell he is going to do with his business. But the most important thing I did today was pay $500 to take a 6 week class to take a break from booze. Starting a week from today, I will not drink for 6 weeks & hopefully longer. I am scared and excited. It’s the first time I have felt the real possibility of getting my life back. Today I am Grateful for:
- Kate Bee’s Sober School
- A day off from work
- Feeling that life may actually change!
To be honest, reading that made me cry. I cried because I remember how desperate I felt to make a change and how scared I was that I never would be able to. I cried because I am so incredibly grateful that I finally found a way out of the hole I was living in. I cried because I knew how much time I lost before I found my way, and I cried because I know how far I have come and how easy it would be to fall back into that bottomless pit of despair I lived in for so long.
Sunday, July 12, 2020, I got up early and wrote in my journal – something I normally reserved for evenings. I won’t bore you with every word I wrote, but this too, has given me pause. I wrote how God brought me to that moment because he knew it was the perfect time in my life to finally quit drinking. I had recently cancelled my annual summer trip to the Oregon coast because of the Pandemic. My sister, my son and I would go for a week, rent a house on the beach, relax, shop, eat and drink, drink, drink. To be honest, at that point in time, I don’t think I could have imagined going on that vacation without drinking. Reading it now, I know the pandemic truly was a blessing for me.
Before the end of 2019, I declared that 2020 would be a year of Transformation. 2019 closed right after my divorce was final (11 years of marriage) and it had been a rough go for the 2+ years before that. I knew I wanted to stop drinking, I knew I wanted to lose weight and get healthy and change other behaviors too. I thought 2020 was going to be MY YEAR. Started off with a week of sobriety, then I fell back into normal drinking. But I was not hopeless. I was enjoying life, following WW and getting ready for spring. Then, Pandemic! At that point, like so many others, I abandoned my thoughts of transformation and figured I had no control over anything that was happening.
Boy, was I wrong!
It’s so crazy looking back now. Honestly, even after I went through the 6 week Sober School class, I don’t think I saw it. I didn’t let myself. I didn’t want to admit that 2020 was one of the most Transformational Years of my life. I have so many things to be thankful for and so many friends and loved-ones to praise for what they have done for me. But I know now, I must also give thanks to the Pandemic itself. I know I would never be sober and happy like I am now if it hadn’t been for the Pandemic. So, like I said at the beginning;
Thank you, Pandemic, you saved my life!
Always, Ms. K