Updated: Apr 26
I’ve been sober for 16-months now and up until a few weeks ago, I hadn’t had an urge to drink for a long time. Even after the most stressful days, juggling life, or out at a bar in the city. Surprisingly, when the Coronavirus global anxiety started to ramp up, my wine witch came back from the dead.
The cravings lasted no more than a moment or two, and I pulled out my ‘toolkit’ to work through them efficiently (1. Meditation 2. Playing the tape forward 3. Soda water). I was fine after a short moment, but wow, it really got me thinking.
If someone like me with solid sober time under my belt, and a bomb-proof sobriety toolkit is feeling the pinch, how are the more vulnerable people coping right now? People who have only a few weeks of sobriety, people who are already dangerously drinking?
As the world went in to lockdown, Australia listed alcohol sellers as essential services. (So, we are officially a nation that relies on the use of alcohol to get by…) Alcohol sales went up 87% (perhaps hoarders, perhaps not), alcohol memes and online jokes were circulated by the dozen, day drinking every day became possible, and mid-week hangovers became undetectable by the boss.
My thinking is that over-drinking during this time, could quite possibly be the unhealthiest, most counter-productive and perilous way to get through this crisis.
I am not a Dr. or a psychiatrist and nor do I think you need to be to know that alcohol is a depressant (i.e. it lowers neurotransmission levels, reducing stimulation levels in various areas of the brain). It relaxes your body and your mind. It anesthetises you from your surroundings, it numbs stress, pain (physical and emotional), and makes you feel really good. Momentarily. When drinking alcohol, your brain releases stimulants and stress hormones to counteract the anesthetising affects, which in turn, triggers anxiety, and a corresponding low miserable feeling. In essence, after a night of boozing, the anesthetising effects of alcohol will wear off and the corresponding amount of anxiety will wreak havoc.
And who on earth needs any more havoc in their life right now?!
If sobriety is your path, now more than ever during this crisis, it is paramount to build your own sobriety toolkit. Join a zoom sober circle or AA meeting, reach out to your sober friends, invest in some 'quit-lit', find a sobriety coach or a counselor or sign up to one of the many amazing online sobriety courses.
Don’t let this external crisis we are experiencing become your own internal crisis. Do the work now and stay sober.