As the coronavirus sweeps the planet, people are drawing attention to their first and last line of defence: their immunity. A World Health Organisation (WHO) official has issued a warning about turning to alcohol as a coping strategy during the coronavirus lockdown saying that it depletes mental health and physical immunity.
We know that alcohol dulls our ability to think and function clearly, and that it also causes anxiety and stress. (If you are unsure about this watch the free Masterclass HERE).
Alcohol adversely affects our mental health every time we wake up with those feelings of guilt and regret, and right now, we need all the mental strength that we can get. Turning to alcohol as a coping mechanism will further entrench addiction and will reduce your ability to cope well with the challenges that you are facing.
But alcohol damages our health in different ways, and the most significant right now is that it also weakens our immune system and could make us much more vulnerable to viruses.
Corona virus (Covid-19) is causing unprecedented stress, uncertainty and unexpected changes to our lives. As stress levels rise there is a risk that people who are newly sober, and even those who have been alcohol-free for months or years may find themselves wanting or having a drink. This video explains why this is, and what to do about it.
I used to think drinking alcohol in the evening had a positive influence on my energy levels, because by the time I had done a day’s work, cooked a meal and looked after my children I was exhausted, and a drink or two, or three made me feel better.
The bottle or two of wine in the evening seemed to wake me up and gave me a new burst of energy. The belief that alcohol made me feel less tired was particularly evident at the weekend if I was going out and felt too tired to go. A large glass of wine before going used to make me feel alert and less tired. But once again the con artist was at work in ways that I really could not have imagined and only understood through my later research and learning.
When I look back, the signs were there years before I put an end to the quiet denial that I hadn’t even heard.
The ignorant denial whispered when a boyfriend gave me an article about ‘chardonnay women’, and saying ‘have you seen this? Other people are drinking too much as well.’
I don’t even remember thinking that I was a failure around controlling my drinking for a long time. I think that I’d just come to accept that a) it was something I did, and b) it was part of who I was…drinking alcohol doing, it regularly, doing more of it that I set out to (often), having hangovers, having blackout memories, ‘having a go’ at my partner, and being loud. I thought it was normal because every time I asked my friends if it was OK to drink every night, most of them did too.
Sometimes I’d pull myself up taller and be determined, and do part of a dry month, but mostly I thought, ‘why the hell would I want to do that?’ It was like telling me to walk everywhere when I had a car. It just seemed illogical.
Socialising sober is something that concerns virtually everyone when they think about taking a break from drinking alcohol, or stopping completely.
Around a third of people who come on my programs do so because they are causing serious damage to their most significant relationships as a result of their drinking. When these are partners, spouses, children, grand-children and close friends, it’s heart breaking for everyone. We’re not talking rock bottom here, we’re talking about regular drinking, and occasional drunken episodes. That is enough to disrupt trust and cause relationships to disintegrate. In this article, I explore 6 unexpected bonuses of spending romantic nights sober, and top tips for spending the evening sober.
Alcohol has become a pandemic problem in the English speaking world with growing numbers of people, and dramatically growing numbers of women, finding themselves addicted. And yet, alcohol addiction is stigmatised, and full of ignorance. Even people who are suffering hold onto the idea that there is a ‘them and us’ of ‘other people’ with a real drink problem. When we keep our problems secret, and when they are loaded with guit, self-doubt and confusion it causes us unecessary stress. We think we’re weak and incapable.
When I ask my masterclass audience if one of the reasons that they drink alcohol is to relieve stress, the response is an overwhelming ‘YES!’.
It’s often one of the things we do as part of an evening routine, and for many women the routine has expanded slowly over time. What may have been an occasional social drink ten or twenty years ago, has now become a nightly source of tomorrow’s hangover. But why? And does it matter?
By mid January most New Year’s resolutions have fizzled out, including our intentions to stay sober for January. If we’re still with it, we feel our enthusiasm waning more each day, and we feel that we’re just tipping into the space where we decide that we’ve done enough, and we’ve proved our point. We start asking ourselves why are we doing this anyway, and thinking that maybe it was just fine when we were drinking, and it’s all too much effort. Sound familiar?
Why is this? Why can’t we make our minds up about something, and stick with it? Why do we only aim for one month, and not six, or twelve?
6th January is Epiphany Day. For some of us, the reasons to stop drinking literally strike like an epiphany. The sudden realisation of ‘what am I doing to myself!?!?!?’
But it’s not always like that, and nor is it always a rock bottom moment, or a ‘sort yourself out, or else‘ ultimatum from a loved one. Sometimes we’re just stuck in a cycle of daily or weekend binge drinking, and feeling remorseful and guilt-ridden.
If you’re stuck on the ‘be a drinker or get sober‘ fence, here are four reasons that you’re likely not to have taken action yet.
‘Can I still drink alcohol if I moderate?’ has to be the question that I’m asked more often than any other. It goes along with questions like: ‘Can I have a drink now and then?’, and, ‘Can I just have a couple of drinks when I’m out.’ It’s a heartfelt question full of hope and expectant permission.
It’s a question I asked for a long while myself. Here is my answer…Yes you can. Of course you can.
Theoretically you can, anyway.
Maybe the real questions I should have been asking myself was:
If I want to drink in moderation, why am I not already doing that already?