You go on Buzzfeed and see six different articles about what cocktails to make and which celebrities are getting drunk. You check your Facebook and see everyone making jokes about how it’s never too early for wine o’clock. You look at Twitter and see famous people talking about how the bar for alcoholism should be lowered during the quarantine.
It has to stop. But I fear it won’t. Our society and the alcohol industry have seamlessly integrated themselves together so that each keeps encouraging, supporting, and condoning the other. This has become blatantly obvious during the quarantine due to COVID-19.
It makes me want to tear my hair out.
Here’s the thing: this isn’t a fucking blizzard. It’s not a polar vortex that’s only lasting a weekend. It’s not a mildly threatening weather condition that keeps us inside for a few days and then it’s over. This is a worldwide pan-fucking-demic. People are getting sick. People are dying. Getting drunk is quite literally the LAST thing we should be focusing on, and here is why:
- Good lord guys, ALCOHOL LOWERS YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM. That ALONE should be enough to have the media, the memes, the celebs, and the newscasters stop winking at people and laughing about getting wasted. The more you drink, the more likely you are to get sick. Period.
- Alcohol is a depressant. That is a fact. It slows down your body, it can negatively impact your emotional health. It is, at the end of the day, a toxin. Whenever you drink you are putting poison into your body. And miss me with that “a glass of red wine a day is GOOD FOR YOU!!!” bullshit. The science behind that is shaky at best, and the same benefits you can get from one glass of red wine (and I don’t know anyone who JUST drinks 1 glass and is done) you can also get from the much less toxic blueberries or dark chocolate.
- Even if you consider yourself a “healthy” drinker, it’s far easier to slip into problematic drinking or binge drinking during this time. Some people don’t have a fixed schedule, others are furloughed or laid off, still others are working, but drinking WHILE working because they’re told by the giggling media that it’s okay, the normal rules don’t apply during quarantine. This can lead to further drinking problems down the line because…
- Alcohol is ADDICTIVE. Obviously not everyone who drinks has a drinking problem. Moderation is very possible, but I’d like to remind you that a moderate drinker does not binge drink (consuming more than 4 or 5 drinks in a night). Moderate drinkers have one drink a night for women, and two drinks a night for men. Like I said earlier, I can count on one hand the number of people I know who regularly drink like that. Alcohol’s addictive qualities and society’s insistence (fueled by the deep pockets of the booze industry) that drinking is cute and funny can lead you to believe you have a completely healthy relationship with alcohol when you actually don’t.
- Problematic drinking now can lead to bigger issues later. If you start drinking at 9 am now because of quarantine, it can lead to bad habits in the future when all of this is over. Maybe the next time you have a bad day you decide you’re going to day-drink because that “helped” during the quarantine. Maybe you’re feeling panicky and sad during the isolation so you drink to drown out your feelings…only to continue doing that after the threat has passed. Now suddenly you’re self-medicating with booze, which is a slippery slope.
Look, I’m not saying that everyone in the world must be sober (although I strongly suspect that literally everyone’s lives would drastically improve if they were). If you can moderate, that’s great! If you drink a single beer while watching TV a few times a week to chill out, that’s fine. But in this day and age, I think that’s rare. We as a culture LOVE drinking. And we don’t love the taste, or the way it blends with a meal; we love GETTING DRUNK. And that gives rise to extremely problematic views and thoughts around alcohol.
“We as a culture LOVE drinking.”
It’s upsetting to see social media flooded with “hilarious” drinking jokes. It’s scary to see celebrities getting fucked up and boasting about it. It’s not okay that alcohol is being cheered and embraced during a time where WHO is literally telling people to not drink because it’s dangerous.
As a society, we need to do better. I promise you that there are other, better things to do during this shitty time than drink. You might think getting drunk every other night is helping you cope, but I promise you from the bottom of my heart it’s not. Alcohol is a beautifully clever, lying car salesman. Don’t be fooled. Or else you might drive away with a shoddily-made vehicle that will kill you.