One thing a majority of people didn’t do during the pandemic, was get sober. Everywhere you looked there were advertisements encouraging people not only to stay home, but to stay home and drink. Or stay home and smoke. So you can imagine how hard it was for a newly sober person to navigate this unprecedented, stressful territory.
The last time I drank, I was bartending. I drove home buzzed. I was angry about work and I angrily power drank while cleaning my house. I phoned a friend, he picked me up, and we went to another bar I worked at. I came in like a bat outta hell, poured 4 shots of honey whiskey, all for me. Then I poured myself a full class of whisky and drank it too. After we went to a house party, where I proceeded to have more whiskey and beer.
What did the night end with? I got so wasted I ended up sleeping with someone, with my friend waiting downstairs because they needed to drive me home safely. It was clear to me that I had hit rock bottom. I quit drinking again, and crossed my fingers.
When the pandemic first started, I was scared for my sobriety. I was home with my two alcoholic parents and only a few months sober. Drinking would have been so easy. But to my surprise, the pandemic actually helped me stay sober. The pandemic took away the constant fear of having to deny peoples invitations out. Of going out and saying “Oh, no thanks, I’m sober”. It took away the pressure of work, of having to explain myself at the holiday party. It took away all the social norms and pressures one would feel while getting sober.
Let’s be clear, I still had my family to deal with, but at least the other pressure was taken away. I learned a lot about myself during this time. I found my love of reading again, I developed new coping mechanisms, I got new friends, ones who genuinely not only cared about me, but respected my sobriety.
I think the hardest part about getting sober that no one talks about is friendship and dating. When you become sober, you let go of an identity that no longer serves you. Which means, having to let go of a lot of your old friends when you realize all you had in common was substances.
When I decided to stop talking to all of my old friends, It felt like the world had turned against me, but also for me. Being isolated allowed me to meditate more, work on my art and my business, do some serious deep shadow work and healing and so much more. In the summer I started going to an acquaintance of mine’s yoga classes and bi-weekly circles. Now that acquaintance and circle leaders are two of my best friends, as are the people who attend them. I went from being sober and alone, to having an amazing support group.
At 7 months sober, my parents split due to an act of domestic violence. That was a true test. I wanted to drink, I was so shaken by the events that had happened. My house was a legit crime scene. I called my two best guy friends and they helped clean my whole house. I grabbed my mothers vodka and said, “guys – you have to do something for me”. And I asked them to take shots for me since I couldn’t, and they did. Then we poured all the rest of the liquor and beer in the house down the drain and they ordered us takeout. I think the event could have made almost anyone in recovery relapse, but because of my support group, I didn’t.
Because of the pandemic, I was able to dive deep into myself and find the true friends I’ve always needed. As I write this, I am now one year and 2 months sober from alcohol. A goal I never thought was attainable, is now something I am extremely proud of.
Everyone’s sobriety journey is different, mine happened to be during a pandemic, which for me, makes me think, “If I can be sober during a pandemic, I can be sober when it’s all over”. I’m not grateful for the pandemic, but I am grateful for the healing and opportunities the pandemic has opened up for me to heal myself and stay sober.
About the Author: Sami La Rose (they /them) is a NY based intuitive jewelry designer and artist. They use many different forms of mixed media. When they’re not writing, you can find them in nature, reading, or diving deep into their practice. You can find them on Instagram.