“Do I have enough vodka to get through the day?” This was always the question before I got sober. If the answer was “yes,” I could focus on the little things like, what were my son and I going to have for dinner that day, or did I have an exam that day that I needed to start studying for (smh), or did I need to pay my phone bill that day or make arrangements to pay it later? If the answer was “no,” I was wondering what time the store opened, if my son was home he would have to come to the store with me. I tried to make it seem normal to him that we were walking to Rite Aid, yet again, to get the biggest bottle of vodka I could afford that day. Luckily for me, this only happened every other day. So, 50% of the time. That’s balanced, right?
My coworker sent me this video the other day. A lawyer was in an online hearing and there was a “filter” on his camera, meaning the computer was making him appear to be a talking cat to the other people in the meeting. He didn’t know how to turn off the filter and he makes the hilariously obvious statement, “…I’m not a cat…”
His situation was definitely worthy of the laughter and ribbing but we all have had our moment related to our new online lifestyle. In fact, I commend all of you in recovery that are utilizing Zoom to maintain your sobriety. My heart goes out to our newcomer community who began their recovery during the pandemic and still don’t know what it’s like to experience the support, camaraderie, fun and love that you get from in-person meetings. But like Malcolm X said, “By any means necessary!” We still have to stay sober. We need to stay connected. Thank your Higher Power that we have options and tools to continue to do that today.
2020 was a heck of a year, wasn’t it? My favorite commercials were the ones where 2020 is a woman who meets Satan on Match.com. So apropos!! But guess what? If you’re reading this, you made it through it. For some of you, your recovery program is stronger than ever, but for others, you may feel as if you’ve gotten lost somewhere or as if you’re not as connected to your recovery as you were before all this. Don’t worry, this is completely understandable and totally normal. What we went through with this pandemic was unprecedented! We people in recovery had to adapt. We can be grateful we learned that we can stay connected and continue building a solid program of recovery by whatever means necessary. 2020 taught us to keep putting one foot in front of the other as a community.
I really missed all those warm hugs I used to get from my sober friends. I missed the intimacy of small, in-person, group meetings and the fellowship of large group meetings. I remind myself, though, the important thing is I stayed sober. My takeaway from 2020 is: if I want to continue to stay sober, I have to make sure my program is working for me, today, on today’s terms.
I spent my first holiday in recovery in rehab. The structure of living in a recovery facility made it simple to stay sober. (Notice, I didn’t say “easy.”) I was surrounded by people in recovery. I went to meetings 2-3 times a day. I was fed at regular times. I had a bedtime and a time to get up for breakfast. I did things I was told to, such as call people for support and help clean up after dinner. All of it simple. I rarely had to think about what to do next. The next right thing was always just the next thing on the schedule.
What about now? There is so much to do and so much craziness to navigate in the real world. How do we know what the next right thing is?