My Drinking Became Problematic During the Pandemic; Here’s How I Stopped

Like so many others, Laurie found herself drinking during the pandemic. What started as a way to cope quickly became something much bigger.

Pandemic Changes

When the COVID-19 pandemic began last March, I responded to the news of a deadly virus approaching the US the same way that many parents did; I watched some news reports, I talked to some friends, and I drank some wine. Seems like a normal response, right? My kids’ schools had switched to virtual learning and my husband’s job had switched to remote. All extra-curricular activities and travel came to a screeching halt. For a lot of parents like me, these were big changes that impacted every aspect of my life, and I didn’t quite know how to deal with them.

Drinking During The Pandemic

During the first few weeks of the stay-at-home order, I found myself joking with my mom friends about having to drink more wine in order to deal with our kids and spouses being home all the time. It was a big joke on social media within my mom groups. Funny memes were texted back and forth with moms starting to drink at noon in order to be able to finish the school day. News outlets were telling us to stock up on toilet paper, paper towels, and alcohol. It’s like they were telling us to batten down the hatches. We’ll be just fine as long as we have wine on hand.

“I wasn’t really relaxed. I was just numbing my stress temporarily and I knew I had to stop this unhealthy way of coping with the stress of the pandemic.”

At first, I went along with it. Underneath all the funny memes that masked the actual anxiety about the pandemic, I knew that it wasn’t going to work for me. There’s no way that drinking most evenings is healthy, nor was it sustainable. I found that I was exhausted all of the time. Also, I was impatient with my kids and with myself, and I only felt relaxed when I was alone with a glass of wine and Netflix late at night. But I wasn’t really relaxed. I was just numbing my stress temporarily and I knew I had to stop this unhealthy way of coping with the stress of the pandemic. My relationship with alcohol was getting tangled with my heightened emotions over the pandemic. I needed to address it before it got way worse.

So, I decided to give sobriety a try. These three things have helped on my journey:

1. I started reading quit lit.

If you had asked me what quit lit was six months ago, I would have had no idea what you were talking about. Turns out, there is a whole world of novels, memoirs, essays, and how-to books on sobriety that is geared towards women. I only just started reading books from this genre and let me tell you: They’re nothing short of amazing. I’ve already learned so much about my relationship with alcohol and my emotions through reading a few of these books, In fact, I’m excited to keep adding new titles to my bookshelf.

I’m finding that I really enjoy reading about other women’s journeys to and through sobriety because so many stories are both relatable and inspiring. I was late to the party and just finished the #1 NY Times Best Seller Untamed by Glennon Doyle. Though not entirely about sobriety, Untamed is a really incredible collection of stories and powerful realizations on how to come out of hiding and step into your true self — free of cages that may have at one time kept you quiet. I loved this book. To the point that I even joined a Zoom book club to discuss it virtually with other women — it was that good.

Drinking During The Pandemic Ended with This Naked Mind

The most empowering quit lit book I’ve read so far, however, is This Naked Mind: Control Alcohol by Annie Grace. This book goes a step further. The author combines her personal stories with research on how alcohol affects the body and, particularly, the brain. The science-nerd in me loved this combination. This Naked Mind has the reader examine how their unconscious mind has been conditioned about the benefits of alcohol. According to Grace, “I would like to outline what alcohol does to your body, so you see why it wreaks such devastation on your health and life.”

This book does just that.

Start Reading

Has your drinking during the pandemic escalated? Ready to do something about it? Start reading This Naked Mind for free now!

Click here to keep reading