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  • Heather Hildum

Soap Box Soul Sessions #2


self worth, health, personal wellness, mental health, mental clarity

SOBER IN QUARANTINE

Last night I had a moment of weakness....


It’s okay to not be at 100 percent, I say to myself this morning as I type this out. My mental clarity gets lost in the sea of my brain whenever I have less sleep than desired, let alone adding a drink of booze in the mix the night before. I forgot to mention the copious amounts of glutenous pizza that followed that drink last night.


Once the days get longer and daylight creeps earlier and earlier, my body cannot sleep past 5 am. It is an absolute joy to be up super early, don’t get me wrong. The key there is to go to bed early enough to enjoy those first moments of daylight, birds chirping and all.


This morning was one of those mornings. Bright and early, at exactly 5:01, my body woke up with a jolt. Immediately I felt the battle of morning face tightness (allergies) and the lingering feeling of having a drink, gluten, and sugars last night. Oh, perhaps I mention the fact that I haven’t really had much booze or gluten lately, exacerbating the post-indulging glaze over happening in the body and brain. This leads me to my next thing: quarantine booze drinking and binge eating.


Beep beep…. Back it up to the beginning!


Eight weeks ago the governor shut down ALL non-essential businesses in our state and many others across the United States in an effort to halt or slow the ‘curve’ (spike) of coronavirus cases popping up like wildfire. Yeah, that’s serious for sure. Now you have parents who were struggling to parent in the first place, attempting to work from home, with their spouse, and children (who need to be schooled at home, by the way). There’s either going to be the most resilient generation yet coming up or the most F*(#&ed up generation coming up. Honestly, who knows. My point to all this is, every day is starting to feel like a weekend, blurring into the next. Nothing is open so there’s nowhere to go. People drink to help rid themselves of panic, frustration, or find relaxation and escape from their daily mundane. One drink becomes 5 a night and boom goes the alcoholics. I can speak from experience. Not necessarily 5 a night. Maybe 3 to 5 drinks every single night without a break.


The media hasn’t helped, placing a fear into the minds of the oblivious, the bubble dwellers, the naive, and crazies who think the government is a conspiracy altogether. Drinking has been the common coping mechanism for so many during quarantine. It doesn't help that all over social media excessive drinking is normalized with these hilarious memes about day drinking, drinking when the kids make you crazy, surviving quarantine with alcohol, etc.


Excessive drinking is not a joke, nor should it ever be. It has been 8 weeks since we all were asked to pack up our work spaces and stay home to quarantine. How long do they say it takes to create a new habit? Twenty-one days is the general thought on developing a new habit. Usually this is in the context of starting to do something good for yourself, thus creating a positive change in your life. I like to say that anything that makes you feel better instantly wiping away negative thoughts or worries, then sending you into an endorphin rush can blossom into a new habit a lot quicker than 21 days. Wouldn’t you know that alcohol does this very thing to humans! Then, like the a**hole it is, alcohol likes to take you down the next day, making it more challenging to handle your small tasks without getting upset, or being frustrated with the incomprehensible math schoolwork you are now suddenly expected to teach your child!


I get fired up. Hence the soap box. (I’m laughing at myself now). But really, I was totally there 2 weeks ago! I was THAT very person. I wasn’t even indulgent before quarantine. As we got into it, I didn’t even notice that the one drink every night was becoming 2 or 3 drinks each night. Then some nights like 5 drinks, when I would find myself sleeping horribly, waking with a slight hangover. Pop two Advil, do it again. Not saying we can’t function this way. People can and do every damn day. You do you. I know how much clarity I have now when I’m not drinking. No, it’s not the same when you give your liver a ‘break’ for a day then get back at it. You don’t get that same mental clarity you do if you give it a few days. Try 3 or 4 days, then talk to me.


Here’s some of the things I’ve observed within myself mentally and physically since I’ve become more sober. Bullets for an easy read…


  • I have much clearer skin on my face and back.

  • I am better at taking care of myself in general.

  • My food choices are healthier.

  • Hydration doesn’t seem to be an issue anymore.

  • Laundry. I am proud to say I have kept up with ALL of my laundry.

  • Motivation and productivity have become insanely good.

  • I am not as bloated.

  • My memory is incredible.

  • Better sleep.

  • More patience with my children.

  • Copious amounts of creativity have been flowing.


There’s probably more. For now, I will leave it there. I’m thinking of everyone right now. We are feeling so vulnerable, buzzing with this energy that keeps getting stuck within. I completely understand it isn’t something that can be figured out for you. This is a personal thing that needs to be figured out on your own. When you’re sober, you force yourself to deal with those energies, emotions, nerves, and frustrations on a more natural, rational level.


Last thing before I jump down from the Soap Box. I find that seeing other successful people (famous or in real life) doing all the things, checking off boxes on their lists (so-to-speak) truly help keep me motivated to stay on the path. Next time you find yourself wanting to ‘be like Mike’, check and see if they drink booze as hard. I will BET you my last dollar they don’t drink at all or drink VERY minimally.


FACT: Success is not found at the bottom of a bottle.


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