If you have a Facebook or Instagram account, you are treated to daily images about cooking during quarantine, the challenges of eLearning, your friends and neighbors trying to pawn off their closet junk on you, and let’s not forget the alcohol pics and the jokes that follow – who among you has had a Quarantini?
All humor aside, the Associated Press reported on April 2, 2020 that in late March, brick and mortar alcohol sales increased by 55% and online alcohol sales jumped 243% as people loaded up their pantries in preparation for lock down. With growing alcohol sales and continued isolation, mental health professionals worry that all of the Corona high jinks could come at a steep price.
The stress of the quarantine, the fear of contracting the virus, the depression from isolation, and the grief and loss associated with news reports of a strained medical system and daily reported death counts take a toll on our most resilient. But what about of those who resort to stress drinking or even those with an existing alcohol use disorder?
Consider a person with chronic or situational anxiety or depression. For people with depression, alcohol may provide a boost of energy in the short term, but ultimately worsen a person’s mood over time. For those with anxiety, alcohol may initially help a person relax because alcohol is a depressant, but then exacerbate anxiety symptoms thereby worsening the problem.
For people with an existing alcohol use disorder, the isolation of the quarantine provides challenges to those working to maintain their sobriety. The change in delivery methods of meetings and support groups from in-person to online may fall short because not everyone has equal access to the technology to facilitate meetings and personal contact is absent. Dominic Patten recently wrote an article titled Coping With COVID-19 Crisis: A Connected Friend Of Bill W’s On Staying Sober And Recovery In The Age Of Isolation. In it, Patten tells us: “We alcoholics have grown reliant on in-person human contact and cross-cultural diversity for our very survival.”
He explains that AA meetings join people together who wouldn’t ordinarily mix. “The Big Book of AA likens this phenomenon to one of a shipwreck, wherein surviving passengers from different classes of service and walks of life suddenly find themselves sharing in an intense and life-changing event, forging a connection between them that cuts through class, race, age, gender or any other qualifier one might wish to assign a person.”
In the arena of representing families, including children, the pandemic and the quarantine has presented some unique issues. The challenge is moving families forward when a parent or spouse has an alcohol use disorder. When children are involved, the goal is always to work to provide the children contact with two healthy parents. Courts don’t want to punish parents for their faults, rather encourage them to take positive steps to be the best parents they can be for their children.
If you are a parent who has found that it’s too much to hold things together because of alcohol use or if you are the parent who is struggling with sobriety, and your parenting it at issue in litigation, call us. We can help.