The year 2020 quickly turned into a situation no one saw coming. Around the world, people are being held to strict lockdowns and stay-at-home orders as a result of the 2019 coronavirus disease, or COVID-19. The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the public health crisis a pandemic on March 11, 2020, and many businesses have shut down as a result. Further, gatherings are banned across the United States and any activity that isn’t deemed “essential” by executive order is not allowed.
This presents a unique challenge for those in recovery, who have turned to recovery support groups, Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and other 12-step meetings online. The pandemic and the rules surrounding it have also inspired a great deal of fear and worry in the general public.
Sadly, many Americans are using alcohol to cope.
Alcohol Sales Spike in the Week Ending 3/21
According to the New York Post and Nielsen data, U.S. sales of alcoholic beverages rose by 55% the week most Americans went into lockdown. Many people bought hard alcohol and spirits, which jumped by 75% the week ending March 21, and others ordered their alcohol online. The delivery app, Drizzly, saw their sales go up by about 300%.
Experts warn that “with routines out of the window we might well find ourselves reaching for a drink more often,” and a representative from WHO calls this urge “an unhelpful coping strategy,” emphasizing that using substances to cope can “make things worse.”
No Better Time for Alcohol Awareness Month
If you’ve ever struggled with alcohol addiction, you know that drinking can, in fact, make things worse. In the United States, approximately 14.8 million people had an alcohol use disorder in 2018, the last year for which data is available.
Many people who grapple with alcoholism may not be aware they have a problem, underestimating the problem they do have or overestimating their ability to quit. Even when worried about their loved ones, friends and family members have a hard time directly discussing concerns about high-risk behaviors or concerns.
As such, every April is Alcohol Awareness Month. During April, organizations like the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) make sure they are reaching out to the public and providing resources for everyone whose lives may be affected by alcohol addiction.
For individuals who are struggling with addiction, early in sobriety, or for those who have years of recovery, this pandemic is creating triggering situations they are forced to confront daily. For those stuck inside, encountering some of this outreach and information may be the first step in getting help. If the right article makes its way to the right family member, a conversation could lead to important change.
Get Help At The Carter Treatment Center
Even during the COVID-19 crisis, addiction treatment centers are still providing valuable services to those facing substance abuse disorders and alcoholism.
At The Carter Treatment Center, we are taking every possible precaution to provide care in a safe, effective way. We address the disease of addiction from every angle, using outpatient rehab, family programs, and alternative therapies like meditation.
In the spirit of Alcohol Awareness Month and in light of our world’s current challenges, we encourage you to contact us at (678) 737-4430 or get the help you need by reaching out online.
If you’re worried about a friend or family member, read our blog about spotting the signs of alcoholism in others and encourage them to get the professional help they need and deserve.
You can also refer them to the SAMSHA National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255).
**For the most accurate, up-to-date information on COVID-19, please visit the WHO website or consult the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).