A handful of industries will profit greatly as a result of COVID-19. The alcohol industry is one. Liquor sales have skyrocketed this month and they’re only going to continue to soar.
Why? Think about it. How many “quarantini” parties and virtual happy hours did you get invited to this week? Did you see the friend whose Tuesday morning Facebook post announced a little bit of vodka in your coffee can wash away the homeschooling blues (along with the dozens of comments from friends either doing the same or thanking her for the idea)? Is your favorite restaurant offering half-price bottles of wine with their new curbside take out service?
People are ramping up their alcohol consumption exponentially. But, how much booze will make this unprecedented and frighteningly uncertain time in our lives more manageable? Less painful? What amount can erase our fears and worries? How many drinks will make the time pass more quickly?
My answer? None. Unfortunately, alcohol does not come bearing the gifts we believe or expect; it cannot deliver the favors we request. In fact, it weakens our immune systems. And, this is not a good time for that.
Yet, people have started day drinking for the first time in their lives. Or, they’re drinking more than they were just three weeks ago, considerably more.
As I witness people caring for themselves with alcohol, it takes me back. It wasn’t all that long ago I was drinking at least a bottle of wine every night. I would wake up at 3:33 every single morning and for the next hour I would try to piece together the night before. When I couldn’t remember all the details I would begin shaming myself, berating myself for being so stupid. Sometimes there would be tears. Other times I would be angry and disgusted. Ultimately, I started sneaking into the kitchen for another drink just to shut down my brain so I could fall back asleep and stop all the pain.
In the dark of those early mornings, I was honest with myself. It was the only time I was brave enough to admit I was no longer in control.
Before I ultimately removed alcohol from my life five years ago and began sharing what I’ve learned, I had moved onto boxes of wine and, had this pandemic occurred back then, you can bet I would have been hoarding every box I could get my hands on. And, hanging on tight to the belief alcohol was giving me something I couldn’t possibly find anywhere else, that there was some benefit to drinking.
We have the tendency to hide from, dismiss, cover up, or push away our fears. Drinking is one of the most common ways people do this. That choice is not only encouraged but also validated by a constant stream of messages from society, all telling us to use alcohol to manage our fear and anxiety. The more booze, the better is what we hear.
However, drinking to relax and clear our minds is actually like pouring gasoline on a flame. Anxiety worsens with the use of alcohol. The ACT Technique I developed, is a tool that helps people deal with anxious beliefs and thoughts to get at the root of where this anxiety begins.
We are all struggling and we are just doing the best with the tools we have. But, what if alcohol didn’t have to be one of those tools? What if, instead of running and hiding, you looked at the choice in front of you and embraced the opportunity to show up and ask questions? What if you noticed your fears, welcomed them, sat with them, and faced them? What if I told you other people are doing the exact same thing? None of us is alone. Reach out. Find Connection. We need each other now more than ever.