Wine

Locking Down Alcohol Abuse

Apparently, alcohol sales are at an all time high. With pubs, bars and restaurants closed, people are now stockpiling on essentials…and some individuals think alcohol falls under this category.

Hmmm…??

Personally, I think this is a recipe for disaster. Being forced to stay inside with tons of alcoholic beverages at one’s disposal is not the greatest idea. I have to admit, pre-Coronavirus, I was facing the daunting Brexit saga. As a result, I was stockpiling on my favourite wines, mainly because I didn’t know what was going to happen with prices and availability. However, with the current lockdown situation, I just realised that I haven’t been feeling the need to buy even more bottles and fill my cellar.

Why is this?

Well, to be honest, I don’t actually drink that much wine. Ironic isn’t it…I actually prefer to taste wine and not actually drink glasses on end. Additionally, I don’t like beer and I tend to avoid hard alcohol. Usually, I have a Cognac around Christmas and maybe a cocktail (this might be once a year) if I’m on holiday or out with friends. However, the rest of the time, I stick to my weekly routine…two glasses of wine on Friday and Saturday nights, thus bringing my weekly wine consumption to …drum roll, please…4 UNITS!!!!

What?!?!

How in the world can I possibly be a wine enthusiast and also write my own wine blog if I’m only drinking 4 units of wine per week? Well, this is where my personal line is drawn between ‘wine enthusiast’ and ‘wine abuser’. Throughout my life I’ve been around individuals who exhibit both of these behaviour types. Classifying them as behaviours is more appropriate because people make choices concerning their consumption of wine and these are not definitive of the person as a whole.

Being a wine enthusiast is very rewarding and exciting. There is a very supportive, friendly wine community all over the world. It provides opportunities to socialise, travel and experience amazing wine and food. While living in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, I was fortunate to become a part of this diverse, open-minded, creative group of people. A friend of mine, who is a well known sommelier on the West Coast, has such a genuine enthusiasm for and knowledge about wine that being around her you don’t feel compelled to drink because her words and passion are sufficient enough! As an enthusiast, I view my wine consumption as a special treat…something out of the ordinary. Some people might shudder to think that I wouldn’t hesitate to spend double digits (triple digits on a few too!!) on a bottle of wine; however, if I’m only buying a few bottles a week, then I can splurge on some good ones! When I go to wine tastings, I don’t drink everything in sight. I usually spit most of the wine out, otherwise, I would be completely intoxicated. It’s about moderation and self-control. I think that most wine enthusiasts would agree. However, among this community, alcohol abuse still rears its ugly head. Often, wine experts and enthusiasts will embark on an alcohol-free hiatus to monitor themselves and determine if they are developing any sort of abusive habits towards alcohol consumption. This is a great way to keep yourself in check!

Years ago, while working in a tasting room, I often encountered tipsy customers who were determined to get completely wasted on wine because…damn it…they were in wine country and were going to drink everything they could get their hands on because they were paying for every last drop!! Despite my efforts to educate them on what they were drinking, they often had chugged the juice faster than I could talk. Needless to say, I despised these customers because they were embarrassing and weren’t focused on the quality of the wine but rather the quantity. While working in this tasting room, I was legally obligated to refuse alcohol to anyone deemed intoxicated. Sometimes these individuals were so drunk (or also stoned…remember I worked in Oregon…the land of wine and weed), that I was always worried if their apparent alcohol abuse would then lead to more destructive and wreckless behaviours that might harm other people, such as drunk driving. On a few occasions, my colleagues and I phone the authorities because we didn’t want these individuals poor choices and behaviour to have damaging consequences. Were these people alcohol abusers? I don’t know. Probably, they were just having a fun time in wine country?

Q: So, what defines someone as having abusive tendencies towards alcohol?

A: When the consumption of alcohol becomes ordinary, uncontrollable and may lead to other destructive behaviors.

So, what does all this have to do with the current Coronavirus Lockdown situation that is facing the whole world? A lot!

Unfortunately, I think that the current lockdown situation provides the perfect opportunity for both avoiding the virus but also for developing destructive behaviors such as alcohol abuse. People often turn to alcohol when they are depressed or facing troubled times. Being locked down in a house for the foreseeable future with unemployment rates at an all time high and the anxiety of not knowing whether or not you or loved ones will contract the Coronavirus are very difficult predicaments facing all of us. Additionally, if someone is currently in an abusive relationship, being forced to stay at home all day for hours on end with that person is a very helpless situation.

One way I am managing the situation is by keeping in touch with family and friends over the Internet or phone to openly discuss my anxieties and fears. Social interaction (while staying 2 metres apart) is necessary and comforting during a time like this. Also, seeking professional help is hugely beneficial and most therapists will offer phone sessions to meet the needs of their patients. Finally, if you find that you’re consuming alcohol on a daily basis, then you probably should consider limiting your intake.

So, if you’re currently in a lockdown situation and struggling, don’t turn to alcohol as a comfort. There are other options to get help. We’re all in this together.

Stay Calm…Carry On…Focus on the Positive!!!

Cheers!!