Isolation? Are You Kidding?
Without the support of my Twelve Step programs, I don’t know that I could navigate the kind of change that’s happening now. As it became obvious that COVID-19 was going to impact our world and my days, I decided to stay home, away from people before our governor declared, “stay at home.”
I was already retired, working only part time. My days were filled mostly with yard work, household tasks and cooking. I met friends at my AA meetings, joined them for fellowship afterward and did service work. My husband still worked full time. I had no idea I was living a life of peace and quiet at home, until I wasn’t.
My first days of “isolation” were no different than any others. My husband was still at his workplace and I continued my days at home sticking with my routine. I spent a little more time in prayer and meditation, keeping our world in mind as I witnessed the spreading of COVID-19 on the news each day. Working the Eleventh Step helped me feel like I was making a difference.
I hadn’t realized that my days had been so quiet. Soon my husband began to work from home. Well, as my first sponsor, Grace, always said, “Let’s waltz through the day: Steps One Two Three...One Two Three…” Suddenly I had a “loud talker” in the house and on the phone. He paced the house as he talked with clients. This was not going to work. I needed to work Steps One through Three, but also needed to do an inventory—Step Ten. What was my part and what was my husband’s? We needed to negotiate space and, yes, volume.
Basically, he’d be in his office with the door closed; that way he can talk as long or loud as he wants. I would hold my online meetings upstairs to preserve anonymity and have the privacy I need. We met up for meals and then the evening news. When the demands of his job lessened, we scheduled walks together each afternoon. It gave us both time to give voice to how different life was and how fast the world situation was changing. I’m fortunate to have a husband who works the Steps too. We could talk about surrendering to this new way of life. Steps One through Three and Step Eleven became more important. Then we talked about Step Twelve. Each of us did our part to organize meetings online for our home groups and others. We became tutors to old-timers and newcomers in technology that we were learning ourselves.
As our lives changed, so did our daughter’s. She’s a full-time student herself and did her schoolwork while her 13- and 17-year-olds were at school. Her professor husband had been away at class all day. She too had quiet days and busy evenings. Then suddenly, her husband started conducting his classes from home online. Then her 19-year-old son came home from college to finish his semester online; his dorm was closing.