DEALING WITH DISTANCE
We asked these clean and sober folks with different lengths of recovery time, what they have learned about themselves while social distancing during the LA County Safer at Home Order.
“For me social distance has not been that difficult. Because of my age, I already stay home. What I have learned is how wonderful these kids are that take care of me. They bring me bags of groceries. They ask me if I need anything. It’s wonderful. Two came today, one brought sodas and the other brought Kentucky Fried Chicken. I thank them and they thank me back. They say I’d done so much for them, so I learned how valuable it is to be helpful to other people. In the long run if you give love and care, you get it back. I tell people don’t be a bitter old queen. I’m over here eating my chicken wings, drinking my soda and watching my TV. I advise anyone, be kind to one another. Take care of each other because one day you will be an old queen, honey and you will need the help they give you. It’s a wonderful feeling.”
—Don Norman, sober since August 29, 1979.
“I learned that I really, really miss going to meetings — in person. And I learned that I really, really dislike zoom (though I’m grateful for it, of course). I’m also supremely grateful that I got sober a decade ago and am not newly sober in the middle of a pandemic. What I’ve learned as a sober gay man is that COVID-19 is no excuse to get loaded. Because as nerve-wracking as the news is every day, I do not need to be adding the huge problem of relapse to my days of isolation. And, since I’m an ex-tweaker, I doubt I’d be doing any safe isolating if I did get loaded, right? Staying sober remains my touchstone and salvation. Despite whatever fate throws at me. No. Matter. What.”
—Michael P Roman, sober since November 23, 2009.
“There have been several lessons learned. As many people have experienced, we have to learn how to be alone. I don’t like to use the word lonely, because I always have people to call and a great support group. During the emergency orders and the time off work, I’ve recommitted getting in better shape and staying healthy by riding my bike. I was training for the AIDS LifeCycle, which was recently cancelled. Not being able to participate has been a lesson in acceptance and living on life’s terms. This entire experience has made me appreciate all the little things in life that bring me and my friends so much joy – going to the movies or dinner with friends. I am now keenly aware of the need to always focus on the positive. I have felt so much growth personally through all this. Most importantly, I miss my buddies so much, and know we are trudging along separately and safely in our own homes.”
—Brian Etter, sober since May 6, 2012.
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