Excessive Drinking Rose During the Pandemic. Here Are Ways to Cut Back.
April 12, 2021 6:51 PM   Subscribe

 
I was excessively drinking rosé, but then I switched to white.
posted by arrmatie at 7:07 PM on April 12 [78 favorites]




I was pretty much only a social drinker, so when I transitioned to quarantine for the pandemic, I basically stopped drinking. I haven’t had alcohol in about a year.

My chocolate intake, however, has jumped about 800%...
posted by darkstar at 7:12 PM on April 12 [46 favorites]


What darkstar said.

I went through (for me) a much higher alcohol intake for the first couple weeks of spring break, and then mellowed out to hardly any drinking for the rest of the past year.
posted by ivan ivanych samovar at 7:18 PM on April 12 [2 favorites]


I was excessively drinking rosé, but then I switched to white.

I… also read the article's title as such, which piqued my interest
posted by Ahmad Khani at 7:19 PM on April 12 [15 favorites]


I have increased my cheese intake substantially.
posted by aniola at 7:20 PM on April 12 [18 favorites]


I tried drinking as a home habit for the first time in my life from November 2020 to February 2021. It was about the election not the COVIDs.

I gained twenty-five pounds learning that green spot is tasty while expensive, and I am not a drinker.

I've since lost about twenty pounds just by stopping. I don't understand how people do that as a thing.
posted by NoThisIsPatrick at 7:25 PM on April 12 [4 favorites]


The subtitle (as well as the article) brings to mind this previously.
posted by Not A Thing at 7:26 PM on April 12 [1 favorite]


I guess this is not surprising, you have an awful lot of factors in play that would tend to promote attempts to use alcohol for coping.

I was never able to drink in moderation for extended periods of time, and my idea of moderation included a pretty hefty carve-out zone on the weekends, so I can't really speak to what methods work best for reigning back drinking that has become excessive and returning to an healthier pattern of use. Some of the people they talked to seem like realistic candidates for doing this, since their excessive drinking is recent and is a response to multiple stressors from the pandemic.

But I would add that I think a very important thing that was not touched on is the need to ask yourself if you enjoy your drinking when you keep it under tight control and have to plan out every drink you can have. An idea that impressed me a lot, after I quit drinking, is that most of the people who you see that drink in moderation are not doing so through exercise of "willpower" ; they are drinking exactly as much as they want to drink. They do not like being intoxicated from alcohol beyond the early and mild stages. If you have to fight yourself every day to keep to a regime that you've decided is OK, and this goes on long enough, you probably won't keep to that regime. Also, it just sounds awful as a lifestyle (not as a thing you do for a while to sort of reset yourself back to how you used to drink), always wanting another drink but not allowing yourself one until tomorrow. If it gets like that, I'd really consider giving it up entirely, which is, paradoxically maybe, much easier than attempts at controlling it, if your drinking troubles are bad enough.
posted by thelonius at 7:28 PM on April 12 [80 favorites]


I mean, I get that the piece is aimed at non-alcoholics whose drinking has crept up during the last year and who want to change that, but all kinds of drinkers are going to read it.
posted by thelonius at 7:32 PM on April 12 [5 favorites]


One important note is that drinking, particularly among women, was on the rise and reaching levels of concern before the pandemic.
posted by Miko at 7:38 PM on April 12 [16 favorites]


I mean everybody likes to dunk on wine moms, but have you SEEN what being a mother in 21st century America is like?
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:40 PM on April 12 [120 favorites]


The article gives a pretty decent account of the increased pressures on women: you can’t look at this alcohol issue without looking at the ridiculous burdens women are carrying.
posted by Miko at 7:42 PM on April 12 [47 favorites]


I have a large tasting collection of booze and have had precisely two oz of liquor in the last year - one for a zoom birthday toast and another for a work friend's promotion. The cortisol stress exhaustion of covid + orange madman was so bad I was foggy and sleepy without a drink most days. The last thing I needed was another depressant.
posted by benzenedream at 8:06 PM on April 12 [8 favorites]


Fifteen comments in and more than a third are like “not a problem for me!” Like, good for you, but maybe other people HAVE had a problem and this isn’t a great place for you to share how well you’re doing?
posted by Special Agent Dale Cooper at 8:12 PM on April 12 [108 favorites]


Special Agent Dale Cooper — I’ve been there. DM me if you want or need to talk.
posted by Silvery Fish at 8:15 PM on April 12 [4 favorites]


I've been drinking way more than usual simply because I have time to do it. Usually I'm running around trying to do things or see people or whatever and even if I wanted to drink, I couldn't because I need to go here or there and my only real downtime is before bed when at most I could have a single bourbon or a couple beers.
posted by chaz at 8:22 PM on April 12 [4 favorites]


Special Agent Dale Cooper — I’ve been there. DM me if you want or need to talk.

Thanks, Silvery Fish. I'm fine, though I've seen some worrying behavior in some people I care about. I was mostly saying this for the room - I think this is a space where MeFites need to be modeling compassion and listening, not doing what's up above.
posted by Special Agent Dale Cooper at 8:33 PM on April 12 [31 favorites]


I think everyone is trying to cope in their own ways with a situation they did not bring upon themselves. Empathy all around.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 8:37 PM on April 12 [13 favorites]


The strategies the article discusses are interesting. I wouldn't have guessed that "precommitting" by making a drinking plan for the week was as effective as they say it is.
posted by Dip Flash at 8:39 PM on April 12 [2 favorites]


One of the darker jokes I've seen on twitter this past year was basically "Quarantine has taught me that you don't need fun to have alcohol."
posted by DoctorFedora at 8:43 PM on April 12 [113 favorites]


I hear you, SADC. When your drinking is out of control, it is exceedingly difficult to say so. There is the fear of judgement: we are a very alcohol-oriented culture. There is the fear of shame. Saying it out loud to someone makes it *real* in a way nothing else really does. And once said out loud, it feels like everyone - you included - expect things to start changing immediately, which is frequently not a realistic expectation.

I am speaking from personal experience.

I second Special Agent’s suggestion for compassion and listening.
posted by Silvery Fish at 8:45 PM on April 12 [14 favorites]


Addiction is a manifold experience. And alcohol was something that I had avoided because of my other chemicals vocational problems.

Alcohol is one that doesn't have a grasp on my life, wallet, and failures.

I'm sorry if my sharing my experience caused any grief.
posted by NoThisIsPatrick at 9:08 PM on April 12 [1 favorite]


I ended up drinking much less with virtually no one to talk to.
posted by Hollywood Upstairs Medical College at 9:13 PM on April 12 [3 favorites]


I'm positive my drinking has become worse during the pandemic. Cutting back is going to be interesting.
posted by aspersioncast at 9:37 PM on April 12 [5 favorites]


The NYT ignores the stressful political dialogue of the past few years, which is surely a contributory factor.
posted by Joe in Australia at 9:43 PM on April 12 [27 favorites]


Definitely increased my alcohol intake during the pandemic, and I'd like to think that trend would have been the opposite direction if I didn't have 2 young kids to parent. You are just soooooo run down at the end of the day. Parenting and working all day long, no commute to break it up- you're burning the candle at both ends. Drinking is the one thing you can do and can titrate after the workday ends and you've still got to parent for 4 more hours before bedtime. Soon it becomes a habit and your tolerance is up, and it's 3 beers between work and bedtime and then another 3 after while you finish up stuff you didn't get to or maybe actually relax for a bit.

I did take two months off of drinking at different points in the pandemic (which is still not over, btw). One was hard to do and one was easy. Thank god the easy one was the most recent, I'm not broken yet.
posted by keep_evolving at 9:47 PM on April 12 [5 favorites]


My alcohol intake follows the same pattern as my food. I'm not consuming a TON more overall but I try to shop as little as possible, stocking up every other week and then I'll burn through it til it's gone (same with the ice cream).
posted by bonobothegreat at 9:48 PM on April 12 [1 favorite]


I don't know if this is related, but I'm 62-years old. I tried buying a bottle of rum over the Christmas holidays and I was carded.
I'm thinking maybe the kid (30?) was playing morality police because of the increase in liquor sales during the pandemic.
I emptied that bottle in like 30 days, record speed for me.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 10:11 PM on April 12 [2 favorites]


I have some issues with this article, the same issues I have with most of the New York Times, and the reason I canceled my 2016 subscription: it seems to presume a social class and caste and life circumstances, and call that 'women'. The article also notably doesn't mention the presumably related substantial rise in overdose deaths during the pandemic.

But given these weaknesses, it strikes me as a big deal to see the New York Times advocating for non-abstinence based approaches. That's a good thing, and I hope indicative of a growing understanding that there are multiple paths to a more sustainable relationship with drugs and alcohol.
posted by latkes at 10:24 PM on April 12 [21 favorites]


Interesting article. I definitely have found that my drinking increased over the past few years (although in my case it began pre-pandemic in response to general other life stress). My pattern is different than the focus of the article, though. I rarely if ever drink to excess, but for a while there I didn't feel I could end the day without a glass of wine or two at dinner. Perhaps this is not technically disordered drinking, but that little sense I had of counting down time till I could have my wine -- and the feeling of deprivation if I didn't have it -- unnerved me a little.

I'm still having wine probably four nights a week, but I feel better about it nowadays because that edge of need isn't there anymore. Sometimes I just forget to have some, which didn't seem possible in the state I was in a while ago. It's probably not a coincidence that we've opened up again in Australia and with the help of a good therapist and a lot of hard self-work, I'm feeling better psychologically than I have in a good long time.

I tell you though, I have nothing but sympathy for whatever coping methods people use in order to get through life nowadays. I was never that judgey about that sort of thing, but now I viscerally get it. Shit is hard, yo, and I can't begrudge people whatever coping mechanisms they use to get through it. The issue only comes once it's no longer a helpful thing and becomes a problem in its own right. But that's not usually their fault either. We just need a better world.
posted by forza at 1:12 AM on April 13 [8 favorites]


I work in a bar. In a pandemic. Along with whatever the fuck also happened from 2016 to 2020.

I have taken to carrying a flask that is inscribed with "We're All Mad Here".

None of my pants from 2019-ish fit any more. Oh well.

It could be worse.
posted by loquacious at 1:37 AM on April 13 [17 favorites]


.....I was carded. I'm thinking maybe the kid (30?) was playing morality police because of the increase in liquor sales during the pandemic.

It's more likely that either it is the store's policy is to card everyone, or the clerk just does that since he will be liable personally if he sells to an underaged and undercover buyer. If you card everyone, there is no judgement call about who looks old enough, and no chance to be wrong. There is also no way to apply such a policy in a discriminatory way.
posted by thelonius at 3:11 AM on April 13 [15 favorites]


There is also no way to apply such a policy in a discriminatory way.

I guess that is not so; you could be rude and dilatory, squinting at the ID and staring at them to make a show of suspicion that the ID is not theirs, things like that, against people who you would rather not serve due to your bigotry. Sigh, there is always a way.
posted by thelonius at 3:27 AM on April 13


I am unable to tolerate alcohol in any form but oh my have I been giving my old bongs a workout. This has in turn fueled a major uptick in naughty snack consumption. So I now pretty much look and feel like a crispy Jabba the Hut.
posted by kinnakeet at 4:21 AM on April 13 [7 favorites]


Alcohol consumption in my house is probably, despite occasional spikes, down over the past year. But weed and chips, yeah, that's another story....
posted by The Card Cheat at 4:26 AM on April 13 [6 favorites]


I definitely have been drinking more during the pandemic. I gotta say the self-righteous comments in this thread burned slightly so here is my slight rant.

Before the shut down, I had regular Friday night friend hangouts, I had the habit of going to the gym a couple of times a week, and I hung out at Starbucks once a week to write, all of which were my kind of "chill and be happy" times, and I had about a drink a month if that.

During the pandemic, which here in Ontario is reaching an apocalyptic state where people my age are dying of Covid and will shortly be dying for lack of ICU beds and expertise, I have been:

- pandemic cruise directing my family's experience, including overseeing virtual learning since December for kids in grades 4 & 10. Having our second Easter in lockdown was a blast ha ha.

- retraining as I don't know if the small business I work in will make it; I just finished a UX/UI certificate; walking and working out at home but not as effectively and also getting the family out of the house with me, which is...not the same.

- I was out of work from March-Aug 2020, sort of, at which point we reopened and have been offering in-person, then online-only classes and in-person, now shut-down daycare.

- At work I am the person that everyone calls and cries with as well as the key problem solver other than the owner...one of my very young staff lost her dad to Covid and is now the breadwinner...public health has my cell phone number from when we were open in person...I occasionally have to go in to work with the kids (I work from home in part to be non-exposed in case staff are)

- What that looked like yesterday: It's spring break here and rained all day, I was working from home. I spent the morning building out our registration system for summer camp and getting set to hire staff for it, planning out what we can do outdoors and socially distanced, knowing that we don't know if it will happen. That requires a degree of optimism and emotional self-management on my side since I'm writing the cheerful copy

- meeting with my team and providing optimism so that they are okay

- I fielded a call from a staff member who works for us and somewhere else part time who was directly exposed to Covid (timing was in our favour)

- My kids cleaned their rooms a bit and then my MIL did an art project with my younger while my older sculpted. And was a little profane on Discord with his friends, I just pretend not to hear him - in the normal course of things he would be saying all that hanging out

- My husband is on a virtual meditation course as a retreat was cancelled and after getting the kids lunch was trying to find a quiet spot to Zoom from in the afternoon while my oldest emerged from his cave to watch the extended Fellowship of the Ring and my youngest was playing Among Us with a friend, so we had kind of divided the house up and I was working in a noisy zone (downstairs) so my husband could have a quiet zone around my desk, which is in the living room.

Then the press conference hit that schools are not returning in-person for an indeterminate period of time and I had to call 9 people on their spring break to lay them off (they get benefits, will be ok), get an email out to parents about how we will refund their April fees, and send the admin team all the info to do that. So my husband ended up hiding in the bedroom.

- At 6 pm the wifi at one of our locations died and we had a virtual class going so they called me and I had to get an email out to the class, one parent kind of almost rage-quit over it (this is the first time that's happened since October, but I get it, they got their 8 year old in front of Zoom and then...nothing...) so I talked them out of it...

...but every single week we lose more students

- my salmon overcooked while I was on the phone with the parent and my young 10 year old was like "wow this does not taste good"

I didn't actually have a drink at the end of it but I definitely have increased my drinking significantly, from essentially zero to a scotch or two a few nights a week. I know from the past periods that I've increased my drinking that for me, it's not hard to ramp it back down - gardening season is almost upon us and that will help a lot.

But.

I honestly am at the point where my coping strategies have strategies, like I am the point person who figures out the way for everyone else to be okay.

And so I get out of energy to implement ideas for myself and guess what is super simple? A finger of scotch in a glass, and the nice warmth that results.

I think a lot of the people on this site who are all like I'M NOT DRINKING are great, we all have our things, but Jesus, if you can't understand why the people who are carrying the emotional lifting for their families and kids are drinking more maybe sit this one out.

On carding...in November I was carded here where the drinking age is 19 (I'm old, but I think they have little blitzes where they card everyone). The cashier barely glanced at my driver's license and I joked she didn't have to look and she was like "oh no, I looked, I saw it started with 19--".

..
...

(oh right)

Now that's enough to drive me to drink. :)
posted by warriorqueen at 4:32 AM on April 13 [74 favorites]


Having Doug Ford as Premier is enough to drive anyone to drink as it is, let alone everything else going on.
posted by The Card Cheat at 4:38 AM on April 13 [8 favorites]


The drinking has just been through the roof, for me and many people I know. Weed consumption, too. Granted, it’s tapered off with the start of the new year and some healthy workout / food habits I’ve introduced, but last year was very, very heavy.

It’s hard to imagine the aftereffects of all this. I’m thinking the idea we’ll have a mental health pandemic running now and after covid ends (whenever that is) is very true.
posted by glaucon at 4:45 AM on April 13 [5 favorites]


I gotta say the self-righteous comments in this thread burned slightly so here is my slight rant.

The article discusses people who are creeping up to like ten drinks a day. If you think that discussing that as a concern is "self-righteous" then I guess I just can't relate to that.
posted by thelonius at 4:50 AM on April 13 [4 favorites]


No thelonius, I mean all the “I’m not drinking!” remarks.
posted by warriorqueen at 4:55 AM on April 13 [21 favorites]


I drank more early on, but eventually cut down. Now, my marijuana intake on the other hand
posted by SansPoint at 5:02 AM on April 13 [6 favorites]


My wife recently experimented with not drinking for 30 days and has decided she has no interest in starting up again. It's made me feel a little more self-conscious about my own drinking. I think my consumption has remained the same over the last year, except I'm only drinking at home instead of backstage before a set of music, or with coworkers at a brewery near the office. I still keep myself to one — two, depending on ABV I guess — drink a night. It feels weird to be the only one making my way through a bottle of wine in the fridge, after opening it for a recipe. We recently rediscovered a misplaced champagne bottle stopper, and I realized I'm never going to pop open a bottle if it's just me drinking. Conundrum.
posted by emelenjr at 5:17 AM on April 13 [1 favorite]


My drinking ramped up significantly following the 2016 election, and I had to quit in 2018. I got a divorce just before COVID lockdown last year. I sympathize with everyone dealing with desire for alcohol. There were times in the last year when it was very tempting to pick up again.

If anyone needs to talk to someone who will understand, drop me a PM.
posted by Fleebnork at 5:28 AM on April 13 [17 favorites]


Hi! I have been sober now for two years. I cannot drink in moderation, though I spent nearly 30 years convincing myself I could. (If you have hung out with me at a MeFi Meetup, you know I loved to drink. Hell, I created a podcast revolving around the role of women in the craft beer industry.)

I am so thankful that I got dry before this pandemic happened because I am not sure I would be here today. I know I wouldn't be married, and I know that my health would have finally given out. And after my ongoing commitment to living sans alcool, I do sort of resent the way alcohol is marketed to women as a way out, a way to cope. It's funny to be a wine mom until it isn't. My sister, a mother of two, flipped and crashed her car because of her drunk driving. We were thankful she wasn't seriously injured but it didn't stop her from drinking. She drinks less I'm told, but she won't quit because all her mom friends also drink and how would they socialize if they didn't have alcohol to grease the gears? (Her husband and his pals are just as bad.)

Do I have a solution for coping for moms? I don't, but when and if this is all over, there's going to be a bigger problem. The rise of alcohol related illnesses and deaths for women has risen exponentially in the past few years and it depresses me.

And if you feel defensive about your drinking in this thread, you should look at that.
posted by Kitteh at 5:52 AM on April 13 [33 favorites]


For the most part I gave up alcohol from the 2016 election cycle until January 20th 2021. Occassionally I'd have *a beer* in those four years, but the reality was that I wanted to face the reality of politics as stone cold sober as possible. So... yeah... I could see where the pandemic may have contributed to people drinking, but I could see where the three years prior should have already raised the alarm moreso...
posted by Nanukthedog at 5:55 AM on April 13 [1 favorite]


I guess I'm late to this game. Drinking ramped up ahead of the election then up again in early January. The exact sentiment warriorqueen expressed - it is an effective (in the short term) means for achieving that warm ability to observe stress without re-experiencing it. It also creates a kind of excuse to let oneself off the hook - specifically the hook one often has put oneself on.

Drinking several days straight does, however, really mess with the sleep cycle - both generally speaking and personally. For whatever reason this fact is what usually drives me back into responsible territory when I get too used to this particular method to seek comfort.

Drink. It's okay. It's ages old as a method and has known consequences. Or don't. The known consequences can be dire. But when you don't it's really hard to compare whatever your comfort item is to the socially acceptable mild self destruction of alcohol without sounding condescending. That is, you're not commiserating about having a comforting vice, you're telling a gun enthusiast how much you enjoy archery.

The unflattering (to myself) comparison is intentional.
posted by abulafa at 6:06 AM on April 13 [6 favorites]


I was home, alone, for six months. My kids were safe in the country with my wife, and all I had was the mindless repetition of going into the office and coming home. My stress levels were through the roof. My depression and anxiety skyrocketed. I ate healthily to counteract all of this.

Then I started drinking a bottle of wine a night and kept that up for months. I don't know if I'd be here if I had been sober, because I couldn't see anything but death and misery in the world. I do know that it's possibly the unhealthiest coping mechanism I have, and I am doing everything in my power to put it behind me.
posted by gwydapllew at 6:06 AM on April 13 [15 favorites]


No thelonius, I mean all the “I’m not drinking!” remarks.

Ah, thanks. Sorry!
posted by thelonius at 6:35 AM on April 13


There were times in the last year when it was very tempting to pick up again.

Yeah, it has been real hard for that. Not having in-person meetings has been hard for people too. I almost never miss alcohol or want to drink now, but since last March I have had a couple of episodes of suddenly wanting to just go the ABC store and do it up like I used to. That has not happened to me in years, and my old toolkit for handling that sort of feeling still works, thank God.
posted by thelonius at 6:39 AM on April 13 [6 favorites]


It’s hard to imagine the aftereffects of all this.

I'm starting to look at the aftereffects as a lot of generalized, indelible sadness, misanthropy and can't-give-a-f*ck-anymore that no amount of drinking can insulate me from.

Some experiences in the past make me wonder if this is going to be the mass entre into the wealthier classes of don't-give-a-f*ck, oblivion-type hard drugs. Rosé can only blot out so much, and it's probably not that effective against entrenched despair.
posted by ryanshepard at 6:45 AM on April 13 [6 favorites]


Down here in Zone One, after 9/11, a bunch of people I know fell seriously off the wagon, both alcohol and tobacco. And stayed that way, one died of it.
posted by StickyCarpet at 6:49 AM on April 13 [7 favorites]


I've heard more than one person IRL, and many people online, brush off warnings about drinking/drug use during the pandemic with variations on "what sort of future am I supposed to be keeping myself in good shape for?"
posted by The Card Cheat at 6:52 AM on April 13 [23 favorites]


For me, I've discovered that not drinking on any given day is fairly easy, but having, say, just one bourbon is hard. I rarely get more than mildly tipsy, but it's easy to drink enough that it affects my sleep negatively and puts me on the wrong foot the next morning. A big part of it (again for me) is the undifferentiated days. Before, I would be up at 4am, out the door by 5:30, back home around 5pm, then there was an hour of cat wrangling, feeding, clean up, making dinner, and eating so my first drink would be around... 6:30? And I would usually be in bed by 8. Now, if I knock of work around 4:30 to feed the cats, I have potentially 5 hours to fill with alcohol, which means there are a lot more second and third and fourth helpings than there used to me.
posted by GenjiandProust at 7:18 AM on April 13 [9 favorites]


Before the pandemic, my wife and I had a regular habit of drinking on weekends, and every other Friday or Wednesday when seeing friends. Some of that was at home, but it was also often at restaurants. Since the pandemic, we've generally kept that tempo, except we're seeing friends over Zoom dinner parties. The amount of booze that we cycle through at home is a little appalling, but we also tell ourselves that it's just because we're drinking at home instead of buying cocktails at a gastropub.

About six months ago, my wife developed insomnia that we linked to our pre-dinner cocktails, and we then tried an experiment that rather than having two rounds of full sized 3 oz cocktails each, I'd just make one cocktail and split that between us, then make another round and split that between us. Or, if we were feeling like different things, it's not particularly hard math to scale the proportions down or serve up one half while keeping the second round in a shot glass on ice. It's been a great technique to make us that realize we didn't need to be drunk, we just like having 30 minutes of sipping on something delicious and boozy, and having two smaller servings over the same course of time scratched that itch.

Now, we've realized we're spoiled for when we go back to restaurants since it's a little more awkward to ask a bartender to make and sell a half-size Negroni.
posted by bl1nk at 7:21 AM on April 13 [2 favorites]


I've heard more than one person IRL, and many people online, brush off warnings about drinking/drug use during the pandemic with variations on "what sort of future am I supposed to be keeping myself in good shape for?"

Right and like, for those of us who live alone and don't really see anyone, what sort of relationships are we supposed to be worried about ruining exactly? Literally one person would even know whether I was drinking too much, and that person one HUNDRED percent wouldn't care.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 7:42 AM on April 13 [17 favorites]


I wish it was as easy to get help from your peers for smoking too much marijuana.

Because it doesn't incapacitate you in the same way, it's difficult to get support, because people don't see it as quite as debilitating as a problem as alcoholism.

Yet, my ingestion of marijuana massively increased during the pandemic.

It hasn't really changed anything materially about my situation, but I don't feel good about it, and I don't feel good about how much money I've pissed away on it.
posted by deadaluspark at 7:44 AM on April 13 [10 favorites]


If you're looking for half sized cocktails, many bartenders would divide one cocktail between two glasses, especially if you tip well. Or you could just share the one glass.

I'm curious about other people's alcohol consumption replacement behaviors in social situations -- what are some of your ways to cope with feeling under stimulated and not resolve the issue by boozing? Drinking carbonated water being an example.
posted by grokus at 7:53 AM on April 13 [2 favorites]


what sort of future am I supposed to be keeping myself in good shape for.....what sort of relationships are we supposed to be worried about ruining exactly

Well, I have been alone in the foothills of late-stage alcoholism and I have been alone sober, and it is no question which life made me happier. Ten years into the future, some pretty bad stuff is happening, in the world and in my family, and I'm fully convinced that being drunk would not enhance my experience in dealing with those situations.

I mena, just think about it - things are going to stay/bad/get worse, so I might as well make that experience even lower by experiencing a more advanced stage of alcohol abuse with it? Hard drinking isn't known for making people happy, or helping them actually improve any of their problems.

You have to just not listen to this kind of stuff from yourself, sometimes; trying to get sober is very much one of those times. People typically generate a wide variety of bullshit justifying why they actually don't need to change anything, early on.

I wish it was as easy to get help from your peers for smoking too much marijuana.

The r/leaves subreddit is very active. It's a bit heavy on posts from people who think that their life is totally different and they are all good now because it is Day! 27!, which is pretty much not how substance problems work, but in general I'd recommend it. There are some people there active in MA, many not - they also have online MA meetings.
posted by thelonius at 7:57 AM on April 13 [22 favorites]


I'm curious about other people's alcohol consumption replacement behaviors in social situations -- what are some of your ways to cope with feeling under stimulated and not resolve the issue by boozing? Drinking carbonated water being an example.

For the first year of my sobriety, I really leaned hard on non-alc beers like Partake (which is quite good, actually) and non-alc spirits like Seedlip (v nice for a faux gin and tonic), but now I usually go with seltzer (I try to find really interesting ones) and fancy sodas. Pre-COVID, I could find some nice mocktails on restaurant menus, and I would order those to feel celebratory.

I will admit I have yet to step into a bar or pub since I quit, and honestly, I don't think I can even now. Some days I do admit to be tempted by remembering what getting a really good buzz was like and then I play the tape forward. Buzz becomes sloppy becomes blackout.
posted by Kitteh at 8:03 AM on April 13 [11 favorites]


play the tape forward
Yep. Imagining coming to, with that first hangover after nearly ten years, is usually enough for me. That image actually terrifies me.
posted by thelonius at 8:08 AM on April 13 [4 favorites]


@thelonius

You make an astute point that the drinking just makes things worse.

Case in point, a good friend was moving to Japan for a new job in December 2020. His Japanese wife and his son are already in Tokyo in an apartment he is paying for. (My friend is caucasian American, his wife moved to America after they married)

After they left, he began drinking heavily while waiting for the onboarding at his new job. One day, he drank excessively only to realize that he chose the wrong day. His onboarding Zoom meeting was happening, and he was so drunk he couldn't possibly show up at the meeting mid-day. He was completely sauced.

The thing is, that ONE day royally fucked up everything, and he was a week away from leaving and now, instead, because everything got pushed back because he missed that meeting, by the time he could have gone, the country had locked back down and blocked him from coming. Now he is living in a shed on his mothers property and drinking even MORE heavily. All while also paying for an apartment in Tokyo that his (likely soon to be estranged) wife and child are living in. Their marriage was already on the rocks, I can't imagine this has helped.

If he could have just prevented himself from diving so deep into drinking to begin with, he would already be in Japan.

It doesn't help, most often, it makes things objectively worse.

To be clear, not trying to be judgmental, I am very, very worried for my friend. It's just hard to NOT see the connection when he literally boned his chances to leave to Japan on time by being drunk.
posted by deadaluspark at 8:10 AM on April 13 [3 favorites]


"Right and like, for those of us who live alone and don't really see anyone, what sort of relationships are we supposed to be worried about ruining exactly?"

This is me. My drinking has gone through the roof. I know it's not good for me. But I also know that without it, I would have thrown myself off a bridge by now.
posted by Capt. Renault at 8:13 AM on April 13 [10 favorites]


"Right and like, for those of us who live alone and don't really see anyone, what sort of relationships are we supposed to be worried about ruining exactly?"

The ones AFTER you and people you care about are vaccinated.
posted by Nanukthedog at 8:21 AM on April 13


deadaluspark, that is a rough story.

It's just hard to NOT see the connection when he literally boned his chances to leave to Japan on time by being drunk.

Yeah, he knows that too, which, I can assure you, is not that much fun of a type of thing to live with. And then if your only coping mechanism for escaping from uncomfortable emotions and unpalatable truths has become more drinking.....it's just awful.
posted by thelonius at 8:32 AM on April 13 [2 favorites]


Definitely, I haven't mentioned the connection to him. I agree, he probably is also keenly aware of it, and so it's definitely not something that I want to bring up and make him feel worse about, woof.
posted by deadaluspark at 8:34 AM on April 13 [1 favorite]


The ones AFTER you and people you care about are vaccinated.

Yeah but then I...won't be Pandemic Drinking anymore? Because it won't be...pandemic? Nobody gives a shit what I did with myself the past 14 months or is going to be devastated when they find out. I mean, if they even ask, which they will not.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 8:35 AM on April 13 [7 favorites]


I mean, just think about it - things are going to stay/bad/get worse, so I might as well make that experience even lower by experiencing a more advanced stage of alcohol abuse with it?

I think pretty regularly about something The Melvins' Buzz Osborne once said in an interview:

There’s not a problem in the world you can’t make bigger by drinking a fifth of whiskey. If it worked the other way, they would market it as “problem solving whiskey.”
posted by ryanshepard at 8:44 AM on April 13 [8 favorites]


I'm still shaking my head a bit at how the NYT article seems to kind of get it -- the lack of support for, in particular, parents of young children and a culture of personal responsibility in the face of societal failure has led people to lean on easily accessible, socially acceptable alcohol, so here are some tips if you've been one of them to get back to fewer drinks -- and here it's still a discussion that's all like "don't you know alcohol is poison?!"

I am pretty sure most of the people described in the NYT article are well aware of the effects of alcohol. It's a harsh contrast to the meat discussion (male oriented planetary vice) and in line with fat shaming, I guess.

Anyways, my point wasn't that scotch makes me happy. It's that I have increased my alcohol consumption -- not to the point that I'm going to miss a plane to Japan, Jesus, this is what makes the discussion of the steps between "two glasses of wine on Friday" and "two glasses of wine on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday" difficult to have.

And a good chunk of the problem is that once again, individuals are bearing the brunt of bad policy. Had my government invested in smaller classrooms, had a proper lockdown in December, listened to scientists in February, I would not now be watching my kids suffer again, my staff and business suffer again,.

AND be the person who is now the safety net under the safety net, responsible for making sure that my kids remain mentally well, educated, follow the changing public health protocols, have 2 ply, no 3 ply, no surgical, no, n95 masks, access to bikes while global supply chains end at the Suez Canal...and god forbid not have too much screen time or get fat while juggling my own work, anxiety, and health.

There is a direct correlation here between failed policy and parents drinking at home. Everyone's susceptible but parents, especially mothers, are drinking more...why?

Because my spouse's job, which is the higher salary in part because systemic discrimination starting from math class in 1981, needs the office with the door that shuts. And has relocated, but hasn't really changed. But mine has in two ways. One, I have to carry emotional labour at work in a pandemic. Two, much of the at-home the emotional -- and extra pandemic procedures! -- labour falls to me, as it very often has, to be the person Investigating Options, Nutrition, and Staying Up On Requirements. Feeding The Family. Knowing Where Dry Chickpeas Are On Sale And There's Curbside. Supporting Takeout But Not Too Much It Will Kill Your BMI.

While also being a great example to my kids and helping them stay positive and resilient!

And my kids are actually a very easy going age and helpful, strength to all whose kids are younger, but at the end of the day I have managed their school, their need for companionship, their need for joy, their screen time, their exercise time, their anxieties about the pandemic, and their healthy meals and laundry and stuff. Plus made vax appointments for all the seniors in our lives. Plus plus plus.

THAT'S the reason people like me are DISPROPORTIONATELY turning to chemical solutions. I'm really sad that in this thread it's become a bit of a all or nothing discussion.

Like, I hear you all who have struggled with alcohol and I appreciate your perspective some but the DRUNK DRIVING IS BAD (what????? I hadn't heard???) is like - the opposite of the very grounded approach that article took. I appreciate the knee jerk "if you're defensive look at your drinking!!" response but I am okay, I'm not your alcoholic/my alcoholic grandfather or parent.

I have potential to be, but just like in the year after my daughter died, I know where my lines are and I appreciate your ability to treat me as a cognizant, separate human being having a discussion about increasing drinking and where the lines are other than abstinence, thank you.

Some moms are going to become alcoholic, and that will be bad. Really bad. We need programs.

Other moms are going to suffer health impacts of increased alcohol consumption, which will be bad, and will need -- do need -- support in righting their relationship to stress and to all the drugs available, which will come when the minimal -- minimal!! -- supports society USED to have two years ago are available again.

Other moms, like me, just need to say hey, like weight gain or lack of exercise or being too scared to get your teeth cleaned, this sucks right now, how are you doing? Want to go for a socially distanced walk or have a FaceTime chat without a drink at cocktail/ice cream hour because like, I've gained 3 pounds and I'm falling into a habit of destressing with scotch/ice cream which is probably not the best.
posted by warriorqueen at 8:44 AM on April 13 [52 favorites]


I'm senior and live alone, and my body won't tolerate much alcohol. And Pandemic Isolation is anxious, depressing and boring. If you have to watch alone, it's more fun to watch a funny movie with a couple glasses of wine. Most evenings I have a beer and enjoy it; it would be pleasant to have a little more sometimes but it's not worth crappy sleep and muzzyheadedness. Weed hasn't really worked for me, mostly, too strong. I'd love to find some real giggle variety, maybe I'm just too bitter for it to work. Edibles are an occasional big help when I genuinely can't sleep, esp. if chronic low-grade pain is involved, and as you get older, it often is.

And, fuck, yeah, 4 years of Trump, the craziness of the election, the insurrection, have left a mark. not being able to publicly celebrate the Inauguration sucked so much. Lots of people posted that they were afraid to put up signs, but I put my lawn sign back up, added lights and streamers, watched the Inauguration of NotTrump and the 1st woman VP with champagne and relief. (sign and lights are down, I'm not a jingo.)

Now that I'm fully vaxxed, I can admit how much I fucking hate the Pandemic, that it stole a year+, that the timing was particularly bad for my particular life. I have so much compassion for anybody who's using alcohol or weed to get by, but maybe consider anti-depressants, okay? We'll celebrate when this is done, but we need to be prepared to take care of people, I think there's a lot of trauma, some of it quite hidden.

If I didn't have a really great dog, a few good friends, and Metafilter/ the Web, it would have been so much worse. Thank you all for being here.
posted by theora55 at 9:09 AM on April 13 [12 favorites]


Now that I'm fully vaxxed, I can admit how much I fucking hate the Pandemic,

Oh shit we're supposed to wait until we're vaxxed to say we hate this? I have been screaming from the rooftops (sometimes literally) that this is fucking trash.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 9:14 AM on April 13 [5 favorites]


Admittedly I was expecting I'd shift my drinking patterns more than I ended up. "Hey, you've got that collection of beer that's grown too large because for a time 'verticals' was a cool idea, and you got hooked on the idea of having a beer for any given prompt/theme/occasion. Now it's just getting older, not optimally stored, and you could probably stand to cut it down to 1/3 of its size just fine."

Seems like a pandemic would be a good opportunity to work that down, right? After all, it's working for thinning down those frozen sauces & "cook twice as much, freeze half down" meals you've been building up.

Except it turns out, those same bottles? What do many of them have in common, that you've been keeping them this long? They're high-ABV, large-format ones. The ones you were already having trouble moving because they're basically intended for multi-person beer shares except *everybody* wants to bring their high-octane large-format bottles to shares, and you can't/shouldn't run a share on just those.

And now you're looking at 750ml of a ~20% imperial stout, solo? Good luck, buddy.

... so yeah. It's not exactly the direction the article's focusing on (and that's probably more valuable of a direction), but I wanted to mention my experience to *someone*. It's not complaining, exactly, just... this era, y'know?
posted by CrystalDave at 9:32 AM on April 13 [7 favorites]


I'm glad to see that this article talks about moderation management and other non-abstinence approaches related to drinking. Several years ago in my late 20s I had some binge drinking episodes that led to some (not illegal or dangerous, just embarrassing and dumb) antics on my end. I have a family history of alcoholism, and it was a huge wake up call to me to get ahead of things before it got out of control.

When I went searching for information about how to cut back my drinking in a responsible way without completely giving up alcohol forever, I felt caught in a real bind. It felt like a lot of the information heavily implied that any problem drinking habits could only be solved with 12-step sobriety programs and total abstinence, and that any attempts to cut back or track drinks or similar was simply living in a state of denial over one's alcoholism. It felt very puritanical and binary in a way that felt really alienating and not actually useful to my own life?

I did find some useful information, and what I did was to take several weeks off drinking and then track everything I drank with a weekly limit. Since then I've kept track of every drink I've had and have mandatory days off from drinking. I am fully transparent with my doctors about my own alcohol use and my family history. For a long time I felt keeping track of what I drink was evidence alone that I had some horrible issue I was in denial about, but over time I've found that it's the best way to keep myself honest and not slip back into bad habits.

I know moderation management doesn't work for everyone, and I know for some people it's a way to continue their denial of their alcoholism, and for them sobriety is the only way for survival. I want to make sure people have access to sobriety programs that work for them. And I know there is a lot of research saying there is no "safe level" of alcohol. I know that lots of the supposed benefits of alcohol consumption are underwritten by industry with ulterior motives. But I also want to see more normalization of moderation management for those that might benefit from it. Obviously there is a spectrum between full-blown alcoholism and sobriety, and people deserve to have a range of tools and support systems that work for them.
posted by mostly vowels at 9:32 AM on April 13 [16 favorites]


Smoking, drugs, drinking, all up. Yup. Got that.

There is a direct correlation here between failed policy and parents drinking at home. Everyone's susceptible but parents, especially mothers, are drinking more...why?

Because my spouse's job, which is the higher salary in part because systemic discrimination starting from math class in 1981, needs the office with the door that shuts. And has relocated, but hasn't really changed. But mine has in two ways. One, I have to carry emotional labour at work in a pandemic. Two, much of the at-home the emotional -- and extra pandemic procedures! -- labour falls to me, as it very often has, to be the person Investigating Options, Nutrition, and Staying Up On Requirements. Feeding The Family. Knowing Where Dry Chickpeas Are On Sale And There's Curbside. Supporting Takeout But Not Too Much It Will Kill Your BMI.


OMG this, for reals. Google News (can't help myself) covered the following today: In response to a Katy Perry Instagram post, her partner posted this comment: "Baby we're all out of oat milk." Like, why the hell wouldn't women be drinking more just generally and especially during the pandemic? The many reasons have been eloquently described here by warriorqueen, Eyebrows McGee, and others.
posted by Bella Donna at 9:32 AM on April 13 [13 favorites]


I think our culture hasn't developed any real meaningful dialogue around drinking full stop. It's either AA (which I haven't done and won't do because its culture is not for me and that's okay) or rock bottom. It doesn't take into account that problem drinking can be a gray area, or that we have decided what rock bottom looks like because of pop culture or horror stories, or that we live in a society where drinking is how you have fun/how you get laid/how you get romantic/how you relax and those messages are constantly drummed into us by funny sidewalk pub signs or ads. We don't talk about it in a way that's constructive; we are reductive. I know posters here are taking aim at me and if you need to be angry, be angry. I have been there. I wish I could be like everyone else and drink and have a good time and not black out. But I got tired of letting down my family, letting myself down, and realizing I had health problems because of drinking that a woman in her early 40s should not have. (Also, it really fucked up how effective my anxiety meds were.)

We don't have any support systems in place that aren't either one or the other. We demonize people who had to quit or got sick as being weak and not able to handle alcohol. For myself, being able--with help from a supportive partner who got sober two years before I did--to step away was the most radical thing I could do with my life. No one was going to save me but me.
posted by Kitteh at 10:02 AM on April 13 [18 favorites]


I am a mom who is trying to work from home while supporting a kid who is distance learning, and I have been raging since March 2020 at the American structures that have made this experience so horrible. I 100% would be drinking more during the pandemic, and I often think longingly about getting a box of wine to put in the fridge, but one glass of makes my stomach feel like shit for days afterward now that I am aged 37. That has been a very sad yet probably health-saving development.

In summary, fuck this pandemic, fuck distance learning, fuck the patriarchy, fuck capitalism, fuck SSRI side effects (because I 100% should be on some meds but never found the right one in the past), fuck the American health care system, and fuck my aging stomach.
posted by Maarika at 10:18 AM on April 13 [25 favorites]


I feel like the biggest difference for me is that I don’t have those days on a boat or the beach where I am drinking all day, or evenings/nights hanging out with friends. Aside from a few social zooms, by the time I’ve had one or two drinks, I just take a nap or go to bed, which I can do whenever I want because we don’t have kids. So, like normal drinking with meals, but no 12 beer bbq days.
posted by snofoam at 10:21 AM on April 13


Now it's just getting older, not optimally stored, and you could probably stand to cut it down to 1/3 of its size just fine

You know, it really is ok to just pour alcoholic beverages down the drain.

Looking at your position-post from the outside, it looks from here that there is some sort of... mythology? culture? built up around these bottles that maybe needs a bit of diving into. Sometimes the stories we build up around our habits are hiding important truths.

Kitteh - I relate to everything you wrote. One of the biggest problems I had when I quit drinking was the gut-punch I took to friendships and general socializing. It’s no exaggeration to say that I lost about half of my then-friends, either because they didn’t want socializing that did not include alcohol, or by “it’s not a big deal” friends trying to slip a little booze into my drink. I have better friends now (most are not teetotalers, now that I think about it), but all who also grapple with healthy responses to stress and sorrow, and seriously - for me, quitting drinking has improved my social life, my friendships, and near everything else.
posted by Silvery Fish at 10:33 AM on April 13 [4 favorites]


It's true, society at large asking individuals to do the legwork on "not drinking" is much like corporations and society at large asking individuals to do the work on "stopping climate change." They create the systems to exacerbate both, and then place to onus on you to handle it as an individual.

It's a bogus offer. It's bullshit, we shouldn't have to deal with it or cope with it, and these companies shouldn't be able to just pump out bullshit to keep profiting from it during the hardest times while putting it on the individual to have "self-control" when they are destitute and suffering. (Frankly, especially companies that produce... drugs and alcohol. They're doing gangbusters in profits and its kind of gross.) The problem is, it's not an offer, they hold all the cards, and we don't really get a choice.

Unfortunately, with both of these, we are experiencing the "negative externalities" of the capitalist system. Just like with climate change, screaming "well it's not all our fault and as individuals we can't be expected to solve it!" is quite true, but doesn't really change the nature of the current situation. It still leaves us holding the bag when the corporations have all the control and we have corrupt local governments who are more interested in deals with "developers" (cough corporations that build buildings) than they are in citizens needs.

It sucks, it's unfair, none of you should be dealing with any of the problems society has thrown in your face, of course you all know the problems drinking brings (I certainly know the issues marijuana brings), and none of you should feel ashamed for what you've had to do to cope with this nightmare of a country, it's racist and misogynist history that lead to president Donald Trump, who started an insurrection after purposely killing thousands of Americans through inaction on COVID because he was upset that people don't like that he's a raging lying sack of shit and so he saw better to torch the country than to save anyone but himself, only to have his only fucking punishment being banishment from Twitter and some bullshit ass "he will be haunted by lawsuits the rest of his life." It's literal fucking insanity and of fucking course it drove countless people to drinking and drugs. I'm sorry and my heart goes out to all of you who are suffering during this time.

The fact that it's all "back to business as usual" in Washington DC instead of actually addressing any of the problems driving people to drinking is the real fucking travesty.

But since it's back to business as usual in business and politics, what recourse do we even have left other than to try to take what little control over our own lives that we have? Whether that means trying to reduce our carbon footprint or trying to reduce our drinking or smoking marijuana, it's often truly the only kind of control we have over anything. I'm not saying anyone should quit drinking entirely, nor do I want to quit smoking marijuana entirely, but I do think there is a lot to be said for moderation, and I know I haven't been moderating, lately.
posted by deadaluspark at 11:00 AM on April 13 [6 favorites]


I'm not sure I'm drinking a lot more during the pandemic than during the before-times.

However, there's a performative aspect to especially the buying of booze that I'm not sure others have commented on as yet. It's all tied to the idea of supporting local businesses, and propping up the economy as best we can.

During the first lockdown, ordering deliveries from breweries became a Thing.
Over time, that faded, and has been replaced by ordering dinners from local restaurants & padding out the order with a bottle of wine or a clutch of beers - and tipping heavily on the whole shebang.

At some point, we started a membership in a wines-of-the-month club, and are also getting monthly deliveries from a local brewery that includes coffee, wine, cider, beer from random producers.

By now, our fridge is largely full of beer (replacing the previous Pushing Daisies joke about it being a cheese box); we also have beer stashed away in another kitchen cupboard, next to the toaster oven, and in the study.

We're (perhaps problematically) remaining on top of this & it's not burgeoning further, but it feels like a weird asocial commitment.
posted by The Outsider at 11:04 AM on April 13 [5 favorites]


One of the biggest problems I had when I quit drinking was the gut-punch I took to friendships and general socializing.

Good examples of wildly different cultures because I was thinking of my various groups of friends, especially ones where we characteristically go out together, and there are non-drinkers in all of them (some years that includes me), some for religious reasons, others for other reasons. I don't usually drink at other people's houses because I'm almost always driving home and have never been pressured. We have a moms whine/wine night that's been going for 10 years but it's much more about the whine than the wine; half the time if there is a bottle of wine, no one opens it.

(The appetizers on the other hand...)

We'll filter a restaurant or a festival by whether there are chairs (some people aren't booth friendly), vegan, halal choices, etc., but whether a place has alcohol or not never comes up.
posted by warriorqueen at 11:05 AM on April 13 [3 favorites]


I relate to everything you wrote. One of the biggest problems I had when I quit drinking was the gut-punch I took to friendships and general socializing. It’s no exaggeration to say that I lost about half of my then-friends, either because they didn’t want socializing that did not include alcohol, or by “it’s not a big deal” friends trying to slip a little booze into my drink. I have better friends now (most are not teetotalers, now that I think about it), but all who also grapple with healthy responses to stress and sorrow, and seriously - for me, quitting drinking has improved my social life, my friendships, and near everything else.

It was hard for me to realize that friends I thought were my friends ended up being the kind of friends who only wanted to catch up and hang out if there were alcohol involved. I lost friends. I don't make friends easily because I am socially awkward (guess what used to help!) so I am still re-learning how to make friends sober. I don't require friends to be teetotal but I do ask them to not get weird when I say no to a beer. I haven't had a social life since I stopped drinking because everything revolves around it. Honestly the best thing was learning who actually liked me for me and not as a drinking buddy. It was just depressing the number ended up being so small.
posted by Kitteh at 11:08 AM on April 13 [9 favorites]


And now you're looking at 750ml of a ~20% imperial stout, solo? Good luck, buddy.

I made it through one of those once by taking a drink every time Star Trek cut away to a long shot of the Enterprise drifting past a planet. Only took like 4 episodes!

However, there's a performative aspect to especially the buying of booze that I'm not sure others have commented on as yet. It's all tied to the idea of supporting local businesses, and propping up the economy as best we can.

Right, raise your hand if you have some cans or growlers or to-go cocktails purchased in the desperate hopes that your local bar would still be there whenever this ends! Raise your hand if it didn't work anyway and now you're broker than you would be and your friends are still unemployed! Raise your hand if this in itself makes you want a drink!
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 11:11 AM on April 13 [14 favorites]


warriorqueen, Kitteh - I wish you could see my face; I have this small, intrigued, compassionate smile on my face. Maybe it’s the body-equivalent of saying how much I treasure both of you sharing your stories. I just realized I’ve never shared any of this with someone who has walked the same path, and haven’t heard any other woman talk about this, and I’m profoundly— HERE, listening to your experiences. It’s a confetti moment.

There’s another part of the thread that’s rightly pleased that the article didn’t endorse full-abstinence: a-effing-men to that. Compassionate self-observation is a good place to start.
posted by Silvery Fish at 11:24 AM on April 13 [9 favorites]


Right, raise your hand if you have some cans or growlers or to-go cocktails purchased in the desperate hopes that your local bar would still be there whenever this ends!

I'm pleased to say my favourite coffee shop, bakery, gastropub, ordinary pub, local brewery and even the poor sod who opened up a specialist beer shop about 2 weeks before lockdown 3.0 made it through. So did my paunch.
posted by biffa at 11:33 AM on April 13 [3 favorites]


I still drink, but I have a lot of friends from going back to university days - when almost everyone drank varying degress of A Lot - who have either radically cut back their drinking or quit altogether, and it saddens me that anyone would let a friendship end because one person stopped drinking alcohol. Regardless of the nature of that person's relationship with alcohol, it seems like a message that booze was more important to them than you were, which is shitty.
posted by The Card Cheat at 11:49 AM on April 13 [3 favorites]


If any ladies are interested, I really like the intersectional angle of women in recovery/sobriety of The Temper.
posted by Kitteh at 11:52 AM on April 13 [7 favorites]


On the off chance someone makes it this far, I know plenty of people who are perfectly functional on 10+ drinks/day. Just saying. Do what you have to. We're all worm food soon enough, and in 100 years no one will remember your name.

posted by booooooze


I feel like maybe you have an ulterior motive here.

Also: EPONYSTERICAL.
posted by cooker girl at 12:01 PM on April 13 [2 favorites]


The two methods that helped me moderate my drinking were:

1) Lower alcohol drinks
2) Setting a limit on when I could start drinking

I buy 4% ABV beers (instead of the usual 5-6%). That means if I drink a six-pack, it's closer to 4 drinks over a longer time period.

I had tried other limits like only allowing myself 4 drinks in a night, or trying to maintain 1 drink per hour, but once you're a couple drinks in, it's way too easy to justify bending those rules. Instead I say I can't start drinking until 8PM, and then there is a hard limit on how much I'm going to consume because of when I go to sleep. Then I can just relax and not worry about tracking myself.
posted by team lowkey at 12:43 PM on April 13 [3 favorites]


My drinking has gone way, way up during the pandemic. My weed consumption way down. I'm not willing to make a separate interaction with people to go to the weed store. I can get beer and Tequila on my weekly grocery shopping trip. It's a bit concerning, but, hoping life will mellow out soon.

We got this.
posted by Windopaene at 1:39 PM on April 13 [1 favorite]


My husband and I tried the One Sober Week per Month thing. I found that it excused me to drink more in the drinking weeks. So instead, I'm cutting down. If I actually feel shitty in the morning, the next day is a mandatory sober day. I try to limit to two drinks per day. If I go over that, it's usually because I did a too-generous whiskey pour. I've been adding water to my whiskey as a way to stop that, along with interspersing with glasses of water, and glasses of kombucha instead of wine. The vinegar bite of kombucha seems to answer some of the need for the taste of liquor, I find. Mocktails would be good, except I'm not really a cocktail drinker. And I'm trying to avoid the sugar.

I'd like to add Sober Days, but I am having hard time with that. It feels like punishment. I only drink whiskey or really good wine. Every time I talk to my alcoholic mum, I swear to god, she says, "That's why they invented wine." There is so much reinforcement to drinking culture.
posted by RedEmma at 2:03 PM on April 13 [5 favorites]


fuck SSRI side effects (because I 100% should be on some meds but never found the right one in the past)

Word, at least the vertigo from drinking clears up once I'm sober. The vertigo from Zoloft lasted FIVE ENTIRE YEARS.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 2:08 PM on April 13 [5 favorites]


I only have one, sometimes two, alcoholic beverages per week because I’m a mean drunk and I’d really, really like to drink more than that.

On the other hand my caffeine consumption has gone way up because my sleep is shit and my kids want me to like, interact with them, and teach them shit, and apparently dinner is a meal that people expect to eat every day....forever. So, Diet Coke it is, these days.

In short, this fucking sucks, hang in there people.
posted by bq at 2:40 PM on April 13 [8 favorites]


There is so much reinforcement to drinking culture.

IKR?? It becomes terrifyingly obvious once you step away or reduce your intake.

Getting married? Drink!

Graduate? Drink!

Bought a new house/had a baby/other major life event? Drink!

I work at a healthcare clinic for the university and I want very much to befriend my co-workers but when the option for hanging out is a bottle of wine at the local bar, I can't. When I have been asked what I like to drink on the weekends because holy shit we had a week didn't we goddamn pandemic goddamn patients etc so you bet it's Netflix and wine, I said "well I don't drink anymore", one girl said, "Jesus christ, then how you do cope with stress?"

I don't have an answer.
posted by Kitteh at 2:57 PM on April 13 [7 favorites]


There is so much reinforcement to drinking culture.

My own drinking is fine but I have two sober friends, one of whom struggles with it more than the other. Seeing things from their perspective is like turning on a film from the whatever-decades-that-was-in, and seeing people with a cigarette going from the second they wake up.
posted by bashing rocks together at 3:12 PM on April 13 [4 favorites]


I almost died from pancreatic disease over the winter. Same thing that killed David Graeber. The only cause for this particular condition is too much driking.
posted by Hiding From Goro at 4:12 PM on April 13 [6 favorites]


Childless woman, here. I have spent the last several years mourning my lost opportunity to have kids of my own, largely due to the decisions of certain grown, also-childless adults in my family who have come to rely on me for material support.

The pandemic has been beneficial for my personal fitness and finances, dreadful for my liver, and eerily numbing for the pain of non-motherhood. I can’t imagine how parents are coping with this, and my heart aches for them.

One phenomenon I’ve noticed on the rise since 2016 is people’s self-pity gradually overtaking their empathy for anybody else. The Trump administration popularized individualist persecution complexes, and the pandemic seems to have redoubled that popularity. Facebook has taught me that a great many people think misery is a zero-sum game.

I’ll echo the comment from jeoc above that it’s especially disheartening to see a mod lashing out at another user based on an apparent hair-trigger misreading of a comment about how much of the bullshit in this age is landing on women (both with and without kids).

It feels like everybody’s looking for a fight anymore. It makes me want to beeline for the bottle.
posted by armeowda at 4:58 PM on April 13 [9 favorites]


Getting carded - most of the liquor stores here are government run so there isn't a lot of choice. I moved last November and had a new 'regular' liquor store and I got carded every so often.

After the mask mandate, I'm getting carded every third or fourth visit - and about half those times cashiers low-key accuse me of using someone else's ID and requested that I pull my mask down.

It's flattering I guess, but also super weird and uncomfortable.
posted by porpoise at 5:45 PM on April 13


If this article had been about increased consumption of SSRIs or ice cream, we’d see the early comments in this thread that run along the lines of “I tried it and it made me fat (gasp!) and I don’t understand why ANYONE would do that” or comments like “well I had a bag of Doritos in my cupboard but once they were gone I went back to kale” differently.

Or, if we had stories of people taking anti-anxiety meds or doing pot I’m not sure we would see people saying “if you’re planning your Xanax in advance, you may have a problem!”

Like yes, absolutely, all those uses of alcohol can be problematic and our culture is weird about it, like it is about food and all kinds of things.

But, because it’s parents, specifically moms, identified as the problematic group I do feel like people launched themselves in to judge the behaviour in a way completely disconnected from the cause. Can you imagine a thread on doing pot to cope with anxiety where everyone rushed to explain this stoner guy they knew once got fired from a job?

I mean...I get that those comments are actually commiserating but it’s still reading to me like “oh those crazy moms amirite?”
posted by warriorqueen at 6:00 PM on April 13 [6 favorites]


And it is weird because like, I really hate fat and food shaming but I never worry about my image if I admit to eating Doritos and I feel like I can discuss food as comfort without being accused of having an eating disorder (I am not overweight and have never had an eating disorder) but somehow in this discussion I keep getting a vibe that it’s like “suuuuuure you aren’t an alcoholic” and - I’m not, I’m sure enough that I’m okay to have this talk but - what a weird thread.
posted by warriorqueen at 6:08 PM on April 13 [6 favorites]


Pandemic drinking - I've always enjoyed booze and had at times been a very heavy drinker. Part of it is self-medication for depression since, when I was younger, I couldn't find a pharmaceutical that I tolerated or felt like actually helping.

During my PhD I got really good at titration; enough booze to get me to the "high" but I'd stop and go to sleep and wake up fit and ready to function in the lab.

After graduating I lost most of my social support from fellow grad students and old friends moved away/ started having kids and my drinking shot up in response to worsening depression. I recognized that and made a point of cultivating new social circles (mostly revolving around dining out) and on nights where I had plans, I rarely drank after returning home, and very little if I did.

A little over three years ago, I moved from being very central in the city to a very undesirable city-next-door since my work moved an untenable commute away and lost those social circles and my drinking waxed. Last (well, previous I guess) November I moved back closer to the city and wanted to rekindle my social circle but stress and work commitments, and then the soft lockdown/ restaurant closures last Spring.

I was let go from my job in response to my doing an internal whistleblow in December and my drinking got really really bad, not having a responsibility to be somewhere/ be functional the next day.

I've been doing better at moderation by switching to beer or mixing the liquor or starting later, but 1) deepening depression and anxiety created a bigger void that needs filling and 2) after a couple of drinks, it's so much easier to just keep drinking and aiming for that "high" to try to obfuscate the pain... and then go beyond.

Also setting goals in the evening, like not be hung over in the morning so I could enjoy a breakfast of crepes with mushrooms and bacon, or to start a slow roasted pork belly to be ready in time for lunch, or wake up early enough to get some takeout dimsum, and stuff but come the actual morning the depression saps my motivation/ actual enjoyment.

So yeah, I really want a job for the motivation (and the money) and there's a spark of hope that I'll get a chance to form new social circles again.
posted by porpoise at 6:18 PM on April 13 [8 favorites]


One mention of AA in the whole thread, so I'll give a little wave if anyone wants to DM me. :)
posted by soakimbo at 9:38 PM on April 13 [2 favorites]


I've never been a drinker but for a few months there I was hitting the bottle like I never have in my life. My one crazy trick for kicking the habit? Getting back reliable daycare for my kids.
posted by Alex404 at 12:20 AM on April 14 [10 favorites]


I feel like keep_evolving who commented way up at the beginning of the thread. I can’t read all the comments because nap time only lasts so long and I’m supposed to be working. I tried so long to have a baby and the pandemic started when I was pregnant and now I feel like I’m failing him ever day. We lost his daycare slot when we decided not to send him back in September and the next one doesn’t open until July. I do have an increasingly stiffer drink every night. Worried all the time about how to interpret risk levels, antibodies, vaccine longevity, what if we give my parents a deadly disease? They are not robust people, fortunately vaccinated now, but how long will that last? Husband only seems to think about this stuff when I bring it up and then immediately forgets again.
posted by acantha at 6:50 AM on April 14 [12 favorites]


acantha, that sounds unimaginably hard. I am so sorry you are in this situation. I understand why it feels that way but you are not failing your baby every day, I promise. Hang in there.
posted by Bella Donna at 8:33 AM on April 14 [2 favorites]


Just chiming in to say that mods are people too, and many of us people who are parenting kids through the pandemic are like, one step away from the cliff edge. Media focus on how women with children are problem-drinking is extremely disheartening, given the minimal/non-existent efforts to actually help us through this period of time. Tbh it feels kind of like a pile on so moms can think about one more way that we are failing. This is a tough thread and people are responding from all different angles, let's just read people's responses with a compassionate lens.
posted by DTMFA at 8:51 AM on April 14 [10 favorites]


The article talked about women and people with young children, not women with young children. Conflating "woman" with "mother" is so alienating to women without children. It renders those of us who haven't had any human contact in over a year invisible. A lot of people have it better than me, and a lot of people have it worse than me. But, acknowledgement and empathy go a long way when people are dealing with trauma. People who have been entirely alone haven't gotten much "I see you" from anyone. Being invisible sucks. It's definitely contributed to my increased drinking.

Someone is probably going to egregiously misread this comment as minimizing what mothers are going through. Saying "hey, we're here too, we're hurting too" isn't minimizing anything. Compassion needs to go both ways, all ways.
posted by Mavri at 10:13 AM on April 14 [16 favorites]


Hey Mavri. I see you.

Can confirm that this year has sucked for those of us who've had no human contact, however introverted we might be, and that it feels very much as if we're out of sight, out of mind in the general public discourse. And that it also feels difficult to say so, because it's so obvious that so many people are having it so much harder.

... and yeah, my alcohol consumption has gone up a bit, and would doubtless have gone up further if I had more tolerance for hangovers.
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 11:15 AM on April 14 [2 favorites]


No human contact for a year is like a form of punishment. I mean, that's not why it happened but oh jeez, Mavri and ManyLeggedCreature (and everyone else here who has suffered through that), your pain must be incredible. I am so sorry.
posted by Bella Donna at 11:29 AM on April 14 [3 favorites]


We had a friend die this year from a drinking-induced illness. They had problems before the pandemic but of course the isolation and lack of in-person checkins made everything worse.

.
posted by benzenedream at 12:35 PM on April 14 [4 favorites]


Because this is a thread where a lot of people on reflecting on drinking, I’m going to pop in a link to this comment I made a while ago while doing my own reflecting. There are a bunch of resources in here and pathways to thinking about drinking behavior that are more evidence-based and behavioral-science-informed than the AA approach. This stuff has done me a lot of good - just offering in case anyone’s interested, and feel free to HMU via MeMail if you want to talk about any of it.
posted by Miko at 6:39 AM on April 17 [3 favorites]


« Older He has not rehabilitated himself   |   412 is the new 420 Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments