Lockdown – It doesn’t have to be the birth of a million alcoholics

Alcohol sales are through the roof. Everyone’s social calendars have gone out the window. And people are anxious, fed up and searching for answers. I can’t help but wondering if the expression “oh what the hell, it’s lock down” is echoing down streets all over the country.  

Alcohol can disguise itself as your best friend in times of hardship. Come to think of it, that goes for most things that are bad for you. Some people may turn to drugs whilst others turn to junk food. They all give you some short-term relief from the reality of how you are feeling. 

The problem is, all of these things are addictive and it is so easy to allow them to become a crutch. That crutch can very quickly become the center of your universe – especially in the unique circumstances we all find ourselves living in today.

Ten years ago, I allowed alcohol to become a fixed part of my routine. Every evening I would drink at least one bottle of vodka. I was ‘rewarding myself’ for getting through the day of work or uni. Deep down, I knew it wasn’t normal, but I thought “I’m young and I can stop whenever I want”.

 Soon my life revolved around drinking vodka in the evening. It was all I thought about and all I looked forward to. If I struggled to get hold of any vodka on a particular evening, I would panic and get angry. No one knew about my drinking. And that was how I liked it.

I needed to realise I had a problem and I needed to ask for help. But I didn’t.

Five years later, my diseased liver had stopped working and I was having conversations with doctors about liver transplants and dialysis. I was extremely lucky and I survived. You may not be so lucky.

If you are reading this and alcohol has become part of your daily routine during this pandemic – please just take a minute to talk to someone about it. You might feel like you have a complete grip on your drinking. I did ten years ago. But it is so easy to fall into a trap with alcohol.

It’s so easy to develop a mentality that alcohol is the only thing that will get you though this lock down. But once it’s part of your daily routine, it can be very hard to remove it. If you have an addictive personality it could end up being one of the hardest things you ever have to do.

Don’t slip into the pattern I did all those years ago. And If any of the above has set off alarm bell’s in your head – ACT ON IT NOW. Please talk to someone about it and get some help.

This pandemic will not last forever. Don’t come out the other side of this with an even bigger battle on your hands.

Thank for reading and stay safe.

Toby

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