Day 19: Are We There Yet?

“Don’t let yesterday take up too much of today.” – Will Rogers
Are we there yet, is 2020 over?  Wait, I just realized: by the time you’re reading this, it is!  Another year is in the books – a crazy and stressful year – and Dryuary is back again.  I’m thankful to take this month off from alcohol to check in with myself.  

Plunging through the dark days of the winter, I’m constantly reminded of how conquering the boredom factor is a challenge.  And I used to think, what better way to pass that time than with an adult beverage – or as night goes on, maybe a six pack of them?  It never goes away completely, that little voice in the back of my head, that tries to convince me that could just be a swell idea.  Or for some of you, maybe it’s the one over your shoulder, whispering to just “go ahead, take the night off,” push your plan aside and and have that drink.  So what is one to do?  Bring out the tools!

Distract, postpone, replace, reflect.  This month for Dryuary, it’s about pushing the reset button and putting those thoughts and voices on hold for a while.  Many of us will decide to return to drinking after Dryuary… but not right now.  Now it’s time to find some new things to do, and reflect about what it’s like when we make a conscious choice to not drink alcohol for a bit.  Small, simple steps in a new direction can go a long way.  We’re in various stages of coping with disruptions in our normal routines this year.  Know you’re not alone and know there are many, many people also struggling to find ways to manage physical isolation and boredom.

Don’t be afraid to connect with those people!  Not only are there many support groups online, but there are also countless organizations offering virtual classes, lectures, and seminars.  Today’s technology is removing physical barriers, as meetings and groups have pivoted to host online events out of necessity.  On account of the pandemic, I am currently working from home for the first time in my life.  It’s a change and it can be hard some days.  But simultaneously, I recognize how privileged I am to have this opportunity, as I can pursue a variety of different interests week to week (to me, it’s kind of like a sabbatical).  

Today I caught a lecture where European researchers discussed the ethics of anti-aging.  Tonight, my partner laughed at me when she heard I’ll be getting up early tomorrow for a presentation series on “farm economics” (she laughed because we’re not farmers – but I guess we do live near a lot of farms).  Later on, I plan to catch a lecture on native muskrat populations in our local wetlands.  So what do these topics have in common?  These are all things offered safely and conveniently online, and they represent odd interests I am finding to fill some time and alleviate my boredom while I stay home.  

A strategy for many of us maintaining sobriety is that it’s not only about not drinking, but it’s also about not fixating on the fact we’re not drinking.  I find it easier to turn my attention to other things when I plug events into my calendar each week.  Even if it’s something just mildly interesting, these diversions help me find a reason to get up and give me something to look forward to on a lot of days.  On other days when the weather’s nice, I should stop procrastinating, as there’s a constant list of projects to conquer around the house.  

And as I wrote this, I just discovered my free time (and boredom) at home may be short lived.  My manager just announced they’re starting to bring folks back in to work in phases.  My boredom will soon be replaced with another set of concerns and challenges when I leave the solitude of home and start making a commute to work again.  But for right now, I’ll enjoy my sobriety and take a moment to check in with the birds and the squirrels in the yard.     

Post Submitted By: Marc, Moderation Management Member

Suggested NA Beverage: Pomegranate Sunrise