A Sober Pandemic

I wanted to get sober but I didn’t want to stop drinking alcohol. That was pretty much my life for all the 10 years that I drank. Drunken parties where I came home stumbling in the dark fumbling for keys that may or may not have been there.

How I lived my life pre-pandemic was nothing short of insanity. “Enough is enough,” I said to myself on February 27th after a particularly embarrassing and dangerous night out on the town. I went on to an AA meeting that very same day.

Within the first two weeks of being in recovery, I thought to myself, “this is my new life and there are so many things I want to do to enjoy my new life.” Most of them involved being outdoors and actually experiencing things sober. I had been living in Paris for three years and had never experienced anything in this city without a bottle of wine by my side, my most trusted friend.

I wanted movie nights with friends, museums in the day time with my AA friends, long walks by the river in the evening, and quiet days at a park by myself writing and colouring. My list was endless. You might see where this is heading!

Come March 17th, everything had closed down in the French capital. No restaurants, no gardens, no public transport. “What new hell is this,” I wondered. “How am I to enjoy my new life now?”

To my absolute surprise this “new hell” as I liked to call it in the early days turned out to be the biggest blessing to come my way for my sobriety. AA members were all too quick (bless them) to start up Zoom meetings in place of face-to-face meetings. I attended 95% of my first 90 days on Zoom. Even through a screen, people were still as warm and welcoming as I remembered them on the 27th of February and after.

I slowly learned how to find gratitude every day. I realized I didn’t have to walk outside and pass bars and cafes and watch people drink the lovely drink I wanted to pour down my throat all the time. I made my home in a safe space, a kind of cocoon, and practiced being good to myself when I was alone. I wasn’t invited anywhere because there was nowhere to go. Therefore, I could avoid all the alcohol my friends would have tried to ply me with had I gone to visit.

I’m now getting a handle on this sobriety thing mid-pandemic. What could have been a disaster turned into a miracle (shout-out to HP). Little by little the days have become bearable and my obsession to drink has been lifted.

I could go on and on, but long story short, I’m 7 months and 4 days sober today. I have never been more grateful for the life I was given.

It’s not easy getting sober and it definitely wasn’t. But it is possible, even in a pandemic.

Mini K., Paris

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