Here in New York City, as we prepare ourselves for the first phase of reopening our city, I noticed leading up to this time many restaurants reopening for take-out and delivery. In many instances, it wasn’t food they were hawking. From behind many a shuttered grate, rung up like curtains is suddenly – ta-da! - a line-up of liquor bottles and the promise of a cocktail to go. Makes sense. In order to stay in business, restaurants need all the help they can get right now and there’s only so much they can do. So, on the one hand, this new thing , with its New Orleans vibe, is a good thing. In the United States, alcohol sales account for about $90 billion a year. So it should come to as know surprise that selling booze is critical to restaurants’ survival. Most try to make 30% of their revenue from alcohol sales. We want our restaurants to make it. More power to them.
On the other hand, it’s gotta be awfully hard for someone in recovery. I mean, did you notice that the liquor stores never closed? There’s been many a joke about liquor stores being an essential business, and apparently that’s true. It’s always been difficult for alcoholics no matter what stage they are in their recovery that alcohol is everywhere. At least there were other options of places to go and things to do. Covid changed that. And it has changed the nature of alcohol consumption. Very little is open besides restaurants, and now people are hanging outside of them with their drinks (and without masks – now that stresses me out. Uh oh! Drinking increases during stressful situations, and this stressful period of all stressful periods takes the cake and is getting worse with all that is happening in these anxious, unpredictable times. Covid has also changed the nature of what is available for those seeking recovery. It’s great news that 12 Step meetings are thriving. But if you’ve never set foot in a meeting, how likely are you to start doing so now? And in these isolating times, are meetings enough? And maybe you’re just sober-curious, but could use some extra support and exploration with a therapist. Wherever you’re at, if you’re are concerned about your drinking and you’ve read this far, I’m glad that you are exploring. Alcohol is not a good coping mechanism. Music therapy can help.
Drinking does relieve stress….but…
Abusing alcohol is caused by many factors and circumstances. I will address some of the deeper issues people tend to drink including trauma and low self-esteem in future blog posts (Please sign up to receive them!). In this pandemic era and new level of social unrest, everyone’s gotta be feeling stressed out. I know I am! So let’s address stress. Of course, alcohol relieves stress, but there is a dark side to it as well. I’m guessing that’s why you might be reading this – something is telling you it’s not really helping anymore but you’re drinking more.
Music therapy can help with problem drinking by alleviating stress in quite a few ways: drumming, humming, improvising. Click here to learn more.